Category Archives: Rides

Screenshot 2015-11-02 08.50.00

A club ride narrative with Strava Labs

Want to know what one of our weekend club rides can look like? Alex Klotz, a new member of the MIT Cycling Club, put together a cool video using some of Strava Labs‘ features.

We started out on a no-drop ride with about 25 people, headed towards Concord. After the first big set of hills, we were pretty spread out and waited for everyone to catch up. One of the riders, Parrish, was going to go on to an apple picking trip after Concord, and wanted to get going at a faster pace, so she, Paul and Felix set off; I wanted to push myself so I joined the faster sub-group. We stopped at the Ride Studio Cafe so Parrish could fix her shoe, and were behind schedule so we booked it to Concord as fast as we could to try to meet up with the main group, covering about 11 km at 30 km/h. We got there and the main group was nowhere to be seen, but a guy was there waiting for them who said he’d been there for half an hour, so we figured they were behind rather than ahead of us. We were surprised, because we were stopped at the cafe for ~20 minutes.  Parrish went off to go pick apples, and Paul, Felix and I decided to do the CBTT loop and then head back. We did that, headed towards Cambridge, hoping to overtake the main group from behind, and pretty quickly Felix got a flat tire, which we spent a few minutes fixing. Then we continued, went down Mill St, and got to the far end and had to turn back to the main road. After that we continued home without event.

Looking at the Strava flybys afterwards, I saw that we were tantalizingly close to the main group on two occasions. They were delayed because they had tried to go up Mill St and were blocked by the same downed power line that we were, and got within a few hundred meters of us near Marrett St. But the closest we got was at the Concord visitor’s centre. We left when they were within 200 metres, and they arrived two minutes after we left. There’s no way we could have caught them on the way back, even without the flat and the dead-end.


The group at PTown, tired but happy

Harbor to the Bay

Last Saturday, 10 MIT riders went to Provincetown. Not the way most people go (a quick and easy ferry from seaport), but the long way – a 126-mile scenic bike route that took us down the coast through Sagamore and Hyannis, and then up through the Cape on a combination of wind-swept highways and gorgeous rail trails. As if the long route wasn’t punishment enough, we also started in the cold and darkness of 4:30am. Why? For the last three years, MIT Cycling has been proud to volunteer with Harbor to the Bay, an annual AIDS charity ride. Our role is to serve as course marshals at various points along the route, guiding and cheering the 300-some charity riders as they make their way along the journey.

The day started with an early breakfast in Copley square, after which we rolled out to head to our marshal positions, dotted between the 60-mile and 115-mile mark. There was no time for dawdling, as we had to reach these spots ahead of the charity riders, some of whom were starting in Hyannis, 60 miles ahead of us, but 4 hours later. Some simple maths told us we needed to average 15mph. That doesn’t sound so bad, with 10 riders in a good paceline. But, that doesn’t allow for stoppage time, and the rest stops other crew members had set up along the way were simply too good to pass up. Filled with delicious home-cooked treats, from brownies and muffins to carrot cake, we knew we wanted to stop at each one to sample the fine food. So, we hustled all the way to Hyannis, keeping a moving speed of about 18mph. We had some (brave) new riders with us, who did an awesome job keeping up and very quickly learned the benefits of drafting. It’ll be really excited to see some of these new riders racing on the road with us in the spring!

The group broke up as we dropped riders off at each marshal spot, where we were delivered lunch by the organizer and stood (or sat, depending on fatigue) directing riders and cheering them on until the last one had come through. It was incredible to see the determination and commitment of all of these charity riders, many of whom have never ridden these sorts of distances before. Perhaps even more impressive were the costumes some of them were wearing, ranging from various superhero-type capes to full-on glamorous drag.

Andrea and a Drag Queen. It was unclear whose legs were better shaven.
Andrea and a Drag Queen. It was unclear whose legs were better shaven.

After the sag car came through and dismissed us from our marshal spots, the group collected again and rode the final miles together, with one last town line sprint to bring us into PTown at around 5:30pm. With three hours to go before our ferry back (no, we weren’t going to re-trace our pedal strokes), we made a beeline toward food and the clean clothes we had packed to change back into. Two (or three) burgers later, we were all feeling much better, and the satisfaction of a good long ride and having helped a good cause began to sink in. The ferry ride home was pretty quiet (most of us passed out), and we all slept pretty soundly that night.

Jen and Corey “recovering” on the ferry

Overall, it was a fantastic day, and we’re looking forward to doing this ride again next year.


How to use your Garmin Edge 500 for a dynamic cue sheet on the bike (even from a route you draw on Google Maps)

Part I. Acquire a *.tcx file
Option A. Get one from (e.g. -> Export -> TCX Course)
Option B. Generate one from a route that you draw on using the GoogleMap CueSheet bookmarklet.
a. Get the bookmarklet from
b. Draw a route on (you can drag to change route until it tickles your fancy). Be sure to use the “classic” Google maps, not the new one now available for public beta (mid 2013). Click the bookmarklet which you should have installed on your bookmark bar.
c. On the resulting screen in your browser, look under the “Garmin file parameters” section. Choose a name for the file. This will show up as the name of the course on your Edge 500, so choose something memorable. Only the first 12 characters will show up on your Edge 500 screen.
d. Click “Generate Garmin Output”.
e. Paste the output that appears into a file with the extension .tcx.

Part II. Plug Edge 500 into computer and place *.tcx file in GARMIN/Garmin/NewFiles. Then eject (unmount) GARMIN from your computer.

Part III. Make sure it worked.
a. Power on your Edge 500, then hold Page/Menu -> Training -> Courses.
b. Scoll to the course, push enter, then Do Course.
c. Press Page/Menu to click through the pages until you get to a cue-sheet-looking screen. Once you start riding, this screen should automatically update so the next turn is at the top. It *will* show street names for most turns if you use the GoogleMap cuesheet bookmarklet. Some .tcx files may not include street names, rendering the cue sheet page on the Edge 500 fairly difficult to use.

Written by Spencer Schaber. If this doesn’t work for you or you have an idea for improving this, please send comments to schaber at gmail dot com.

Palomar Mountain Roads

I didn’t make it on to the team camp this year as it coincided with some other travel obligations, but luckily I got to fit in some extra days riding in the San Diego county area between Christmas and New Year’s, as I had a conference in San Diego on 3rd Jan. We (Kenny and I) stayed at a higher elevation: 4,200′ in Warner Springs, rather than in Borrego Springs at 800′. I can certainly vouch for the other accounts that it is a lot colder higher up. It actually snowed while we were there! We took our cyclocross bikes and did several high resistance rides through the snow on the dirt/restricted access roads through the Palomar Mountains, Cleveland National Forest, and on one day we had some great views across from these mountains all the way to the Pacific Ocean and San Diego. Here are a couple of photos from the trip (the first two images are panoramics that are a bit more interesting if you click on the them to enlarge them):

ICIC Finale

This was the fourth year of a summer-time collaboration between MIT and Harvard, the Intercollegiate Ice Cream (ICIC) ride series, where college-minded riders from both schools explore the countryside together in search of frozen confections.  Yesterday night was the final ICIC ride of the 2009 Summer season, with a group making the trek out to Kimball Farm, eating a pint of ice cream each, and coasting back in the dark (with some help from the commuter rail) to town.

This year, we hit a new record for fewest number of flats and mechanicals, while managing to hit up a different ice cream stand every single week. We also had a significant number of people involved in leading and sweeping rides, and we’re grateful for your involvement. In particular, a big thanks go to Kate, Brett, Ben, Katha, Melissa, Dina, erika, and Nick for their extra involvement in planning and running the rides.

We hope y’all have enjoyed the series, found some new routes, met some new friends, tried some new flavors, and ventured a bit further — and we’ll hope to see y’all next year!

Collegiate and amateur racing in the New York Times

This isn’t really about MIT directly, but a recent post from the New York Times’s City Room blog deserves a shout-out. It’s called “For Would-Be Armstrongs, Some Bike Racing Tips,” and it’s all about the transition from riding to racing in the amateur and collegiate circuits.

It also features advice from the coach and riders from my own undergraduate alma mater, the Columbia University Cycling Team. ECCC pride!

Columbia is a squad that has had an enormous amount of success in the past few years and has turned itself into one of the largest and most successful organizations in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. The Lions almost always place talented and skilled riders in every men’s and women’s category. So it’s well worth reading their advice in the Times post.

Jose’s new 80-mile loop

From the recently crowned Fitchburg cat 3 champion comes a new 80-mile ride to test your legs…and your navigational skillz.

Hi everyone,

I’ve just finalized “The Green Ride”. It’s a beautiful, shade covered, calm 80 mile loop on nice roads, with a fair amount of climbing. It leaves via the usual way to Dover, and comes back from Concord using a brand new route. You can think of this as “the new Pie Ride”. The only real caveat is the number of turns. It’s online now at

More goodies, including a PDF cue sheet and various topographic files, will be posted soon.

Return of the ICIC

The Intercollegiate Ice Cream ride series kicks off this week!  The ICIC is weekly summertime ride to different Boston-area ice cream stands for the sake of being social with other collegiate-minded cyclists.  Hosted MIT and Harvard, this is the fourth year of fun.

Rides leave from Edward Sennott Park (Broadway, between Prospect and Columbia) at 5:15 PM on Thursdays, June through August.  They are aimed at social and recreational cyclists, 10-12 mph and 15-20 miles.  Bring a bike, a helmet, water, and a spare tube if you’d like to join in.