Short Bike Rides in Greater Boston and Central MassachusettsWritten by Howard Stone, this book is rather hefty for taking with you on a bike. He recommends xeroxing the pages you want and only carrying those with you. I'd actually scan them myself, so I could photoshop in extra information, but it's the same theory.
Each ride starts with a mileage, terrain and food availability description, and then the starting point. You get a general description of what you'll see on the ride and what it's like - then you go into turn by turn exact descriptions of where to go, with mileage counters along each leg of the route. The entries aren't just listed with "turn left at" - you're told if a given leg is a tough climb, or if you have a great view.
The maps themselves are hand drawn, which could lead to some iffy interpretation, but like most of my cyclist friends I ride with a GPS and mileage counter. It's fairly obvious looking at his map and directions where to go on any given route.
I didn't try every single route on this book - so I'm curious, for the reviewer who found the maps completely unusable, just where they are riding. There are certainly parts of Massachusetts that I will *not* ride in because of the roads there - but that's hardly this book's fault. I do know people who ride in those areas and enjoy it immensely. They don't mind the traffic. I do. It might be that the reviewer who disliked this book was trying to ride in Boston or its immediate suburbs and found the streets rough. I would suggest they get out further into the quieter areas and see what's out there.
I also always recommend riding with a GPS. You never know when you'll need to know where the nearest restaurant is, or place with a bathroom, or place with a first aid kit ;). The GPS fills in all the intermediate streets and alternatives in case you hit a closed road or other issue.
In general I do like this book. My only real suggestion would be that in addition to saying "in 4.1 miles" it should also have a "mile marker" running total, so that people with the running total as the main display can use that instead.
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Biking in New England