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  1. #1
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    Bay Circuit Trail

    Has anyone been riding the Bay Circuit trails?
    I want to drive out somewhere and bike back home to Somerville on a two day trip (and perhaps more eventually) keeping mostly to trails. From the looks of their website, they say that it's 90% complete (180 out of 200 miles of trails fully passable). About the Bay Circuit Alliance

    It appears that from Billerica heading north, the trails are not blazed yet and it also seems that from Concord heading towards and around Walden Pond that you have to take a good amount of roads due to bike restrictions... Has anyone ridden these areas who can confirm or deny my findings?

    In short, I'm trying to find a good 50-80 miles of mostly trail leading out from Bedford, MA where the Minuteman ends. Has anyone else tried anything similar?

  2. #2
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    Me and some buds did part of the BCT a couple years back. We shuttled from the train depot in Hamilton and started at the Bald Hill Reservation in Andover and ended at Appleton Farms in Hamilton. It was actually a pretty fun ride. It ended up being about 42 miles point to point with about 85% of it being on trail. Definitely more of a journey type ride than a "killer single track" ride, but we hit some good stuff in Harold Parker and Willowdale. We did get turned around a bit when we got on the road but we figured it out.

    The guys who planned it did it before from Lowell and they said it was a nightmare trying to find your way through Andover to get back on the trail. It sounds like there is a lot of that with the BCT system. I've actually never heard of anyone else ever riding the BCT before. I would love for it to become more complete and viable for MTB. Doing the whole thing would be sick!

  3. #3
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    From their site, it sounds like they've been continually working on it. I wonder if it's in better shape than it was a few years back. The "journey ride" sounds like it would be a nice change of pace from all the single track. If all the stars line up, I'd love to do the Tour Divide someday so this would be sort of that first step to seeing how I'd like carrying sleeping gear and food and such and sleeping where ever I finish riding for the day...
    85% trail is pretty promising. So, Hamilton to Andover sounds doable and somewhat pleasant. Now I just need to figure out if I can get from Andover to Billerica... From the maps, it doesn't look promising as it appears they have a proposed trail from Andover to Billerica heading through Tewksbury that isn't blazed yet. It looks like there's a mostly blazed trail heading through Lowell into Chelmsford, which I believe is where Great Brook is and from there I know how to find my way back through Greenough Forest and such so maybe that will be my route...

  4. #4
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    It looks the biggest problem will be on this map (5B) connecting these red lines in Lowell and Chelmsford...
    http://www.baycircuit.org/Map5B.pdf

    Obviously, if anyone wants to join in this journey, feel free to jump on the bandwagon.

  5. #5
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    When are you thinking of going?

  6. #6
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    I've ridden out from town to the BCT. What you need to do is get out to the Concord/Carlisle stuff and then out to Russell Mill. As you know, there are a variety of ways to do this.

    From Russell Mill follow the gas line east, cross route 3 and then cut through Billerica State forest. There is a quad trail in that forest that will dump you out on Treble Cove road.

    From there what I have done is ridden on the road to Merrimac Drive in Tewksbury. (note: there may be some trails between RM and there but I don't of any) At the end of Merrimac drive you can get into the Deer Jump trails. Follow this singletrack along the river, eventually you will join the BCT, but it will be blazed headed in the other direction so keep that in mind. You want to take it towards Haggets Pond.

    The BCT headed east in this direction is well marked and easy to follow. Take it all the way to Bradley Palmer then take the commuter rail home from Hamilton. Harold Parker has a campground so you could overnight there if you wanted a break.

  7. #7
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    madtorker - I'm not sure yet. I'm nursing a couple of separated ribs right now (hence the planning of a ride instead of being out riding). Perhaps sometime in May when there is nice and predictable weather.

    (Tom) thanks for that info! Seems like this ride is very doable without too much road. I hate roads.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for the link Sherpa. Do you have any GPX files of your ride?

  10. #10
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    Sorry I don't. THis section was from Ward Reservation in Andover to Willowdale in Ipswich. Actually it's marked well and is ridden often.

  11. #11
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    So, danhasdrums, 50 miles? I have taken some good ones in that area. Your local town conservation web sites are your friends. So from the end of the mm trail, take the flat dirt section to moument st to punkataset hill. Go to 2 rod rd and through that area to the back side of tophet swamp, Great brook. I then went over to acorn hill and the cranberry bogs. Some roads led me to the bruce freeman trail to the pencil factory (westford) and to strawberry hill/ spring hill. This is just some outlines. Took me weeks to lay it all out. Did 10 towns/ 10 hours/ 62 miles rountrip from Wilmington . Lexington and Bedford have lots of places to ride.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    So, danhasdrums, 50 miles? I have taken some good ones in that area. Your local town conservation web sites are your friends. So from the end of the mm trail, take the flat dirt section to moument st to punkataset hill. Go to 2 rod rd and through that area to the back side of tophet swamp, Great brook. I then went over to acorn hill and the cranberry bogs. Some roads led me to the bruce freeman trail to the pencil factory (westford) and to strawberry hill/ spring hill. This is just some outlines. Took me weeks to lay it all out. Did 10 towns/ 10 hours/ 62 miles rountrip from Wilmington . Lexington and Bedford have lots of places to ride.
    That's similar to a 50 miler I do where I hit the end of the Minuteman and then take the Narrow Gauge to Billerica, then through the industrial park to Concord Ave and some back roads on to Greenough Land and then on to Great Brook.

    I'll check out the Bruce Freeman Trail you mention and the Pencil Factory. Definitely been looking at all the local township park sites and getting some good information, but nothing beats personal information from people who have ridden it. Ideally I want to tackle the entire Bay Circuit over a few days with a tent, so the more info I have, the better.

  13. #13
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    From Andover north, the trails are pretty good, have you downloaded all the bct maps? How are you going to handle your bikepacking gear? Bikebags? Hammock?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    From Andover north, the trails are pretty good, have you downloaded all the bct maps? How are you going to handle your bikepacking gear? Bikebags? Hammock?
    I'm unsure of that at this point...

  15. #15
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    That stinks about the separated ribs, how did that happen?

    In May, with no rain in the forecast, I don't think a tent would be needed, definitely gonna need that hammock, though.

    I am not quite ready to commit to this but if I did there is the issue that my (good) frame is too small for a frame bag and has no rear rack braze-ons so I would have to carry everything on my back.

    I'm thinking I could carry minimal food and re-supply as needed along the way because a lot of the BCT is pretty close to civilization. A Hydration bladder is definitely a must.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by madtorker View Post
    That stinks about the separated ribs, how did that happen?

    In May, with no rain in the forecast, I don't think a tent would be needed, definitely gonna need that hammock, though.

    I am not quite ready to commit to this but if I did there is the issue that my (good) frame is too small for a frame bag and has no rear rack braze-ons so I would have to carry everything on my back.

    I'm thinking I could carry minimal food and re-supply as needed along the way because a lot of the BCT is pretty close to civilization. A Hydration bladder is definitely a must.
    I went over the handlebars and my chest met a boulder... I may have bruised my heart apparently as well and will know more this week after some dr. visits...

    I was thinking I could probably pack enough peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to keep me fed. I'm not opposed to heading to some crappy dive of a bar/restaurant on a one nighter, even though we will stink incredibly, for a burger and beer as well as a stop at a convenient store to reload on water so as to not carry all that stuff... It's a little cheesy, I know, but I want to carry as little as possible...
    And of course, much of this rides on on how long I'm injured for as I'll need a couple of weeks to get my legs in shape for the mileage. Something I definitely want to do though.
    Last edited by dirtdan; 04-16-2012 at 07:00 PM.

  17. #17
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    I rode Harold Parker today and went to explore the Bay Circuit Trail (parked on Jenkins) and it seemed far more suitable for walking than riding... I'm sure some people can ride it well enough, but it was pretty technical with some higher penalty areas for typical cross country riding... I rode elsewhere in the park and really liked it, but the BCT from that spot was ugly...

  18. #18
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    Some parts of HP are kind of tech, full suspension recomendo. Try the BCT out from the pavillion near the gun club.

  19. #19
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    Anyone got the 911 on the section of trail from @Concord to Sudbury? Thinking of moving to the area and would love to be able to pedal out the front door and hit some trails.

  20. #20
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    Bay Circuit 3-day

    In September 2013 myself and 5 buddies rode the entire Bay Circuit Trail. It was an amazing 3 day - 215 mile journey. We did the North to South route. We averaged 70 miles a day and stayed in hotels at night so we could travel light. The trail is about 50% single track, 30% double track and 20% road. It is fairly well marked. There were several highlights (Harold Parker, Borderland, Duxbury and Merrimack River trail) and a few lowlights (powerlines in Bridgewater, the streets of Lowell). Overall a great trip and an awesome "close to home" adventure. If anyone is considering doing it I can fill you in on logistics.

  21. #21
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    D-bag^^^

  22. #22
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    Why?

  23. #23
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    Your non helpful links.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Your non helpful links.
    Leeboh, might want to take a look here... http://forums.mtbr.com/off-camber-of...ts-888046.html

  25. #25
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    My bad, not everyone is evil.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Benson View Post
    In September 2013 myself and 5 buddies rode the entire Bay Circuit Trail. It was an amazing 3 day - 215 mile journey. We did the North to South route. We averaged 70 miles a day and stayed in hotels at night so we could travel light. The trail is about 50% single track, 30% double track and 20% road. It is fairly well marked. There were several highlights (Harold Parker, Borderland, Duxbury and Merrimack River trail) and a few lowlights (powerlines in Bridgewater, the streets of Lowell). Overall a great trip and an awesome "close to home" adventure. If anyone is considering doing it I can fill you in on logistics.
    Would love some of the details, thanks.

  27. #27
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    Is this rideable on a cyclo-cross bike? I was thinking of trying some sections on my CX next spring.

  28. #28
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    I've done from H.P. to Topsfield and from Bradly Palmer/Willowdale to Appleton Farms on the cross bike a few times (which means it was either fun or I'm stupid) when I lived up there. Most of it is ridable on a cross bike but there will be walking, mostly in H.P. Do it.

  29. #29
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    Cross? Not in my book. Light, fast 29er hardtail would be better.

  30. #30
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    paul, how well marked were the trails. I know if I go somewhere new to ride it can take me 2.5 hours to follow a loop that would normally take an hour. I looked at some of your strava stuff and it didn't look like you guys took to many wrong turns. were you guys constantly checking your map, did all of you pre ride a bunch of different sections so you knew them anyways?

    the strava stuff will help a ton since I can download that to my garmin and follow it on my map. I friended one of the people you went on the ride with because they have the full gps maps for each day that will be an easy download hopefully.

  31. #31
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    adumb, link to the strava profile please?

  32. #32
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    the profle is the guys name in this post type in paul benson in the search and it will come up. paul had some gps problems here and there so he doesn't have the whole route but he has a lot of it. there is a guy by the name of rosey that he went on the ride with who has the perfect files for every day with no missed spots. 70 miles the first two days and 60ish on the last day. his profile is one that you need to be approved first so I friended him but am still waiting for him to approve it.

    if I get the three good files I will post them up so other people can hopefully give it a try next year. if not the whole thing you can certainly go for a long day trip.


    paul, if you check in here and read this tell your buddy to approve me

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