By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 06/07/2014; Updated 09/15/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:00 pm

Our second Super-SMR of the year kicked off on probably the best day of cycling weather we’ve seen so far this year. There was a bit of a chill in the air when the group of ten or so rolled out at 7:30 AM, but the sun was already starting to brighten the cloudless sky, and it warmed up quickly.

We’ve been neglecting the eastern side of the river on our longer rides, so I planned a route that would let us explore some new roads across the river. We passed through Hadley and Amherst, and then headed north into Leverett to climb Cave Hill Road. From there we continued up into Shutesbury to Lake Wyola. Heading to Wendell, we bypassed the usual left bend that starts the climb up into Wendell, and instead headed straight onto the dirt on Jennison Street, quickly turning left again to climb on more dirt up Locke Hill Road. This is one of my favorite dirt climbs in the area, twisting and turning up the hill on a nice hard-packed dirt surface. A nice section of fresh pavement awaited us at the top of the hill before we finished the climb into town to stop for fuel at the general store in Wendell.

We continued further north on Wendell Depot Road, a fabulous swooping descent that passes by a couple small lakes before emerging at Route 2. This descent is just as much fun, IMHO, as the Shutesbury S-curves (which we also did later in the day). After briefly crossing Route 2 in Orange, we turned south onto Holtshire Road, which winds through some forests and farmland and eventually passes by Lake Mattawa, with lots of small lakeside cottages strung out along the side of the road. We turned onto Neilson Road, where I expected a bit more dirt, but found that this too has been freshly paved. We finally emerged on Route 202 in New Salem, to enjoy yet another stretch of fresh pavement as we headed south toward Shutesbury.

Our final climb of the day was Prescott Road, which is considerably harder when you approach it from the north on 202, because you get a nice kicker of 200′ or so of elevation gain on 202 before you even turn onto Prescott. The group strung out a bit on this climb, but we regrouped at the top before enjoying the aforementioned descent down the S-curves and heading back into North Amherst. I turned off for home at that point, and the rest of the group headed back to Northampton. I finished up with 65 miles for the day at 16.6 mph, and 4,000′ of climbing.


by Tim_Cary » Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:25 pm

Well done route, and thank you Jonathan. I had a very relaxing morning on the bike with this route. Always a treat to find new routes, especially on a day like today.

Ron (aka the locomotive) pulled the rest of us rather swiftly home via Meadow /Roosevelt/N.Maple. Kevin tried to get us to head back up 47 to the Bookmill (kinda sounds like something I’d do…), but we all declined. I am guessing today did not have enough hills for him. Oh wait, there’s no hills….

The feedback on both the route itself today, and knowing that you all are looking at the map we post ahead of time is extremely helpful and appreciated. As always, I not only enjoyed the ride, but had a great morning chatting with you all.