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  1. #1
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    Evangelical Californian in Massachusetts

    Hey all,

    I've moved to Worcester, MA this fall to study at WPI. Great school, but I'm missing the San Francisco culture. I just ordered an Xtracycle setup and plan to install it on a Navaro Buzz which I will purchase next week. My previous bike was stolen 6 months ago, and I mean to do things right this time around. That means, getting educated and really getting to know my bike. I've already benefited by reading discussions from this forum, and I look forward to participating!

    - Charlie

  2. #2
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Hello Charlie, San Francisco is a hard place to beat! But MA has a charm too. Make certain that you take photos of the Xtracycle when you get it, and share with the Commute and Living Car Free forums .

    Welcome to BF!

    East Hill
    Last edited by East Hill; 04-29-07 at 03:34 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member bikeutah's Avatar
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    I am of the same belief, East Hill.

    Charlie, Massachusetts has alot of charm itself, and Worcester is not that far from Boston or Providence, two other great cities.

    Sorry to hear about your previous bike.

    -Mike

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    WPI--cool! That's where I did my undergrad (biology major); I am now in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner--knew I wanted to do something medical, and as I did more research into the possibilities I decided that seemed like a good fit for me. WPI is a great place. What are you planning to study there? If you are at all interested in things medical, I would recommend looking into joining the campus EMS squad--they run First Responder classes usually once a year where you can get certified and then join the squad, which is student-run and works closely with campus police. You don't have to be pre-med to do it--there are members from all majors. As for getting used to Massachusetts, just keep an open mind. You'll probably find things that you liked better about California, but you'll also find things you like here that you didn't have there. Welcome to the East Coast!
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    One more thing--I'm not sure if you've already found a bike shop you like in the area, but I would recommend Barney's on Chandler St. The guys there are very helpful and they seem to cater to the "everyday" cyclist rather than just the competitive racing types. As for preventing an encore of your bike being stolen, make sure to get a good lock and park the bike in the open when you leave it somewhere, and make sure whatever you lock it to is secure. Where will you be keeping it if you're living in the dorms? I didn't have a bike while I was there, so I'm not entirely sure what kinds of facilities they have for bike storage at WPI.
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  6. #6
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for the wonderful welcome, guys!

    I didn't mean to sound too bummed out about MA. It surely does have its charm. I'm a little shellshocked from the winter, maybe, but the Fall was one of the most beautiful sights I've seen. Boston does seem like a great town, and I'm sure there are many people and places therein and thereabouts that are amenable to a San Franciscan's taste. Not that I ought to be demanding San Francisco culture in a place that is so different. To do that would be to blind myself to the charms that are peculiarly New English.

    I'm a mathematical sciences major at WPI. I'm very interested in dynamical systems and non-linear dynamics in particular. I have some friends who are going the biomedical engineering route. One of them plans on going to med school. I honestly don't know what I want to end up doing (teaching perhaps), and I'm responding to this career uncertainty by making the rest of my like into what I want it to be - hence the impending bicycle purchase.

    So as a college student, I don't have much time or money to get around too much. I know that there are some old rail lines that have been converted into bike trails, though, which I plan on checking out soon. I'd really like to get on my Xtra and go exploring with my camera.

    I've ordered my Free Radical from Xtracycle, but I've yet to buy my bike. REI is having a huge sale on Friday that I want to exploit, so I'm going to go down there on Thursday with the intention of plotting my purchase. I'm going to go 26" with the Xtra, and I was thinking about going for the Novara Buzz. However, I'm not sure that the Buzz has all of the gearing options that I'll need for longer trips that could involve (mostly paves) hills and flats. So I'm going to look at some hardtails, too, with the intention of possibly swapping out some parts to make it more comfy. I'm gonna look around at some of the other local shops (I hadn't heard of Barney's Bikes, but I know where Chandler is. What about Bicycle Alley? Or Fritz's?) Any thoughts, guys? I'll move this question to an appropriate forum section later if it gets busy.

    Thanks again for your wonderful welcome! I'll fall in love with MA yet!

    Charlie

  7. #7
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    Oh and in reply to some other questions:

    I actually live in an apartment a block away from the WPI campus. There's a small garage out back where I could keep my bike, but I might also choose to keep it on the stairway behind the house, right outside my bedroom window. What I'm really hoping to do though, is to hang the bike vertically at the top of the stairway that descends from our 2nd floor apartment to the back of the house. I'm just not sure if there's a good beam up there or if my Xtracycle will not be too long to be out of the way while hung. I might also just keep it vertically in a corner in the kitchen. I am NOT gonna take chances with this bike.

    When going around town I'll definitely be sure to get a good lock. As I understand it, the two important things to do are to (1) secure the frame and rear wheel to something unmovable and (2) secure the front wheel to the frame. I have an Onguard Ulock and steel cable combo that can do the job, but I'm worried that this Ulock may be one of the pickable ones that was discovered recently. So I'll probably get something new. There's a healthfood store (Living Earth on Chandler) where I'll be doing some shopping, and it's not in the best neighborhood. I'm also thinking about getting an alarm:

    http://www.etipinc.com/lockalarm.asp?cat=security

    Thanks again, guys! Off I go to take my final exam in differential equations!

    Charlie

  8. #8
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Check out Sheldon Brown's website for his excellent advice on how to best use a lock. If you need any tips on how to keep the bike running smoothly, Sheldon is da man!

    East Hill
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    Yeah, the fall here is great! I'd have to say that's my favorite season. As for the winter, this one was actually a good one to ease you into it as we usually get significantly more snow than we did this year. Have fun with your diff eq's final--that is one class that was notorious for being difficult, especially one particular professor who taught it. Being a bio major, I didn't have to take it. Sounds like you have a good plan as far as where to keep your bike--it does make it easier when you're in an apartment rather than the dorms. BTW, if you know where Living Earth is, Barney's is very close to that store. It's on the opposite side of Chandler and is just a little farther from Park Ave. I am not familiar with Fritz's, but I have been to Bicycle Alley and it's a much bigger shop than Barney's. Other than that I don't know too much about it as I have only been there once to pick something up for someone. As a college student, you may be interested in something else as well for bike maintenance etc. There's a program called Earn-A-Bike in Worcester that has open shop hours at certain times, and they have bikes people have donated that one can earn with ten hours of volunteering at the program (which can include helping organize the shop, taking apart bikes etc.); you can also bring your bike there during open shop times and learn how to do some of the basic maintenance and repairs, and then stick around to help out in the shop. It's on Castle St., which is off of Main St. If you google it you should be able to find the shop hours and phone number for the guy who runs it. It's nice to have that option when you're a student and don't have much money to pay the shop to do basic things--you can go and learn how to do it, and they have all the tools you might need.
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  10. #10
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    Thanks again for the advice and info, guys!

    Yeah, I've been through Sheldon Brown's site a quite a bit, and I've read the section on security. I'll be reviewing it and other articles again many times, I'm sure.

    I do know where Barney's is now. I might go down there today, but I'm afraid that if I do I will end up buying a bike! I should probably wait until Friday when REI has their big sale. I'm a member, too which means after the 15% discount from the sale I'll also get 10% of the sale price back at the end of the year. On the other hand, I'd like to support a local independent shop. I thought about driving to west newton even to visit Harris Cycelry, but I don't know if it'd be worth it.

    By the end of the week, though, I should have a bike! When my Xtra comes maybe I'll bring it to Earn-A-Bike to install it!

    Thanks again,

    Charlie

  11. #11
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    My daughter went to WPI with a major in math and physics. It is excellent school - and very hard. Usually ranks in the top 10 hardest colleges in the USA.

  12. #12
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by august30west
    I thought about driving to west newton even to visit Harris Cycelry, but I don't know if it'd be worth it.

    Charlie
    Seeing Sheldon Brown would be worth the visit, if he's there (he's having some serious health issues, unfortunately). The shop itself would be a fascinating place to visit.

    East Hill
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  13. #13
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    @crtreedude

    I'm not surprised! WPI is really the kind of challenging place I've been seeking. A lot is done to keep students sane, but there's no doubt that we are put through the gauntlet every term. It's fun, though!

    @ east hill

    That is unfortunate news! I emailed Brown a week ago and haven't heard back. I hope the man is alright, as it's quite obvious from his website and the regard that everybody has for him that he is a great and kind man.

    @all

    I did buy my bike today! I went down to Barney's as someone suggested and found a great deal on a Giant Sedona LX, which has great hardware for the price. I'm gonna take it out tomorrow for a 13-mile warm-up ride to see how things go. Not sure how long it will take for the Xtra to arrive, but I can't wait to make this bike my main mode of transport!

    Barneys is a great place. The guys there were very helpful and informative. I likw to support local and independent business, and I'm glad to say that these guys deserve it!

  14. #14
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Congratulations Charlie, we'll be expecting reports when you have time .

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  15. #15
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    I'm loving the bike!

    I was out of town for the weekend, but I've been able to take it out a few times. I've got a quick 7 mile ride to a weekly appointment that involves some harsh city road for which the MTB is well suited. I'll be making that trip again today.

    Last night I went out with the local biking club, The Seven Hills Wheelmen, which is actually based at Barney's Bicycle. The ride was only 12.5 miles, but there was some significant climbing to be done. I had spent all day in the car driving home from Ontario, and hadn't eaten quite enough. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle the ride. I made it, however, and was really happy to see how beautiful this place is just a few miles out of town. I really look forward to getting out there some more.

    I would, however, like to pick up a usable road bike at some point. I'm strong, and can force the MTB to do what I want, but for longer rides with more climbing (especially once I get the Xtracycle installed) I am gonna need something else. The X will make a great mule, but it'll be nice to have a racehorse around, too.

    The X is scheduled to be delivered on Friday, btw. First thing I'll do is go grocery shopping. I've got a friend who needs to move from his current apartment to another one a few blocks away, and I've insisted that the Xtracycle be the main workhorse. Lots of pictures!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by august30west
    I'm loving the bike!

    I was out of town for the weekend, but I've been able to take it out a few times. I've got a quick 7 mile ride to a weekly appointment that involves some harsh city road for which the MTB is well suited. I'll be making that trip again today.

    Last night I went out with the local biking club, The Seven Hills Wheelmen, which is actually based at Barney's Bicycle. The ride was only 12.5 miles, but there was some significant climbing to be done. I had spent all day in the car driving home from Ontario, and hadn't eaten quite enough. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle the ride. I made it, however, and was really happy to see how beautiful this place is just a few miles out of town. I really look forward to getting out there some more.

    I would, however, like to pick up a usable road bike at some point. I'm strong, and can force the MTB to do what I want, but for longer rides with more climbing (especially once I get the Xtracycle installed) I am gonna need something else. The X will make a great mule, but it'll be nice to have a racehorse around, too.

    The X is scheduled to be delivered on Friday, btw. First thing I'll do is go grocery shopping. I've got a friend who needs to move from his current apartment to another one a few blocks away, and I've insisted that the Xtracycle be the main workhorse. Lots of pictures!
    Sounds like things are going well. How many people were on the ride from Barney's, and what was the speed like? I've heard about their Monday night rides but have never shown up for one because I don't want to be that irritating person slowing down the group, as I'm not exactly a speed demon. As for picking up a road bike, there's always Earn-A-Bike if you don't mind an older one and would enjoy fixing one up. Have fun helping your friend move with the Xtracycle--that will be a good test of its capabilities and a good way to get used to hauling things with it. I'm sure it will be nicer for hauling heavy stuff than the plastic-crate-attached-to-the-rear-rack routine!
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  17. #17
    Junior Member august30west's Avatar
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    The monday night rides are very casual. Most of the guys that show up are pretty capable riders, but they're not looking to race. Peter (owner of Barney's and president of the SHW) is always really happy to have new people show up, so he's very accommodating. My first ride with the wheelmen was a monday ride. I was out of shape and had spent the entire day driving back to Worcester from Ontario, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up. In fact, I was at the back of the pack most of the time, especially during some of the mild climbing thats on the normal route. One of the guys hung back with me and we talked in between my panting. Hehe.

    So, if you're in ok shape you should be fine. There's no hurry on monday nights, and we'd be very glad to see a new face in the group.

    Additionally, there's a SHW ride every saturday specifically geared towards folks who want an easy and fun ride. http://www.easycrider.us/ I rode it this saturday and it was a lot of fun. You can't quite avoid climbing in new england, but Dick (the ride leader) never seeks to make it hard. He also keeps tabs on all the riders so that nobody is ever left behind.

    Let me just assure you that if you show up you will not be disappointed. They're great guys and the rides take you into some very beautiful parts of central MA. Come tonight if you can!

    I've had my xtracycle installed! Check out this forum post where I've been detailing my experiences with it :

    http://xtracycle.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1323

    chariie

  18. #18
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by august30west
    The monday night rides are very casual. Most of the guys that show up are pretty capable riders, but they're not looking to race. Peter (owner of Barney's and president of the SHW) is always really happy to have new people show up, so he's very accommodating. My first ride with the wheelmen was a monday ride. I was out of shape and had spent the entire day driving back to Worcester from Ontario, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up. In fact, I was at the back of the pack most of the time, especially during some of the mild climbing thats on the normal route. One of the guys hung back with me and we talked in between my panting. Hehe.

    So, if you're in ok shape you should be fine. There's no hurry on monday nights, and we'd be very glad to see a new face in the group.

    Additionally, there's a SHW ride every saturday specifically geared towards folks who want an easy and fun ride. http://www.easycrider.us/ I rode it this saturday and it was a lot of fun. You can't quite avoid climbing in new england, but Dick (the ride leader) never seeks to make it hard. He also keeps tabs on all the riders so that nobody is ever left behind.

    Let me just assure you that if you show up you will not be disappointed. They're great guys and the rides take you into some very beautiful parts of central MA. Come tonight if you can!

    I've had my xtracycle installed! Check out this forum post where I've been detailing my experiences with it :

    http://xtracycle.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1323

    chariie
    Sounds good, and after the ride I did yesterday at least I know I can handle the distance even if I'm not the fastest thing on two wheels. I probably won't go tonight as I'm not feeling so great, but maybe another week. BTW, if you want some good climbing I would recommend Brigham Hill Road in Grafton! Went on a ride yesterday that was about 16 or 17 miles (by Mapquestimate) and a large part of it was on this road. Talk about some long climbs (and fun descents)! There is some crummy pavement in places but given that you have a hybrid, as do I, that shouldn't be a big issue.
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

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