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Old 06-07-11, 09:50 AM   #1
BikEthan
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Eastern Mass commute route advise/feedback?

So I'm going to do this crazy commute at least a couple times this season maybe a couple times a week if I'm not going to die. Involves back roads and Rt. 117 from Berlin, MA to the Longwood Medical area in Boston. A little over 34 miles each way. I'd be leaving at about 5:30 AM to get to work on time.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...&z=11&lci=bike

Yes it's long, no I won't be doing his more than a few times a week at most and probably not round trip on the same day unless I'm feeling particularly energetic that day. I'm mostly concerned with safety and traffic. Mainly I don't want to end up on narrow roads that are frequently traveled by large trucks.

Thanks!
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Old 06-07-11, 10:34 AM   #2
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Nonantum road is currently under construction, are you planning on taking the bike path in that area?. You might be better off going through newton/ brighton. Bike boston/ mass bike can help you find the streets with marked bike lanes. Also try rubel maps.
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Old 06-07-11, 12:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
So I'm going to do this crazy commute at least a couple times this season maybe a couple times a week if I'm not going to die. Involves back roads and Rt. 117 from Berlin, MA to the Longwood Medical area in Boston. A little over 34 miles each way. I'd be leaving at about 5:30 AM to get to work on time.

Yes it's long, no I won't be doing his more than a few times a week at most and probably not round trip on the same day unless I'm feeling particularly energetic that day. I'm mostly concerned with safety and traffic. Mainly I don't want to end up on narrow roads that are frequently traveled by large trucks.

Thanks!
Hi BikEthan,

Haven't seen you around on the Forums since you moved way out there. That Northwest sector out 117 and other parallel roads is a favored region for road cycling on Saturdays, so I can't speak about inbound weekday traffic. I imagine as you get near the city, commuter traffic will get heavier, but more alternative routes will be available.

My favorite map for the Metro Boston region is the local map from AAA, if you can get one. It covers a wide area, to just west of I-495, and is detailed enough to show a lot of nice back roads; the scale is 2.25 miles per inch. What are your alternative modes? As you may know, the Commuter Rail allows bikes on the train during off-peak hours, but all the early morning weekday inbound trains on the Fitchburg Line are peak, and the earliest non-peak outbound train is not until 7:35 PM.

Another source might be to post to the thread, "Metro Boston:good ride today?" on the Northeast Regional Discussion Forum because a lot of those correspondents ride in the Western sectors. Good luck and let us know. It's finally that time of year for good long-distance commutes.
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Old 06-07-11, 01:28 PM   #4
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I ride those roads pretty often and the route choices you linked seem viable. At 5:30 am those roads are pretty empty, as you get closer to the city the traffic will increase but it almost makes it easier because they'll slow down to your speed and less for much of the time. With regards the closing of the Nonantum run of the bike path into Boston simply cross over the river at Watertown Square and ride the bike laned street (Charles River Road) that runs parallel to the river and cross back over at N. Beacon, should you choose that route.

My recommendation would be to get off Rte. 117 as soon as you can before 7:00- 7:30 am as it starts to crowd with the coffee sipping, texting, cell phone using commuters. The road gets bumpy and potholed as you roll towards Drumlin Farm so if there's traffic you have less negotiating room. If you take a right on Tower Road (South), just past Drumlin, it becomes Concord Rd. Follow that all the way down to Weston, left on Boston Post Rd briefly then right on School Street, it becomes Newton Street and feeds out onto Rte. 130 that runs parallel to the Pike and leads to a major junction of 128 and 90. It will be jammed with traffic but it's doable on a bike. If you look on the map you can then snake your way to Commonwealth Avenue in Newton and follow that to Boston College, cut right around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and onto Beacon for a bit through Coolidge Corner and a right onto Washington and snake your way over Longwood Medical.

Hopefully, my revisions transferred to this link. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...&z=13&lci=bike


(Google seemed to add some "phantom miles" to my route change because I kept dragging it onto Comm. Ave so it probably appears to back track)

For hard copy maps: The Rubel Eastern Massachusetts Bike Map would cover this route quite nicely.

BTW, didn't I run into you on the D2R2 a few years back?

Last edited by buzzman; 06-07-11 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-08-11, 05:53 AM   #5
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Hi BikEthan,

Haven't seen you around on the Forums since you moved way out there. That Northwest sector out 117 and other parallel roads is a favored region for road cycling on Saturdays, so I can't speak about inbound weekday traffic. I imagine as you get near the city, commuter traffic will get heavier, but more alternative routes will be available.

My favorite map for the Metro Boston region is the local map from AAA, if you can get one. It covers a wide area, to just west of I-495, and is detailed enough to show a lot of nice back roads; the scale is 2.25 miles per inch. What are your alternative modes? As you may know, the Commuter Rail allows bikes on the train during off-peak hours, but all the early morning weekday inbound trains on the Fitchburg Line are peak, and the earliest non-peak outbound train is not until 7:35 PM.

Another source might be to post to the thread, "Metro Boston:good ride today?" on the Northeast Regional Discussion Forum because a lot of those correspondents ride in the Western sectors. Good luck and let us know. It's finally that time of year for good long-distance commutes.
Thanks for the tips! I got a little caught up on other stuff. Mainly work, commuting (not via bike sadly) and building some living space in my sister's walk-out basement for my mom. Anyway. Most of the time I can just carpool in with one friend or another so this is mostly a recreational commute.
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Old 06-08-11, 07:12 AM   #6
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I ride those roads pretty often and the route choices you linked seem viable. At 5:30 am those roads are pretty empty, as you get closer to the city the traffic will increase but it almost makes it easier because they'll slow down to your speed and less for much of the time. With regards the closing of the Nonantum run of the bike path into Boston simply cross over the river at Watertown Square and ride the bike laned street (Charles River Road) that runs parallel to the river and cross back over at N. Beacon, should you choose that route.

My recommendation would be to get off Rte. 117 as soon as you can before 7:00- 7:30 am as it starts to crowd with the coffee sipping, texting, cell phone using commuters. The road gets bumpy and potholed as you roll towards Drumlin Farm so if there's traffic you have less negotiating room. If you take a right on Tower Road (South), just past Drumlin, it becomes Concord Rd. Follow that all the way down to Weston, left on Boston Post Rd briefly then right on School Street, it becomes Newton Street and feeds out onto Rte. 130 that runs parallel to the Pike and leads to a major junction of 128 and 90. It will be jammed with traffic but it's doable on a bike. If you look on the map you can then snake your way to Commonwealth Avenue in Newton and follow that to Boston College, cut right around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and onto Beacon for a bit through Coolidge Corner and a right onto Washington and snake your way over Longwood Medical.

Hopefully, my revisions transferred to this link. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...&z=13&lci=bike


(Google seemed to add some "phantom miles" to my route change because I kept dragging it onto Comm. Ave so it probably appears to back track)

For hard copy maps: The Rubel Eastern Massachusetts Bike Map would cover this route quite nicely.

BTW, didn't I run into you on the D2R2 a few years back?

Excellent. Your edits did stick so I'll pour over that and hopefully come up with something doable and relatively safe. Thanks for the advice!

I believe you did. I rode the D2R2 in 08 but haven't been back since. Moving and associated stuff has kept me from riding/training enough to feel like I can take on something of that scale.
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Old 06-08-11, 07:51 AM   #7
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Excellent. Your edits did stick so I'll pour over that and hopefully come up with something doable and relatively safe. Thanks for the advice!

I believe you did. I rode the D2R2 in 08 but haven't been back since. Moving and associated stuff has kept me from riding/training enough to feel like I can take on something of that scale.

I've done the D2R2 a couple of times but will miss it this year due to a schedule conflict- such a fun ride! Anyway an "OOPS" on my route #'s I meant Route 30 not Route 130 in my post above.

Good luck with your commute.
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Old 06-08-11, 09:20 AM   #8
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Thats a serious elevation drop too, going east. Glezen Lane In Wayland, the western end is being repaved too. I always see a lot of cement mixers, logging trucks going through Nine Acre Corner, and on Route 117 at times. I'd go through Weston & Comm Ave in Newton, less annoying than Waltham and more crowded areas. Chris
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