Yesterday, in the fair city of Boston was the 8th annual Hub on Wheels ride. Participants from as far away as Colorado and even London came to ride the streets of Boston. This is not a race – it is a celebration of cycling in Boston, and what a city that embraces cycling can be. Ride participants can choose to ride 10, 30, or 50 miles. The ride is exceptionally well supported with volunteers and signs marking the turns, mechanical aid on route as well as stations at each rest stop, food and water stations along the way and a great celebration waiting for you when you return to Government Center – both the start and finish line for all the rides.
This year we came too, 50 miles worth of Boston. A main automobile thoroughfare here in Boston, Storrow Drive/Soldiers Field Road, is closed to automotive vehicular traffic for the first 10 miles, and the view above was taken as we rode – bikes taking over Storrow. Not very far into the ride I ran over a large industrial staple which completely popped my tire. I had just gotten the bike flipped over to fix the flat and volunteer support riders started appearing asking if I needed any assistance. With this level of support even brand new cyclists can take on the 10 mile route with confidence. There were even riders out on Hubways, bicycles from Boston’s bike sharing program.
The route continued down Storrow, with a turn around and back toward the Back Bay. This is where the longer routes diverged while the 10 mile route returned to the city center. We proceeded south, down to Jamaica Plain and the Arboretum, a vertiable green paradise inside the city. There is a large hill in this park and the view of Boston is glorious.
The passage down Peter’s Hill can be dangerous. One man fell, injuring himself quite severely – but within moments volunteers and emergency services were there to take care of him. Boston knows how to take care of its cyclists. After the Arboretum rest stop the 30 mile route diverged from the 50 mile route. We continued up the most punishing hill of the 50 mile route and down through parts of the city many of us had never cycled before. A hidden gem of the Stonybrook Reservation made us forget we were in the city as we cruised through veritable forest.
We climbed up and down hills toward the sea, met once again with the 30 mile route on the newly improved and expanded Neponset River Trail. This trail connects to the Harborwalk in Dorchester. By this point in the day there was not a cloud in the sky. The view of the sea and the fresh air were very welcome refreshment as we were all beginning to feel the miles and the hills.
The day became a perfect cycling day. Six thousand cyclists rode out from Boston’s Government Center at 8am on Sunday, September 23rd – each taking perhaps a 10, 30, or 50 mile route. These voyages took us at once through affluent and working class neighborhoods, introduced many of us to pieces of nature within this fine city, and trails we may never have known. Strangers lent a hand to those in need and became friends. We rode to remind the city, and all we passed and all who read this, how wonderful cycling can be, and just how many cyclists there really are. We rode to challenge ourselves to ride further than perhaps we ever had in one go, a message of this ride is health too. We rode and we made new friends.
No matter where you ride or why you ride, let’s celebrate this joyous form of locomotion. Perhaps we’ll see you at next year’s ride?