May 31, 2017

Bicycling Outside the City: New Terrain to Explore in New England

There is no denying that Boston—like a number of large metropolitan areas in the U.S.—has been actively working to build safer cities and streets for cyclists to ride in. I spent years living in Boston, and saw those improvements happen in real time.

Even with these changes, however, there is no denying that getting out of the city for an uninterrupted ride is a transcendent experience, and one that can only be achieved when you leave the expanse of a metro area.

So open up your Zipcar app, reserve one of the cars with a handy Yakima roof rack, grab a bike of your choice, and hit the road. We’re going for a ride! Where? Southern New Hampshire.

HIT THE ROAD 

Enjoy 50 miles of undulating New Hampshire hills through deep woods and old farm country. On this ride you’ll see cows and open fields, ride through a small covered bridge, and stop twice for coffee. (And selfies.)

But first, drive your Zipcar up to Bedford, NH’s Benedictine Park. There is ample public parking and it’s a great launching point for this 50-mile ride, which includes the following highlights.

Start your trek at the idyllic Benedictine Park. (No high-rises in sight!) Image courtesy Bedford Land Trust.Start your trek at the idyllic Benedictine Park. (No high-rises in sight!) Image courtesy Bedford Land Trust.

Union Coffee CoLocated in Milford, NH’s “Town Oval” (it’s actually a triangle, but we don’t judge up here), Union has a great selection of pastries and small-batch, single origin coffee produced by local roasters—perfect fuel before you start hitting the hills of Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston, and Goffstown.

Apotheca Flower Shoppe After a bit of climbing, you’ll probably want a real snack. Descend into the small mountain town of Goffstown and stop in Apotheca Flower Shoppe. Don’t let the name fool you, though. Integrated into the florist space is the coolest coffee and tea café you’ll ever see. Plus, they have a small menu with more substantial lunch options, if you feel so inclined.

Benedikt Dairy If you’re craving some country living, Benedikt will provide it. Perched halfway up the Uncanoonuc Mountains, this active dairy farm has a small farm stand on-site, where they sell cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, meats, and other goodies from local purveyors. Instagram posts are obligatory up here—you’ll see why once you’re there.

Pedal power means all these goodies are en route—and in reach.Pedal power means all these goodies are en route—and in reach.

INTO THE WOODS

If riding in the woods is more your speed, then no worries—we have plenty of well-kept trails in the area to go explore. Here are a couple of hotspots that are well-maintained and yours to enjoy.

Grater Woods and Pond Parish Located in Amherst and Merrimack, NH, these New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) maintained trails are a true hidden gem. You’ll find a huge variety of riding, with plenty of trail heads and parking around the trail system.

Horse Hill Nature Preserve Only minutes down the road, Horse Hill is another NEMBA maintained trail network. With 70% of the trails as flowy single-track, you can get your send on all day.

Bear Brook State Park With 10,000 acres of space, Allenstown’s Bear Brook State Park in Southern NH is mountain-bike mecca with a huge variety of trail riding—sure to keep you exploring throughout your visit to the Granite State.

Fresh air + greenery all around = the ultimate cycling getaway.Fresh air + greenery all around = the ultimate cycling getaway.

Know of any more trails off the beaten path? Tell us about your favorite hidden gems in the comments. (If you don’t mind sharing your secret spot, of course…)