Worcester, Mass.
April 18, 1999

Central Mass. is on bicyclists' map

By Lynne Tolman

   Central Massachusetts finally has a bike map worthy of the name, published in December by Rubel BikeMaps of Cambridge. Several members of the Worcester-based Seven Hills Wheelmen helped the mapmakers get it right.
   Many of the sweetest roads for cycling in this area were not even shown on the state bike map last printed during the Dukakis administration. And road maps for driving typically offer few clues about which roads are truly suitable for pedaling. Out-of-state cyclists who peruse a Rand McNally or AAA map might guess, after ruling out the Massachusetts Turnpike, that Route 9 or Route 20 would be a good way to bike across Massachusetts. While parts of those roads are OK, that would still be a big mistake.
   Mapmaker Andy Rubel takes into account traffic levels, pavement quality, road shoulder widths, topography and scenery when deciding which roads to highlight -- green for recommended, pink for secondary. All the other roads are still shown, so riders who stray from the recommended routes can still figure out where they are, and riders who want to get somewhere off the beaten path can find their way.
   The Central Massachusetts Bicycle & Road Map, which covers roughly the area between Interstate 495 and the Quabbin Reservoir, also shows places to mountain bike, bed-and-breakfasts, bike shops, topography (arrows on significant hills showing which way goes up), swimming spots, parks and forests, and ice cream shops.
   Rubel BikeMaps also has maps of Boston, Western Massachusetts, Eastern Massachusetts, and Cape Cod & the North Shore. The maps are available in bike shops, and by mail order, for $5.25 apiece including postage and handling or $14.95 for the four-map set, from Rubel BikeMaps, PO Box 401035, Cambridge, MA 02140.
   In addition, Rubel has a Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket bike map for $1.95 and a series of little maps called Pocket Rides (these are for areas outside Central Mass.) for $1.95 each or $8.95 for a five-pack. For more information, call (617) 776-6567, send e-mail to or visit
   The Central Mass. bike map also will be sold at the Earth Day celebration Saturday at Green Hill Park in Worcester. Adding to the two-wheel appeal of the festivities, MassBike will provide free valet bicycle parking at Green Hill Park on Saturday afternoon. You can pedal to the park and leave your bike in a guarded, secure area while you walk around checking out the attractions.
   Some other good bike maps for southern New England:

   Handcyclists will precede the wheelchair racers in the Boston Marathon tomorrow, their second year with exhibition status in the race. They start cranking at 11:35 a.m.
   The Boston Athletic Association gave handcyclists four slots in the race last year. Afterward handcyclists sued the BAA, seeking competition status rather than an exhibition race for 1999. They settled for an increasing number of exhibition slots: eight this year and 16 next year.
   Double amputee Brian Willson, 57, who lives in Wendell in the summer and Santa Cruz, Calif., in the winter, is the only East Coast handcycling entrant.
    While some handcyclists prefer to compete in running races, bicycle racing is giving them a warmer welcome this year. For the first time, the U.S. Cycling Federation will award national championship titles -- complete with the coveted stars-and-stripes jerseys -- in two handcycling events, time trial and criterium. The crit will be May 2 during the Golden Pantry Twilight bike race in Athens, Ga., and the TT will be July 17 during the Duluth Cycling Classic in Minnesota.
   After handcyclists competed for the first time in the World Cycling Championships for the Disabled last September in Colorado, they formed the U.S. Handcycling Federation. USHF has eight races on its calendar this year, most of them integrated with regular bicycle races.
   Tom Foran of West Hartford, Conn., won the season opener last weekend in California, the Red Bluff 2-Day Handcycle Race. Monica Bascio of Santa Cruz was the women's winner. Bike-style handcycle racing comes to New England on May 31 at the Charleston Criterium in Rhode Island.

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