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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 09-23-22, 07:12 AM
  #10201  
bike_tom
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Originally Posted by EVlove View Post
I need to get myself down there for a little bit of "gravel" experience. Would really like to practice some real climbs and descents on gravel, anybody have route tips in the Merrimack area? Or do I need to head out west for that? I'm aware of Gravelmap but I find it very confusing TBH.



Been seeing lots of acorns on the ground here already, which of course also means chipmunks and squirrels dashing about.
Sorry, I don't have any guidance for the Merrimack area. However, if you are near the BFRT it is possible to jump over to the Reformatory Branch Trail without too much on-road riding. Check out this ride I posted about recently: Metro Boston: Good ride today? The RBT won't give you the climbs and descents on gravel you are looking for, but's its a nice dirt/gravel ride. Also consider Battle Road in Minuteman National Historical Park. Being that it is not a rail trail, it has some twists, curves, and hills that make it an interesting unpaved ride. You can get there from the BFRT a number of ways, including jumping off the RBT at Great Meadows, as I describe here: Metro Boston: Good ride today?

As for Gravelmap: I haven't used it, but it looks to have some potential.

Tom
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Old 09-23-22, 10:09 PM
  #10202  
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All manner of busyness and weather has kept me off the bike the last few days, but I did manage to take the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler on a quick sprint up the Mystic Valley Parkway Friday before dinner.


Relatively cold and absolutely windy weather kept almost all the swimmers and boaters away, and there were only modest numbers of cyclists, walkers (with or without dog), and runners in evidence. The lack of human activity only served to underline the exploits of this young man, who was struggling to launch and sail what I guess was a sailboard, but with what looked like Batman wings for a sail. The fact that he was wearing only a bathing suit in the cold wind and cold water made this all somehow heroic, and the wind-driven chop in the lake was something that looked taxing. He was still going strong when I departed the scene, and sailed out of view as I pedaled away. Hopefully he has a powerful endothermic metabolism and will make enough of his own heat not to perish.




I did take a moment to enjoy the sunset.


rod

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Old 09-24-22, 07:46 AM
  #10203  
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I think that’s called kite surfing. The expression on his partner’s face is priceless.
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Old 09-24-22, 09:52 PM
  #10204  
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Took the Ebisu All Purpose Bicycle and rode East.


This was another round of the hills & traffic drill through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham. Good for the legs, the lungs, the wits. Today's ride was dominated by a North wind, at least in its early stages, making some of the initial hill climbs double the fun, and some of the later descents extra whizzy. I took a picture of the wind in the traditional way.


Some things get photographed simply because they're there; for example, take this photograph of one of the Fellsmere jets d'eau... I did. Those with sharp eyes will notice a tiny airplane.


Rolling down High Street into West Medford at sunset. It was a pretty one, but came too soon. Curse you, Autumnal Equinox!


rod
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Old 09-25-22, 08:32 AM
  #10205  
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Since we were just discussing the Reformatory Branch Trail, I thought I would share an update I noticed on Bedford's Minuteman Bikeway Extension page: https://www.bedfordma.gov/minuteman-extension

What I found particularly interesting was the video animation of a flyover of the proposed trail:


One thing that caught my attention is that most of the simulated joggers are running down the centerline, instead of keeping to the right. That's pretty realistic in my experience.

As I have said before, I have mixed feelings about this project.
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Old 09-25-22, 10:08 AM
  #10206  
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Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
One thing that caught my attention is that most of the simulated joggers are running down the centerline, instead of keeping to the right. That's pretty realistic in my experience.
At least there is a centerline. Bugs me that the BFRT lacks one, except near road crossings. I suppose that's because it's narrower?
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Old 09-25-22, 06:37 PM
  #10207  
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I was in the Minute Man neighborhood this morning when I met up with a riding buddy to ride by Fruitlands in Harvard.


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Old 09-25-22, 10:26 PM
  #10208  
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I found time to take the OAC Rambler out for a sunset ride on the Minuteman that turned into a night ride on the Minuteman. Enjoyed both, didn't hit any invisible pedestrians, or any of their invisible dogs. All bikes encountered after nightfall were showing a light, a refreshing change.


rod
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Old 09-25-22, 10:30 PM
  #10209  
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh View Post
I was in the Minute Man neighborhood this morning when I met up with a riding buddy to ride by Fruitlands in Harvard.


Wonderful sight lines in Worcester County!

rod
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Old 09-28-22, 10:35 PM
  #10210  
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Before dinner, before sunset, before all but a few leaves painted themselves in cheerful colors, I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler (itself a cheerful color) out for a quick spin on the Minuteman to clear the cobwebs, oxygenate the brain, open the lungs, wake up the legs, etc. It was fun. And then it was dinner.


rod

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Old 09-29-22, 06:38 PM
  #10211  
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Managed to reason my way out of any longer ride, but took the Rambouillet out for a short sprint up the eastern shore of the Mystic Lakes, in part to give my legs something to do, in part to see what was happening there on a cool and breezy late September afternoon.


There were lots of bikes, perhaps more of those than anything else. No photos of those, however. There were cirrus clouds arching over the vault of heaven, oracles of weather-to-be.


There were bird-watchers, watching a peregrine falcon. I couldn't see the falcon, so I watched the bird-watchers.


And there was a single sailboat, serenely plying the waters of the Upper Mystic Lake. The Spirit of the Lake, I think.


Or maybe the bird was the Spirit of the Lake. Hard to tell anymore.

rod

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Old 09-29-22, 07:52 PM
  #10212  
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Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
As I have said before, I have mixed feelings about this project.
me too. would rather see them invest in maintaining what is there now, as it is

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Old 09-30-22, 09:37 AM
  #10213  
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I have yet to ride the Reformatory, hoping to do so this fall. Currently waiting on an order of spokes and such from Germany to get the Dawes back into rotation.

I gotta say though, if it's between maintaining an unpaved trail that has appeal to the more fit and adventurous among us, and a massive investment in features for users of all abilities and backgrounds, I'm in favor of the latter. More access/accessibility and awareness. If the money is there and the land is available, do it.
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Old 09-30-22, 02:18 PM
  #10214  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
me too. would rather see them invest in maintaining what is there now, as it is
Originally Posted by EVlove View Post
I have yet to ride the Reformatory, hoping to do so this fall. Currently waiting on an order of spokes and such from Germany to get the Dawes back into rotation.

I gotta say though, if it's between maintaining an unpaved trail that has appeal to the more fit and adventurous among us, and a massive investment in features for users of all abilities and backgrounds, I'm in favor of the latter. More access/accessibility and awareness. If the money is there and the land is available, do it.
This is a tough call for me. It is hard to turn down an offer for a major investment in cycling infrastructure. BUT, the RBT is so much fun to ride as it is. I am not aware of another 4 mile stretch of hardpack readily accessible from Arlington, other than the somewhat shorter Narrow Gauge, which I also ride regularly. I would certainly appreciate the restoration of the underpass at Rt 62 (Concord Rd), as that's a tricky place to cross due to the sightlines and the traffic speed. To me a main benefit of paving the RBT (and assuming Concord eventually does their portion too) is that is might result in an off-street connection to the BFRT (presumably at West Concord) being developed in my lifetime. I just don't think that is likely however (and not because I don't have quite a few years left!)

Anyway, its out of my hands. I will be happy with whatever they do.

Tom
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Old 09-30-22, 04:25 PM
  #10215  
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I got out for my third ride of the week this afternoon.

On Monday morning my wife joined me for a trek on the MM out to the Bedford Depot. It was warm enough for shorts but cool enough to warrant a long sleeve jersey. We brought lunch and ate at the picnic benches. We had in mind to get lunch at Short Stop Café but fortunately I checked their website beforehand and found out that they closed at the end of July.

Wednesday afternoon I rode the MM and the Reformatory out to Concord. There were a surprising number of people in the woods: bikers, walkers (many with dogs) and joggers.

Today I rode east on the MM to Alewife and then on to the Somerville Community Path. No change at Lowell St - the new section remains closed off. The pic below is at the current endpoint:



Tom
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Old 09-30-22, 07:32 PM
  #10216  
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Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
I would certainly appreciate the restoration of the underpass at Rt 62 (Concord Rd), as that's a tricky place to cross due to the sightlines and the traffic speed.
&
its out of my hands. I will be happy with whatever they do.
yes, indeed & yup

an underpass? yeah that would be a relief!
aside from riding this trail, I also auto commute on 62 & often come across ppl trying to cross. the other evening about 4:30pm an older couple (mid-70s?) were on folding electric bikes. they were traveling the same direction as me, East on 62. as they slowed, I anticipated they wanted to cross so I slowed & stopped. the car behind me wasn't too happy & didn't understand what was happening, until they did indeed cross. the woman, in the lead, kinda made a turn w/o looking, but stopped, but if I was a distracted driver, on that curve, going too fast, hugging the fog line, another bad outcome could have resulted. looked like a nice couple, in the prime of their golden years, w/ new bikes, on a nice day. a collision would truly have been a sad event, for all involved. thankfully they both got off & walked across in front of me. it turned out to be "a good crossing" for them
Wifey & Daughter like this trail. it's been a rare pleasure to ride with them together, just the 3 of us

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Old 09-30-22, 07:54 PM
  #10217  
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Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
We brought lunch and ate at the picnic benches. We had in mind to get lunch at Short Stop Café but fortunately I checked their website beforehand and found out that they closed at the end of July.

Wednesday afternoon I rode the MM and the Reformatory out to Concord. There were a surprising number of people in the woods: bikers, walkers (many with dogs) and joggers.

Today I rode east on the MM to Alewife and then on to the Somerville Community Path. No change at Lowell St - the new section remains closed off. The pic below is at the current endpoint:
haven't been to the Short Stop Café myself, they never seem to be open when I am there, but I very often get something from Express Pizza, they always seem to be open & my Wife & Daughter liked their cupcakes, when they made them. I usually cheat & park here & cross here. gotta be careful crossing that road tho ... use the crosswalk! when I finish my ride, I call in my order, by time I'm packed up & ready to go, my order is ready. they usually need 20 minutes minimum



I've been on the MM to Alewife, then further East to the Fresh Pond rotary, w/ Wifey but never connected to the Somerville Community Path. mostly I turnaround at Spy Pond.

I hope those dogs were leashed! watch out for this one & this owner, the dog is a biter & the owner likes to let it off leash ;-(







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Old 09-30-22, 08:08 PM
  #10218  
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Originally Posted by EVlove View Post
I have yet to ride the Reformatory, hoping to do so this fall. Currently waiting on an order of spokes and such from Germany to get the Dawes back into rotation.

I gotta say though, if it's between maintaining an unpaved trail that has appeal to the more fit and adventurous among us, and a massive investment in features for users of all abilities and backgrounds, I'm in favor of the latter. More access/accessibility and awareness. If the money is there and the land is available, do it.
yes indeed. BTW I like to park the car behind the Concord Visitor's Center, taking Keyes Rd & crossing Lowell Rd to get on the trail

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Old 09-30-22, 08:48 PM
  #10219  
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Took the Rambler out on the Minuteman before dinner, seeking to air out my brain.


It worked.

rod
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Old 10-01-22, 05:35 AM
  #10220  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Took the Rambler out on the Minuteman before dinner, seeking to air out my brain.
It worked.
that's what I need. wondering if I can get my act together before hurricane remnants start spritzing us. for some reason the threat of bad weather motivates me. if I can get off the couch & bike forums! doesn't look promising tho, might be a gym day


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Old 10-01-22, 12:46 PM
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I did get out & my ride reminded me of a section of trail near me that could use some $$ to finish. on the right side of this pic is where a bridge used to be, a loooong time ago


right here

on the Assabet River Rail Trail
https://www.arrtinc.org/map/
I've only ridden the red section on the north side. it's pretty interesting & pretty. wouldn't want it paved but a bridge sure would be nice










almost forgot to hose it off, glad the hose is still connected, it's not THAT cold yet!

just remembered we have ridden the other side of the red zone, in Hudson, w/ parking on rt 62. but I never back tracked on the actual red zone

========================================================================


https://goo.gl/maps/P8CBLH1aVSAVtLuq5

behind St Michael Elementary school to Railroad Ave


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Old 10-01-22, 10:01 PM
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Took the Ebisu All Purpose Bicycle out Saturday afternoon and rode East.


This is my more or less weekly hills and traffic drill in the topographically and demographically diverse communities East of Arlington, most often including Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, but sometimes including Winchester, Woburn, Saugus, Wakefield, and Lynn. Lots of hills, and lots of inner-suburb traffic, with some bike paths thrown in for good measure. I had been watching the weather forecasts all week, and was delighted to discover that, by Saturday afternoon, all the rain went South. I believe I was hit by one perceptible rain drop. There was some invisible rain, as I thought of it, water vapor condensing on the helmet and various other things, that thickened and moistened the air. This picture of the ubiquitous gray clouds stands for the weather, which all in all I'd have to say was relatively favorable, especially in comparison to the images coming out of Florida.


Since I was riding the Ebisu, I took it to visit the Ebisuya Japanese Market, in Medford Center. Both the bike and the market do homage to the Lucky Fisherman.


Some of the drivers were testy today, and a little luck came in handy. I clocked 35mph on one of the downgrades, which is luck of a sort.

rod

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Old 10-03-22, 11:14 AM
  #10223  
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Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
This is a tough call for me. It is hard to turn down an offer for a major investment in cycling infrastructure. BUT, the RBT is so much fun to ride as it is. I am not aware of another 4 mile stretch of hardpack readily accessible from Arlington, other than the somewhat shorter Narrow Gauge, which I also ride regularly. I would certainly appreciate the restoration of the underpass at Rt 62 (Concord Rd), as that's a tricky place to cross due to the sightlines and the traffic speed. To me a main benefit of paving the RBT (and assuming Concord eventually does their portion too) is that is might result in an off-street connection to the BFRT (presumably at West Concord) being developed in my lifetime. I just don't think that is likely however (and not because I don't have quite a few years left!)

Anyway, its out of my hands. I will be happy with whatever they do.
Tom
It's a little bit harder to access (probably best by taking the Mass Ave hill but you could also do the flatter Lincoln St to Marrett Rd. over 95 though that area isn't super great if you're not road-experienced), but the Battle Road Trail in Minuteman NP has the best gravel surface I've ridden in the area.
The RBT would definitely lose a lot of appeal to me as a paved trail, as the Minuteman-RBFT-Battle Road loop is one of my favorite low-traffic gravel bike loops in the area, and the relative 'wilderness' of RBT is part of the charm. I, too, would like to see it extended to BFRT and even further, connect to the currently-nonexistent Mass Central RT. It would be awesome to have something similar to the C&O Canal Towpath - that is stone dust and is very popular still. I wonder if keeping it stone dust would reduce costs as well.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I did get out & my ride reminded me of a section of trail near me that could use some $$ to finish. on the right side of this pic is where a bridge used to be, a loooong time ago
Ah, yes, I've done that trail and had to work around that gap south on Barton Rd (nice scenery but bad pavement) and west on Main St (too busy and no scenery). Not exactly family friendly, and that's a shame! The segment running behind Assabet River NWR could use some maintenance as well - at the time it was all sandpits and gave me trouble on 40mm tires.
This trail starts right across the street from the South Acton commuter rail line so that's cool. And check out Lost Shoe Brewing at trail's end in Marlborough.
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Old 10-03-22, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
And check out Lost Shoe Brewing at trail's end in Marlborough.
oh yes! Wifey brought me there, twice I think. weird little spot next to a parking lot, but on a sunny day it's quite nice outside. so glad there was actual food to eat. brewery food is always an experiment. have you been to Bull Spit Brewing, in Maynard, yet? it's a tough location for an eatery / brewery but they do have food & live music. & it's within striking distance of the bike trail & a great, albeit quirky, bike shop! ;-)

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Old 10-03-22, 03:16 PM
  #10225  
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
It's a little bit harder to access (probably best by taking the Mass Ave hill but you could also do the flatter Lincoln St to Marrett Rd. over 95 though that area isn't super great if you're not road-experienced), but the Battle Road Trail in Minuteman NP has the best gravel surface I've ridden in the area.
The RBT would definitely lose a lot of appeal to me as a paved trail, as the Minuteman-RBFT-Battle Road loop is one of my favorite low-traffic gravel bike loops in the area, and the relative 'wilderness' of RBT is part of the charm. I, too, would like to see it extended to BFRT and even further, connect to the currently-nonexistent Mass Central RT. It would be awesome to have something similar to the C&O Canal Towpath - that is stone dust and is very popular still. I wonder if keeping it stone dust would reduce costs as well.
.
Yes, agreed. After I posted the comment you highlighted I realized I was ignoring Battle Road as a local gravel option. The MM->RBT->Battle Rd->MM loop is also one of my favorites. I usually jump RBT->Battle Road via Monsen Rd -> Old Bedford Rd, and Battle Rd->MM via the Mass Ave hills into Lexington Center. Good stuff!

Tom
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