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Bicentennial in Amherst [and mosquitos]

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  • Bicentennial in Amherst [and mosquitos]

    I rode the Bicentennial trail on Saturday. This was my first visit and the directions on the nemba site were right on. I parked on Austin Rd., which splits the trail, and I rode up to the right. The first part was indeed swampy and slippery, tough to gain momentum. However, once the trails climbed a bit, the ride went better. One thing I can not emphasize enough--douse yourself with insect repellant. The mosquitos are ravenous.

    The trails needed some serious work. I carried my bike over a number of large trees that had fallen across the trail. There were other smaller trees that could use another log or two to keep the chainring healthy. I bulit up a few obstacles, but the mosquitos had other plans. Plus, I didn't see any other bike tracks.

    A number of the trails led to dead ends after a nice downhill-ish ride. Parts of the single track had interesting, large rocks to navigate; hence, this is not a trail of speed or rolling singletrack, but moreso, steep climbs and drops [1-3 feet].

    With no trail map, I did get a bit lost, wandered onto the Joe English preserve area [which does not allow bikes], and found the trail head [which did have maps]. I saw no one on the trails [Bicentennial or English] the 2.5 hours I was there.

    Has anyone else been out there? Is it worth building up logs or stream crossings?

  • #2
    Re:Bicentennial in Amherst [and mosquitos]

    If you didnt see bike tracks, you weren't on the fun stuff! There is quite a bit there, but you have to know your way around. I was there two weeks ago and didn't noticed any fallen trees. Maybe you were on a trail that you shoudnt have been on. Bob Hall does his Tuesday night ride from there every couple of weeks. Great time to learn the trails.

    My only problem with your post is a "pet peeve" of mine. Unless you have permisson from the land owner or authorized to do trail maintenance you shouldn't "build up" obstacles." Many times trails are designed with technical features and people with lesser skills feel they are helping by "improving" the trails.

    My 2 cents


    • #3
      Re:Bicentennial in Amherst [and mosquitos]

      Here is the deal on the Bicentenial -

      The Bicentenial actually starts close to the end of Dodge road on the curve by the Amherst Town Garage (huge sand piles) From that point to Austin Road is well used and maintained. Beyond Austin Rd to Joe English is definitly Advanced trail and is a hiking trail. We have permission to ride it out and to ride the Hemlock loop in Joe English (At the end of the Bicenntenial take 180 turn over a small bridge and ride up wide logging Rd.) Hemlock loop brings you back to the Bicentenial so you can make a lolly pop and ride back to Austin Rd. The Bicentenial is very challenging for many people and we (NEMBA sponsored rides) usually do not do that section of trail unless we are feeling strong and it is a weekend ride. One time we had 7 out of 15 riders give blood to the trail and not b/c of the bugs ) Since we often do not ride that section it is last on the list for trail maintainence. The better place to park is to drive about 1/4 mile further up Austin Rd. and park in the lot by the tree Farm sign on your left. This is Haseltine. There are three trails here marked in white, red and blue. Then we generally ride down Austin to Dodge and start the Bicentenial from the top of Dodge and ride it to Austin and back to Haseltine. This can give you 7-10 miles depending on how you ride in Haseltine. Haseltine was hit hard by a recent thunderstrom so there are a few logs down. Please do not build anything with them! The conservation commision in town is very particular and we currently have them on our side. Haseltine is also still drying up from our very wet season, so please be nice to our mud holes - bridges are coming later this year. As far as the bugs - good luck finding a spot to ride without them! I would check out Souhegan cycle works website to find out the next time Bob Hall will be out there. Also, South Central sometimes rides there on Wed. nights but we were just there last week so it may be another month or so.

      - Trail Ambassador for Haseltine and Bicentenial


      • #4
        Re:Bicentennial in Amherst [and mosquitos]

        Duly noted about the trail tinkering. I just moved out from Albany, NY [not a Yankees fan, btw], and trail maint. was appreciated on the preserve where I did most riding.

        Thanks for the alternative directions and trail specs. I did give some leg blood on my ride too, and then I ended up on the white trail, followed that until the trail head, and took Brook [?] Rd. to my Jeep.

        I might head out there again this weekend [with insect spray], and I will keep an eye out for the Hall ride too.



        • #5
          Re:Bicentennial in Amherst [and mosquitos]

          Rode the Haseltine on Sat, and the trials are in great shape. The aqua/blue trail seemed the most challenging. The bugs weren't as voracious either.

          Thanks, gdivide, for directions, etc.