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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 04-10-21, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
So, Iíve been avoiding this post, because Iím doing OK.

Pills and Ills update:
...
They finally let me get back on the bicycle in March, and Iíve been riding ever since, even to my every two fortnight clinical appointments. (Apparently theyíve never had anyone ride to and from Oncology before.)

So, while Iím still out and about, expect fewer updates. Sorry.

-mr. bill
Yikes! These bodies are not entirely practical. Best of luck with this. Glad you can still ride.

rod
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Old 04-10-21, 10:04 PM
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After voting in the Arlington town elections, I lubed the Surly Trucker DeLuxe, put on warm weather gear, and rode East.


I enjoyed the usual mix of tactical urban riding in the densely-populated bits, and hill climbs and descents courtesy of the Fells Escarpment, rolling through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham. Kept a fast-for-me pace, and collided with no one. After enough of that to satisfy my legs and lungs, and with the certain knowledge that the day, while long, was not inexhaustible, I turned around and rode West.


Took few photos, but did take this one near the end of the ride, crossing the Mystic from West Medford back to East Arlington, as the sun was setting.


rod
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Old 04-11-21, 05:17 PM
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Returned to the Rawland Nordavinden, which was in need of tinkering to render it roadworthy. Did the necessary tube swapping, rim strip adjusting, and lubricant anointing, and took it out on the Minuteman for a shakedown cruise.


I'm pleased to report that the tinkering seems to have worked. Sometime during the ride I had the thought that I generally do have on coming back to a bike after a period away, "God! I love this bike!" In this case, the light tubeset, low trail geometry, and 32mm Grand Bois Cypres Extra Leger tires worked their customary magic, and I kept a good pace.

The Minuteman was rife with signs of Spring: robins hopping, peepers peeping in Peepers Pond, and the beautiful early foliage of the willow trees newly splendid. Things you just don't see or hear if you stay indoors on an April afternoon.


rod

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Old 04-13-21, 11:10 PM
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Took the newly revivified Rawland Nordavinden out on the Minuteman Tuesday for a ride before dinner.


I cranked along contentedly, enjoying the fine Spring weather. The crowds were moderate and well behaved. I was moderately well behaved, myself.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders are at it again. For some reason I thought of this one as "Athena and her poodle".


rod

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Old 04-14-21, 02:19 PM
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I took today off work and we took the tandem out to the BFRT (pronounced "brft" I suppose, a.k.a. Bruce Freeman Rail Trail). Started at Heart Pond, went up to Chelmsford, back south to the end just north ofRt 2, then back to the car. A lovely day!

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Old 04-14-21, 04:55 PM
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Took the Rawland out on the Minuteman for a quick spin up to Lexington Center and back, pushed along by a tailwind outbound and smacked by a headwind inbound, but made good time nonetheless. There was company on the ride, but never too much company.


rod
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Old 04-16-21, 04:23 PM
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Thursday afternoon, with a brooding sky, somewhat drizzly conditions on the ground, temperatures in the low 50s, and a weather radar plot that made things out to be worse than they seemed, I took the Rawland Nordavinden out on the Minuteman, following the simple route plan: ride to Depot Park unless the drizzle becomes rain, in which case, turn around and ride home. That worked, I got to Depot Park, and the rain picked up about 250 yards after I turned around.

Broadway, East Arlington: this may look like a photo of the familiar Greek Revival house, but it's actually a photo of the clouds, which dominated the ride.


Many of the deciduous trees and shrubs were blooming along the Minuteman, often in pastel shades. This is a less gaudy seasonal palette than the much-celebrated Fall foliage, but more to my taste, more about recent birth than eventual death. Besides, where else would we get our tree pollen allergies?






The semi-mysterious sous vide restaurant Revolution Hall, steps from the Minuteman, in Lexington. To be investigated after the Second Shot takes effect.


Turnaround at the Buddliner, the Rawland happy to be ridden again after a season off.


Skunk cabbage! The genuine proof of Swamp Yankee Spring! At this point, the rain suggested that I move along. That's ok, more rain will get us more skunk cabbage.


The genteel neighborhood at Taylor Lane, Lexington, has a number of subtle attractions: a pair of placid horses, and a splendidly illuminated tree during the dark nights of Winter, to name two. Add to that what looks to be the beginnings of a hot rod project, in a color calculated to attract speeding tickets. A story goes with it, I'm sure.


More deciduous trees, with a stand-out magnolia. When I moved up here from South Georgia to go to school, a million years ago, I was pleasantly surprised that magnolias did so well in the somewhat daunting climate.


Peepers Pond, with raindrops, a swan, and a low-flying blackbird.


Of course, the world changed just a bit after this ride, with the odd Spring snow. May it do no harm.

rod

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Old 04-17-21, 10:17 PM
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Well, it went like this: Friday's rain and SNOW activated a particularly jumpy bundle of synapses in my brain, an atavistic old neural structure that has its own peculiar logic, maybe for dealing with Ice Age threats. So, Saturday, I lubed the 1987 GT Karakoram rigid mtb, still wearing its studded Nokian winter shoes, and rode East.


I enjoyed the customary pleasures of this route, playing in traffic, cranking up big old hills courtesy of the Fells Escarpment, and whizzing down the other side of said hills, all the while emitting carbide stud bare pavement crackle sounds while serenely safe from the black ice that of course wasn't there. Nice ride, even so, but I am now resolved to perform the seasonal tire swap on that bike that I had thought of doing on Friday, during the unremarkable rainy day that had been forecast, before the SNOW and the mania struck.

After dodging enough trucks and surfing enough hills, I rode West, and ultimately, rode home, where I put the GT in the garage and thanked it for its ice bike service for this (extended) season.


rod
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Old 04-19-21, 11:16 PM
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Thus motivated by the Winter day that wasn't, I spent Sunday performing about 5/6 of the reconfiguration work to convert my 1987 GT from its icebike persona (studded Nokians, fenders) into something closer to its original rigid-frame mtb persona, but with a 2021 twist. Off came the studded 47-559 Nokian W240s, off came the elderly Planet Bike fenders (no room!), and on went a pair of Rene Herse 26" x 2.3" Humptulips Ridge Extralights (HTRs to their friends), the dual-purpose knobby sibling of the Compass Rat Trap Pass all-road tires I've been running on the Surly Trucker DeLuxe. I've been wanting to try a pair of the Herse knobbies for a while; the claimed combination of no loss of speed and agility on paved roads, knobby grip on dirt and other loose surfaces, and the supple casings to which Jan Heine has addicted so many of us are all very attractive propositions, to say nothing of the "noise cancellation". Anyhow, the old GT will be my test platform for these tires at least until real Winter weather returns. I finished the last bits of the conversion Monday morning, and took the reconfigured bike out for a trial run in the early afternoon.


For the first ride, I pumped the tires to 30/35 PSI, the same as I use on the Rat Trap Pass tires, and headed out on a variation of the North Bridge loop that included the Reformatory Branch on the return leg. This provided a mix of surfaces, even a bit of mud, as well as pavement in various conditions and enough climbing and descending to round out the picture. I have ridden that same route many times, at one time or another on every bicycle and on most pairs of tires I've owned in the last ten years, and have a pretty good model of it in my brain and in my legs, an intuitive sense of inclines, surface conditions, and pace, for each section of the route, and for the whole ensemble. You could say it's "calibrated". And it was Patriots Day, so a route that passed through Lexington and Concord was auspicious.

The ride began as rides West often do for me, with a shot out the Minuteman to Depot Park. Spring had definitely sprung, the anomalous snow notwithstanding, and even on a Monday afternoon there were lots of trail users of all sorts, conditions, and competencies. This gave me lots of opportunities to pass slower riders, and to maneuver to avoid the reckless ones.


Having fairly sprinted out to Depot Park, I turned on my running lights and hopped onto Railroad Ave., Bedford, climbed up to Mudge Way through the Bedford Town complex, and turned onto Route 225, playing in some traffic along the way. Those light poles are going to make it all the way to the ground some day. Can you say "infrastructure"?


The Concord River had an apron full of clouds when I crossed it the first time. I turned off Rte 225 onto Skelton Road.


Skelton Road, Carlisle, inaugurated the happy section of this route characterized by rolling hills and genteel farms, on River Road, Carlisle, and Monument Street, Concord.


I paused at the top of the tallest hill to admire the Hutchins Farm fields, stretching down towards the river.


A swift descent followed, and I crossed the Concord River for the second time. I paid my respects to North Bridge. Once upon a time...


I turned onto the Concord section of Reformatory Branch, still dirt for now. I rode across the first of two muddy sections that I think of as the First Sucking Mire and the Second Sucking Mire. Neither were actually sucking that day, but both were muddy. I came to an historical marker at the path towards Meriam's Corner, which runs, most appropriately, through a cemetery. Once upon a time...


This photo of the multipath segment of the Reformatory Branch will have to stand in for its gamut of surfaces, ranging from sandy-dusty to muddy-wet. By now, I was too busy enjoying the ride to stop to photograph the ride I was enjoying, and was pleased to be keeping a quick and confident pace through it all.


I paused on the border of the Great Meadows NWR for a moment, before riding through the Second Sucking Mire, up and over Rte 62, and on through the sandy bits of the Reformatory Branch in Bedford, still dirt today, but under sentence of Paving before too long. This took me back to Railroad Ave., back to Depot Park, and on to a swift roll home on the Minuteman.


So, what can I say about these tires after one 30-mile ride? They're fast and agile on pavement, grip confidently on a variety of dirt conditions, and gave me one of the most comfortable rides of that length I've ever had on the old GT (a bike for which comfort is not its strong suit). The ride is reminiscent of the cushy Rat Trap Pass ride, but something's different about it; I'm tempted to say it's more forceful, more direct in some way that I don't really understand yet. It's as if there's less delay when accelerating, turning, etc. There's definitely no knobby squirm, at least that I was able to detect. Off pavement, they handle as well or better than anything I've ever ridden, but there's lots more to challenge them with than the relatively well-behaved Reformatory Branch surfaces. I look forward to riding Estabrook Road, Old Morse Road, and perhaps some of the abandoned carriage roads in Groton or Class IV roads in Vermont, to see how they compare with prior experiences. I'm also speculating as to whether I can swap them in for my Rat Trap Pass tires on the Surly: would they fit under those fenders? Lots of things remain to be seen, but I think these tires have, at the very least, breathed new life into an old mountain bike, and injected a welcome jolt of novelty into an old rider.

A note on the noise cancellation feature. It's real enough, but has its limits: these knobbies are quiet on pavement, but not silent. Rapid acceleration produces a keening that rises in both pitch and volume; in a passing situation on the bike path, this could be regarded as a safety feature. And don't expect silence in a 25 mph descent, the tires will sing with joy.

rod

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Old 04-20-21, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Thus motivated by the Winter day that wasn't, I spent Sunday performing about 5/6 of the reconfiguration work to convert my 1987 GT from its icebike persona (studded Nokians, fenders) into something closer to its original mtb persona, but with a 2021 twist. Off came the studded 47-559 Nokian W240s, off came the elderly Planet Bike fenders (no room!), and on went a pair of Rene Herse 26"x2.3" Humtulips Ridge Extralights, the dual-purpose knobby sibling of the Compass Rat Trap Pass all-road tires I've been running on the Surly Trucker DeLuxe. I've been wanting to try a pair of the Herse knobbies for a while; the claimed combination of no loss of speed and agility on paved roads, knobby grip on dirt and other loose surfaces, and the supple casing that Jan Heine has addicted so many of us to are all very attractive propositions, to say nothing of the "noise cancellation". Anyhow, the old GT will be my test platform for these tires at least until real Winter weather returns. I finished the last bits of the conversion Monday morning, and took the reconfigured bike out for a trial run in the early afternoon.


For the first ride, I pumped the tires to 30/35 PSI, the same as I use on the Rat Trap Pass tires, and headed out on a variation of the North Bridge loop that included the Reformatory Branch on the return leg. This provided a mix of surfaces, even a bit of mud, as well as pavement in various conditions and enough climbing and descending to round out the picture. And it was Patriots Day, so a route that passed through Lexington and Concord was auspicious.


UNDER CONSTRUCTION
I knew it! Yesterday I was on my Evergreen with a white, grey and green striped jersey with my white helmet and black face condom riding up Monument st. I saw you coming the opposite way. Although I was on my gravel bike I didnít stray from the pavement all 45 miles. With ominous clouds and a chance of rain I didnít want to get my Redsky dirty. After a recent flat on my Allroads rain bike I was waiting for a set of tubeless valve stems to arrive. After yesterdayís ride I mounted a fresh set of 32mm tubeless GravelKings along with the valve stems.. As of this morning they havenít gone flat so I may have been successful. Time will tell.
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Old 04-20-21, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
I knew it! Yesterday I was on my Evergreen with a white, grey and green striped jersey with my white helmet and black face condom riding up Monument st. I saw you coming the opposite way. Although I was on my gravel bike I didnít stray from the pavement all 45 miles. With ominous clouds and a chance of rain I didnít want to get my Redsky dirty. After a recent flat on my Allroads rain bike I was waiting for a set of tubeless valve stems to arrive. After yesterdayís ride I mounted a fresh set of 32mm tubeless GravelKings along with the valve stems.. As of this morning they havenít gone flat so I may have been successful. Time will tell.
I was hoping that was you! The Monument Street rollers make me smile. It seems to me our paths have crossed there before.

rod
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Old 04-20-21, 03:35 PM
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Early this morning I loaded my Evergreen into my Fit and headed to the Northern Rail Trail just north of Concord NH for the first time. I rode 30 miles out and 30 back on a crushed stone trail. It was kinda sorta almost like the CCRT except nothing like it. It too is a rail trail except it is crushed stone and has no amenities along the way,,,at all. Bring plenty of snacks and water and don’t worry too much about a miles long desperate search before finding a porta potty. Having a perfectly crafted gravel bike with plush 40mm tires ensured I skimmed along at a roadworthy pace. After 4 hours of gravel grinding without once turning on a blinking light I must have crossed paths with about a dozen other folks, I was wearing my blue Rapha buff, everyone was wiithout masks and all gave me the same dirty look I got when I rode without a face covering around here.




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Old 04-20-21, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
Early this morning I loaded my Evergreen into my Fit and headed to the Northern Rail Trail just north of Concord NH for the first time.
Nice. I had the pleasure of riding it with Pastor Bob and Prowler, two fine gentlemen who hang out of the C&V forum, a few years ago. I rode my trusty UO8 which handled the gravel quite well.
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Old 04-20-21, 09:46 PM
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Took the GT and its new shoes (Rene Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralights) out for a quick sprint to Lexington Center before dinner, and found that, despite the throngs, I put in the best average speed for the ride since sometime in September. So I guess yesterday wasn't a fluke.


New shoes, hurrah!


rod
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Old 04-20-21, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
Early this morning I loaded my Evergreen into my Fit and headed to the Northern Rail Trail just north of Concord NH for the first time. I rode 30 miles out and 30 back on a crushed stone trail. It was kinda sorta almost like the CCRT except nothing like it. It too is a rail trail except it is crushed stone and has no amenities along the way,,,at all. Bring plenty of snacks and water and donít worry too much about a miles long desperate search before finding a porta potty. Having a perfectly crafted gravel bike with plush 40mm tires ensured I skimmed along at a roadworthy pace. After 4 hours of gravel grinding without once turning on a blinking light I must have crossed paths with about a dozen other folks, I was wearing my blue Rapha buff, everyone was wiithout masks and all gave me the same dirty look I got when I rode without a face covering around here.



That looks like a good ride. Perhaps time to see if one of my kids would like to explore it with me, once everybody finishes getting shot up.

rod
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Old 04-21-21, 05:38 AM
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This morning I headed out on my Honey Allroads just as the sun began to chase away the darkness. It was my first ride after having mounted tubeless tires on my own. Instead of 70 PSI as I ran on the tubed GravelKings I went 60 PSI with the tubeless versions. It felt softer but not diametrically different than what I was used to. Perhaps I’ll drop another 5 PSI. Anyhow despite numb red fingers from being under gloved it was a good ride.
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Old 04-21-21, 07:16 AM
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Couldn’t resist this shot. BLUEskies and BLUEbikes.



(Bonus points to whoever finds 11 bikes in this picture.)

p.s. That’s the Civil War Memorial in Arlington Center, from 1886. A year later, Arlington changed its name to, uh, Arlington.

-mr. bill

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Old 04-21-21, 09:02 AM
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BTW, yesterday was so gorgeous that I didn't even signal with the finger adjacent to the index finger at mr. mobile cutting the corner. (And yes, someone on a bike pulled up next to me before we headed out from the stop sign.)


-mr. bill


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Old 04-21-21, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
Couldnít resist this shot. BLUEskies and BLUEbikes.



(Bonus points to whoever finds 11 bikes in this picture.)

p.s. Thatís the Civil War Memorial in Arlington Center, from 1886. A year later, Arlington changed its name to, uh, Arlington.

-mr. bill
Named for the cemetery, I believe. We've been trying to change it back ever since, but it pleases the State to hold us to it.

rod
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Old 04-21-21, 04:28 PM
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Took the Surly Trucker DeLuxe, shod with Compass Rat Trap Pass Extralights, and scrambled up to Lexington Center and back at noon. This was a crank-hard-stop-only-to-take-one-picture kind of ride, mostly to ride before the weather (and the second vaccine inoculation) hit this afternoon, but also to dispel the nagging thought that perhaps the knobby Rene Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralights were in fact rolling faster on pavement than the file tread Rat Traps. I managed to get a slightly faster time on the Rats than I had gotten yesterday on the Humps, so the order of the universe is preserved, but those Humps are fast!


rod
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Old 04-22-21, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
Couldn’t resist this shot. BLUEskies and BLUEbikes.



(Bonus points to whoever finds 11 bikes in this picture.)

p.s. That’s the Civil War Memorial in Arlington Center, from 1886. A year later, Arlington changed its name to, uh, Arlington.

-mr. bill


Is there a trick?



Spoiler
 
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Old 04-22-21, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by drewguy
Is there a trick?



Spoiler
 



No trick. I didn't notice the person on the bike when I took the shot.

On the p.s. Yes, Arlington was renamed from West Cambridge to Arlington in honor of Arlington National Cemetery. The monument was erected before the name change was official.

p.p.s. Arlington National Cemetery is named because it is on the estate of Marry Ann Curtis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. (Arlington House is on this estate.)

p.p.p.s. There are some Arlingtons named after "Arlington House", Robert E. Lee's house in present day Arlington County, Virginia. (And yes, Arlington County, Virginia is named after Robert E. Lee's house too.)

p.p.p.p.s. This ambiguity of WTF may someday lead to the renaming of Arlington National Cemetery, and yet another renaming of Arlington, MA. (I'll probably be dead by then.)

-mr. bill

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Old 04-22-21, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill
No trick. I didn't notice the person on the bike when I took the shot.

On the p.s. Yes, Arlington was renamed from West Cambridge to Arlington in honor of Arlington National Cemetery. The monument was erected before the name change was official.

p.p.s. Arlington National Cemetery is named because it is located in Arlington County, VA.

p.p.p.s. There are some Arlingtons named after "Arlington House", Robert E. Lee's house in Arlington County, Virginia. (And yes, Arlington County, Virginia is named after Robert E. Lee's house too.)

p.p.p.p.s. This ambiguity of WTF may someday lead to the renaming of Arlington National Cemetery, and yet another renaming of Arlington, MA. (I'll be dead by then.)

-mr. bill
Huh. I always thought of it as Menotomy!
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Old 04-24-21, 10:06 PM
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What a beautiful day for a ride! I took the 1987 GT Karakoram with the newly-installed Rene Herse Humpstulips Ridge Extralight dual-purpose knobbies and rode East.


This was another in a series of informal tests of this configuration on well-known routes. Today's route was a familiar mix of playing in traffic and surfing hills, in East Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham. The old bike with the new tires acquitted itself well, delivering a high (for me) average speed and some very brisk (for me) top speeds, with good agility, stability, comfort, and resilience on rough pavement. The bike felt very controllable, with no knobby squirm, and had plenty of traction when I wanted it, accelerating with no perceived delay. I found myself eyeing the trailheads and gates of fire roads in the Fells Reservation as I passed them, but I left that dirt riding for another day.

Eventually it was time to turn the bike around, pedal back to Arlington and finish the ride up. After I put the bike away in the garage, I discovered that the raccoons were just leaving.


rod

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Old 04-26-21, 10:52 PM
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Found the time on a busy day and took the air on the Minuteman, riding the Rawland Nordavinden for a change: low-trail, sport-touring, lively-framed fun.


Did I say air? "Wind" would have been more to the point: a contentious headwind outbound, and an agreeable tailwind inbound, with windspeeds getting up into the 20s.


For all that, it was a beautiful Spring day, hard to fault it.


I rode home, ate dinner, then participated in Arlington Town Meeting, which was also windy.

rod

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