By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 07/08/2024; Updated 07/08/2024

Hot hot hot tonight, but I’m not complaining. This is what we suffer through the winter for. Six hardy souls braved the heat and the hills of our Easthampton route, with regulars Adam, Jared, and Nathan joining newcomer Rachel, along with and Ari and me. We made our way through the increasingly-overgrown bike path to Easthampton, navigated a minor construction project in downtown Easthampton, and then swung back out onto surface roads for the return leg.

This was a fast-paced group; I kept slowing down to try to keep the group together, only to find that everyone was already right on my wheel. Ari pushed the pace a little more on Pomeroy Meadow Road, and everyone still stayed together. When we got to Park Hill Road, I offered a center spot in the red-frame photo-op to the first one up the hill. Rachel and Nathan jockeyed for position on the climb, with Nathan eventually the first across the line. I didn’t have a fresh polka-dot jersey to hand out, so Nathan will have to settle for this pic.

Before we departed the big red frame, Adam mentioned the peach harvest and directed us to a little path a bit further into the orchard, which led us to a grove of super-ripe-looking peaches, along with a sculpture I hadn’t seen before. The pic doesn’t capture it well, but note all the great-looking peaches behind Ari. Park Hill Orchards has u-pick cherries, raspberries, peaches, and probably more — check them out here.

From there it was mostly downhill down Park Hill Road and Route 66 back through downtown Northampton, with Ari displaying excellent traffic management skillz downtown. We arrived back into Sheldon at around 7:10, with about 18.3 miles at 14.5 mph. [Note on average speed, we normally roll at around 12-14 mph, but we will always accommodate whoever is present on the ride. If everyone is comfortable at a faster pace, we’ll do it, but riders should also be prepared for a 11-12 mph pace, because we sometimes do that too.]

Next week we’re back to our super-flat Hadley loop (OK, there’s one small hill). Come out and join us!