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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 12-29-14, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Hi Mr. Bill,

To this resident of Kenmore Square, I enjoy your familiar, though unidentified urban and suburban photos. I think this one shows the Park Plaza up ahead, and the one from 12/25 looks like Arlington, (?) Mass Ave. Last summer was a shot I knew conclusively, of Mass and Comm Aves right by my LBS, Back Bay Bikes.

BTW, have you seen this amusing and popular recent thread on the Fifty-Plus Forum devoted to MAMIL's, "Anybody recognise this man?".

JfB
Yes, I loved that article, and so did my spouse. For the ultimate MAMIT, see The Incredibles.
Christmas Day is indeed in Arlington, in front of the Capitol Theater - 25 mph headwind gusting to 35 mph - but not a creature was stirring, not even a pedestrian, or motorist.

And the other shot is on School Street, just past King's Chapel and The Old City Hall.
I'll add another shot from nearby, the Old State House. The restored Lion and Unicorn are spectacular, if looking out of age on the building right now.



-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 03-06-18 at 11:15 AM. Reason: photobucket
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Old 01-02-15, 12:22 PM
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Happy New Year all. I’m pleased to be the first to post here in 2015. I did a rather typical ride yesterday, and posted about it to the Fifty Plus thread, ”January 1 bike ride.” The swanky brunch I referred to was at the Cafe Fleuri in the Langham, formerly Meridien Hotel on Franklin St in the Financial District

But to further relate this post more specifically to this Metro Boston thread, I’ve been meaning to write about this item since last summer. Almost all my long Saturday rides end up in Norwood, and I cycle back to Kenmore Square via the same route as I rode yesterday. Sometime back, a local subscriber posted a question, I think to this thread, as to what are good local downhill runs. I have always thought that Trapelo Road through Waltham, and Rte 85, and Hopkinton Rd into Hopkinton were tough climbs in my direction, and Trapelo was a pretty fast downill run into Belmont.

I want to also tout Goddard Street by Larz Anderson Park in Brookline. From the top it’s about 1.5 miles past Jamaica Pond to Boylston Street (Rte 9). So it’s very scenic with gentle curves, with low traffic, and notably only one cross street as I recall, on the uphill side, until the road starts to flatten out at the Pond.

Just past the crest is a turn-off, so you can allow any cars behind you to pass, and then cruise almost uninterrupted for nearly the entire length. Even after the single traffic light just past the Pond, it is still declining and one can easily (for me) pedal up to 20 mph. So that fourteen mile route is actually metabolically about 1.5 miles less, but exhilarating nonetheless, especially with a tailwind as yesterday.

Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler
…Metro Bostonians have mastered a lot of the same roads.

We all have very individual, favorite routes. I bet we could compile a list of favorite sections of roads where the sun, shade, swoops and turns fly by just right.

From this forum, we could rate roads with traffic and without, swoops, trails, water fountains, hill climbs, stops, historical, flora, fauna, mysterious tourists and places where they sell fig newtons.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Yesterday for the third consecutive Thanksgiving Day in a row, fellow "Metro Boston" subscriber mtalinm and I did a late morning ride from Norwood into Boston…We rode Rte 1A (Washington St), Court St to Rte 109, and the VFW, eventually to Newton St and the screeching downhill run on Goddard by the Hellenic College to Jamaica Pond. I did warn him that he would have to climb one hill or another to get back to Westwood...

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-03-15 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 01-02-15, 01:22 PM
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From the Metro-west division:

We took the tandem out for 32 miles today. Temps in the mid to upper 30's. Rode from home to Cambridge, picked up the Minuteman Bikeway out to Bedford with a small detour on part of my commute route. Took a roundabout way back into Lexington. The MM was empty.

Just outside Arlington Center where the MM continues westward after crossing Water St., remnants of the remains of the old RR track. More are on display in a little park in A.C itself. It looks like those rails haven't seen much traffic for quite a while.



A quick stop at the Lexington Visitors Center. It's all about perspective, isn't it?

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Last edited by jimmuller; 01-02-15 at 04:07 PM. Reason: I can spwll but I can't tupe.
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Old 01-02-15, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
From the Metro-west division:

We took the tandem out for 32 miles today. Temps in the mid to upper 30's. Rode form home to Cambridge, picked up the Minuteman Bikeway out to Bedford with a small detour on part of my commute route. Took a roundabout way back into Lexington. The MM was empty.

Just outside Arlington Center where the MM continues westward after crossing Water St.,, remnants of the remains of the old RR track. More are on display in a little park in A.C itself. It looks like those rails haven't seen much traffic for quite a while.
Nice photos Jim. Did you just happen to note those RR tracks? It's an interesting curiousity.

I have heard you can get to the Minuteman from Cambridge (other than on Mass Ave.) Is there an off-street path?
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Old 01-02-15, 03:18 PM
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The tracks at Whittemore Park were intentionally left there when the Minuteman was constructed, now 22 years ago.

Lots of balance beam practice by young children over the years since, the first "class" of gymnasts have since graduated from high school.

There are a few leftover spurs along the Minuteman, the few feet of track at each location more hassle to pull up than they are worth, but that one has the defiant tree lifting the rail. Other trees along the Minuteman are mastering chain link fencing.

(Another set of tracks that might be visible next year - the trolley tracks under Mass Ave. They are still planning to leave them where they lie.)

-mr. bill
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Old 01-02-15, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Nice photos Jim. Did you just happen to note those RR tracks? It's an interesting curiousity.

I have heard you can get to the Minuteman from Cambridge (other than on Mass Ave.) Is there an off-street path?
Thanks, JFB. I had noticed those tracks before, stopped to fix a tire there just a few days ago. Today we stopped so I could remove my balaclava (I was overheating) and I thought it would make a nice photo.

The MM starts at the Alewife T stop in Cambridge, crosses Lake St, passes Spy Pond, then emerges from the shadows a short distance east of Arlington Center. So I guess you can technically pick it up in Cambridge. Bikeways with other names also emerge into Alewife from various directions, so you can connect pretty easily from Somerville, Belmont, etc. But I don't get into those areas very often so I can't speak with authority. mr_bill surely could though.
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Old 01-02-15, 04:34 PM
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On one side of the Cambridge border near Alewife is the Alewife Greenway Path, a boardwalk/cinder path taking you to Mystic Valley Parkway.

On the other side of the Cambridge border near Alewife is the Fitchburg Cuttoff Path, taking you to Belmont (Brighton Street).

And on the side of Alewife Station is Linear Path to Linear Park to Somerville Community Path, which currently ends on the other side of Davis Square at Cedar Street and will open in the Spring to Lowell Street and eventually to Lechmere and North Point with the Green Line Extension.

-mr. bill

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Old 01-02-15, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
Nice photos Jim. Did you just happen to note those RR tracks? It's an interesting curiousity.

I have heard you can get to the Minuteman from Cambridge (other than on Mass Ave.) Is there an off-street path?
If you're starting from Harvard Square and want to avoid Mass. Ave. on the way to the Minuteman, there's a nice route up Garden Street, continuing on Sherman Street, picking up Rindge (turn left), and picking up the Alewife Linear Park at Comeau Field; this will bring you quickly to the beginning of the Minuteman. Garden, Sherman, and Rindge are pleasant to ride.

rod
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Old 01-02-15, 10:22 PM
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Rode out the Minuteman tonight as far as Bedford Street, Lexington, 14 miles, cold, breezy, dark, and quiet, temperatures in the low 30s. Had the path mostly to myself, but did have a nice conversation with another cyclist, riding a Raleigh Professional, about the evolution of bicycle light technology. Admired the big tree lit up at Taylor Lane, and rode home with the waxing gibbous moon. Bright clouds moved across the sky. A pair of golden eyes crossing the trail gave back my headlights near Maple Street, but were gone by the time I got there.






A pleasure to be back on the bike; the virus ran its course.

rod

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Old 01-03-15, 03:14 AM
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jmm, -mr_bill, and rod,

Thanks for your replies, and I'll bookmark this page for future reference. I usually am limited to simple Kenmore Sq-Norwood-KS routes until April.

Cold wave a-comin' this week; Happy ridin'.

JfB
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Old 01-03-15, 06:22 AM
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You know what I'd like to see? A reasonable map showing all those connecting trails. Whenever I try to look up, say, the Mystic River trails, I get a confusing array of proposed trail routes, dead web pages, real maps that I can't connect to anything else, and a zillion links to other pages of the same quality. The only way I'll ever figure them out is to ride them all and map them myself, but of course I won't know what I haven't ridden.
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Old 01-03-15, 09:05 AM
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Totally get the aspirational maps are less than useful.

One thing I've found useful is the various heatmaps of the tracking apps, such as this one from Strava.

At least it tells me where the Strava geeks are riding. You can see which paths along Mystic Valley Parkway are rideable. Also see the Garden/Sherman/Rindge route to the Minuteman which is far less popular than the Mass Ave to North Cambridge to Linear Park route to the Minuteman. Also you can watch new segments wink on - it's clear which two segments of the Bike to the Sea route are open (and you can even guess which part is paved and which part isn't.)

(Garmin isn't updating their attempt, and Runkeeper I haven't figured out how to segregate the runners from the riders.)

-mr. bill

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Old 01-03-15, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
You know what I'd like to see? A reasonable map showing all those connecting trails. Whenever I try to look up, say, the Mystic River trails, I get a confusing array of proposed trail routes, dead web pages, real maps that I can't connect to anything else, and a zillion links to other pages of the same quality. The only way I'll ever figure them out is to ride them all and map them myself, but of course I won't know what I haven't ridden.
The only trails I ride are those that I know well, but (fortunately) for me I ride my commute early in the AM, and my long rides early on Saturdays, and IMO, almost any road is a good ride at that time of day, better than a MUP or MUT.

For me though, early morning ends at about 6AM on weekdays, 8AM on Saturdays, and 9AM on Sundays. Later in the day is a different matter.
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Old 01-03-15, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
You know what I'd like to see? A reasonable map showing all those connecting trails. Whenever I try to look up, say, the Mystic River trails, I get a confusing array of proposed trail routes, dead web pages, real maps that I can't connect to anything else, and a zillion links to other pages of the same quality. The only way I'll ever figure them out is to ride them all and map them myself, but of course I won't know what I haven't ridden.
Google Maps Bicycling view is a start. It does show trails, mostly, along with bike lanes and ridable dirt paths. There is some discrimination in the iconograpy for all these things, but it's possible to be surprised (and not just for bike-specific things: dirt roads, posted private roads through pig farms, and even abandoned carriage roads--more rock than road--can turn up marked as if paved and open). You get information about the connected graph, but not so much about the individual edges. So you still don't really know what you've got till you go. Google Maps, trust but verify.

rod

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Old 01-03-15, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
Totally get the aspirational maps are less than useful.

One thing I've found useful is the various heatmaps of the tracking apps, such as this one from Strava.

At least it tells me where the Strava geeks are riding. You can see which paths along Mystic Valley Parkway are rideable. Also see the Garden/Sherman/Rindge route to the Minuteman which is far less popular than the Mass Ave to North Cambridge to Linear Park route to the Minuteman. Also you can watch new segments wink on - it's clear which two segments of the Bike to the Sea route are open (and you can even guess which part is paved and which part isn't.)

(Garmin isn't updating their attempt, and Runkeeper I haven't figured out how to segregate the runners from the riders.)

-mr. bill
Sounds good. While I'm subscribed to both Strava and MapMyRide, I largely stopped using them, finding myself somewhat put off by the chatty social-social and automated-personal-trainer aspects of them that seemed to devour their simple mapping and sharing capabilities. Ended up using Google MyTracks, much simpler and doesn't try to sell me a community or performance-based motivation. But the heatmaps do sound genuinely useful, and may be enough to make me take a second look, and reconsider my hermit-like stance.

rod
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Old 01-03-15, 01:23 PM
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I just leach off the crowd sourced data.

But I do use Runkeeper, just that I'm anti-social. (None of my rides are marked public, so they never get aggregated in these heat maps.)

Before cell phones my spouse would worry.

After cell phones my spouse would call in the middle of a ride.

With Runkeeper Live, my spouse can worry, and check where I am on my Facebook feed. (The Runkeeper Live feed is only visible to my spouse, and my spouse actually doesn't bother to check. Just knowing it's there is enough to stop the worry. Funny how the mind works.)

-mr. bill
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Old 01-04-15, 03:31 PM
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Well, that's a great link, I've started playing with it. Many thanks!

rod
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Old 01-06-15, 12:29 PM
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A fun thing to do with the Strava heatmap: zoom out to all of the greater Boston Area, and switch to just runners. The Boston Marathon route is impressively visible.
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Old 01-09-15, 07:48 PM
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The Boston Globe - Anatomy of a winter cyclist.

-mr. bill
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Old 01-09-15, 07:54 PM
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my bill, I'll read your story tomorrow. Today I awoke at 5:30 London time (that's midnight-thirty) here in MetroBoston, rode a limo to Heathrow, caught planes to Dublin, then home. It's been a looooooog day
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Old 01-09-15, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
my bill, I'll read your story tomorrow. Today I awoke at 5:40 London time (that's midnight-thirty) here in MetroBoston, rode a limo to Heathrow, caught planes to Dublin, then home. It's been a looooooog day
Welcome back to the Western Hemisphere, Jim.

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Old 01-10-15, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Welcome back to the Western Hemisphere, Jim.
Thanks. I see that I was unable to tpye clearly last night. Also I hear you were playing Fun With Fahrenheit while I was away.
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Old 01-10-15, 02:40 PM
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Bundled up and rode out the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back at lunchtime, 10 miles in temperatures in the lower 20s, enough wind to notice. Took the old GT Karakoram running studded Nokian W240s, but got more use out of the Nokians' tread than their studs. The Minuteman surface was in good shape, cyclists with a range of bicycle and tire types were doing just fine with it. A pleasant ride in the cold.

Lots of bare pavement on the Arlington segment.


Also in Arlington, something I've never noticed before: salt. This is a mixed blessing, of course.


The Egg in Winter.


Tracking a dog walker at Arlington's Great Meadow.


The Minuteman surface in Lexington was most often a thin layer of packed snow, occasional bare pavement, and no ice to speak of.




Kids were out on Peepers Pond with skates and snow shovels, dressing the surface for skating and hockey games.




The FoLB's signs are back, inviting us to report hazardous conditions at mmbikeway@gmail.com; nothing hazardous to report today.


The old GT doing seasonal duty as an ice bike. The water bottle was mostly frozen by this point.


rod

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Old 01-12-15, 08:07 PM
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Found a couple of historical photo collections that I know lots of people have seen on their rides.

Arlington - Park Ave Circle Water Tower

Arlington - pumping station on the Lexington and West Cambridge railroad - now Minuteman Commuter Bikeway

Arlington - winter on the Lexington and West Cambridge railroad - now Minuteman Commuter Bikeway

-mr. bill

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Old 01-12-15, 10:45 PM
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Now that looks eerily familiar... Brrrr!

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