The Hills of Harvard Fruitlands

Highlights:

  • First time back in the saddle for a long ride after a two weeks hiatus
  • Three is company:  Christina Z. joined us for one leg
  • The views!
  • The history–we passed what is left of the historic Shaker community–a historic cemetery located on Shaker Hill Rd.

Towns we passed through:

  • Somerville
  • Cambridge
  • Arlington
  • Lexington
  • Bedford
  • Acton
  • Littleton
  • Harvard

To say that the New England weather has been fickle this summer is to put it mildly.  And if you live in Massachussets or have visited, you know that you probably cannot use the descriptive “mild” and “New England weather” in the same sentence.  So we waited until late Saturday night to make the final decision:  the long ride is on.

Inclement weather (or the fear of it) has not been the only thing to keep me from my long training rides during the last few weeks, I was in DC for a conference earlier in the month.  While in DC, I was excited to see how much priority the District of Columbia and neighboring towns in Virginia and Maryland include bicycle transportation in their urban development.  This warrants its own post entirely, but here are a couple cool cycling discoveries I made during my travels:

Bike Sharing in DC
Bike Sharing in DC.  The organization that runs this is called       Smart Bike DC.
Bike Route near the burial grounds in Oldtown Alexandria, VA
Bike Route near the burial grounds in Oldtown Alexandria, VA
Bike Path located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Ill have to return to Alexandria with Becca for a cycling vacation! I hear there are routes that take you through D.C. and Mt. Vernon and in and around all the monuments.
Bike Path located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. I’ll have to return to Alexandria with Becca for a cycling vacation! I hear there are routes that take you through D.C. and Mt. Vernon and in and around all the monuments.

Speaking of DC, Wuggs and I were excited to invite a new travel partner with us for this ride:  Christina Z.  Christina moved to the Boston area from DC about two years ago.  During our ride on Sunday, she shared with me all about the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, the network of cyclists behind much of the riding reform and community organizing in DC.

Having a friendly rider join me and Wuggs–means that the entire day is much more enjoyable.  Partially because my wife can pay attention to the road and tune me out when she hears the same story I’ve shared a million times…  and partially because we’re both generally more affable and are less likely to snip at eachother in the middle of a hot, humid day after climbing a “not so rolling” hill–when we are tired and cranky.  In short–we put on a pretty face in front of company!

View from the Harvard Fruitlands
View from the Harvard Fruitlands

Oh, and let me tell you, those hills in Harvard are calf killers!  In fact, one rider on mapmyride.com aptly entitled some of his Harvard rides as, “Beast of a Ride,” and “Son of a Beast.”  The point is that many of the roads that were mapped on this ride included the word “hill” in there somewhere.  There came a point about 25 miles in when I stopped enjoying going down hill because I realized that Newton’s law, in this regard, also follows the opposite, “What goes down must come up!”

One word describes these hills in Harvard:  Ugh!

But on the bright side, once you reach the top, the views are spectacular!  And the other thing to note is that the Harvard Fruitland hills make the rolling hills of Truro, MA seem like bunny slopes for an avid skier!  And anyone who has ridden their bikes along the hills of Truro, knows how painful they can be…especially AFTER one rides over 100 miles to get there!

I think that the Two Girls On a Bike can give this ride two thumbs up!  While we managed to do okay with this ride after a two-week hiaitus from long rides, I don’t recommend picking this particular route after a two-year hiaitus!

***

This is an entry from th adventurous, thoughtful and occasionally humorous journal of my training escapades in preparation for two great century bike rides: Harbor to the Bay and El Tour de Tucson.  To find out more information or to make a pledge, visit our home blog, The Amazing Adventures of Two Girls on a Bike.

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About themacdoodle

Communications Manager, Creative Strategist, Community Builder, & Possibility Agent
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