By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 10/18/2014; Updated 09/15/2021

by Jonathan O’Keeffe » Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:16 pm

A group of seven set out from the Academy under threatening skies that were already starting to spit a little bit of rain. The temperature was around 60°, though, so things weren’t too uncomfortable. Looking for a route that would let us appreciate the remaining foliage in the low-lying areas of the valley, I shamelessly appropriated a ride that Tim did yesterday for our route today.

We headed north along the river to the Sunderland bridge, then crossed the river and headed further north into Montague. We took a little detour to cross the Bridge of Names in Lake Pleasant, and then headed further north to Miller’s Falls. A turn onto a tiny dirt road drew a groan from Chris and his new carbon wheels, but the dirt didn’t last long, and we soon crossed a closed-to-traffic bridge and climbed a bit up to Route 2. Heading west on 2 in Gill, we crossed the French King Bridge, which I had never done before on my bike. This was the highlight of the day for me, with an awesome view up the river to the north, with walls of fall colors on both sides of the river.

Crossing back over the river in Turner’s Falls, we made our way through the downtown area that was closing down the roads and preparing for what appears to be one hell of a pumpkin festival. We didn’t stick around to enjoy the festival, though, stopping briefly to fill bottles, and then continuing south on the bike path along the canal. Roberto (of course) attacked when we got to the hills on River Road in Deerfield, prompting a spirited chase from Chris and I. We finished with a group effort into a headwind on River Road through Whately and Hatfield to get back to NoHo, where we arrived around 1:30 PM with around 54 miles at 18.8 mph, with 1,400′ of elevation gain. We got hit with bits of rain here and there, but stayed dry for the most part, and even saw the sun once or twice.