DIY Training Rides: Make it an Adventure
Seek out Bike Paths, Breweries and Boston’s Big Hills This Summer
We miss you. We really, really miss you. Over the past decade the Best Buddies Challenge Training Rides have cemented tremendous bond between cyclists who support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Although we call them “training rides” we know them to be more about friendship than about fitness…. which ultimately is a part of our fitness.
We’ll be back together soon, with social distancing guidelines this summer and perhaps in subsequent years.
Public health officials DO recommend bicycling as one of the best ways to get outside for both physical and mental health during this pandemic, provided you ride alone, with members of your household or a small group.
This may be the summer of DIY training rides. While some prefer to crank out familiar routes near their home, others struggle to get motivated for training. Bikes, after all, are as much about adventure and curiosity as they are about fitness.
My last blog focused on how to use such digital tools as Ride with GPS and Strava to not only source out some great routes but also to maintain some human contact with others on the road. Mapping out cycling adventures can be nearly as much fun as riding those adventures.
Let’s use those tools to create some adventures this summer. Here are some Do It Yourself training ride concepts for the summer of 2020. Given we recommend about an eight-week training plan to get ready for our ride, here are my Crazy Eights. Don’t worry about mileage or time or watts. Just pick a category and dedicate yourself to checking off one box per week. Or mix ‘em up. The key is to have fun and explore.
Summit These Eight Climbs: While New England has some super mountains and passes to scale, there are some great climbs in the Boston Metro area within Route 128 (aka I-95). These offer magnificent overlooks and often historic elements worth learning about. Challenge yourself to summit these climbs, take a picture and post on social media!
- Summit Avenue, Brookline
- Prospect Hill, Somerville
- Bunker Hill, Charlestown
- Peters Hill, West Roxbury
- Dorchester Heights, South Boston
- Park Avenue, Arlington
- Prospect Hill Park, Waltham (the other Prospect Hill)
- Blue Hill, Boston
Ride These Eight Bike Paths: New England has the densest network of abandoned railroad beds in North America. During recent decades Massachusetts has converted a growing number of those rail beds into bike paths. These are fantastic routes for beginners and families. And passionate riders enjoy them as well. While most of us know of the Charles River Path, the Minuteman Bikeway and the Cape Cod Rail Trail, there are some new ones that call you to ride! Check out these eight rail trails:
- The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Acton-Lowell
- The Assabet River Rail Trail, Marlborough-South Acton
- The Mass Central Rail Trail: Rutland-Barre
- The Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer-Nashua
- The Independence Greenway/Border to Boston Trail, Peabody-Topsfield
- The Norwottuck, Amherst-Williamsburg
- Ashuwillticook Trail, Pittsfield-North Adams
- The Northern Strand, Everett-Lynn
Drink at These Eight Breweries: Bike rides and beers have been a combination celebrated for decades. Massachusetts is home to countless craft breweries. And these breweries have open-air beer gardens that serve as perfect venues for gathering après velo during COVID-19. And many are positioned near fantastic networks of roads and paths. Check out these eight breweries:
- Wachusett Brewing, Westminster
- Cisco Brewing, Nantucket
- Abandoned Building Brewing, Easthampton
- Harpoon Brewery, Boston
- Night Shift, Everett
- Treehouse Brewing, Charlton
- Newburyport Brewing, Newburyport
- Jack’s Abby, Framingham
Richard Fries is the Director of Cycling Experience for the Best Buddies Challenges. With more than 40 years experience, he has been a racer, commuter, tourist, promoter, advocate, journalist and commentator on the sport and lifestyle of cycling. Having raced at the professional level both in America and Europe, Fries is well known as a race announcer having called countless USA Cycling National Championships, World Cups, and UCI World Championships. But he is also a tireless advocate having recently served as the executive director of MassBike. You can follow him on Strava to learn more.