Strangers in the night

It’s 4/20, which in Massachusetts means the┬áBoston Marathon. What does this have to do with cycling? Around 2009 someone decided that they wanted to bike the route, but not get caught up in the Monday madness. The Boston Midnight Marathon Bike Ride was born.

This was my first year participating. Most people take a train from Boston out to Southborough and ride up to the Hopkington start, then roll into town. As a suburb guy this is the wrong direction so I partnered with Jeff S from Team Lick Cancer to ride from his house in Hopkington into Boston, then back out. This is one of the most bizarre rides I have ever seen.

Some of the hundreds of riders wore costumes, or even just went a little overboard with lights and glow sticks. As a result, we were relatively safe as there were so many people all lit up. (Plus it was a Sunday night so a lot less drunks on road!) The temps stayed around 40 the whole night under a dry and moonless sky.

The first few miles are downhill so I was glad I overdressed. Jeff and I passed a lot of riders, manly because we didn’t want to be in a crowd in the dark. Before we knew it, we were in Framingham, then Wellesley. A group of girls cheered us and filled bottles. At 1am!

By the time we made it inside Rt. 128 we were towards the front, but there were always riders ahead of us, visible by their little red blinky lights. In Boston we saw people leaving the bars at 1:30am – Monday is holiday for many people. Soon we were at the finish line taking selfies. Then a quick pancake breakfast and we turned around for the ride back.


Since this was not a mass start event, there were riders scattered across the whole route, still headed into Boston, some running quite late. There were also runners headed in both directions, pounding away on an ultra-run. Cars occasionally passed us all the way back to the starting line, which was a little scary when Jeff’s battery stopped 2 miles from the end. Luckily I had zip-tied 3 headlamps on my helmet and had 5 more lights and 4 reflectors. We did a nice Long Slow Distance ride, 57 miles at a talking pace, all before 4am. By 4:45am I was home, showered, in bed, and a little dazed. Even made it into work.

Would we do it again? Heck yeah! If the weather is dry, and hopefully a little warmer, see you in 2016!