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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 07-26-14, 11:30 AM
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Thanks jimmuller for asking. I did get a 48 mile ride in this morning without clapsing to the ground. However it was fairly flat route, without those large hills in Harvard. After (or maybe duing the hills) you would need to scrape me off the pavement.

As you can see it was partially a replay of the ride you led a couple of years back. There were tons of riders out, no doubt a bunch I saw with doing the century although Concord Center was packed with people walking around.

milermeter.com

EDIT: For some reason this map takes like a minute to load.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemore
Thanks jimmuller for asking. I did get a 48 mile ride in this morning without clapsing to the ground.
It's good to see you got out! And you probably had a better day than we did.

Our day started great by meeting rtool (left) who had come in from Ohio IIRC and MetroBostonian JFB (center) for the metric portion of the Massbike Summer Century.



It was great meeting them though I had no real chance to exchange any more than a few words with rtool, my loss. His machine was quite interesting, a highly evolved recumbent trike, even with a brake light, I believe. Once we started it became apparent that a tandem and a recumbent are not compatible. A tandem just flies downhill, and we needed to maintain as much speed as possible to climb the next uphill. So we would get separated quickly. Eventually Sharon and I decided we'd keep going, then stop at key points for water and munchies to let us regroup. I had programmed the route into my GPS so we could zip through the various turns with confidence.

Then two misfortunes occurred almost simultaneously. They missed a turn southward in Concord Center, which put them quite a way behind. And as we were climbing the Sudbury River valley up to Verrill Farm our RD broke. Blankety-blank Vintage French equipment! We made it to V.F. and lo! there was a sag wagon waiting patiently. I borrowed a few tools and attempted a field repair, but he didn't have an open-end 14mm wrench.


We finally decided we couldn't continue so the sag wagon took me back to my car. As we were driving away I noticed JFB and rt climbing up the valley but that was the last we saw of them. At least we made phone contact so we could explain our situation. (I do wish we could have partaken of the post-ride beer from Harpoon and sandwiches from Redbone's BBQ. )

I picked up Sharon and the stricken bike and we went home where I had another Simplex RD stashed away for just such an occasion. After a quick lunch I did quick RD swap!



Sharon and I then drove out to Bedford and started riding again, finishing the day with 45.35 miles. Not bad, in fact a great afternoon of riding, but not what we'd expected. We topped off the day by stopping at our favorite organic farm stand. Instead of Redbone's for dinner we had our own, and my choice of Harpoon's was their Leviathan IPA, not for the fainthearted I should mention.


Our afternoon ride was great fun. The opening ride was a different experience for us. We don't usually ride with groups. There were other cyclist out too seemingly unaware that other bikes (and cars) populated their roads too. One large group was stopped blocking half of Main St in Concord. Earlier on one rider had slowed significantly in front of us as we approached a slight uphill with cars approaching from the rear so we couldn't pass. Hey c'mon guy, don't make us hit the brakes and lose all our momentum here! We passed him eventually, and then half a mile later he hammered past us. Oh well, it was still great fun. The Massbike people were great! JFB and rt were great. Our paths just took a different direction.

Addendum: I don't mean to be negative on the ride, the riders, or the day. It's just that a tandem is a different beast from a solo bike. It can neither stop, accelerate, nor maneuver as easily. Acceleration requires more energy. If someone slows in front of your solo bike you just slow also, and maybe go around if possible. On a tandem you can slow, but golly, you hate to do that and then have to push to get back up to speed. Especially on a planned longer ride you just know you're going to want that energy later in the day! A tandem needs more space and road distance to pass someone else safely. And since the stoker can't see the road surface, it is essential that the captain either miss all the big bumps (hard to do!) or see them far enough in advance to give the stoker enough warning time to react. When you get right down to it, a tandem isn't compatible with anything else! I suppose that's why we always feel more comfortable riding by ourselves.

JFB, how did you guys get on with the rest of the day? You survived the run up to Harvard okay?
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Old 07-26-14, 11:24 PM
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Sounds like you guys had fun today.
I had to remain on-call for my "second job" (not really a job, but there's work involved), so I couldn't venture too far. I don't have a spare tube right now, either, but I took advantage of my new trunk rack to venture out to the Independence Greenway in Peabody.

The lack of spare tube and the on-call thing meant that the best I could do was laps. The lower section of the Greenway is almost two miles, or 1.3 or so after a major intersection. This is what I ended up with:


Lowell Street has a speed limit of 40, speed of traffic a bit faster, which is the fastest road I've been on with the bike. It wasn't too bad, though, since it's very wide. Still, it was a bit jarring to be passed at that velocity.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:15 AM
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DB, I don't understand that graphic at all. Whazzup with that?

I did something this morning I don't usually get the chance to do, got out before 8AM for a quick solo dash on the Motobecane. From Waltham west to Lincoln, north to Concord, back by way of Lexington. I've always wonder what it would be like to ride rt117's fairly new pavement, so I took advantage of the fact that no one was driving. I was passed by only three cars all the way to Lincoln. Saw a fair number of other cyclists. Ended up with 23.9 miles, 1550ft of climbing, and average speed of 15.9mph. That the best I've ever done on that loop! Um, it's also the first time I've ever done that loop, so I count it as two good things.

Somewhere in Lincoln, taken from the moving bike:


The new pavement on Marrett Rd is wonderful. I did go through three patches of broken glass but fortunately the tires took none. I managed to brush off both tire treads with the heel of my glove while riding without mangling my fingers.

It was a good morning.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
DB, I don't understand that graphic at all. Whazzup with that?
Six lines, meaning that I rode through the same spot six times.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DBrim
Six lines, meaning that I rode through the same spot six times.
Ah. I can see how that might be less interesting. Still, it's a chance to get out, and that is good!

Speaking of getting out, you never said how incorrect your tube size was. You can go up or down a width size without a problem. A 23-25mm tube will fit into a 28 or even 32mm tire with no trouble. They are like work according to Parkinson's law, they just expand to fill up the space. You can also fit a larger tube into a smaller tire. The only trouble you might have is with a tight-fitting tire on a narrow rim, just getting the tube in without causing a pinch flat with your tire irons. Also a tube might be labeled as either 27" or 700c or ISO 622, all the same thing as far as tubes are concerned. However a 26" tube would be different. In any case, pick up a patch kit from your LBS. It's good redundancy for a spare tube. If, heaven forbid, you actually get two flats you can patch which ever seems easier and go merrily on your way. And contrary to what some people might tell you, a successfully patched tube is just as good as a fresh one. All of which is to say, don't let that stop you from riding!
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Old 07-27-14, 12:38 PM
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You kids are great. Organized ride sharing the area we love, sharing individual rides and individual parts of our lives (DBrim, I got it right away. There are plenty of times I ride "same-old, same old" rides) Innovative, clever repairs (I love those Simplex and helicoiled a thread repair on a R. deraiileuer with a mere 10 hours of effort and $30 investment in tooling only to have a bike shop innocently rip it out), and all these reports on history and food! This is great stuff that defines the flavors of where we live. It is sweet.

Spouse and I did a 17 mile breakfast bike tour to Wellesley and split a salmon, cream cheese and onion sandwich with coffee then rode a sun dappled route home. We debated which French impressionist could capture the morning. Good day to you all.

When we are not bound to Peabody Greenway laps or Simplex repairs, is it like this every day?
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Old 07-27-14, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
When we are not bound to Peabody Greenway laps or Simplex repairs, is it like this every day?
Oh yes. Just like how the sky opened up with buckets-full two hours after I returned home. It's like this every day!

Addendum: I managed to salvage that derailleur! Just got through putting it back together. All it took was the right hand tools and a good 14mm wrench to snug it all down. Now I have a spare again, though I expect we might get another few thousand miles before another unforeseen problem develops. Maybe I should try to anticipate the unforeseen problems.

SBP, did you by chance have any croissants with that breakfast? It sounds delightful.

Sometimes I could do with less dappling. It causes me to hit bumps that my sweetie doesn't appreciate!
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Old 07-27-14, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
Oh yes. Just like how the sky opened up with buckets-full two hours after I returned home. It's like this every day!

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
…my friend [guru] who introduced me to adult cycling once commented when a threatening rain turned sunny, “God smiles on His Bicyclists.”
Originally Posted by jimmuller
…Our day started great by meeting rtool (left) who had come in from Ohio IIRC and MetroBostonian JFB (center) for the metric portion of the Massbike Summer Century.

… They missed a turn southward in Concord Center, which put them quite a way behind… As we were driving away I noticed JFB and rt climbing up the valley but that was the last we saw of them….

JFB, how did you guys get on with the rest of the day? You survived the run up to Harvard okay?
I’m so looking forward to recounting this past weekend but a lot of work piled up that has to be cleared away. I had hoped to post our story before reading your post, jmm, but I couldn’t resist, and you told the tale well. I have no contradictions, but perhaps some clarifications. At least I will say now it was great to meet you and Sharon. She always seemed a silent partner from your photographs, but we had a delightful, yet too brief chat.

I promised rtool I would not read his anticipated post until I submitted mine.

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Old 07-27-14, 06:10 PM
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I had promised I'd ride out Saturday and visit my daughter at her new digs in Wenham, new digs to go with her new teaching job in Beverly. The plan was to ride out to her place, have some lunch, then spend a chunk of the afternoon riding around the beautiful roads and trails in Wenham and Topsfield, new to us both, then ride home. Oddly enough, that's exactly what happened: a 64-mile ride through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem, Beverly, Wenham, Topsfield, Danvers, Peabody, Lynnfield, Wakefield, Stoneham, and Winchester. Everything between Marblehead and Winchester was new to me--at least on a bicycle--and from Danvers on I was really riding the map, following a route that seemed plausible but often involved roads I had never driven, let alone ridden. There was a mix of roads, trails, and even a bit of single track, in settings ranging for gritty urban to leafy exurban, with miles and miles of suburban sprawl mixed in.

The first half of the outbound ride followed the familiar Bike to the Sea trajectory through the neighborhoods of Medford, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn, using the Northern Strand Community Trail where it exists. Had a chat with a man at the trail-side community garden about the campaign to build the complete trail; he told me about the state of the Lynn right-of-way, and suggested that I could probably ride it with my bike (LHT with 38mm tires), but warned me about a couple of bridges.






Along the way, I looked in on the Revere segment of the Northern Strand, along Rumney Marsh; it's still under construction. Picked up the Saugus segment of the Northern Strand, enjoying the shade and the views of the Saugus River estuary (at any given time, you either get shade, or the Saugus River estuary, but not both) while crunching along the crushed-asphalt surface. At the Lynn line, rather than bail to Boston Street, I continued to follow the roadbed, the future (we hope!) Lynn segment of the Northern Strand Community path. This turned out to be a classic proto rail trail: single track running alongside the still-in-place rails (single track by the railroad tracks). The first run of this traverses a causeway through a broadened Saugus River estuary, quite beautiful. The bridges I was warned about were here, too; I walked the bike across those with no difficulty--riding them would have been a stunt.








The single track in the roadbed continued to be ridable as far Spencer Street, passing through a variety of environments, some green and jungly, some urban. At Spencer Street, there's a field of coarse gravel that interrupts the trail, but that was as far as I wanted to take it on that ride, and picked up Common Street to continue on to the Lynn shore, briefly blundering onto the Lynnway in the process. Took the shore path up to Swampscott, and stopped for a quick fuel and water break.




To be continued...

rod

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Old 07-28-14, 09:41 PM
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Seeing a lot of familiar places so far, Rod. The last 2 miles of your current post are the first 2.5 miles of my evening commute, then you follow the route I take into Salem. Interested to see what else you have to say for the next five miles or so, as they're very familiar to me!
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Old 07-28-14, 10:36 PM
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Picked up Humphrey Street in Swampscott, riding it into Marblehead and following the little green Google Maps Bicycling view dots up Maple Street to Lafayette Street, then over the Forest River and into Salem, getting a handsome view of Salem Harbor in the process.


This was a choice point for the Salem segment of the ride: I could either continue on Lafayette Street, or pick up the Salem Bike Path (a continuation of the Marblehead Rail Trail) to Canal Street. I chose the latter course, and rode the nicely paved Salem Bike Path past the campus of Salem State University. A message in chalk on the asphalt surface announced a "spectrum-wide boycott of Autism Speaks", which was clarified by a Google hit: tough stuff.




Rode North along Canal Street, and noticed a fence-enclosed linear structure that might, indeed, have been a canal. Riding through Salem is much like driving through Salem: twists, turns, intersections, scenery that pops up unexpectedly. Salem itself is delightfully heterogeneous, as if some antic demon had put Marblehead, Lynn, and Aleister Crowley in a blender and made himself a somewhat lumpy civic smoothie. There was a salsa concert in full swing in a park, a lot of lovely old architecture, and a close-packed array of museums, public art, and occult whimsy. I pedaled past all of it, and followed the green Google dots over the Essex Bridge, with an ample shoulder that is nicely set up for bicycles, and a great view of Beverly Harbor.


Which museum? That museum...






This may have been the peak elevation of this coastal ride, and the quick descent on the well-maintained bridge road surface was a hoot. This launched me into Beverly at a good clip, and I'm afraid I just kept cranking right through Beverly, following Cabot Street as it diverged from Route 1A and picked up Route 97, and then became Topsfield Road at the Wenham line. I reached my daughter's place, and had a very pleasant and most welcome lunch (including a smoothie that contained no Aleister Crowley bits).

To be continued...

rod

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Old 07-28-14, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DBrim
Seeing a lot of familiar places so far, Rod. The last 2 miles of your current post are the first 2.5 miles of my evening commute, then you follow the route I take into Salem. Interested to see what else you have to say for the next five miles or so, as they're very familiar to me!
I've been reading your posts with interest, DBrim. I've been working out how to get to, and get around in, these great North Shore places. Lots to learn, and these rides to the Northeast are a very welcome supplement to the by now familiar rides to the Northwest: more novelty per mile ridden. The Northern Strand Community Trail has been very helpful, in keeping with the Bike to the Sea vision, although I reckon there are fine road-only routes for this which are probably faster; I figure I'll get around to them in due course.

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Old 07-29-14, 09:03 AM
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After a great lunch, some catching-up, and a look at my daughter's new place, we got back on the bikes (my LHT, her Cross Check) and took off through the leafy beauty of Wenham.


We headed up Route 97 (Topsfield Road) enjoying the rolling hills and changing scenery; a descent into a little valley--farm pastures fringed with forest--was breathtakingly beautiful, and fast, to boot. We followed Route 97 as it hopped from one named road to another: Topsfield Road, Valley Road, High Street, Central Street, Main Street, Haverhill Road. Route 97 winds back and forth across the Topsfield Linear Common like a snake on the caduceus, passing near both Mass. Audobon's Ispwich River Wildlife Reservation and the Topsfield Fairgrounds the process. It's a lovely road and a good ride. The theory of this part of the ride was to go out on Route 97, and return on the Topsfield Linear Common, the Topsfield section of the extensive Border to Boston rail trail, and of the epically aspirational East Coast Greenway.

We turned left onto Bare Hill Road in order to pick up the Topsfield Linear Common's northernmost road crossing. When we reached the crossing, a left turn put us on deeply rutted double track, a right turn put us on a nicely-graded gravel path. I managed to flunk one of life's little IQ tests while squinting at the Google Maps display on the phone, and so we turned right, into the Pye Brook Community Park. Nice place, and has its own Disc Golf course (darn! next time, will bring frisbee!), but I soon realized that we were headed North when we wanted to be heading South, so we doubled back to the double track.


This was a little rough, but on Saturday was dry enough to be easily ridable with our tires, and had that walk-in-the-woods feel, a bunch of fun.


Eventually, the rutted double-track gave way to a gravel road, which was terminated by a gate that presented more than the usual difficulty in getting the bikes past it; this was puzzling...




... until we got to the other side...


This was one of those "Google Maps, trust but verify" moments: the section of fire road we had just ridden is owned by National Grid, and is in the process of being assimilated into Topsfield Linear Common. But in Google Maps, it's already a done deal... and, in fact, it was done enough for a good ride. On a nearby bench, an itinerant artist had constructed a little Dada tableau for his amusement and our edification.


We crossed Washington Street and joined the fully-established portion of the Topsfield Linear Common. A good stone dust surface, well-maintained, a pleasure to ride, with helpful trail signage. My daughter points out that the stick figure on the right is cleaning up after both her dog AND her horse: a model citizen.




We headed South on the TLC, and, passing a field with forest at the margins, my daughter (a naturalist in her own right) called my attention to a pair of bluebirds.


To be continued...

rod

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Old 07-29-14, 11:18 AM
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I, too, have fallen victim to the Topsfield Linear Common Google Maps trap. I was heading Northbound, and the single track portion was too muddy to be ride-able on the day I visited. I poked around some of the Topsfield side streets instead. I agree that 97 is a nice ride, from what short portion I've done of it.
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Old 07-29-14, 10:06 PM
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Continuing South on the Topsfield Linear Common, we reached the bridge crossing the Ipswich River. This was magical, and we sighted a glossy ibis perched on a tree branch over the water. Meanwhile, an alert little weasel was popping up from between bridge members, making eye contact for a few seconds, then popping back down again. It did this repeatedly. I believe it's the first time I've thought of a weasel as adorable; pretty cute for a blood drinker...


After a few minutes pause on the bridge, we continued South, through wetlands and forest.




Soon enough, my daughter left the trail at the last Topsfield Road crossing, heading home to walk the dog and prepare for the evening's commitments. I commenced the return leg of the ride, continuing down the Border to Boston Trail by traversing all its constituent parts: whatever remained of the TLC, a short stretch of the Wenham Rail Trail (there are no long stretches of the Wenham Rail Trail), the Danvers Rail Trail, and whatever the trail is called in Peabody (Google stands mute on this point; when it names it at all, it's "Danvers Rail Trail"; it's definitely NOT the Independence Greenway, that runs elsewhere). There were minor clues suggesting when one had cleared a town line (a somewhat bigger clue entering Peabody, where the trail surface gets a little coarser), but this really functioned as one long trail, moving me on an efficient diagonal path back towards home.


This sign at the Danvers-Wenham Swamp Walk encouraged the long view. Only 2548 miles to Key West, on the East Coast Greenway... Geez, that's kind of a long ride, maybe I'll just go to Calais...


The landforms gradually changed...


... and the trail left the forest and swamps and started running through neighborhoods, with the usual rail trail view into everyone's back yard.


The trail surface changed in Peabody, not necessarily for the better, but still quite ridable.


After a couple of miles on the Peabody segment, it was time to leave the Border to Boston Trail. I'm impressed by this trail: it's pleasant and genuinely useful. There are segments of it further North than we got Saturday, beyond Topsfield. A return trip is called for. I'm also impressed with Route 97, which has joined Route 127 in my mind as a good road to ride up in Essex County.

To be continued...

rod

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Old 07-30-14, 08:11 AM
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Rod, if you work your way up here on the coast, there's one quick route correction I would suggest. On 129, right after the terminus of the Lynn Shore path, there's a traffic light. You went left, onto Humphrey Street, until you turned left onto Humphrey Street (again).

On my commute, I bypass that by going right at the light, onto Puritan Rd. It loops back into Humphrey Street just before the left turn. The pavement is significantly smoother and the traffic is significantly lighter. It adds half a mile, but it is much more pleasant. Figured that might help if you ever come back up this way.
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Old 07-30-14, 09:20 AM
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After miles of uncomplicated and sometimes blissful riding on the Border to Boston Trail, the exit onto busy Lowell Street, Peabody, was a little jarring; Lowell Street is entangled with ramps to Route 1, and both Route 1 and I-95 fly over, adding sound and fury that tends to make all travelers in the vicinity a little jumpy. The fact that I initially turned the wrong way onto Lowell Street--the second or third such error of the ride--didn't help. Traffic was pretty heavy, and I mentally braced myself for a miserable ride home, but as soon as I took the Johnson Street fork and Route 1 was safely behind, the traffic thinned to a comfortable level, and I was riding through quiet residential streets in Peabody and Lynnfield.

The remaining route threaded through the suburban sprawl, with industrial, residential, and commercial components, that grew up around Route 128 and I-93 during the last 60 years, overlaid on older agricultural, industrial, residential, and civil strata from the previous three hundred years. This is car country, and these are places I'm used to whizzing through on divided highways, with the windows rolled up and the radio on, so this part of the ride was a frank experiment. I had picked out a route that seemed moderately geometrically efficient (22 miles from my daughter's house, versus 27 miles to get there by the coastal route), and didn't involve traversing many ramps onto limited access highways. I had paid no attention to topography, and got some interesting hills to ride (in Wakefield, Stoneham, and Winchester) as a not completely unexpected result.

First, I wound past some ponds in Lynnfield: Devils Dishfull Pond (Winner, Best Toponym On This Ride!), Winona Pond, and Pillings Pond, through serene residential neighborhoods. From time to time a pleasing example of novel residential architecture would jump out of the bushes and say "Boo!", startling against the general run of post-war suburban genre structures.

The Devils Dishfull Pond looks muddy: a good place to get your livestock stuck.


Pillings Pond is fringed by narrow residential streets whose contours wind along with the pond shoreline, with comfortable houses and shady yards. This is a fine example of the residentially-developed pond pattern, one of several along this segment of the route. The effect of this is to create small, quiet, hidden places amid the clamor of the sprawl.


After crossing Route 128 without ramps, on Summer Street, Lynnfield, I picked up Salem Street, a low-speed road that closely parallels Route 128 just to the South. This turned out to be well maintained, pleasant, and (at least on Saturday afternoon) lightly traveled. It occurs to me that it has counterparts at various points along the ring road: Wheeler Street in Burlington, Wood Street in Lincoln, etc., and that these may be a good bet, generically, when a bicycle route needs to go roughly where Route 128 does. Worked my way Southwest through Wakefield, Stoneham, and Winchester, traversing some ridges in the process for some stiff climbs and rapid descents a little later in the ride than was perhaps absolutely ideal; was pleased to see that my legs didn't fall off. On a fast descent in Stoneham, a ~11 year-old kid on a BMX kept pace with me on the sidewalk (!); figuring he wanted my acknowledgement, I said "You're fast!"; he said "Thank you!" and beamed with pride. Saw a lot of things on this segment of the ride that were new to me, particularly in Wakefield, too much in one ride to really assimilate. Things grew increasingly familiar through Stoneham and Winchester, until finally I was on the Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford, well-known ground.




I was home before dark, something that I hadn't considered to be a sure thing. Since my sweetie was off in Connecticut, playing a gig, I had a shower and went to my favorite local Mexican restaurant for dinner. And locked myself out of the house. But that's a different story...

rod

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Old 07-30-14, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by DBrim
Rod, if you work your way up here on the coast, there's one quick route correction I would suggest. On 129, right after the terminus of the Lynn Shore path, there's a traffic light. You went left, onto Humphrey Street, until you turned left onto Humphrey Street (again).

On my commute, I bypass that by going right at the light, onto Puritan Rd. It loops back into Humphrey Street just before the left turn. The pavement is significantly smoother and the traffic is significantly lighter. It adds half a mile, but it is much more pleasant. Figured that might help if you ever come back up this way.
Thanks, DBrim, I'll try it!

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Old 07-30-14, 08:07 PM
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I have attended three previous Fifty-Plus Annual Rides: Finger Lakes, NY (2010), Chelsea MI (2011), and Boston (2013) as “host.” The anticipation for each Ride is predicated on the preceding ones. The plans for Boston 2014 were similarly based on Boston 2013. The Ride however becomes a festive, weekend event by participants who attend, to set the stage for next year’s event(s).

So our one, out-of-town BF subscriber, rtool (Dick) arrived Friday afternoon about 1:30 PM. Since Boston has a crazy street pattern, we agreed to keep in contact while he was en route so I could meet him at the freeway exit. We missed each other, though his GPS brought him to my block. We chatted for a bit, then went out for the traditional Friday afternoon ride.

I had promised myself as I did last year, that I would not take the participants out onto the streets of Boston, since I live downtown. A well-used urban bike path with nice city views follows the Charles River and would IMO be a fine, safe, and pleasant introduction to Boston. Recently though, this post suggested a short, interesting detour from the MUP:

Originally Posted by RocTurk
…If you want to cruise for joy Charles river path is nice though I prefer riding on Memorial drive. Actual path is not very wide and you need to share with the runners. when students are around, it becomes like a computer game trying to dodge everybody. That's why riding on memorial drive is nice. You also get to better views of the city on cambridge side. I sometimes follow the path towards [the historic] Charlestown Navy Yard, it's just another 1-1.5 miles from the science museum and you can enjoy views of North End and USS Constitution….
I had met Dick on two previous Annual Rides, though had not ridden with him. This year, he brought a finely crafted, low-riding recumbent tricyle. He had previously written that while slow on the uphills, it rode usual speeds on the flats and downhills. We had agreed to sign up for the metric century on Saturday.

The first couple miles on the Charles River Bikepath were great. It was a perfect cycling day, on the well-paved Path, and the Esplanade through which it passed was festive. I wear two, right and left eyeglass-mounted cycling mirrors, and I found that I could deflect the right-sided mirror slightly downwards and keep an eye on Dick without craning my neck to keep him in view.

As mentioned, Dick had come with a low-riding recumbent trike, from Fairborn, Ohio, small, probably rural town I imagined, and now at the end of the Path we were facing the busy mean streets of downtown Boston at rush hour. I myself had never ridden most of that on-street route to the Navy Yard, but I knew we could take sidewalks. Dick, as he was during the entire weekend, said “Fine, you lead the way.”

So we made our way, mostly on crowded sidewalks with some hazardous street crossings. Eventually I had to give up and go onto the streets. Dick had no problems with street riding, and actually seemed to prefer it. Later on he said it’s really no problem, and has cycled streets around the world such as Munich and London, so I realized, “What’s Boston?”

The trip to the Navy Yard, my first by bicycle, was worthwhile as part of the introduction to Boston. A fellow approached us asking about the three-wheeled recumbent since he had one because he had ALS. I soon learned that Dick’s recumbent gave him a celebrity status, and attracted a lot of attention. The ride on the Cambridge side of the River offered beautiful views of the Boston skyline, but as RockTurk notes, the path is crowded, and the pavement not great.



We went over to Harvard Square, and then returned to Boston directly via heavily traveled Mass Ave. That evening we walked about three miles from Kenmore Square to the North End, to include dinner at Legal Seafood, the same Friday night restaurant as last year, where we had an engaging chat about our careers, especially Dick’s long term service in the Air Force.

Saturday was again a beautiful cycling day. We left in separate cars at about 7:15 AM for a 45 minute drive to the starting point, a gem of a city park, in Acton, MA, complete with a beach and outdoor amphitheater. (In fact on the way, we noted a banner that the Glenn Miller Orchestra was holding a concert there.) While on route, I called Dick on the cell phone and pointed out Rte 62, a favorite road of mine, as we drove on Rte 2. We soon found jimmuller, or actually he found me from a description I posted; he and Sharon are unmistakable from all the previous photos on this thread.



While Jim took care of some last minute things, Sharon and I chatted. Though she plays the upright bass in the bluegrass band, she likes Big Band music (but unfortunately Glenn Miller already had his concert there). We all started out with a group at about 9:00 AM, but the tandem soon got away, and Dick and I were left to ourselves. The initial miles were exquisite enchanted roads like last year. As noted by jmm, we did (?) miss a turn sign at Concord center and after about a mile we decided to go back. While we were presuming we were off-course, a few groups passed us, but none from Mass Bike.

At Concord center we met two Mass Bike riders, also searching for that turn (onto Rte 62), and we followed them out past Rte 2, and onto a side road Eventually we again became unsure about where we were. The previous signs had been paper signs posted above the road, but Dick found a green painted arrow. I thought maybe it was from a preceding ride. As usual, street signs told us cross streets, but not what street we were on. Just then I got a call on my cell phone telling me I had made a wrong turn in Concord Center. I thought it was the sag wagon trying to steer me right, but we had a confusing conversation.

Dick and I finally figured out that the green arrows were indeed for the Mass Bike ride. We later found out that in some places painted arrows were not allowed, hence the different signage. We continued, now on course, again on enchanted roadways. We passed a pick-your-own blueberry farm where a young boy yelled to his dad, “Look at that race car!” (Dick’s bike). At the second rest stop (missed the first), Honey Pot Farm was a pleasant spot. I got a second call, and finally figured out it was jimmmuller telling us of his breakdown. He had been calling from the sag wagon the first time.



We continued onward. As we got to Hudson on the (? Assabet) Bike Path I realized that I could not clip onto my right pedal, and discovered my cleat was cracked. Soon afterwards, the Concord Center cyclists came upon us warning that the signs ahead on the way to Harvard were confusing. Since Harvard would present us with the highest hills, we decided to go back to the starting point.

While taking a break before our retreat, another recumbent cyclist approached (not on his bike, but walking back to his Tesla). He too admired Dick’s bike, and claimed to a one-way commute of about 23 miles. We took Rte 62 back to Stow, then S. Acton Rd to Rte 27, and back to the NARA park for a total of about 44 miles.

We had a nice lunch provided by Redbone’s of Somerville. Dick snd I chatted about some of his multi-day organized rides in Ohio and Florida. Finally he revealed that he is a certified Cycling Instructor by the League of American Cyclists and taught safe, including urban, cycling to adults and children. As a decades-long, year-round urban cyclist, I proudly told him I learned by experience, and he replied, “It shows. You made some mistakes out there.”

He also chatted with the wife of the Ride Organizer and gave some advice about road signage based on those previous multi-day rides. They live near the Minuteman Bikepath, a favorite of hers, and I gave her directions to this MetroBoston thread to check out the posts and pictures of the Path, especially by rod.

We drove home, and chatted a bit, and he told me had raced for Raleigh in the 1970’s and was given a top of the line bike to ride, with Campagnolo components. We disputed whether that model was a Record; it was not according to Wikipedia.

Afterwards, we continued our walking tour of Boston, back to the North End via Beacon Hill, and had dinner at the Villa Francesca Italian restaurant, same as last year. (BTW, Dick, my colleague, the classy “Fashionista” told me this week that VF is her very favorite restaurant in the North End.)

On Sunday, work and family duties consumed me, rain was predicted for later that day, and in general I don’t cycle the day after a long ride. Dick decided to ride the Minuteman, but did get rained on. Nonetheless it does make a perfect ending for such a cycling weekend, as described also by RocTurk

Originally Posted by RocTurk
… The other option for joy ride is to use Minuteman bike path that starts from Alewife and ends in Bedford - 11 miles total. Near town centers it gets crowded with runners, people walking with younger kids and dogs. But generally it's not as crowded as the Charles river path. Hot and sunny days, you get to ride under the shades of trees which is nice. Ride is not as flat as river path, from Alewife to Lexington you'll be in a constant uphill… Then from Lexington to I-95 it's a constant downhill…
That night, we said goodbye with the wish, “Same time, next year.” with the hope he would bring his usual cycling companions, Beverly and John, also alums of three previous Fifty-Plus Annual Rides.



Dick and John in front, from 2011
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Old 07-30-14, 10:03 PM
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Sunset ride on the Minuteman, 10 miles. Hadn't ridden since Saturday, and my legs were ready to keep a brisk pace. Exchanged pleasantries with one of Arlington's new bicycle police. The egg is still hanging from its tree, impressively persistent. Heard one cyclist say to his companion, "That's a beautiful view, yo!" And so it was.


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Old 07-31-14, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
...
The Ride however becomes a festive, weekend event by participants who attend, to set the stage for next year’s event(s).
...


...


...


...



...
Jim, sounds like a great group of folks, and a great time. Congratulations for organizing it!

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Old 07-31-14, 08:21 AM
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JFB, sorry to hear you had technical troubles as well. Your total mileage for the day ended up not so very different from ours.

Not that it matters much, but that "confusing conversation" you had while trying to navigate Concord Center was in fact from the sag wagon guy. But it was from my cell phone, which is why the second call from me might have seemed like it was the sag wagon guy again. While I was trying to fix the RD the SW guy was on his radio talking to someone about how you (and others) had gone astray in CC, and the guy on the other end of the radio was wondering how to get you back on track. I said I had your cell phone number but my hands were too filthy to operate the phone. So Sharon dug it out of the tandem's HB bag, punched in your entry, and handed it to the SW guy.

I suspect even if we'd gone to Acton several days earlier we still wouldn't have seen Glenn Miller. Maybe back in 1943 though.

As you discovered, those metrowest roads are quite enchanting. I guess that's why we end up riding that way so often.

Wish we could have finished the day with everyone.
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Old 07-31-14, 06:00 PM
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Well...I managed to my commute today and yesterday too! We had a show on Tuesday so I couldn't ride then, and something else got in the way on Monday. I think. I can't remember Monday. Or yesterday's dinner. Yesterday I rode the Masi, today the Raleigh because I was afraid there might be some weather, which there wasn't. Well there was weather but none to be concerned about and all pleasant.

Good news! They put down a layer of pavement in Waverley Square! Rejoice and be glad! Not quite everything has been paved over yet, for example the little spur of Lexington St over the RR tracks, but Trapelo Rd is much easier on the bike wheels now.

The bad news is I spotted several more patches of broken glass on my commute. There must be a bunch of broken headlights in the towns. But the good news is I didn't have any flat tires.
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Old 07-31-14, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
JFB, sorry to hear you had technical troubles as well. Your total mileage for the day ended up not so very different from ours.

Not that it matters much, but that "confusing conversation" you had while trying to navigate Concord Center was in fact from the sag wagon guy. But it was from my cell phone, which is why the second call from me might have seemed like it was the sag wagon guy again. While I was trying to fix the RD the SW guy was on his radio talking to someone about how you (and others) had gone astray in CC, and the guy on the other end of the radio was wondering how to get you back on track. I said I had your cell phone number but my hands were too filthy to operate the phone. So Sharon dug it out of the tandem's HB bag, punched in your entry, and handed it to the SW guy...

Wish we could have finished the day with everyone.
Thanks for that clarification, Jim. It perfectly explains those confusing calls. I found them hard to explain to Dick.

Sorry too we didn’t meet up at the end. As noted, Dick is a great conversationalist, and a really dedicated and expert cyclist.

Originally Posted by jimmuller
...As you discovered, those metrowest roads are quite enchanting. I guess that's why we end up riding that way so often.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
...There are certain roads I have discovered, unfortunately usually short, that I describe as “intimate,” or “enchanted”; so serene and peaceful, shady, lightly traveled, and without shoulders...
...and just like last years MassBike Ride:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
The route took us on leafy, well-paved and lightly-traveled roads though the ritzy suburbs of Carlisle, Concord, Bedford, and Lexington. I have a personal term for such roads as “enchanted,” and the stretches I encounter on my usual routes are very short, but here they went for a few miles each. We had a few segments of more major roads of not more than a half mile, and these were not bad either, with decent shoulders…

Most of my usual cycling is solo on well-traveled routes with definite destinations and schedules, so I always enjoy these rides where I am lost to time and place...

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-31-14 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Added additional quote
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