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  1. #2426
    Senior Member sherbornpeddler's Avatar
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    Rod,
    Tire songs, flag snap, overpass ghosts and Minnesota theorists. It doesn't matter how cold it gets, you are forever cool.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

  2. #2427
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Hoping to make the most of both this cold snap and the remaining days of my Winter break, rode out the Minuteman yet again, starting an hour before sunset, with the thermometer showing 23degF. Paused at Maple Street to adjust my saddle height, and got into a conversation with a mountain biker from Carlisle, who had stopped to chat because he thought I was his riding buddy, Wayne; this is the all-large-hairy-men-on-bicycles-are-the-same-person effect, I've seen it before. He eyed my antique GT Karakoram--circa 1987, devoid of suspension fore and aft--appreciatively, and said, "Wow! That's old school!"; this is a fringe benefit of being old, and tending to have old stuff: some of those who come after find it interesting (or, at least, are polite about it). He passed along the interesting intelligence that the Bedford DPW seemed about to plow their section of the Minuteman; when I had last seen it, everything beyond Wiggins Avenue had been an unplowed, unrideable, bare-booted mess.

    I paused again just before Revere Street, to take a picture, in situ, of the big illuminated tree next to the farm house at Taylor Lane. You can see it here, already lit yellow in the fading sunlight.


    While I was in the neighborhood, I said hello to the tree's horses.


    I continued out to Wiggins Avenue, Bedford. Lo and behold, the section between Wiggins Avenue and Depot Park had been freshly plowed!


    I rode to Depot Park as night fell, glad of both the carbide studs and the aggressive tread pattern on my Nokian W240s. This section is rough, but rideable, and numerous bike tracks of various conformations bore witness to that. As the temperature fell, my tires produced loud crunching and cracking sounds that I hadn't heard before, at least not this season, a token of real Winter. The Buddliner, when I reached it, was as cheery a turn-around landmark as ever.


    It was dark now, and cold. As I cleared Wiggins Avenue, I heard the cry of an angry raccoon, sharp, raspy and high-pitched like a bad bearing on an expensive road bike being ridden hard up hill. After clearing Rt 128, I heard the loopy-creepy call of a screech owl; after Woburn Street, the challenge bark of a coyote, doggy with a difference. All the critters seemed to want to chat, probably in response to the racket my Nokians were making.

    I paused again at Taylor Lane, and got another night picture of the big tree, this time getting just a bit of the farmhouse in the glow of its lights.


    By now, the temperature had fallen to the middle teens. One of the things I was doing with this ride was proving out the Empire Wool and Canvas Company ICEBIKE Mittens, serious cold-weather wear from Duluth, Minnesota; this was the first ride that seemed cold enough to warrant their use. They are gigantic, split fingered lobster claws, with gauntlets that extend half-way to my elbow. The good news is that they work remarkably well, warm and enveloping with a return-to-the-womb comfort that led me to think of one indelicate metaphor after another, the least objectionable involving James Herriot's account of turning a calf... but I mean that in the nicest possible way. By the end of the ride, my fingers were the warmest part of my body, the envy of both my toes and my nose.


    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-04-13 at 07:32 AM.

  3. #2428
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler View Post
    Rod,
    Tire songs, flag snap, overpass ghosts and Minnesota theorists. It doesn't matter how cold it gets, you are forever cool.
    Thank you, sir.

    rod

  4. #2429
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Twelfth day of Christmas, 41 degrees at noon, 25 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, and Lincoln. Rode the ice bike again, expecting to need it on the only-lately-plowed Bedford section of the Minuteman. Sure enough, that stretch was suitable to illustrate a Science Fair project on the phase diagram of water, featuring slush, packed snow, ice in several forms, liquid water, water vapor, and the occasional bit of dry pavement; pretty much everything but live steam. The Arlington and Lexington sections of the Minuteman were clear, with occasional incidental exceptions. After reaching Depot Park, kept riding, taking Railroad Avenue and McMahon Street to Concord Road, Bedford, continuing into Concord on Old Bedford Road. Paused to admire Concord's monument stone to local agriculture...

    ...continuing on Virginia Road, past the Thoreau birth-place (both of them)...

    ... on past the Hanscom runway, where helicopter flight school was apparently in session again. At the point where, in former days, Virginia Road would have gone straight into The Bloody Angle in what is now the Battle Road park...

    ... picked up Old Bedford Road (the Lincoln instance) and rolled down the hill to Hanscom Drive, turning left on N. Great Road (also known as Rt 2A), where I rode for a couple of blocks without getting squished before turning right onto Mill Street, picking up Lexington Rd, Lincoln/Lincoln Street, Lexington past the North end of the Cambridge Reservoir, which has iced over nicely.


    Rode under the Rt 128 overpass by the old farm to Middle Street, picking up Marrett Road (also also known as Rt 2A), riding that past the Lexington Reservoir, where kids were skating.


    Continued over rolling hills on Marrett Road to Mass. Ave., then hopped back on the Minuteman and rolled home, noting a hockey game in progress on Peepers Pond. I guess the cold earlier in the week made for useful ice.

    It was a pleasure to get out on the roads again, even such well-known ones. I met numerous roadies once I left the Minuteman, many of whom were in cheerful, expansive moods, lots of greetings exchanged. Made me want to get back on the touring bike; today, it would have worked, had I been willing to detour around the Bedford segment of the Minuteman. We'll see what the Winter weather brings... In the meantime, I'm sitting in my kitchen, making chicken soup.

    rod
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #2430
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Rod, you are monster. Thanks for the pics.

    What we did today...here is my stoker falling a bit further behind than normal. Temp about 12F, time about 4:20.

    Last edited by jimmuller; 01-05-13 at 06:44 PM.
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  6. #2431
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Jim, that looks beautiful. Makes me cold just to look at it....

    rod

  7. #2432
    Senior Member sherbornpeddler's Avatar
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    On much more tame errand riding photo.jpgphoto.jpg the mill dam and my driveway have enough ice to keep me contemplating studded tires. I'd have to add fenders and lights to the mountain bike or replace the smooth riding 35c tires on the single speed. My contemplation vs. get out and ride ratio gets plenty of traction in the winter.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

  8. #2433
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Epiphany, end of Winter break, work tomorrow. Evening ride on the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back, 10 miles, mid-30s. High clouds and snow cover made the night a bit brighter than it otherwise would have been. A few Christmas lights are still up. Some of these will come down tomorrow, by tradition; others will stay up, affirming current need by providing cheer while the extended dark season lasts. Quiet, except for a particularly raucous flock of geese near Arlington High School, who seem to have inspired my brakes to imitate them on a couple of subsequent stops. The ride, like the vacation, was over too soon.

    rod

  9. #2434
    Back to Biking stedanrac's Avatar
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    Hey guys, I got subscribed to this thread a while ago and I continue to enjoy and benefit from the postings on this thread. Thanks!

    I especially appreciate the condition reports on the Minuteman; I use the trail (Lexington center to Depot Sq) for commuting when it is clear. I hope the warm weather this week will get the Bedford end ridable.

  10. #2435
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    When the Bedford section of the Minuteman does clear, you may be the first on this list to know, if that's your commuting route. When you find it rideable again, please post that here.

    rod

  11. #2436
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    Haven't posted in a while, but I'm getting into a nice winter cycling routine. I'm just about six months post back injury, so more regular rides are becoming more comfortable. I'm still trying to keep things generally between 18-20 miles or so (including no effort whatsoever on the hills), but will hopefully ramp up the mileage by late February or March. Recently enjoyed a great winter group ride with the CRW out of Wellesley. A friendly group to chat with always makes those chilly miles tick by a bit quicker.

  12. #2437
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godshammgod View Post
    Haven't posted in a while, but I'm getting into a nice winter cycling routine. I'm just about six months post back injury, so more regular rides are becoming more comfortable. I'm still trying to keep things generally between 18-20 miles or so (including no effort whatsoever on the hills), but will hopefully ramp up the mileage by late February or March. Recently enjoyed a great winter group ride with the CRW out of Wellesley. A friendly group to chat with always makes those chilly miles tick by a bit quicker.
    It's really good to hear from you, glad your recovery is going well. Seems several of the folks who post to this thread have had to deal with injury this year.

    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-08-13 at 08:07 AM.

  13. #2438
    Splicer of Molecules Nickel's Avatar
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    Apologies for the thread interruption, but I was wondering if any Boston-ites knew of any demo days for fatbikes (Moonlanders, etc.) in the area?

    I have to agree with the Minnesota theory of winter riding. I have to say though....while the temperatures are warmer in Boston (compared to Minnesota), the dampness in the air makes it seem much chillier!

  14. #2439
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickel View Post
    Apologies for the thread interruption, but I was wondering if any Boston-ites knew of any demo days for fatbikes (Moonlanders, etc.) in the area
    Don't know about anything that organized, but if would be helpful to talk to someone who's put a lot of hours in on a Pugsley, visit Paramont Bicycle Repair, Ball Square, Somerville, and see Tyler.

    rod

  15. #2440
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    Quote Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
    It's really good to hear from you, glad your recovery is going well. Seems several of the folks who post to this thread have had to deal with injury this year.

    rod
    Indeed. I'm glad I've been (relatively) patient with my recovery. A few months of reduced riding is certainly a good trade for hopefully many years of pain free riding.

    It is funny though, that I'm always less concerned about my bike when riding with others. Probably because I'm just more concerned about the details of the paceline, conversation, the route, etc., rather than my back.

    This weekend I may even head out toward Concord. I haven't ridden those roads in a while. It's been too long.

  16. #2441
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godshammgod View Post
    This weekend I may even head out toward Concord. I haven't ridden those roads in a while. It's been too long.
    It is good to see you getting back out. We may be taking the tandem out that way this weekend. Not sure when though. If you see us (two [probably] yellow jerseys on a vintage metallic blue Peugeot [no decals though] with double lateral stays) do give a shout.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
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  17. #2442
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Thursday - about 1hr15min, Waltham, Belmont, Arlington, some MM. Didn't have time for a long ride, but it was nice. Temps near 50F.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
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  18. #2443
    Senior Member JayBlurr's Avatar
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    Forgot to post on wednesday but rode from allston to aquarium only 5 miles but it was gorgeous night at 11:30pm not a car in sight. I was having second thoughts, seemed like Boston was evacuated or something.
    "Planing another ride soon to somewhere unknown"
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  19. #2444
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    Went for a ride from downtown-ish to the Blue Hills on Wednesday to do some hiking. Wasn't expecting quite the level of hilly-ness, but it was a fun ride anyway. Sadly, the trails there were just solid ice, so only went for a small hike. Being mostly downhill, the ride back was a lot more fun, but the traffic was awful starting at Mattapan and the rest of the way back.

    I'm planning on doing the MM (Alewife-Concord and then back via the historical park) on Sunday, since the weather is supposed to be so nice. Is it looking clear now?

  20. #2445
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phulin View Post
    I'm planning on doing the MM (Alewife-Concord and then back via the historical park) on Sunday, since the weather is supposed to be so nice. Is it looking clear now?
    The Minuteman should be clear through Arlington and Lexington. The last mile in Bedford--Wiggins Ave. to Depot Park--still had a good deal of snow and ice the last time I rode it, but that was several days ago, and you you may find it clear when you get to it. If it isn't, you can easily detour around that section by making a left on Wiggins Ave., a right on Summer St., and another Right on South Rd.

    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-11-13 at 05:05 PM.

  21. #2446
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Rode to Depot Park, Bedford, and back, 20 damp and foggy miles, 45degF. The Thaw was in full swing, and fog was the dominant feature of the ride.


    Arlington's Great Meadows looked like prime real estate for Grendel to set up house-keeping in (not for the first time)...


    Pretty soon, I realized that my glasses were fogging up. I took to stopping occasionally to wipe them off, but in practice this meant that my own personal fog was somewhat thicker than the common portion. This struck me as a reasonable objective correlative to an inner truth, and I took it as part of the fun.

    Continued out through Lexington to Bedford, and was pleased to see that the last-plowed, previously ice-bound stretch between Wiggins Avenue and Depot Park is now clear, with a few easily avoided exceptions. Amusingly enough, the section of sidewalk connecting to the Trail wasn't plowed, and still has enough ice on it to warrant a little caution (the Depot Park parking lot is a viable detour for this).


    On the return, the sun got around to setting, and it got a little colder and foggier.




    By now, condensation was rampant, and my helmet, beard, jacket, pants, and boots, as well as my glasses, were fully bedewed.


    Immediately after crossing Route 128, I encountered a young Whitetail buck bounding through the snowy woods. He stopped to look at me, and I noticed he only had one antler, a "spike horn" typical of a young buck. Presumably he had already shed the other. I figure this made my unicorn-sighting quota for the day.

    Night fell as I transited Lexington, and my headlights projected cones of light that disclosed the droplets comprising the fog, on their way to being deposited on my gear.


    Sodium lights gave Trader Joe's an infernal cast...


    rod
    Last edited by rholland1951; 01-13-13 at 12:44 PM.

  22. #2447
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Yeah, that about sums today up. Nice weather, for January, and it never actually rained, the roads were just covered in wet grit. Didn't even need my jacket the entire time. Rode out to Bolton, stopped at Bolton Orchards for lunch, came back. This route, except skipping the Harvard bit as my legs were a little jelly-like the whole time, and just coming back 117 and then swinging up East End road just inside 495 to get back on the route.

  23. #2448
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Nice pic, anti-sarah! I got in about 30 miles today and my bike ended up looking like yours. One of the casualties of riding on a wet day:



    A stop at Great Meadows, Concord:





    The fog was wondrous:



    Today's ride was serene even when I was hammering. I didn't see much bike traffic, and not so much automobile traffic either. I had notice the "Great Meadows wildlife viewing area" sign before and decided to check it out. It was worth the side trip, and will surely become one of out tandem stops.

    The run through Bedford and Lexington on the MM was easy. No problem with the pavement surface re snow or ice. Nearing Lexington I saw a woman working on a tire, slowed and asked if she was okay. She asked if I had a pump. She had just replaced a tube and discovered that here CO2 cartridges were empty. Well, now, when you ride a vintage bike you lose points to the authenticity police if you don't have a frame pump, so of course I did. Plus, a pump never runs out of air. I did the chivalrous thing and pumped up her tire. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a pretty face.
    Last edited by jimmuller; 01-13-13 at 10:33 PM.
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  24. #2449
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    My bike, like the others, needs a good bath!

    I ended up staying in my neck of the woods to do two sloppy, hour-plus rides on Saturday and Sunday. It was messy, but I love those conditions, especially early in the morning. A nice, quiet solitude on some empty roads. I need to invest in some fenders though...

  25. #2450
    Senior Member rholland1951's Avatar
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    Up and down the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back this evening, 10 miles, high 40s. Was waved around a serious auto accident in East Arlington, wrecker, ambulance, two police cars. That put "Wreck on the Highway" on my inner playlist for the balance of the ride, proving once again that there's a Louvin Brothers song for any occasion. At the end of the ride, a bucket truck was replacing a stoplight, one of the casualties of the crash.

    Noticed and appreciated the remaining Winter lights displayed on houses here and there, in particular those shining at the Little House in the Woods, off the Minuteman in Lexington (don't know what the history of that house is, but tell myself it involves the railroad).


    As I neared my house at the end of the ride, I came upon a man searching the street with a flashlight; turned out he had lost his cell phone. I called it, he found it.

    rod

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