As we all know, there is no bad weather for cycling, only bad clothes. At least I wish it was all this simple. Unfortunately, no clothing is going to protect me from pollen, which we get in overabundance every April through June. There are days where absolutely everything gets covered by a thick yellow dust blanket. After living in New England for quite some time, my body apparently stopped tolerating pollen and now every spring I suffer from allergies.
This creates a problem. I sort of temporarily run out of good options where to ride a bike. My usual places are heavily forested and in general, pollen seems unavoidable. After a few unpleasant situations and remembering my last year's ride when I was pretty much ready to pull my eyeballs out, I decided to completely change the strategy this year.
The goal was simple - ride where there is no pollen (duh)! Of course, around Boston this means there are basically only two options left: (1) city and (2) beach. Essentially, I either ride in the middle of Boston, where are few trees or ride very close to ocean, where constant breeze blows pollen away.
After testing it over the last two weekends, I have to say this actually works. First, I tried the city. Since riding a bike in Boston isn't typically a very pleasant experience, I decided to start very early on Sunday morning, when traffic was still very light and go to those places where cars don't go - the old, narrow alleys of Beacon Hill.
Sure, it wasn't a very long ride (in terms of distance) but revisiting those XVIII/XIX-century streets is a purely magical experience.
Going back home to Arlington, I could immediately tell the difference between the very downtown core of the Hub and the greener suburbs. The closer I was getting home the worse pollen situation was becoming.
Next, I tried the beach. I mean, I can't actually ride my bike on beach, but I could design a route that would take me as close to the ocean as possible. Starting from Georgetown, I followed north to Newburyport and then along the coast all the way to (almost) Portsmouth, NH. It was actually a perfect morning for such a ride: 17C (63F), cloudy and with a light breeze.
The way back was a bit boring though and since I didn't want to follow the same route I decided to ride a bit more inland. Unfortunately, that meant being exposed to pollen more. Overall, the coast part of the route was way more interesting and I wouldn't mind trying it again.
Now my problem is that I have already tested the two most obvious options and I ran out of ideas what to try next. Can we end the pollen season early this year, please?