Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sometimes you don't get to take only back roads

If you follow certain folks on Twitter and read certain blogs and magazines, you might think that the best roads are the most empty and unpaved roads.  And I agree, they are the nicest routes to ride on.  I've done a small share of trail and dirt road riding and enjoy it immensely.  And I try to plan all of my rides to be on lesser used roads if at all possible.  But sometimes your day doesn't go as planned.  Today I rode to my in-laws in New Hampshire and while that was fabulous, the route I took was based more on time than scenic values or traffic volumes.  I picked out a nice route based on the Ride Studio Cafe Pioneer ride that I did in early June and the last route I used to get to my in-laws.  But the morning got the better of me and instead of leaving early, I helped pull up a failed raspberry bed (not enough sun, no fruit) and did some trimming and other yard work.  That all had to be done and while it left me hot and sweaty and with just barely enough time for me to get to New Hampshire for my son's second birthday party, I did what I could.  My route looked like this:

The big problem heading north is the Merrimac River and the few rural places to cross it.  I originally aimed for the Tyngsborough crossing but that wasn't feasible on the shorter ride I needed to take.  Instead I made my way to the outskirts of Lowell on less traveled roads and bike paths and then crossed the river on the ancient and temporary Rourke Bridge.  From there I found my way to Mammoth Road and took that towards Londonderry.  Mammoth Road isn't all that well traveled but the speed limit is fast and today there was as much traffic on the road as I've ever seen, although that doesn't mean it was heavily traveled as say, Rte 2A from Lexington to Concord at 7:30 AM.

My route did take me away from Route 4 into Chelmsford, instead taking small roads and then the Bruce Freeman bike path so I can't say that my ride was all on major roads.  But the second half of the ride, north of Lowell, was a far cry from the quiet roads I planned, but getting out safely and enjoying a long ride was far better than not riding my bike at all.

Miles for the ride: 45, for the month: 235, for the year: 1680.

Crossing the New Hampshire line on Mammoth Road, NH 128:

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