Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sudbury Loop Ride - a visit to Assabet River Rail Trail

I visited Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge yesterday. Again. This time however, in order to stay away from the swarms of mosquitoes, I didn't even try to ride through the reservation. Instead, I took a path around it and entered the Assabet River Rail Trail. The trail starts at Winter St in Maynard and runs along Assabet River. The first few miles are a bit rough and bumpy but on 35mm-wide tires you can roll at 12mph with no problem.
Once you get closer to Hudson, the path is fully paved and turns out to be a bit boring this way. I mean, it's a nice path but nothing more than just a strip of asphalt running through a forest. On the other hand, I wish my usual Minuteman Trail closer to Boston had this paving quality.
Continuing along the path you will finally reach the center of Marlborough. I was there around 7:30 (on Saturday morning) and it still looked a bit sleepy - not much traffic, no pedestrians.
From Marlborough I found my way to Parmenter St in order to take a path south, along the bank of Sudbury Reservoir. The path turned out to be a bit challenging in places. It runs through the deep forest and is partially overgrown. Large roots, rocks and pits definitely don't make bike riding easy over there. Interestingly, this deep forest is also home to New England Regional Primate Research Center but I didn't see any freely running chimps anywhere around.
Next target was the Callahan State Park and the trails there started great but once I entered the forest they turned into the usual mountain biker's paradise. Too tough for my bike, unfortunately. I didn't spend much time there. I followed the Pipeline Trail north, took Nixon Rd, then Dutton Rd and arrived back at the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge.
Historic Grist Mill at Wayside Inn Rd in Sudbury...

...and a church across the street.

It wasn't a long ride - about 48km (30mi) but I have to say that the land around Sudbury is beautiful. It's very rural, with lots of narrow, winding roads running through the forest or farmland. Feels like a perfect place to ride a bike.

There is also some interesting history connected to this place. If you happened to be on Old Marlboro Rd in Maynard, look at the dome-shaped building, covered with soil with lots of antennas on the top. Does it look like and entrance to an underground structure? It is! It's the FEMA Regional Center and it's a relict of the Cold War. In case of the risk of a nearby nuclear blast several hundred people could find shelter inside up to 30 days. Government officials, of course. I don't think we would qualify.

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