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  1. #1
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    So, hypothetically speaking, if I were to ride from burlington vt to boston, ma, what would be a good route to take?

    Would this be feasible to do in march?
    Roughly, how long would this route be?

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    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Whatta ya want?
    Expedience? Challenge? or Leisure?

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    I think I would take 119 all the way from Brat -> thru New Hamp -> down to Concord MA

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    119 isn't a bad route, but it would be pretty dreary to follow it for that long. It's often long and straight and ugly, with fast-moving traffic. Once you get into Massachusetts, it's a pretty nice route through Pepperell, Groton, Littleton and Acton, but it takes you directly to the big rotary in Concord after that, and you don't really want to take 2 into the city...

    For Vermont, I think you'll want to follow one of the secondary highways (sorry, don't remember which one) down to about Middlebury - either riding on it or following it on secondary roads. Once you get to Middlebury, you can turn east and work your way over the Green Mtns. There are some absolutely beautiful roads, hills, forests and villages along the way. There are only a couple major roads through the area, and no highways, so traffic will be light - Vermont has virtually no high-capacity roads that run east/west. Anyway, this will eventually bring you out on the east edge of the state somewhere north of or near Brattleboro. From there, route 9 is a nice way to get to Keene, at which point you have a few different options for getting down into MA. Of course, you could take 119 from Brattleboro, but Brattleboro to Concord is a looooong way. I would mix it up a bit.

    Anyway, I wish I could be more specific, but it's been a little while since I've come from Burlington, and that was in a car. Good luck!

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    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Hey Grolby, I see you're in Amherst... do you ride the Norwottuck trail? If so, have you taken it all the way to the East end (in Belchertown)

    The reason I ask is I took the trail from Belchertown but then it just ENDED at South East St. in Amherst.

    Is the connector to the S. or N. of that crossing?

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I do ride the Norwottuck trail! In fact, I used it regularly to commute to Northampton. The problem is, I'm not really familiar with the trail out to Belchertown. It most assuredly does not end at South East St, though - I've been on the trail behind Amherst College, and that's just a short distance from South East St. I may have used the connector, but unfortunately I don't remember where it is. I would try striking north first. If you reach route 9/College St. without finding it, that was the wrong direction, and you should head south.

    If you still can't find it, there's one other option: head north to route 9/College St. and turn left (west). Follow it across East Pleasant and down a long hill until you come to the traffic light at University drive. You should see the sidewalk on University drive, on your right, and across the street, on your left, has a yellow stripe down the middle. This is the UMass Bikeway Connector. Turn left and follow it for a couple hundred yards, and it will quickly spit you out onto the Norwottuck trail. From this point you can retrace the trail to find the crossing, or just keep heading west toward Hadley/Noho. I hope that made sense. I guess I'm taking the trail to Belchertown when I return to Amherst! I'd like to know where it goes.

  7. #7
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby
    I do ride the Norwottuck trail! In fact, I used it regularly to commute to Northampton. The problem is, I'm not really familiar with the trail out to Belchertown. It most assuredly does not end at South East St, though - I've been on the trail behind Amherst College, and that's just a short distance from South East St. I may have used the connector, but unfortunately I don't remember where it is. I would try striking north first. If you reach route 9/College St. without finding it, that was the wrong direction, and you should head south.

    If you still can't find it, there's one other option: head north to route 9/College St. and turn left (west). Follow it across East Pleasant and down a long hill until you come to the traffic light at University drive. You should see the sidewalk on University drive, on your right, and across the street, on your left, has a yellow stripe down the middle. This is the UMass Bikeway Connector. Turn left and follow it for a couple hundred yards, and it will quickly spit you out onto the Norwottuck trail. From this point you can retrace the trail to find the crossing, or just keep heading west toward Hadley/Noho. I hope that made sense. I guess I'm taking the trail to Belchertown when I return to Amherst! I'd like to know where it goes.
    Thanks man... I rode out there today (from Springfield) and found where I went wrong.

    Here's the bike on the bridge!



    The trail was nice (although the bike shop was closed, and I wanted to spend some money! - at least the ice cream stand was open... )
    My only complaint is a few of those rough spots that feel like you're on cobblestones!

    Ohhh and one more complaint... what the hell is up with oncoming cyclists riding 2 abreast and not getting the F over til you're nearly on top of them???!

    EDIT: As I side note, I saw a four foot black racer around where the swampy area is...
    Last edited by Bikepacker67; 08-02-05 at 05:09 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Nice bike, and a nice view! I love riding over that bridge. It really is a very nice trail, with one exception: I had a major WTF? moment when I realized the bike trail is quite literally paved with broken glass! Apparently, someone decided that it would be a good way to recycle glass and save some money when mixing the pavement. It's not too bad, but every now and then a piece will pop loose, and some of them are still sharp enough to cause punctures.

    You got lucky with that ice cream stand, too - during all my months of commuting (from November through May) it was not open once. Bummer!

    And people not moving over is a problem on all trails, sadly...

    Anyway, here's my bike on the bridge over the road where the UMass Bikeway Connector joins the main trail.

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    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    So... are you a student at the Zoo?

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Yep, attending undergrad at good old ZooMass. Working in Northampton is a good excuse to escape the madness for a while, a couple days a week. Of course, my job was at a middle-school after school program, so it was out of the frying pan and into the fire. Nonetheless, a good place to be and a good home base for exploring the surrounding area.

  11. #11
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    Work in Noho, eh?
    Ever frequent the Iron Horse? How 'bout Don Gleason's?

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    The Iron Horse, yes. I wouldn't say that I frequent it, since I've been to two shows, but it's a wonderful place and I will be back often. I haven't really been to anywhere else in town (except the little indie movie theater), but I am always open to suggestions . It can be a little difficult for a busy student to find time to get into Noho from Amherst, since both the bike and bus take a bit of time to get there. Besides which, I didn't work anywhere near downtown, but way the heck up in Florence, so there ya go... familiar with Damon/Bridge Road? Not the most pleasant road to ride on in the world, but I've got to follow it for three miles or so unless I want to take the long way 'round. Which I actually rather do, but usually I don't have enough time.

    Wow, this topic really got hijacked, didn't it?

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    So thanks to all of your information, I guess the route will look like this: (grolby, is this right?)

    Route 116 south from Burlington to East Middlebury.
    Route 125 East from East Middlebury to Hancock.
    Route 100 South from Hancock to East Jamaica.
    Route 30 East from E. Jamaica to Brattleboro.
    Route 119 to Concord, Ma. I can find my way to Boston from Concord, I hope.

    Is this feasible to to in March? Anyone have any idea on mileage?

    Any alt routes other than rt. 199?

    Thanks.

  14. #14
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby
    The Iron Horse, yes. I wouldn't say that I frequent it, since I've been to two shows, but it's a wonderful place and I will be back often. I haven't really been to anywhere else in town (except the little indie movie theater), but I am always open to suggestions . It can be a little difficult for a busy student to find time to get into Noho from Amherst, since both the bike and bus take a bit of time to get there. Besides which, I didn't work anywhere near downtown, but way the heck up in Florence, so there ya go... familiar with Damon/Bridge Road? Not the most pleasant road to ride on in the world, but I've got to follow it for three miles or so unless I want to take the long way 'round. Which I actually rather do, but usually I don't have enough time.

    Wow, this topic really got hijacked, didn't it?

    Yippers, we sure took this poor thread hostage...

    I guess I should bump it to the top so that you can verify BostonFixed's question... you remember the question, right?

    As for Don Gleason's, it's the camping store in Noho. Definitely worth a visit.

  15. #15
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    That sounds like pretty good route planning. I don't know much about any of the roads you mentioned except for 119, but 125 and 100 in particular are pretty isolated, being the only state highways in their respective areas. So expect light but fast traffic, and beautiful scenery. Also, the bends on 125 seem to indicate a pretty hilly road, so be prepared for a lot of climbing. Same goes for 100 and 30, actually. As for 119, I can only advise you once more against following it for so long. It's a nice enough road in Massachusetts, but it's elevated, flat and straight for a lot of its run through New Hampshire, and people will be going very fast. The upside of this is that you will have very wide shoulders for just about the entire length of the road through NH; wide shoulders are the exception rather than the rule in Massachusetts. Traffic will still be pretty fast in MA, but not to the same extent, as the road winds a lot more. Problem is... I don't really know what else to recommend! I've only ever driven through the area. Why not pick up a 1:250,000 scale USGS map of the area to look for alternate routes? A road map for each state would also serve well. Planning to follow the general course of 119 is a good idea, but when you're actually touring, you may want to try shadowing it on alternate routes, rather than riding on it directly. Simply following 119 would cause you to miss out on some beautiful scenery - even lovely little farming towns like Rindge NH could leave a bad taste in your mouth, since all of the commercial development tends to form by 119. Once you're in Massachusetts, it gets better, but good luck finding a place to camp! Once out of Townsend, the road tends to be pretty heavily developed all the way down to Concord, with some areas of Littleton being excepted. I will recommend that you deliberately take it when you cross the border into Ashby, MA - there are some wonderful winding switchbacks down a riverbed that will probably be lots of fun to ride down.

    Just to clear things up a little bit, the towns that 119 goes through in Massachusetts are, from west to east: Ashby, Townsend, Pepperell, Groton, Littleton, Acton, Concord. So you may now have some inkling as to what I'm talking about. And good luck finding your way home from Concord! I recommend getting off of 119 before you get to the rotary where 119, 2 and 2A intersect.

    Finally, I think that going in March is certainly feasible, if you have good warm clothes and are able to dress appropriately for all kinds of weather. It will still be very cold in parts of Vermont and New Hampshire. Heck, I think that it's still cold in Massachusetts in March! Better to wait a month and do it in April, but if March is the window you have, you can do it. Just be prepared for anything up to and including snow, and definitely for freezing cold, high winds and rain. And good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by BostonFixed
    So thanks to all of your information, I guess the route will look like this: (grolby, is this right?)

    Route 116 south from Burlington to East Middlebury.
    Route 125 East from East Middlebury to Hancock.
    Route 100 South from Hancock to East Jamaica.
    Route 30 East from E. Jamaica to Brattleboro.
    Route 119 to Concord, Ma. I can find my way to Boston from Concord, I hope.

    Is this feasible to to in March? Anyone have any idea on mileage?

    Any alt routes other than rt. 199?

    Thanks.

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    Thanks for the complete info grolby. I will indeed check out a USGS map when I can find one.

    Are these USGS maps good sources for finding road routes?

    Also, I plan to ride on a fixed gear bicycle. I know. I'm crazy. My only decent bikes are fixed gears.

  17. #17
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Sorry for taking so long to get back this thread - I've been having trouble accessing Bike Forums lately. Anyway, the USGS maps are good for finding road routes, but should never be relied upon alone. Back them up with a recent road map. The USGS maps are seldom updated, and while this won't be a big problem in the middle of Vermont, it will get you into trouble in most populated areas.

    Fixed gear sounds like a lot of fun, actually. Are you doing a loaded tour and stealth camping, or are you traveling light? I will admit that the former does seem borderline crazy, unless you're riding a fixed/free with a lower gear on the freewheel. And even then, yow! Expect to walk up a lot of hills .

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