Mountain bikers go
for a ride
About 600 people participate in Blue Hills event
By JESSICA RAVITZ
Some participants had thousands of dollars of fancy gear,
while others rode hand-me-downs with training wheels.
But all had one thing in common: a love for mountain biking.
The ninth annual Blue Hills Mountain Bike Day was held
yesterday at Houghtons Pond. And from 10 a.m. until 3
p.m., the grounds were abuzz with people at play.
Organized by the state Department of Conservation and
Recreation Urban Parks, Blue Hills TrailWatch and the
New England Mountain Bike Association, the event drew
an estimated 600 participants. Thanks to local businesses
that sponsored the event, they came free.
They gathered for skills clinics, guided trail rides and
games. There were vendors, raffle prizes and lines of
people – young and old – eager to take on
the obstacle courses.
“Drive your legs, drive your legs,” yelled
Greg Bostick of Brockton, from the sidelines, as his 7-year-old
daughter, Danielle, worked her way through a thick trail
“I got through (the rocks), but I fell off the first
time,” Bostick, 42, admitted when Danielle returned.
“And on the trail, I kissed a tree.”
“I didn’t fall down once,” his daughter
turned to remind him, before heading off to tackle the
“She keeps me young,” Bostick laughed, watching
Danielle, who began riding a bicycle only one month ago.
But now that she rides, it’s an activity they can
“What better gift for Father’s Day?”
Joe Sloane asked while looking at all the participating
Sloane, who helped plan yesterday’s event, is a
volunteer coordinator for Blue Hills TrailWatch, a group
he helped found 12 years ago. Volunteers are educators
out on the trails, which wind through the 7,000 acres
of park, and act as the “eyes and ears for the rangers,”
Maggi Brown has been a park ranger for 20 years and has
been at the Blue Hills Reservation for 12 years.
“I’ve done this park ranger thing as far away
as Alaska, but I’ve come back home,” said
Brown, a Weymouth native. “On a day like today,
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Not everyone at the event was a rider. Marcia Soldan,
57, of Hopkinton, only came for her husband’s sake.
“It’s good to see that big kids don’t
forget to be kids when they’re older,” she
said, watching as full-grown men hopped their bikes over
There are 4,500 members of New England Mountain Bike Association,
the biggest regional mountain biking organization in the
nation. Richard Higgins of Easton is president of the
southeastern Massachusetts chapter, and he said the members,
who pay $20 a year for individuals or $30 for families
are giving back to a sport they love and are watching
Seth Lawrence, owner of Serious Cycles in Plymouth, said
by phone that if his growing business is any indication,
biking is one of the fastest-growing sports.
“The biggest thing is people want to get outside
and get in shape. It doesn’t feel like exercise.”
That is what brought Francois Charlotin Jr. of North Attleboro
to yesterday’s event. He was catching his breath,
in the shade of a booth, while trying to recover from
his first ride in about five years.
“We’ve been meaning to get back into (riding)
and thought this would be a good excuse to start,”
said Charlotin, 37, referring to the friend at his side.
His wife, however, won’t join him.
“No, I can get her into dropping me off,”
he laughed, “but that’s about it.”
Jessica Ravitz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.