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Boston Area Ride thoughts for out of towner

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Boston Area Ride thoughts for out of towner

Old 01-26-18, 04:25 PM
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Boston Area Ride thoughts for out of towner

Hello Boston.

I'm traveling to Boston from SoCal the weekend of Feb. 3rd and (weather permitting*) would like to do a ride Monday Feb. 5th.

Curious if anyone has any suggestions for nice rides in the area. I'll be in the Allston area and currently planning to rent a hybrid from the folks at BackBay Bicycles ($35 for the day- hell, you can rent a car for that!).

2 years ago I visited Boston and saw many of the sights and may be walking the Freedom Trail again on Tuesday the 6th so riding those areas are not necessarily "must do's" unless highly recommended. Traffic doesn't bother me.

It'd be nice to have a mix of city and rural so I saw this Paul Revere Freedom Ride and thought it might be a good overall ride. It's 40-ish miles and from Allston that'll add another 10+ each way. I’ve seen everything along this route, so it would be a novelty ride for me but am open to other options. I have a GPS unit I can upload routes to.

Would love some company if anyone is interested in joining me. Casual, touring pace.

*Cold weather tips would be helpful. I plan to ride “weather permitting”, but I’m not exactly sure what that means coming from SoCal! I have some layers I’ll be bringing but if the temps are below 40F, not sure how much more I’ll need. The ride above is 40+ miles and that'll mean some time out in the elements. I can tolerate my local commutes down into the low to mid 40’s in shorts and a short sleeve polo shirt, but those are only 15 minutes each way. You can do anything for a short time, it’s the longer exposures that can become problematic. I heat up pretty quickly, so I think I’ll mainly have problems with feet, hands and face/ears.

Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-26-18, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Hello Boston.

I'm traveling to Boston from SoCal the weekend of Feb. 3rd and (weather permitting*) would like to do a ride Monday Feb. 5th.

Curious if anyone has any suggestions for nice rides in the area. I'll be in the Allston area and currently planning to rent a hybrid from the folks at BackBay Bicycles ($35 for the day- hell, you can rent a car for that!)....
Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
Hi HBCruiser,

Just a couple of hours ago, I posted to another thread,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
... All my visitors have a great time here. Not to brag, but e.g.
Originally Posted by rtool View Post
Spent a great weekend with Jim (Jimfromboston).
Originally Posted by miss kenton View Post
... Our trip to Boston was more fun than I could have ever anticipated.
Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
...Jim was an exceptionally gracious host...
...I really enjoy showing visitors around Boston on informal walking tours [or by bike], and I would offer that to a fellow BF subscriber, but I'm a pretty busy person, and would need a heads up to see if I'm available at a mutually agreeable time.
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Well, all the ones which made it out alive ...
Maelochs is a great kidder. Back Bay Bicycles is actually my excellent LBS. I'll know better my weekend Feb 3-5 plans later in the week, but I'm available for advice.

Jim

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-26-18 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 01-26-18, 08:17 PM
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Thanks Jim. Yea, check your schedule and let me know if that works for you. I'm hanging out with my son Sat/Sun so Monday is the day I'd like to ride.
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Old 01-27-18, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Thanks Jim. Yea, check your schedule and let me know if that works for you. I'm hanging out with my son Sat/Sun so Monday is the day I'd like to ride.
Hi HB.


Now that I have a better view of your plans, here’s my reply. I’m doing it on the Forum rather than a PM, in case anyone has a better plan.

First of all, I work on Monday, Feb 3, and the only cycling I might do is commuting about 14 miles Southwest from Kenmore Square leaving before 6AM. Since you are renting from Back Bay Bikes, I might suggest these MUPS, if that’s your inclination:
  • Charles River (Paul Dudley White), about one-quarter mile away, for a loop of about about 15-20 miles along the Charles River
  • SouthwestCorridor (Pierre Lallement), about one mile away, through some gritty but relatively safe areas to interesting, Victorian neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain ,and eventually to Franklin Park; (?) about 10 miles one-way
  • The Emerald Necklace,a discontinuous MUP through urban parklands, that passes in front of Back Bay Bikes, for about 8 miles or so, also to Franklin Park
  • The Minuteman Bikeway, starting about five miles away; a very popular and scenic MUP for about 11 miles one way through some historic venues such as Lexington and Concord
  • My favorite urban street ride is on Commonwealth Avenue (Comm Ave), which passes in front of Back Bay Bikes, becomes the main street through Allston, out for about ten miles then cut back after crossing the Route 128 beltway, back on Rte 16 / Beacon Street.
As far as the weekend itself goes, I presume you have plans with your son, but if you’d like to meet for perhaps dinner or a drink, and chat bicycles, Boston, or So Cal, I could likely find the time.


Finally, another resource to look for a cycling companion, is to post to the thread, the virtual Boston subforum on this Regional Discussion Forum, “Metro Boston: Good ride today?.”
Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
...*Cold weather tips would be helpful. I plan to ride “weather permitting”, but I’m not exactly sure what that means coming from SoCal! I have some layers I’ll be bringing but if the temps are below 40F, not sure how much more I’ll need...
Those above rides may be shorter than you hope for, but IMO are good for the Winter. Daytime temps would likely be in the 30's°F, but 20's are possible.

Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 01-31-18, 12:39 AM
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Thanks Jim, we have plans for dinner but lunch 1/2 pm perhaps Sat or Sun. if you're available.

The ride I had looked at had much of what you outline. I'm starting to get a bit freaked out now that the weather forecast has changed and is now predicted to dip into the mid 20's. 30's I was kinda OK with, 20's will probably be a bit too cold, especially with an extended day planned. This past weekend I rode 50 miles on my cruiser in shorts and sandals in 80 degree weather! LOL I may have to ditch it altogether or like you suggest, shorten it up. I'm game for adventure and shenanigans, but the low temps are becoming concerning. Luckily there's Starbucks everywhere for something HOT to drink!

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Old 01-31-18, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Hello Boston.

I'm traveling to Boston from SoCal the weekend of Feb. 3rd and (weatherpermitting*) would like to do a ride Monday Feb. 5th.

Curious if anyone has any suggestions for nice rides in the area. I'll be inthe Allston area and currently planning to rent a hybrid from the folks atBack Bay Bicycles ($35 for the day- hell, you can rent a car for that!).
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
... I really enjoy showing visitors around Boston on informal walking tours [or by bike], and I would offer that to a fellow BF subscriber, but I'm a pretty busy person, and would need a heads up to see if I'm available at a mutually agreeable time.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...As far as the weekend itself goes, I presume you have plans with your son, but if you’d like to meet for perhaps dinner or a drink, and chat bicycles, Boston, or So Cal, I could likely find the time...
Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Thanks Jim, we have plans for dinner but lunch 1/2 pm perhaps Sat or Sun. if you're available
Thanks for your reply, and PM with your number. I’ll best know my weekend schedule by Friday; Sunday about 2:00 PM seems most propitious, but since you’re in town to visit your son for a short time, I don’t want to inconvenience you.


I always enjoy meeting other cyclists from BF, most frequently on the previous Annual Fifty-Plus Rides, from my participation 2010 to 2016. From the thread, “Meeting Up With BF50+ Members Off the Bike,”:
Originally Posted by misskenton View Post
… Meeting up with 50+ members, on or off the bike, has proven to be a wonderful experience for me, and I highly recommend it to others who get the opportunity to do so. It is a great adventure to meet in person the people you spend time conversing with online, and lends a whole new dimension to the community.

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Old 01-31-18, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Hello Boston.

I'm traveling to Boston from SoCal the weekend of Feb. 3rd and (weather permitting*) would like to do a ride Monday Feb. 5th.

Curious if anyone has any suggestions for nice rides in the area. I'll be in the Allston area and currently planning to rent a hybrid from the folks at BackBay Bicycles ($35 for the day- hell, you can rent a car for that!).

2 years ago I visited Boston and saw many of the sights and may be walking the Freedom Trail again on Tuesday the 6th so riding those areas are not necessarily "must do's" unless highly recommended. Traffic doesn't bother me.

It'd be nice to have a mix of city and rural so I saw this Paul Revere Freedom Ride and thought it might be a good overall ride. It's 40-ish miles and from Allston that'll add another 10+ each way. I’ve seen everything along this route, so it would be a novelty ride for me but am open to other options. I have a GPS unit I can upload routes to.

Would love some company if anyone is interested in joining me. Casual, touring pace.

*Cold weather tips would be helpful. I plan to ride “weather permitting”, but I’m not exactly sure what that means coming from SoCal! I have some layers I’ll be bringing but if the temps are below 40F, not sure how much more I’ll need. The ride above is 40+ miles and that'll mean some time out in the elements. I can tolerate my local commutes down into the low to mid 40’s in shorts and a short sleeve polo shirt, but those are only 15 minutes each way. You can do anything for a short time, it’s the longer exposures that can become problematic. I heat up pretty quickly, so I think I’ll mainly have problems with feet, hands and face/ears.

Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
According to Wunderground, the temps will hold around 37 from sunrise to about 3pm, crossing into freezing territory at sundown (5ish). It also looks like we will see some overnight drizzle so the road will be wet and the shoulder will be full of road debris after the recent snows and freeze cycles. Now, I don't trust the forecast here more than 2 days out but just keep that in mind and bring clothing that can deal with bike spray (assuming you won't have fenders). In temps like these I'd be out in softshell pants, base layer on top, fleece, and wind proof layer - either a thin nylon one or likely a thin softshell. Warm socks and shoes, gloves, and a hat will likely be a must. 40 miles for me at a pretty good effort takes 3 hours, would probably take you 4 touring pace (10ish mph?) so I'd plan to stop places to warm up / fuel up.

I would not do the whole Revere ride. Traffic on Monday will be pretty hectic even in the suburbs - how comfortable are you with your street riding? I, personally, would not enjoy any sort of ride through Medford or Somerville on Monday am; and even the part of the Minuteman from Alewife to about Mal's Towing in Arlington is nothing special.
If you are still intent on doing something similar, I would suggest starting out somewhere in Arlington or Lexington, if possible. Going through Carlisle to Concord is one of my favorite routes:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26800552


- Lexington is a good place to visit, historic, there are cafes and places to eat
- Head NW to experience the Minuteman Bikeway which becomes less urban at this point (things aren't green right now, unfortunately, but it'll still be cool)
- 225 west is our roadie superhighway, it's somewhat scenic though - but the whole purpose of it is to bring you to
- Monument St - nice rural riding though there are still plenty of houses here
- Don't miss the North Bridge right before you reach Concord!
- Finally, historic Concord with places to eat and have coffee
- Onwards to the very underrated Minuteman National Park. Beware that it might be muddy after the recent snowfall & thaw and the rain/drizzle that's forecast for Sunday night. Plenty of history to see here.
- Back on the Minuteman

You might also want to investigate biking through South Boston to Castle Island and then south of there but it will be VEEEERY windy. But the views of the harbor will be fantastic, though probably cloudy. You can do some plane and ship spotting here.

Finally, closer to home - as Jim suggested, the Paul Dudley path is great. Go on the Mem Drive side (north of the river) for some fantastic views of the Hancock/Prudential.
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Old 01-31-18, 11:14 PM
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Boston Area Ride thoughts for out of towner
Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
…I would suggest starting out somewhere in Arlington or Lexington, if possible. Going through Carlisle to Concord is one of my favorite routes:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26800552

- Lexington is a good place to visit, historic, there are cafes and places toeat
- Head NW to experience the Minuteman Bikeway which becomes less urban at this point (things aren't green right now, unfortunately, but it'll still be cool)
- 225 west is our roadie superhighway, it's somewhat scenic though - but the whole purpose of it is to bring you to
- Monument St - nice rural riding though there are still plenty of houses here
- Don't miss the North Bridge right before you reach Concord!
- Finally, historic Concord with places to eat and have coffee…

You might also want to investigate bikingthrough South Boston to Castle Island and then south of there but it will beVEEEERY windy. But the views of the harbor will be fantastic, though probablycloudy. You can do some plane and ship spotting here.

Finally, closer to home - as Jim suggested, the Paul Dudley path is great. Go on the Mem Drive side (north of the river) for some fantastic views of the Hancock/Prudential.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…I really enjoy showing visitors around Boston on informal walking tours [or by bike], and I would offer that to a fellow BF subscriber...
Hi @autonomy,

FYA, one of my most illustrious visitors to Boston was @jppe of the Fifty-Plus Forum who was completing a cross-country bike ride from Oregon, following Rte 20, the longest highway in the US. For that ultimate day I chose this route, visiting the sites you describe:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
It was one of my most pleasant cycling days in 40 years of cycling, to ride with jppe, and to direct his wife in the van to various locations and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. We met at about 9:30 AM at the Wayland Depot, about 20 miles from the Atlantic Coast…

We mapped out a route to include a few historic sites that Jeri could meet us at by car. We stopped at the Walter Gropius home, a national historic architectural landmark; rode by Walden Pond; and lingered at the old North Bridge in Concord, site of the Battle of Concord on the first day of the Revolutionary War…

We next rode to Bedford, and took the 11 mile Minuteman Bikepath to Arlington. We could ride two abreast, and I had a chance to hear all the details of his ride…We took a side jaunt to the Lexington Green, site of the skirmish that preceded the Battle of Concord, and then then rode through Arlington into Cambridge and meandered around Harvard Square.

…The picture of the END ROUTE 20 sign was taken about two blocks from our condo in Kenmore Square… We then headed straight though downtown for Castle Island on Boston Harbor.

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Old 02-01-18, 10:14 PM
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Good stuff. Thanks guys! Yes autonomy, I see the temps swinging from mid 20's to 30's so I'll see what I can do. Unfortunately the hybrid I'm renting doesn't have fenders but I will have a jacket.

I'm intend on giving this a try, so we'll see how it goes as Sunday comes around.

Jim, I think earlier Sunday or Saturday may work better for me if it does as well for you. We might be heading to Castle Island Sunday, need to be back in time to rent the bike and head out for Superbowl!

I'm open. Would like to meet you but my time is limited. I'm part of the 50+ club as well.
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Old 02-02-18, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for your reply, and PM with your number. I’ll best know my weekend schedule by Friday; Sunday about 2:00 PM seems most propitious, but since you’re in town to visit your son for a shorttime, I don’t want to inconvenience you.

I really enjoy showing visitors around Boston on informal walking tours, and I would offer that to a fellow BF subscriber, but I'm a pretty busy person, and would need a heads up to see if I'm available at a mutually agreeable time.

I always enjoy meeting other cyclists from BF
Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Good stuff. Thanks guys! Yes autonomy, I see the temps swinging from mid 20's to 30's so I'll see what I can do. Unfortunately the hybrid I'm renting doesn' thave fenders but I will have a jacket.

I'm intend on giving this a try, so we'll see how it goes as Sunday comes around.

Jim, I think earlier Sunday or Saturday may work better for me if it does as well for you. We might be heading to Castle Island Sunday, need to be back in time to rent the bike and head out for Superbowl!
I'm open. Would like to meet you but my time is limited. I'm part of the 50+club as well.
Hi HB,

Before I call later today (Friday) after about 5PM, to clarify my understanding, you are planning your bike ride on Monday, picking up at Back Bay Bikes on Sunday afternoon before Superbowl. I live one block away from BBB. Kenmore Square is always Ground Zero for spontaneous Championship demonstrations; always a strong police presence there. BTW ,my avatar is of the 52-story Prudential Center in Boston seen from our living room window. Offices in the Pru are illuminated to spell out “GO PATS,” from a previous Superbowl victory.

I am strictly unavailable from Sunday about 9 AM to 12 noon, but most conveniently for me is Sunday afternoon; less so but doable all day Saturday. I’m even an early riser by 5AM, if you’d like to do breakfast Saturday or Sunday.

My craziest attempt to meet a fellow BFer, one who has a very similar riding experience to mine, was in 2016. I was in Raleigh, NC and for a couple days we played telephone tag around his work and my family activities. Finally we agreed on a 6 PM restaurant dinner. That day I was running errands in a 12 foot U-Haul rental truck about 20 miles outside Raleigh. My I-phone, with GPS ran out of power and I had no way to recharge.

Running late, I drove via dead reckoning through a horrendous thunderstorm into downtown Raleigh, and asked a pedestrian where I was, luckily about six blocks from the restaurant. I couldn't use the parking garage, with a 6'3" truck height level, but found on-street parking easy enough to put the truck, and arrived, unbelievably by 6:05 PM. I actually arrived about 5:55 PM and left the truck to pop in and see if he was there.

I did have a pretty good burger with nice exotic toppings after a wait. I even asked the staff if I could borrow a phone charger, and walked over to CVS (closed) to see if I could buy one. He never showed up after one hour.

Afterwards, I learned while I was en route during the storm, he called and left a voicemail (that I didn’t receive) to suggest a more convenient restaurant.

Finally, in case I forget, or we don't meet up, in case your son doesn't mention it, there is an excellent, cheap and convenient Bike Share System called Hubway, with a good website. Also, while many vistors seek out lobster, I would also suggest fried clams (with bellies) as a special New England treat.
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Old 02-02-18, 11:25 AM
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OMG that is hilarious (in hindsight). Never even showed! Terrible!
I think the last time I was in Boston I ate at a nice restaurant at the top of that building.

I'm arriving in Boston around 6am Saturday, I'm expecting I might need a nap but we'll see. Once I arrive I usually can't sleep. We'll be out late Saturday so I'm reluctant to schedule too much Sunday especially if we try to hit the island. I might need to sleep in and catch up. BUT, later that day we'll be close to you so it makes the most sense, just not sure how feasible. Let's talk about it.

My son found a chili cook-off Saturday between 1 and 2:30 at Crema Cafe in Cambridge. I'm not set on that (open to other ideas), but perhaps we could meet there if it works for you. Again, that's a thought, not a plan so feel free to offer other ideas. We might be more flexible than you time-wise.

Looking forward to hearing from you this afternoon.
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Old 02-02-18, 03:59 PM
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check the weather!
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Old 02-02-18, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
check the weather!
Thanks for the heads up! Wow, yea windy big time! I certainly won't be riding in that. Is this a solid forecast or could it change again? 38F looks good, but those winds, no way. I could certainly use the extra space in my luggage!
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Old 02-02-18, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Is this a solid forecast or could it change again? I could certainly use the extra space in my luggage!
well, Mark Twain — "If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes."

might want to take in the ICA, MFA, Aquarium or Science Museum instead they're all great
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Old 02-02-18, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
well, Mark Twain — "If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes."

might want to take in the ICA, MFA, Aquarium or Science Museum instead they're all great
Yea, I think I'm going to ditch the idea. Chalk it up as "bad timing" or "an act of God".
Just too much up in the air and I need some room in my bag. All that bike and cold weather gear is taking up a lot of space!

I can always head into town and tool around on the local bikes if I'm really jonsing for a ride and there's a good chance of that.

Thanks everyone for your input. Much appreciated. If you're ever out west in SoCal, look me up.
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Old 02-03-18, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by HBCruiser1 View Post
Thanks for the heads up! Wow, yea windy big time! I certainly won't be riding in that. Is this a solid forecast or could it change again? 38F looks good, but those winds, no way. I could certainly use the extra space in my luggage!
FYA, just last week I posted to this thread, "How Much Wind Do You Tolerate
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I cycle-commute to work (14 miles one-way) so I have motivation to go out and ride, no matter what the wind. I have recently posted to the thread, "So do you track? How do you track? and what do you track?"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
On my Excell spreadsheet I track:...
  • Wind speed and direction: Either as recorded on a weather station, or on a personal 1 to 6 scale (headwind / tailwind) based on flying flags; to explain variations in average speed...
Here in Boston, wind speeds of 4 of 6 on my scale are rare, less than once a year, and gusts do have the force to push me laterally.I don't conscientiously think about falling tree limbs, but such usually occur with rainstorms that dissuade riding.

It's useful to assess wind speed and direction because on good and bad riding days, sometimes it's hard to know if it's me and my energy levels or the wind that's responsible.

My most dangerous wind riding was along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with gusts that vigorously pushed us laterally to the left; about a 5 of 6, graded retrospectively.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My idea of a 1 to 6 scale of wind phenomena (waving flags) to guage wind force (speed) is based on the formalized Beaufort Wind Force Scale
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Beaufort scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale…Today, many countries have abandoned the scale and use the metric system based units, m/s or km/h, instead, but the severe weather warnings given to the public are still approximately the same as when using the Beaufort scale.
The Beaufort scale is from 1 (calm) to 12 (hurricane force) and the determination of the scale number is based on defined observations of phenomena such as rising smoke; papers, dust and debris on the ground; wave heights; flags; umbrellas unfurling, etc.

On review of the Beaufort scale descriptions, I would estimate my determinationof 4 of 6 equivalent to the Beaufort number of about 5 of 13 (“fresh breeze” ;wind speed of 19-24 mph/29-38 km/hr).

One standard for assessing wind speed with a weather vane or flag, is that it should be unobstructed, and about 20 feet above ground. I make my determination on flags of at least a few feet in length. The Beaufort number of 3 (“gentle breeze,” 8-12 mph) is identified when “Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended.”...

My personal 1 to 6 scale is a handy way to make that assessment en route.
Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Jim's 1-6 scale reminded me of the Beaufort scale, which goes to 12 (for hurricanes) - and I suspect the numbers are fairly close, seeing how a 6 on the Beaufort scale is a "strong breeze" of 25-31 mph. It isn't until you get to an 8 or a gale that twigs get snapped off and progress gets generally impeded.

I always liked the description of 5 on the Beaufort scale: Fresh Breeze. Sounds nice, but at 19-24 mph, above most cyclists' comfort range. Seems like many cyclists start to be dissuaded when there's anything more than a Gentle Breeze.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the reply. It appears that my description of the Beaufort scale appeared just before your post, and you confirmed my interpretation.


Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-04-18 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 02-04-18, 12:08 AM
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That does seem to be a tight scale!

Yes, some cyclists don't like wind or hills, kind of the same thing in my mind. To me winds are just a long hill, with similar mental challenges. I like hills and winds come with the territory of bicycling outdoors.

A couple of weekends ago I rode in perhaps the worst winds ever ridden on my SS cruiser. I don't know the official speed, but I suffered for about 15 miles at 6-8 mph, roughly 2 solid hours. It was the final leg of a 50 miler. I could barely walk the rest of the day!

In my town along the beach, if I head south, I can ALWAYS count on a headwind all the way home. My record 153 miler was about 70 miles of headwinds. That one almost broke me.

Another memorable one was an organized metric century in Palm Springs. 30-35 mph and gusts over 40. I hit 49mph on the downhill with a tailwind on a hybrid.

Good times.
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