TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
June 4, 1995
Bikers hear call of the woodsBy Lynne Tolman
Mountain bikers can be tight-lipped about their favorite trails,
fearing crowds that could mar the back-to-nature experience and overuse that
could lead land managers to limit public access. But this weekend, with National
Trails Day celebrations spilling over from yesterday into today, trail users of
all kinds are trumpeting the allure of the woods.
It's no secret that the Massachusetts state forest and
parks have hundreds of miles of rideable trails, from wide, flat fire roads
to gnarly single track, suitable for all levels of off-road riders. Some area
mountain bikers make their recommendations:
Other popular areas include Upton State
Forest on Westboro Road; Callahan State Park on Millwood Street in Framingham;
Wells State Park, off Route 49 in Sturbridge, and Hodges Village Dam on Howarth
Road in Oxford, where several area groups ride regularly. Hodges Village park
ranger Keith Beecher says trails east of the French River are mostly old roads
that are fairly flat, while hillier single track lies west of the river.
- Bill Perry of Sutton likes Douglas State Forest, where the New England Mountain Biking Association has
its National Trails Day rides today. There are nearly 50 miles of trails,
including a segment of the Southern New England Trunkline Trail, a former
railroad bed that runs from Franklin to Willimantic, Conn. Trails south of the
Trunkline are closed to motorized vehicles. "Some of the nicest areas are at
the northern end of Douglas State Forest; the northernmost gate is on
Northwest Main Street in Douglas and there's places to park," Perry said. But
newcomers to the forest are advised to use the main entrance on Wallum Lake
Road, where maps are available.
Perry rides horses more often than he
bikes, and he reminds bikers on the trail to "talk, at a distance, as soon as
you see a horse" to avoid startling the animal.
- Mike Troisi of Lancaster picks Wachusett Reservoir for family outings with
his 9-year-old twin daughters, entering at the gate opposite Chace Hill Road
off Route 110 in Sterling. "We usually backpack in a picnic, and sometimes go
so far as to bring a hammock," he said. "We go right along the shore. It's not
technical and there's gorgeous views."
- Bill Boles of Brockton laid out a
10-mile loop specifically for mountain biking in Foxboro State Forest, marked
with arrows on trees. "The idea was to make the first 1.5 to 2 miles really
easy, and then you can loop back to the parking lot'' on Mill Street, he said.
Or you can continue 2 miles on an intermediate level, then loop back, or
continue on the advanced route and complete the entire loop.
also rides in Leominster State Forest off Route 31. He notes that bikers are
asked to stay off the trails closest to the swimming area, but plenty of other
routes are open.
- Sue Edwards of Pepperell recently led a NEMBA women's ride in Townsend
State Forest on Dudley Road off Route 13, an area she rates "beginner with
confidence." "There are ponds, swamps, some rocky areas, and a beautiful,
gigantic rock outcrop," she said. She warns that some trails cross into New
Hampshire, where hunting is allowed on Sundays.
- Lorraine Stewart of Worcester says Rutland State Park at Routes 122 and
122A is a good place, with lots of wide dirt roads, "but you have to know your
way around. I've never seen maps. I wouldn't advise beginners to go anywhere
alone or without a map, because you'll get lost." Being prepared also means
wearing a helmet, having water and carrying a spare tube and the tools to
change a flat tire. The Rutland trails also are accessible from Barre Falls
Dam; park at the picnic area off Route 62 in Hubbardston, just east of the
Always, riders are reminded to respect the environment and other trail users.
The International Mountain Bicycling
Association's six Rules of the Trail: Ride on open trails only. Leave no
trace. Control your bicycle. Always yield trail. Never spook animals. Plan
TIP OF THE HELMET -- To the Worcester-based Mengoni/Hot
Tubes juniors, who won the Tour of Somerville, N.J., on Monday. Hot Tubes'
Andrew Mills of North Brookfield had an early breakaway in the 20-mile
criterium, but the pack brought him back. Teammate Mike Rozsko of Westboro
attacked next and built a gap of almost 30 seconds before he ran over a staple
and got a flat tire. Then teammate Matt Decanio from Virginia took the lead and
won by 40 seconds. The team is not racing this weekend because all the riders
are attending their high school graduations, coach Toby Stanton of Leicester
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