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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 07-11-22, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
My New Bike Day post!

I've been wanting a new road bike for a while. Partly because I wanted to enter the 21st century, partly because my old Fuji is getting to big for me. (Funny how frames grow in size over the years. What else could it be? ) And mostly because I just wanted N+1. After a lot of searching, waiting, and near misses, I scored a ride that pressed all the right buttons for me: Trek Checkpoint ALR5



This is classified as a "gravel" bike. It's got 40mm tires stock and can go larger. I only had time for a quick ride to Lexington Center and back this morning, but so far I am enjoying it. Its actually surprising that a machine running such wide tires can be relatively so nimble. I am looking forward to using this for extended mixed surface trail rides, like MM + Reformatory + Bruce Freeman. I've been using my hardtail MTB for rides that include off-pavement sections, but 3 hour rides on flat bars leave me wanting less weight and more hand positions. I think this will be just the ticket!

FYI: I got the bike at the new Trek owned store that just opened 2 days ago at Fresh Pond in Cambridge. These bikes are hard to find, but I went there before their inventory showed up online.

Tom
Congrats on the new wheels! Now the next natural thing, of course, is to definitely put bigger tires on it!
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Trek store in that plaza as well as a new beer garden in the parking lot around the corner (in front of Apple Cinemas). Tempting me with their beer on my commute!
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Old 07-11-22, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy
Congrats on the new wheels! Now the next natural thing, of course, is to definitely put bigger tires on it!
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Trek store in that plaza as well as a new beer garden in the parking lot around the corner (in front of Apple Cinemas). Tempting me with their beer on my commute!
Thanks!

When I was doing my test rides on Saturday (in Danehy Park, directly behind the shopping plaza) I noticed tents and a bunch of people near the Cinema. I was wondering what was going on. Cool that its a beer garden.

As for bigger tires: the Checkpoint is probably overboard in off-road capability from what I need, but you never know. Within the Trek lineup I was debating between a Domane and the Checkpoint. I decided to go with the Checkpoint for more versatility, as well as because the Checkpoint ALR has a much nicer frame than the Domane AL.

Tom
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Old 07-11-22, 03:14 PM
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My wife joined me this morning for another break-in ride for the Checkpoint. We had a pleasant trip out to Bedford on the MM. The more leisurely pace she prefers gave me time to do some unnecessary shifting and get used to the bike. Shimano front brifters have trim?...who knew!

After 30 miles so far, I continue to be pleased with the behavior of the 40mm tires on pavement.

We are a 2 Trek family now:



Next outing I plan to get the bike into its natural element with an off-pavement ride.

Tom
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Old 07-11-22, 09:31 PM
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Took the Rambouillet out to Depot Park on Monday afternoon, a hot sprint on a warm and breezy day.


While relatively new to me, this bike is 20 years old this year. It still rides splendidly, with a sort of nimble stability that is rare enough even now. Designed at Rivendell in California, and fabricated by Toyo in Japan, it's been through various modifications over the years, and has history with both Bikes Not Bombs (where I found it) and Battle Road Bikes (where I took it for wrenching more expert than I was likely to provide). I stopped at Battle Road Bikes on the way to Bedford, and chatted with Jim Caidenhead about some on-going projects.


On my way back from Depot Park, I noted the low water levels in the various rivers, creeks, brooks, swamps, ditches, and vernal pools that are visible from the Minuteman. Here's the Shawsheen River, about as low as I've seen it over several decades. Too shallow to float a canoe, I think. Some of the smaller streams and pools appear to be simply mud, and that looks to be drying. Lots of good days for riding lately, but the occasional rainy day would be helpful.


rod

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Old 07-12-22, 01:24 PM
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Decided to take a shorter ride today and headed East into Cambridge and Watertown. A short hop on the MM brought me to Alewife and then to Fresh Pond. I had the Watertown Cambridge Greenway pretty much to myself as I headed to its southern terminus at School St. From there I doubled back to Fresh Pond and did the clockwise loop. There's always so few cyclists there that I kept thinking I was doing something improper, but none of the many walkers and joggers scowled at me. (and Cantabrigians are not shy about scowling...) After returning to Alewife I sampled the Fitchburg Cutoff, then headed home.

I took several pictures along the way, but the best was the one I snapped at Spy Pond when almost home, where many sailboats were plying the calm waters:



Still enjoying the new bike, which was very comfortable on the bumpy connections in Cambridge. It is clamoring for some dirt however, so I will have to oblige it soon.

Tom
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Old 07-12-22, 09:47 PM
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Got a call from the folks at Battle Road Bikes this afternoon: the 1987 GT Karakoram rigid MTB was ready to come home from the shop. Aside from a needed tune-up to renew the drivetrain after an intensive Winter riding season, they changed the studded Nokians out for 559-55 Rene Herse Humptulips Ridge Extralights, dual-purpose knobbies that do well on pavement and off. I got to Battle Road Bikes just before closing, talked with them about next steps (a front wheel rebuild, perhaps), and then took the GT on a brief shake-down ride before dinner. Nothing fell off when I shook it: so far, so good. I'll shake it some more, later.


rod

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Old 07-13-22, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Yow! Is that at the Assabet NWR?
yes! & here is the same spot in January



last week:
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Old 07-13-22, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
yes! & here is the same spot in January



last week:
An adventure, indeed. I think it's been a few years since I've ridden through the old Ammo Dump. Is it your impression that the trails are deteriorating? Or only that particular stretch? It was a good place to ride, depending on conditions.

rod
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Old 07-14-22, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
An adventure, indeed. I think it's been a few years since I've ridden through the old Ammo Dump. Is it your impression that the trails are deteriorating? Or only that particular stretch? It was a good place to ride, depending on conditions
all seems fine except for that wash-out
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Old 07-14-22, 09:42 PM
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At the end of a sultry Thursday afternoon, I took the old GT out for a longer, faster shakedown ride on the Minuteman. I told the bike to make haste, and it complied. The front wheel gave me no trouble that I was conscious of, but I'm told there's trouble in there somewhere. Starting to look for parts for a front wheel rebuild. In the meantime, I'm enjoying having the bike back in rideable form.


rod
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Old 07-15-22, 08:45 PM
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I rarely ride at night at this time of year. This evening was an exception: I rode out to Depot Park after dinner, a mid-July sunset ride on the Minuteman. Conditions were benign. As night fell, it became apparent that some of the trail users were still not using lights at this late date. Fortunately, my lights were bright enough to share with everyone I encountered. And nobody threw a brick at me: now we're back to "benign".

I was riding the Rivendell Rambouillet; here it is, entangled with some Queen Anne's Lace.


Sunset colors largely eluded me tonight, but here are a few. Wonder where that guy disappeared to?


Ra was hiding in Elm Brook. As good a place as any...


Turnaround at Depot Park. Their obsolete train, my obsolete bicycle. Both wonderful.


Tophet Swamp: electrification marches to the horizon. Gotta charge those e-bikes somewhere.


Return via the Night Forest.


Good evening.


rod

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Old 07-16-22, 10:11 PM
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Took the Rambouillet Saturday and rode East.


Had the usual fun, up and down hills in paved portions of the Fells Escarpment, in and out of traffic in the flats, all in warm and breezy weather. The usual fun, but a little faster than usual, for which I blame the bike. Patience was counseled.


The water danced at Fellsmere Park, at the end of a long, speedy descent, with more climbs coming.


rod
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Old 07-17-22, 09:47 PM
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Took the Rambouillet out for a quick sprint on the Minuteman up to Lexington Center and back before dinner on a sultry Sunday afternoon.


As I was getting warmed up on the outbound leg, I encountered a pedestrian strutting in the shadows as he played James Brown's "Cold Sweat" on a portable sound system. He was into it. Good song for a hot day.


I rapidly came up to full speed. It was one of those days when the safest course appeared to be to stay ahead of just about all of the other bikes. The few that passed me kept themselves sorted, but the others were often a caution. The Crane Suzu bell came in handy.


It probably served me right that I neglected to record a track, and so have no way of knowing if I was actually going as fast as I thought. It felt speedy while it lasted. Whoopee!

rod

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Old 07-18-22, 01:55 PM
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Last Friday I took a ride that included a stop at the Trek store at Fresh Pond to get a complimentary tweaking of the shifting and brakes on the new Checkpoint.

This morning I finally had the opportunity to ride it out to Concord via the MM and Reformatory Branch Trails (RBT). It was a real treat! Obviously one does not need a bona fide gravel bike to ride the RBT, much of which is essentially a dirt road. I've literally seen a little old lady (slowly) riding what looked like an English 3-speed there. But doing it on a well-tired drop-bar bike provides a different level of speed and comfort. I can see what was previously my end-point at Lowell Rd now being a waypoint on longer adventures that stitch together various paved and unpaved rail trails.

Lowell Rd:



It was humid as all get-out. I arrived home drenched in sweat but happy, and before the showers.
About 28 miles roundtrip.

Tom
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Old 07-19-22, 01:11 PM
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more & more of these electric fat bikes, incl. some folders, showing up on the trails. I'm pumping away, uphill & these peeps are just sailing along, not even pedaling! love them, envy them, not sure I'll ever get one
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Old 07-19-22, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
more & more of these electric fat bikes, incl. some folders, showing up on the trails. I'm pumping away, uphill & these peeps are just sailing along, not even pedaling! love them, envy them, not sure I'll ever get one
It feels like there's some hope for the riders using pedal-assist. The throttle jockeys, not so much. It must be a different experience. On the Minuteman, they've become unremarkable. Lots of electric scooters these days. Lots of one-wheel contraptions.

rod
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Old 07-19-22, 03:56 PM
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Spent a little time yesterday reworking the cockpit on the Ocean Air Cycles Ramber: added light mounts on the front rack, mounted two lights there and a third on the handlebar, along with a Crane Suzu bell, the bell that no one ever didn't hear.


Chose a ride on the Minuteman this afternoon, principally for the comfortable shade on a hot day.


Made it out to Depot Park, and wasn't inspired to go further.


One man's nose is another man's bicycle.


rod
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Old 07-20-22, 11:16 PM
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Took the Rambouillet out in the heat of the day for a little ride up the Mystic Valley Parkway, along the Mystic Lakes, to check on that scene and see what people were doing to keep cool. First up was the spray park at Everett Street in Arlington.


Tony's Ice Cream truck was doing a lively business in the parking lot of Shannon Beach.


Shannon Beach itself was providing the delights of immersion.


The docks at the Tufts Bacow Sailing Pavillion were in use as an impromptu swimming and sunbathing area, with a little horseplay (and the occasional swimmer) thrown in.


These folks were having a dip in the Lower Mystic Lake, at the boat slip (used mostly for kayaks, I think).


Assorted power boats sat dreaming at the dock. On a good day, they might travel down the river, through the locks, and into Boston Harbor. Today, they just bobbed gently.


Ra held court where the Aberjona River flows into the Upper Mystic Lake, with a magisterial glare. We're in his house now.


The heat and humidity were manageable, given a full water bottle and sufficient pedaling to keep the air moving for evaporative cooling. The "Moderate" ground-level ozone was less welcome.

rod

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Old 07-21-22, 10:59 PM
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Another hot one on Thursday, and I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler out for a spin on the Minuteman. The weather was somewhat unsettled, with treetops tossing, cattails dancing, and clouds massing (only to disperse again) locally, with all the real weather happening somewhere else (not a complaint).


A closer look at the bike reveals Queen Anne's Lace.


Meanwhile, the Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders appear to have discovered Boterismo.


rod

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Old 07-22-22, 03:28 PM
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Took the 1987 GT Karakoram (rigid MTB, red bike) out around noon, on yet another hot and sunny day. First stop was Battle Road Bikes, where I discussed with Jim Cadenhead the situation with the GT's front wheel. After covering the ground pretty thoroughly, we agreed on specs for a new wheel, and Jim launched a work order to that effect.


After that, I took the GT off for a spin on the Minuteman, hunting shade on a sultry day and finding it, reminding myself why I'm still riding that old bike 35 years later.


Belatedly resumed wearing my Summer riding shoes. Whew! What was I thinking?


rod

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Old 07-23-22, 10:29 PM
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Took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler and rode East.


Temperatures were in the mid-90s, with somewhat lower relative humidity than we'd seen recently. I hydrated assiduously. The streets were relatively empty, so it was possible to make good time. Climbing and descending presented no special difficulties, and evaporative cooling did its job: sweat worked! A lean red fox crossed Fellsway East as I climbed it. After that, I cooled off with the long descent, and passed Fellsmere Lake, where Earth, Water, Fire, and Air were on display, as was a fat duck standing in surprisingly shallow water.


The Sun's glare was a near-constant companion, shade was at a premium.


The last few days' riding in the heat have been interesting. I think I'll give it a rest on Sunday, but it seems to me there will be more call for riding in these conditions as the future shows us its stuff.

rod

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Old 07-25-22, 06:29 PM
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Took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler out for a ride in the late afternoon, dodging between downpours.


Rambling through the jungle.


Boy howdy! It's the Green Flash!


rod
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Old 07-26-22, 01:49 PM
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I took advantage of the great weather today to undertake a ride I have had in mind for awhile: Arlington to the Bruce Freeman via the MM, Bedford Depot, the Reformatory Branch Trail, and local streets. I rode to the end of the RBT at Lowell Rd, as usual. Then I used Lowell Rd, Barrett's Mill Rd and Strawberry Hill Rd to make my way over to Great Road (Rt 119) Acton and the BFRT access point at Brook St. I've driven Strawberry Hill Rd on a number of occasions, but this was my first time traversing it on a bike. It's a lot of fun! A few moderately challenging climbs and a couple fast twisty descents. You don't get that on the MM!

The BFRT Brook St information kiosk:



I rode East on the BFRT to the current endpoint near Wetherbee St. The bridge over Rt 2 is not open yet:



At that point I was showing 20 plus a smidge miles for the day, so I decided that was a good time to head back.

I took a break at a favorite spot on the RBT overlooking Great Meadows:



When I got home I was at 40 miles (plus 2 smidges). That's the longest I have ridden in some time. I am hoping to repeat this with a longer run on the BFRT and make a half-century out of it.

All-in-all a good day. Now if only the RBT connected to the BFRT in West Concord and the MCRT went all the way from Cambridge to western MA. We can dream...

Tom

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Old 07-26-22, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951

Boy howdy! It's the Green Flash!


rod
I think that was Wout Van Aert clinching the Green jersey...
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Old 07-27-22, 03:28 PM
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Wednesday on the Rambouillet, and I had a quick spin up to Lexington Center and back by way of the Minuteman. Followed the ONE PHOTO discipline today: Peepers Pond is rumored to be the site of a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's creepy tale, "The Colour out of Space". As what little water remaining in the pond disappears, the ever-more-concentrated duckweed and whatever unsavory algae might be involved replicate the Colour a little more accurately every day. Per Lovecraft, "The colour, which resembled some of the bands in the meteor’s strange spectrum, was almost impossible to describe; and it was only by analogy that they called it colour at all." What the swans make of it, I couldn't say. I didn't tary.


rod

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