Expo Group Rides: Calendar

 

Expo Wheelmen members love to ride together ! We typically ride on the same days at the same times during different points in the year. These rides club organized group rides are open to all Expo Wheelmen members, but to guests by invitation only. If you are interested in joining the Expo Wheelmen or just want to tag along on a ride you can e-mail us at expowheelmen@gmail.com or stop by Manchester Cycle Shop in Manchester CT.

 

Routes - (see below)

Spring/Summer Road Rides

Tuesday Night World Championships - Departs from Manchester Cycle most Tuesday Nights between the time change in March and the time change in October. Ride distance and pace varies depending on time of year and attendance. 

Friday Night "Love Ride"  - A more social ride that departs from Manchester Cycle on Friday Nights and usually runs about the same time of year as the Tuesday Night World Championship Ride. 

Saturday Group Ride - Usually a 2-3 hour ride at a steady (18mph) pace. Route is often hilly and is determined based on preference of attendees and/or group leader. Starting location and time varies. 

Sunday "Beach Ride" - Usually begins in late March and goes through October, this ride always follows the same route from Vernon to Lake Hayward in Colchester CT, and then diverges depending on attendee preference. 

Fall Rides

Tuesday Night Rail Trail Rides - Departs from the Hop River Trail Head in Manchester CT most Tuesday Nights between the time change in October until snow falls (usually December). 

Winter Rides

Winter Road Rides - Departs from Manchester Cycle  most Sunday Mornings in January and February. Loops are pretty standard and pace is moderate. Fenders often encouraged or required. 

Routes Commonly Used By The Expo Wheelmen 

 

But first……..some instructions for using these routes.

 

Please note– Each link will take you to the Garmin Course File for each route. You should be able to view a map of the ride as well as send the route to your Garmin cycling computer using the “send to device” button in the top right of the screen (Garmin Edge 500-810 must be connected to computer). You can also download the file as a GPX file for other GPS enabled computers by using the “save as” button also in the top right. I have made all the courses public so you should be able to view them. I have included the direction of the loop (clockwise vs. counter clockwise) because if you run a route backwards in your Garmin you will constantly get an “off course” message. Make sure you are clear which way the route starts. If you have problems, want to submit a route, or ask a question about a route, free to e-mail us at expowheelmen@gmail.com.

 

Routes - Quick List

(Click the route name to zoom to more info and links to download GPX files)

60-75 Mile Loops

Castle Craig Loop - 63 Miles

 

 

75+ Mile Loops

Hopyard Cobalt Long - 75 Miles

Hopyard Bull Hill Turkey - 71 Miles

Barkhamstead Loop - 75 Miles 

100+ Mile Loops

Granville Gorge Century

 

Winter Loop – 30 miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

Most commonly done between January 1st and March 1st on Sundays this route is an Expo Staple in the winter time. It is very flat and we normally ride at “winter pace” which is between 16.5-18 mph depending on wind direction and group cohesion. The route contains one “spicy” section where there are two town lines close together (Depot st. to the print shop on Wapping Rd). If you are dropped here you can take a short cut to the print shop on Wapping Rd. where we always regroup. 

A group of Expo riders on South Main Street in South Windsor CT.

Photo Courtesy: David Hildebrand

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

Winter Loop

 

Winter Loop w/ TL section short cut

Links to Garmin Files

 

Pursuit Course – 28 miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

The Pursuit Course is a route commonly used by Expo during the first few weeks after the time change in March and the last few weeks in September for our spring/fall Tuesday Night suffer fest. This is a route that we “ride to”. After leaving Manchester Cycle we ride for 20-30 minutes at a leisurely pace to Tessier’s Garden Center where we regroup and then it is game on. We ride all out for roughly 20 miles finishing back down our own tracks at the Manchester town line on Camp Meeting Rd. So why is it called “the pursuit course”? Sometimes we break up into groups and chase each other with the slowest riders leaving first and the fastest leaving last. Groups must stay together. Goal is to hold off the group chasing you until the finish at the town line.(Extra – Be sure to check out the Turkey Hill Variation. This loop continues to Finely Hill Road (Turkey Farm Hill), a climb that starts with a vicious kicker and then turns into a long power drag. First one over the top has to hold off the group for a rolling couple of miles and then a fast downhill into the finish near the intersection of Birch Mt. and Camp Meeting Roads).

 

 

A group of Expo riders gather at loomis street in Bolton before tackling the pursuit course. 

Courtesy: David Wells

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

Pursuit Course

 

Pursuit Course route from the Shop

 

Turkey Hill Variation

Andover Lake Loop – 31 miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

Yet another Tuesday night hammer standby, the Andover Lake Loop is one we do as the days get a little bit longer in the spring. Unlike the Pursuit Course, this loop has both flat and rolling sections and several steep but short hills that often cause big separations. As with many of our rides this one has a “finish line” at the Manchester town line on Camp Meeting Rd. The route seems tailor made for solo breakaways, but with the final climb (Meetinghouse Rd) so far from the finish it almost always ends in a sprint finish.

 

In 2014 we introduced the "Turkey Hill Variation" of the Andover Lake loop. It begins the same way as the Andover Lake Loop, but instead of turing right at the top of Meetinghouse onto Rt. 85 this route turns left and then heads toward Martin Rd. Once on Martin head to Jones Hollow Rd. and then up Finley Hill Rd (Turkey Hill) hammer over the hill before finishing down Birch Mt. Rd. This ride is a blast, and a great way to add more climbing to the mix!

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

Andover Lake Loop

 

Turkey Hill Variation of the Andover Lake Loop

A group of Expo riders hammer down West Street in Andover on a rainy day. 

Courtesy: David Wells

 

"Coventry Loop" – 31 miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

“The Original” – Depending on who you ask the Coventry loop is either infamous or famous among Expo riders. While it has fallen out of favor for our summer Tuesday night ride lately due to some deteriorating pavement conditions, road crews were busy last summer and it may make a comeback. The route is a leg breaker with several long steep climbs as well as many slight downhill hammer sections (Gerhing Rd. and South Street) that can make it impossible to catch back on if you are dropped on the climbs. Typically the ride starts off easy with a nice warm up from Manchester to Vernon, before getting spicy on Bamforth Rd. and really picking up through the Coventry section. The moment of truth always comes on Steele’s Crossing where the grade of the road gives only the strongest climbers the advantage, however, they must get at least 30 seconds in order to hold off the chasers to the Manchester town line on Camp Meeting Rd.

 

For a slightly longer variation that avoids Steele's Crossing try the "Bolton Rd. Variation" of this ride. 37 miles clockwise loop. 
 

"Reverse Coventry Loop" – 38 miles (Loop is Counter Clockwise)

 

Reverse Coventry has become a more popular version of the coverntry loop these days. Rough pavement on the traditional loop has caused a rethink of the route. Once leaving the warmup section of the route the road turns up with a vicious climb up Bolton Rd. before dropping down onto 44 and then cutting over to South Street in Coventry. What is usually a fast downhill rip turns into a gradual climb that can really get the legs burning. The route then has several options, but usually makes a left onto Seagraves Rd. and starts the march back towards Tolland and Vernon. At this you can either head back the steady climb of Gerhing Rd. to Mile Hill Rd. or continue on Goose Lane and Cider Mill rd. to Old Post Rd. a double barrelled climb that brings you back to reservoir rd and where you started. 

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Six Towns – 34 miles (Loop is counter clockwise)

 

When you are just looking to rack up some miles over local rolling terrain and see as many town lines as possible in as short a ride as possible this is the route for you. Beginning in Manchester it follows the usual route to Vernon and then heads up towards Coventry and Tolland before turning back south towards Ellington, South Windsor, and then returning to Manchester by the normal northern approach by the Buckland Hills mall. Nothing special just a solid little loop. Normally used on our “friendly” Friday night loops.
 

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

 

Six Towns

 

 

 

Pirate Loop! ARRRRGGGGHHH – 34 miles (Loop is clockwise)

 

Another mid-summer week night standby of the Expo Wheelmen. This route involves perhaps the steepest climb in the Manchester/Vernon area--Hatch Hill. After the unbelievably steep climb up Valley Falls Rd. the route crosses Bolton Rd. and heads up the 18% grade Hatch Hill. After that the route rolls through Coventry CT and down Bunker Hill before heading up Boston Hill Rd. another very difficult climb. The route finishes at our most popular sprint point, the Manchester town line on camp meeting rd. 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

 

Pirate Loop

 

 

Glastonbury Loop w/ orchard - 33 Miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

Perfect for our "full gas friday" rides (also known as the "Friday Night Love Ride") the Glastonbury Loop w/ the Orcahrd (see the shorter version which removes one of the climbs) offers rolling terrain through the beautiful hills of Glastonbury. The ride begins with a rip out Main street (rt 83) past the Manchester Country Club before heading up Hebron road for a moment and then following quiet back roads across Rt. 2 and into the heart of Glastonbury. After climbing up into what we call "the orchards", a neighborhood with beautiful homes up on top of hills, we drop down to rt. 17 take a left and head down towards the CT river and Tyrion street. We loop back to rt. 17 and the back into Manchester following one of our usual departure/arrival routes into town--East Hartford to MCC. 

 

Short Glastonbury Loop - 27 Miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

An Expo standby, if you're looking for a good loop to do on a weeknight with some rolling terrain this is a great one. 

Links to Garmin Files

 

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

 

Glastonbury Loop w/ Orchard

 

Glastonbury Short Loop

 

 

Short South Windsor - 27 Miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

Perfect route for our Friday Night "Love Rides", this route is used mostly in the early spring and late summer when light is a factor. It is a relatively flat route that allows for high speeds with minimal effort. Beginning via one of our standard Manchester departures, we head out by Manchester Honda and Tolland St. We follow Tolland all the way to Long Hill Rd. in East Hartford. The long run up Old South Main in South Windsor is a club favorite as is the finish on Barber Hill Rd., where this ride usually gets "spicy". The route finishes with a novel way back into Manchester up Slater Street and then over a bike path. Then past Best Buy and into town. The route has many variations that make it longer and shorter. The primary alternative, however, is "Reverse South Windsor" which starts towards the Mall/Best Buy and finishes back through East Hartford. 
 

 

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle Shop Manchester CT

 

 

Short South Windsor

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Expo riders on one of their standard departures from Manchester via Tolland Street near Manchester Honda. 

Courtesy: David Wells

 

Damn You Deer Matt! Marlborough/Portland Alps loop – 41 Miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

For those who are unfamiliar with the legendary Expo rider “Deer” Matt, here are a few things you should know. Deer Matt loves to ride short rolling hills, and he also loves to blow himself “sky high” on rides, so you can only imagine what a “Deer” Matt approved route looks like. Well imagine no more, because here is the first in our installment of Deer Matt approved loops (don’t worry we only let him lead 2-3 rides a year). This loops starts at Manchester Community College (MCC) and heads southeast on Keeney St. before turning to head towards a series of tough climbs including Ash Swamp, Clark Hill, Stewart Hill, and Great Hill. As if those hilly roads were not enough the route then heads into what we lovingly (or derisively) call the “Portland Alps” which include a set of back roads that purposely seem to seek out every rise on the way back to Glastonbury. Despite all the climbing this is a great extremely scenic route made up of a bunch of quite roads. A perfect 2.5-3hr jaunt for a Saturday morning.

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Community College

 

 

Damn you Deer Matt! Portland Alps Route

 

 

 

 

 

UConn Standard Loop - 41 Miles (Route is Counter Clockwise)

 

Our UConn routes are winter and fall standards. They begin from the commuter lot in Vernon near Exit 67 on I-84. They can begin in different ways, but a favorite of late is to head southwest on reservoir rd and then climb Brandy Hill Rd. After that the route meanders into Coventry Center before a long descent down almost to Rt. 6 in Willimantic. Before reaching rt 6 the route turns back towards Mansfield on Flanders Rd. After climbing up to Storrs the route heads into Willington and Tolland and home via Old Post Rd. 

 

UConn Standard Loop - 48 Miles (Route is Counter Clockwise)

 

Just like the Standard UConn Loop this route starts and ends the same way. However, in the middle the route deviates to take in some serious climbs, particularly the Gurleyville rd climb and Plains Rd, a dirt/pavement stretch that is brutally steep, particularly on the dirt sections. Enjoy!

 

Expo riders stop along the UConn route to say hi to Jonathan the Husky Dog! 

Courtesy: David Wells

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Exit 67 Commuter Lot Vernon CT

 

 

UConn Standard Loop 

 

UConn Gurleyville Plains Loop

 

 

 

 

 

Old Newgate Prison/Copper Mine Route – 51 miles (Loop is Counter Clockwise)

 

One of the best ways to experience Connecticut River Valley in northern CT this 50 mile loop has it all. Long climbs, long flats, nicer rollers, quiet roads and scenic views. The route heads northeast from Ellington CT towards Windsor Locks where you cross the CT river. Once over the river, the route makes a beeline for Mountain Rd. in Suffield and then turns south running parallel along the Metacomet trail. Once past the old Newgate prison it is all downhill/flat back to Ellington. This route is an early fall favorite for Expo.

 

Old Newgate Prison!

Courtesy: David Wells

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Windemere School Ellington CT

 

 

Damn you Deer Matt! Portland Alps Route

 

 

 

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Windemere School Ellington CT

 

 

Damn you Deer Matt! Portland Alps Route

 

 

 

 

Lake Hayward Loop – 54 miles (Loop is Counter Clockwise)

 

A summer Sunday standby, the Lake Hayward loop is a beautiful out and back that starts from the Lake Street School in Vernon and heads south to Hebron Rd./East Street (part of the Pursuit Course), through Colchester, and around the picturesque Lake Hayward. After a short kicker climb at the southern end of the lake the route returns to Colchester were there are ample convenience stores and Donut shops to refill before the final push home. This is a great route to rack up a solid 50 miler.

 

Expo Riders stop at the now closed Colchester Bakery an old standby of the lake hayward loop. 

Courtesy: Matt Farrell

Barkhamsted Loop – 75 miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

This loop is a climber’s delight and during middle parts of the ride one could almost trick themselves into thinking they are in the Green Mountains or the Adirondacks. Starting from Manchester the route takes riders across the CT river and over Avon Mt. to Simsbury where the terrain starts to climb gradually up into the foothills of the Berkshire Mts. Once near the picturesque Barkhamsted Reservoir the route takes riders down a screaming fast downhill to the south side of the reservoir and then goes over rolling terrain up the western side. Finally at the northernmost stretch on the route riders are required to climb up for several miles to Hartland CT. The reward for the long climb is a descent down rt. 20 towards Bradley airport and a leisurely flat ride back to Manchester through the CT river valley.

 

 

Expo Riders enjoy a stop on the dam at the Barkhamstead Reservoir

Courtesy: David Wells

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Windemere School Ellington CT

 

 

Barkhamstead Loop

 

 

 

 

Devil’s Hopyard Loop (Cobalt/Portland/Glastonbury/Variation) – 74 miles (Loop is Clockwise)

 

A much longer version of the Lake Hayward Loop, the Devil’s Hopyard Loop is another summer Sunday Classic. This route typically begins from the Lake Street School in Vernon, but also sometimes starts from Manchester Cycle (Both starting locations included as Garmin Course files). It begins with a steady climb to Bolton and then rolls through Colchester, and around Lake Hayward. Once into the Devil’s Hopyard park the group normally ramps up the pace on the quiet twisty roads until reaching the main roads on the other side. Once in East Haddam the Hadlyme country store provides an awesome refueling station. This route finishes mostly uphill with long steady climbs back through Moodus, Cobalt, and Portland, before finally flattening out in Glastonbury and East Hartford for the return trip. If you are looking for a long ride in central CT this is your jam!

 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Cycle or Lake Street School, Vernon CT

 

 

Devil's Hophard Loop (Cobalt/Portland/Glastonbury)

 

 

 

Expo Riders stop at the Hadlyme Country Store, one of our favorite stops!

Courtesy: David Wells

 

Castle Craig Loop - 63 miles (loop is counter clockwise)

 

The Castle Craig loop has it all, urban riding, bike paths, quiet country roads, and a huge climb (by CT standards) in the middle with a spectacular view. This loop starts at Manchester Community College winds through East Hartford, Weathersfield, New Britian, and Berlin before climbing up to the castle. The return trip is excellent, riders experience going over the CT river in Middletown which is followed by a blast through Portland and Glastonbury up Rt. 17. With two CT river crossings south of Hartford this is a great change of pace from our normal rides which are mostly to the east of the CT river. 

Expo Riders stop to take in the view from Castle Craig!

Courtesy: Matt Farrell

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Community College

 

 

Castle Craig Loop

 

 

 

West Of The River Basic - 55 miles (loop is Clockwise)

 

West of the river basic is a beautiful loop reminiscent of loops in the Green Mountains in Vermont. The route stays mostly in the Farmington and CT river valleys so the east and west portions of the loop are flat with two climbs at the most southern and northern points of the ride on the western side of the river. The route passes the picturesque Hartford Reservoir in Farmington and the Avon Old Farms School. The route then continues through Avon and Simsbury past golf courses and other nice open spaces.The peak of the route is over Talcott Mt. and Penwood State park before it descends back into Bloomfield, Windsor, South Windsor and then back to Manchester. There are many different ways to do this route with possible length variations. Check out the Tarrifville variation to avoid the Talcott Mt. climb. 

 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Community College

 

 

West of the River Basic

 

West of the River Tarriffville Variation

 

 

 

 

Granville Century - 99 miles (loop is counter clockwise)

 

It's not often we get into the Berkshires, particularly not with a starting location on the east side of the river! But this is a serious ride for serious riders. Huge climbs, long flats, amazing scenery, and excellent stopping spots make this a bucket list ride for those in northern CT. The ride starts at Windemere school in Ellington and winds to the CT river and then crosses at Windsor locks. The route then takes riders over Mountain Road in suffield before making its way to Granby CT. At this point in the ride it is easy to forget you are in CT and think you are in the Green Mts of Vermont. Riders then make their way to Granville Center whhere the Granville Country Store offers one o fthe best stopping points on any ride anywhere. The store boasts home-made mac n' cheese, tons of pastries, and coke made with real sugar (not corn syrup). Then the climbing really starts. Rt. 57 has no flat, it is up and down and riders will climb several thousand feet in a short span before dropping down a dizzying descent into Massachusettes Rt. 8. The route then takes riders around both the Colebrook River Lake and the Barkhamstead reservoir before heading back over the Talcott ridge and into Bloomfield, Windsor, and back to Ellington. 

Links to Garmin Files

Point of Departure: Manchester Community College

 

 

Granville Century

 

 

 

Granville Country story is THE stopping spot of stopping spots on rides. Home made mac n cheese, coke with real sugar, pastries galore. It's awesome!