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Old 05-03-13, 04:28 PM   #2651
rholland1951
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I've been out there. It's the site of the former Metropolitan State Hospital, one of the large mental hospitals that were abandoned in favor of deintitutionalization in the 70s and 80s. The building you saw is all that's left, I think. The Western Greenway runs through there, and some of that is rideable.

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Old 05-03-13, 05:37 PM   #2652
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Just went for a great ride up the Minuteman. Friendly guy pulled up and started talking about my bike, which is always welcome. I just couldn't stay inside working today - the sun was calling me. I stopped at the bench about a half mile past 128 and lay down for 20 minutes, just staring at the sky. A good end to a tough week...
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Old 05-03-13, 08:30 PM   #2653
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Sunset, cool, clear, crystalline air, Spring, 14 miles.


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Old 05-04-13, 11:03 PM   #2654
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60 miles today, East Arlington to MIT Haystack Observatory in Groton, passing through bits of Lexington, Beford, Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, and Westford, with plenty of hills along the way. Started out at noon, on the Minuteman as far West as Revere Street, Lexington, then hared off across Rt 128 on Grove Street and climbed the hill, charging down Page Road, Bedford, and hitting 34 mph in the process; thank you, Isaac Newton. Headed North on Springs Road, through the campus of the Bedford VA Hospital.


Continued into Billerica, picking up Concord Road for a couple of blocks, then the Northern segment of Dudley Road to Route 4. Paused at the Job Hill Cemetery for a light lunch.


Took Route 4 North across the Concord River, then followed Treble Cove Road to West Street, which became North Road at the Carlisle line. Enjoyed the old farm houses and still-active farms, and played roller-coaster games on the hills. Stopped briefly at Great Brook Farm State Park for a pit stop, then continued to Curve Street, past a dry-looking Cranberry Bog and more working farms.


Took Fiske Street North along the Cranberry Bog Reservoir Number One; crossed the Chelmsford Line and picked up Elm Street, then crossed Route 27 and picked up a block of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, full of happy folks including a 2-year-old who seemed resolved to run into the path of every bicycle within range--kept his parents busy, and the rest of us alert. Skirted the North end of Hart Pond on Pond Street, transiting the beach in the process.


Turned left on Parkerville Road, riding past the Heart Pond Cemetery (apparently, both "Hart" and "Heart" are in use for the pond, and the latter stuck when the cemetery was named; at the Westford line, this became South Chelmsford Road. Got distracted by a carpet of diamonds, highly-reflective little specks of something--glass? mica?--uniformly embedded in the relatively recent paving, and missed Tadmuck Road, which I had intended to use to cross I-495 without the nuisance of ramps. Wandered onto Route 110 (Littleton Road), still looking at the speckles (what ARE they paving the roads with in Westford?), losing ground with every pedal-stroke as it took me South and West. Didn't realize my error until I was nearly to Route 225: so much for a well-planned Northern Route to Haystack, through Westford Town Common, down the big hill on Graniteville Road, and under the working freight line via the Bridge Street underpass; some other time. Got to ride in good-natured suburban bustle instead.

Picked up Route 225 and took that likable road North and West to Forge Village. Took Abbot Street, Town Farm Road, and North Main Street to West Street. Normally, that's the home stretch to Haystack, but I detoured on Cowdry Hill Road, to get another look at it. Cowdry Hill Road faces Millstone Hill Road (the side door to Haystack) across Route 40, and I had ridden it only once before, South from Route 40 to West Street. It was one of those "Google Maps: trust but verify" moments, since much of it was unpaved, and some of it wasn't even graded. It was also subject to active development (apparently, the conservationists lost a battle there in the previous decade), and it seemed to me that perhaps conditions had changed, so I decided to give it a shot from the other direction.

Some things HAD changed on Cowdry Hill Road; the development that was just bulldozed forest when I had ridden it was now full of houses. Some additional sections had been paved. And a largish, newish, unprepossessing house near the top of the hill featured a spacious lawn infested with two hostile Rottweilers (or similar; they might have been Rottweiler-Doberman crosses, a sort of homicidal Labradoodle), in full-up threat display, constrained only by either an "invisible fence" or by their obsessive-compulsive territoriality; not nice, and made me wonder about the judgement and other qualities of whatever entity infests the house. After speaking with the devil dogs, I got to the end of the pavement, and the answer to my question: at least some of the ungraded section of Cowdry Hill Road is still intact.


I think the New England euphemism for that is "abandoned carriage road". After a little experiment, I decided that riding this might be fun on a full-suspension 29er or some similar niche tool, but I should spare my touring bike the hard knocks. Walked the bike a bit, and came to a section that was still dirt, but well-graded. Hurrah! Rode that, and was passed by three well-behaved teenage boys on dirt bikes (motorcycles); they had had fun with the rocks, I knew they were bound to please somebody. Found at least some of what the conservationists were trying to protect; there's some nice country left on the North half of Cowdry Hill Road; hope the developers don't eat it.


Rode across Route 40 to Millstone Hill Road. This little spur from Millstone Road, the Haystack main drag, has one working farm and some of the prettiest wild New England land that's close enough to ride to. It's a gem. The only Pileated Woodpecker I've seen in Massachusetts, I saw there the first time I rode through, and I've had a soft spot in my head for Millstone Hill Road ever since. Didn't see the bird again today, but HEARD it frequently. It is unlike any other North American woodpecker sound, deeper and louder, somewhere between a conga drum and bowling a strike. I tried to record it on my phone without success, but You Tube has a good sample of pileated woodpecking. I heard that at intervals the whole time I was at Haystack, but most strongly at Millstone Hill Road. Perhaps it was pecking at one of the big old pines across the kettle hole pond.


All that was left was Haystack Observatory itself, a sort of Cold War Stongehenge, chock full of exotic radio telescopes, optical telescopes, and radars. I love it. A good place to bring a telescope (and your kid) on a clear night: they're welcoming of amateurs, and the looming giants, glowing gently in the dark, are inspirational for children and adults alike. They make a pretty good impression in the daytime too. As a cycling day ride destination for Boston folks, it's one of the best. And once you get there, it has its own hills...






After a pleasant visit and snack among the megaliths, it was time to ride home. Didn't do anything fancy in that direction, just bombed down to Route 225 and pedaled East, connecting eventually to the Minuteman. Starting somewhere in Carlisle, the on-shore breeze caught me, and the last hour and a half was chilly: 46degF when I rode in the driveway. Good day, first long ride of the season.

rod

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Old 05-06-13, 08:05 PM   #2655
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Up to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman after work, 10 miles. Encountered a woman pushing an empty stoller with an indolent white Persian cat perched on the bonnet, radiating overfed feline indifference. Another happy trail user.

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Old 05-07-13, 06:08 AM   #2656
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"Just" my commute on Monday. I rode the Masi. It was marvelous.
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Old 05-07-13, 05:53 PM   #2657
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So I wanted to go out for an hour or so today. I took the Masi out of the car, and dang, the rear tire was flat. Well what the '?

So I took the Raleigh instead, south through Newton. Did about 12 miles, top speed 24mph heading from Newton back south. It was a lovely day.

So later I went to fix the flat on the Masi and there was no hole in the tube. No leak at all. I guess the air leaked out of the valve. Or spontaneously disappeared and reappeared outside the tube. Schroedinger might have approved the second possibility. Heisenberg might have been unsure about it though.
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Old 05-08-13, 06:55 PM   #2658
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Up to Lexington Center and back after work and after the rain, 10 miles in the lovely Spring weather. Focused on keeping a brisk pace, with incidental bird- and frog-song seeping into the velo tunnel.

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Old 05-09-13, 08:42 AM   #2659
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Sorry to interrupt this thread, but I was interested if anyone here was quite familiar with Watertown? Considering a move and would appreciate a cyclist's perspective on neighborhoods. Thanks!
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Old 05-09-13, 10:07 PM   #2660
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Sorry to interrupt this thread, but I was interested if anyone here was quite familiar with Watertown? Considering a move and would appreciate a cyclist's perspective on neighborhoods. Thanks!
I lived in Watertown for quite a while, now live next door in Waltham. Maybe I can help. If you're asking about such and such a road or neighborhood, I may not know it, but I can say that Watertown is a nice place! There is good bike and public-transit access too. Drop me some email, jimmuller @ rcn.com, if you have specific questions.
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Old 05-10-13, 06:43 AM   #2661
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Sorry to interrupt this thread, but I was interested if anyone here was quite familiar with Watertown? Considering a move and would appreciate a cyclist's perspective on neighborhoods. Thanks!
I used to live right on the Newton/Watertown line so I'm pretty familiar with the area. What areas are you thinking of?

Like Jim, I may not know specific streets, but I have a good working knowledge of the area.

Also, Watertown has one of the best restaurants in the area: Strip T's. Deliciousness.
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Old 05-10-13, 10:27 PM   #2662
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10 miles after work on the Minuteman, short pants and short sleeves in the soft air. Spring is starting to mean it now. A lot of parents were taking small children out; a toddler taking very early steps, an older child taking a first bike ride, her father jogging along beside her.

A section of the Minuteman in Lexington will be closed for three weeks, starting REAL SOON NOW. There's a detour planned that's a little funkier than the simple "go play in the street" that applied the last time they did this.


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Old 05-11-13, 04:39 PM   #2663
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Back to MetroWestCentricity today. We did 35.3 miles on the tandem. Blustery humid air. It threatened rain but didn't really have the heart for it. Lunch at Hart Pond was an adventure with a strong wind off the water.





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Old 05-12-13, 06:08 PM   #2664
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Took the last hour of sunlight and rode up to Lexington Center and back. Peaceful. 10 miles.

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Old 05-13-13, 06:10 AM   #2665
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Does anyone have any thoughts on these routes?

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...n-sudbury-loop

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...h-waltham-loop
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Old 05-13-13, 06:39 AM   #2666
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I have a marvelous proof of these routes, but there is not enough space in the margin for me to write them.

Well, actually, the space is okay but there is not enough time right now. I've ridden much of that. For some parts I'd do it slightly differently.

Details at 11...
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Old 05-13-13, 06:52 AM   #2667
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Nickel,
You've come to the right place. You've already a sense of the wide range of riding perspectives and preferences and I hope you are having fun exploring Watertown.
My two cents are they both look ok but I tend to avoid numbered roads. They are fine on Sunday mornings when there isn't much traffic or when I'll put up with the traffic to just asap get home. Rt 117 and 62 both have some twists and turns with traffic that make me want to get endure rather than go again. Sudbury loop has Rt 117 through Lincoln to Weston and there are some nice back roads alternatives to the south that do add a few more miles. Likewise my preference on your Waltham loop Rt 62 would be to ride a few more miles to the west by Monument. I've gone down Bedford Rd to Trapelo towards Waltham.
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Old 05-13-13, 07:40 AM   #2668
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Thanks for the tips everyone. Weather looks good the next several days so I thought I'd stretch out the legs and go for a 30-40 mi route. Maybe 50mi if I knew I'd have a tailwind on the return trip. Didn't want to end up in a nasty road situation but I suppose that's the fun of exploration.

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Old 05-13-13, 08:17 AM   #2669
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Nickel,

If it's a choice between the two, as given, ride the Sudbury loop. Jim and SBP are spot on: those are nice rides, but minor modifications can make them much nicer. Enjoy!

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Old 05-13-13, 08:56 AM   #2670
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Nickel,
re the Waltham route:

I have ridden parts of Lexington/Waltham Streets and much of the rest heading north. It should be nice though not necessarily quiet. The Hancock St part goes through some residential areas that should be pretty serene even if slightly busy on occasion.

I have not ridden the Page Rd section. The short section of rt225 between Page and the rt4/225 split will be busy but bikeable. There are easier ways to do that though. For example, you can go left on Loomis to the stoplight at S Rd (at Depot Park, across the intersection from the Bikeway Source bike shop) then go right on South back to rt225, thus missing the busy parts of Main St through Bedford Center. (More on this in a moment.)

In fact, what many people do and when we go directly from Waltham is pick up the Minuteman Bikeway in Lexington (or Arlington) and ride it out to Depot Park.
Since you are going down rt62 anyway, once at Depot park by either the Minuteman or Loomis St you can continue straight across on Railroad Ave, follow it around the school fields, take the right onto McMahon, and then left onto rt62.

Rt62 is busy but with a decently wide shoulder (except for the short newly paved section near McMahon). It carries a lot of bikes and is pretty nice for a numbered route. We do it on the tandem regularly.

We normally go left on Old Bedford Rd then right on Mass Ave/rt2A to get into Concord, but since you're going to return on part of that way you can just follow rt62. (A few blocks past where Old Bedford Rd goes left watch for the brown "Wildlife Viewing Area" & pic of binoculars sign on the left. It indicates a right onto Monsen Rd over to an observation tower by Great Meadows. There is also a restroom facility there.)

Finally, since you will be in Concord anyway you should go right on Monument (at the far end of the green) and stop at the North Bridge. You can retrace your route back to Concord Center or continue on to the first left and loop back around into Concord Center on Lowell Rd.

The return run on Virginia Rd and Mass Ave/rt2A is okay. Lots of people bike it.

One final point, there are some hills on this route, nothing super long but a few moderately steep. Enjoy the ride!
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Old 05-13-13, 09:08 AM   #2671
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The Grove Street/Page Road section of that ride gets you a hill that some people consider a **DESTINATION**; if you like hills, you'll like it. And it's PRETTY!

rod
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Old 05-13-13, 09:40 AM   #2672
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Nickel, re the Sudbury loop:

We've ridden parts of that on the tandem and I've ridden some on a single bike, and I've never ridden other parts at all. It is mostly pretty nice. I'd bet rt126 could be busy during rush hour, as are most "suburban/rural" roads around here, but is a pretty nice road for biking. Rt117 between rt126 and the river is best done east to west but not the reverse. Parts were recently paved which may have made it better, but eastward from the river is a slog uphill where the road isn't terribly wide. Drivers may get impatient. But going the other way has always looked to be nice.

The Concord Rd/Sherman Bridge parts are nice. Also the roads heading east.
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Old 05-13-13, 09:31 PM   #2673
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"I'm riding a bike!"

My commute, even when I do the bike/train thing, requires a lot of highway time. So I see a lot of selfish, inconsiderate, and stupid behavior. Sometimes I wonder about our future. Today I saw in person a still-living candidate for a Darwin Award.

I got home, had dinner, and was driving to the gym. By this time it was dark. I turned onto a narrow one-way street and caught in the left corner of my headlights a guy maybe 35y.o. coming toward me on a bicycle, no light on the bike, wearing street clothes and no helmet. I managed to avoid him but stopped the car, rolled down the window and yelled "You're going the wrong way down a one-way street." I figured maybe he didn't realize it was one-way.

He yelled back in a tone of anger "I'm riding a bike!" There's another car behind me waiting to make the same turn, so I didn't have time to explain his error. Instead I yelled the rather weak "That doesn't make any difference."

He went on past me, and I think the guy behind me must have said something too because he repeated his "I'm riding a bike!" (With the implied "You idiot, that makes it okay.")

How many ways is this wrong? In increasing order of importance
1. I can see you're riding a bike. You don't need to tell me. And anyway, that's not an excuse.
2. The law here grants explicit rights as a vehicle to a cyclist and requires the same adherence to traffic laws, as reasonable.
3. You give all us cyclists a bad name. (I even had the Bianchi in the back of the car, but didn't have time to show him.)
4. You can still be dead, you idiot! On a bike, at night, with no helmet you are even more vulnerable than if you were in a car. If you want to kill yourself, fine, but do it in a way that won't involve me.

Wow!
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Old 05-14-13, 02:37 PM   #2674
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The William F. McLaughlin Building, now closed of course.


I rode by here on a 15.7 mile break from work today. Cool, windy. Still creepy.
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Old 05-14-13, 07:28 PM   #2675
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Out to Depot Park, Bedford, after work, 20 miles. Saw a muskrat doing water ballet in Tophet Swamp, to the tune of the Redwing's song.

The Minuteman detour between Seasons Four and Woburn Street works well enough Eastbound, but the Westbound lane routed on the sidewalk is crappy, and an imposition on the sidewalk's regular users (mostly young families, from the limited sample I observed). But at least it is poorly signed, so some Westbound riders are squeezing into the Eastbound lane. Note to Lexington DPW: nice try, but back to the drawing board.

rod
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