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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 07-03-14, 10:57 PM
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Took the old GT Karakoram with the 55mm balloon tires out in the heat of the day for a ride in the woods, 31 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, and Carlisle. Used the Minuteman to get there and back, but the real action was a mostly-dirt loop consisting of the Reformatory Branch Trail, through Bedford and Concord, and Estabrook Road, an abandoned carriage road through the Estabrook Woods in Concord and Carlisle. I've tried this route before, and had an interesting time of it, but this is the first time it simply worked (read, the first time I didn't manage to get lost in Estabrook Woods). It was a hot one, with thunder booming from big black clouds that were never overhead, but always in earshot. The ride ended once again at Lexington Toyota, which I seem to have adopted as my new source of temporal constraints. Rolled over a lot of rocks and roots on Estabrook Road, and quickly learned what the bike and tires can and cannot roll over (a lot, but not all of it); this led to a little more attention to picking a line through the rough bits, which in turn mostly kept me above the speed threshold for being swarmed by gnats (what do they want from me, anyhow?).

The Concord segment of the Reformatory Branch was dry as a bone this afternoon. It'll be a few days before anyone can say THAT again...


We had a bit of photochemical haze to go with the heat and humidity. Hopefully that all got washed away in tonight's downpour.


Welcome to Estabrook Woods. Estabrook Road is on the left; the Path to Funny Stories is on the right. Neither is marked. Choose wisely.


If Mink Pond is on your right, you're on Estabrook Road. If Mink Pond is on your left, you're in a Funny Story.


If you stop to photograph Mink Pond, you will be befriended by gnats.


The road is rocky, like the song said. The part about it won't be rocky long turned out to be less reliable.


One damn sylvan vista after another. Not all rocky or steep (only sometimes). And quite shady, a Good Thing this afternoon. Best to ride it in daylight, however.


Old walls. People farmed this. It's been awhile, though. Time to climb a little more.


Looking back from the Carlisle boundary (with another gnat in the cis-focal foreground, right between my eyes). The sign advises mountain bikers not to screw up the trails by riding in the mud. Good advice that will be hard to follow for the next few days.


After that, farewell to dirt, hello to asphalt. First a ride up to Carlisle Center, a quick descent down Church Street (wheeee!) and a warm, sunny ride back to Bedford on Route 225. I had made sufficiently good time that I felt licensed to stop at Bedford Farms, where it turns out peach ice cream is in season: the sovereign remedy for hotheadedness and bonk.


The Friends of the Lexington Bikeway would like to remind you that in six more months, it'll be Winter and the Minuteman will need plowing again.


rod

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Old 07-04-14, 03:35 AM
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Bike ride licensed sovereign remedies, particularly those in season, are awesome. Great Ride Rod!

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Old 07-04-14, 09:25 AM
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Hiding from the weather today, planning for tomorrow's ride. Hope everybody stays safe.

Rod, great report as always. Is the Reformatory Branch doable on a hybrid? Looks like it would be a good ride in the fall.
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Old 07-04-14, 10:26 AM
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Excellent writeup! I've been through Estabrook, but I've always gotten lost. Wonderful photos, too. I'll have to visit again.
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Old 07-04-14, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DBrim
Hiding from the weather today, planning for tomorrow's ride. Hope everybody stays safe.

Rod, great report as always. Is the Reformatory Branch doable on a hybrid? Looks like it would be a good ride in the fall.
Doable on a hybrid, yes. Ok for tires 28mm and wider, IMHO, the wider, the better. Avoid for several days after the last rain, since parts of it are notoriously muddy then. Good place to ride during a drought.

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Old 07-04-14, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston
Excellent writeup! I've been through Estabrook, but I've always gotten lost. Wonderful photos, too. I'll have to visit again.
Thanks! Getting lost is usually at least half of the fun there; I was surprised when it didn't happen this time...

rod
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Old 07-04-14, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
Bike ride licensed sovereign remedies, particularly those in season, are awesome. Great Ride Rod!
Thanks, SBP. I recommend the ice cream...

rod
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Old 07-04-14, 11:38 AM
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CX on the Minuteman this morning. East Lexington had a tree down across, but tree service was already clearing the trees downed in Lexington Center.
Last leg to the Bedford trailhead is prepped for root barriers and marked for surface replacement where the roots have damaged the trail.

Back to the streets, lots of tree services clearing downed trees.








-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 01-10-18 at 11:42 AM. Reason: photobucket
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Old 07-05-14, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
CX on the Minuteman this morning. East Lexington had a tree down across, but tree service was already clearing the trees downed in Lexington Center.
...
-mr. bill
Heh, yeah, cyclocross is where you find it. The Minuteman after a big storm is a lesson in the fragility of the urban forest...

rod
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Old 07-05-14, 01:45 PM
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I've been on vacation in Michigan for two days so far, July 4 and 5, with the most incredible riding weather: sunny, 70's, little humidity and wind, but no bike.

The corresponding weather in Metro Boston is news here. This morning I met a lady who knew the Baltimore game was rained out.

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Old 07-05-14, 04:31 PM
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Took advantage of the amazing weather today to do a bit of a drive/ride. I drove out to Groton, MA and rode the length of the Nashua River Rail Trail.

I parked in Groton and rode north. Here is a good representation of what the trail looked like between Groton and Pepperell:


As I approached Pepperell from the south, I started hearing a lot of sirens. I figured something was very wrong. This is what greeted me entering the town:


A parade! I took a rest and watched it for a bit. For some reason the police department has an armored school bus and was showing that off. After a break in the parade let me cross the street, I continued northward, eventually crossing the NH state line. Even though I drove to within eight miles to do it, I thought it was cool to cross the state line on my bike for the first time. Here's a portrait:


I probably should have left the U lock at home and replaced it with another water bottle. For whatever reason I have "lock anxiety"; what if I need it and don't have it? It's hard for me to leave it at home, despite the weight. I really could use the extra water capacity though. I've been struggling with that for a while. Also of note, the lack of a tail light on the saddle bag. If you found one on the trail between Groton and the NH line, it's mine. I just got it, so hopefully the manufacturer can be convinced that it was their fault that the bracket let go.

I turned around at the northern end of the trail (after following a gravel continuation for the 1/4 mile or so it travels), then headed south, back into Massachusetts. An entrepreneurial home-owner bordering the trail has set up a vending machine in his back yard:


The refill of cold water was very much appreciated and help me press onward. I passed the area where I was parked at a bit more than 18 miles, but decided I wanted to crack 20 miles so I continued southwards towards Ayer. There's some pretty scenery near the southern end of the trail:


I crossed 20 miles, and realized that Ayer was only a couple more miles down the trail, so I decided to finish off the whole thing. And what was waiting for me at the southern end of the trail?


Yep, the same clowns from before. I'm impressed that they walked all the way down there! After being disappointed by a stand advertising food and water for cyclists being empty, I continued back north to Groton. Overall, I rode 25.89 miles, well beyond my previous maximum of 12.5. The trail is pretty flat, so only 700 feet gain in that ride, but more than enough for me at this point.

Last edited by DBrim; 07-05-14 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 07-06-14, 05:48 AM
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DBrim! Nice ride and great report. I've ridden that trail and never saw even one clown. I took the train out to Ayer and recall the trail starts north across the street. I'm inspired to go back. Thanks!
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Old 07-06-14, 03:50 PM
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I left my bike in the car last night, so drove out to where I turned around on the Danvers Rail Trail last weekend. I parked there and did a quick 10 miles through Wenham, Topsfield, and briefly in Boxford.

No pictures today, but of note is that the Topsfield Linear Common continues north past Washington Street in Topsfield on Google Maps, but there is a major trail consistency change, from nice stone dust to single track. I tried to brave the single track, but it was too muddy from Friday's rain. The Topsfield Linear Common's website says that they purchased the land last year and plan to convert the rest of the trail to stone dust up to where the trail crosses into Boxford, but as of now they have not.
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Old 07-06-14, 04:32 PM
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We managed 36 miles on the tandem today. Our band closed out a festival in Connecticut last night so we had a late night, collectively getting less than 10 hours sleep! So we took it easy. Did some of our usual roads, Bedford to Chelmsford. Turned around at the Traveling Rhino


On the way back the bike didn't want to go into the big chainring. A quick check showed that the front derailleur cable was coming apart at the lever. I didn't want it to break completely lest it jump to the small ring and stay there until I adjusted the stop screw. So I avoided shifting the front, spun out the middle ring/small cog combination a few times, had to hoof our way up a few hills. But we made it back without too much trouble.

When we got back to Bedford another cyclist said "We've seen you three times today, once on the Bruce Freeman, once at Fern's, and now here. How do you manage to get everywhere ahead of us?" I should have told him we just know the shortcuts.

Ever replaced a cable on a tandem? It's a lot of work!
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Old 07-06-14, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
We managed 36 miles on the tandem today. Our band closed out a festival in Connecticut last night so we had a late night, collectively getting less than 10 hours sleep! So we took it easy. Did some of our usual roads, Bedford to Chelmsford. Turned around at the Traveling Rhino


On the way back the bike didn't want to go into the big chainring. A quick check showed that the front derailleur cable was coming apart at the lever. I didn't want it to break completely lest it jump to the small ring and stay there until I adjusted the stop screw. So I avoided shifting the front, spun out the middle ring/small cog combination a few times, had to hoof our way up a few hills. But we made it back without too much trouble.

When we got back to Bedford another cyclist said "We've seen you three times today, once on the Bruce Freeman, once at Fern's, and now here. How do you manage to get everywhere ahead of us?" I should have told him we just know the shortcuts.

Ever replaced a cable on a tandem? It's a lot of work!
JimM, totally awesome ride and report. That Rhino photo is more than awesome. You and the rooster look impatient waiting outside. I dig the lat and long behind the butterfly. If I'd been sleep deprived and ridden without full gear range and on the floor, I'd take a lot longer.

After two days off I decided today was so nice I'd do good ole Weston Observatory-Carlisle-Water Row MCentury. Lot's of folks on the road including antsy cyclists and cars at the Walden Rt126/Rt 2 intersection. I decided to ride through Carlisle and take a snack break down the road a piece. Down the road kept being down the road a bit more. First top was water refill back in Concord Ctr. and finally stopped at mile 45 at the Haynes Garrison on Water Row in Sudbury. No broken cable or Bedford ice cream but getting off the saddle and a handful of raisins were over due. I did get a chance to read more about King Philips War and how so many of the garrisons were effective against attack.

I didn't attack any part of the ride; just a steady, mild effort including Sanderson Hill in Weston and Monument St after Fenn School in Concord. Both hills normally nag for a little attention but in this pleasant weather just glided by almost unnoticed.
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Old 07-06-14, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
We managed 36 miles on the tandem today. Our band closed out a festival in Connecticut last night so we had a late night, collectively getting less than 10 hours sleep! So we took it easy. Did some of our usual roads, Bedford to Chelmsford. Turned around at the Traveling Rhino


On the way back the bike didn't want to go into the big chainring. A quick check showed that the front derailleur cable was coming apart at the lever. I didn't want it to break completely lest it jump to the small ring and stay there until I adjusted the stop screw. So I avoided shifting the front, spun out the middle ring/small cog combination a few times, had to hoof our way up a few hills. But we made it back without too much trouble.

When we got back to Bedford another cyclist said "We've seen you three times today, once on the Bruce Freeman, once at Fern's, and now here. How do you manage to get everywhere ahead of us?" I should have told him we just know the shortcuts.

Ever replaced a cable on a tandem? It's a lot of work!
Hey Jim,
I drove past you at the 225/62 intersection in Bedford this afternoon (I sure wish I was on my bike today instead, but errands of the car variety had to be done). I told my wife, "Hey, that's Jim Muller!" She said, "Who??". I said, "Oh, he's a legend on the Metro Boston - Good Ride Today thread". She said, "the WHAT?". I had some explaining to do...

Anyway, always fun to read about your rides!
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Old 07-06-14, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller

Priceless!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-07-14, 09:28 AM
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I cleared a physical as well as mental hurdle on Sunday and went for my first legitimate, clipped-in, kit wearing ride since October. I took a spin around Marblehead while my wife and I were home visiting my parents. I went about seven miles, spun slowly, breathed in some ocean air, and was passed by everyone...and it was wonderful. I was sore, but I survived. I might try another short ride Wednesday morning.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday!
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Old 07-07-14, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by godshammgod
I cleared a physical as well as mental hurdle on Sunday and went for my first legitimate, clipped-in, kit wearing ride since October.
Good to hear you are riding again!
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Old 07-07-14, 10:20 AM
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Were you on 2 rod road? Those stone walls are exactly 2 rods apart ( 16x2' ) I take some of that to get to the back side of tophet swamp @ great brook. I cut in from monument st to punkataset hill to 2 rod rd, to connant lands to hit pave. The trail restarts to the rt side of Kimbals and then some more pave to Great Brook.
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Old 07-07-14, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
JimM, totally awesome ride and report....If I'd been sleep deprived and ridden without full gear range and on the floor, I'd take a lot longer...
...
After two days off I decided today was so nice I'd do good ole Weston Observatory-Carlisle-Water Row MCentury. Lot's of folks on the road including antsy cyclists and cars at the Walden Rt126/Rt 2 intersection... and finally stopped at mile 45 at the Haynes Garrison on Water Row in Sudbury.
It is easy for a little more to become recursive, izn't? We've had a few nice picnics at the Haynes Garrison. Water Row is one of my favorite roads. I just wish it were longer. Much longer.

We too saw lots of bikes yesterday, and many of the riders seemed antsy, more antsy than the car drivers. I wonder why that was. Perhaps they felt a need to get the ridin' done before the beautiful day disappeared. Or before it got too late to fire up the grill back home.

Originally Posted by Bishbike
Priceless!!!!!!!!!!
Originally Posted by Montrose
Hey Jim,
I drove past you at the 225/62 intersection in Bedford this afternoon...She said, "the WHAT?". I had some explaining to do...
Anyway, always fun to read about your rides!
Uh-oh. I mean, thanks, guys! Montrose, would that have been mansplaining? (A reference to a recent thread in C&V.)

Sometimes you don't remember all the nice details of a good ride until later. Like the cyclist who pulled up beside us as we were heading south from Carlisle on Concord Rd and asked "Are you guys touring?" I said "No, we're just carrying a picnic!" He just laughed, took off and left us in his wake. We always run with the big red panniers loaded with water bottles and, yes, lunch.

I wanted to work our way around northward to Heart Pond but wasn't sure how I wanted to get there, maybe run South St before cutting west. Sharon always wants more distance so I was contemplating the long way around but not wanting to climb the Attack Duck hill. Then we saw a nice quiet little road on the right named Cross St. I'd noticed it before, never followed it. As I made the turn I told Sharon "I wonder where this goes", having the left the GPS in the car figuring we wouldn't need it. She said "Let's find out." Well, back around to 225 of course after passing the western end of Bingham. Then west on 225, downhill too until we zipped right by Curve St on the right. I should have turned there. Instead we kept going until the big uphill loomed, the one which TopoNAm says hits a 10% grade near the top, the one I was hoping we'd miss by taking Cross. That's when I discovered that the frayed cable didn't want to release to the granny ring any more than it wanted to tug onto the big ring. We survived anyway.

It was a day of good dappling. Everything was dappled.
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Old 07-07-14, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by godshammgod
I cleared a physical as well as mental hurdle on Sunday and went for my first legitimate, clipped-in, kit wearing ride since October. I took a spin around Marblehead while my wife and I were home visiting my parents. I went about seven miles, spun slowly, breathed in some ocean air, and was passed by everyone...and it was wonderful. I was sore, but I survived. I might try another short ride Wednesday morning.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday!
Hurray!

rod
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Old 07-07-14, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo
Were you on 2 rod road? Those stone walls are exactly 2 rods apart ( 16x2' ) I take some of that to get to the back side of tophet swamp @ great brook. I cut in from monument st to punkataset hill to 2 rod rd, to connant lands to hit pave. The trail restarts to the rt side of Kimbals and then some more pave to Great Brook.
Haven't tried that one yet, but it's on the list. ;-)

rod
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Old 07-07-14, 04:09 PM
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Raced a thunderstorm home on my commute. Same one that has Boston under a tornado warning. I got outside and my first thought was "...that's a lot closer than I thought given the radar."

I made it home about a minute before the skies opened. Normally my commute is my "happy outside exercise time." I'm on a hybrid bike with a pannier and don't really try for speed. Normally I average ~10mph on the commute. Today I averaged 14mph to get in ahead of the storm. Close call!
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Old 07-07-14, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by DBrim
Raced a thunderstorm home on my commute. Same one that has Boston under a tornado warning.
Same here. I looked at the radar, figured I had 1.5 to 2.0 hrs to go from the north side of Woburn to Waltham. It's a 15 mile ride and normally takes me 65 to 70 minutes. So I left work at 4:45. The northwestern sky looked ominous. As I was crossing rt2 I heard a few ***** cracks up in the air but not so far away. I made it home in about an hour with neither rain nor lightning. That storm hit Woburn about 45 min after I left but missed Lexington and Waltham. The second wave hit Waltham and just passed through 10 min ago.
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