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  1. #3101
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    The venerable old 1987 GT Karakoram has been fiddled with in various ways, including a new bottom bracket and seat. It's back in its icebike persona now, wearing fenders and 47mm Nokian W240 tires with carbide studs and aggressive treads. I took it on its first ride of the season this afternoon, 20 miles on the Minuteman out to Depot Park, Bedford.


    Naturally, there was almost no ice; the thaw had accelerated, temperatures were well into the 50s, and the Minuteman, that had been a troublesome bobsled run only a few days ago, featured wet pavement, dry pavement, and puddles. The carbide studs made their customary crackling sound on the bare pavement, which at least alerted the numerous pedestrians and intrigued their dogs. Here and there, a little ice remained, generally soft, punky remnants which were easy enough to avoid; I made a point of riding through some of them, to hasten their dissolution and to give the Finnish tires their due.




    The only ice that still had any moxie left was on the little bridge across the Shawsheen River, in Bedford. I saw this take down a cyclist who was yacking on a phone which she was pressing to her right ear with her hunched shoulder. Oops.. She bounced right back up, though, no apparent injury.


    Meanwhile, the Mighty Shawsheen rolled on, unperturbed.


    At Depot Park, there is a Right Way and an Wrong Way to exit the Minuteman.


    The Wrong Way involves riding all the way to the end and traversing the snow pile left by the Bedford DPW plows.


    The Right Way is to take the plowed ramp into the Depot Park parking lot. Look Ma, no snow!


    Speaking of snow removal, while the Bedford and Arlington sections are cleared by those towns' respective DPWs as a public good, the Lexington section is cleared privately by the Friends of Lexington Bikeways. If you ride the Minuteman and are rounding out your charitable tax deductions for the year, they'd like you to think of them, and have helpfully posted a few signs to that effect.


    A warm and merry Solstice to us all.

    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 12-21-13 at 08:12 PM.

  2. #3102
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    I only did a short ride but was able to confirm that I can upload rides to Strava from my new Windows Phone!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  3. #3103
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
    The Wrong Way involves riding all the way to the end and traversing the snow pile left by the Bedford DPW plows.
    Thanks for the report.

    IIRC, "they" did that last year, piling up snow at the end so that you couldn't get around the corner. At least there is the parking lot entrance.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  4. #3104
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Thanks for the rhttps://sites.google.com/site/bedfordbike/homeeport.

    IIRC, "they" did that last year, piling up snow at the end so that you couldn't get around the corner. At least there is the parking lot entrance.
    I got into a conversation with someone from Bedford about that. Apparently, the plow truck can't hack the turn at the end of the trail, so plowing the ramp to the parking lot is the feasible alternative.

    Here's a link to the BedfordBike folks.
    https://sites.google.com/site/bedfordbike/home

    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 12-22-13 at 10:21 AM.

  5. #3105
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Who has a decent selection of shoes in the Boston area? Wheelworks maybe? I've never had much luck at Landry's, as I have wide-ish feet.
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  6. #3106
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    Who has a decent selection of shoes in the Boston area? Wheelworks maybe? I've never had much luck at Landry's, as I have wide-ish feet.
    Don't know. My current biking shoes are from REI in Warwick, RI, but I suspect all REIs have similar selections. Mine are inexpensive Shimano MTB. I believe they are SPD shoes which I use without any SPD insert because I use traditional clips.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  7. #3107
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    Who has a decent selection of shoes in the Boston area? Wheelworks maybe? I've never had much luck at Landry's, as I have wide-ish feet.
    I had luck with Belmont Wheelworks once, when I was looking for size 13 wide Sidis. Life got somewhat simpler when I switched to platform pedals... of course, it also got a little slower...

    rod

  8. #3108
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Working off the Christmas morning waffles: http://www.strava.com/activities/101869764

    About 20 degrees when I left the house, teens or single digits with wind chill. I was okay given (bottom to top)

    * Lake winter boots with felt insoles, covered by two layers of booties (normal socks)
    * AmFib tights covered by a second layer of Pearl Izumi tights
    * Smartwool baselayer, Sugoi icebreaker jersey, arm warmers, Sugoi icebreaker jacket, REI thin windbreaker
    * two balaclavas, skull cap, and helmet
    * Pearl Izumi WxB gloves (btw, these are INSANELY warm)

    Crazy to think I was probably wearing $1000 of clothing! But some of it was gifted from a friend who just moved to AZ
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  9. #3109
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    Working off the Christmas morning waffles:
    Good to hear you made it out. I thought about it, dressed like I was x-c skiing, but skiing generates more warmth for less wind!

    I'm hoping to go out on Sunday. I'd be up for company if anyone is interested.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  10. #3110
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    14 miles on the Minuteman Christmas afternoon, turned around at Bedford Street. Cold, bright, clear, still, temperatures in the low 20s. The few cyclists out waved at each other, pedestrians were more numerous, especially those with dogs which, after all, needed a walk regardless of the holiday. A solitary soccer player, dressed for the weather, practiced penalty kicks on the AHS athletic field. The two placid horses in the little farm on Taylor Lane were out and snuffling.






    Although by and large the Minuteman pavement was dry and clear, the thaw and rain, followed by yesterday's hard freeze, did leave some ice patches here and there. The biggest were around Seasons Four, Maple Street, and Woburn Street, with smaller ones scattered through Arlignton Heights and around Great Meadow. While I was glad to be running studded tires, none of them should cause a problem to an alert cyclist in daylight. Night's a different story.


    Tomorrow, the weather changes, it gets warmer, we get rain or snow, followed by a little more cold. Lots of variety in one familiar strip of asphalt.

    rod

  11. #3111
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    After the snow showers blew through and night fell, had another 14-mile ride on the Minuteman, turning around at Bedford Street. The trail had less than an inch of snow on it, already somewhat textured by footprints and tire tracks (including one apparently made by a fatbike). Temperatures started in the relatively balmy low thirties, and fell steadily into the still-comfortable (after the weather of recent weeks) high twenties; presumably, it will continue to fall for awhile. At first, riding in the snow was absolutely silent. As the ride continued and temperatures fell, individual ice crystals started giving me back my headlights, a field of diamonds, and the occasional crunch of breaking ice could be heard. In a few places, large scuff marks suggested someone had wiped out on an ice patch lurking under the snow. The studded 559-47 Nokian W240s, inflated to 40 psi front/46 psi rear, padded along happily, in their element. The big tree on Taylor Lane (near the Revere Street crossing in Lexington) was lit up, cheery light in the Winter darkness.








    rod

  12. #3112
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Took the old GT with the studded tires out the Minuteman this afternoon to Depot Park, Bedford, 20 miles, temperatures hovering around the freezing point, made to seem a little colder by an intermittent wind. Trail surface conditions ranged from clear to icy, with a good portion of the trail still covered with a thin layer of honest snow, especially beyond Bedford Street, Lexington, on out to Depot Park. Without studded tires, it looks to be a bit of an adventure; a certain number of cyclists were making a go of that. With studs, it's a piece of cake, until you stop and put your foot down. The freeze-thaw-freeze cycle continues. Is it April yet?










    (Cue theremin) Mystriously, the area under the high-tension wires running from the electrical substation at Tophet Swamp (Swamp of Mystery!) was completely bare in an interval that extended symmetrically from the axis of the wires. Inductive heating? (Cue solemn voice-over about Nicola Tesla, Wilhelm Reich, and electromagnetic RADIATION; end with an unfalsifiable question, preferably involving cancer. Go to commercial.)


    rod

  13. #3113
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Thanks for the recommendation. I dropped by yesterday and was floored by their selection!

    Turns out I've been wearing shoes too big for me for years. They put me in some SIDI Mega that are a bit wider than the average shoe (I have fat feet). Cost me $100 more than the equivalent Specialized wide shoes, but I don't buy Specialized products anymore given their lawsuits against Volagi, Café Roubaix, etc...

    [

    QUOTE=rholland1951;16356598]I had luck with Belmont Wheelworks once, when I was looking for size 13 wide Sidis. Life got somewhat simpler when I switched to platform pedals... of course, it also got a little slower...

    rod[/QUOTE]
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  14. #3114
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Today I rode a circle route from home in Waltham to Concord and back, 36.17mi. The outbound run took the Minuteman from Arlington to Bedford. Most of the MM was clear with a fair amount of water or very thin slush. Some of the bridges still had a layer of snow. "Bridges freeze before roadway", I've heard it said. That section through Tophet Marsh was clear, and I suspect the reason is because it is open to the sun, not because it subject to transmission line radiation or exhaust from the Starship Enterprise.

    Of course the not-open section of Metropolitan Parkway hasn't even been plowed.



    Some Concord culture (and snow):

    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  15. #3115
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    That section through Tophet Marsh was clear, and I suspect the reason is because it is open to the sun, not because it subject to transmission line radiation or exhaust from the Starship Enterprise.
    The sun can melt snow and ice? Good grief! Do you think if we worshiped it, it would melt some more? This bears further investigation (and maybe a cable channel)...

    rod

  16. #3116
    Senior Member sherbornpeddler's Avatar
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    Sunsets

    Yesterday I procrastinated, desked, nibbled and surfed until it was now or never. If I pushed back from the desk now I’d still have time for a 15 miler. I dressed up and decided to track my ride with one of those smartphone apps when I noticed a missed call from, as it turned out, a like minded friend in the same predicament on the same schedule. Whenever I think I’m something special I am reminded we are all in this together.

    Ten minutes later we met up and went for a spirited 21 miler; he pushed the hills and I grinded the flats and rolls in between. Towards the end of our ride we were passed by a full throttle, small, old motorcycle that raced to a hilltop minutes before yesterday’s gorgeous orange and yellow sunset. No conversation was needed between us and we pulled over to take a look at the motorbike. It turned out the motorcyclist was a pleasant young enthusiast and his bike a circa 1970 Honda CB175. He seemed to enjoy our interruption and a few minutes of conversation his bike had catalyzed as much as the sunset on his bike. We left him with a few moments to photograph and enjoy his moment on the hill and we rode on glowing in our own motorbike memories.

    I suppose in mid summer fitness and focus I might have biked on and not stopped because of the momentum of a hard ride in the peak of fitness. Now, in winter, I am happy to get out and quite comfortable to stop and chat, share a moment and appreciate sunsets.
    Last edited by sherbornpeddler; 12-31-13 at 11:41 AM. Reason: clarity
    Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

  17. #3117
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Spent the last few days in Brooklyn, visiting friends and off the bike. Did run across this mural (on Butler Street at 3rd Avenue), which speaks for itself.


    Happy New Year, y'all.

    rod

  18. #3118
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Wanted to ride 20.14 miles to start the year but woke up with a sore throat.
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  19. #3119
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    Wanted to ride 20.14 miles to start the year but woke up with a sore throat.
    Sorry to hear that, 'M.

    We share a similar commuting route in opposite directions, and since I usually go into work myself on Holidays for a few hours, we have established a tradition of riding from my workplace in Norwood to Boston on late mornings on Thanksgiving, as I ride back home to Kenmore Square.

    I rode into Norwood by about 7:30 AM to do a few things, and debated about riding home vs taking the Commuter Rail at 9:05 AM. Since we were going out to brunch at noon, I wanted to work up an appetite, so I rode back. I didn't call mtalinm because it was IMO too early and I decided to ride home at the last minute. The round trip ride of 28 miles was a nice start to a hopefully good year.

    Just now I happened to recall a little ditty from a famous hiking and backpacking book from the 1970's, The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher. It was on the frontspiece of the book:
    "Now shall I walk or shall I ride? / 'Ride' said Pleasure / 'Walk' Joy replied."
    which I would paraphrase as:
    "Now shall I drive or shall I ride? / 'Drive' said Pleasure / 'Ride' Joy replied."
    which explains why I was out on the road at 21° on New Year's Day morning.

    BTW, I am now riding just my beater winter bike even though the roads are nice and dry, because I don't want to expose my beautiful Specialized S-works to any salt. Am I being too fastidious? I even considered buying a cheaper road bike for the winter, but decided to stick with the Cannondale mountain bike.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-02-14 at 04:01 AM.

  20. #3120
    formerly dnuzzomueller dz_nuzz's Avatar
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    C'mon Jim. Gotta go get that Roubaix dirty, its only a real bike once it sees bad weather.
    I don't like cats.

  21. #3121
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    While waiting for this chest cold to depart so I can get back on the bike, I came across a geographic website, http://www.city-data.com/, with demographic and economic-geographic data useful for understanding the neighborhoods we ride through, all marshaled by a GIS with a decent-enough user interface. I stumbled over it while looking for information about neighborhoods in Lynn. The tool supports good interfaces at the national and state levels, as well. There's some sort of back-story here, and I'm not confident I understand what it is; the Wikipedia page helps a bit, but leaves me with questions. Whatever the story is, it's a nice piece of work.

    This discovery occasioned a little flurry of Google searches that also led me to http://www.data.gov/cities/community/cities. This is a rich and varied public-sector resource that looks like it will reward the effort involved in exploring it.

    rod

  22. #3122
    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    Well, I was sure hoping that the snow would stick around a couple more days or so but it seems like you have to enjoy it and then it's gone. I haven't gotten to explore as much as I had hoped but I will make that change in 2014.

    I did get to do a little snow biking on the MM trail and took a jaunt through the 'Parker Meadow' which made the trip very fun.

  23. #3123
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    …BTW, I am now riding just my beater winter bike even though the roads are nice and dry, because I don't want to expose my beautiful Specialized S-works to any salt. Am I being too fastidious? I even considered buying a cheaper road bike for the winter, but decided to stick with the Cannondale mountain bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by dz_nuzz View Post
    C'mon Jim. Gotta go get that Roubaix dirty, its only a real bike once it sees bad weather.
    Hi dz,

    Nice to hear from you again. My Roubaix already has had its baptism by riding it once this summer in some drizzle. I spent a couple days cleaning the chain after that using the Sheldon Brown Chain Cleaning System as pictured below. No Más.

    chainclean01.jpg
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-08-14 at 04:17 AM.

  24. #3124
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Took the LHT out in the Raging Thaw this evening, 14 miles on the Minuteman, turning around at Bedford Street, Lexington.


    Temperatures were in the mid-40s, positively balmy, and the pavement was often wet, but never icy. The Night Chorus was out and singing, a thing I didn't necessarily expect, but which was most welcome. House lights reflected in off-trail pools of melt water glowed as silent domestic mirror-worlds.


    Good to be back on the bike after two-and-a-half weeks playing host to a virus.

    rod

  25. #3125
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    18ish miles Saturday in what felt like 20-30mph winds. Just about killed me.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/105602477

    Worth it though, as I showed a friend how he could commute to work (at the Hancock building).
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

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