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GETTING OUT: Fall Bike Ride Spots

Thursday, October 04, 2012


As October begins we will begin to receive Autumn's increasingly chilly temperatures. But before it gets too cold, breathing in that crisp, Fall air on a nice bike ride can do wonders for those looking for some relaxation. Not to mention, it is some great exercise.

Don't forget, New England lends itself to an Autumn bike ride where you can take in the sometimes transcendent beauty of changing Fall foliage. Here are some great places in central Mass to take your bicycle for a few hours and have a great Fall experience.

Indian Lake
Once known as North Pond, Indian Lake is the largest body of water in the city of Worcester and presents an ideal place to view and experience nature, while at the same time staying within city limits. If you don't like rough bike paths, or perhaps have a fear of getting lost in the woods, follow the roads around the four mile perimeter of the 193 acre lake and Sears Island. If you'd like, you can also take a rest on the beach and take in the lake's serene atmosphere.

Blackstone River Bikeway/Greenway
When it's finished, this long, beautiful bike trail will stretch 48 miles along the Blackstone River Valley Heritage Corridor, connecting the cities of Worcester and Providence. It will also pass through fifteen cities and towns. For now, there are paved and completed sections near Worcester and Millbury that are open to the public. Other parts of the trail are or will be perfect for mountain biking. In the end, the Greenway will serve as an alternate route of transportation for those environmentally-conscious commuters, or those who wish to take in all the natural wonders Massachusetts and Rhode Island have to offer.

Southern New England Trunkline Trail
As is true with a number of other bike trails in the region, the Southern New England Trunkline Trail, or SNETT for short, runs upon a former railway right of way. Named a National Recreation Trail in 1994, it extends nearly 22 miles from the Franklin State Forest near Grove Street to the Douglas State Forest on the border of Connecticut. The trail lends itself to those who may want a grittier, more challenging bike ride as much of the trail is rough and unpaved. But, if you want to wait a little longer to experience the brilliant natural scenes surrounding the trail, there are plans to further pave the it.

Nashua River Rail Trail
The Nashua River Trail runs 11 miles on a former railroad right of way through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, and Dunstable just outside of Worcester county. The trail is well worth the trip for Worcester residents. It is wonderfully managed and maintained. With its 10 foot wide paved surface, it is great for bikers riding alone or with a group. The forested, scenic landscape is ideal for those wishing to experience the Fall foliage or catch a glimpse of the various kinds of wildlife the region has to offer.

Ware River Rail Trail
The Ware River Trail, spanning between the towns of Coldbrook, Baldwinville, and Winchendon, is a gateway of sorts to numerous trails that run throughout New England, including those that run all the way up into New Hampshire. The trail is unpaved except where it runs through the village of Baldwinville. Though unpaved, the trail is smooth and easy to travel. Riders will also see scenes of streams and small waterfalls, along with everything a good forest has to offer.

Leominster State Forest
Leominster State forest contains 4,300 acres of land and touches the towns of Leominster, Westminster, Princeton, Fitchburg, and Sterling. There are plenty of opportunities for recreation. Numerous trails, ranging from unpaved fire roads to multi-use, single track trails, are available for mountain biking. Be careful. The hiking trails are off limits to bikers. For the more adventurous types, areas are available for rock climbing as well.

Worcester's West Side
I must speak from personal experience for the last entry on the list. Indeed the rest of the entries emphasize experiencing nature in all its Autumn glory, but man-made trails can be just as powerful to the senses. Worcester's West Side neighborhoods have numerous beautiful examples of Victorian-era architecture. The houses are only made more striking standing in the midst of Fall foliage. End your ride by visiting Worcester's famous Bancroft Tower and enjoy a great view of Worcester. This area is my favorite place to ride in the city.


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