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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 11-01-15, 07:59 PM
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Eastern Standard Time is back. Took the Monster Trucker out for a night ride on the Minuteman before dinner, the big contact patches on the 52mm Compass Rat Trap Pass Extralight tires whirring in the dark. Solitude's back, too: encountered two cyclists (one unlit, one over-lit), two runners, two walkers, and one lurker. Mild night, nice ride, turned around at Woburn Street. On the return, found myself in a real traffic jam on Medford Street, Arlington: not immediately clear what the commotion was about, maybe Saint Agnes parish or school, maybe something at the Regent. A block further on, things got back to quiet nocturnal normal.







rod

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Old 11-03-15, 07:48 PM
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Took the LHT out on the Mintueman tonight, 10 miles. The wow-this-is-nice weather of the daylight hours had given way to pleasantly-cool evening weather, which was pleasantly cooler by the end of the ride. Unlike Sunday night, when I had the Minuteman pretty much to myself, the place was mobbed tonight, and all the various trail users were either lit or reflecting. Kept a good pace, regardless. I haven't ridden this bike in awhile, and was struck by how much fun it was; given that I've put in 11,000 miles or so on it over the last few years, you'd think I'd know that, but I've been distracted by novelty lately.


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Old 11-04-15, 08:39 PM
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Went into Cambridge for a haircut this afternoon, and met a gentleman with a truly whimsical bike, which he says is a lot of fun. It certainly looks like fun.


So newly shorn and inspired, I went back home and took the Rawland out for a before-dinner ride on the Minuteman. By then, it had already gotten dark. A soccer game at AHS was drawing a crowd.


The evening air was a little cooler than absolutely desirable, but the kids at Weather Control stopped taking my calls last February. Lots of fast bikes, bright lights, and the odd invisible pedestrian to dodge. Nice ride in the dark.




rod
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Old 11-07-15, 01:48 PM
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I believe I saw you on monument st today. I was midway through a 50 something mile ride . It was oh so windy during the Maynard thru Stow leg of my route. Fortunately by the time I rode into Concord I was no longer riding against the wind.

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Old 11-07-15, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
I believe I saw you on monument st today.
Saw whom?

We took the tandem out today, 53.85 miles. Spoke to quite a few folks. Lots of bikes out today. Curiously, when we arrived at Ferns in Carlisle there were no, as in none, nada, zippo, zilch, in the bike racks. Within the next 10 minutes as we ate lunch lots of 'em showed up.

With a strong west wind the return was pretty quick without required much effort!

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Old 11-07-15, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
Saw whom?

We took the tandem out today, 53.85 miles. Spoke to quite a few folks. Lots of bikes out today. Curiously, when we arrived at Ferns in Carlisle there were no, as in none, nada, zippo, zilch, in the bike racks. Within the next 10 minutes as we ate lunch lots of 'em showed up.

With a strong west wind the return was pretty quick without required much effort!

whoops, I should have replied with quotes. I believe I saw RHolland.
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Old 11-07-15, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
whoops, I should have replied with quotes. I believe I saw RHolland.
Yup, I think you probably did. I think I saw you, too. Good day for a ride! I was on Monument Street as part of a ride to and through the Estabrook Woods. But to begin at the beginning...

Ever since I got hold of a pair of Compass Rat Trap Pass Extralight tires and mounted them on the Surly Trucker DeLuxe, I've had a yen to take them for a ride on Estabrook Road, in Estabrook Woods, to see what these light, supple, 52mm tires would make of a rocky, rooty "abandoned carriage road", what passes hereabouts as a Class 4 road, and the nearest one I can ride to from my house. Did that, and threw in Two Rod Road, the other 18th Century road in the Estabrook Woods, for good measure.

Rode out the Minuteman, of course, and realized that what I had been thinking of as Autumn had unmistakably become Fall... Leaves down all over the place, and more on the way, blowing around in the gusty headwind. Long stretches of the Minuteman were covered with them. Twice, a falling leaf fastened itself on the left lens of my glasses. I resolved to photograph a third occurrence of same... so of course that didn't happen...




Displaced punkinheads started turning up on the trailside, first in Arlington's Great Meadows, later along Reformatory Branch (but I'm getting ahead of myself). They didn't seem too happy. Reminded me of a refugee encampment I stumbled over in Paris...


Lots of folks out on the Minuteman (and the Reformatory Branch, too, but I'm getting ahead of myself again). This one was a contender for the Best In Show award... the only other serious contender was the young woman with snacks and other riding supplies memorably tucked into the waistband of her bike shorts, but I didn't get a photo of that...


Rolled down to Depot Park, Bedford, and continued on down Railroad Avenue to the Reformatory Branch trailhead. The dry conditions lately favored the ride I had in mind.






Great Meadows NWR has suddenly traded in its greens for browns and tans...


As I was crossing the margin of the field in the Concord segment of the Reformatory Branch, I managed to catch a leaf in flight, one of perhaps 10,000 seen today, in a photograph. The sky looked colder than it really was.


Plenty of leaves down on the Reformatory Branch, and lots of little traffic jams with oncoming families on bicycles, on foot, with their dogs: opportunities to ride through the deep leaves on the trail margin, crunching and hissing.


Soon enough, came to Monument Street, and followed that a short way to Liberty Street, which led me to Estabrook Road.

To be continued...

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Old 11-07-15, 08:19 PM
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After getting past the posh paved and graded dirt preliminary segments of Estabrook Road (it's not ALL abandoned), I reached what I had come for. As I had expected, the roadbed was completely covered with a deep layer of leaves, for pretty much the whole run. The larger rocks and roots poked up through it, the rest lurked. I picked a line around or through the things that I could see, and over the things that I couldn't. Occasionally, I couldn't see a line, or didn't like the line I did see; then, I walked.



Climbed past Mink Pond.




Rode through the leaves with a crunching-hissing sound, my progress like a large animal's through the forest: hard to argue with that.


The old stone walls tell stories. I can read the simplest ones. Apparently Thoreau walked these fields when they were already reverting to forest, and wrote about it: just a Google search away, I suppose.


Markers formal and informal...




The last time I was here it was Summer, green, wet, and buggy. The cool air, skeletal trees, and carpet of dead leaves completely transformed the place. Not a bug to be seen.


More semiotic gestures in the Woods...


Carlisle. End of the line, back to pavement for a bit...


To be continued...

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Old 11-07-15, 09:11 PM
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There are trails on the map of Carlisle that appear to connect Estabrook Road with Two Rod Road, but one is private property, and the other runs through a wetland and the Town prohibits bikes and horses there, so it's necessary to ride a pleasant-enough maze of paved residential streets instead, simple enough that a flatworm could do it (with the help of Google Maps, anyhow). Speaking of flat worms, I encountered this transmogrified snake on Baldwin Road: one moment he'd been a 3-D snake in Carlisle, Massachusetts, and the next: POW! He's a citizen of Flatland, a mere illustration of his former self, and a lesson to the rest of us...


Also of note in this tangle of Carlisle back streets: the Trustees of Reservations would like to inform you that sheep are prohibited on the Malcom Preserve, so get the flock out of there...


Two Rod Road, the old road from Concord to Carlisle, is the other 18th Century road in the Estabrook Woods. The name refers to the distance between the stone walls that flank the road for most of its extent: two rods, or 33 feet. Two Rod Road can be picked up at the elbow of Stearns Street, Carlisle, and is well-marked for much of its run down to Punkatasset. While 33 feet sounds grand, the usable width is essentially single track for most of the way. Unlike Estabrook Road, where I frequently encountered walkers or runners, I had Two Rod Road to myself.


Estabrook Road had gotten me warmed up for riding through rocks and roots submerged in leaves, and my technique on Two Rod Road improved noticeably. I spent more time rising out of the saddle, kept a relatively quick pace, and found myself engrossed simultaneously in optimizing my line selection, managing immediate hazards, and enjoying the sheer physicality of climbing over or bouncing off things. Fun!


Here and there, a stand of evergreens provided welcome visual relief.


This tree did not talk, but only because it had nothing to say to me.


Two Rod Road has its own difficult passages. Rocks...


... and an inconvenient sapling (which may get a consultation from Dr. Sawyer one of these days).


After some more relatively flat and pleasant riding, there was a fast descent to Hutchins Pond.


Soon enough, the Punkatasset trail head and the driveway to Monument Street beckoned.


Rolled up past Hutchins Farm and down the hill to the Reformatory Branch intersection with Monument Street. From there, I kept a fast pace on Reformatory Branch (which seemed easy, after the hidden 3-D features of the abandoned carriage roads), and continued that approach when I picked up the Minuteman. It was time to go home and rake leaves.

This ride took me 39 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, and Carlisle, most of it off the road, on rail trails paved and unpaved, and on those two abandoned carriage roads. So call it 40% dirt, and 20% dirt that wants to play. I wanted to learn how this tire/bike combination would perform with the roots, rocks, and hills that Estabrook Road and Two Rod Road present riders with, and I was pleased: the pneumatic suspension, file tread, and sidewalls of the Rat Trap Pass Extralights were easily up to the challenge, and the ride was a lot of fun. I learned a bit more about how to ride in those conditions in the process. I reckon I'll take the Monster Trucker back for more, will probably revisit some abandoned roads in Groton (Dan Parker Road and Blood Road), and look forward to getting another crack at some Vermont back roads come Summer.

rod

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Old 11-08-15, 06:07 AM
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Nice report Rod! I've been trapped indoors by a bad 3 weekend eating cold...

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Old 11-08-15, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by guidoStow
Nice report Rod! I've trapped indoors by a bad 3 weekend eating cold...
That cold is a monster...

rod
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Old 11-08-15, 06:11 PM
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Todays ride was sunnier and not as windy. I repeated yesterday's 53 mile loop beginning in Waltham headed to Hudson, jumped on 62 and ended up in Concord Center to refill at the fountain (somewhat surprised it's still turned on this late into fall). Headed up Monumet street, hooked a right onto 225, a few turns later I was in Lincoln Center making my way back to 117 into Waltham. All in all not a bad cycling weekend for November.
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Old 11-10-15, 04:24 AM
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I managed to get out for a Monday evening quick 22 mile ride. The weather was crisp and cool, thankfully none of the wind from the weekend to slow me down. I like to think that I bring the daylight along for the ride with all my lights but inevitably I feel like I am in my own little word that is reduced to the bubble of light a few feet in front of me. Given the choice I'll take it over not riding.
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Old 11-11-15, 06:04 PM
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After the rain stopped and night fell, I took the LHT out for a damp, cool, dark ride up to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman, the tires slishing over wet leaves, gurgling through puddles, and whirring on bare pavement. The winter moths were out, first time I've seen them this year. I passed a rat who was running up the trail towards Lexington; perhaps it eats winter moths. A quiet night on the Minuteman, but not unpeopled: a few of every kind of trail user tonight (eliptigo pilots and llama walkers excepted), including one electric bike.


rod

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Old 11-12-15, 01:53 PM
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I set out this morning with ambitions for a 50 mile ride. Despite the cold and wet weather gear it is tough to muster the drive to keep up with Novembers weather. It was cold wet and raw. I was making my way through stow when I said the heck with this and hooked a right onto 117 and plodded on home. Ended up with 36 miles. That brings me to 3875 miles for 2015. I am on track for a 4000 mile year. My rain bike was far grimier than it looks in the picture.
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Old 11-12-15, 05:43 PM
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It was a tough day to ride indeed...

Originally Posted by Ghazmh
I set out this morning with ambitions for a 50 mile ride. Despite the cold and wet weather gear it is tough to muster the drive to keep up with Novembers weather. It was cold wet and raw. I was making my way through stow when I said the heck with this and hooked a right onto 117 and plodded on home. Ended up with 36 miles. That brings me to 3875 miles for 2015. I am on track for a 4000 mile year. My rain bike was far grimier than it looks in the picture.
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Old 11-13-15, 03:21 PM
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Was able to take the better part of Friday off, and chose to use some of that to take the Rawland Nordavinden out for a cool and gusty ride. Kind of fun to ride the Minuteman in daylight, when everything is visible...

For instance, Mill Brook...


... and the MWRA pumping station...


... and Arlington's Great Meadow, looking sere, but with a faint rainbow inconspicuously arcing across the center of this image...


... a photographer photographing phragmites, under big, puffy clouds (and getting photographed, herself)...


... and the aforementioned big, puffy clouds...


... and another look at that rainbow. A minute later, it was gone.


Revere Street, Lexington, is under construction, and closed. Both the Arlington and Lexington DPW had crews out on the Minuteman today, removing leaves, among other things.


I saw a black squirrel; it saw me. When I moved, it moved.


Turned around at Depot Park, Bedford. Had contemplated a longer ride, but a combination of little vagrant rain showers on the ride out, the prospect of more, and what looked to me like the premature beginning of rush hour traffic convinced me to eat the sandwich I had brought along, and head back.


Made better time on the inbound leg than I did on the outbound, partly due to the wind, partly because I was finally warmed up. Enjoyed the remnants of late Fall color as I rolled home.


Looked for the Taylor Lane horses, but didn't see them. Will look again later.

rod
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Old 11-13-15, 05:36 PM
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After two days off the bike due to the rain and some errands involving large heavy packages, I managed to commute again today. Traffic was heavyyyyy but fortunately it makes little difference to a cyclist. The weather was windyyyyyy and unfortunately it makes a big difference to a cyclist. The ride in this morning was pleasant with a tailwind though the bike got filthy from the wet roads. The ride home was a challenge.

Tomorrow if I don't choose to bail out because of the wind and cold I shall be riding a birthday ride (a day early) with the goal of at least 67 miles.
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Old 11-13-15, 06:01 PM
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Happy birthday Jim!
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Old 11-13-15, 06:47 PM
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Happy birthday! And have a great ride!

rod
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Old 11-13-15, 08:26 PM
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Enjoy your ride Jim!
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Old 11-14-15, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by otg
Happy birthday Jim!
Originally Posted by rholland1951
Happy birthday! And have a great ride!
Originally Posted by guidoStow
Enjoy your ride Jim!
Thanks, guys. Indeed I did pull off a b-day ride today, 73 miles on the Masi to exceed the requirement by 7 miles! A few pics are in order, or else it didn't happen.

Maynard:


Harvard/Boxboro after riding into Bolton and then north:



In Carlisle:


At one point heading west on rt117 I noticed my GPS complaining about its batteries. So I stopped at a sto' in Stow to buy some batteries and was pleased to find that they were included.

Heading west today was hard, hard work with tricky crosswinds and headwinds. The ride west was a breeze!
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Old 11-14-15, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
Thanks, guys. Indeed I did pull off a b-day ride today, 73 miles on the Masi to exceed the requirement by 7 miles! A few pics are in order, or else it didn't happen.

Maynard:


Harvard/Boxboro after riding into Bolton and then north:



In Carlisle:


At one point heading west on rt117 I noticed my GPS complaining about its batteries. So I stopped at a sto' in Stow to buy some batteries and was pleased to find that they were included.

Heading west today was hard, hard work with tricky crosswinds and headwinds. The ride west was a breeze!
Congratulations, felicitations, and many happy returns!

rod
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Old 11-15-15, 07:55 AM
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Heading out in a little while on my 85 Trek 660. First ride with the new drivetrain. 9 speed cassette with Suntour Superbe friction downtube shifters. This is it in progress. More pictures later.
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Old 11-15-15, 06:53 PM
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Happy belated birthday, Jim!

I didn't get out yesterday, but today my husband had to be at Purgatory Chasm, so I threw my bike in the car. One-way rides are nice, since you see more new territory (or new-ish; I've done this particular ride once before) for the same amount of miles. 62 miles home, starting by climbing up to "Sutton, a Hilltop Village" (it's not kidding!) and then rolling hills through Millsbury, Upton, Grafton, Hopkinton, Southboro, Sudbury, and then into more familiar terrain through Lincoln, up and over the hill by the library to 2A, and then the usual Mill/Marrett/Mass Ave/etc. home.

Definitely need new shoes; my clothes were actually a bit too warm and yet my feet were still a bit tingly when I got home; my winter shoes are just too small in the toebox, I think, along with not being warm enough for colder days than today.
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