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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 12-14-15, 10:09 PM
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I ended up using my gloved finger as a windshield wiper every now and then...

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Old 12-17-15, 05:34 PM
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All of you Bostonites and Bostonians will know by now that this evening's weather is/was, in a word, wet. I rode home in it. Great fun, actually, my headlight throwing a pretty illuminated fountain in front of my bike. When I got home everything except the inside of my Dill Pickle handlebar bag was dripping.

Traffic? Ah, I've already used brutal and barbaric this month. I need to find another adjective that takes it to the next level. Brubaric? Barbatal? I'd use horrific or atrocious but they've been diluted from overuse.

My beard is still wet.
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Old 12-17-15, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
All of you Bostonites and Bostonians will know by now that this evening's weather is/was, in a word, wet. I rode home in it. Great fun, actually, my headlight throwing a pretty illuminated fountain in front of my bike. When I got home everything except the inside of my Dill Pickle handlebar bag was dripping.

Traffic? Ah, I've already used brutal and barbaric this month. I need to find another adjective that takes it to the next level. Brubaric? Barbatal? I'd use horrific or atrocious but they've been diluted from overuse.

My beard is still wet.
ewww ..., but well done sir! I just got back from driving to south station to pick up daughter home from VT college via bus. time to relax.
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Old 12-19-15, 06:10 PM
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Took the Trucker DeLuxe up to Lexington Center and back tonight, floating along on the 52 mm Compass tires as temperatures dropped through the 30s and the wind blew from the West, except when it decided to blow from some other quarter, flying the flags and sounding the chimes and worth a couple of gear ratios outbound. First time this month I've ridden that bike, fun to get back into the hovercraft groove. Took some pictures of dim pink clouds floating in a dark violet sky, but striking as that was to the human eye, it was challenging to the imaging chip on the phone, and depending on the color gamut on the display of the device with which you're reading this, it may just be a picture of the dark (to quote Jim Muller). Here's a picture of the wind, enough ambient light in Arlington Center to image that.


rod

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Old 12-20-15, 11:24 PM
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I had a few hours free this afternoon, and puzzled a bit over what to do with them. Sunset would occur a few minutes after 4, so I couldn't go too far afield without signing up for a ride in the dark with our somewhat seasonally deranged corps of drivers. Also, a small but enthusiastic bundle of neurons between my ears kept yelling about hills. So I took off on the Rawland for a 14-mile ride over Belmont Hill on Concord Ave, continuing on that as far as Spring Street, Lexington, then returning on Marrett Road and Massachusetts Avenue, a sort of hillier Minuteman substitute. It was a beautiful, clear day, temperatures around 40 to start.

Riding SW over to Belmont Center on Cross Street, the sun was dazzling. Fortunately, I wasn't going that way for long.


Then it was time to drop into the little ring of the Sugino triple and winch myself up Belmont Hill. I paused in the middle of the second stage--for me, the most challenging of the lot--and took a picture of the slope, and another of the back of an old manse in the adjacent Historical District.




By the time I had reached the top of the hill, I was thoroughly warmed up (on this route, it's warm up or infarct, pronto), and went zooming down the other side, hitting 29.95 mph, according to the pocket devil. Much fun as that was, I prudently took a bit of the speed off as I approached the merge with Mill Street, even though I had the right of way; sure enough, a big black pickup truck whipped onto Concord, buzzed me, and executed a picture-perfect right hook that just missed; I imagine the driver thought himself (herself? who knows, tinted windows, and it's a strange and diverse world) skillful in the execution of that maneuver... assuming they thought at all...

After that excitement, rolled through the wetlands for a bit, continuing past the Metropolitan Parkway and the big antenna farm.






After that, it was back to the hills, climbing and descending several times. During one of the climbs, a descending cyclist called out "You're ^almost there" in a tone that was, perhaps unconsciously and perhaps not, sufficiently condescending to warrant a spear thrust to the groin in any well-regulated Bronze Age society. Somebody sell that man a truck...

I paused for a moment at the Concord Avenue/Spring Street intersection, tempted to ride further, but opted to cross Route 2 and pick up Marrett Road, in the interests of preserving daylight. Enjoyed the rolling hills and the glimpses of Lexington's little-known farming neighborhood, hidden in plain sight.


Rolled down Massachusetts Avenue through East Lexington, Arlington Heights, Arlington Center, and East Arlington, and enjoyed the ride--and especially enjoyed having the benefits of the re-paving and re-striping Arlington has done this year as part of the Complete Streets initiative.




rod

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Old 12-20-15, 11:42 PM
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As I put the Rawland away, I realized I still had time for a quick ride up to Lexington Center on the Minuteman, and that I had wanted to perform an A/B test of handlebars on the Rawland (45cm Nitto Noodles) and the Trucker DeLuxe (48cm Nitto Noodles), in order to decide which to put on the LHT, swapping out its stock Maes bend handlebars. So I took the Trucker DeLuxe out with sunset imminent, and had a second pleasant little ride, with rail-trail-gentle grades and lots of pedestrians, dog-walkers, families on bikes, but few pickup trucks.

Paused to admire the newly-dedicated memorial to Bobby Mac, in the little park near the skating rink.


Peeking up at the sunset through Munroe Cemetery and its fringe of bare trees.


The moon had already risen in the still-bright sky.


A little cloud, a little color over Great Meadow.


Home as night fell.


The two rides helped me think about the choice of handlebars for the LHT, and I'll go with the 48s for that bike.

rod

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Old 12-21-15, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
As I put the Rawland away, I realized I still had time for a quick ride up to Lexington Center on the Minuteman
very nice, I'm enjoying these
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Old 12-21-15, 12:13 PM
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I made it out for a rather spirited ride Saturday morning. 'Did my 20 mile loop to Concord and back with no ambition to stretch it further. It was sunny but oh so cold. It put me up and over 4300 miles for the year. I think I'll take the next week or two off and see how January plays out. My rain bike just racked up another 800 miles since October and needs new shift cables and housings. I may even entertain a 5800 upgrade.

I just mounted a set of WTB Bronson tires on my 29er. They look like mini fat bike tires. I have had street tread tires on that bike since 2007. Silly me forgot that mountain bike tires don't need 75PSI. I couldn't quite figure out why the tire was rubbing the seat stays until I remembered.......
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Old 12-21-15, 09:23 PM
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Celebrated the longest night of the year with a Winter Solstice ride, 10 quiet miles on the Minuteman under a veiled moon, gliding along in the dark on the Rawland Nordavinden, marveling at the mild air and the peace of it all.


rod
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Old 12-21-15, 10:11 PM
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Hmph. I celebrated the longest night of the year by riding home from work. Left 45 minutes later than usual and traffic was much more serene.
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Old 12-24-15, 10:25 PM
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Managed to slip in a ride up to Lexington Center Thursday morning. The night's rain had left everything wet, with puddles in the low places, but no more was falling: a good day for mudflaps. The sky was overcast when I left, and temperatures were climbing rapidly through the 50s.


The path down to Peepers Pond was paved with acorns.


I had a flat in Arlington Heights. Here's a picture of the Rawland standing on its head while I fixed that.


rod

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Old 12-25-15, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Managed to slip in a ride up to Lexington Center Thursday morning. The night's rain had left everything wet, with puddles in the low places, but no more was falling: a good day for mudflaps. The sky was overcast when I left, and temperatures were climbing rapidly through the 50s.


The path down to Peepers Pond was paved with acorns.


I had a flat in Arlington Heights. Here's a picture of the Rawland standing on its head while I fixed that.


rod
my new (used) bike rack is almost here, gonna get in another ride if it kills me, well not really
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Old 12-25-15, 04:13 PM
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Yesterday my SO and I went off to the Nashua Bike trail. Nice day if a bit damp. A fine way to spend a holiday...

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Old 12-25-15, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by guidoStow
Yesterday my SO and I went off to the Nashua Bike trail. Nice day if a bit damp. A fine way to spend a holiday...
It was a fine way to spend the holiday. When you say Nashua Bike Trail do you mean the Nashua River Rail Trail or is there another one? The NRRT is a fine trail indeed.

We took the tandem out for 43.7 miles today, just a quick pop out to Carlisle for lunch. Of course Fern's was closed. The lights were on but nobody was home. While we sat there eating our lunch a dozen and a half bikes went by but none stopped. Um, that's 18 bikes, not 12 1/2 bikes.



On our return we took a short break at the Lowell Rd boat ramp on the Concord River. I took an artsy pic and my sweetie had to take one of me. The river and the roads were quiet today.



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Old 12-25-15, 06:39 PM
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Nashua River Rail Trail. Ayer to Nashua and back...
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Old 12-25-15, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by guidoStow
Nashua River Rail Trail. Ayer to Nashua and back...
Gotit. That's a nice run. Our longest ride ever on the tandem, 72 miles, used the NRRT plus runs almost into Nashua and loops on those great roads in Dunstable and Groton, etc. The NRRT is a real treat.
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Old 12-26-15, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller
Gotit. That's a nice run. Our longest ride ever on the tandem, 72 miles, used the NRRT plus runs almost into Nashua and loops on those great roads in Dunstable and Groton, etc. The NRRT is a real treat.
That corner of the state has lots of nice roads to explore. I do a number of nice routes that go through there. Always a treat. Have a nice holiday!
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Old 12-26-15, 07:38 PM
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I couldn't resist the opportunity to ride this morning. I managed to squeeze in a quick 21 miles before work this morning.
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Old 12-27-15, 12:15 AM
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Took the Rawland Nordavinden out for a St. Stephen's Day ride, 34 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Waltham, and Belmont, with 3439' of elevation gain and a couple of wrenning carols (which turned a few heads). I didn't see any wrens, but a bluebird crossed my path in Lincoln, as did a red-tailed hawk in Waltham. Temperatures were in the upper 40s, and it was a brilliant day, low sun and high clouds in interesting combinations.

Rode out the Minuteman to start; the Friends of the Lexington Bikeways would like a tax deductible contribution in this tax year, to clear the snow that they assure us will fall Real Soon Now. I think I'll send 'em one; I if I don't, we'll get a blizzard...


Discovered that the culvert work at Camellia Place was done enough to permit passage: the area over the culvert hasn't been paved yet, so there was a bit of mud.


Continuing on to Bedford, I was pleased to see that the refurbished Bedford Depot building is sporting its signals again.


I paused for a quick bite while a fellow cyclist did a little maintenance on his upside-down bike.


After a quick pit stop at the Bedford Library (literacy is very convenient), I rode out 225 and picked up Skelton Road, where the horses were out taking the air.


Picked up River Road, which turned into Monument Street at the Concord line. Rolled over the hills, stopping briefly to admire the view from the Hutchins Farm parking lot.


Worked my way through Concord Center and picked up 126, taking that into Lincoln, then followed the Baker Bridge Road/Sandy Pond Road/Trapelo Road sequence.


Along the way, stopped briefly at the DeCordova Museum's sculpture park, and thought good thoughts about Bishbike.


Rode past the Peace Barn, and then charged down the hill to the Cambridge Reservoir, running low, but with enough water yet to hold the sky.


Climbed up into Waltham, and turned left onto Smith Street, which became Spring Street at the Lexington line. Rather than taking that all the way to Marrett, however, I picked up Concord Avenue, riding its big hills and wetlands in the East-bound direction, not something I've done before. This culminated in climbing Belmont Hill, not quite as much of a chore in that direction, but... after a long, fast, jolly downslope...


...the final, steep stage of the descent was a caution, and involved liberal use of brakes. I managed to avoid overshooting the stopline at the Rte 60 intersection; that might have been a little too exciting. Picked up Cross Street, and pedaled home without the need to give anybody my health insurance number.

rod

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Old 12-28-15, 07:08 PM
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Took the Rawland out at sunset for what turned into a 20-mile ride, out to Depot Park on the Minuteman, and back. This was one of those odd sunsets with no color in the sky, just a grey that continued to darken until it was unambiguous night.












After that, there were anomalies of light: Lexington Center ablaze, like the Emerald City coming into view from the Yellow Brick Road...


The light that wasn't there: the Taylor Lane tree appears not to be lit. Whether I missed it because of the trail closure, or its people just didn't light it up this year, I don't know.

Paused a moment on the Route 128 overpass, marveling at the noise and glare, and happy to be over it, rather than in it.


Distant constellations on the Great Road gleam across Tophet Swamp.


If this ride were a trip to Mars, the Buddliner is the destination planet.


Turned around and rode back, enjoying the cold and dark, temperatures hovering in the high 20s. This is one of those rare rides with cold, and no ice, no road salt. That's about to change. It may be that I won't have the Rawland on the road again until April. The old GT has its studded Nokians on, and is waiting in the garage.

rod

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Old 12-28-15, 07:24 PM
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Well, shucks. I got no pics to post. Just rode my commute again. Only two noteworthy things worth noting. It was moderately cold, with a steady headwind this morning. And I rode it on a rear wheel I built up last week, and the wheel didn't asplode or anything. Ever since I'd built up the front with a Shutter Precision SV-8 generator hub I had mismatched hubs on the bike and an orphaned front 32h Mavic 501. Then a month or so ago I found a 32h Suntour Cyclone rear hub that looked similar to the SV-8. So it made sense to re-string the rear wheel, giving me a matched pair of 501's again for some future project. Like the GP4s sitting in a box in the basement. Hence the new rear wheel. And if this sounds incoherent, that's because it probably is.
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Old 12-29-15, 05:09 AM
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Those are some wonderful pictures, Rod. Thanks for sharing.

I found traillink.com - is that a comprehensive list of trails in the state? Are there any good paved bike trails on the North Shore I should consider? Just looking for an alternative to riding on the streets and to change up the scenery a bit.
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Old 12-29-15, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by thin_concrete
Those are some wonderful pictures, Rod. Thanks for sharing.

I found traillink.com - is that a comprehensive list of trails in the state? Are there any good paved bike trails on the North Shore I should consider? Just looking for an alternative to riding on the streets and to change up the scenery a bit.
Thanks! These phones mean there's always a camera present; didn't used to be that way.

Trails on the North Shore: there are some good ones, with a variety of surfaces, so tires at least 28mm wide allow you to make the most of the full network. For example, the Northern Strand Community Trail, a.k.a. "Bike to the Sea", runs from Everett to the Lynn line, through Malden, Revere, and Saugus. It's paved in Everett and Malden (and, I'm told, plowed in the winter). In Revere and Saugus, it's crushed asphalt/gravel. The roadbed continues in Lynn, and there's a ridable singletrack path along side the railroad tracks (there are a couple of bridges on a causeway that have to be walked, however). So the same path gives you two sorts of riding surface, three if you count the unofficial Lynn extension.

The dirt-surfaced Marblehead Rail Trail apparently has a pending connection to the paved Salem Rail Trail; I've ridden segments of each, but not the two together.

A little further N, and very useful as a connector, as well as being a pretty ride in its own right, is the Border to Boston Trail, which connects individual rail trail segments in a series of Essex County towns, mostly on well-maintained gravel surfaces, on a convenient SW to NE route. I've ridden the Peabody, Danvers, Wenham, and Topsfield segments. This trail brings you to some wonderful on-road riding in the North Shore, of which Route 97 is one small example that can stand for the rest.

This ride report from a couple of summers ago covers most of the routes mentioned above, and includes photos of the trail surfaces. One change since then is that the Revere segment of the Northern Strand Community Trail is complete now; I believe I was told that the gravel section of the Topsfield Linear Common has been extended, as well, but I haven't verified that.

Several other participants on this thread have stories to tell about riding on the North Shore.

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Old 12-29-15, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by thin_concrete
...
I found traillink.com - is that a comprehensive list of trails in the state? ...
That site is maintained by the Rails to Trails organization. It's pretty good, but its focus is railtrail-specific, and its entries aren't always up-to-date. An alternative list is maintained by MassBike. Finally, there's MAPC's ambitious Greater Boston Cycling and Walking Map. Note that some trails exist, some are aspirational, sometimes you don't know which is which till you show up on your bike. The Strava Heat Map can be helpful to sanity-check other sources.

rod

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Old 12-29-15, 09:13 AM
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That's great information - thanks, Rod!
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