May is National Bike Month: Discover our beautiful rail trails with the Tour de New Hampshire

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May is National Bike Month! To mark this exciting occasion, the Bike Walk Alliance of New Hampshire, in collaboration with the Granite State Wheelers and the New Hampshire Rail Trail Coalition, invites you on a thrilling series of guided bicycle tours along the breathtaking rail trails of the Granite State. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to biking, these weekend tours are designed to ignite your sense of adventure and showcase the natural beauty of New Hampshire’s trail system.

Each weekend throughout May, we will highlight a different rail trail, allowing participants to explore various landscapes and historical sites. Our guided tours are perfect for those new to cycling, uncertain about rail trails, or just want to get out with a fun group of cyclists! These rides will provide a safe and supportive environment to learn about cycling, trail etiquette, and the rich history of these scenic routes.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect from our guided rail trail tours:

  • Scenic Routes: From rolling hills to serene lakeshores, each rail trail offers its unique charm. Discover hidden gems and breathtaking views as you pedal through New Hampshire’s diverse landscapes.
  • History: Our tours are not just about cycling but also about learning. Discover the rich history of the railroads that once traversed these trails. Our knowledgeable guides will share fascinating stories about the evolution of these routes, enriching your understanding of the region’s past.
  • Welcoming: Our tours are about inclusivity and welcoming cyclists of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. Whether you’re riding solo, with friends, or with the whole family, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and feel a part of our cycling community.
  • Supportive Environment: Don’t worry if you’re new to cycling or haven’t been on a bike in years. Our experienced guides will provide tips on bike handling, safety practices, and making the most of your rail trail experience.
  • Community Partnerships: We’re proud to partner with local organizations like the Granite State Wheelers and the New Hampshire Rail Trail Coalition to promote cycling and outdoor recreation in our communities. Together, we’re creating opportunities for people to connect with nature and lead active, healthy lifestyles.

Join us this National Bike Month as we pedal through the beauty of New Hampshire’s rail trails. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride or a new adventure, our guided tours promise unforgettable experiences and lasting memories. Let’s celebrate the joy of cycling together!


Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. start time – Northern Rail Trail 

Presented by the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail. 

Our first bicycle ride will be a short section of New Hampshire’s longest rail trail. We will depart from the historic Potter Place Train Depot and head north on the Northern Rail Trail to the Danbury General Store, where the group will have time for snacks and souvenirs before heading back at a leisurely pace, allowing participants to soak in the wilderness. Your expert guide for this trip will be Lindy Heim. Lindy is a local historian and Co-President of the Freinds of the Northern Rail Trail. 

Ride info: The ride is approximately 22 miles (round trip) on mostly compact gravel. A hybrid, gravel, Class 1 e-bike, or mountain bike is recommended. Due to washouts, there may be sections that require walking bikes. 


Saturday, May 11th, 10 a.m. start time –  The Rail Trails of the Queen City: Manchester, NH

Presented by Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s largest city is also home to more rail trails than any other community in the State. The ride will explore parts of the Goffstown Rail Trail, the Piscataquog Rail Trail, the Riverwalk, the Heritage Trail, and the newly extended South Manchester Rail Trail. Riders will use unique bike/ped bridges, including the longest in New Hampshire (The Hands Across the Merrimack Bridge) and a newly restored historic train trestle converted into a rail trail crossing. We will also stop to admire the numerous street art and murals installed along the trails and learn about the role cycling plays in an urban environment. Riders will also learn about plans to add more trails to the existing network. The ride will start and end in Manchester’s Historic Millyard, providing access to many bars and restaurants for post-ride activities! Your guides for this ride will be local citizens Don Waldron and Tammy Zamoyski. Don is a Board Member of Bike-Walk Alliance and Chairman of the Manchester Conservation Commission. Tammy is a leading cycling advocate having attended cycling seminars around the world, and is a local planner for the Southern NH Planning Commission.

Ride info: The ride is about 20 miles and is mostly on paved surfaces. Most of the ride will be on bike/ped paths; however, there will be some street riding to connect trails. Most street riding will be on low-traffic roadways. Road, gravel, class 1 e-bikes, or hybrid bikes are recommended. Helmets are required, and lights are recommended.


Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. – The Rail Trails of the White Mountains: Presidential Rail Trail and the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail. Presented by the NH Rail Trail Coalition. 

Experience the beauty of the northern White Mountains on this gently compacted gravel rail trail. Marianne Borowski, the founder of the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail, will be our guide on this trip through the beautiful White Mountain National Forest. We will visit the scenic Pondicherry National Refuge and be treated to some great photo ops of Mount Washington!

Parking: Presidential Rail Trail, Whitefield Trail Head. The trail surface is primarily compact gravel. Gravel, hybrid, class 1 E-bike, or mountain bike recommended. 


Sunday, May 26, 11 a.m. start time – The Rail Trails of the Elm City: Keene, NH. 

Presented by Pathways for Keene, the Monadnock Regional Rail Trails Collaborative, and the Monadnock Cycling Club.  

Come see the City that New Hampshire Magazine named “Best New Hampshire City for Bicycling” in 2021. The College Town of Keene, New Hampshire, includes numerous shops and restaurants in its welcoming, charming downtown. The tour will depart downtown and visit the Chesire Trail and the Ashuelot Trail, traversing urban and wooded trails while exploring bridges along the way. Local cycling experts will guide this ride! After the ride, participants are encouraged to visit the downtown businesses to get a drink or a little lunch!

Ride description: The ride will be on a mix of paved and gravel trails, mostly flat or gentle slopes. A minimal amount of street riding will also be included on mainly low-density roads. The total length will be about 15 miles at a leisurely pace.


Friday, May 31, 4 p.m. – The Trails of Bethlehem

Presented by the Bethlehem Trails Association

Ride the scenic Bethlehem Trails with us. Riders of all levels will enjoy these great trails overlooking the White Mountains. Trails include some easy single-track and some riding along the rail beds that used to bring tourists to Bethlehem from New York City’s Grand Central Station and from Boston and other area cities. The trails we’ll ride will have minimal elevation gain and are fairly flowy and fun. It’s a great way to ride some rail trails and try out beginner mountain bike trails so you can start to hone your skills. We’ll have ride leaders who can give pointers along the way, and we can provide up to three fat tire bikes and three mountain bikes for you to use.

For additional information and to register for these rides, please visit the Tour de New Hampshire information page at www.bwanh.org/tour or at the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire website under the “Events” menu.


 

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About this Author

Don Waldron

Don Waldron is a resident of Manchester and enjoys serving the community as a Manchester Commissioner on the Southern NH Planning Commission, the Manchester Conservation Commission, is a member of the Board of Directors for The Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire and a member of the Manchester Environmental Justice Advisory Group. Don also enjoys a long career in public safety and is a career Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic for a local fire department as well as a fire instructor for the State of NH. Throughout his career he has also been a volunteer EMT, firefighter and part-time police officer.