Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bay Circuit Trail
Andover to Hamilton
Part One?

Below is a link to Bay Circuit Trail, It is a trail that stretches from Newburyport to Duxbury, 172 miles. I have ridden it with Andy Sanidas from his house in Hamilton to rt 114 in Middleton. The sections I have ridden are a cross of single track and fast fire road. I was thinking it would be cool to find someone to shuttle us to the Andover area and we could ride home. Any thoughts or interest let me know. I was thinking Nov 1st.

- Roger

And that was the email that launched a thousand bikes...and by "a thousand," I really mean seven — seven bikes. This ride had been attempted unsuccessfully earlier in the spring, that unmitigated disaster was documented HERE. They still haven't scrubbed all the blood off the rocks. This time around an elite cadre of mountain bike ninja-super-army-soldiers were assembled for THE ASSAULT on the Bay Circuit Trail.

Above, left to right, top to bottom: 1.)The trailer 2.) We could hardly find our way out of the parking lot at Ward Reservation 3.) Skug River. I think I'm going to have a child just so I can name it "Skug," and then promptly sell it 4.) Twenty minutes into the ride and we spend half an hour locating a lost rider. That is the type of thing that keeps people from completing this route.

Andy "The Man With The Plan (and a bunch of maps and a fancy phone)" Sanidas arranged for us to meet in a parking lot up in Hamilton, MA. strategically located in close proximity to a Dunkin' Donuts (Andy's attention to detail is staggering). His buddy Roger loaded our bikes onto a trailer for the trip down to Andover. We loaded our bodies into Roger's truck and Christopher Igleheart's rolling toaster. Chris was nice enough to drop us off, although he wasn't going on the ride and Roger's wife shuttled the truck and trailer back. This meant that all we had to do was pedal from Andover to Hamilton, back to that parking lot and we would be done. That's right, ALL we had to do was pedal our bikes from Andover to Hamilton.

Above: 1.) Slippery bridge, I walked it, Bill went for a swim 2.) First flat 3.) Second flat 4.) Chain break (my powerlink mojo came in handy).

Things started off well enough: one minute in I almost took myself out riding around a fire road gate. Ten minutes in Bill fell off a slippery bridge, soaking himself. Twenty minutes in we lost Kenny and spent half an hour finding him. Less than hour in, we had our first flat. We were not making good time. It has been said that this ride is cursed.

Our ride took us through Ward Hill Reservation, Skug Reservation, Harold Parker S.F., Boxford S.F., Bald Hill Reservation, Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary, Georgetown/Rowley S.F., Willowdale S.F., Bradley Palmer S.F., and Appleton Farms. Aside from wicked singletrack of Harold Parker, most of the ride was comprised of scenic fire roads and hiking paths. The cool thing about it is that you're seeing areas you might not see otherwise...incredibly beautiful areas.

Above: Kenny busts a move in Harold Parker

After some early mishaps and turnarounds, we got going at a good clip, covering some serious ground. The day was gorgeous, over 60° and sunny. I had almost bagged it in the morning, when I woke up to rain. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I'd gone back to bed and missed out on this thing. The trees were past peak, so the ground was strewn with brown leaves, masking many of the turns from us. We spent a lot of time back-tracking and searching for markers. There's a good reason why this ride takes so damn long.

Above: It's that time of year, one bottlecage has been replaced with a flask holder
(still full of Whiskey from SSWC07, Scotland)

I've got a bunch more photos to edit and possibly some more to say, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

If you're curious about what we rode, check out
maps two and three:


zencycle said...


Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

Andy is super nice guy. I wish i had come up for this ride. next year.....