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-   -   Metro Boston: Good ride today? (http://www.bikeforums.net/northeast/518426-metro-boston-good-ride-today.html)

rholland1951 08-14-11 11:00 AM

After a week of day hikes in the White Mountains, I wasn't sure my legs wouldn't fall off the next time I rode a bicycle, but a 10-mile ride to Lexington on Friday evening was reassuring. Liked last week's ride on the Nashua River Rail Trail so much that I took my consort there on Saturday, throwing the bikes on the back of the car this time and parking at the lot on the Ayer end. We had a slow, social ride from Ayer to Pepperell and back, 16 miles, enjoying the scenery and speculating about canoe access to what looks to be a very attractive river. A little googling turned up a likely canoe rental place in W. Groton; interestingly, they have directions on their web site to reach them by the train/bike modal combination.

rod

jimmuller 08-14-11 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rholland1951 (Post 13081234)
After a week of day hikes in the White Mountains, I wasn't sure my legs wouldn't fall off the next time I rode a bicycle, but a 10-mile ride to Lexington on Friday evening was reassuring. ...speculating about canoe access to what looks to be a very attractive river. A little googling turned up a likely canoe rental place in W. Groton

Welcome back to the wheel world. I've been tempted by the Nashua River Rail Trail. It sounds delightful.

My wife and I have paddled that part of the Nashua many times. Nashoba Paddlers is a good starting point. Others are where Rt119 crosses the river in Groton. There's a long-standing power-boat put in on the right bank on the north side of the road, and a newer, smaller car-top boat put in on the left back on the south side of the road. Upstream from there is mostly lake-like for several mile until it crosses Rt2A. From Grotton it's about 6 miles upstream to up near the dam in Ayer where the current finally gets too stiff to continue. The run back is delightful.

A more river-like, more primitive-feeling part of the river is south of the Ayer dam. You can put in right above the dam on the left bank if you lift the canoe over a small retaining wall. But a more interesting put in is to drive Rt110 south from Harvard to the little village of Stillriver. There is an Oxbow Wildlife Sanctuary sign and post office there, turn right toward the river, go all the way to the bottom of the hill, cross the RR tracks, make a quick R then L to the put in. The ramp down to the river is a bit steep but the river there is beautiful. Downstream goes past Rt2, upstream goes up to Lancaster. The river takes a sharp bend there, coming from the north. You can go further upstream only so far before you come to rapids you have to carry over. But by then you've been out a long time and want to turn around anyway.

mtalinm 08-14-11 01:50 PM

a measly 15 miles in San Antonio heat on one of the 35-40# bikeshare cycles left me exhausted. sooo glad I don't live here

rholland1951 08-14-11 02:27 PM

Amen. Easier to add layers when it gets cold...

rholland1951 08-14-11 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmuller (Post 13081326)
My wife and I have paddled that part of the Nashua many times. Nashoba Paddlers is a good starting point. Others are where Rt119 crosses the river in Groton. There's a long-standing power-boat put in on the right bank on the north side of the road, and a newer, smaller car-top boat put in on the left back on the south side of the road. Upstream from there is mostly lake-like for several mile until it crosses Rt2A. From Grotton it's about 6 miles upstream to up near the dam in Ayer where the current finally gets too stiff to continue. The run back is delightful.

A more river-like, more primitive-feeling part of the river is south of the Ayer dam. You can put in right above the dam on the left bank if you lift the canoe over a small retaining wall. But a more interesting put in is to drive Rt110 south from Harvard to the little village of Stillriver. There is an Oxbow Wildlife Sanctuary sign and post office there, turn right toward the river, go all the way to the bottom of the hill, cross the RR tracks, make a quick R then L to the put in. The ramp down to the river is a bit steep but the river there is beautiful. Downstream goes past Rt2, upstream goes up to Lancaster. The river takes a sharp bend there, coming from the north. You can go further upstream only so far before you come to rapids you have to carry over. But by then you've been out a long time and want to turn around anyway.

Thanks, Jim, that answers a lot of questions I had started to ask myself staring at maps. Time to go see...

rod

jimmuller 08-14-11 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rholland1951 (Post 13082178)
Thanks, Jim, that answers a lot of questions I had started to ask myself staring at maps. Time to go see...

Hey, y'er welcome! Maybe we'll see you on the river some day. We paddle a green Old Town Penobscot 16. Yeah sure, we're the only Old Town canoe on the river. ;)

One more interesting tidbit if you like exploring smaller tributaries. As you go upstream from Groton, just before you come to Rt2A you'll go under a RR bridge which I suspect carries the Rail Trail. Then just upstream from there (south) the Squannacook River comes in from the west, your right, the left bank. It's narrow and winding. When the water is high enough you can get it up for a mile or more. But sometimes you get stopped by blowdowns or beaver dams. It's pretty neat.

The only down side to that whole river complex is the noise. It seems like there is always an airplane overhead doing aerobatics. There's a firing range somewhere near the Rt2A intersection. And as you approach Ayer you can hear the engines and tires from an autocross being run on the old Ft Devins runways. There was a spell when upstream from Stillriver we used to hear machine gun fire from troops training at Ft. Devins, especially when Desert Storm was in progress. One side of the river there is government property, the other mostly wildlife sanctuary. It's all just enough to remind you that you are still in civilization after all. Still, it's a lovely river.

NE Tiger 08-15-11 04:38 AM

My wife, nephew and I did the Nashua River Rail Trail in its entirety on Saturday evening. From Nashua down to Ayer and back, about 25 miles. Beautiful day. Since we normally only do part of it because of the frequent presence of more casual riders, I had forgotten how pretty it is in the southern portions of the trail. It's very marshy. Looks like a Louisiana bayou from back home. Nice flat trail, not too many people. Sparse enough that I didn't hesitate to play some Elvis through an external speaker in my handlebar bag. Just a great ride.

rholland1951 08-16-11 07:20 PM

What a difference 24 hours make. Got a 10-mile evening ride in, without the snorkel.

rod

dnuzzomueller 08-17-11 06:25 AM

A belated ride report but here it goes:

8/13/11

Started out on a ride that I had hoped I would have been able to get a few more people from the local bike shop (Community Bicycle Supply) onboard with, but to no avail. The plan was to head down along the coast, hit the blue hills then finally loop out to the end of Hull before coming in (A planned total of about 68 miles).

As a quick side note I had ordered a seat-post that I really needed for my road bike seeing as my old USE Alien carbon post's seat clamp had started to stip (Crap-tastic design). Lo and behold my horrible procrastinating (Left my house at 10:30am) made it such that USPS arrived with a wonderful package that prompted me to yell "God be Praised!" in the middle of my street wearing nothing but my lycra and spandex, yes I did receive a few stares.

After installing my new seatpost (Bontrager XXX Lite, Yay for easy adjustments!) and seeing if anyone wanted to come along from the LBS I was finally on the road at 11am (cringe).

My route took me through South Boston onto Morrissey Boulevard and down Neponset ave to 3A where I took the 3A bridge and then headed out onto Quincy Shore drive. I took that until I hit the Furnace Brook Parkway and used that as my method of venturing from the coast towards the Blue Hills. Along my way I came upon another rider by the name of John who was riding a beautiful S-Works Tarmac and had just gotten back on the bike after a hip replacement (Many props to him getting back on the bike after major, joint based, surgery is a scary though to me). After riding with him for a bit he veered off before we hit the Blue Hills and I continued on my own.

Now I love climbing so the Blue Hills is always a fun challenge for me. My route normally takes me up Chikatawbut from the east side, up past the reservoir to the camping area, down around the back of the blue hills near the reservation (Hillside Rd to Washington St), past the ski area, up and down the access road to the summit/ Observatory, then up Canton, down Uniquity and then back up Chikatawbut and finally back out to the coast.

On my way up and down the Blue Hill Summit path I noticed two other cyclists doing hill repeats and I decided "Well if they can do it more then once, I can to!" So up I go again. After my second ascent I get to chatting with one of the other Cyclists who was on a Kuota Kredo. His name was Mike and we decided to ride together for a bit and do another Canton -> Uniquity -> Hillside -> Washington -> 1 more Blue Hill access road assault, loop equalling about another 8 miles.

So during our ride it turns out that this guy used to race in the Professional Kodak Sierra Nevada team, he taught me a few tricks for descending things like the Summit road at high speed and we traded numbers at the end of our stint.

Right after Mike pulled off I ran into another rider looking for directions to get back to quincy to make his way to back to Boston. I offered to ride with him since I was heading that way. We met at the northern section of Uniquity road and we road back to Chikitawbut, up the hill, down past the resevoir and back to Furnace Brook Parkway together.

Turns out this guy was a researcher/ doctor at Brigham and Women's working on driver attentiveness and respiratory status.

After that my ride continued down 3A past Weymouth landing and out to Hull, Next time I will use Jim from Boston's route to avoid the mess that is 3A between Quincy and Weymouth though.

On my way down Hull I ran into another cyclist on a Rock Hopper mountain bike. I unapologetically blew past the guy (A move I felt a little bad about) and went on my way. While going out to Hull I took a few of the little Hill climbs at the little towns on my way out and then realized that another biker I saw in the distance was the guy on the Rock Hopper again.

This time I caught up and started chatting with him. Another great guy, name was Tom and we chatted and laughed all the way out to Hull's Windmill. At that point I needed to make a few calls so he left to head back into town and I took care of my phone calls (Meeting friends for Shakespeare on the Common).

From there the ride back in was Lovely and uneventful.

Ride Statistics:
78 miles
4 other cyclists
3 blue hill access road repeats
3000+ feet of climbing
1 Pro Cyclist (Pretty darn cool IMO)

jimmuller 08-17-11 11:50 AM

dnzzmllr, it sounds like you had an interesting day yesterday.

I had an interesting morning but in the not-so-great sense of interesting. The commuter train was early getting into Attleboro so I was feeiling good about the run into work (especially because I could do it by bike instead of by ark). About two miles into the run the rear tire went bang whump whump whump. The bang indicated more than a simple puncture. Sure enough, the sidewall had a 1/2in cut but the tire had only a tiny hole. Curious. Don't know what I hit.

I was carrying another tube so I stuffed it into the tire and put a few strips of the tube box between tube and tire as a cardboard "tire re-inforcement". Unfortunately that tube didn't hold air, so I threw a patch on the first tube and remounted it along with the re-inforcement. That wouldn't hold air either. Grrr. Then I found a tiny hole in the second tube, threw my remaining patch on it and remounted it with the re-inforcement. This time it held.

But for how long and with how much pressure??? I gave it what seemed enough to hold my weight against most bumps, perhaps 75psi to judge from the number of pump strokes. No bang yet. I mounted the bike gingerly and started pedaling. No bang yet. By the time I hit the Rhode Island state line I was feeling pretty confident I'd make it to work.

Of course I was running late. I couldn't get to the office for a scheduled phone conference so I stopped along the Blackstone River Bikeway and phoned in from there. Such a pleasant location for working! Then I rode the rest of the way to work, perhaps another 15 minutes. The patch held and is still holding as I type this.

Will it hold for the ride back to Attleboro this afternoon? There's a bike shop along one of my possible routes home but they don't stock good 27" tires, only "service quality" tires. Do I risk the ride home or spend money on a tire I'll use for less than 10 miles? I'll have to allow another half hour for the detour and the purchase and the tire swap.

Decisions, decisions...

godshammgod 08-17-11 02:35 PM

Nice report dnuzzo.

I've been making it a point to chat up more people along the road too. I also ran into a current Pro once and it's amazing the things you learn while riding with them.

Today was a slow as molasses 38 miles from Newton out to Carlisle and back. After my back fiasco I dealt with a major case of strep so I'm incredibly out of riding shape. Luckily I had this week off from work so I can get in some long (ish) rides tomorrow and Friday as well. I've had to re-assess my plans for the rest of the year because of the health issues. I'm bagging any more racing this year, taking off the speedometer and riding for fun. I have a century with some friends next month, but that's all that I have planned.

jimmuller 08-17-11 05:39 PM

Hope you feel better and get your energy back real fast, godshammgod. Your century sounds intriguing even though you didn't give any details. Except for the facts that you've reported some aggressive rides :eek: in the past and that we might be on vacation, I might want to see if I could ride with you.

This evening's commute ride back to Attleboro didn't happen. That cut in the tire held up for the morning's run but the blue of the cardboard was clearly showing through the sidewall. If it blew out on my homeward trip I'd have to walk the remainder of the way, which could mean missing the train, which could mean waiting almost 2 and a half hours for the next one. So I begged a ride from a co-worker and left the bike at the office. :(

rholland1951 08-17-11 09:09 PM

Had an odd experience during an otherwise pleasant 20-mile ride on the Minuteman Trail: got chased by a goofy-looking kid who was apparently playing at being a werewolf. This episode of juvenile lycanthropy occasioned a burst of rapid acceleration up the hill. Just some of the native Arlington fauna, I guess.

rod

godshammgod 08-18-11 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmuller (Post 13095739)
Hope you feel better and get your energy back real fast, godshammgod. Your century sounds intriguing even though you didn't give any details. Except for the facts that you've reported some aggressive rides :eek: in the past and that we might be on vacation, I might want to see if I could ride with you.

It's a great ride out of UMass Dartmouth run by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen. It's called the ''Flattest Century in the East.'' It's not so much flat, but it is at a very low elevation, hence the name. It's a really, really pretty ride along the coast.

Registration is officially closed. So several of my friends and I are riding it guerrilla style. We'll just follow the route, but not use any of the services along the way. I did the same thing last year, because all my friends were registered in time. The ride is Sunday September 11th. I can PM you more details if you're interested.

rholland1951 08-18-11 08:45 PM

24-mile round-trip commute today (Arlington-Bedford). Left work late, saw a doe on an embankment on Rt 62 that I probably wouldn't have noticed driving. On a wooded section of the Minuteman after dark, heard a night-bird call - sustained, rising, then falling - that I couldn't identify; eerie.

rod

jimmuller 08-18-11 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by godshammgod (Post 13097412)
It's a great ride out of UMass Dartmouth run by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen... The ride is Sunday September 11th. I can PM you more details if you're interested.

I'm interested but can't make it. We have to play a show that day. Verrill Farm in Concord if anyone needs a biking destination.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rholland1951 (Post 13101764)
On a wooded section of the Minuteman after dark, heard a night-bird call - sustained, rising, then falling - that I couldn't identify; eerie.

I'm thinking that might be an owl, probably a screech owl. We heard a similar sound last night in our neighborhood in Waltham. Actually we heard two slightly different pitched voices, probably two different birds. Yeah, eerie. Really cool too!

http://www.owlpages.com/sounds/Megascops-asio-2.mp3

mtalinm 08-18-11 11:21 PM

Almost got myself into trouble this morning trying to do s half century in the Phoenix area. Started at daybreak to give myself as much time as possible before it got too hot. But finally had to quit at 9am, just before the thermometer hit 100. I think I almost got heatstroke even though I consumed a half gallon of water. The wind was so hot it made my eyes burn.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/107510340

On the bright side, it was my first time on a $3000 bike, a rented Madone 5.2

rholland1951 08-19-11 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmuller (Post 13102020)
I'm thinking that might be an owl, probably a screech owl. We heard a similar sound last night in our neighborhood in Waltham. Actually we heard two slightly different pitched voices, probably two different birds. Yeah, eerie. Really cool too!

http://www.owlpages.com/sounds/Megascops-asio-2.mp3

Yup, screech owl. Close match to the "B call" on that site. Thanks! I had already worked my way through the goatsuckers...

rod

rholland1951 08-19-11 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtalinm (Post 13102256)
Almost got myself into trouble this morning trying to do s half century in the Phoenix area. Started at daybreak to give myself as much time as possible before it got too hot. But finally had to quit at 9am, just before the thermometer hit 100. I think I almost got heatstroke even though I consumed a half gallon of water. The wind was so hot it made my eyes burn.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/107510340

On the bright side, it was my first time on a $3000 bike, a rented Madone 5.2

Yikes! When I was a kid in S. Georgia, people took anything hotter than 97F seriously...

rod

pocky 08-19-11 07:42 AM

Heading to the Northampton area this weekend for a quickie vacation meetup with another couple. Bringing the tandem plus two (or three or four if I can think of a reason) single bikes. It's not exactly Metro Boston so I'll post a new thread. :)

bikinggrrrl 08-19-11 02:52 PM

Hail hurts. Especially when you are hoofing it at 20+mph, trying to beat the storm home.

jimmuller 08-19-11 03:31 PM

No riding yet today but I do get to bring my bike home from the office. Maybe I can get a ride in when I get home. In the meantime...

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtalinm (Post 13102256)
...But finally had to quit at 9am, just before the thermometer hit 100.

That's frightening.

Quote:

Originally Posted by rholland1951 (Post 13102947)
I had already worked my way through the goatsuckers...

Ah, yes, the most famous of which is probably the whipporwill. Haven't heard one in decades but as I recall it used to be (really LOUD): "whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill whipporwill..." until you wished it would go away.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bikinggrrrl (Post 13105275)
Hail hurts. Especially when you are hoofing it at 20+mph, trying to beat the storm home.

Oh dear, I hope you didn't really get hit with hail today or any other day.

rholland1951 08-19-11 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bikinggrrrl (Post 13105275)
Hail hurts. Especially when you are hoofing it at 20+mph, trying to beat the storm home.

Ouch! Weather radar is our friend...

Hail is one of the several reasons cowboys wear those big hats.

rod

bikinggrrrl 08-19-11 03:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimmuller (Post 13105452)
Oh dear, I hope you didn't really get hit with hail today or any other day.

Did indeed. The rain started about 6 miles from home. I don't mind cycling in the rain, so that was okay. The serious thunder and lightening started about 3 miles from home and the hail started at 1 mile from home. That just plain hurt.

godshammgod 08-19-11 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bikinggrrrl (Post 13105534)
Did indeed. The rain started about 6 miles from home. I don't mind cycling in the rain, so that was okay. The serious thunder and lightening started about 3 miles from home and the hail started at 1 mile from home. That just plain hurt.

I've never ridden through hail. But a couple of months ago I was caught out in a blinding rainstorm with another rider. That sure felt like hail. Each raindrop was a tiny little pin prick to the skin. Following that guy's wheel at 20+mph for 45 minutes wasn't fun. It was raining so hard that my glasses were useless. And I didn't have a cycling cap to protect my eyes. So I just got low in the drops and kept my head down until it was over. It was painful.


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