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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 11-16-14, 08:35 PM
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We haven't managed to get out for the past few weeks, too many commitments. I tried to make up for it today. Yesterday I turned 66 but our band had to play a gig, so I rode a birthday ride today.

I'd worked out a route on DeLorme TopoNAm that covered areas I'd never ridden before. Some could have been quite hilly. After the late night I wasn't sure whether I'd have the energy to pull off the ride I'd planned. Heading out into unknown territory on unknown energy is slightly scary. Plus the temperature was cold, upper 30's when I left the house at 10AM.

I'm happy to say I pulled it off! I rode the Motobecane 72.2 miles, Waltham west to Bolton, northeast to Chelmsford, south then east back home. Moving average speed 14.0mph, 6hrs9min, max speed 34.0mph.

Channeling my inner @JJScaliger, here's a pic of a cemetery in Sudbury; no, on further review I think was in Maynard:


And a cemetery in Bolton, just inside I495:



The run north was just west of I495. At one point a road I intend to take looked like a business access road, was signed as "private", and not a through road, leading to a Bolton recreation field. But the map had routed me that way and the road I'd been on was signed as a dead end. It seemed clear though, and I was thinkin' if I couldn't get through I might have to make a loooong detour with a hop east back over I495 which would force me to depart from my route. Fortunately the far end was blocked with a swinging gate which a bike could get around easily. Obviously "they" had intended that road to provide access from two directions without it being used as a connecting road.

The day turned out cold but not uncomfortable. Much of the run was surreal, with light traffic, an overcast sky. When I was headed north with a slight tailwind all was nearly silent, the only sound the quiet whisper of Vittoria sew-ups on clean pavement. Of course the payback on ride back south was a headwind and the steady roar of air past my ears.

A quick pic on the return, at Heart Pond in Chelmsford:



When I got home my sweetie had a surprise birthday party waiting for me.
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Old 11-16-14, 09:48 PM
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Happy birthday, Jim! Nice ride!

rod
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Old 11-17-14, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Happy birthday, Jim! Nice ride!

rod

Originally Posted by jimmuller
We haven't managed to get out for the past few weeks, too may commitments. I tried to make up for it today. Yesterday I turned 66 but our band had to play a gig, so I rode a birthday ride today.

I'd worked out a route on DeLorme TopoNAm that covered areas I'd never ridden before. Some could have been quite hilly. After the late night I wasn't sure whether I'd have the energy to pull off the ride I'd planned. Heading out into unknown territory on unknown energy is slightly scary. Plus the temperature was cold, upper 30's when I left the house at 10AM.

I'm happy to say I pulled it off! I rode the Motobecane 72.2 miles, Waltham west to Bolton, northeast to Chelmsford, south then east back home. Moving average speed 14.0mph, 6hrs9min, max speed 34.0mph.

Channeling my inner @JJScaliger, here's a pic of a cemetery in Sudbury...
LIkewise, Jim. I tried to follow the Scaliger link, but not far enough to understand. Seems to be an insider C&V reference.
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Old 11-17-14, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
LIkewise, Jim. I tried to follow the Scaliger link, but not far enough to understand. Seems to be an insider C&V reference.
Thanks. JJS is a frequent contributor to C&V. His RI and CT posts are always interesting, and often decorated with historical commentary and pics of old ruins, historical buildings, and graveyards. He's a strong rider too.
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Old 11-17-14, 08:11 AM
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Nice ride Jim, and happy birthday! Mine is coming up in a few weeks, I'm hoping the weather is still cooperating. My ride will be 7 miles shorter than yours.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by otg
Nice ride Jim, and happy birthday! Mine is coming up in a few weeks, I'm hoping the weather is still cooperating. My ride will be 7 miles shorter than yours.
Good luck with the weather. If that doesn't stop you you'll have no trouble with the distance!

For those of you in our metro area who might wish to do this ride, here are some details. I went directly west on 117 from Waltham to I495, not a great road to bike but not terrible and in places quite nice and even marked as a bike route. Just west of 495 I basically ran northward on whatever road kept me closest to 495, from 117 up to Harwood Station in Littleton. Some roads changed names or kept their name while making a significant turn at an intersection. From 117: Sugar Rd, Corn Rd, Brown Rd, E Bare Hill Rd, Westcott Rd, Stow Rd, Codman Hill Rd, across rt111, Swanson Rd, W Whitcome Rd.

Here's where the fun starts. You make a left turn onto what looks like the entrance to an office park, a road signed as private, no access except to the Boxboro Recreation Field, and for which Street Atlas has no name. It passes a few corporate office buildings then runs north northeast through open fields. 1.6 miles later it comes to the BRF on the left and a gate blocking traffic which seemingly could be raised to allow access to the field from the north for special occasions. The map shows almost no Boxboro remaining to the north, just Littleton and Harvard. It would seem the good folks of Boxboro didn't want any riffraff from those communities using their recreation field or busying up its nice long driveway.

In another quarter mile or so it hits Littleton County Rd in Harvard. A right turn there lets you continue on northward. This soon becomes Whitcomb Ave in Littleton and runs across rt2 straight into Harwood.
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Old 11-17-14, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
..... Yesterday I turned 66 but our band had to play a gig, so I rode a birthday ride today.



When I got home my sweetie had a surprise birthday party waiting for me.
Happy Birthday Jim!
May you have many more birthday rides with, "the quiet whisper of Vittoria sew-ups on clean pavement." Only a man who knows his toe clips could note and so perfectly communicate that brilliant observation. Thanks. Thanks for sharing your birthday and thanks for your post.

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Old 11-17-14, 04:20 PM
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Sounds like a fun ride! Bet you're glad you had yesterday's weather and not today's. The 2 mile ride to school was enough for me!
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Old 11-17-14, 08:35 PM
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Happy Birthday Jim!!!!!
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Old 11-18-14, 06:52 PM
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Thanks for the B'day wishes, guys. Yes, I'll take Sunday's weather over Saturday's. And today's.

a man who knows his toe clips
...should know that hands get cold when the temperature drops! I did my commute again today. 39degF when I left home. At about the crossover point from Lexington into Woburn the wind picked up, sky began to blue, the air became drier, and the temperature started to fall. The return home this evening was into a 15mph headwind with the temperature about 29degF. It was like skiing across the golf course at Bretton Woods to return to the lodge after a day sheltered from the wind in the woods. I need warmer gloves! My hands ached hard for ten minutes after I got home.
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Old 11-19-14, 07:46 AM
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Jim, I was in Somerville yesterday, couldn't believe the number folks I saw riding in the city. Hardy bunch, and they were beating me through the traffic!
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Old 11-19-14, 09:00 AM
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Rode into work today, my first subfreezing ride ever (26F). A gusty 20mph headwind did not help. Still, I learned some helpful things. My layering was pretty good in some places (lower body), too hot in some (upper body), and too cold in others (gloves, mostly). I'm thinking of going to an outer glove/liner system on the hands to increase flexibility there. Alas, no ice on the water bottle.

The question "you rode in today?" probably isn't going to get old.

Also, happy belated birthday, Jim!
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Old 11-20-14, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by DBrim
Rode into work today, my first subfreezing ride ever (26F). A gusty 20mph headwind did not help...Alas, no ice on the water bottle.

The question "you rode in today?" probably isn't going to get old....
See this recent thread on the Commuting Forum, "If you are tough about cycling in bad weather, are you a tough person in general?"

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Say no more…

… I will admit that maintaining my “tough guy” image is an important motivation to ride, though I have also been called “a saint.” I always anticipate that perennial question, “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?.”

Originally Posted by Motolegs (of Southern Colorado)
With Winter still weeks away, the low tonight is a projected 5 above. Ready or not..

(As an aside, it was about 18 this morning, and got my first agape stares and "You rode your bike today!?" 's at work. )
Other Winter cyclists have posted about the Question, and the best tough guy reply I have read was from tsl, “Well, it’s better than pushing it.”
And:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
…I have often posted that for any evaluation of winter gear, the poster should specify temperature and distance (as a function of time). One post once suggested that a "cold" ride is one where the water bottle freezes solid; a function of temperature and time. For my 14 miles that occurs at about 15 degrees F or less (-9.4º C).
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Old 11-20-14, 08:39 AM
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impressive mileage!
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Old 11-20-14, 12:14 PM
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I only ride a mile or so to the train.
It's less exposure to the cold than walking and it's better for the life of my engine to not drive 5 minutes.
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Old 11-22-14, 07:02 PM
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After a day of industrious domesticity, got a 14-mile ride on the Minuteman after dark and before dinner, a cool and breezy night, temperatures in the relatively balmy high 30s/low 40s, enough wind to fly the flag with an occasional snap. Arlington has started displaying its ashen Winter lights, giving Mass. Ave. a spectral cast; I take a somewhat perverse satisfaction in this use of my tax dollars. Once I got on the Minuteman, I had it to myself for minutes at a time, but at one point encountered what I thought was a group of 3 cyclists that resolved itself into the two headlights and spotlight of an Arlington police cruiser, slowly trawling down the in-bound lane of the Minuteman out towards the skating rink, looking for something or someone, official business. Heard the Follen Church bell toll six. Saw a few Winter moths, but just singletons; perhaps the parasitic flies are doing their work, or maybe Jack Frost did for them...


rod

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Old 11-23-14, 05:13 PM
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You tough and resolute riders have been pushed into winter cold weather and keep riding. You are all resolute.
I exercised indoors until today's warm weather and even then over dressed compared to other bikers and runners. It sure was pleasant to get outdoors on a near 60F Fall day for an average 13.8 mph on a 27 mile loop from Sherborn's Nason Hill to Dover's Strawberry Hill, through Hale Reservation and back on Pine past Snow Hill then Hospital Hill.
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Old 11-23-14, 05:52 PM
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sbp, it's good to see you getting out for greater distances!

We took the tandem out today, 31.8 miles. The weather was spectacular for late November.





And this easy-to-miss granite column at Fern's:

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Old 11-23-14, 10:04 PM
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More industrious domesticity and a very satisfactory Pats game, followed by another 14 miles in the dark on the Minuteman, about 10 degrees warmer than Saturday. Once again the trail was pretty empty, a small group of young men enacting the somewhat predictable rites of adolescence at the Grove Street bridge notwithstanding; no police cruisers tonight, however, perhaps they'll find each other some other time. Riding through the dark was a primarily auditory experience tonight, a confusion of church bells and carillons rising over the Mill Brook valley at six, an emergency vehicle yipping like a coyote, jets on approach to Logan singing basso descending scales with countertenor overtones, the hardy remnants of the Night Chorus making the most of the mild air, the whisper of the tires on pavement, the Unitarians' bell in Arlington tolling seven. Kept a brisk pace, chasing the headlights, racing my shadow past street lights.

rod

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Old 11-23-14, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Riding through the dark was a primarily auditory experience tonight, a confusion of church bells and carillons rising over the Mill Brook valley at six,..., the Unitarian's bell in Arlington tolling seven.
"As the more conscientious clocks of Mahon prepared to strike the hour..."
- Patrick O'Brian, The One Hundred Days
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Old 11-23-14, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
"As the more conscientious clocks of Mahon prepared to strike the hour..."
- Patrick O'Brian, The One Hundred Days
Ah, that quote rings a bell...

rod
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Old 11-24-14, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
It sure was pleasant to get outdoors on a near 60F Fall day for an average 13.8 mph on a 27 mile loop from Sherborn's Nason Hill to Dover's Strawberry Hill, through Hale Reservation and back on Pine past Snow Hill then Hospital Hill.
sounds lovely. I drove through Dover once and I remember it being very picturesque
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Old 11-24-14, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
sounds lovely. I drove through Dover once and I remember it being very picturesque
RR, it is nice. I plotted it on a map afterwards rather than using a GPS. If you don't mind getting off to walk a short section there is a nice side route on the border between Westwood and Dover. It is fine to stay on Dover St after turning off of Rt. 109. Dover St becomes Powisset St. I couldn't map an alternative route that turns off Dover St on Carby St to Hill St heading southwest then almost all paved path back out to Powisset St. To prevent motorized traffic there is a chain across both ends of the steep hill near the end of the paved path. The southern end is too steep for me to ride and I make sure to get off before it is too late to unclip. The last 50 feet of the uphill is very loose gravel then followed by 1/4 mile of single lane asphault.
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Old 11-25-14, 08:03 AM
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Just a couple of shots from this weekend.

The Community Path Extension to Lowell Street - so close to completion - the fence is currently scheduled to come down in the spring. Yellow is the running/walking surface (will be on both sides soon). Here are the plans.



And in the topsy-turvey world of construction projects, Beacon Street reconstruction in Somerville has begun, I'm travelling in the "bike lane" remnants here. If you haven't seen the plans for this defacto bicycle highway, you should take a look at what is coming.



-mr. bill

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Old 11-25-14, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
… It sure was pleasant to get outdoors on a near 60F Fall day for an average 13.8 mph on a 27 mile loop from Sherborn's Nason Hill to Dover's Strawberry Hill, through Hale Reservation and back on Pine past Snow Hill then Hospital Hill.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6
sounds lovely. I drove through Dover once and I remember it being very picturesque
Picturesque!!?? Heck…I have referred to Dover as the Mecca of Metro Boston cycling.

In my Cyclist’s Guide to the Metroverse I describe Dover and environs (Sherbornpeddlerville) as:


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
…For some generalities,,,I think of the area in sectors radiating from downtown and surrounded by a circumferential belt about 10 to 15 miles from Downtown, known as Route 128…

I would describe the sectors as (mostly for road riding outside of Rte 128):

Southwest: Needham, Wellesley, Dover, Medfield, Walpole, Westwood, etc: probably more popular than the western burbs; wealthy exurban to rural, moderately hilly country roads, horse farms, mansions...
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