The FIT frameset available from Montague allows you to build one of their world famous folding bike frames with any components you’d like. With disc brake compatibility and clearance for up to a 32mm tire, it’s perfect for your next gravel or endurance road bike. My FIT Custom is just that – a road bike with wide knobby tires and disc brakes that feels at home on paved roads, gravel, and dirt roads. Of course it easily folds in seconds. Last weekend I popped in the trunk and headed out to Western Massachusetts to find where the pavement ends.
In the Pioneer Valley is the Quabbin Resevoir which supplies water to the greater Boston area some 65 miles away. The surrounding towns make for great cycling with nearly car free roads through rocky farmland, dense wooded areas, and rolling hills on the outskirts of the Holyoke Mountain Range.
My route from Amherst into the town of Pelham was mostly climbing up windy roads. I chose the least efficient way to get from point A to B in order to get a workout and avoid cars. I got a few strange looks from the handful of drivers I saw as I rode up one the steepest hills around in 25 degree weather, but it felt good to be out there.
At the top of the climb I came to an intersection and noticed a gated fire road. I’d never ridden this way but I knew there was a fairly large wooded area ahead. Why not explore? The photo above shows the nicely manicured state of the gravel road near the entrance, but it soon turned to a very rocky dirt road and eventually something that could almost be described as single track. My FIT Custom with 33mm Challene Chicanes performed better than I expected. I’ve ridden dirt and gravel roads on this bike many times, but nothing this rocky. The relatively low tire pressure I was running was definitely helpful.
After getting a bit lost and checking my GPS I noticed a parallel fire road with a tower marked on it. I made my way over and after even more climbing I came to what was clearly the highest point around. Atop the ascent was a radio tower, and what appeared to be a fire tower.
I climbed up to check the view and was pleased to find I could see for miles in every direction. The sun was starting to hang low in the sky and a hint of color appeared among the clouds over the Holyoke Range. All of UMass was visible to the north and I could even see the city of Springfield in the distance to the south.
The descent was fast and fun but bitterly cold, as my gloves were not up to par for the wind chill I would experience. After a few stops to make sure I could return feeling to my appendages, I made it back just before sunset.
The next day brought one of the first true snowfalls of the winter, and while I couldn’t ride quite as far in the conditions, I did get out to play in the wintry mix.