LOWELL, MA — On Saturday, April 1, 2017, the Middlesex Canal Association will present its spring 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 depart from the Lowell Train Station shortly before 11AM. You can take your bicycle on the 10 AM train from North Station which arrives in Lowell at 10:43. (Riders can also board at West Medford at 10:11 or just meet at Lowell Station). There sill also be an early group that will take the 8:00AM train from North Station to allow more time in Lowell and breakfast at the historic Owl Diner, aka the Four Sisters. Route visits the Pawtucket and other Lowell canals, river walk, Francis Gate, and then Middlesex Canal remnants in Chelmsford. Quick visit to Canal Museum, then on to Boston.
Lunch at Route 3A mini-mall in Billerica. Long day, but sunset is late. Riders needing to leave early can get the train to Boston at 1:07 at North Billerica or at 3:14 at Wilmington. Participants are responsible for one-way train fare [$10.00 from Boston to Lowell]. Complete Lowell line schedules can be downloaded if anyone wishes to plan a rail travel itinerary specific to their needs.
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 Bill Kuttner (617-241-9383, email@example.com) and Dick Bauer (857-540-6293, firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Middlesex Canal Commission . Helmets required. Steady rain cancels.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex Canal Association.)
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