I come today to sing the praises of Amherst Road, a byway somewhat neglected by cyclists, perhaps because of its miles-long, steep climb, or the thickness of traffic. The truth of the matter is that, once you get a couple miles up, the traffic slims out, the road grows smoother, and the long, steady grades reward you with timeless New England beauty and history.
I also use this road to tune up my climbing legs, if I've been away from the grades for too long. Fuel up before you go, because the "up" is constant.
To get there, ride through Amherst Center on Main Street, cross South East at the light, and you're going due east on West Pelham -- which quickly turns to Amherst Road once you cross the town line.
|Genteel colonial farm houses with stone fences line the road|
|Perfect pond and shady glades|
|At the top of the hill, Pelham Historical Society, with lawns for sitting and snacking|
|Right next door, the old Pelham Town Hall, built in Revolutionary times|
|Daniel Shays, who led a rebellion of overtaxed farmers against the government, lived in Pelham.|
|Perhaps Shay's likeness, now hidden in a barn. Note facial expression:|
Don't tread on me!
|The cemetery behind the Historical Society features featurless |
gravestones, eroded by time and hilltop New England weather
|A sylvan resting place for tired settlers|
|She lived to see the Revolution begin -- but not end|
A very worthy road, easily combined with others for a nice fall ride. You can turn left on Route 202 (just past the Historical Society) and another quick left onto Shutesbury Road, a rolling delight. From the end of that, you can turn right for Shutesbury Center, or left to fly down the famous Shutesbury S-curves -- a delicious reward for all that climbing.
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