These routes are suggestions. They are by no means the only routes one could take, or even the best. Google maps is a great resource for finding new places to ride. If you’re out pedaling and exploring, be sure to pay attention to what turns you’ve made so in the event you get lost you can retrace your steps.
Make sure your bike is in good working order before using it. The best way to avoid a flat tire is to make sure your tires are fully inflated. Because bicycle tires are low volume (compared to car tires), they can leak air relatively quickly. Tire pressure should be checked at least every week for street bikes, every two weeks for mountain bikes. The Bike Co-Op (in the Student Union) has a pump you can use at any time. Stop by between 10-4 on weekdays and check your tire pressure. Laughing Dog Bicycles, in the center of town (behind Hastings and La Veracruzana), also has a pump that you can use for free.
It’s always a good idea to make sure someone know where you’re going and approximately when you’ll return. And please wear a helmet. Nobody looks smart or pretty when they’re leaking brains on the pavement.
Hilly 5 mile bike ride
A great way to explore of the streets near UMass. Climb up Eastman lane (past North and Sylvan), and turn left onto East Pleasant Street. At the end, take a right onto Pine street, then 100 yards later go right at the fork. Cross railroad tracks, then turn right onto Henry street. Henry street becomes North East street as you pass Shutesbury Road and Flat Hills Road on your left. At the top of North East street, you can turn right onto Strong street, which has a two short climbs and descents, then descend Clark Hill road (the Central hill) and return to the center of campus. Alternatively, you could continue down Northeast street to Main street, where you would take a right to go toward the center of town. From town center, turn right on East Pleasant to return to UMass campus.
This is a great ride through Hadley farmland. Head west out of campus, past Southwest and the athletic fields. Cross over 116, and you’ll soon hit a T intersection. Turn right, and you’ll be on Roosevelt road in Hadley, then take your first left on Stockbridge road. At the end, turn right onto Route 47/River road, and then turn right on Comins road (about a mile). At the end, go left, and in a couple hundred feet you’ll cross 116. At the next traffic light, take a right and you’ll be on North Pleasant Street, which will bring you back to campus.
11 mile bike ride
A continuation of the 8-mile flat ride. Stay on Route 47 until you can turn right onto Plumtree road. At the end of Plumtree(about 1.5 miles), take a right onto 116, then a left onto Sunderland Road. Sunderland road will take you through a stoplight, and you will then be on North Pleasant street and can return to campus.
25 mile bike ride
One of the best 25-mile loops around here is from campus to the Montague Bookmill and back. It’s a long climb to get there, but the Bookmill is a great local destination with a café, river and waterfall, and a great book selection.
Head north out of campus. After the stoplight past Puffton Village, stay right at the fork. This will put you on Rt. 63 north. You’ll be on 63 for about 8 miles – and will be going uphill for most of that time. In North Leverett, take a left (it’s a very obvious intersection with good signage) to go toward route 47. Turn right onto 47, and follow Main Street in Montague to the Bookmill on your left. Follow your tracks to return home.
To Puffer’s Pond
Climb Eastman lane and turn left onto East Pleasant street. At the end, take a left, then take your first right onto Sand Hill Road. Sand Hill has a short, steep descent, and in the middle of the descent, take a right onto State Street to go to the pond.
Alternative: Head out of campus on North Pleasant Street, then follow Route 63 to Pulpit Hill Road on the right. Pulpit Hill will fork – stay right, and you’ll arrive at the pond.
To bike path
The bike path is a flat, car-free place ride, and it’s a great way to get to Northampton, too.
Take University drive toward Route 9. Cross over Route 9 and you will be on Snell Street. Snell Street takes a sharp left corner, and just before you would go under a bridge, you’ll see an on-ramp on the left. This ramp will take you to the bike path. Turn right onto the bike path to go toward Northampton, or take a left for a scenic ride through the woods and past swampland toward Belchertown.
Alternate route to Northampton
Take University Drive away from campus (toward Rt 9), and take a right onto Rocky Hill road (intersection with Rafter’s Sports Bar). When you hit a fork just after a stoplight and cemetery, stay left, and continue to follow Rocky Hill until it ends at Route 47. On 47, take the 3rd right onto North lane, then take your first right onto Cemetery road. Cemetery road brings you through farmland, and over the small rise, turn left onto Cross Path Road (the only left you can take). Cross Path will bring you to an intersection with the bike path. Turn right onto the bike path (so you don’t have to go across route 9 with all the cars. In about ½ a mile, turn left onto Bates Street, then go left at the fork and you will be on Day Ave. Day Ave. ends at Route 9, and you can follow Route 9 into downtown Northampton for food, music, or hanging out.