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  1. #3151
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    ...Of course no one I know will be doing any of this in weather like this.
    I was listening to Howie Carr this evening, and on bad weather days he does a desperate, on-site weatherman, Biff Biffington, depicting apocalyptic conditions with howling wind sound effects (à la Shelby Scott, if you remember her). Today he was broadcasting “from Cambridge” describing cyclists running red lights, going down, and being caught by polar bears.

    Later, (the real) Howie Carr sardonically signed off saying he was going to get on his bike and ride home, running red lights and ducking snowplows. Said it was a nice night for a bike ride, and he wondered why anyone would want to leave New England.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-21-14 at 05:04 PM.

  2. #3152
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Nice night for a bike ride? Indeed. 10 miles on the Minuteman, an hour or two into the storm. Temps in the low teens, a bit of wind. Ski googles, Duluth lobster claws, and Nokian W240 studded tires. The crunch of fresh, dry snow, the crack of underlying ice. Fun! Didn't see Howie, though; perhaps he was et by a bear...










    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-21-14 at 09:07 PM.

  3. #3153
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Query: What would be the best bike commute route (if there is one) from Alewife to the Medford commuter train station? Or Winchester station?
    Don't know if it's best, but you could take the Minuteman to Arlington Center, then pick up Medford Street and ride that across the Mystic River. At that point, you can either continue on High Street to the West Medford commuter rail station, or you can take the first left off High Street (actually, a small rotary) and follow the Mystic Valley Parkway to Wedgemere Station in Winchester. That's a pleasant ride. There's also a new MUP that runs along the Alewife Brook to the Mystic River; I forget what it's called, but it's fun, too. It may be shorter than the Minuteman, but involves more road crossings, and is probably slower. And isn't plowed, speaking of snow...

    rod

  4. #3154
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
    ...And isn't plowed, speaking of snow...
    Thanks, Rod. I'll check out those roads and the Alewife Brook path for this hypothetical commuter. As I wrote earlier, this hypothetical commuter won't be doing it any time soon, seein' as I've told him/her how I was chased by Sasquatch this evening.

    Now tell me again, why am I living in New England?
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
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  5. #3155
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Now tell me again, why am I living in New England?
    Minnesota was full?

    rod

  6. #3156
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agmetal View Post
    FYI: Just found out this morning, via email from the director of Malden's Department of Public Works, that the mayor has requested the Northern Strand path be plowed after future snow storms!
    Great news!

    rod

  7. #3157
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
    Don't know if it's best, but you could take the Minuteman to Arlington Center, then pick up Medford Street and ride that across the Mystic River. At that point, you can either continue on High Street to the West Medford commuter rail station, or you can take the first left off High Street (actually, a small rotary) and follow the Mystic Valley Parkway to Wedgemere Station in Winchester. That's a pleasant ride. There's also a new MUP that runs along the Alewife Brook to the Mystic River; I forget what it's called, but it's fun, too. It may be shorter than the Minuteman, but involves more road crossings, and is probably slower. And isn't plowed, speaking of snow...

    rod
    An alternative route would be to get off the Minuteman at Spy Pond Park, take Linwood Street to Belknap Street to Marion Road, cross Mass. Ave. to Bates Road, cross Broadway and continue on River Street, follow that across the Mystic Valley Parkway and the Mystic River onto Harvard Street, Medford, and ride a few blocks on that to the West Medford station. That route may just be optimal, and subtracts the Arlington Center snarl from the commute.

    rod

  8. #3158
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    image.jpg

    Many thanks to the DCR for plowing. It was a bit wind blown and icy at times- not perfect by any means but, thankfully, passable. Keeps me off the streets in the bad weather.

  9. #3159
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
    image.jpg

    Many thanks to the DCR for plowing. It was a bit wind blown and icy at times- not perfect by any means but, thankfully, passable. Keeps me off the streets in the bad weather.
    Buzzman!

    rod

  10. #3160
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    10 miles on the Minuteman tonight, temperatures as low as 10degF in the cold spot at Arlington's Great Meadow, a pretty good headwind on the out-bound ride. The sky was clear and full of Winter constellations, Jupiter paying a visit to Gemini. Arlington and Lexington plowed their sections of the Minuteman, and the cold-or-colder weather in the last couple of days means no freeze-thaw-freeze cycle; ice was minimal, with the surface varying between a thin layer of packed, dry snow, a slightly thicker layer of same, and strips of bare pavement on which it was possible to make time. I think I got more use out of the aggressive tread on my Nokian W240s than I did the carbide studs tonight, although the studs may simply have kept me from knowing about that. Traffic was light enough to permit pleasant reflection without being completely desolate. While Jack Frost did nip at my nose at times, mostly it just ran.





    rod

  11. #3161
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    Last edited by mr_bill; 01-23-14 at 11:36 AM.
    Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

  12. #3162
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
    That's a beautiful link!

    rod

  13. #3163
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Rod, thank you for the commute possibilities. I must look them over and learn the various bike trails from Alewife to Medford or along the Mystic, etc. I can finally say why I'm asking, and also describe some details. When the weather becomes more accommodating I'll be commuting to a job between the Anderson/Woburn and Mishawum Center commuter rails stations. I'd be coming out of Waltham. I could bike the entire distance but some of the Woburn route might be problematic. Or I can do what I've been doing for the Rhode Island, ride the commuter rail for a spell. In this case it would be from either Winchester or Medford. I'd take rt60 through Belmont, maybe cut east over to Lake St to the Minuteman to Alewife to Medford, or through Arlington and then west to Winchester. The best route would seem to be the MM route but I'd need to know the best route to the Medford station.

    You know what? It doesn't matter! It will all be better no matter what the route is! (Except that the best part of my work days for several years have been the biking part.)
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  14. #3164
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    Rod, thank you for the commute possibilities. I must look them over and learn the various bike trails from Alewife to Medford or along the Mystic, etc. I can finally say why I'm asking, and also describe some details. When the weather becomes more accommodating I'll be commuting to a job between the Anderson/Woburn and Mishawum Center commuter rails stations. I'd be coming out of Waltham. I could bike the entire distance but some of the Woburn route might be problematic. Or I can do what I've been doing for the Rhode Island, ride the commuter rail for a spell. In this case it would be from either Winchester or Medford. I'd take rt60 through Belmont, maybe cut east over to Lake St to the Minuteman to Alewife to Medford, or through Arlington and then west to Winchester. The best route would seem to be the MM route but I'd need to know the best route to the Medford station.

    You know what? It doesn't matter! It will all be better no matter what the route is! (Except that the best part of my work days for several years have been the biking part.)
    Jim, that's exciting. Btw, the same route to Wedgemere station could be turned into a route to Woburn, out past Horn Pond. Depending where in Woburn you're headed...

    rod

  15. #3165
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    hope this is alright to post here - I'm interested in starting commuting to work. i live in very close to the "bedford" end of the minuteman bike path, and will be making my commute into cambridge, specifically harvard square via this path (presumably). I haven't stepped on a bike in approximately 5 years, and when I did, it was for leisure. I'm looking to buy a bike for under $300 - does anyone have any suggestions on what kind/style/make of bike would be best for this commute (25 mile roundtrip, 2-5 times a week)? and where a good place to search for such a bike would be? thank you!

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    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drechie View Post
    hope this is alright to post here - I'm interested in starting commuting to work. i live in very close to the "bedford" end of the minuteman bike path, and will be making my commute into cambridge, specifically harvard square via this path (presumably). I haven't stepped on a bike in approximately 5 years, and when I did, it was for leisure. I'm looking to buy a bike for under $300 - does anyone have any suggestions on what kind/style/make of bike would be best for this commute (25 mile roundtrip, 2-5 times a week)? and where a good place to search for such a bike would be? thank you!
    The good news is that the grades on the Minuteman are pretty gentle, so a variety of bicycle types would probably work; the key is to get something that you'll be comfortable riding for upwards of two hours a day. At that price point, you'll probably be better off getting a used, reconditioned bike than getting a new one. Two places I know of to buy a reliable reconditioned used bike are Paramount Bicycle Repair (Ball Square, Somerville), and Bikes Not Bombs (Jamaica Plain). If you talk to the folks at either place, they can help you think this through and find a bike that will work for you. Make sure you talk with them about how you're going to carry any baggage that you'll need to carry for the commute.

    Good luck, and tell us how it goes!

    rod

  17. #3167
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drechie View Post
    hope this is alright to post here - I'm interested in starting commuting to work. i live in very close to the "bedford" end of the minuteman bike path, and will be making my commute into cambridge, specifically harvard square via this path (presumably).
    Welcome to the Metro-Boston forum and BF in general. As Rod says, the Minuteman is easy all the way into Alewife. By the way, it is 10 miles from Bedford to Alewife. There are a number of road crossings and a fair amount of traffic so you won't be able to zip along real fast. I'm not sure where you'd go from Alewife. If it was me I'd consider getting access to the Alewife bike cage and taking the T the rest of the way into Harvard Square. I think you have to contact the T for access to the cage but I've never done so I don't know the details. in any case, that would be a great commute.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  18. #3168
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    Quote Originally Posted by drechie View Post
    hope this is alright to post here - I'm interested in starting commuting to work. i live in very close to the "bedford" end of the minuteman bike path, and will be making my commute into cambridge, specifically harvard square via this path (presumably). I haven't stepped on a bike in approximately 5 years, and when I did, it was for leisure. I'm looking to buy a bike for under $300 - does anyone have any suggestions on what kind/style/make of bike would be best for this commute (25 mile roundtrip, 2-5 times a week)? and where a good place to search for such a bike would be? thank you!
    Do you have an existing bike? Why not that? Otherwise, stop by Bikeway Source near you, and talk to them. They're friendly, and it's off season. You might get lucky. (An entry 2013 model, discounted, might be about in your budget.)

    To Harvard Square, you've got a few obvious choices.

    If you are on the Cambridge Common side of Harvard Square:
    • Minuteman to Arlington Center to Mass Ave to Harvard Square. (Starting later this year, Mass Ave between Arlington Center and the Cambridge border will be under construction.)
    • Minuteman to Alewife to Alewife Linear Park/Somerville Community Path to Mass Ave to Harvard Square. (Alewife Linear Park starts at the end of Minuteman, take a left just before the access road to the crossing, you'll go behind Alewife past the satellite entrance, Jerry's Pond will be on your right, make a left and go around Russell Field.)



    If you are on the Central Square side of Harvard Square:
    • Either of the above and continue through Harvard Square on Mass Ave.
    • Or turn left at Porter Square (you'll need to be a confident street rider here) onto Somerville Ave, right on Beacon to right on Scott (just past American Academy of Arts and Sciences, it's a one-way except bicycles, a little legal salmon thrill on a substandard bike lane), continue on Irving which takes you to Cambridge Rindge & Latin, left on Cambridge right on Ellery will take you back to Mass Ave just past the Mass Ave/Mount Auburn St fork.
    • Minuteman to Alewife to Alewife Linear Park/Somerville Community Path, cross Mass Ave continue on Somerville Community Path to Davis, Elm to Mossland to Beacon to right on Scott....


    If you *do* choose to park your bike at Alewife, get a good lock, register your Charlie Card for the secure bike cages and *USE* the cages. (But you can probably bike to Harvard Square quicker than taking the T.)

    Good luck.

    -mr. bill
    Last edited by mr_bill; 01-24-14 at 06:57 AM.
    Don't blame me, I'm from Massachusetts.

  19. #3169
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drechie View Post
    hope this is alright to post here - I'm interested in starting commuting to work. i live in very close to the "bedford" end of the minuteman bike path, and will be making my commute into cambridge, specifically harvard square via this path (presumably). I haven't stepped on a bike in approximately 5 years, and when I did, it was for leisure. I'm looking to buy a bike for under $300 - does anyone have any suggestions on what kind/style/make of bike would be best for this commute (25 mile roundtrip, 2-5 times a week)? and where a good place to search for such a bike would be? thank you!
    Another possibility for a good reconditioned used bike is Bike Boom, in Davis Square, Somerville. Finally, for completeness, you could look into the Bike Stop, in Arlington, although it looks like they're taking a Winter Break until late February.

    rod

  20. #3170
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Hi all MetroBostocyclists,

    Check out the front page of today's (1/24/14) Boston Globe for a feature story on Boston's Winter Cyclists, "rugged riders undeterred by season's harsh turns." (cue the William Tell Overture.)
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-24-14 at 08:48 AM.

  21. #3171
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    I think I finally met my match this Wednesday. First time I truly wished I had not ridden to work.

    It was 5 degrees when I left home. I had done that before, and in snow/ice on my folder with studded tires. I was all layered up as usual.

    But the wind. Oh, the wind... I'd swear it was -10 or -15 with wind chill. It bit through my Pearl Izumi lobster gloves, which usually keep my hands sweaty even down to 20 degrees. My feet were freezing despite wearing boots (not cycling boots) with two layers of socks. Even my legs were in deep chill.

    It took me twice as long as usual to make it to work: http://www.strava.com/activities/108496950. it took me over an hour to warm up. Never been that cold before.

    So, count me among the "deterred" winter commuters :-(
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  22. #3172
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Ten dark, cold miles on the Minuteman tonight, temperatures in the low teens down to 10degF at Arlington's Great Meadow. A high cieling presaged tomorrow's promised snow showers. Lots more bare pavement tonight, but also more black ice than I've seen in several days. Quiet and peaceful, with a paradoxical hint of the Night Chorus: crickets on anti-freeze?


    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-24-14 at 07:35 PM.

  23. #3173
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    I think I finally met my match this Wednesday. First time I truly wished I had not ridden to work.

    It was 5 degrees when I left home. I had done that before, and in snow/ice on my folder with studded tires. I was all layered up as usual.

    But the wind. Oh, the wind... I'd swear it was -10 or -15 with wind chill. It bit through my Pearl Izumi lobster gloves, which usually keep my hands sweaty even down to 20 degrees. My feet were freezing despite wearing boots (not cycling boots) with two layers of socks. Even my legs were in deep chill.

    It took me twice as long as usual to make it to work: http://www.strava.com/activities/108496950. it took me over an hour to warm up. Never been that cold before.

    So, count me among the "deterred" winter commuters :-(
    mtalinm, that's a grim story. Some of the cold days we've had lately are in a different temperature domain than our usual run of Winter weather. I've found myself making clothing choices differently; had an experience similar to yours, also due to wind, during one of the earlier cold snaps this season, and got thoroughly chilled. That changed my thinking about what clothes work for what conditions: switched to the most wind-proof shell, added a third wool layer on top, thicker base layer below, broke out the Empire Wool & Canvas ICEBIKE Mittens (overkill for most Winter days around here, but not for the ones we've been having lately), and got myself a pair of over-the-glasses ski goggles. Taken together, these measures seem to have worked for the coldest days I've ridden. Not sure they would have done the trick for the ride you describe: I felt chilled just reading it.

    Warmer today, then another hard freeze overnight. Looks like we're in a new pattern when all days are created cold, but some are created colder than others. Dressing to ride in that, on any given day, is going to be tricky...

    rod

  24. #3174
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Finally a ride in daylight, fourteen miles on the Minuteman, turning around at Bedford Street, Lexington. Thaw conditions prevailed, temperatures in the mid-thirties with a frisky and erratic wind. Lots of ice left from Arlington Heights on into Lexington. I was happy to be on studded tires, as several others were as well, but a roadie who passed me at twice my speed during a climb on ice reminded me that it is possible to get by in these situations with rubber, skill, and grace. A tip of the helmet to him.








    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-25-14 at 03:27 PM.

  25. #3175
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    I think I finally met my match this Wednesday. First time I truly wished I had not ridden to work.

    It was 5 degrees when I left home. I had done that before, and in snow/ice on my folder with studded tires. I was all layered up as usual.

    But the wind. Oh, the wind... I'd swear it was -10 or -15 with wind chill. It bit through my Pearl Izumi lobster gloves, which usually keep my hands sweaty even down to 20 degrees. My feet were freezing despite wearing boots (not cycling boots) with two layers of socks. Even my legs were in deep chill.

    It took me twice as long as usual to make it to work: http://www.strava.com/activities/108496950. it took me over an hour to warm up. Never been that cold before.

    So, count me among the "deterred" winter commuters :-(
    As mentioned previously, mtalinm and I share a similar commute but in reverse directions. I have to salute you, m’, because this week, work and family duties kept me off the bike. So while you were on the road this frigid week, I was posting to Bike Forums about winter cycling. Nonetheless, I still got that question at work, “You didn't ride your bike today, did you?.”

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    One should never feel the need to apologize or explain why he doesn't ride a bike in cold, wet, or otherwise lousy weather.

    You ride a bike to work by choice, and can not ride at any time for any reason, or for no reason at all.
    We all have our reasons for riding in such seemingly unsuitable weather, even as the Boston Globe featured, but it is a choice. Among my reasons is to see how well my equipment performs, preparing me to take on further challenges. When I check the temperature in the morning to decide what to wear, I do not factor the wind chill, but just decide by the ambient temperature. I do note the wind speed and direction, and how that will affect my ride. My thought is that we get a wind chill just from riding anyways, and I have occasionally stated, “Wind chill is for wimps.”

    The winds we have had this week have been particularly brutal. I did ride my round-trip commute on Saturday, at 30° F, and it was one of the strongest headwinds I had I have ever encountered. Dressing for 30° though was appropriate and I was not cold.

    One of the best posts I have read about pushing the limit for cold weather cycling is from this thread, “When does Hardcore becomes stupid?”.

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Hardcore becomes stupid when it becomes dangerous.

    Hardcore becomes stupid when anything going wrong becomes a safety problem instead of an inconvenience. For example, fixing a flat if hands are too cold, pump is froze up, glue won't stick or whatever. Of if "walk of shame" back to the house with mechanical problem becomes death march in the wilderness.

    Hardcore becomes stupid when minor errors in judgment become safety issues. You estimate how long it will take, what you need to wear, whether you'll need lights, etc. If you estimate wrong, do you get a chill? Or do you die?

    Hardcore has clearly become completely stupid when you lose any fingers or toes to frostbite.

    In each case, it's not just the weather that makes it hardcore or stupid, it's the degree of preparation and knowledge used in dealing with the weather.
    BTW, occasionally my wife gives me grief about riding in severe temperatures and says, “You only want to ride today, so you can write about it on Bike Forums.”

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