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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 in the early dark hours of Marathon Monday. During this time the roads are still open to vehicular traffic… and bicycles are vehicles! The ride is not a race nor is it a paid event; it is however a unique shared 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, which means you are responsible for your own safety throughout the ride; with that said, due to the pro-community nature of the ride, it is usually very easy to get help.
What are the absolute essentials to know?
- The ride is unsupported and show-and-go, meaning you can ride on the route with friends at any time on the roads as long the roads are open and you follow the rules of the road. The main group coming on the train arrives at Southborough Station at midnight, but many people organize their own carpools and rides, like this out-and-back ride.
- NO BIKES WILL BE ALLOWED ON THE COMMUTER RAIL OR SUBWAY at all on Sunday or Monday of Marathon weekend. This will be strictly enforced by MBTA and Keolis staff. Please don’t try to bring your bike on any trains; you will likely be turned away.
- Bike transportation is available for people who can get themselves to Southborough Station via train, taxi, or carpool. Only a limited number of tickets are available for bike transportation. Bikes will be picked up near South Station and trucked to the commuter rail station in Southborough.
- Boston Common Coffee Company is organizing a post-ride Charity Pancake Breakfast. Buy your tix in advance!
- Unlike last year, there are two route options thanks to the expected reopening of the Start and Finish lines.
- New this year- a rest area along the way. Details will be posted to Facebook soon.
Can I take my bike on the commuter rail train?
No. This year, the MBTA is enforcing a no-bikes policy on Sunday and Monday on all T train systems. You will not be allowed to board the train with your bicycle at any time on Sunday or Monday, and will likely be turned away if you try.
Where can I get updates?
To receive updates, 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’s the route?
Route A: At 30.6 miles, this is the traditional Midnight Marathon route- including a large, steep hill on Cedar St shortly after starting. This route brings you across the Boston Marathon Start Line in Hopkinton. Police ask that you do not stop at the Start Line for photos nor to wait for people. Please pedal straight through and on according to the Route A Map.
Route B - This shorter route at 27.3 miles also benefits from avoiding the Cedar St hill. This is the route we did last year- joining the main Boston Marathon route at the 4 mile mark. If you’re starting late, looking to get downtown early, or just want to avoid that awful hill, check out the Route B Map.
Is there an after party?There will be a post-ride pancake breakfast hosted by Boston Common Coffee near the finish spot from 12:30am to 4:30am. Tickets are $15.00 which includes 3 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 larger of the two Southborough Station parking lots after the final train from Boston arrives around midnight. There are a number of ways to participate in the ride this year, however, taking your bike onto the commuter rail isn’t one of them. There will be no chartered trains this year. Your options are:
- Our Bike Transport + Your Train Ticket: Let us transport your bike from Boston to Southborough while you ride the train with other Midnight Marathoners. Due to this year’s restrictions on bike transportation on trains, we have hired trucks and drivers to transport bikes from Boston to Southborough. After dropping your bike off with us you can take the 11pm train from South Station to Southborough, where you’ll find your bike will waiting for you. Bike Transportation For Train Riders.
- Find a ride or carpool: 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 9pm 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.
- Volunteer: We are seeking volunteers for a few roles, including 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.
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 print 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.
- A helmet!
For the weather:
- Something warm for the colder temperatures (it tends to be colder outside the city… and at night). Layers you can take off or put on are key.
- Bring something to keep your hands, feet, and head warm. bring an extra pair of wool socks, warm and waterproof gloves, and earmuffs or some kind of scarf or ski mask.
- Something waterproof for your body, legs, AND feet in case it rains (and it might rain like it did unexpectedly in 2012)
- Bike tights or shorts. Or any tight non-cotton underwear. Trust us, riding 2-3 hours on a bike with chafing is no fun, and tights or bike shorts WILL help.
How can I get home after (or during) the ride?
Bring a heavy duty lock in case you need to lock your bike up in order to get home. The MBTA shuts down at 1am and reopens at 5:30am, albeit with bike restrictions. 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 and there are others waiting for a table.
If you have a folding bike you can easily get a cab or use public transit. You may also try your luck getting a minivan (or breaking your bike down to fit into a large car) by using Uber or 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 strangers alike! It will be AWESOME.