Sunday, May 3, 2009

Where in NH Are You Biking?

We took our bikes out last Sunday and took a short 6-mile ride on the Nashua River Rail Trail. It's a scenic 12.5-mile paved trail from Hollis to Ayer, MA. Saw a near collision between a big ol' snapping turtle trying to cross the trail and an unsuspecting bicyclist. Reminds me I need to pay close attention to my surroundings. That turtle was big!

I'm on the hunt for more bike trails and paths to explore this year. Of course, we have some tried and true favorites. Nearby Mine Falls Park offers lots of variety through wooded areas between the Nashua Canal and Nashua River. That's a good one for us because it's so close. A co-worker from Hudson remarked this week that she wonders why it doesn't get "more publicity."

And then there's the short but nice Windham trail. Good for when you're short on time, but still want to get outdoors.

My hunt for new trails this winter led me to the NH Bike-Walk Alliance website. I've actually been following the work of these incredible bike enthusiasts for a while. They have one page devoted to rail trails in the state, including those in the early planning stages. From their homepage, look for a link that says "NH Rail Trail Index."

In 2008, the folks at the Department of Transportation also worked long and hard with bicycle groups throughout NH, including the Bike-Walk Alliance, to create bicycle maps for the state. They're available for download here, but I haven't had much success getting these to print out in a readable format. The maps show improved and unimproved rail trails, on-road routes and bike paths.

Apparently, the maps are available in limited supply at the state's rest areas and select locations -- but you have to ask for them. At least that's the word on the Bike-Walk Alliance website. So my mission this week is to track down a hard copy of the state's "official" biking map.

In the meantime, if you have a favorite bike trail in your own backyard, please write and let us know!

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