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What is the Midnight Marathon Bike Ride?
The ride is an annual Boston tradition where over 1,000 people bike the same route as the Boston Marathon the night before Marathon Monday. The roads are not closed off but open to vehicle traffic (and bicycles are vehicles!) - The ride is not a race nor is it a paid event; it is however a pretty unique community experience, a fun way to meet people, and a decent workout.
Due to the organic and non-commercial nature of the ride, there is no official support crew during the actual bike ride; that said, due to the community nature of the ride, it is usually very easy to get help.
What is the status of the ride in 2014?
After months of questions and back and forth (you can read about this in Greg Hum’s open letter to the community), the community has come together to continue the Midnight Marathon tradition, albeit with a number of changes to accommodate Marathon organizers and road closures.
Where can I get updates?
To receive updates please sign up for our events newsletter and/or join the Midnight Marathon Bike Ride Community Group on Facebook. You can also show your support by liking the Midnight Marathon Ride Page.
Where can I rent a bike
You can rent a bike from nearly any bike shop. Here are a few popular choices with online booking:
Urban Adventours has a wide range of bikes available for rental and has a convenient downtown location right next to Faneuil Hall at 103 Atlantic Ave. Their hybrids are $35/day and their road bikes range from $75 to $200 for every 24 hours. They also offer bike tours of the city.
BackBayBicycleBoston offers road bikes at $65/day.
MyBike offers affordable hybrid bike rentals at $25/day or $60 for up to 30 days.
What is the route?
This year we are suggesting an altered route due to heightened security and noise concerns. The route can also change at any moment due to unexpected road closures, however the expected route is available on the cue sheet and from RideWithGPS.
The biggest changes to the suggested route this year:
- The finish line is expected to be closed, so we will finish at Boylston Station (near the after party) via Comm Ave.
- We will likely be biking a detour around the Starting line on a very nearby road.
- There will be no gathering at the Marathon Start line- gather at Southborough Station instead.
Is there an after party?
There will be a post-ride pancake breakfast hosted by Boston Common Coffee near the finish spot from 1am to 4:30am. Tickets are $11.54 which includes 2 pancakes, 2 strips of bacon, and a choice of coffee or water. There are a limited number of tickets, and while some may be available at the door, we strongly encourage you to purchase them in advance here.
How can I get to the start of the ride?
The ride will start from the Southborough Station parking lot at midnight. There are a number of ways to participate in the ride this year. However, taking your bike onto the commuter rail probably isn’t one. There will be no chartered trains this year. Your options are:
- Our Truck n’ Train: Due to limited availability of bike transportation on the commuter train, we have hired 6 moving trucks and staff to transport bikes from Boston to Southborough. Since there are only 4 bikes allowed per train car (this will be strictly enforced), if you bring a bike to the commuter train, you may have a 2% chance of getting on board. Purchasing a truck-transit ticket will guarantee bike delivery to the Southborough commuter rail station. You must purchase your bike-transit and train ticket separately. The cost covers the expense of hiring movers and trucks; any funds left over will be donated to the local nonprofit, Bikes Not Bombs. Get more details and purchase now.
- Find a ride or car pool: Convince a friend or family member to give you a ride, or post in our Midnight Marathon Community Group to seek & organize group transportation options, including car pools and shared taxis.
- Ride out and back: If you’re in good shape, you can ride out and back with friends, or join this existing group. Their 50+ mile ride leaves Boston at 7pm for a leisurely ride to the starting point. Food and drinks usually make an appearance while waiting for the other riders to arrive at midnight for the ride back.
- Take an earlier train: There are trains from Boston to Southborough nearly every 2 hours. There is still a ‘4 bikes per train-car’ limit, but you will have a much better chance of getting on than with the 11pm departure.
- Volunteer: We are seeking a very small number of extremely fit, friendly, and patient volunteers to help load and unload bikes from 8:00pm to 12:30am and bike slower than the crowd to perform a sweep. Volunteers will be driven to the starting location in their own chartered bus. FANCY! Inquire by sending us a message on Facebook.
What do I need to bring?
Remember: This bike ride is unsupported, meaning you are responsible for your own navigation, safety, flat repair, hydration, and sustenance during the ride, and getting home once you’re done.
So you don’t get lost, stranded, or scared:
- Bring a copy of the cue sheet and map, even if you are bringing your phone with the GPS route. It’s important to have an analogue backup in case all else fails.
- A spare tube, a portable pump, and/or a patch kit, even if you don’t know how to use them; it’s usually pretty easy to find someone with know-how to help. Be prepared.
- A fully charged cell phone (even though there are areas where you probably won’t have a signal) with maps if you have a smartphone. It may come in handy to call a friend or a cab for a lift if you do get stranded, or in case of emergency.
So you don’t get hungry and tired:
- Pack at LEAST 1-2 bottles of water AND some food/snacks. 26 miles is a workout on a bike, and the only convenience stores open before you reach the city are ⅓ of the way into the route. Remember, there are no bathrooms set up for the ride along the way. Plan accordingly.
- Bike lights with fresh batteries. Much of the ride is pitch black- you’ll need front AND rear lights to not only see where you’re going, but so others can see you to prevent accidents. Don’t believe us? Take it from a bike lawyer.
- Wear a helmet!
For the weather:
- Something warm for the colder temperatures (it tends to be colder outside the city). Layers you can take off or put on are key. If it’s really cold, bring an extra pair of thick socks, gloves, and earmuffs.
- Something waterproof for your body, legs, AND feet in case it rains (and it might rain like it did unexpectedly in 2012)
How can I get home after (or during) the ride?
The MBTA shuts down at 1am and reopens at 5:30am. If you can’t bike or drive home, we recommend attending the pancake breakfast then waiting for the MBTA to re-open; you won’t be the only one. Note, you won’t be able to stay inside at the breakfast if your party finished eating but there are others waiting for a table.
If you have a folding bike you can easily get a cab; Uber is even offering a $30-off signup promo for Midnight Marathon participants.
You may also try your luck getting a minivan (or breaking your bike down to fit into a large car) by calling one of these cab companies:
Ashland: 508-745-3802 Framingham: 508-309-7767
Natick: 508-653-2300 Wellesley: 781-235-2999
Newton: 617-332-8294 Brighton: 617-536-5000
Greater Boston (MetroCab): 617-782-5500
Is there anything else I need to know?
YES! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be aware of upcoming railroad track crossings. There are a total of three track crossings on the route (two in Framingham, and one in Cleveland Circle, all marked on our online route) and every year countless people cross them at a bad angle and sometimes get hurt. You must either walk your bike across the tracks or slow down and bike across perpendicular to the tracks, like so:
Also, HAVE FUN. Midnight Marathon Bike Ride is all about being together on bikes with friends and stangers alike! It will be AWESOME.