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Old 11-27-11, 04:50 PM   #1551
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We got out on the tandem today, something we'd talked about for our Sunday back home after spending T-day with my family in Virginia. We started in Concord, rode Monument Rd/River Rd up to 225, west into Carlisle, stopped and had some lunch at Fern's. Somehow the temperature was missing about 10 degrees but it was tolerable.

The original plan was just to do the quick Concord-Carlisle loop, Sharon's introduction some of the roads I like on my solo bike. But Sharon felt like going further. So while eating lunch I thought about what sorts of roads we might do next. We went west on 225 to Acton St, left on West st, right on Pope Rd, left on Strawberry Hill Rd, left on Barrett's Mill Rd, right on Lowell Rd back into Concord. Then Sharon said "Oh, we're back already. Can we do another loop somewhere?"

So I pointed the bike east on 2a, Old Bedford Rd, and 62 until McMahon let us cut over to Depot Park. (As captain I can point it wherever I want.) We stopped there for another superfluous food break then re-traced the route back to Concord.

It was great day. The sun even came out off and on. We rode some significant hills, both up and down. Sharon likes the uphill. 26 miles, all sweet.
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Old 11-27-11, 06:14 PM   #1552
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Great ride in the Quabbin Reservoir!

Great ride on the mountain bike in the Quabbin today!
For those who may not be familiar, the Quabbin Reservoir offers hundreds of square miles of wilderness within an hour and a half of Boston. There a places of stunning beauty and opportunities to view wildlife that you could only expect to see in remote wilderness areas.
There is authorized bike access in some areas. I would particularly recommend Gate 40 in Petersham off Rt32A. You'll ride through the abandoned center of Dana one of four towns that were sacrificed to create the Metro Boston water supply in the 1930s then on through the wilderness to the water.
A mountain bike or hybrid (on the main roads) will do nicely here.
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Old 11-28-11, 06:24 PM   #1553
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Temperatures in the 60s, no rain, late November: had to ride the bike to work. Almost too warm (I didn't say that). With all the leaves gone, lots of things normally hidden stand out: bird's nests, the berries on bittersweet vines (yet another pretty invasive, of course), little pools well back in the woods; so lots to see when not wool-gathering about project milestones.

The prize mystery of today's commute was a handsome pumpkin, intact, sitting by the side of the Minuteman near the Maple Street ramp, looking like a pie waiting to happen. How did it get there? Where did it go next? Ask the bad boys.

Speaking of the bad boys, the ride home was dominated by a riotous frat party of horny male Winter Moths; seems the warm evening air made them rowdier than usual. I know they're just looking (sniffing, actually) for love (or the moth equivalent thereof), but wish they'd realize that they won't find it up my nose, or in my glasses. This over-familiarity--and Jim's comment about their sad lack of local natural enemies--inspired some DIY fantasies: an aerosol can of insecticide mounted on the rear rack (hard on overtaking roadies, of course, but reminiscent of the joys of playing in the DDT fog behind the mosquito control trucks of my South Georgia childhood); an electric grid mounted on a front rack (ZAP!); a Dust Buster with an air scoop (too loud); fly-paper mud flaps (the winner on style points, perhaps). Nothing like a dark night full of bugs to stimulate the imagination.

rod

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Old 11-29-11, 07:50 AM   #1554
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We got out on the tandem today, Ipswich to Newburyport, over to Plum Island, back to Ipswich. Only 36 miles but such miles. Windy-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y... You know it's windy when you have to drop down to the granny gear on the flat. Warm for late November. A lovely day.
Don't say I didn't warn you about the wind. It can be brutal up there this time of year!
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Old 11-29-11, 09:35 AM   #1555
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Don't say I didn't warn you about the wind. It can be brutal up there this time of year!
I believe I seem to recall reading that Craig warned me about the wind on/near Plum Island. At least I think I believe I seem I recall it.

Rod, if you get a working prototype for a winter moth killer I'll try it for you. As long as it doesn't involve eating any.
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Old 11-29-11, 04:42 PM   #1556
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This was a telecommuting day for me, but I was able to take a lunch-time ride, E. Arlington to Depot Park, Bedford, and back, in the better-than-we-expect-at-this-time-of-year weather. Took a straight shot out the Minuteman, but added a detour on Page Road, Bedford/Grove Street, Lexington, on the return. This got the distance up to 22 miles, and added that staged hill climb that JandersUF sang the praises of on this thread some time back. It had been a couple of years since I had ridden that, and I was pleased that both Bedford and Lexington seem to have repaved their respective sections, very smooth. Spun up the hill (thanks, Granny), flew down (29.75 mph, fast for my slow self). Made for a nice change from the usual rail trail gradualism.

Right at the Bedford/Lexington line, one is greeted by a voluble chorus of Schipperkes



and a polite admonition.



Words to live by.

rod

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Old 11-30-11, 12:52 PM   #1557
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I wanted sooooo badly to get a ride in on my commute home (3pm) yesterday. With the light fading so quickly this time of year, I am glad I opted to pick up the peanut from school and head the park instead. It was getting dark by 4:30 and night by 5pm. Not a fan of riding on fast roads with rush-hour traffic in the dark with a $25 headlight. Broke out, dusted off and setup the fluid trainer last night instead. It felt like I was finally admitting defeat.

At least I can still commute in short sleeves; can't gripe about that.

I know the temps are looking cold(ish) this weekend but I am planning on a "bike anchor" ride this Sunday up in Carlisle. Slow(ish) recovery pace (16-17mph) since I'll be towing a trailer with a 3.5yo. I can do morning (9/10am) or in the afternoon, depending if people want to join me.
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Old 11-30-11, 03:40 PM   #1558
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I know the temps are looking cold(ish) this weekend but I am planning on a "bike anchor" ride this Sunday up in Carlisle. Slow(ish) recovery pace (16-17mph) since I'll be towing a trailer with a 3.5yo. I can do morning (9/10am) or in the afternoon, depending if people want to join me.
Ah! Sharon wants to go out again this weekend on the tandem. We ride it like an anchor so maybe a 3.5y.o. in a trailer will slow you down just enough for us to keep up with you! Morning sounds good but I need to discuss it with SWMBO, I mean Sharon.

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Old 11-30-11, 08:22 PM   #1559
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sounds good. I won't be trying to race anyone. promise.
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Old 12-01-11, 07:21 AM   #1560
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sounds good. I won't be trying to race anyone. promise.
We shall (try to) be at Fern's at 10. Does that fit your schedule?
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Old 12-01-11, 11:09 AM   #1561
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Should be doable. I'll send you a PM with my ph# in case you need it.
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Old 12-02-11, 09:53 PM   #1562
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not sure I can do it again this winter

last year I rode 26m roundtrip for all but two weeks of last winter. I'm not sure I can do it again this year.

today was the first sub-freezing commute of the season. actually the ride in wasn't all that bad, though I had a bit of the cold-weather buzz. and I made it home without incident. but it was about an hour or two later that the infamous "winter headache" started to set in.

not for lack of gear. smartwool from head to toe including balaclava, a skullcap and a cover over the helmet. Lake winter boots. warm gloves and lobster mitts just in case. thick wool overcoat. don't remember being that cold on the ride.

but something gets me in the cold. I'm just super-hungry by the time I got home. and I had pre-fueled with protein and complex carbs, plus had a sugar fix when I arrived home. still happened.

maybe I'll follow Jim from Boston and just ride one way. take the commuter rail home instead. that would get me off the roads at night, which would certainly make my wife happy. would still be 20m per day, not bad.

we'll see. I would like to break out the studded tires at some point
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Old 12-03-11, 06:54 PM   #1563
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Another Saturday with less time for riding than was desirable, but only myself to blame for that, I expect. Did get out to the end of the Minuteman and back in the early afternoon, 20 miles. Temps in the low 40's, a little too warm for cold and a little too cold for cool. The Endotherm Of The Week Award went to a kid coasting down the Arlington Heights grade on a long board, wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, with no visible goose bumps. The sun was so low, even at 1pm, that I got serious stroboscopic effects in the sunward eye, coming and going, reminding me of the chorus of a John Lincoln Wright song, "Horizon Line". It was a beautiful, clear day, light that wouldn't quit, with a few cirrus clouds and a classy little sundog to break up all that undifferentiated blue. What the light had to shine on was mostly shades of brown; the views of Tophet Swamp and Great Meadows were sere. At this time of year, evergreens come into their own, with pine trees, ivy, and bits of ground cover I lack the horticultural background to identify standing out vividly, along with the anomalous green lawns our warm November has left us: not dead yet, as the Pythons say. This got me singing "The Holly and the Ivy", discreetly enough, I hope, so as not to alarm the numerous folks out on the Minuteman for a ride, a walk, or a skate. A cycling couple rode by in Santa Claus suits: they had the hats, but neither he nor she had the beard.

rod

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Old 12-04-11, 05:07 PM   #1564
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We met cmolway in Carlisle this morning for a few-hours ride. He was towing a trailer with his son Owen, and we were on the tandem. Owen was cool, an awesome little guy very much at home in the trailer. I'm happy to report that even though cmolway was towing his "boat anchor" he is still much faster than we were!

We ran up to Chemlesford and south back to Great Brook Farm, but at that point I hit a wall. Well duh, breakfast was 4 hours earlier. Owen had fallen asleep and we didn't want cmolway to have to stop. So we told him to ride on while we stopped for a relaxing lunch. We passed him going the other way a bit later. Cmolway, sorry we couldn't push you any harder.

The rest of our day was great. We looped around Curve St, cut over to Strawberry Hill, south to Concord, then Monument/River back to Carlisle. A total of 29.33 miles top speed down one hill 29.9mph.

Two years ago I snapped this pic:



Today we took these:





And at the Battlefield Historical Park in Concord, standing on the North Bridge:

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Old 12-04-11, 07:54 PM   #1565
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After the Pats game concluded oddly, had a peaceful, moonlit ride from E. Arlington to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman, 10 miles. The Great Meadows, that looked "sere" in yesterday's sun, were luminous under tonight's gibbous moon. A few teenagers out, their vocalizations in the distance sounding more happy and exuberant than otherwise. Walkers, cyclists, and one night skate-boarder with a headlamp, each wrapped in their own bubble of moonlight. A few pockets of winter moths, but their party seems to be winding down; perhaps they've just sent out for more beer.

rod

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Old 12-05-11, 07:03 AM   #1566
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We met cmolway in Carlisle this morning for a few-hours ride. He was towing a trailer with his son Owen, and we were on the tandem. Owen was cool, an awesome little guy very much at home in the trailer. I'm happy to report that even though cmolway was towing his "boat anchor" he is still much faster than we were!

We ran up to Chemlesford and south back to Great Brook Farm, but at that point I hit a wall. Well duh, breakfast was 4 hours earlier. Owen had fallen asleep and we didn't want cmolway to have to stop. So we told him to ride on while we stopped for a relaxing lunch. We passed him going the other way a bit later. Cmolway, sorry we couldn't push you any harder.

The rest of our day was great. We looped around Curve St, cut over to Strawberry Hill, south to Concord, then Monument/River back to Carlisle. A total of 29.33 miles top speed down one hill 29.9mph.
I would have loved to have stopped with you two. The rule is: once a tot falls asleep in the back, it's best to take advantage of ones good fortune and keep moving. We probably only did an additional 25 or so miles before he woke up. I wish the sky had cleared too. I had dressed light expecting the mid-50's temps that were promised. I don't think it got out of the 40's the whole time. I was fine riding but once we stopped for a picnic, I was fairly chilled through--killing any thoughts of additional miles.

Rode the nice bike to work today with thoughts of sneaking in a ride on the way home from work.
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Old 12-05-11, 06:46 PM   #1567
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Another day of unseasonably benign weather, rode to work. Left a little later on the return than planned, after sunset but a few minutes before 5. At the Running of the Bulls (Rte 62/Crosby Drive/Rte 3 interchange), the traffic was just starting to thicken, and was able to punch through some nicely aligned holes before it set up hard, pumping all the way. Ran into a MOTH RIOT in Bedford and Lexington, validating the hypothesis that yesterday's moderate activity was just a pause to get more beer. Encountered moths on Rte 62 for the first time, and was briefly rooting for them to get splattered on car windshields, then considered my own position vis-a-vis the auto traffic, and decided to remain neutral, at least until I got off the road. Once on the Minuteman, noticed that sometimes the headlight angles worked to make amusing MOTH SHADOWS on the asphalt. If we're going to have BUGS, they may as well be entertaining, I guess... Whatever deity is in charge of the weather, we should sacrifice something nice to HIM/HER/IT. Maybe a moth or two.

rod

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Old 12-07-11, 06:48 AM   #1568
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It was soooo nice on Monday that I was able to take off early and get 50 miles in on the way home from work. I wasn't really planning for 50 but the day was just too nice for a short loop. The only downside was the bonk I experienced at mile 47 due to only bringing one bidon and no additional fuel with me.
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Old 12-11-11, 06:43 PM   #1569
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Between weather, travel, and a general flare-up of my chronic case of Too Busy To Live Syndrome, hadn't ridden since Monday. Got an opening for that after the Pats game, as night fell. Rode the 20-mile round-trip from E. Arlington to Depot Park, Bedford, in the Winter dark. Temps were in the low 30's when I started, dropping to the high 20's by the return. Most of the clothes choices worked for that, although my finger tips are not so sure about my gloves. The Minuteman was just about as empty as I've ever seen it, fewer than a dozen folks sharing it, riders and walkers, plus one cat and one rabbit. The out-bound leg was quite dark, but at the turn-around point--the cheerily-lit B&M Buddliner permanently sidetracked and on display at Depot Park--the moon rose, just a couple of days past full, and provided welcome light (if not heat), especially over the wide-open vistas of Tophet Swamp and Great Meadows. Quiet ride, I could swear there's still a bit of the night chorus left, but it's as likely tinnitus. No moths: whether they've bagged it for the season, or just for the night, remains to be seen. Aside from the glowing Buddliner, there were two noteworthy electrical displays: a 4-story-tall spruce tree in Arlington, capped with a shining star (otherwise dark), and a similarly tall, field-form deciduous tree in Lexington that had been festooned with small white lights. Both were aesthetic and tasteful, a relief from the inflatable dolls and other kitsch horrors that seem to crop up this time of year.

rod

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Old 12-12-11, 03:46 PM   #1570
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A footnote on the weekend. On Saturday, I walked (not rode) most of the Concord section of the Reformatory Branch trail. The hundred yards of mud near Monument Street are still there, the local approximation to a sucking mire. A little trail improvement would go a long way here.

rod

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Old 12-13-11, 08:04 AM   #1571
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And I thought last year had fantastic weather! This year is even better. I was able to get in 100+ miles over the weekend, in mid December! Sunshine and temps in the 50s on Friday called for and early day and a long ride home. I did chicken out on my normal Saturday 7:30am 50 miler out of cycle loft though. I got up in time but it's hard to motivate when the temps are hovering around 30 and the sun isn't up yet. By 9:30 temps had climbed to a comfortable 45F. Did my usual North Shore loops from Melrose up to Andover and back instead.

Morning commutes are getting colder. I think it was 27F when I rolled out today.
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Old 12-17-11, 06:00 PM   #1572
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Had a few hours free this afternoon, and to vary the menu, took a 28-mile ride to Bedford (and a little nibble of Billerica) that included Page Road, Dudley Road, and the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail (along with some utilitarian sections of the Minuteman). Dudley Road is interesting. The northern end was developed in the 50s, the southern end (Huckins Farm) was developed in the 90s, but the middle segment is essentially the last country road left in Bedford (even if it's in Billerica, I'm not sure), with some beautiful and genteel 18th-century farm houses, lots of horses, a few working farms, a small state park, and a religious retreat (Saint Thecla's) operated by nuns that is the object of a great deal of superstitious chit-chat and morbid curiosity among area high school students. This section of Dudley Road is narrower than some driveways, and the asphalt is anything but planar, but it's a nice ride. The Narrow Gauge Rail Trail right-of-way at Springs Road is almost invisible; I missed it at first. The main section of the trail (in Bedford) is in good shape, and took me past Fawn Lake, with its Victorian resort (now an office building). One surprise: the bog at Depot Park has a sign on it saying "Closed for the Season". Good weather today, high 30's to start, low 30's by the end, and a head-wind in both directions, thanks to a wind shift at sunset, but pleasant.

rod

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Old 12-17-11, 09:49 PM   #1573
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Not really a cold-weather kind of rider. Got out there today though. Dropped the bike at the MUP trailhead and took off for a 9 mile round tripper to the non-l LBS to pick up a trainer skewer. Brought no water (dummy). I wasn't sweaty until I walked into the store but the heat almost knocked me over! I was too bundled up for sure! The ride back was nicer. I liked having the Tricross today. The first part of the MUP is dirt, almost mud. Then it turns to gravel then to smooth black-top. Perfect bike for the ride!

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Old 12-17-11, 10:56 PM   #1574
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Not really a cold-weather kind of rider. Got out there today though...
Hi, Mr.G. Nice looking bike. Tell me, did you ever come to terms with your UO8? You had expressed some significant, ah, shall we say, disappointment with it. If you want to feel what a lightened one with good wheels feels like, drop over some time. But probably best to wait for warmer weather!

We had to drive to Montreal and back today. No bike riding.
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Old 12-17-11, 11:22 PM   #1575
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Hi, Mr.G. Nice looking bike. Tell me, did you ever come to terms with your UO8? You had expressed some significant, ah, shall we say, disappointment with it. If you want to feel what a lightened one with good wheels feels like, drop over some time. But probably best to wait for warmer weather!

We had to drive to Montreal and back today. No bike riding.
Hi Jim!
Negative. With a 2 year old at home the bike that gets ridden the most is my Trek 820 that pulls the baby trailer and has the seat mounted on the back. I still have it, but the project is on indefinite hold. Some day I'll get to wrenching on it though. I'd love to drop by to see the bike and chat some time!
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