If you're into biking in Eastern Massachusetts, you probably already know about the excellent Minute Man and other trails like the Assabet River Rail Trail (ARRT). There are some caveats with riding the ARRT. It's a bit tricky to navigate in places, but ultimately quite worth it.
1. The entrance at Sudbury Street in Maynard is not bike-able at this time. The part of the trail is literally still rails (with a nice curving section, very rare). So if you try to bike it, you're going to have a bad time. You can ride down High St. and jump the fence if you like, but the locals there have been known to terrorize people who park on that street.
2. If you're entering the trail in Maynard, use my corrected map above to find the proper entrance. Follow the two green arrows in the bottom left corner and you can see where google maps did a nice job of showing the trail breaking off from the road. This is at the intersection of Rt. 117 and Winter St.
3. Once you're on the path in Maynard, enjoy several miles of flat, hard-packed ground rock with occasionally large puddles! BMX and mountain biker's delight here. Set in the gorgeous woods you will forget where you are for a long time. Still quite road bike-able although fancy people won't like getting their brakes wet after the rain.
4. Navigating through the next break in the trail was tough. I had to ask other bikers and use GPS repeatedly. There is also no cell phone service out there!
5. I had read there was a delicious ice cream stand at the end of the ARRT. Not strictly true. There is a Dairy Queen about five blocks away. There is another ice cream stand called "Dairy Joy" near where the trail turns into pavement. This is clearly the easiest part of the trail to ride, although a bit hilly.
6. The end of the trail is very surreal. It dumps you unceremoniously into a random section of a neighborhood that is not lively at 4PM on a Sunday afternoon. It's disorienting, there's nothing to do and you feel like you don't belong there. The only other people we saw there were on bikes asking us, "Do you know if this is the end of the trail?" The shock in her voice implied she was concerned about it possibly also being the end of the world itself. If it's not fiery and explodey, it will probably be dead quiet just like the end of the trail. Best practices here dictate giving yourself a quick pat on the back that you made it, retreating quickly from the end-of-the-world and high-tailing it back over the pavement which is nicely labelled every half-mile in a futuristic font.
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