We left Quincy this morning and headed west through the familiar territory of the Blue Hills. Believe it or not we haven’t been on our bikes since Memorial Day weekend. That’s not the smartest way to prepare for a bike tour, but there it is.

As I said we started out through the Blue Hills, then we headed through Dedham, Westwood, Dover, Sherborn, and Holliston. There is some really pretty country through there and we had a wonderful time riding almost all quiet, rural roads. We must have seen at least 100 cyclists out in groups from 1 to several dozen. It struck me as a bit odd to see so many cyclists on a Saturday as Sunday is more the day for large group rides.

We stopped in Holliston at the Holliston Grill for our second breakfast of the day, then we continued on through the center of Hopkinton then headed southwest past Lake Maspenock. As we approached the start of a long, steep climb up away from the lake Jodi shifted into her granny gear and managed to drop the chain off the front chainring and it jammed between the chainring and the frame. It took us a couple of minutes to free the chain and get it back on the chainring and thinking we had solved the problem we started back up the hill. Jodi soon discovered that all was not well as the chain was skipping and refused to shift. At the top of the hill we pulled over in the parking lot of a local nursery and investigated. We discovered that one of the plates on Jodi’s chain had been bent. Jodi did what she could to straighten it and I checked the GPS for the closest bike shop. We found there was a shop in Westborough so decided to head there and get Jodi’s chain replaced. Believe it or
not the ACA route we are hooking up with actually goes through Westborough, though we were planning to meet up with it further south. We got to Westborough and the bike shop is located on Rt 9, which is basically a highway but with stoplights and stores along it. Not very comfortable cycling but we only had to ride it probably less than a mile to get to Frank’s Bicycle Barn, where Jodi had a new chain installed and we had them break off about 8 links of the old chain so we could carry them as spares. I have always carried spare chain links but when Jodi had her problems I realized the links I carry are from my old bike which uses a 7-speed chain and would not work with the 9-speed chains Jodi and I both have now. Duh!

By the time we got to the bike shop we had over 50 miles under our wheels for the day and considering our not so intense preparation for this tour were getting tired. The campground we were originally heading for today are probably 25 miles from Westborough so we decided to see what was available for lodging here. We are now comfortably ensconced in a very nice room in the Westborough Inn, and just got back from dinner at a local Italian restaurant. The weather is heavily overcast and super humid so I am not missing sleeping in our tent a bit tonight.

Hopefully the weather will hold and we won’t get rained on too much tomorrow. We are headed for the northeast corner of Connecticut tomorrow morning, then we’ll head west across the top of Connecticut. My guess is that we’ll end our day tomorrow somewhere near Windsor Locks where we will cross the Connecticut River.

It’s amazing how quickly we fell back into the rhythm of bicycle touring today. Within a couple hours of our start I could feel the old familiar rhythm in my pedaling and how I look at the world and the day’s task of getting from here to there and not getting irretrievably lost.

Good night from Westborough, MA!
Allen Freeman