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Boston Weekday Morning Club/Group/Shop Rides??

Old 07-23-15, 10:05 AM
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Boston Weekday Morning Club/Group/Shop Rides??

We are visiting Boston the first week in August. I am an avid road cyclist, and my usual vacation strategy is to find a group ride in the morning so I can spend the rest of the day with the family. Earlier is better. We have rented a 1 BR apartment in Beacon Hill which will be our base for the week.

I know that most weekday club rides are in the afternoon/evening, but before I go on an exhaustive google search, does anyone have knowledge of some early morning weekday rides? I am happy going on a moderate pace, but must be on the road. Flexible mileage but ideally 35-50.

Doug
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Old 07-23-15, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
We are visiting Boston the first week in August. I am an avid road cyclist, and my usual vacation strategy is to find a group ride in the morning so I can spend the rest of the day with the family. Earlier is better. We have rented a 1 BR apartment in Beacon Hill which will be our base for the week.

I know that most weekday club rides are in the afternoon/evening, but before I go on an exhaustive google search, does anyone have knowledge of some early morning weekday rides? I am happy going on a moderate pace, but must be on the road. Flexible mileage but ideally 35-50.

Doug
Hi Doug,

I recall your previous thread a couple monhts ago about coming to Boston, and in my reply, I referred to my compendium of Boston Road cycling, since updated to include MUPS. In it I mention a few premier bike shops in the Metro area. Two that are closest to Beacon Hill are Back Bay Bikes and Community Bike Supply. I also suggested two local groups, Mass Bike, and the Charles River Wheelman as resources, as well as the ”Metro Boston:Good ride today?” thread on this Northeast Regional Discussion Forum.

Your current query reminded me about the ”Crack o’ Dawn” Riders who leave every day, I think, at 5:45 AM from the Newton City Hall, about ten miles from Beacon Hill; see their website. I also called my friend Daniel the racer, and he suggested:

Originally Posted by Daniel
Here is what I remember:

Tuesday / Thursday: 545 Velo Ride 5:45am
Wednesday: Wednesday 545 Hill ride: 5:45am Meet in Belmont near Belmont Wheel Works and Rt 60

Otherwise the loops that are good are:
TNW - Brookline, MA (CRW42)
TNW - Brookline, MA (CRW28 / Tuesday Night Worlds)

Thanks for being the Boston ambassador!
I myself due to time constraints ride solo, often early in the morning and see a fair number of small pacelines, about 5 to 10 riders especially in the suburbs, presumably loosely organized groups. One club I recently encountered is in Ashland, about 20 miles from downtown, with Wednesday and Saturday AM rides, starting about 9:30 AM.

I sporadically commute from Kenmore Square, which is about a mile from Beacon Hill, to a southwestern suburb, and during the summer I extend my commute to about 25 miles, through the arguably best cycling area around, and with notice could ride out with you, but then would need to leave you to find your way back. I like to leave at about 5:30 AM at the latest.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Southwest: Needham, Wellesley, Dover, Medfield, Walpole, Westwood, etc: probably more popular than the western burbs; wealthy exurban to rural, moderately hilly country roads, horse farms, mansions…
One final suggestion is that you can take a Commuter Rail in the early mornings outbound from downtown to some nice riding areas, and avoid city riding, then ride back, or take a later, mid-morning inbound (off-peak hour) train back to the city. I understand though that you have time constraints for the family.

BTW, if interested I did post this summer to a BF father of a family coming to Boston for a whirlwind visit, with some suggestions about Boston.

Sincerely,

Jim

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-23-15 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 07-23-15, 06:22 PM
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^^ Thanks for the info! I will investigate. The 5:30AM option might be a bit too early for me, my ideal situation would be a 50 mile ride starting at 7:30AM and finishing around 10:30AM when the rest of the family wakes up.
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Old 07-23-15, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
^^ Thanks for the info! I will investigate. The 5:30AM option might be a bit too early for me, my ideal situation would be a 50 mile ride starting at 7:30AM and finishing around 10:30AM when the rest of the family wakes up.
During my chat with that BF father bringing his family to Boston, we exchanged:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…BTW, I don’t know how your family is about travelling, but I personally cannot see enough when I visit somewhere. I’m up about 5 AM to start off with a bike ride, and try to keep on going until about 11 PM. Last year I went to a meeting in Philadelphia and brought my 25 year old son. I would come back to the Hotel around 11 AM and find him still in bed.

Originally Posted by stratford View Post
...We are go getters when it comes to vacationing. I'll be up by 6 everyday. My son will get up around the same time usually. My wife and daughter love to sleep, but they like doing as much as we can on vacation.

I know some people like to relax on vacations. We just aren't those people. We want to experience as much as possible! …


PS: Remember, your preferred riding time is during Boston's AM rush hour, and usual daily active traffic. You have to get pretty far out of town to avoid that, if it is a concern. It certainly limits unencumbered long rides.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-23-15 at 06:52 PM. Reason: added PS
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Old 07-26-15, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
PS: Remember, your preferred riding time is during Boston's AM rush hour, and usual daily active traffic. You have to get pretty far out of town to avoid that, if it is a concern. It certainly limits unencumbered long rides.
Understood. I know it may be a challenge. My club in West Chester, PA often has informal (but still posted on the website) weekday rides starting at 8 or 9AM, so I am hoping to find something similar. Fingers crossed. If not, I can always go for a run instead. But cycling is more fun than running.
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Old 07-27-15, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Remember, your preferred riding time is during Boston's AM rush hour, and usual daily active traffic. You have to get pretty far out of town to avoid that, if it is a concern. It certainly limits unencumbered long rides.

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Understood. I know it may be a challenge. My club in West Chester, PA often has informal (but still posted on the website) weekday rides starting at 8 or 9AM, so I am hoping to find something similar. Fingers crossed. If not, I can always go for a run instead. But cycling is more fun than running.
One other question. To avoid city riding if you are so inclined, I presume you can drive your bike to a nice route outside of the city, with then nearly limitless possibilities at your convenience. However, driving through Metro Boston can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience.

One ride you might find interesting is on the Minuteman Bikepath in Arlington, about fve miles or so from Beacon Hill; a pretty direct drive. Or you can take your bike on the the subway Red Line from the Charles Street-MGH stop near Beacon Hill after about 9:00 AM to the Alewife stop, which is near the start. It’s an 11 mile well-paved continuous path, and probably not heavily used on a weekday AM. See these recent photos. It ends in Bedford, with really nice road cycling from there.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Western: Lincoln, Lexington, Concord, Wayland, etc: Very ritzy, buccolic and historic; very popular for riding. This area IMO has the steepest hills.
Please let us know what you find. Also, we (me), and the Metro Boston thread would be interested in reading about your Boston experience. Just this Saturday I rode with a group organized by @welshTerrier2. He and I had provided some detailed route description for a visiting Californian and I asked her also for a report, which she would do in September.

Originally Posted by LindaB View Post
We're currently planning to head south from Concord MA, following MA-126, then connecting to the Blackstone River Bikeway and into Providence.…When viewed in Google street view, 126 doesn't look like a great place to ride. Opinions? Alternate roads? …Thanks!

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…I have ridden Rte 126 on many occasions, from Concord to as far south as Bellingham…..In Concord it passes the famous Walden Pond, and I recall it particularly pleasant south of Holliston. (I rode the Framingham-Ashland segment just this past Saturday.)…

Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
My bike club does frequent rides between Concord, Ma and Ashland, Ma which is on your way towards Providence. I built a route for you at the following link to get you from Concord to the northern end of the Blackstone River Bikeway in Woonsocket, RI…

Hope this helps. There's some great scenery built into the route between Concord, Ma and Woonsocket, RI. In my view, this is a much nicer route than Route 126. The scenery is much better and there is way less traffic.
wT2 and I both commented how nice it is to read of visitors' impressions. At least it guides us in recommendations for advising other cyclists, to follow.
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Old 07-27-15, 08:37 PM
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Doug
FYI, the Charles River Wheelmen have several rides each week, shown here. The CRW Wednesday Wheelers send out emails to members on Sunday with details, but I know the 8/5 ride is going to be down towards Cape Code. Contact me if you'd like more details.
Regardless, enjoy your visit.
Doug
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Old 07-28-15, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post
Doug
FYI, the Charles River Wheelmen have several rides each week, shown here. The CRW Wednesday Wheelers send out emails to members on Sunday with details, but I know the 8/5 ride is going to be down towards Cape Code. Contact me if you'd like more details.
Regardless, enjoy your visit.
Doug
Thanks for the link/info. I will definitely be looking into it!!

Doug
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Old 07-28-15, 10:44 AM
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OK next dumb question. If it's 7:30AM on a weekday and I hop onto the Charles River Bike Path heading west, with a goal of just cruising at say 17-20MPH is that going to work or will there be way too many obstacles?? Is the North or South side better for my purposes??
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Old 07-28-15, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
OK next dumb question. If it's 7:30AM on a weekday and I hop onto the Charles River Bike Path heading west, with a goal of just cruising at say 17-20MPH is that going to work or will there be way too many obstacles?? Is the North or South side better for my purposes??
I think the path would be pretty active at that time on a weekday, though west of Mass Ave it may be less populated. I think the south (Boston) side is better for riding, and both sides get unraveled a bit in Cambridge. Ultimately you get to Watertown, and the path is harder to find, and unpaved, to Waltham, though street riding is more tolerable once in Watertown and Newton.

But FWIW, I think that aforementioned Minuteman path is better for a fast-paced free-flowing ride. You may want to post your question to the Metro Boston thread for more opinions too.
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Old 07-28-15, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I think the path would be pretty active at that time on a weekday, though west of Mass Ave it may be less populated. I think the south (Boston) side is better for riding, and both sides get unraveled a bit in Cambridge. Ultimately you get to Watertown, and the path is harder to find, and unpaved, to Waltham, though street riding is more tolerable once in Watertown and Newton.

But FWIW, I think that aforementioned Minuteman path is better for a fast-paced free-flowing ride. You may want to post your question to the Metro Boston thread for more opinions too.
Understood, but since parking downtown is such a problem we are going to park our minivan remotely and leave it there. So driving out to a less populated area is not going to happen. Mass Transit is an option but I would rather just ride if possible.
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Old 07-28-15, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
... Mass Transit is an option but I would rather just ride if possible.
If you would be comfortable with urban riding,it is a fairly direct route of about 5, less than 10 miles on Mass Ave through Cambridge to the Minuteman Bike Path. Mass Ave is a well-traversed commuter cycle route, with as I have heard, strict enforcement of traffic laws for cyclists. Part of Mass Ave could be detoured on the Charles River Path to Harvard Square at least, and some Metro Boston subscribers have described other routes to the Path.
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Old 07-28-15, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
OK next dumb question. If it's 7:30AM on a weekday and I hop onto the Charles River Bike Path heading west, with a goal of just cruising at say 17-20MPH is that going to work or will there be way too many obstacles?? Is the North or South side better for my purposes??
30 years ago I rode for one summer. Arlington, down Mass. Ave, East on Mem Drive sidewalk/path, over the BU bridge into Brookline to my auto repair shop. My PR was 19.9 mph (wish my speedo had offered "speed while moving"). I opened the shop at 8AM, so it should still be doable. Midday there will be a lot more obstacles and slow people.

Now I only ride in-town once or twice a year. On routes that others have carefully plotted. But I will always have a soft spot for Cambridge (I went to Harvard).

I think you should be able to go as far West as Bridge Street (Watertown? Newton?) and come back on the other side on bike paths. There is a convenient pedestrian/bike bridge over Storrow Drive near the sail boats near Charles Street. My eastern limit would probably be the Museum of Science, but Longfellow Bridge would be easier (unless it's under construction).

-----------------
But, just a reminder, if you can finagle it, the CRW routes are all aimed at avoiding traffic, maximizing beauty, and throwing in some hills. You need not join, but they'd like you to sign a release and they insist you wear a helmet.
  • This is the best urban ride I've done. Do some repeats on the hill at mile 15 - that'll put hair on your chest.
  • This ride I've never done on a bike, but it's a wonder. You return by taking a ferry.
  • This is probably my favorite ride, but it starts 25 miles west of Boston.

Have a blast!
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Old 07-29-15, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post
…But, just a reminder, if you can finagle it, the CRW routes are all aimed at avoiding traffic, maximizing beauty, and throwing in some hills. You need not join, but they'd like you to sign a release and they insist you wear a helmet.

    Have a blast!
    Hey hobkirk,

    As an aside to the OP, thanks for those routes.

    Re#1, Boston is my stomping grounds, as a reverse commuter from Kenmore Square to Norwood and road cyclist, and I know those streets well. I’m always looking for new, expanded routes, and you have some novel segments. For example, instead of passing straight through Quincy on Hancock, I will check out that Quincy Shore route.

    I also know well that uphill climb on Brush Hill Road in Milton.

    Re #2 , a one-day ride to P-town has long been a goal of mine, then to stay an extra day and ferry home. So far my one-day ride to the Cape has been on Rte 28 to Woods Hole, then ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. I thought Rte 28 was a pretty decent route on a summer Saturday AM, because of I-495 to carry auto traffic.

    RE#3, that sector of Metro Boston is also a favorite destination for a 70+ mile ride from Boston. Since I mainly ride via paper maps (just got a smart phone with GPS last year), my routes are pretty direct: Mass Ave to Lexngtion, then Rte 225 past Forge Village, on to Harvard, and back to Boston via Rte 111. As you had described in a previous Road Cycling post,

    Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post
    .. My hill interval ride is through Boxboro into Harvard (and blasting down Route 111 on the return, spinning my 53/11 gearing as fast as I possibly can, trying to top 42 mph)…
    I recently met another subscriber, @welshTerrier2, and he introduced me to ridewithGPS. My only problem with routes I have perused is that the red route lines obscure road names which are my old-fashioned directions for a route. I guess I’ll have to buy a cue sheet holder.
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