This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
From: email@example.com (Pamela Blalock)
I walked into the Convenience/Liquor store in Essex Junction, Vermont
at around 5:30 in the morning. A female clerk was stacking boxes and
had her back to me when I inquired about a restroom. Before turning
around, she told me that I'd have to go across the street to the
Amtrak station, but it was currently closed.
She then turned around to see a very disappointed young lady wearing a
helmet, glasses, tights, rain jacket, gloves and reflective vest.
While I thought about having to ride another mile out of town with a
full bladder to find a place to take yet another hike in the woods
carrying a roll of toilet paper and jar of vasoline, she took pity on
me and let me into the private restroom downstairs. While downstairs I
noticed a few bikes and realized this clerk must also be a cyclist who
sympathized with my plight.
But did she really? Did she know that I had ridden 280 miles from
Boston since 4AM the day before over 4 major mountain passes and 200
unnamed killer hills? I didn't explain, but I thanked her and headed
back out into the cool morning air and hopped on the back of the
tandem so we could continue on our journey to Montreal.
Similar scenes were acted out many times with many other riders over
the four days that one hundred riders attempted to ride their bikes
from Boston to Montreal and back. We often wondered what passing
motorists must think as they saw all these cyclists pedalling along
the rural roads at all hours of the day and night. We sometimes asked
the same questions ourselves. But we knew that we were there having
fun and accomplishing another major goal. For Steve and me, it was
being the first mixed tandem to do Boston-Montreal-Boston.
Boston-Montreal-Boston (BMB) is a timed cycling event in which
participants ride their bikes just over 1200 kilometers (~750 miles)
between Boston and Montreal and back within 90 hours. The clock
starts at 4AM August 20 and does not stop until the rider returns to
the start. All time off the bike is included in the total time. BMB
is not a race, although many riders treat it as one. The *winner*
receives no additional reward other than bragging rights. Riders are
self-supported - carrying tools, spare tubes, tires etc. Follow
vehicles are not allowed, but a rider may have a support vehicle meet
him at the checkpoints. A rider must get to each successive
checkpoint before it closes or face disqualification. Closing times
are based roughly on a 13Km/Hr pace. There are also secret controls
to keep riders from taking shortcuts or catch those who do. If this
sounds a lot like Paris-Brest-Paris, there is a reason. The ride was
modeled after the 100 year old ride in France. It is run every year,
except for PBP years, and has served as an American super-qualifier
for the French version recently. The ride was first held in 1988, when
12 of 19 entrants completed the course in the allotted time. The ride
has grown every year since and includes international riders in 1992,
with entrants from Canada, Great Britain, Ireland and France.
The qualifiers for PBP consist of rides of 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k.
They also serve as very good training rides for the event. This year,
participation in official qualifiers was not required for BMB entrants.
Being the year after PBP, many clubs took a break from running
official qualifiers, making it more difficult for riders to find
official events. But, riders were strongly encouraged to do their own
qualifiers or other equivalent rides.
The $210 entry fee included food like pasta, sandwiches and cereal at
all the checkpoints. Some checkpoints had primitive places for riders
to sleep. Checkpoints were located in gymnasiums and recreation
centers. Riders could have 5 sag bags sent to specific control points.
Savvy riders either sent sleeping bags to the controls, where they
planned to sleep or made motel reservations. The route was not marked
as it is in France, but detailed cue sheets were provided. The cues
were so detailed that a rider occasionally could miss a turn because
he was still reading the description of it when he passed it!