Every September since 2005, the city of Boston has held a charity bike ride to benefit of one of its educational programs. The event is called Hub on Wheels, a clever pun based on Boston’s modest nickname for itself, the Hub of the Universe. For the majority of riders, it would be the only time of the year that they get an intimate view of some of Boston’s lesser-known neighborhoods. There are 3 available courses, 10-, 30- and 50-mile. I’ve been riding the 50-mile course since 2008. In my experience, turnout has varied depending on Boston’s notoriously fickle weather, which is even more unpredictable in the fall. In 2008 the weather was great and the crowds were spectacular. In 2009 cold, heavy rain poured and it seemed only the hardiest of riders showed up at the starting line by 8h00.
Since 2009, the event also has also included the so-called Mayor’s Cup races undertaken by professional riders after the general ride. The course encircles City Hall on cordoned-off streets. Tour de France this isn’t, more like NASCAR. However, if you’ve ever ridden a bike on Boston’s bumpy, weather-beaten streets, you’d know that this is no mean feat. There are separate races for men and women, with the men riding at top speed for about 1h30. Here are some photos from the 2010 men’s race. I had participated in the morning ride, gone home, eaten lunch, successfully fought the urge to take a nap, then returned downtown to catch the second half of the race.