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Thread: Massachusetts?

  1. #1
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    Massachusetts?

    Hello, Everybody.
    I'm new to this service. Can somebody tell me how I can go about finding people who have bicycled across Massachusetts? I will be going from the Boston area to Sheffield and would like to know some good routes that keep of the busiest roads.
    Thanks,
    Roadroy

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    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    I'm not sure-sorry.

    Perhaps folks over at the Massbike e-mail list may be able to help? It's a Topica list found here, you have to create an account+whatnot to log in though. Helpfull knowledgeable Mass folks though.

    Other options may include checking out a Rubell Map for Mass, or checking&mixing cue sheets from long rides. The Boston Brevet Series starts at Hanscom Airfield (just outside Boston), and there are fully cue'd routes (mix&match them). They are hilly at times (as they should be), for there intended purpose-but you could avoid/omitt major climbs. Perhaps there are still online sources for the longer rides through Charles River Wheelmen (a large area cycle club) as well?

    I haven't checked crazy guy on a bike (touring journals online), but may well be worth a looksee.

    Good luck.

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    Thanks

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    Senior Member GeorgeBaby's Avatar
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    The Rubel maps are available from www.bikemaps.com

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    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadroy
    Hello, Everybody.
    I'm new to this service. Can somebody tell me how I can go about finding people who have bicycled across Massachusetts? I will be going from the Boston area to Sheffield and would like to know some good routes that keep of the busiest roads.
    Thanks,
    Roadroy
    There are 3 major east/west roads in Masschusetts: 2, 9, and 20, respectively as you go from north to south in the state. All of them of course are very busy roads inside route 495, which is what I consider 'greater boston.' Locals and local bike shops are proabbly your best guide in this region.

    Once west of worcester however the choices are much better. Route 20 is the least attractive since it parallels the turnpike and gets alot of local non-pike non-toll traffic. Route 9 winds thru smaller towns, and since your ultimate destination (Sheffield) is in the southern Berkshires, is probably a fairly good choice.

    Once over the Connecticut River, into western massachusetts your choices expand greatly. I would recommend route 143 to Huntington, south on 112 to cross route 20 and continue south on many minor roads that connect rt 20 to rts 23 and eventually route 57, which goes to Great Barrington and near your final destination.

    Another interesting way to climb into the Berkshires is rt 116, which goes north from Amherst and then turns west, crossing the Connecticut river at Sunderland (you thus avoid all the backed up traffic at the Northampton crossing) and up, up, up into the hills in the middle of nowwhere. You cross rt 112 in Ashfield and can go south to join the roads i mentioned before; or you can continue all the way into the Berkshires. Rt 116 goes to Adams, Mass and joins Rt 8; not the best way to go in my opinion.

    Good luck. If you pass thru Amherst say howdy and you can stay overnight if ya need to.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

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    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    I'd avoid routes 2 and 9 at all costs! Route 2 is 45-65MPH, with a bad shoulder-has those "rumble" strips, and hence collects road debris in the shoulder. Although I don't believe route 2 to be "limited access" a state trooper threatened me with arrest if I did not get off-I was not going to argue w/him. Route 9 is also a bit too fast, and has way too many shopping plazas+exits.

    Consider 20, or perhaps route 2A (up to near Fitchburg), 2A is not signed at all through Fitchburg-and Fitchburg is simply a PIT. 2A is newly paved between the ?Concord split with route2 (2&2A converge for a bit around Bellmont/Concord-minimal shoulder-not recomended). 2A after the split up to the outskirts of Fitchberg is now very nice for cycling.

    You can check out & purchase Rubell maps at any descent large bike shop. Bellmont Wheelworks, International Bike, perhaps the REI branches, as well as others.

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    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    I'd avoid routes 2 and 9 at all costs! Route 2 is 45-65MPH, with a bad shoulder-has those "rumble" strips, and hence collects road debris in the shoulder... .
    Indeed! Like I said, inside 495 ('greater boston') I would turn to local bike shops for what routes to take. I don't know of any roads in this area. Once west of worcester, where my advice begins, things open up much more. Roue 9 thru the Brookfields, Ware, on to Palmer and other towns in central mass has some narrower sections. Once across the Ct river into western mass it is an excellent road, though I still prefer 143 and 112 south, especially for someone who's final destination is Sheffield.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  8. #8
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Definitely check out the Rubel's maps -- they are pretty accurate about what roads are "green" and which are "red". I would try to avoid those larger roads (2, 9, 20, etc.) at all costs, and I'll bet you will be able to do it if you don't mind the extra navigation effort. I don't have much of problem doing this in my area (Pepperell), but I haven't crossed the state on bike.

    MassBike might be worth checking out as I recall they have an initiative to designate "bike-friendly" 2 E-W and 2 N-S routes that span the state.

    Also, any of the clubs can probably provide some good clues.

    Let us know how you make out.

  9. #9
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff
    Indeed! Like I said, inside 495 ('greater boston') I would turn to local bike shops for what routes to take...
    -My apologies, didn't mean to step on your advice. I didn't know about 9 in western MA being allright-thanks (may come in handy).

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    Thanks a bunch.
    I'll be out of town this coming week and I'll check out the routes you suggest on the Rubel Maps.
    roadroy

  11. #11
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    -My apologies, didn't mean to step on your advice. I didn't know about 9 in western MA being allright-thanks (may come in handy).
    No problem. **I** didn't have much to say about inside 495! But i'll betcha the savvy locals know a few roads to take. Once ya get out in the rural areas it can be pretty easy to pick roads; its just that I wanted to discourage him from selecting route 20, which i think *IS* the least attractive alternative throughout most of western mass. (Let alone eastern mass! )

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

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