Two-Wheeling in the Shadow of Monadnock
By JD Hale
Publisher, Yankee Magazine
For those of you who are cycling enthusiasts, there are many levels of rides and beautiful roads to enjoy in the Monadnock region. Just yesterday there were about 15 cyclists in our Dublin parking lot unloading their bikes out of two pickup trucks. They were a 65+ age group, doing a 10-mile ride to Harrisville and back. I love Harrisville Road. You have beautiful views to the south of Temple, Pack, and Crotched mountains. Harrisville is one those true, authentic New England towns.
I do a Thanksgiving morning loop one of two ways. (I always climb Mt. Monadnock, too, on one of the mornings of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend.) Both loops head into West Peterborough from Dublin on Union Street off Route 101, and then into Peterborough center, where I get to “touch home base” by seeing Steele’s stationery and card store, Nonie’s restaurant, and Hobbs Jewelers. I roll through and might head out Route 202 North and take my first right at the fork to go up by the cemetery. I head out that way into the woods on country roads, eventually making my way back to the last part of Route 101 East before it crests Temple Mountain. Then I take a turn into Miller State Park and climb Pack Monadnock’s auto road (exactly a mile) — I say hi to the early-morning hikers using the road to walk dogs or to just catch up with friend or family members. (If you’re there “in season,” there’s a $5 charge to ride your bike up the auto road.)
If I don’t feel like severe hill climbing, though, I take Route 202 South and head out to Jaffrey Center. Then I take a right on Upper Jaffrey Road and head to Dublin center, rolling down Route 101 — it’s really fun going down a hill I wasn’t allowed to ride as a kid. When I was growing up, I had to use certain dirt roads (like Windmill Hill Road) to head up to town from my house. They’re available out of Dublin if you want to stay off the main roads and you have a mountain bike for dirt. I love returning home after either of these two rides for the “big feed” with a big appetite!