MassBike Spins Presents: Historic Bicycle Tour of Middlesex Canal
On Saturday, September 29 MassBike, along with the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, the Middlesex Canal Commission and the Middlesex Canal Association will sponsor the 10th annual historic bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal. The Canal was the “big dig” of the end of the 18th century. Completed in 1803 after 10 years of construction, the Canal connected the Merrimac River in what is now Lowell with the Charles River at Sullivan Square in Charlestown. In many ways it served as a model for later canals including the Erie Canal. The Canal remained in operation for 50 years, providing both passenger and freight service, but could not compete successfully with the Boston and Lowell Railroad which began operation in the 1830’s.
The ride will meet at the Canal marker on the front of the Sullivan Square MBTA station just to the right of the main entrance at 9:00. From there we will ride about 28 miles to the Historic Mill Village and Canal Museum on the Millpond in North Billerica. We will make a lunch stop in Woburn, so we recommend that you bring a lunch. We should get to North Billerica in time for anyone who wants to catch the 3:07 train back to Boston. The ride will then follow the northern section of the Canal another 10 miles from North Billerica to Lowell and catch the 5:00 train back from there.
The route is pretty flat and level and we will average 5 miles per hour, so the ride will be an easy one for most cyclists. Along the way we will stop at a number of remnants and restored sections of the Canal, as well as the Mansion of Loammi Baldwin, the chief engineer of the Canal (who discovered the Baldwin apple while building the Canal), the two remaining aqueducts (which carried the Canal over rivers and brooks), and the northern end of the floating towpath that carried horses over the Millpond.
The ride will be led by MassBike member Dick Bauer of the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission and the Middlesex Canal Commission, Robert Winters of the Middlesex Canal Association, and Bill Kuttner of the Shirley Eustis House. Helmets required. Steady rain cancels. For more information, contact Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org (857-540-6293), Robert at email@example.com, or Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org (617-973-7132)
For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to: http://www.middlesexcanal.org