The next ride I went on this year, in early June, was a brief one, but I explored some out-of-the-way spots in the city of Chicopee. I started by riding across the Willimansett Bridge to get into Chicopee, and then rode on the dirt path along the levee that runs essentially from where I-391 crosses the Connecticut River, down to where I-90 crosses the river. I’ve ridden that path a few times in the past, but when I got to the southern end of it, where one cannot pass I-90 (AKA the Mass Pike), I had always ridden back to main roads.

In this case, I went just a little ways from the river, and then followed a side street that does pass under the freeway. It comes to the gate of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, but then turns west, back toward the river. I followed the road that way, and it goes down to a boat ramp where one can launch into the river. Shortly before going down to the river, though, that road crosses the continuing levee. I started riding along this levee, which bends away from the river toward the east, as there is a brook (which seems to be called Crowfoot Brook) that flows into the Chicopee River, just before the Chicopee empties into the Connecticut.

The levee here had a more substantial seeming dirt and gravel path than the levee to the north of I-90, despite not being marked on the map, the way the previous one is. In any case, here are some pictures I took of the brook/inlet, seen from the levee (click to embiggen):

Waterway and trees, seen from atop a flood levee.
Waterway and trees, seen from atop a flood levee.

I rode a little ways further along this levee, until it ended by some railroad tracks, and I had to exit onto a road again. This brought me out onto Route 116 near an interchange with I-391 (and by the studio of local TV channel 22). From here I was able to ride across the Chicopee River into downtown, and then got on the Chicopee Riverwalk. This is a short piece of paved trail that runs on the south side of the Chicopee River. On that pavement, I encountered a small rabbit (a young ‘un, I think), which seemed surprised and confused by something moving as fast as I was.

Once the pavement ends, it turns into a dirt path that continues through the woods, a bit above the river and behind/below a number of businesses. Here I saw another baby rabbit (which scampered into the underbrush as I approached). I followed this path (another one I had not been on) quite a ways up the river, until it ended on a smallish levee by a parking lot. I rode through the lot and emerged on Main St. and then went over to Route 33 to head north. From there, I rode back up toward Holyoke, and crossed the Connecticut on the Willimansett Bridge again.

The next rides were longer ones, occurring in early July. Stay tuned…