Category: tours

Berkshires to Boston, September 12-16, 2018

The Berkshires to Boston Bicycle Tour introduces riders to the best of Massachusetts cycling – lots of peaceful roads, good pavement and magnificent scenery and some fun, urban riding on bike paths, bike lanes and community streets. Riders on the 2014 tour gave high marks to the Berkshires to Boston Tour route, and the 2018 tour is almost identical. Visit the Berkshires to Boston website for the updated routes for 2018.

2014 routes

Warm-up ride

A pre-tour ascent of Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts’ highest peak. We’ll head out from Hancock Shaker Village in the late morning on Wednesday for the thirteen mile ride to the base of Rockwell Rd, part of the scenic byway that climbs to the summit. The next eight miles climb over 2,200 feet along the parkway through the State Reservation managed by MassParks, the Commonwealth’s state parks agency. We’ll follow Rockwell Road back to the base the mountain and retrace our route back to Hancock Shaker Village for a total ride of about 45 miles.

Berkshires to Pioneer Valley

The first day covers 59 miles between the New York border at Hancock, MA and Sunderland, MA in the Connecticut River Valley. Along the way, riders will pass through Pittsfield, the Berkshire’s largest city, ride the Ashuwilticook Rail Trail and climb 1,000 feet to the top of the Hoosac Range. Overall, the day includes 3,589 feet of climbing; but, riders are rewarded with over 4,600 feet of descent as they drop into the flat Valley farmlands. See this route at Ride with GPS at Berkshires to Boston Day One

Pioneer Valley to Devens MA

Today is the longest day of the tour – 79 miles as we climb out of the Valley and ride through the Central Highlands to Devens, MA. The day begins with flat riding through the fertile farmlands along the Connecticut River before riders begin a gradual 11-mile climb up to the town of Wendell, 1,000 feet higher than our Sunderland starting point. The next 40 miles feature quaint New England towns like Petersham and Princeton and a rolling route through the heart of Massachusetts. The final 20 miles are nearly all downhill or flat as riders drop over 1,000 feet to Devens. See this route at Ride with GPS at Berkshires to Boston Day Two

Devens to Boston

Today is the shortest and easiest day of the tour – only 50 miles and a net loss of 200 feet in elevation as we travel into Boston. The route passes by the Minuteman National Historical Park and passes through the historic towns of Lexington and Cambridge. The route also takes advantage of the popular Minuteman Bike Path to get into the City. The short day is designed to let riders savor the rich history and scenic landscapes of this beautiful area of the state. See this route at Berkshires to Boston Day Three

Cycling tour of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula

Tour Overview

Gaspe bicycle tour
Gaspe bicycle tour overview and elevations map

In the summer of 2017 my wife Deb and I toured 340 miles of Quebec’s  Gaspé Peninsula with our friend Michael and his wife Ruth, who drove and carried our gear. Over the course of 6 days of riding we had almost 10,000 ft. of elevation gain.  We rode from west to East to take advantage of the Peninsula’s strong tailwinds.

From our home in Ipswich MA, the drive to Riviere-du-Loop on the northern shore took about 9 hours. We ended the tour in Percé at the end of the south shore.

Shown below are cue sheets, maps, GPS links and photos from our tour.

Day 1:  Riviere-du-Loop to Rimouski

Distance: 72 mi., Elevation: +3080 ft of climb

The August tourist traffic on Rt. 132 was very heavy for the first two days. The side roads into the little villages were quiet and enjoyable.
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Day 1 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 2 Rimouski to Matane

Distance: 57.2 mi. Elevation: + 1291 / – 1276 ft

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Day 2 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 3 Matane to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts

Distance: 57.6 mi. Elevation:  2391 ft

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Gaspe bicycle tour day 3 elevations
Day 3 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 4 Sainte-Anne-des-Monts to Rivere-de-Madeleine

Distance: 58.9 mi. Elevation: 4001 ft

This was an amazing ride along the shore at a 24 mph speed aided by the wind, with mountain cliffs towering above us.

Option: Continue to Grande Valee’ for total 70 miles. This 10 mile section goes inland, with long steep climbs over the mountains. The shoulder is non-existent in some places.and the road is therefore not marked for La Route Verte. (not recommended).

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Route at RideWithGPS
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Day 5: Grand Valee to Riviere-au-Renard

Distance: 40.1 mi. Elevation: + 3600 ft

We chose to drive the section from Rivere-de-Madeleine to Riviere-au-Renard, which crosses the mountains and which does not have shoulders in some sections, and is not yet part of Quebec’s La Route Verte.

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Gaspe bicycle tour day 5
Day 5 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 6: Riviere-au-Renard to Gaspe’

Distance: 44.7 mi. Elevation: + 3128 ft.

Forillion Provincial Park is the green area in the map below. The park road on the south shore of the park offers wonderful climbs and gorgeous views.

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Gaspe bicycle tour day 6
Day 6 route at RideWithGPS Le parc national Forillon and Gaspé
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Day 7: Gaspe’ to Perce’

Distance: 47.0 mi. Elevation: + 2500 ft.

There is a paved bicycle trail that follows the coast for several miles from Gaspe’. Despite a moderate headwind we made good time along the shore.  For the last 5 miles, Rt. 132 winds up into the mountains with two prolonged 14-15% climbs, and descends into Perce’ at 17% grade and no shoulder. Deb was the only one brave enough to ride that final mile.


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View from near our motel in Percé

Gaspe bicycle tour day 7

Day 7 route at RideWithGPS: Gaspé to Perce Percé
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From Percé the drive back home took about 14 hours, which we split into two days.  Rt. 132 follows the shoreline on the South Shore, with good wide paved shoulders, but the scenery is not quite as spectaculor, but there are occasional wonderful views, as shown below.

More tours of the Gaspe:

White Mountains to the Sea

White Mountains to the Sea, August 20-25, 2017

This tour combines two days of riding in the White Mountains – with some serious climbing but also grand vistas, two days of easier riding in southwest Maine, and a free day in the great and lively city of Portland – with three day-ride options for those who don’t want to get off of their bikes. The hotel is located within easy walking distance of the Arts District (nee downtown), as well as the “happening” Old Port area – with a multitude of diversions

The $710 tour fee includes five nights lodging (double occupancy), four quality lunches, 1/2 breakfast, quality maps and cue sheets (paper and RWGPS), and sag support.

  • Monday: ride over Franconia Notch and the Kancamangus Pass en route to North Conway.
  • Tuesday idyllic riding on NH 153, before passing through Freedom and turning east for Limerick, Maine.
  • Wednesday: include a “smell the roses” Cape Elizabeth lighthouse loop, the Bailey Island “mail boat” cruise and ride, and loops of varying distances NNE from Portland – with a two ferry option via Chebeague Island on the return.
  • Thursday: a more northerly route through Cornish and Fryeburg to return to North Conway.
  • Friday: climb Crawford Notch for Twin Mountain, Bethlehem and points west.

Medium and Long routes  are offered daily – usually ~65-80 miles. This is a Rogue Riders Bike Club trip, designed for club cyclists. Maximum of 19 riders. Contact for full info –  Leader:  Charles Hansen   Email: velotrain@yahoo.com 

Complete tour overview

Route at RideWithGPS
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Bicycling The Erie Canal

Richard S. Costello
July 1, 2016

Greetings Gordon,

Just a simple note to say, that recently I took advantage of your Erie Canal “ride with gps” ride posted online, and traveled the route in exact detail. I had a great time cycling across New York State, and thus turned my adventures into a book just recently, titled:

Bicycling The Erie Canal: Stories and Insight Leading Up to One Memorable Ride

Some sections were a little sketchy, and wildly overgrown, but I thoroughly enjoyed the added adventure.

Regards,

Richard

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Trans Canada Trail

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20,581 km of trail, 13 provinces & territories

The longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes, urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways. The network of the Trans Canada Trail is made up of more than 400 community trails.

 

Northampton MA to Rockland ME

This requested tour was designed to start in Northampton Massachusetts and ended in Rockland Maine. Other persons using these routes will need to find alternative overnight locations.The route takes a mix of local roads and highways to Westford and Newburyport MA, then follows generally follows the New Hampshire and Maine coast to Rockland. Roads are selected to optimize safety and scenic value, based on my own experience where available, club rides and other available sources. In some cases highways with shoulders are chosen rather than use a mix of local roads with excessive turns. Traffic is unavoidable and road conditions are unpredictable. Make sure to carry maps of the area so that you can take alternative routes where necessary.The routes described are recommendations based on available resources. No guarantees are made about the accuracy of the information or safety of participants riding bicycles on the roads. Persons using this information take full responsibility for their own safety.

Day 1: Northampton to Barre MA 46 miles This ride begins on the Norwottuck Rail Trail to Amherst, the circles south and east of Quabbin Reservoir, ending at the Jenkins Inn and Restaurant at the corner of Rt. 32 and Rt. 122 in the quaint village of Barre.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Day 2: Barre MA to Westford MA, 47 miles There are some fairly populated areas along this course with many options for a route. The roads selected are primarily taken from local club rides.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Day 3: Westford MA to Newburyport MA, 53 miles Today’s ride follows local less roads that are used for several North Shore Cyclists rides. Urban areas are avoided, and the route passes through several state forests. There are many great choices in the area between Groveland and Newburyport. Before Newburyport the route follows several miles along the Merrimack River, goes along a couple of reservoirs, passes through Maudslay State Forest and offers excellent views of historic architecture along High Street. The destination is the Essex Street Inn in the heart of this charming small city.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Day 4: Newburyport MA to Ogunquit, ME, 44 miles. This is a popular North Shore Cyclists ride with many miles along the ocean in southern New Hampshire. Take shuttle across river Road Conditions: The route follow Rt. 1A and 1B, with a wide shoulder. Be cautious on the bridge crossing from Seabrook to Hampton– cyclists have fallen on the metal grates. Keep an eye out for people crossing the road in the area around Hampton Beach. The section north of Hampton is especially nice. You can easily miss the one mile path along the section of road at Odiome Point. Scenic views of the ocean on Rt. 1B and a very historic section of Portsmouth as you enter town.

For this portion of today’s ride after crossing the bridge from Portland to Kittery. In general I have tried to avoid more congested coastal road by following inland streets. There are multiple lodging choices in the coastal area. You may wish to continue to Wells which is a few miles north of Ogunquit.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Day 5: Ogunquit ME to Portland ME, 53 miles The ride from Ogunquit follows a coastal route and passes near the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge at mile 12. There are several miles on the Portland Greenbelt bikeway before crossing Casco Bay into Portland There are multiple hotels at the destination which is near the corner of Commercial and Franklin Streets in Portland.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Day 6: Portland ME to Damariscotta ME, 57 miles The route today generally follows local roads, crossing Rt. 1 at various points. This is a coastal route, but with few glimpses of the ocean. The route transverses several peninsulas and bays, but following roads along the peninsula coastal towns would greatly increase the distance.

  • Road conditions: Shoulders where possible, a few sections of Rt. 1 with wide shoulders, and some local roads with no shoulders.
  • Towns along the way: Portland, Yarmouth, Freeport, Brunswick, Bath, Woolwich, Wiscasset, Newcastle and Damariscotta.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Day 7: Damariscotta ME to Rockland ME, 38 / 46 miles Today’s ride starts in downtown Damariscotta. We avoid Rt. 1 by crossing the Pemaquid Peninsula to Waldoboro, then cross the Friendship peninsula to Thomaston. The last leg crosses the Owl’s Head Peninsula to Rockland. The ride ends at the Ferry Terminal, 517 Main Street in Rockland Maine. Road conditions: The local roads in this section of Maine rarely have paved shoulders, but traffic is relatively light. Where possible I avoid the primary roads on the peninsulas, using roads that cut across. Be watchful of trucks, especially logging trucks. Rt. 1 options: Newcastle to Thomaston has paved shoulders. The stretch from Thomaston to Rockland is not in good condition.

  • Towns along the way: Newcastle, Damariscotta, Waldoboro, Thomaston, Rockland
  • Scenic Options: Just before reaching Rockland the route loops out to the Owls Head State Park and Lighthouse for a total of 45 miles. You can skip the lighthouse by taking Rt. 73 from S. Thomaston directly into Rockland, for a total of 37 miles.

Route at RideWithGPS

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Portneuf-Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean velo camping tour

In July, 2007, we spent 9 days on a bicycle camping trip that took us along the Saguenay River, the only fjord on the North American Continent, all the way to Lac St-Jean, the last major outpost of civilization north of Quebec City. Throughout most of the trip, we were able to follow la Route Verte, Quebec’s 5000 km network of paved, crushed stone, and on-road bicycling routes.

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Portneuf Reserve: We drove from Massachusetts to the Reserve Faimoqie de Portneuf in Riviere-Pierre, Quebec, about 50 miles west of Quebec City for the start of our trip. After camping there overnight, we left the car for the week and started our trip that would take us 520 miles through Quebec City, along the south shore of the St. Lawrence, north along the Saguenay River, then around Lac St-Jean, ending with a 3 hr. train ride back to where we started and the drive home.

Day 1 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 1: Riviere-a-Piere to Beaumont (65 miles). We packed up our tents and gear. Deb and Michael both use rear panniers on their bikes, while Gordon prefers his Bob Yak. We set off on the Piste Jacque-Cartier/Portneuf , a 68 km stone dust trail from Riviere-a-Piere to Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier near Val Belair. From Saint-Gabriel, we continued on the paved Corridor des Cheminots – 22km to Quebec City. Near the port area it connects to the Corridor du Littoral for about 9 km which took us to the ferry which crosses the St. Lawrence ferry from Quebec City to Levi from the port area to Levi. Reaching Levi, we continued an additional 9 miles along the Le Parcours des Anses”, Levis’ bicycle trail to Beaumont, on the St. Lawrence opposite Quebec City.

Day 2 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 2 : Beaumont to Riviere-Ouelle (75 miles). Heading northeast now along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, we took the Route Verte’s on-road bike lanes called the Veloroute des Migrations, which detour through all the beautiful small towns that line the river. We camped tonight at nicely run Camping Riviere-Ouelle. This side of the river is relatively flat with a few easy climbs over the bluffs.

Day 3 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 3: Riviere-Ouelle to Baie Ste-Catherine (80 miles). We biked 38 miles from Riviere-Ouelle to Riviere-du-Loop and took the 1:45 ferry, a one hour crossing to St-Simeon on the north side of the St. Lawrence in the Charlevoix mountainous area. Until now, our ride had been relatively easy with gentle climbs and a steady strong tailwind. Even loaded with gear, we had been able to maintain a 20 mph speed for miles. That all changed as we rode out of St-Simeon with a mile long 12% grade climb in 90+ degree heat that forced us to get off the bikes and walk! After cooling off at the top, we continued for 22 miles of steep rolling hills on Rt. 138 to Baie-Ste-Catherine. We stayed at Camping du Fjord, with our tents on a rise with a gorgeous view of the Saguenay-Tadoussac bay.

Day 4 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 4: Baie-Ste-Catherine to Saint-Rose du Nord (60 miles). After breaking camp in Bay St-Catherine, we soon enjoyed a thrilling descent to where the Saguenay River flows into the St. Lawrence. We took a quick ferry across the Saguenay to Tadoussac, still on Rt. 138 . A half mile steep climb took us over the mountains that surround the city, and we turned north on Rt. 172 along a river that flowed between the mountains that border the east side of the Saguenay Fjord. This was our first taste of wilderness cycling, with 40 miles of endless climbs with fantastic scenery. We reached the remote and historic town of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, and camped at Camping La Descente Des Femmes. The place had seen better days, but was a short walk from the town’s harbor.

Day 5 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 5 Saint-Rose du Nord to Lac Kenogami (58 miles). Leaving St-Rose-du-Nord meant a steep two mile climb back to the highway, followed by another steep two miles before the first break. We continued climbs and descents for about 30 miles, before finally reaching the miles-long descent to the city of Chicoutimi that we had heard about. After 70 miles in a virtual wilderness interrupted primarily by the rush of logging trucks up and down the hills, we had made it to the source of the beautiful Saguenay River. This thickly populated area continues on through Jonquiere, and we found ourselves primarily on paved bike trails through the cities, and a very sweet abandoned rail trail that crossed the mountain between them. Tonight we camped at the Centre touristique du Lac-Knogami, a very nice wooded campground with no RV’s to be found.

Day 6 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 6: Lac Kenogami to Pointe-Taillon, Sainte-Monique, (60 Miles). Today we reached Lac St-Jean, our destination. The Veloroute des Bleuets has been completed around the entire lake, varying from paved rail trails to on-road with shoulders, and a few stone dust and gravel sections. The bike route crossed several spillways that gave us great views of the lake and the rapids below. One of the nicest sections of the ride was the stone dust trail at Pointe Taillon, a wildlife sanctuary. After reaching the end of that trail, we camped at the very nice Center Touristique Sainte-Monique. The entire Lac St-jean area is very isolated from the rest of Quebec, and few people speak any English at all. Be prepared that wherever you choose to eat, frites (French fries) come with the order. At some restaurants, there were 20 choices of poutine, a regional favorite of French fries covered with gravy and cheese.


Day 7 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 7: Pointe Taillon to St-Felicien (75 miles). The Route Verte 8 and Veloroute des Bluets leaves the lake for this section, taking us through several towns at the edge of civilization as we know it. After passing through Dolbeau-Mistassini, we rode through a town celebrating its gourganes (lima beans), which make a popular regional gray soup. Finally turning south, we got a great tailwind which brought us to St-Felicien, home of a world-famous zoo where the people walk in cages instead of the animals. We stayed at Camping Municipal St-Felicien, close to some amazing rapids.

Day 8 route at RideWithGPS
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Day 8:Ste-Felicien to Chambord, train and 35 miles to Riviere-a-Pierre. We broke camp early and again enjoyed an amazing tailwind, which got us 35 miles to Chambord with enough time left for “second breakfast.”

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Chambord to Riviere-a-Pierre

 

Return to Portneuf: Just after noon we boarded the Canada Rail train formerly known as “The Saguenay,” and rode a little over 3 hours from Chambord back to Riviere-A-Pierre, passing through beautiful Portneuf and Laurentide mountain countryside that is serviced only the train with no highways. A short ride from town back to the Portneuf Reserve, packed the car still there waiting for us, and we headed back home.