Friday, May 28, 2010
The town of Keene serves as a hub to both the Cheshire Rail Trail and the Ashuelot Rail Trail in New Hampshire.
So I found it rather odd that a.) no two people seemed to pronounce Ashuelot the same way (so let's go with ash-wheel-ot) and b.) no one and I mean no one in Keene could tell me where I could find the trailhead for the Ashuelot Rail Trail. This became especially puzzling when I finally found that the trailhead was located pretty darned close to the heart of the town. So once you get to Keene, just find "The Center at Keene" and the trailhead is directly across Emerald Street from there. Another helpful hint for finding this trail and many other rail trails in the New England area is to get one of the tourist (illustrated) maps of the town (Keene, NH in this case) and they are sometimes easier to follow than other maps.
To start, if you are biking the Ashuelot Rail Trail, I recommend you use a mountain bike. Although a hybrid bike or recumbent bike may be possible to navigate on most parts of this trail, knobby tires and a little bit of suspension prove to be quite helpful on certain parts of the trail. Having said that, I wouldn't categorize this trail as a strictly mountain bike trail, and it's not too difficult to ride since it is fairly flat and is never far from one quaint community or another.
Speaking of quaint communities, I loved some of the towns and villages associated with the Ashuelot Rail Trail. For starters, Keene is a nice New England town with a pretty downtown area, a couple small colleges, and plenty of tourist amenities.