Maneha's Treasure: Mayfair Farm

After a long day of digging deep and testing oneself in the saddle, riders turn the final corner and are met by a truly bucolic scene offering the warmth of a campfire, an overflowing food buffet set out under twinkling lights of the barn and the bleating of lambs as they welcome you to Mayfair Farm.  Each year, OBC partners with Mayfair Farm, in Harrisville, New Hampshire, to provide an authentic overnight farm experience for riders of the Maneha 250

Owners, Sarah and Craig, heeded the call of farming in 2011 when they moved their family to Harrisville to run a diversified family farm and kitchen.  Mayfair Farm sustainably and humanely raise both pigs and lambs, alongside two orchards of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, and pears.  Their farm store offers a wide selection of their own lamb, pork, sausage, in-season fresh fruit and maple syrup, along with homemade pastries and prepared foods like chicken pot pies and quiches.  They support other local farms by selling eggs, honey, chicken, beef, jams and soaps.  They sell online, too!  With their on-site commercial kitchen, Sarah and her team -- including her lovely mom -- offer true farm-to-table catering and events with an emphasis on seasonal, local menus.

Mayfair’s farming focus is on raising old style pig breeds and Dorset cross lambs in the woods and on pasture.  A mix of heritage and old style breeds, their pigs enjoy year-round access to the outdoors and spend the temperate seasons pastured in the New England woodlands. There, they forage and romp, eating nuts, roots and non-GMO grains raised and milled specially for them.  Mayfair Farm pigs live the good life!

After our Maneha riders have changed into warmer clothes to ward off the chilly late spring evening in the mountains, they choose just the right spots to set up their tents and then head back down to the barn for a homemade feast by Sarah and her team.  In between visits to the food buffet, riders enjoy mingling with the pigs, penned up in the barn.  When they do wake from their often noisy slumbers, you may just be met with one jumping up on the fence to give you a snout close-up and a cheery snort.  We’re hoping that Peanut Butter, a crowd favorite, will be there again this year to hang with us.  The evening continues with riders drinking beer around the campfire in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock while sharing tales of the day, marveling at the lambs and Mayfair’s friendly sheep dog, Thelma.  Riders slowly trickle up to their tents to rest their tired legs and lay their heads down for a good night’s rest under the stars in preparation for the return leg of Maneha the next morning. 

Before even the sun rises, our cow bell alarm rings.  Riders wake to another overflowing buffet, this one full of homemade granola, pancakes and freshly scrambled farm eggs.  Breakfast boasts views of Mt. Monadnock from the plateau on the top of the farm’s tallest hill.  The warmth of Sarah and Craig’s hosting is found in the details of hot coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, warm pastries, and friendly early morning smiles. 

For Maneha riders, the stay at Mayfair Farm is part of a remarkable riding experience with the farm offering a place of rejuvenation, a connection to animals, and the solace of nature.  We look forward to the challenging two days of riding, to the amazing meals we will share at Mayfair Farm and the connections we will forge.

Diverged Ride 2017 Beneficiary: The Lexington Conservation Stewards

The Lexington Conservation Stewards is a group of over 230 volunteers who work closely with the Conservation Division to care for Lexington’s conservation land.  They protect and maintain the trails that many of us ride on very regularly.  We so appreciate all that The Lexington Conservation Stewards do on behalf of our cycling community and to show our support, OBC is donating half of the proceeds from The Diverged Ride to their efforts.

To continually improve the quality of Lexington’s conservation land, The Stewards:

  • Provide annual maintenance of trails and meadows
  • Build bridges and trails
  • Control invasive species
  • Clean up waterways
  • Host conservation events
  • Improve conservation infrastructure
  • Ensure the health of the wildlife habitat and ecosystem

Among many other projects, two current trail projects include:

If you are looking to get involved, they host Stewardship Saturdays where you can work with a volunteer group on a specific project – check out their site for 2017 spring and summer dates. 

Thank you to all of the volunteers of The Lexington Conservation Stewards – you rock!

Beware The Ides of March (but why?)

William Shakespeare single-handedly stressed out humanity for the last 418 years with this simple phrase from his play, Julius Caesar: "Beware the ides of March."  But why should the Soothsayer's wise foreshadowing of the great Roman Emperor's demise in the play concern us?   

In the year 46 B.C., on March 15th, Julius Caesar was assassinated.  That is a good reason for Julius Caesar to be wary. But why should we feel threatened by March 15th every year?  The ides were once a happier time, and we think we should embrace those times, rather than dwell on the murder of Dictator Perpetuus.  


During the late Roman Republic, a New Years festival not unlike our modern day celebrations was held on the Ides of March down by the Tiber River, roughly a mile from Rome.  In the Roman calendar, the year had only ten months - 355 days - beginning with March. The ides marked the first full moon of the new year.  Revelers celebrated with food, wine, and dancing.  They also offered sacrifices to the Roman goddess Anna Perenna, for happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

Every year about this time in the Northeast we start to yearn for the longer, warmer days.  Some winters last longer than others, but right about the middle of March, regardless, is when we begin our outside riding in earnest. We have grown tired of layering up for outside deep winter rides and have used up all of our patience and Netflix on the rollers.  We truly wish for a ride outside where just bib shorts, a short sleeve jersey, leg warmers, arm warmers and a vest will suffice.  We choose to celebrate the ides rather than fear them.  Daylight saving time has just begun, the Spring Classics are just around the corner, and some of our favorite rides, like Diverged and Digression, are quickly approaching.

As we type, the East Coast is getting a late winter storm; we are predicted to get a 19 inch dusting of snow.  It better be gone by tomorrow. . . we've got some outside riding to do. Et tu, Rider?

Diverged & Digression Ride Beneficiary 2017: MassBike

MassBike is familiar to most of the Overland Base Camp community.  Dedicated to making Massachusetts a more bicycle friendly Commonwealth and increasing bicycle ridership, their collective voice of over 3000 members looks to create solutions for the traffic, health, and environmental challenges that face our community.  We wholeheartedly believe in the work of MassBike and are donating half of the proceeds from both the Diverged Ride and Digression Ride to support their efforts.

MassBike educates cyclists.  From bicycling basics for beginners to instruction for aspiring racers.

MassBike works with communities on bicycling initiatives.  Harnessing the energy of local cycling communities and providing planning assistance to municipalities that are interested in a bicycle project.

MassBike provides bikeability assessment services.  Working with local cyclists to advocate for better conditions in their community.

MassBike advocates.  In partnership with other organizations such as the Vision Zero Coalition, Livable Streets, WalkBoston and the Boston Cyclists Union, MassBike crafted an omnibus traffic safety bill to make our roadways safer for the bicycling community, as well as other roadway users.  Some of the topics included in An Act to reduce traffic fatalities (Senate Docket #1545, House Docket #3006) include:

  • Requiring state owned and state contracted trucks to be equipped with side guards between their front and rear wheels to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from falling underneath the chassis if impacted. Also requiring convex and crossover mirrors. 
  • Lowering default speed limit on state highways and parkways in thickly settled or business districts from 30mph to 25mph.
  • Prohibiting usage of mobile devices, except those in hands-free mode, while operating a motor vehicle.
  • Requiring bicyclists to use both a rear red light and red reflector when riding at night. 
  • Requiring motor vehicles to pass cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users at a distance of at least three feet when traveling at 30mph or less, with an additional foot of clearance for every 10 mph above 30mph. Allowing motor vehicles to cross a double yellow line into an adjacent travel lane, when it is safe to do so if needed, to achieve a safe passing distance.
  • Allowing cities and towns to operate limited automatic road safety camera systems. 
  • Allowing bicyclists to continue straight through an intersection upon a leading pedestrian interval (a walk signal followed by a green light three to seven seconds later), allowing bicyclists to treat a red light signal as a stop sign if there is no road to the right, and allowing bicyclists to proceed through a red light signal if it proves unresponsive after two minutes. 
  • Requiring the state to issue new guidelines for signage for bicycle, pedestrian, and other non-motorized routes. 
  • Establishing that a motor vehicle must yield to a bicyclist at an intersection of a bicycle path and a road, so long as the crossing is marked.
  • Requiring the state to develop a curriculum for elementary school students emphasizing safe bicycling, pedestrian, and motor vehicle practices.

This bill package still has a very long way to go before it gets placed before the Governor to be signed. MassBike will be calling upon a member to make calls and attend hearings to show support for the bill. 

MassBike valets.  Encouraging cycling to events, they offer fully staffed and secure bike parking for events and venues of all sizes.

MassBike rides.  Organizing rides to increase bicycle ridership in Massachusetts.

Check the MassBike site for updates on active legislation and to become a member.

Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers at MassBike – the work you do is so important.  We're excited about the funds we're raising from the Diverged Ride and Digression Ride; in 2016 we raised more than $1,000 for MassBike.

Diverged and Digression: Which is Which?

Sure, both rides sound kind of the same.  They're both mixed-terrain rides, too.  And, both rides raise funds for good causes:  Protecting our trails and keeping our roads safe. But that's where the similarities end and the divergent adventure begins.

Riding one "D" doesn't mean you should skip the other.  It's not D vs. D, it's D & D.  Both rides are very different.  At their most basic:

Diverged is one thousand swooping turns on neighborhood trails and roads. 
Digression is hidden primordial trails and seldom traveled roads.

Join us and find out what this means -- and why both rides are awesome!

"I think we're lost again."  -- Bobbie V.

"I think we're lost again."  -- Bobbie V.

In addition to great rides, this year we're offering a limited edition OBC Outdoor Ally t-shirt.  It's only available for purchase by registrants of either Diverged or Digression.  The shirt is more than cool and more than worth the price.  OF course, all proceeds from the shirts go to the groups indicated below.

Here's an overview of the key differences between the rides.  Questions?  Give us a call, (617) 991-0640, or email.

EventDiverged RideDigression Ride
Ride dateSaturday, 22 April 2017Saturday, 29 April 2017
Event detailsRead all about it: Diverged Ride. OBC's funnest ride of the season.Read all about it: Digression Ride. OBC's most primordial ride of the season.
Registration fee -- 100% of which goes to protecting our riding spaces
  • Indy Rider: $25
  • Guided Group Participant: $25 each
  • Team Member: $20 each
Where do I sign up?Diverged Ride RegistrationDigression Ride Registration
Where does my registration fee go?100% of your registration fee goes directly to Lexington Conservation Stewards and MassBike.100% of your registration fee goes directly to Sherborn Forest and Trail Association and MassBike.
Ride typeMixed-terrain: About 60% trails and 40% pavement. Well worn trails that snake around and around. 1,000 turns. Never far from the start.Mixed-terrain: About 50% pavement and 50% trails. Some primitive trails seldom used. Very few hikers along the way. We own the trails.
How challenging is this ride?We rate the Diverged routes as a 4 on a technical scale of 1-10 -- 10 being the most difficult. The trails are well worn with lots of turns. About 60 feet of climbing per mile. We rate the Digression routes as a 5 on a technical scale of 1-10. Overall, Digression is slightly more technical than Diverged. The trails are more primitive and with more obstacles. About 60 feet of climbing per mile but the Digression routes tend to feel hillier than the Diverged routes.
Ideal bikeA mixed-terrain or cyclocross bike that fits between 33c and 40c tires. Compact gearing will be appreciated. Drop bars recommended. Clip in pedals and shoes required.
Distance & durationThree distances: 16, 38, & 46 miles. Multiple pace options for each ride. Ride duration: Between 2 and 6 hours depending on the pace of the group you choose.Two distances: 22 & 38 miles. Multiple pace options for each ride. Duration: Between 2.5 and 5 hours depending on the pace of the group you choose.
Ride category options
  • Indy Rider: Roll-out when you want; ride at the pace you prefer.
  • Guided Group Member: Choose a predetermined start time; stay with the group.
  • Team Member: You choose and register as a team; We'll provide you a start time.
Requirements to participate
  • A proper bike -- indicated above
  • A proper tool kit -- A comprehensive list is here
  • A good attitude and sense of adventure
  • For Indy or Team riders: A GPS unit and knowledge of how to use it on trails.
Commemorative offeringDiverged Outdoor Ally T-Shirt. Limited Edition -- available for registrants only. $30 price; all proceeds go to the trail fund.Digression Outdoor Ally T-Shirt. Limited Edition -- available for registrants only. $30 price; all proceeds go to the trail fund.
Food & drinkAfter the ride: Light lunch, treats, and drinks served -- included with registration fee.

Join us for Diverged or Digression.  Or, rightfully, both!  We hope to see you smiling on the trails we all protect and respect.