By Michael Bello
Published 06/09/2024; Updated 06/09/2024

The 15th edition of the Hatfield Lions Club Bike Tour was held on Saturday. There were three official route options (27 miles, 35 miles, and 56 miles), plus an unofficial metric century (the rebel route).

Last weekend, Saturday’s weather looked questionable. Yet, by mid-week, the forecast looked promising. After last year’s record-breaking turnout, 83 riders, it looked like we could not possibly repeat that with only 36 riders registered as of Wednesday. By the close of pre-registration on Friday night, there were 85 riders signed up, including over 40 current or former NCC members! Thank you to all the NCC members for participating, wearing your club kits, and supporting a local charity as it raised money for eye research.

Riders could depart anytime between 8 AM and 9 AM. Several NCC riders took off right away, while many left closer to 9 AM. Shortly before 9 AM, we had a big group of NCC riders gather for a club photo.

 

 

As everyone departed, Melissa ran to put her Lions Club t-shirt in her car. This 30 second delay caused multiple groups to form on the road. Our Zwift group of Melissa, indoor Tim, indoor Steve, and I got to ride together outside, which was rather novel. After all, instead of just seeing them in a small box on Discord, they were live in person. Our group was joined by my friend Steve for the first few miles before he broke off for the 35 mile route.

We caught up to Don, Adam, and Sima on the climb up Haydenville Road, before turning onto Adams Road.

 

 

As we climbed Adams Road, which turned into to the very steep O’Neill Road, dark storm clouds made their first appearance of the day. Besides getting a little dark temporarily, we avoided the rain for the next few hours.

After climbing from Williamsburg to Ashfield, we stopped for a moment at the intersection with Rt. 116. John W. joined our group as we formed a fast pace line down to Conway. I always enjoy this fast section. This was Steve’s first time up in the Ashfield/Conway area, and he was very impressed with the scenery.

 

As we turned onto Bardwell’s Ferry Road, we saw signs saying that the bridge was closed. I assured the group that the bridge was open to bicycles. The two miles on either side of the bridge were fantastic. I don’t think we saw any cars because the bridge was closed. It also allowed us to take photos on the bridge without having to worry about automotive traffic.

I attempted to take a selfie of our group on Bardwell’s Ferry Bridge, but my selfie technique is not as refined as Melissa would like. So here is her version, which was enhanced by her self proclaimed “long arms.”

 

 

After the brief rest, we resumed our journey, crossed the bridge and began to climb. We even saw wild turkeys a few miles past the bridge.

 

 

We proceeded onto Zerah Fiske Road, which is always very picturesque.

 

 

At Stillwater Bridge, we stopped briefly. It was time for the big choice, follow the official route or add the miles for the metric century. John chose the official route, so he turned right on Mill Village Road, while the rest of us turned left and headed into Old Deerfield.

 

 

We started to feel the occasional sprinkle, but assumed we had nothing to worry about.

Throughout the ride, we encountered many chipmunks, some alive and some dead. As Melissa learned the hard way a few years ago, if it is smaller than a bunny, don’t swerve. Some animal, perhaps a baby woodchuck, darted out. It somehow avoided Melissa’s wheel, but was summarily crushed by a car coming the other way. I took this as a bad sign.

The clouds were getting darker as we approached Route 166 and Mount Sugarloaf.

 

 

Despite what Melissa says, the two miles of cold rain and wind were not my fault. Melissa and I have been on several rides, such as the 2022 D2R2, where her group stays dry, while my group gets soaked by rain. Of course she could have also been referring to last year’s Bikes Fight Cancer ride, which required scuba tanks. Once again, the forecast was supposed to be rain free.

 

 

After the ride, Tim pointed out that our pace line averaged over 21 mph for the final 6.5 miles. The wet conditions must have motivated us.

We made it back to the Lions Club pavilion for lasagna and a baked potato. Melissa had been talking about that baked potato for at least twenty miles!

 

 

In total, our group rode 63 miles with approximately 3,600 feet of climbing. Our moving time was 3 hours and 49 minutes.

On behalf of the NCC, I would like to thank the Lions for hosting another great event.

Next week is the Bikes Fight Cancer Charity Ride, which will start at Tree House Brewery in South Deerfield. The NCC is sponsoring a rest stop for the ride and many NCC riders are participating. Please consider donating to the NCC team.

 

Relive ‘2024 Hatfield Lions Club Annual Bike Tour’