A few weeks ago I landed at Logan International airport in Boston, MA. Following the flight was a forty-five minute drive north on the 93 to Manchester, NH. It had been about two and a half years since the last time I returned home to see my family. While my main intentions were to spend the majority of my stay hanging out with my family, there would be down time while everyone was at work during the week so I brought a bike along. Still recovering from knee surgery I knew my rides would be short and getting my bike through airports would be difficult, but the time spent with on my bike would be worth it.
I knew my cycling experience in NH this time around would be more of a “trip down memory lane”, rather than part of a training regiment or a exploration ride. Leaving my parent’s house I retraced the route that lead me to the neighborhoods where all of my childhood friends used to live. As I rode down road I pictured myself at thirteen riding a department store mountain bike that was way to big for me and how I used to pedal as fast as I could at night. That road in the night used to to scare the shit out of me. It was definitely one of those road where murders would throw dead off to the side.
I figured i’d pass by some Manchester favorites and see if the area had changed. My first stop was Goldenrod’s Ice Cream. It was packed with families celebrating Labor Day the best way they knew how; by gorging themselves with fried food, extra large sodas, and of course ice cream. As I waited in line I got stares from the hungry patrons. I am pretty sure it’s not very often they see a heavily tattooed Chinese man dressed in tight spandex.
I then decided to ride around Lake Massabesic. Granite staters were out fishing and sailing their boats. The roads that marked the perimeter were narrow with lack of shoulders and motorcyclist whizzing by with no helmets at 50mph. In between the groups of motorbikes were silent and the trees kept the roads cool. I wish the leaves had starting changing at that point as it would have added to the scenery.
Looking at the signing and architecture made me feel like I was in the late 70′s early 80′s.
Part of me wanting to ride through this section of Manchester was I wanted to ride down Lake Shore Drive. This rode was a humungous part of my teenage high school years. I’d always cut study and cruise down the road to smoke pot and listen to music. About half way down I stopped at a house to stick my cap over the sprinkler to cool off. The owner of the house came out and said he thought I was his son. His son lived up north and would ride his bike down to visit. We chatted for a bit for I clipped back in. I was surprised by his hospitality.
The following day I rode out to new england velodrome/londonderry raceway & cycling park. The velodrome resembles more of a rc car track than something a track bike would ride on, but something is better than nothing. Cyclist from out of state and surrounding areas drive into town to make left turns here. If you look closely you can see a two pack of cyclocross practice barriers.
Now for those of you reading this please don’t think that NH doesn’t offer any amazing road riding because it definitely does. The white mountains provide a gorgeous back drop for a day of riding and there are gems scattered all through out the state and New England. All in all I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get yelled at to “get the fuck off the road” or anything and I probably saw about four other road cyclists out too. My next visit home I will hopefully be in good health and head up north. Who knows – maybe next time i’ll try to take on Mt. Washington’s 11% average grade.Read More