When planning your next outdoors adventure, look to one of mankind’s most-efficiently green means of transportation – bicycling. Since, the late 1800’s, the bicycle has created the ultimate convenience of travel and, thus, today, bicycling has crafted not only the way we get from point A to point B, but also a way in which we can see the world – or in this case, a way you can see Massachusetts.
This summer, the Mass BikePike Tour brings forth a fun, challenging, and explorative vacation opportunity – a means of burning fat, not oil, with their 6th annual bike tour that spans from August 2-5, and pedals along the scenic countryside of Western Massachusetts.
As the Mass BikePike Event Director, Bruce Lederer puts it, “With fuel prices so high, we’re happy to offer a vacation option where you burn calories rather than gasoline.”
The root of the tour, though, is a celebration of cycling in Massachusetts – a state that offers an endless amount of outdoor sightseeing opportunities, between the countryside of rolling fields, majestic woods, bucolic towns and villages, as well as Boston’s advancement in providing the outmost bike-friendly environment (recently featured in the Shermans Travel “Top 10 Cities for Cycling”).
The tour itself starts and finishes at Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA nestled in the Berkshires, and features a ride through four picturesque Massachusetts towns: Great Barrington, Williamstown, Lenox, and North Adams – with also a dip into Chatham, NY.
Each day, the tour offers two routes; the shorter is between 25 and 45 miles, and the longer is between 45 and 70 miles. So, for those riders that would like to shorten their route, there is an available free “Head Start Drop-off” service that allows you to start up to 20 miles into the route.
It’s a full-fledged camping tour, which includes the availability of hot showers; two meals each day – a hearty breakfast and dinner made from local produce, featuring the best of what is local; and a “Comfy Campers” option for those looking to camp in style.
If you’re thinking, “but what about my baggage during tour?” Well, there’s a baggage transportation system in place to get your parcels from campsite to campsite (maximum of two duffels with a combined weight of no more than 50lbs).
If you’re thinking, “but I live on the other side of the state, how will I get there?” You’re still in luck, there is also bus transportation available that will take you, your baggage, and your bike roundtrip from the Boston area.
The tour is currently limited to 150 riders, and the registration fee is $415 – with all proceeds going to Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition A.K.A. MassBike, a coalition dedicated to promoting a bicycle-friendly environment, and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation statewide. The fee includes luggage transportation, camping privileges, support vehicles, rest stops every 15 miles, and a tour t-shirt. Please note that registration for the tour closes on July 12th.
If you’re a first-timer to this type of biking experience, the Mass BikePike Tour offers a FAQ section on what to pack, what to expect for terrain, and more on the proceeds.
What do some local folks have to say about their experiences with the Mass BikePike Tour?
“As a mom, it was great seeing my kids realize they could do this ride… They were very determined… they kept saying ‘I’m not going to walk!’ and they didn’t. They were so proud of themselves to do that!” – Kelly Hudson of Conway, MA, who rode with her 10 and 12 year old daughters.
“We had some delightful stops, completely unplanned. At one point, three of us were riding together and noticed an unusual weathervane and stopped to look. The farmer at that property came out and we started to chat, and he invited us to take a closer look and also see the goats he was raising. At that pace, you can stop and discover so many things you wouldn’t see otherwise – it was really wonderful!” – Nathalie Apchin of Milton, MA.
“This is such a well-run tour – they make everything easy. Hot showers in the schools, plenty of excellent food, friendly ride leaders, options of staying indoors.” – John Sullivan of Marshfield, MA.
For more information on the Mass BikePike Tour, click here.
And while we’re on the topic of biking in Massachusetts, did you know that next week is Bay State Bike Week?
Kicking off on May 14th and running through May 20th, Bay State Bike Week is an annual celebration of human-powered, two-wheeled transportation that features an array of film screenings, bike breakfasts, festivals, and much more. You can check out Bay State Bike Week on Facebook here, and on Twitter at @baystatebikewk.