E-Bike Ride in Tamworth NH
August 3, 2021
“I can’t tell you everything, doesn’t that ruin the entire point of an adventure?!” said Chris, as my buddy James and I prepared to embark on our e-bike exploit. With those wise words (as I would later recognize), we departed the shop in Jackson, NH for Chocorua Lake per the advice of Chris and Andrew. In search of sweeping vistas, we began the journey at Narrows Bridge, overlooking the sunlit waters of Chocorua Lake with Mount Chocorua prominently posed in the distance.
Before we set out, we instituted one critical rule: no maps or route planning. Although the heftiness of the e-bikes proved quite noticeable to me upon pedaling away from the bridge, it was more difficult to identify the presence of the “e” in the e-bike. Yet, as we continued gaining elevation on Fowlers Mill Road, the effect of the “e” became quite clear after I switched from the eco to tour setting. Suddenly, emerging from the dense forest lining the road, we were greeted with a wonderful pasture view.
Following a swift descent, we opted to turn right on Paugus Road - remaining true to our promise to avoid route planning. The even grade of the dirt road soon became a rutted, rocky two-track leading to Liberty Trailhead. “Where to,” inquired James. Our eyes quickly fell on the more overgrown path continuing past the parking lot. Once past the gate, we followed the road, then bearing left onto a narrow single track until it met Paugus Brook. A little bagel sandwich break later, it was evident that we would definitely not be carrying the e-bikes across the brook.
Connecting back with the two-track brook trail, we paused: to the left the brook trail climbed steeply, disappearing from view, and to the right the liberty parking lot. “Soooo… are we?” Let’s give her a send!” With that, we swung the e-bike to our left and began the slow pedal upwards. Twisting and turning the now logging road winded its way up the mountainside. However, as the terrain steepened, we simply switched into touring mode and quite gracefully arrived at a plateau in the road. Already deeply committed at this point, the road dropped rapidly ahead. Following many whoops and hollers and sore hands from tenaciously squeezing the breaks, James and I arrived at the junction with the Bolles Trail, which snaked upwards towards the Kancamagus Highway to our right. Ultimately, we decided to head downhill to the left, as it would probably be best to wait for the e-mountain bikes set to be incorporated into the rental fleet next summer. Zooming along a wide, pine-needle-covered path, we gleefully journeyed downwards until the two-track led us back to Fowlers Mill Road. Gradually, the appeal of an unplanned adventure began revealing itself, as the smiles did not leave our faces.
Shortly afterward, we made a right onto State Route 113A. Following our first paved road of the day to Wonalanact, we were introduced to a beautiful mountainscape. Again, the pedal-assist feature proved helpful on the way there.
With around 15 miles completed, we briefly, ever so slightly, broke our no route planning rule to chart a general course back to the car. Turning onto Great Hill Road, we were granted quite the surprise… entirely downhill travel to Tamworth! A gift we took full advantage of, reaching 41 MPH zipping towards the sleepy town. Along the way, we also stopped for lunch at an unplanned destination - aligning with the adventurous spirit of the endeavor!
With our appetite satiated, we passed through Tamworth, beginning the climb up Chocorua Road. Shockingly, in what became a staple of the trip, James and I pedaled with relative ease up a hill I assumed would provide a challenging ascent. “This almost seems unfair,” I said as we reached the crest of the hill without breaking a sweat. Following a few more lefts and rights, we rounded the final bend of Fowlers Mill Road, arriving back at Narrows Bridge after a 24-mile adventure.
Of course, we couldn’t conclude the trip without taking a dip in Chocorua Lake! After a nearly perfect combination of road, gravel, and trail riding, stunning mountain vistas, and great conversations with an old friend, one sentiment remained with both of us: the excitement of a spontaneous adventure is unmatched!