BOSTON — Boston biking can be a nightmare — maneuvering around cars, pedestrians, and the T requires boldness and determination. But on Sunday night caffeinated cyclists from all over the city hopped on a “cyclists-only” commuter rail train to Southborough, Mass. They used the Boston Marathon course, already set up in the wee hours of Marathon Monday, for a 26.2 mile midnight bike ride.
Over the past four years, hundreds of cyclists have shown up at South Station in time to catch the last outbound Worcester train to the marathon’s start line in Hopkinton. But the mass of people, accompanied by their bicycles, caused transportation headaches.
This year, for the first time, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad offered a special train to 700 cyclists that went nonstop to Southborough, just a three-mile ride from the marathon’s start line.
First-time participant Ben Bachwald was waiting for the train to arrive at South Station. He said having the dedicated train made it easier to be part of the ride. He has friends who were’t able to buy tickets (they sold out in 12 hours) so many were chartering buses.
Sarah McNeil, a Central Michigan University student interning in Boston, was nervous about being either too hot or too cold on her first midnight marathon ride. She bought five extra train tickets on Monday and sold them within two hours on Facebook. Before arriving at South Station, she noticed seven more messages from cyclists seeking transportation to Hopkinton.
The ride is organized in part by Boston SOS, an acronym for Society of Shenanigans. The group is responsible for local tomfoolery such as the No Pants Subway Ride.
Stephanie Braman, a second-time participant in the midnight marathon, was pleased the commuter rail was assisting the cyclists’ tradition.
Emma Krause, who was riding the course for the first time, encouraged other Bostonians to join her and hundreds more next year. “Get out of your car and get on a bike!”