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Old 03-09-13, 04:47 PM   #2526
rholland1951
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Took the Winter bike out to Bedford and back on the Minuteman this morning, 20 miles.


The temperatures were in the high 30s when I started and had hit the mid-40s by the end. Winter was on the ground and Spring was irrepressibly in the air. This big willow typified that, with snow on its arched trunk and delicate yellow-green tendrils getting a running start on sending out leaves and catkins.


Plenty of snow was deposited yesterday, though, some of it sitting on a bench with a nice view of Peepers Pond.


Kids were making the most of the snow, on the big coasting hill at Tower Park. Near Woburn Street, some kids improvised a tidy little sled run on a slope next to the Minuteman, whizzing across the trail at the bottom and using the snowbank opposite as a bumper.




A few Canada geese made the best of things in Kiln Brook, at Tophet Swamp.


Conditions on the Minuteman were surprisingly good: anything that actually got plowed--and most things did, in Arlington, Lexington, or Bedford--was bare pavement, wet or dry, by mid-morning, with only a few soft strips of slush here and there. However, a few spots unaccountably didn't get plowed: parts of the Trail between Water Street and Mill Street (Russel Place makes a good detour for that) along with the customary Depot Park Glacier on the sidewalk where the Minuteman ends (the parking lot is clear). These were a mess, and made me glad I'd brought the bike with treads and studs.




The piney section of the Trail between Hartwell Ave. and Westview Street had a slush field comprised of snow dropping from the pine boughs.


The thaw is proceeding rapidly, and all this will look different tomorrow.

Did a little poking around beyond Depot Park, and noticed that at least the first, paved section of the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail has been plowed, and that the old railroad building that houses the Bikeway Source is undergoing serious renovation. The store's open, though.


rod

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Old 03-09-13, 06:19 PM   #2527
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Since moving to boston in August I've barely touched my road bike. Anyone want to show me some good riding in the Boston metro area & beyond tomorrow afternoon. Celebrate an extra hour of daylight?
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Old 03-09-13, 06:28 PM   #2528
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Did the ride I tried to do last Saturday and turned around before the big hills because I was just hurting everywhere. Today was much better -- and nicer weather, although it got cold about five miles from home but I didn't stop to put my jacket back on. 76.5 miles out to Bolton and Harvard. Lots of hills, but every time I climb them they get easier.

Not as many cyclists on the roads as I expected for such a nice day. It was really beautiful, and the roads were mostly clear. And I think I might have actually gotten a tiny bit sunburnt.
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Old 03-09-13, 06:29 PM   #2529
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Did the ride I tried to do last Saturday and turned around before the big hills because I was just hurting everywhere. Today was much better -- and nicer weather, although it got cold about five miles from home but I didn't stop to put my jacket back on. 76.5 miles out to Bolton and Harvard. Lots of hills, but every time I climb them they get easier.

Not as many cyclists on the roads as I expected for such a nice day. It was really beautiful, and the roads were mostly clear. And I think I might have actually gotten a tiny bit sunburnt.
It's beautiful out there. I bet it's nice in white!

rod
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Old 03-09-13, 07:13 PM   #2530
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It's beautiful out there. I bet it's nice in white!

rod
Big blue skies over white snowfields were a nice reward for the hills. Sadly, I wasn't carrying a camera, and even if I had been I have an talent for making the gorgeous look mediocre when I'm behind a lens.
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Old 03-09-13, 07:18 PM   #2531
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Since moving to boston in August I've barely touched my road bike. Anyone want to show me some good riding in the Boston metro area & beyond tomorrow afternoon. Celebrate an extra hour of daylight?
We'd be glad to show you some roads but alas it can't be tomorrow. We're playing gigs all day (or we'd be out riding too).

It depends on where you are, of course, and if you have a car. If you can get to the Minuteman Bike Path you can rid it out to Bedford and then pick up some awesome roads through Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Chelmsford, etc. I can give you some specific suggestion if that suits.

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76.5 miles out to Bolton and Harvard. Lots of hills, but every time I climb them they get easier.
Hills in Harvard, MA? Surely you jest. (And don't call me Shirley.) There ain't nuthin' flat in that part of the suburbs, so if you did 76 miles up and down that stuff you done a mighty impressive bit of ridin'.
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Old 03-09-13, 07:39 PM   #2532
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We'd be glad to show you some roads but alas it can't be tomorrow. We're playing gigs all day (or we'd be out riding too).

It depends on where you are, of course, and if you have a car. If you can get to the Minuteman Bike Path you can rid it out to Bedford and then pick up some awesome roads through Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Chelmsford, etc. I can give you some specific suggestion if that suits.
I live in Somerville though in the Spring Hill area.

I'd love to be shown some roads with some good people, very serious. I've been generally discouraged on road rides since moving out here.. I moved from living in Brooklyn half a block from the entrance to Prospect Park and it's 3.4 mile loop.. would regularly do the longer River Road rides as well. I don't have a car which is one of the things, I'm also just oblivious and uneducated on where to go without ending up running into highways which always seemed to happen the few rides I've been out on the roadie.
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Old 03-09-13, 08:25 PM   #2533
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I live in Somerville though in the Spring Hill area.

I'd love to be shown some roads with some good people, very serious....I'm also just oblivious and uneducated on where to go without ending up running into highways
Hmm, the Spring Hill area is pretty urban. I would expect there are good ways out of the city, especially since Somerville and other towns have tried to open up bike paths and bike lanes. Somerville has its own bike map at http://www.somervillema.gov/sites/de...utes2012_1.pdf

If you can get to Alewife (the eastern end of the limited-access part of Rt2 and the end of the Red Line) you can pick up the Minuteman. It goes all the way out to Bedford, about 10 miles, ending at Depot Park, a common bike destination, with parking and restrooms (which are still closed for the season). Along the way it goes past Lexington Center, where Ride Studio, a cycle-oriented cafe, is a common destination. There are a few road crossings but the only place where you really need to dismount is where it crosses Mass Ave in Arlington Center. Of course it isn't road riding but it does get you out to real "roads".

From Bedford there are many options. We usually take our tandem out there in the car to start our rides. There are numbered state routes but those tend to be quite bikeable. Some possibilities:

From the western end of the MM continue westward (more or less straight ahead) on Railroad Ave, follow it around the schoolyard, take the obvious right at the stop sign, and it T's into Rt62. Left on 62 goes to Concord, also a common bike route and destination. After entering Concord you can stay on 62 all the way in or go left on Old Bedford Rd, then right when it T's into Mass Ave/2A, and Concord Center is less than a mile. From Concord you can go north on either Monument St which eventually hits Rt 225 where you go left into Carlisle, or you can go north on Lowell Rd up to Carlisle Center. Or you can ... lots of options! But first you have to get there.
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Old 03-09-13, 08:50 PM   #2534
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If you can get to Alewife (the eastern end of the limited-access part of Rt2 and the end of the Red Line) you can pick up the Minuteman.
From Spring Hill (I used to live on Prospect Hill ages ago, and for part of it I was commuting out to Lexington) I'd say the fastest way to the Minuteman is Highland, straight through Davis Square onto Dover (the small street between the crepe place and CVS), down to Mass Ave, and take that out to Arlington Center, where the entrance to the MM is IMHO best reached by crossing the intersection where you can see the sign on the right and going just a tiny bit further to a parking lot turn-in from which you can just hop on (rather than trying to turn right at the intersection and then get across to the actual entrance on the other side of the divided street). It's crowded but it gets you out of the city faster than trying to grab the bits and pieces of bike path that exist further in.

Then there's lots of pretty places to explore. You can also, if you want to explore further out without riding long distances, take bikes on the commuter rail.

If you're hitting freeways, the problem probably is that you're heading north or northeast. There are ways to get through that mess but you're better off heading west. Unless you want a place to take a mountain bike as well as road rides, then do come north up to the Middlesex Fells.
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Old 03-10-13, 06:52 PM   #2535
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This was my Friday commute:

https://vimeo.com/61440630
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Old 03-10-13, 06:57 PM   #2536
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Sweet Jeebus,

I am swinging between horror and awe.
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Old 03-10-13, 08:13 PM   #2537
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My bicycle bell is feeling inadequate...

rod
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Old 03-11-13, 06:20 AM   #2538
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Learned a new route yesterday. Accompanied a friend from Framingham to the Nashoba Brook Bakery in Concord for some delicious scones and coffee. Great ride through Marlboro, Sudbury, etc. Quiet roads. Mostly clear roads, if not a little bit wet.

Felt bad that I slowed my friend down a bit, but all in all, a really great ride. And the back felt great too! Bonus.

Here's the route:

http://app.strava.com/activities/43944290
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Old 03-11-13, 06:00 PM   #2539
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10 miles on the Minuteman before dinner, most of it in daylight; Grandpa Jones notwithstanding, Daylight Savings Time already feels pretty agreeable. Cool temps, not cold, almost got the layering right. The Winter bike is getting ignored again.

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Old 03-11-13, 06:14 PM   #2540
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Rod says DST isn't so bad. I'm thinking I like it's effect on my biking because I got to ride after work today (about 45min on the Blackstone BIkeway) and because I may be able to start commuting as soon as it stops raining on the days I go in to the office.

Benjamin Franklin supposedly thought up DST. He also supposedly said "Early to be and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." I'm not so sure about the healthy and wealthy part, still waiting for that to kick in. But the wise part is true. Now I"m wise enough to know that getting up an hour earlier isn't such a good idea.
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Old 03-11-13, 07:58 PM   #2541
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Yeah but it was a good day for a Triumph 3 speed with fenders and a friend with a similarly equipped bike to meander some winter pent up Iwanna rides. Blackstone's pasture (aka Boston Common) to the Mass Bay Charter at tour of the State Archives. Passed the Calf Pasture Pumping Station to Harborwalk almost through the snow on Dorchester Shore but "damn the torpedos" passed Farragut and clear sailing on the Head Island Causeway for Sully's fish and chips. First and Summer with a stop to see "The Partisans" then visit the Micro-Unit exhibit at BSA on 290 Congress. More meandering on Rose's greenway and the Freedom Trail over the steel grated Charlestown Bridge, under the Zakim, through Revere Park and an expresso at Cafe Kafofo in Cambridge. I waved to the dinosaur outside the Museum of Science and rode directly back to Blackstone's. Boston is a great biking city.
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Old 03-12-13, 01:20 PM   #2542
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Since moving to boston in August I've barely touched my road bike. Anyone want to show me some good riding in the Boston metro area & beyond…

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I live in Somerville though in the Spring Hill area.

I'd love to be shown some roads with some good people, very serious. I've been generally discouraged on road rides since moving out here…I don't have a car which is one of the things, I'm also just oblivious and uneducated on where to go without ending up running into highways which always seemed to happen the few rides I've been out on the roadie.
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Hmm, the Spring Hill area is pretty urban. I would expect there are good ways out of the city…

If you can get to Alewife (the eastern end of the limited-access part of Rt2 and the end of the Red Line) you can pick up the Minuteman,,,

From Bedford there are many options. We usually take our tandem out there in the car to start our rides. There are numbered state routes but those tend to be quite bikeable. Some possibilities:

From the western end of the MM continue westward…to Concord, also a common bike route and destination….Concord you can go north on either Monument St which eventually hits Rt 225 where you go left into Carlisle, or you can go north on Lowell Rd up to Carlisle Center. Or you can ... lots of options! But first you have to get there.
Hi sibaudio,

I'm a year-round commuter, and occasional centurian living in Kenmore Square, and all my rides are as loops out from the Square into the sub- and exurbs and back. This thread is a very active and enthusiastic one but is soooo MetroWest-centric. Kenmore Square is centrally located near downtown, and I've explored the region in all directions A couple years ago I wrote a little compendium for new or visiting cyclists describing road cycling in the entire Metro Boston area, and I’ve left in this excerpt my impressions of the Metro West as traveled on this thread. It was written for a cyclist in Saugus who moved here from Hawaii. FYA:

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For some generalities, my favorite map is the AAA road map of metropolitan Boston. I think of the area in sectors radiating from downtown and surrounded by a circumferential belt about 10 to 15 miles from Downtown, known as Route 128 ("America's Technology Highway"). Unfortunately, 128 is a barrier to get through, especially on hair-raising roads that serve as feeders to the entrance ramps; over- and underpasses are more pleasant. All the riding is markedly better outside of 128, but the city and inner suburbs are nice and interesting. I'm an early mornng rider so I don't see the worst and my view may be through rose-colored glasses. .

Even though I've lived here for over 30 years, I always get lost on a new ride. Streets are laid out in a haphazard fashion; many streets, particularly the one you are riding on are not marked; they surreptiously change names; and in rotary intersections it's easy to lose your sense of direction. (I don't have a GPS.) On a happier note, the Transportation Authority (MBTA) allows bikes on subways and commuter trains with certain restrictions and that's a nice way to get out of town without city riding.

I would describe the sectors as (mostly for road riding outside of Rte 128):

North Shore:…

Northern Suburbs: Lynnfield, Reading, Wilmington, Woburn, down through Winchester, etc: …

Western: Lincoln, Lexington, Concord, Wayland, etc: Very ritzy, buccolic and historic; very popular for riding. This area IMO has the steepest hills.

Metrowest: Framingham, Natick; pleasant suburbs though pretty commercial along Rte 9

Southwest: Needham, Wellesley, Dover, Medfield, Walpole, Westwood, etc: probably more popular than the western burbs; wealthy exurban to rural, moderately hilly country roads, horse farms, mansions.

South:…

South Shore beyond Quincy and Weymouth and into Hingham, Scituate, Marshfield, etc:…

I am a solo rider but the Charles River Wheelman is the big cycling club around here. Some bike shops have organized rides, e.g. Landry's and Back Bay Bikes I know for sure. Wheelworks, International Bicyles and Harris Cylery are also well-known, but all are close to or in Boston. The Mass Bike Coalition, massbike.org is probably also a good resource.

Feel free to PM me with other questions, and I look forward to comments from other area riders and future posts from you.
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Old 03-12-13, 03:03 PM   #2543
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This thread is a very active and enthusiastic one but is soooo MetroWest-centric.
Where else is there?

Re rt128, at least to the west, err, excuse me, MetroWest there are quite a few ways to cross it safely. My usual route when leaving directly from home is north to the MM, then west simply because it crosses 128. Once west of, err, excuse me, MetroWest of 128 (It doesn't really go any other direction, does it?) anything is possible.

Then again, when you're driving you go from I95 South directly onto I93 North by continuing straight east. Go figure.
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Old 03-12-13, 06:38 PM   #2544
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I don't think anyone has mentioned the Rubel Bike Maps yet. They're worth having, and the batteries never give out.

rod

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Old 03-12-13, 07:15 PM   #2545
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I use Rubels maps. The only frustrating thing about them is that the scale is so big they don't show every road. That means you can lose your way occasionally.

I did not ride today. But I did it in MetroNorth and MetroSouth. Which is to say the ride I didn't take went those places. The ride I didn't take to MetroEast would have put me in the harbor if I'd ridden far enough, so I didn't go that way.
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Old 03-13-13, 11:00 AM   #2546
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This is great stuff.
This time it is the Jims who lead us on rose colored views in and outside 128 and Metro rides not taken. Great stuff.

How appropriate to connect bicycling to Concord and points not east by transcending government highways with the inherent goodness of individual self-reliant riders! I always get a little lost biking Boston and navigating philosophy but Ralph Waldo would admire this MetroBoston's enthusiasm for things natural. With Rod's photos and without Rubel, we seem OK with the prospect of getting a little lost and existential MetroEast rides not taken.

I'll add there is a paper version of the digital MAPC map of present and planned trails and greenways. It is great for pre-meditating explorations but favors foot traffic and doesn't navigate or Rubel-rate paved roads. I check out bicycle biased digital mapping but find it still insists on sending my existential self on paths not yet built.

Riding into Boston I prefer the path of least resistance riding back roads in then get on Rt. 16 to cross 128 near the Newton/Wellesley line. I choose either Beacon St past Mary Baker Eddy and Boston College on very good bike lanes or shoulder down Rt 16 to Watertown then follow the Charles to either Memorial or Old Soldiers Field. For some reason riding out I sometimes prefer the Charles paths all the way to Waltham and cross 128 on Rt. 30 into Weston then backroad home.

Maybe influenced by Hawthorne, I'll leave this thinking and go romance the roads.
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Old 03-13-13, 02:20 PM   #2547
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How appropriate to connect bicycling to Concord and points not east by transcending government highways with the inherent goodness of individual self-reliant riders! I always get a little lost biking Boston and navigating philosophy but Ralph Waldo would admire this MetroBoston's enthusiasm for things natural. With Rod's photos and without Rubel, we seem OK with the prospect of getting a little lost and existential MetroEast rides not taken.
I love getting "lost" on my bike. It's the best way to discover new roads or routes I may have otherwise skipped past. When I used to live at Newton Corner, where it is often very congested and "urban," I did love discovering new ways to cut through that and find quieter roads. Now that I live in Needham it's a bit easier...thankfully!
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Old 03-15-13, 05:10 AM   #2548
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This is great stuff.
This time it is the Jims who lead us on rose colored views in and outside 128 and Metro rides not taken. Great stuff…

Riding into Boston I prefer the path of least resistance riding back roads in then get on Rt. 16 to cross 128 near the Newton/Wellesley line. I choose either Beacon St past Mary Baker Eddy and Boston College on very good bike lanes or shoulder down Rt 16 to Watertown then follow the Charles to either Memorial or Old Soldiers Field. For some reason riding out I sometimes prefer the Charles paths all the way to Waltham and cross 128 on Rt. 30 into Weston then backroad home…
Thanks for the compliment. I'm an avid map reader (“cartographile”) and I was looking at routes from Sherborn to Boston. Nearly all my rides as a commuter who combines training, are from Kenmore Square to Norwood, usually via Dedham on the most direct routes of 14 miles, but including via Sherborn when I am trying to put in more than 25 miles.

FYA, may I suggest alternative routes into Boston via Dedham? If you make your way into Dedham from the west via Needham, Common, or High St (Rte 109) to Bridge Street, you get to the VFW Pkwy. The Parkway itself is pretty rideable with a wide shoulder, and is residential with good traffic flow. At Independence Dr. at Hancock Village, you can turn left and there are two pleasant residential routes to Brookline Village, and then onto the Muddy River Bikepath to Kenmore Square.

Alternatively on Bridge Street, you can continue straight onto Centre St which is a light commercial street, but becomes residential on into Jamaica Plain, and eventually leads to the Jamaica Pond Bikepath. However, I have two delightful residential routes off of Centre St that go through West Roxbury to Brookline primarily on Weld Street, and then to Brookline Village and the Muddy River Bikepath.

Finally, another alternative set of routes can be found via Dedham Center, bypassing the Dedham rotary and onto Washington Street. One is through Roslindale, best done during off-peak travel hours though there is a bike lane. A better alternative is a short distance on Washington Street to Lower East St which becomes a residential segment of Centre Street, eventually to the Weld St. route. I once rode with mtalinm on the last-described route, since he commutes a similar route to mine, but in the reverse, in-bound direction.

I have also expanded my basic Kenmore Square-to-Dedham/Norwood trip via several routes east of Route 1. For example via Hyde Park to Dedham; Dorchester, Quincy, Milton and Canton to Norwood; Braintree, Randolph, and Stoughton to Norwood; or Randolph and Canton; again to expand my routes up to about 25 miles. So if you wanted to add miles on a trip to Boston these are alternatives.

If interested, I can provide more detailed descriptions on request for any of these possibilities. Basically I describe my expanded routes in two groups: via the Charles River or the Neponset River Watersheds.

PS: Here's a cartographic joke: A dowager from Beacon Hill once went to California. When asked how she got there, she replied, "By way of Dedham." When asked how she liked California, she thought it was "nice, but too far from the Ocean."

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-15-13 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 03-15-13, 08:32 AM   #2549
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Just registered for the Outriders Ride from Boston to Ptown in June (http://www.outriders.org/).

Will be my second year doing this great ride. Two of my other friends are going as well, which should be fun. Probably only one of two "organized" rides I'll do this year (the other will be the ECV Essex County Century in May).

Just putting it out there in case anyone is interested. It's 70 bucks and really well supported and marked. Plus, who doesn't love riding to the Cape?
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Old 03-15-13, 08:42 AM   #2550
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I love getting "lost" on my bike. It's the best way to discover new roads or routes I may have otherwise skipped past. When I used to live at Newton Corner, where it is often very congested and "urban," I did love discovering new ways to cut through that and find quieter roads. Now that I live in Needham it's a bit easier...thankfully!

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…Even though I've lived here for over 30 years, I always get lost on a new ride. Streets are laid out in a haphazard fashion; many streets, particularly the one you are riding on are not marked; they surreptiously change names; and in rotary intersections it's easy to lose your sense of direction. (I don't have a GPS.)…
When I was growing up in Detroit, around grades 6 to 8, my good friend and I used to also like to go out on our bikes and “get lost,” as well as our intentional rides throughout the neighborhood. Detroit though, is laid out on a rectangular grid system, so we were never really that lost, compared to riding in Boston.

One benefit of cycling around Boston and knowing the back roads, is that occasionally when driving on a freeway if I encounter a traffic jam, I know how to get off and bypass the jam on the local surface roads, while the unaware drivers sit it out.
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