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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 12-01-14, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
...
PS: I suppose these street names are as obscure to the several Metrowesterners living in the vicinity of the Minuteman, as their geographic names are to me, but hopefully our respective descriptions beckon us all to ride in all those sectors of the Metroverse.
Well, I've been meaning to sneak past I-90 and go exploring, but that's starting to look like a project for next year...

rod
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Old 12-01-14, 11:28 AM
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Managed a 10 mile loop around Salem on an otherwise quiet holiday weekend yesterday. I would have extended it further, but the Marblehead Rail Trail was impassably muddy from snowmelt. Ah well.

I commuted today, 55 degrees on the first day of December! Gorgeous. Usually warm temperatures this time of year also mean a headwind on the way in, but that's a trade worth making. Back to reality tomorrow, I guess.
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Old 12-01-14, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
…hopefully our respective descriptions beckon us all to ride in all those sectors of the Metroverse.

Originally Posted by rholland1951
Well, I've been meaning to sneak past I-90 and go exploring, but that's starting to look like a project for next year...

Originally Posted by jimmuller
You guys are making me think about a ride in Dover and Somerville!...
Mass Pike…The Great Wall of Boston.
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Old 12-01-14, 09:23 PM
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Spun out the Minuteman this evening as far as the barricade in Lexington, 10 miles, temperatures in the 40s, our little warm spell is giving way to the next cold snap. The Minuteman is completely dry in Arlington, but still wet in many spots in Lexington, and those riding it tomorrow morning should expect black ice. There were a few winter moths fluttering around, but nothing like yesterday evening, when the warm night brought them out in dense clouds, doing the Lepidoptera hoochie-coo; I inadvertently kissed one then, which is somewhat preferable to eating one, but is, all things considered, nothing to write home about. The Egg has made it to December.

rod

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Old 12-03-14, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Hi sbp,....Finally I note Wilsodale St passes Powissett Brook, and I do know Powisswtt St in Dover quite well, So I googled “Powissett,” and nearly all the entries were for Powissett farm, and there is also a Powisset peak. But I could not find the origin of the actual name, seemingly an Indian name. So there’s another reason to strike up a conversation with my Dover acquaintances.

Wonkily yours,

JfB

PS: I suppose these street names are as obscure to the several Metrowesterners living in the vicinity of the Minuteman, as their geographic names are to me, but hopefully our respective descriptions beckon us all to ride in all those sectors of the Metroverse.
JfB, I'll see your wonk and raise you one.

The 1897 "History of Dover" by Frank Smith is a fine read. Page 9 states Powisset is the name of the tribe that occupied the Plains of Powisset. Powisset Road passes through that area and passes by Miss Amelia Peabody's Powisset Farm. Just to the west of the farm entrance is Powisset Pond, headwaters to Tubwreck Brook. Tubwreck Brook flows south under Walpole St and later Hartford St in Medfield. Harford St, btw is a fine alternative to biking on Rt. 109.

Just so you don't think bicyclists are the only ones with a good sense of humor you'll want to know how Tubwreck Brook on the western part of Powisset got it's name. Local lore is Tubwreck Brook was named after War of 1812 veteran Captain James Tisdale sailed down the tiny brook in a tub to pick cranberries. He capsized and made it home but in good humor his neighbors took to calling him "Admiral" and recognized his seamanship skills by putting foods and items on his doorstep that might have washed up on shore after a shipwreck. The brook and more recently Tubwreck Drive still honor this dramatic moment in Powisset history. So when your bike beckons you to ride Powisset, Walpole and Hartford streets think of Captain Tisdale and wear a lifejacket when you go picking cranberries.

I biked only errands in the confines of Sherborn yesterday and am still considering rack and fenders for the mountain bike.
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Old 12-03-14, 10:46 PM
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Tubwreck. All I do is go back and forth to Woburn, pronounced Wooburn. Go figure.
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Old 12-03-14, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
JfB, I'll see your wonk and raise you one…
Hey sbp, fabulous reply. I actually know a family that lives on Tubwreck (? Drive) and I have always been amused by the name. I’ll have to see if they know the “rest of the story.”

I once read an interesting monograph, I think written by someone from Illinois IIRC about Colonial Dedham, and how the surrounding towns acrimoniously split off. Whenever I ride in Bellingham, I recall how it was allowed to leave because it was a line of defense against the Indians.

I know Hartford St well. My favorite alternative to Rte 109 is on the south side, say from Medway: Village St…Forest…Causeway to Medfield Ctr…South St…Elm…(some residential streets through Walpole)…North St,,,Brook…past Willett Pond…Nichols into Norwood Ctr.
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Old 12-03-14, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
Tubwreck. All I do is go back and forth to Woburn, pronounced Wooburn. Go figure.
You are an awesome rider and manage far more than back and forth and do it all in classic toe clip style!
Speaking of Wooborne, I ought to get over and bike in the former Charlestowne Village. I haven't finished following the Middlesex Canal or visited the homes of the inventors of the drip coffee pot and vulcanized rubber.
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Old 12-04-14, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
You are an awesome rider and manage far more than back and forth and do it all in classic toe clip style!
Speaking of Wooborne, I ought to get over and bike in the former Charlestowne Village. I haven't finished following the Middlesex Canal or visited the homes of the inventors of the drip coffee pot and vulcanized rubber.
SBP, that's a very kind thing to say, and I thank you! (Whether I agree with it a different story. )

There are too many places to visit. However I'm in favor of the drip coffee pot and vulcanized rubber.

I rode my commute this morning. It was about freezing when I left home. New gloves kept my hands warm. The biggest worry was whether there could be ice lurking around the spots where cars had run through puddles and spread out the water. The ride home will be done cautiously. I've had good luck leaving a bit before 5PM before the mad rushing of the bulls has started, and after 5:30 when the mad rushing of the bulls is seemingly over. Leaving at 4:30 seems to hit a pre-rush-hour mad rushing of the bulls though.
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Old 12-05-14, 07:08 PM
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Quiet ride in the dark on the Minuteman, out to the barricade and back, 10 miles. Lots of Arlington folks driving like body parts, a phenomenon akin to Jim's bulls, maybe. Encountered a crowd in Arlington Center applauding a street performer, part of Arlington's "First Lights" celebration. Lots of activity in Arlington tonight, with the folks on foot seeming much more amiable than the ones behind the wheel. By comparison, the Minuteman was an oasis of calm.

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Old 12-07-14, 04:25 PM
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We'd planned to take the tandem out today but decided not to for several reasons. Instead I took the Masi out for about 16 miles. I explored the urban routes from home to Medford, looking for commute alternatives, perhaps using the train. Temps were in the mid-30's degF. I'm trying to decide if I want to commute by bike tomorrow, since it is supposed to be about 19degF when I would be leaving the house.

Apparently I was following some famous footsteps (though I would have thought he was going the other direction). I'm sure he didn't have to deal with all those road signs.



Around the Armco to the left is the West Medford commuter train stop. While I was there the gates went down and a train came through. But what the...? It was an Amtrak train, not an MBTA commuter. Where would it be going in that direction, on the Lowell Line??? I didn't realize Amtrak ran anything in that direction. This calls for more research. Otherwise, it was a nice, quaint neighborhood RR crossing.



On the way back, crossing the Mystic River, the boundary between Arlington and Medford. It was sort of made famous by Dennis Lehane though IIRC the book (and movie) weren't located in this part of the metro area. It's been a while since I've seen or read either.



Finally, a moment of silence for those who perished on this day at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Even more importantly, a moment of recognition for everyone who have put themselves in harm's way to protect all of us of any nationality, any race, any creed.
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Old 12-07-14, 06:41 PM
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Didn't get out this weekend (and have been unable to commute to work lately for reasons which are mostly positive), but did say "uncle" and switch over to the studded tires for the season.
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Old 12-07-14, 07:39 PM
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Had a cold ride on the Minuteman tonight, temperatures down to the mid-20s with a breeze that caused the flag at the Arlington War Memorial to snap to attention, mostly a headwind outbound, but perversely enough more a cross-wind than a tailwind on the return. The few puddles left from yesterday's rain were busy turning into black ice, and my water bottle turned into a slushy. My Winter bike is still in the shop, so I substituted attention for studs, and found that was enough for now. Not a lot of company on the Minuteman tonight, just a few bikes and dog walkers, plus one intrepid skater. Something continues to sing in the cold night at Arlington's Great Meadow, wish I knew what. The moon rose to keep me company on the return.




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Old 12-07-14, 08:47 PM
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Anyone interested in a frostbite ride over Christmas weekend?
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Old 12-07-14, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
Anyone interested in a frostbite ride over Christmas weekend?
Potentially, depending on conditions (meteorological and social)...

rod
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Old 12-08-14, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
We'd planned to take the tandem out today but decided not to for several reasons. Instead I took the Masi out for about 16 miles. I explored the urban routes from home to Medford, looking for commute alternatives, perhaps using the train. Temps were in the mid-30's degF. I'm trying to decide if I want to commute by bike tomorrow, since it is supposed to be about 19degF when I would be leaving the house.

Apparently I was following some famous footsteps (though I would have thought he was going the other direction). I'm sure he didn't have to deal with all those road signs.


...
You have to look hard for many of these bicentennial signs. Any that are exposed to direct sunlight have bleached away, such as this sign in Arlington Center. The one in your picture was replaced around 2012 for some reason.

Originally Posted by jimmuller
...
Around the Armco to the left is the West Medford commuter train stop. While I was there the gates went down and a train came through. But what the...? It was an Amtrak train, not an MBTA commuter. Where would it be going in that direction, on the Lowell Line??? I didn't realize Amtrak ran anything in that direction. This calls for more research. Otherwise, it was a nice, quaint neighborhood RR crossing.



...
That would be the Downeaster. Another quirk of the West Medford crossing - it's one of the few manned crossings left.

ps - your old pics are disappearing from the world? But love the way your bike practically glows in the December light.

-mr. bill

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Old 12-08-14, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
That would be the Downeaster. Another quirk of the West Medford crossing - it's one of the few manned crossings left.

ps - your old pics are disappearing from the world? But love the way your bike practically glows in the December light.
Thanks for the note. I would have thought the Downeaster went northeast along the Gloucester/Rockport line for a while instead of NNW toward Lowell. But what do I know? One day we might ride the DE'er just for fun. It's be fun to use it for a tandem ride except that the tandem is so long it won't go on a train easily.

Thanks for the comment on the bike. We can thank Toby at Hottubes for the nice paint job!

My older pics fade away because I'm such a curmudgeon that I use only old analog paint for my digital pictures online. But all seriousness aside, I have limited disk space on the two servers I use so I'm always culling the older ones out. It's hard to guess which ones aren't interesting to people.
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Old 12-08-14, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
...
My older pics fade away because I'm such a curmudgeon that I use only old analog paint for my digital pictures online. But all seriousness aside, I have limited disk space on the two servers I use so I'm always culling the older ones out. It's hard to guess which ones aren't interesting to people.
Understood. The bad news is that ANY picture you link in a post is probably of interest to somebody, sometime, due to the documentary nature of this list... An example of Time on the Internet... Wonder if your faded pictures can be found on the Wayback Machine? (one more worthy sink for charitable contributions, btw)

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Old 12-08-14, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
...
The Friends of Lexington Bikeways have their signs out again. In addition to the familiar snow-removal appeal with a url for tax-deductible contributions, they have a new sign giving an email address (mmbikeway At gmail Dot com) to report hazardous conditions. Stand by for snow-and-ice season...


rod
On last night's ride, I noticed that the "Report Hazards" signs have all been taken down, at least between the Arlington line and the barricade. Wonder why? I sent an email to them asking about that...

rod

Postscript: Turns out the FoLB ran into a little red tape with the Report Hazards signs, and have withdrawn them until that gets straightened out. With a little luck, the signs will be back in time for the serious ice.

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Old 12-09-14, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
…I explored the urban routes from home to Medford, looking for commute alternatives, perhaps using the train. Temps were in the mid-30's deg F. I'm trying to decide if I want to commute by bike tomorrow, since it is supposed to be about 19deg F when I would be leaving the house….

Originally Posted by rholland1951
The few puddles left from yesterday's rain were busy turning into black ice…so I substituted attention for studs, and found that was enough for now…

rod
Nice photoessays, as usual. I think of rod as the Chronicler (?Wand'ring Minstrel) of the Minuteman, and jmm’s pictures make me long to find those streets. I have gotten lost in West Meffed on a few occasions, most often trying to follow Rte 38 through Meffed. It’s a quaint spot.

My commuting since summer has been curtailed but I did ride my 14 miles on Monday, memorable as the first Cold Ride of the Season. As jmm predicted, it was indeed 19º F at 5:30 AM. The roads looked dry and this was a waning chance to ride the carbon fiber bike. I did have some trepidation, as I always do when first re-visiting cold rides, but I rejected an abbreviated ride of 4 miles by taking the train part-way, much less all the way.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
The way I organize my winter dress is by levels, 1 to 6. (I got that scale from whitewater rafting, where difficulty of a river is rated from 1 to 6, and it works for me). The levels do not mean layers, but the combination of gear for temperature intervals, in increments of about 10 degrees F. A few years ago I posted the scheme on a Road Cycling thread, ”Your clothing choices for various temps, though it needs to be revised since I bought a warmer fleece and winter jacket. The temperature range is from > 70 degrees F (level 1) to < 20 degrees (level 6: my lowest was 0 degrees).

The level makes the job of selecting clothing very easy for that decision to be made on the morning of a commute, without going outside. Sometimes I may bring along a piece of apparel from a higher level just in case. The scheme is particularly useful at the change of seasons to remind me of what works. Also, I choose by ambient temperature and usually ignore the reported wind chill temp, because there always is a wind chill on the moving bike.

I’ve shown this scheme to a few acquaintances at work, and when they ask “How (cold) was the ride?,” I can reply, for example “Level 3,” as happened just this morning.
I was asked that question twice yesterday and I answered (a comfortable) “5.”

The roads were nicely clear, with some segments with salt precipitate; that’s why I put the CF with 25C tires away, though this year maybe I’ll be less fussy. There were some easily seen ice patches on the side of the road, but I did miss seeing one about two feet wide. I held steady and didn’t slide.

My one mishap was that I stopped at the curbside to make an adjustment and my eyeglasses/goggles fogged up. I’m proud of the eyewear system I have improvised to keep my goggles and eyeglasses fog free, eyes and face warm, and wear eyeglass-mounted mirrors, as described above, but dependent on moving air to keep clear. I started up again, and couldn’t even be sure if there was a parked car in front of me. I slowly rode to get some air moving, but fell over to my left, still clipped in. Nonetheless, “real riders wear clipless.” Luckily I did not tear my jacket or tights.

I use a plastic liter carbonated soda bottle for my water supply, and it was only partially full. At about mile 3, going up my steepest hill, the air in the bottle had contracted so much that the bottle was almost limp, and popped out of the holder, but the water did not freeze.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
To better characterize a baddass cold ride, I would offer this definition from the Winter Cycling Forum: One on which your water bottle freezes solid---a function of temperature and distance (time). For my 14 mile one-way ride, it happens at about 15º F and below.
So I stayed overnight at work after a Holiday party, still with my CF bike. At 4:00 AM this morning the streets were a sheet of shiny black ice, perfect for my studded tire mountain bike. So I’m going to lay low today, to avoid answering that winter motivational question, “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?,” because I didn't.

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Old 12-09-14, 09:59 PM
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Whew, rainy commute today or what??
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Old 12-09-14, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzman
Whew, rainy commute today or what??
Wow! See any walking catfish?

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Old 12-12-14, 04:57 PM
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No catfish, hazard signs or passenger cars on my icy ride going to a meeting in thriving downtown Sherborn this morning. It was a melted return ride. I wore some old nylon ski pants which were great. Each leg zips all the way from the waist to the cuff so they are easy to take off and rollup at the bike stand. Knobby tires on a mountain bike but no studs. Will we have more icy days or will we transition to slush, sand and snow so I can get by without studs?
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Old 12-12-14, 05:00 PM
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JimM, Thank you for your ride report and especially for noting Pearl Harbor Day.
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Old 12-13-14, 07:04 PM
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Left at noon for a 27-mile loop around Hanscom Field, temperatures in the mid-to-upper thirties with a breeze, what is rapidly coming to feel cool, rather than cold, nice day for a ride if you headed West (heading East apparently got you snow showers). Rode out the Minuteman to Depot Park, then revisited Hartwell Road, Bedford, a bit of time travel to Cold War days, and found that the hill is still there, as is some of the scaly pavement, but the very worst of that has now been fixed. Home by Virginia Road, Mill Street, etc.


The Minuteman was clear and dry, a few small puddles to make a little ice at the next freeze.


A visible token of the day's cool breeze.


This lot off Hartwell Road used to be a good place to watch air shows with the kids. At some point it got chained off for security reasons, part of the general change of climate in the previous decade. A cute little red helicopter, a real-life version of something I might have drawn with a red crayon as a child of six, was putt-putting around the field, presumably for pilot training. Not an air show, really, but fun to watch.


The Elm Brook wetland, off Virginia Road, Concord, was somewhat wetter than usual.


Climbing up the hill on Virginia Road, after crossing the Lincoln line and getting another view of the Hanscom runway.


The Northern end of the Cambridge Reservoir, a mud flat only a few weeks ago, seems to have been plentifully recharged.


rod

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