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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 08-17-22, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
most notably Dudley Road in Bedford and Billerica, notorious for crocodilian pavement and spooks.
"the spirits of Devil-worshipping nuns"?? eek!
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Old 08-18-22, 10:33 PM
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Thursday evening I took the OAC Rambler for an after dinner sprint on the Minuteman, chasing my headlights from East Arlington to Lexington Center and back again.


It was a swift and quiet ride.




rod
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Old 08-19-22, 09:11 PM
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Hot Friday, took the Rambouillet out for 14 miles on the Minuteman before dinner.


It was one of those afternoons when shade mattered, and I made the most of what was provided by friendly trees.


The ride, a pleasure in itself, convinced me to take the bike in to Battle Road Bikes, for a little attention to the front derailleur and the associated shifter.

rod
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Old 08-20-22, 10:19 PM
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Took a ride Saturday with my son John on one of the variants of the North Bridge loop, this one with Rt 225, Skelton Road, River Road, and Monument Street outbound, and the Reformatory Branch on the return, with the Minuteman and Railroad Avenue coming and going. 35 miles in the heat of the day, with a focused, determined pace. John rode his Surly Cross Check, I rode my Ocean Air Cycles Rambler.




rod

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Old 08-22-22, 04:28 PM
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Not a ride report, exactly. The Rivendell Rambouillet had developed a balky front derailleur/front shifter, not at all what I expect of those nice old Suntour Power Ratchets. I took advantage of a pause in the rain to take it in to Battle Road Bikes. While I was taking the bike down from the rack, a guy walked up to me in the parking lot and sang its praises, and those of Rivendells in general. I returned the favor by singing the praises of Battle Road Bikes, which interested him because he was a Harris Cyclery client who hadn't found a new shop yet.

I rolled the bike into the shop. Jim did a little troubleshooting, and proceeded to fix the problem with a strategically applied length of cable housing. Bravo! Thanks, Jim!

Here's a picture of the bike on a sunny day. Makes me smile.


rod

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Old 08-23-22, 09:57 PM
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I took the Rambouillet out for a quick midday sprint on the Minuteman, timed to avoid the afternoon showers and get me back home before a 2pm appointment. It also gave me the opportunity to test Jim's fix to the balky front derailleur; that worked very nicely. Those with sharp eyes can see the little run of cable housing that was used. Good trick.


The Rambouillet was good, speedy fun, as it generally is.


Peepers Pond: algae and mudflats and swans, oh my!


We have the technology: Lexington deploys a trail-sized, self-propelled leaf blower.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders seem to have a chess match going, or its Neolithic equivalent.


The problem with white bar tape:


rod
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Old 08-24-22, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
We have the technology: Lexington deploys a trail-sized, self-propelled leaf blower.
wow this is amazing! this trail is so great. wondering if they stopped when they reached the Bedford town line ...
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Old 08-24-22, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
wow this is amazing! this trail is so great. wondering if they stopped when they reached the Bedford town line ...
I expect so. They definitely turned around at the Arlington line.

rod
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Old 08-26-22, 10:07 PM
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Thursday was a hot one, and I managed to whip myself out the door on the Rambouillet a few minutes past noon for a 47-mile ride in a great, swooping trajectory out the Minuteman, onward on the Reformatory Branch, into Concord Center to pick up Walden Street, on past Route 2, Walden Pond, and down Route 126 to Sherman's Bridge Road, over the Sudbury River on Sherman's Bridge itself and onto Water Row, crossing Route 27 and picking up River Road and Old County Road (how many of each do we have in this commonwealth, do you reckon?), pedaling a few blocks on Route 20 and picking up Landham Road, following that across Walsh Brook to Pelham Island Road, wending my way on that past Heard Pond and across the Sudbury River to Wayland Center and the Mass Central Rail Trail, riding the MCRT through Wayland and Weston, then taking Church Street N to Route 117, taking that a long block E to Lexington Street, following that N past the Cambridge School of Weston and across the Waltham line onto West Street, picking up Winter Street and riding along the banks of the Cambridge Reservoir, turning onto Old County Road (the second of this ride) and then turning again onto Trapelo Road to cross the Reservoir, climbing the hill to Waltham, crossing the highway, then turning left and climbing that hill on Smith Street and Spring Street to Lexington, crossing that highway, then picking up Marrett Road and rolling down a long hill to Mass. Ave., taking Maple Street to the Minuteman, and so home. This route crosses bits of Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, Lincoln, Wayland, Sudbury, Weston, and Waltham, and along the way traverses sections of the Minuteman, the Reformatory Branch, and the MCRT, along with numerous roads. I found that I didn't need to consult maps, it's all internalized from prior trips. I was following scent trails, as it were. Got home in time for supper.

Reformatory Branch: the swamp alongside the trail is suffering the consequences of prolonged drought. Algal blooms are looking like Diet Mountain Dew. What can live in that? (answer: software engineers)


Concord Center: stopped to see the Lamp Lady at her shop on Walden Street. As is often the case, she's wearing a new lampshade. She sends her regards.


Walden Pond: this beautiful park sometimes seems mostly about crowd control these days. This little stairway seems to me to capture that aspect of the place. Come back, Thoreau!


Sherman's Bridge Road, crossing the Sudbury River. You can get a pretty good idea of the day's weather by peering up the Sudbury River from this bridge.


While standing on the bridge, I watched a great blue heron and a cormorant fishing, each in their own distinctive styles.


Water Row: here be bull frogs. I could hear them, but not see them. I think they were complaining about low water.


Heard Pond, as seen from Pelham Island Road. Plenty of water here, but not so much as to instantiate Pelham Island. I made a mental note to come back when the Sudbury River is in flood.


Pelham Island Road: lots of faces emerge from the trunk this uncanny tree, if you give it a minute.


Mass Central Rail Trail, Weston. It took too many years for this trail to be built. That's one way the rail trail story goes, sometimes. You don't have to look far to see current examples. Worth the wait.


Winter Street, on the banks of the Cambridge Reservoir. Thirsty?


rod

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Old 08-26-22, 10:48 PM
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The dunderheads were coming Friday, but before they got here, I took the OAC Rambler out on the Minuteman in the heat to stretch my legs. The dunderheads chased me back home, I put the bike away, and the weather broke.

Outbound:


Inbound:


rod
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Old 08-27-22, 10:38 PM
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Saturday was not so hot, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I took the Rambouillet and rode East in the 70░ weather, for the familiar round of hill and traffic drills, paying my respects to the Kurukulla Center, as always.


One of the weathermen had threatened us with "pop-up showers". There was a moment on the Medford-Malden line when I thought he might be about to deliver, but... uh-uh.


A little traffic of the multi-modal kind, encountered in Melrose. Also had a close encounter with one of the rented MBTA shuttle buses (big fella), but no pictures of that.


This jet d'eau at Malden's Fellsmere park will have to serve to represent the hills, occurring as it does at the bottom of the long descent down Fellsway East. Plenty of other climbs and descents, but I found myself too busy pedaling to photograph them.


Perhaps it was the break in the weather, but in general, the drivers seemed relatively calm today. Not a complaint.


rod
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Old 08-28-22, 05:41 AM
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got a surprise day off from obligations. checked the bike & found a broken spoke at the nipple. lucky for me Ray & Sons did all the work for not much $ & time. got out & about in the nearby forest

was reassuring to make it up my nemesis hill, get in some push-ups at the top, then enjoy the quick ride back down

all the water crossings were bone dry, even the deep one
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Old 08-28-22, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
got a surprise day off from obligations. checked the bike & found a broken spoke at the nipple. lucky for me Ray & Sons did all the work for not much $ & time. got out & about in the nearby forest
...
Much to be said for competent, responsive bike mechanics!

rod
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Old 08-28-22, 01:00 PM
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Haven't posted in a while. Been enjoying the new bike, but also spent a week in Europe. Managed not to get Covid despite many hours confined in airplanes.

This morning I decided to venture beyond the end of the completed Watertown Cambridge Greenway. I took the Greenway spur that sneaks behind Best Buy and crossed Arsenal St to reach Arsenal Park. Crossing the park brought me to Greenough Blvd and the Dudley White Bike Path. I took the shortest route across the park, which turned out to include a steep decline that was basically a washout of loose stone. Was squirrelly even on 40mm tires.

A nice view of the Charles presented itself right away:



I ended up cycling a loop of the Charles from North Beacon St to the Arsenal St bridge and back. This presents a lot of opportunities to ride further East or West along the Charles starting from the Minuteman, almost entirely on protected paths (one exception being using the sidewalk along Alewife Brook Parkway to cross the railroad tracks by the Fresh Pond Mall)

Returning though Arsenal Park I avoided the washout by taking Talcott Ave for a stretch before cutting over to the park entrance and then back across Arsenal St and the Greenway.

On the return trip I decided to enjoy a lap of Fresh Pond. I've mentioned before that I see very few bikes on that loop, and always wonder if I should be there. Some new signs make things clear:



There were lots of dogs. Many cases where the dog going my way and the dog coming the other way just had to have a sniff in the middle of the path while their owners waited to the side. So, I just waited too!

For completeness, I ride over to Somerville via the Cambridge Linear Park and the Somerville Community Path. Here's the current status at Lowell St, where the new section of the Community Path will begin:



The guardrail on the left is new since the last time I was there. One thing that may not be obvious from the picture is that the pavement on the new section of trail is about 2 inches lower than that in the foreground, so there will be a new layer added before it is done and opened.

One last thing to share today: at one point in our vacation we were in the Black Forest of Germany. I spotted this wooden bike in a gift shop that featured local craft work:



Do you think the "tubing" is butted?

Tom

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Old 08-29-22, 09:43 PM
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Summer returned, and I took the Ebisu All Purpose Bicycle out for a quick sprint on the Minuteman before dinner. The specific subset of "all purpose" that was relevant today included hunting shade, dodging the clueless, and generating my own wind to encourage evaporative cooling, as well as non-specific cardiovascular refreshment.


Broadly speaking, this was WTF? Day on the Minuteman. Early warning of this observance was provided by the strangely subtle barriers marking off a surprisingly low-visibility sidewalk reconstruction, obscuring half the intersection at Water Street. I saw several cyclists startle as they suddenly took in what they were seeing (and approaching). I believe I uttered the incantation myself. The young blind woman, a Minuteman regular, was able to get through the obstacle course in a workman-like manner.


Other occasions for observing WTF? Day were mostly furnished by other trail users, particularly na´ve cyclists riding two abreast who were unclear about what that meant for lane use. The bell was helpful.

rod

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Old 08-30-22, 01:33 PM
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This morning I decided to explore the Reformatory Branch Trail (RBT) west of the Sudbury River. This is something I've been wanting to do for awhile. As my mount for the day, I chose my hardtail MTB. It hasn't been getting much attention since I got the Checkpoint, and I wanted to be prepared for whatever the surface conditions might be.

I made my way out to Bedford Depot via the MM, navigating the obstacle course at Water St mentioned above. Picked up the familiar section of the RBT at the Depot. Near Lavender Lane in Bedford I saw some signs like this one:



It seems the Bedford Select Board is trying to head off another defeat when the MM extension comes up for a repeat vote this fall. Here's a broader view showing the trees marked:



Once I got out to Lowell Rd, I used Keyes Rd to make my way to Main St and then took a right on Nashawtuc Rd. I used a map put out by the Concord Land Conservation Trust to navigate. Here's a mark-up showing the route I took:


(the original map can be found here: https://concordland.org/wp-content/u...wtuc-final.pdf)

The section between the points I have marked "A" and "B" is the roadbed of the Reformatory Branch. Most of it was surprising smooth. Here's the view looking east from "A":



Not bad! (It looked much rougher, maybe impassable, in the other direction from "A")

Getting closer to "B" the trail got lumpier, with big exposed roots making me glad I was rolling on 2" tires.

Here's the view looking east at "B", which is where I presume the bridge over the Sudbury used to be:



It was a fun bit of exploration - something I would do again. As you can see from the map there are additional trails that go out to Egg Rock and Cameron Woods.

About 33 miles.

Tom

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Old 08-30-22, 02:23 PM
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Here's a guide to the Reformatory Branch - I think your surmise about the bridge is correct. https://bedforddepot.org/railtrails/RBRT_guide.pdf

Interesting to note the bridge was abandoned close to 100 years ago.
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Old 08-30-22, 11:10 PM
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So, my neighbor Phil said he sometimes rides the Middlesex Fells trails starting from a trailhead on Winthrop Street, Medford, directly across from the end of Playstead Road. This would seem to be the closest trailhead to my house, not that that is a critical distinction. It appears on Google Maps marked as both "Whitmore Brook Entrance" and "Cross Fells Trail". Today, I took the 1987 GT Karakoram, fitted with Rene Herse 559-55 Humptulips Ridge Extralight dual purpose knobbies, off to have a look for myself.




The trail, or fire road, started out as a poster child for gravel, but soon degenerated into a rogues gallery of odd ball surfaces. My rule in these situations is to ride the bike when that looks like fun, walk the bike when it doesn't. The fat knobbies certainly helped.






Whitmore Brook showed itself. I gather that sections of the trail are prone to inundation when we're not busy having a drought.


The big log looks to be a recent windfall, but the small ones look to be purpose-built. A rainy-day affordance for hikers, perhaps? Random processes?


Bike trap?


Another oddity: a crude attempt at a ramp over another windfall. Humping the bike over that (dismounted, of course) didn't enlighten me as to the builder's intentions. Perhaps those with better technical riding skills would have spread their wings and flown over. Again the question: who built it, for what purpose?


The trail forked, with the left fork marked (on the map) "Whitmore Brook Entrance" and the right fork marked "Cross Fells Trail". For various reasons, I took the left fork, and soon came to regret it, as the path narrowed.


I continued a little farther, and, as the path began to climb, shifted into my low range, and... spun against no resistance. My chain had managed to get dislodged from its normal track, and stuck inboard of the small ring on the triple crank, wedged under an old Chain Minder that has served me well for the last 30 years or so. I spent a few minutes trying to fix that, but when I found myself starting to plan what component to unscrew first, I decided to walk the bike back out of the woods and back to Arlington, riding it as a scooter/velocipede whenever gravity was working in my favor. This I proceeded to do, making sufficiently good time that the GPS Logger app on my phone thought I was running, not walking (or meditating). I threw the bike on the back of the car and drove off to Battle Road Bikes. One of the mechanics had the chain freed in 30 seconds, of course. Jim had a look, and saw that the Chain Minder had come loose, not a good sign. I left the GT in his care, best place for it, under the circumstances.

I do find myself wondering if conditions would have improved if I had taken the right fork. Perhaps we shall see, another day.

rod
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Old 08-31-22, 03:55 AM
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[QUOTE=rholland1951;22630518]So, my neighbor Phil said he sometimes rides the Middlesex Fells trails starting from a trailhead on Winthrop Street, Medford, directly across from the end of Playstead Road. This would seem to be the closest trailhead to my house, not that that is a critical distinction. It appears on Google Maps marked as both "Whitmore Brook Entrance" and "Cross Fells Trail". Today, I took the 1987 GT Karakoram, fitted with Rene Herse 559-55 Humptulips Ridge Extralight dual purpose knobbies, off to have a look for myself.
The trail, or fire road, started out as a poster child for gravel, but soon degenerated into a rogues gallery of odd ball surfaces. My rule in these situations is to ride the bike when that looks like fun, walk the bike when it doesn't. The fat knobbies certainly helped.
Whitmore Brook showed itself. I gather that sections of the trail are prone to inundation when we're not busy having a drought.
The big log looks to be a recent windfall, but the small ones look to be purpose-built. A rainy-day affordance for hikers, perhaps? Random processes?
Bike trap?

Another oddity: a crude attempt at a ramp over another windfall. Humping the bike over that (dismounted, of course) didn't enlighten me as to the builder's intentions. Perhaps those with better technical riding skills would have spread their wings and flown over. Again the question: who built it, for what purpose?
The trail forked, with the left fork marked (on the map) "Whitmore Brook Entrance" and the right fork marked "Cross Fells Trail". For various reasons, I took the left fork, and soon came to regret it, as the path narrowed.
I continued a little farther, and, as the path began to climb, shifted into my low range, and... spun against no resistance. My chain had managed to get dislodged from its normal track, and stuck inboard of the small ring on the triple crank, wedged under an old Chain Minder that has served me well for the last 30 years or so. I spent a few minutes trying to fix that, but when I found myself starting to plan what component to unscrew first, I decided to walk the bike back out of the woods and back to Arlington, riding it as a scooter/velocipede whenever gravity was working in my favor. This I proceeded to do, making sufficiently good time that the GPS Logger app on my phone thought I was running, not walking (or meditating). I threw the bike on the back of the car and drove off to Battle Road Bikes. One of the mechanics had the chain freed in 30 seconds, of course. Jim had a look, and saw that the Chain Minder had come loose, not a good sign. I left the GT in his care, best place for it, under the circumstances.
I do find myself wondering if conditions would have improved if I had taken the right fork. Perhaps we shall see, another day.
rod[/QUOTE
what a great exploration! the gif with the dappled light, is magical!
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Old 08-31-22, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
...
what a great exploration! the gif with the dappled light, is magical!
Thanks! Getting out and trying something new, especially something so close, really was the point. Glad you liked the gif!

rod
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Old 08-31-22, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
So, my neighbor Phil said he sometimes rides the Middlesex Fells trails starting from a trailhead on Winthrop Street, Medford, directly across from the end of Playstead Road. This would seem to be the closest trailhead to my house, not that that is a critical distinction. It appears on Google Maps marked as both "Whitmore Brook Entrance" and "Cross Fells Trail". Today, I took the 1987 GT Karakoram, fitted with Rene Herse 559-55 Humptulips Ridge Extralight dual purpose knobbies, off to have a look for myself.

The trail, or fire road, started out as a poster child for gravel, but soon degenerated into a rogues gallery of odd ball surfaces. My rule in these situations is to ride the bike when that looks like fun, walk the bike when it doesn't. The fat knobbies certainly helped.
rod
I've been wanting to explore this very area, it being so close to home, so thanks for the post.

From your description and pics, it looks like, given the choice, an MTB would be a better option than a gravel bike.

Sorry you had the mechanical and had to walk home.

Tom
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Old 08-31-22, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I've been wanting to explore this very area, it being so close to home, so thanks for the post.

From your description and pics, it looks like, given the choice, an MTB would be a better option than a gravel bike.

Sorry you had the mechanical and had to walk home.

Tom
I think you're right about the mtb vs gravel bike question. But, as Tyler Oulton used to say, "It's the rider, not the bike." Good place to keep alert.

NEMBA has a lot of good material on line about biking in the Fells.

rod
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Old 08-31-22, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
I do find myself wondering if conditions would have improved if I had taken the right fork.
philosophical choices we make in life, what if we choose differently
don't we all ...?
Instinctively, we try to make these decisions by projecting ourselves into the future
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Old 08-31-22, 10:30 PM
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Took the Rambouillet up to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman, Wednesday afternoon before dinner, to clear the cobwebs out of my cranium, a pleasant ride through newly-pleasant air, cool and breezy.


Since the Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders were granted UNESCO World Heritage status, the predictable uptick in tourism has led to the construction of pleasant new accommodations for visitors. Now you can sit on something other than your bicycle seat while you decode the evolving Neolithic semiotics. The bicycle whirly-gig is a nice touch.


rod

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Old 09-02-22, 09:39 PM
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Friday afternoon I stopped in at Battle Road Bikes. Jim had the 1987 GT Karakoram up in the stand. I got to watch as he very efficiently helped the crank, front derailleur, and chain minder get out of each other's way. After a bit, he was done, and after a short test ride, I put the bike on the car's bike rack and took it on home.


There was enough time left to take the GT for an energetic sprint up the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back, setting a fast pace and shifting enough gears to verify the fix.


Peepers Pond has become something of an unsavory mudhole. Nevertheless, the swans haven't left. Hope it's not making them sick. One of these mornings they could wake up and discover they've turned into mud hens.


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