More Americans are participating in outdoor recreational activities than before the COVID-19 outbreak. Hiking, running and cycling have seen an uptick as individuals and families seek recreation in outdoor activities. In June 2020, The Associated Press reported that bike sales this spring saw their “biggest surge in the US since the 1970s oil crisis.” Adult recreational bike sales tripled in April 2020, while overall bike sales doubled year-on-year.
Biking is a great form of exercise and a way to enjoy time outdoors while maintaining social distancing. It’s also a great way for kids to burn off some extra energy and for families to enjoy some quality time away from home.
To help riders looking for alternatives to their normal routine, we reached out to a few local cyclists, who suggested a variety of routes of varying terrain and difficulty.
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
Lanesborough, Cheshire and Adams
Cycle and rail trails, like the 14-mile Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, which runs through Adams, Cheshire, Lanesborough and Pittsfield, are great places for cyclists of all skill levels. The trail is accessible from numerous locations along the route and is open for biking, running, hiking, and in-line skating. The 10 foot wide trail offers users a paved, level surface with scenic views of the Cheshire Reservoir, Mount Greylock and the Hoosic River.
Williamstown, New Ashford, Lanesborough, Adams and North Adams
Mount Greylock is a destination for cyclists who like a challenge. Created by Bike New England at ridewithgps.com, this route is the less challenging of the two routes to the summit. But this 37-mile bike ride isn’t a piece of cake, it just avoids the steeper grades and hairpin turns that come with climbing up North Adams’ Notch Road.
Start at the Milne Public Library in Williamstown and follow Route 7 south through New Ashford to Lanesborough, where you turn onto Rockwell Road for the 10-mile climb to the top of Mount Greylock. From there, descend the steeper Notch Road to North Adams. From Notch Road, follow Route 2 East back to Williamstown to complete the loop.
Kennedy Park – Lenox Mountain introductory loop
A group of cyclists exit Kennedy Park for downtown Lenox.
For those looking for a route they can mountain bike, Kennedy Park in Lenox is one of the top spots in the Berkshires. This 10-mile loop, posted to trailforks.com by a member of the Berkshire chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association, is listed as an intermediate introductory loop located at the Kennedy Park entrance behind the Arcadian Shop at 91 Pittsfield Road, Lenox , starts , drives through Kennedy Park and includes a climb up Lenox Mountain. Four miles of this ride are spent climbing while the other 6 are spent flat or descending.
Kennedy Park has several other mountain bike trails maintained by the city and Berkshire NEMBA. Trail maps are available at townoflenox.com.
Local Manchester (Wendy’s Way)
Created by Bike Manchester Vt at ridewithgps.com, this 9.5km ride follows tarmac motorways and secondary roads in Manchester. Start at Dana L. Thompson Recreational Park at Recreation Park Road and merge onto Vermont Route 30, turn right and travel 1.8 miles along Bonnet Street before turning onto North Road.
After 1.7 miles on North Road, turn right onto Maple Street for 1.1 miles. Take a slight right when the street becomes Main Street. After approximately three tenths of a mile, turn left onto School Street and then right onto Bonnet Street. After another five tenths of a mile, turn right onto Recreation Park Road and return to where you started your journey.
Williamstown to Pownal
Williamstown and Pownal, Vt.
Enjoy the rural scenery as you drive north from downtown Williamstown across the state line through Pownal, Vt. before heading back.
Starting at the Milne Public Library, go around the roundabout until you exit onto Main Street/Route 2 East. After 1/10th of a mile, turn left onto Park Street. After 8/1 mile turn right onto US 7 North and stay on road for 5.9 miles. Turn right onto Burrington Road and stay 3 km before turning right onto US Route 7.
After half a mile turn left onto North Pownal Road. After 3 miles, make a slight left onto VT 346. Follow VT 346 until it becomes US 7 South. Stay on Route 7 South, go through the roundabout in Williamstown and end back at the library.