Posts Tagged ‘Norwottuck Rail Trail’

It was a cold March and April was getting much better. I usually like road rides to be a bit warmer. Usually I would hit the woods instead. But it was April 12 and I was done with waiting. So I packed on 3 layers and headed out into the cool, sunny morning.

See April 12, 2015 Ride

I got only 4 miles away before I found myself overheating. I pulled over and took off the middle layer happily and stashed it along the side of the road. I was coming back this way eventually. There are not many good ways to bike into West Springfield.

Turning away from Holyoke Community College, I crossed route 5 following the road towards the Connecticut River. Rolling down from the top of a hill I followed the road down, down, down crossing intersections as I rolled along through traffic. I showed my daughter many years ago (in the car) how if you time it just right, the lights will turn green in front of you one after the other. Every time we drive through here she watches for it.

Its just as easy to do it on a bike, maybe easier. I just had to time the first light and the rest fell into place.

I crossed the Connecticut River into South Hadley, circled around the busy rotary and exited onto more rural roads. I passed McCray’s Farm knowing it was too early to have their fresh ice cream. I followed the road and saw the Connecticut River again at Brunelle’s Marina where the road abruptly turns back away again.

At the center of South Hadley I turned left onto route 116 not sure where I was heading. The day had warmed up quicker than I thought it would. My friends had all abandoned me today and I was making it up as I went along. So far this was a typical route here but I didn’t want to follow the road up through the notch but along a more circular route.

After entering Granby I turned onto Amherst Road then Batchelor Street intending to circle around Mt. Holyoke Range State Park. At Batchelor Street sits some of the best trails in the Northeast. Many have been made specifically for mountain biking, others intersect trails at the state park. The trails are some of the most fun, and most challenging with their twists and turns up hills, down and around. Its a special treat to ride there and grueling at the same time.

4-12-15-which-way

I had ridden through here before and vaguely remembered the way. I wasn’t afraid of getting lost, but enjoyed the surprises along each turn. Ron and the others know these roads better than I do.

I made some choices that seemed right and ended up at Bay Road. This I knew. I was definitely on the right course. I was getting some good miles in finally albeit much later in the early season than I wanted. The sun was shining, Spring was finally finding its footing, and at 25 miles out, I was only half way through my ride.

I was hoping to run into Bay Road knowing it would complete the circle around the Holyoke Range.

I was hoping to run into Bay Road knowing it would complete the circle around the Holyoke Range.

Bay Road took me to Atkins Farm downhill from the Notch road I just circled. I followed the flat road and enjoyed the faster pace into Hadley. I entered the resurfaced Norwotuck Rail Trail (the old surface was infused with minute particles of glass—great idea!) and followed it to the refurbished train bridge back over the Connecticut River.

It was a simple route back down route 5 along the other side of the river. I collected my stashed layer and finished my ride gloating via text to the others of the first great ride of the season.

They were not impressed.

The refurbished Norwottuck train bridge is an elegant, and safe way to cross back over the Connecticut River.

The refurbished Norwottuck train bridge is an elegant, and safe way to cross back over the Connecticut River.