|Becket Arts Center|
Thanks go to Steve at There and Back Again, whose blog stole this idea. But certainly not from me. He linked to Matt at Barn Door Cycling, who owns, or owned, the original idea. So extra thanks go to him. I know Steve is in Virginia, and believe that Matt is in Illinois. I am in Massachusetts. Where are you riding, reader? The idea for you to steal is to post a ride around your neighborhood, introducing that neighborhood, or town. Here's mine.
This morning dawned grey, the sky low, the air a bit foggy. I knew my local mountain, Mt. Greylock, was in the clouds, and would not make good climbing or descending. But I needed some climbing, and enjoyed the two posts mentioned above, so ... why not ride around town, and abandon my original plan. Not just my town, more like my neighborhood, though it is really too rural to be that either. But it is hilly, so I went up and down, crisscrossing the main road and working my way generally south. Rt. 8 passes north to south from VT to CT. In my area there are ridges to either side, so if you leave the main road you ride fairly steeply uphill. The main road itself is a series of rollers, some longer than others. Here's one view of what life here is like.
|Heartwood Owner Builder School|
If you want to learn something about timber framing, or house design, or are a woman wanting to learn about carpentry, come here to take classes at Heartwood Owner Builder School. It is a wonderful school, and very knowledgeable, and a lot of fun, where you will learn useful skills, and also meet great people teaching, cooking and in your class. And we can go for a ride, if you bring your bike. Other people have done that.
|Washington Town Park|
Our local park, right on Rt. 8, was an auto dump not so long ago, in the 1970s, but the dump was abandoned, the town owned the land and residents turned it into this park. There is a bike trail for children that you see in the foreground, a gazebo for parties, music, picnics and just relaxing, courtesy of Heartwood, the baseball field in the background. There's also a well-surfaced basketball court, barbecue grills, a soccer field, and some great birding on the trails.
|Hinsdale Flats ACEC wildlife habitat|
The birding continues a bit further north, in the headwaters of the Housatonic River, and a proud part of the Hinsdale Flats Area of Critical Environmental Concern. You could find moose here too, if you're lucky.
|Old Ford, lovely some day maybe|
The town is small in people, 541 in 2009, but large in area, about 38 square miles. Zoned rural you won't find any stores, highrises, or gas stations here.
|Historic one-room schoolhouse|
|Becket Library, which also serves Washington|
|Winter heat, summer chores|
My ride continued south a bit, but without photos. It ended being about 37 miles, including something over 3300 feet of climbing, and Ride with GPS tells me a maximum grade of 13.5%. My bike computer reported somewhat fewer miles, and slightly less climbing. If any readers have opinions on how accurate Ride with GPS is, I'd love to hear them.
There is no possibility of getting similar climbing practice here to my planned route in the Pyrenees. Even riding both sides of Greylock, still in my plans, will provide less climbing over more miles. There may be some shorter, steep road sections, which I'll search out.
So that's my town (well, towns.) Hurry up now, get on your bike and write up a ride introducing your neighborhood, then leave a comment here, and better yet also with Steve and Matt so that we can find it and learn a little about riding in another place.