Your Connection To the Outdoors

Twelve cyclists enjoyed a spring warm-up ride together in the Pioneer Valley

AMC cyclists in front of Sunderland's Buttonball tree

Twelve AMC members, including three volunteer leaders, met in Hadley on a beautiful spring day to enjoy a recreational group ride in the Pioneer Valley.

During the pre-ride talk, leaders Sean and Liz facilitated introductions and described the route plan and principles of safe group riding. Soon the group was heading west on the Norwottock Rail Trail. After a couple of miles the group turned off the rail trail and headed north on regular roads. The group rolled at a comfortable pace of 12 mph through a delightful landscape of small vlllages and farms getting their fields ready for the growing season. Sun and wind were favorable, so the group reached its first objective as planned--the famous Buttonball Tree in Sunderland. The group was impressed by the enormous old-growth sycamore tree, a feature of the land that is easily missed by passing automobile drivers but easily observed by people moving at the pace of a bicycle.

During the mid-ride snack break, Sean gave a short presentation on why and how to use the many gears offered on modern bicycles. Then it was time to get back on the road for the return trip, this time through quiet roads nestled between busier auto throughways. The group skirted the UMass Amherst campus and checked out the UMass Sunwheel, yet another one of those area features so accessible by bike yet easily overlooked. A few short miles later the group returned to the starting point, already talking about when they might ride together again!

The next planned Chapter ride is scheduled for Saturday, May 18th. See you on the roads!