I've been organizing unofficial rides at relaxed C pace on Sundays, and since I'm taking the formal NCC Saturday C ride north to the Shelburne Falls Bridge of Flowers, I thought, why not take the unofficial Sunday ride south to the Simsbury, CT Bridge of Flowers?
Main Ride: 9:30 am Sunday, 34 miles, 1500 feet from a drive-to-start just north of the Connecticut line
This ride ventures south into Connecticut through Granby and Simsbury using road routings stolen from friends down there, which are fairly intertwined with the Farmington Canal Heritage trail - the name given to the southern portions of the old New Haven - Northampton railroad that forms part of our own trails. Small amounts of the rail trail are used, but mostly this sticks to roads that have moderate hills - though the very flat rail trail is always there as a bailout easier way back to the cars. I've drawn the route including a mile through a state forest on a lovely wide flat bike/walk path carpeted with pine needles, which in this dry summer should be quite easy on 28mm tires, but we can take a paved alternative if anyone has concerns.
Parking for the "main ride" is at the Farmington Canal Trail parking off Miller Road just south of Congomond Road in Southwick MA. This is just south of where the rail trail crosses at Red's Cafe (formerly Riding Hood's Basket), however please park off Miller Ave, and NOT at Red's Cafe! If those spots are full there's an additional lot just a short distance down the trail at 4674 Phelps Road, West Suffield, CT - though getting there by roads requires going a few miles east or west.
Refill is easiest at the southern turnaround; not only stores and cafes, but a bottle filler at the Bridge of Flowers
Add-on ride: 9am for 14 more miles (48 total) to and from Westfield, MA
For those who'd like a larger, though still fairly flat ride, there's the option to start instead from the Westfield Stop and Shop, where the section of the trail running north from the middle of Connecticut currently terminates on the embankment east of the grocery store parking lot, with access from the street sidewalk just north of the parking lot fence. Please park in the extreme northeast corner of the Stop and Shop lot (57 Main Street Westfield, MA) then exit the the parking lot to main street and enter the ramp up to the trail from the sidewalk. From there it's a straight shot 7 miles south on the rail trail to the main ride meeting point at Red's Cafe, though there are also some road routings I'll dig up and have available if that's preferred.
Too big or too small? There's also a 41 mile option from the Shaker Farms lot, which is public trail parking behind/through the country club at 866 Shaker Road Westfield, MA, though I've never tried to get at that from the road side. Drop me a note if interested and we'll figure it out.
Naturally, this ride's two (or was that three?) starting points create plenty of potential for confusion, so if you're interested in the ride, please reply off-list with your preferred starting location no later than 8am Sunday so that I know where to be looking for who.
Thank you, and hope to see you Sunday!