Two weeks ago I was twittering how Fredericksburg, TX may be the best place on planet Earth to ride. And while I'm by no means recanting, yesterday afternoon's ride here from Boston certainly rivals any place I've strolled on two wheels. It helps that the temperature was in the low 80s, but it wouldn't have even mattered because, the entire two and a half hour ride was in the shade. I can't explain it, really. I mean, trees covered the road the entire way. At times, on the downhills, I felt a slight chill. The only time there wasn't dense tree cover was when the road crossed the freeway.
Also, I think New Englanders are especially friendly in the summer. At one point a large pickup truck was passing, but slowed down right next to me. Typically this means they want directions or trouble. In Fredericksburg, someone slowed down to ask me directions to the Bat Cave (true story; it was a state park featuring bats), but far more often it's someone asking me to get off the road. I try to avoid eye contact and I'll usually get a good grip on the bar, readying to sprint or turn around. Then I saw the window roll down and a chubby cherubim face poke out. He called out "twenty five" to tell me how fast I was going, which was just as helpful as it was adorable because I'd misplaced my computer head.
Also, in New England, you bike through small towns faster than you drive through them in Texas. On yesterday's little excursion I started in Newton, rolled through Needham, Natick, Sherborn, Holliston and Wellesley before returning home. The roads are in good shape and hilly. Very hilly. There's good short climbs and descents and some solid extended climbs to really peg your heart rate. And there's tons of these little backroads, as many as there are little towns to get to.
Of course, when winter returns, all this disappears and it's back to the trainers and rollers, but for now, there may actually be no better riding.