Otto 2 Otto ride


As competitive cyclists we all train through the better part of the year, in the freezing cold of winter and the hot and muggy summers in hopes of making ‘da break’, contesting sprints, and capturing KOM/QOM climbs. When we have the opportunity, there is nothing better than exploring new roads with friends. However, fundamentally bikes are about going from A to B.  Bikes give kids and young adults independence to travel where they choose. Bikes enable adults to commute to work in a healthier, more environmentally friendly, and often faster way. Many of us on Green Line Velo commute everyday in Boston. 

Bikes and cars have a troubled past in most major cities in the US. Cyclists deal with impatient and aggressive drivers who believe that cyclists belong on sidewalks.  While a decent number of bike lanes exist in and around Boston, oftentimes they end up being a double park lane for cars and do not remove the risk of being doored. To help build awareness of these issues, this year we partnered with Otto Pizza to organize a charity ride to help support Mass Bike and the Maine Bicycle Coalition in their efforts to improve bicycle infrastructure and enable their advocacy work around safety for cyclists.  We rode from our favorite Otto location in Boston to the city where Otto was started, Portland, ME: Otto to Otto. At 140 miles, a bit of an extreme A to B ride.

GLV’s Kyle Butler pored over Google maps and Google Earth for countless hours to come up with as short and as pleasant of a route as possible, while taking advantage of existing bike infrastructure where possible. We rode the bike lanes along the Charles river, through North Point Park and Paul Revere Landing Park to get us out of Boston and Charles Town. In West Everett we jumped on the Northern Strand Community Trail, which took us through Malden as well. A bit later we took the Independence Greenway through Peabody and the Danvers Rail Trail. Quite an amazing set of bike lanes/trails that made the first part of the ride a lot more pleasant than I had anticipated.

As we traveled further north on this amazingly gorgeous Fall day, we went through beautiful salt marshes, our mouths watering with all the fresh lobster signs. Our first stop was in Newburyport, about 50M into our ride. Dunkin Donuts had donated donuts, bagels, and coffee, which this hungry crowd of cyclists devoured.

Otto2Otto1From Massachusetts we made it into New Hampshire, continuing to follow the coast. Our second stop was in York, ME. Many more snacks were consumed, bottles were refilled, and on we went. Less than 40M to go before we get to eat pizza and drink beer.

In Maine we hit some traffic in Ogunquit, which seriously pushed our average speed down. Just past West Kennebunk we took the Eastern Trail for  approximately 20M. Beautiful gravel trails through the woods utilized by walkers and cyclists. For the last section on the Eastern Trail we met Brian Allenby from the Maine Bicycle Coalition who led us the rest of the way to our final destination in Portland. He was going to take it easy as these were some of the busiest sections of the Eastern Trail. Well, I don’t really want to know what his hammer pace is, because staying on his wheel at this "easy pace" was quite painful.

Once we left the Eastern Trail, we only had ten more miles left to get to Otto in Portland. We hit the city of Portland, had to do one more climb (some racing and dying before the top happened), and then a few more blocks to Otto. We were greeted at Otto by Orianna Bailey and Eric Shepherd with delicious beer and pizza. We all got cleaned up, changed, and refueled. Then we packed many bikes in a ZipVan and a big crew traveled back to Boston. A few us stuck around for one night to celebrate the day and enjoy Portland.