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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 04-16-23, 08:12 AM
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Saturday afternoon found me, briefly, in between yard work and an early dinner invitation, on the BFRT south of Chelmsford center. This was another step up in my getting used to the current fixie incarnation of the Van Dessel, as there would be many other users to navigate around safely and considerately. I did finally remember to mount a bell before I set out.

In the event, the trail was popular but far from crowded, with "traffic" mostly concentrated near the center and Heart Pond beach. I slowed down to barely jogging speed there, as well as at road crossings, and only really let loose on the virtually straight and flat section alongside Route 27 from Greenwood Ave to Griffin Rd, posting a new personal speed record of 29 mph before running out of clear trail, and intestinal fortitude. I turned around and may have hit 30 mph on the return leg, but as my watch was almost out of juice, I didn't have the GPS app running anymore. I told myself that for a few seconds I was not terribly far off Eddy's hour record pace, 50+ years ago

Reality set in later at home when I calculated that in reality, for a few seconds, I matched Mathieu van der Poel's average speed over 160 partially cobblestoned miles at Paris-Roubaix a week ago. Now that's sobering.

Earlier on, in the slow going leaving Chelmsford, I had noticed this juxtaposition of old and new for the first time:



We had been wondering in this thread what the significance was of the yellow numbered posts. Some time ago I learned, from a BFRT Facebook post, that they're in fact tenths of miles, posted every 0.2. And look, there is indeed a tiny dot between the digits. Duh. And as the historic mile marker shows, they're aligned with the old railroad mileage, so 0 would be where the Lowell end of the line was, well past the current trail terminus.

The other side of the old marker seems to give testament to a little "oops" moment in history. Clearly they meant to mark 22 miles from the Framingham end, but forgot to bring the number 2 stencil and had to make do with an upside down and mirrored 5 instead Or is this just Yankee frugality?



9 miles and negligible elevation. To be repeated soon in what I hope will be my race gear, i.e. 45x14 rather than 16.
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Old 04-16-23, 02:32 PM
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I mentioned in a post a couple weeks ago that the Fuji was skipping badly on the third cog, after having installed a new chain over the winter. The reasonable expectation was that the cog is too worn to mesh well with a new chain, but I posted in Classic and Vintage, looking for any insight. I got the suggestion to grind the tip of the driven edge of each tooth on the bad cog, something I had read about in Sheldon Brown's pages. I tried that today and took the bike for a short test ride. Success! No skipping no matter how hard I mashed the pedals in that gear.

My ride took me to Alewife and thence to Belmont on the Fitchburg cutoff:



I then headed back Arlington, past Spy Pond and on to Kickstand, which had just closed for the day:



There weren't many cyclists out, but there were a lot of walkers. After tomorrow the weather looks good this week, so I am looking forward to some peaceful weekday rides.

Tom
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Old 04-16-23, 04:59 PM
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Got out on the Nobilette for a quick late afternoon spin up the Mystic Valley Parkway, along the Eastern shore of the Mystic Lakes. It was one of the quiet days.

Crossing the Mystic River, Spring breaking out along its banks.


Crossing the Aberjona River, Spring expected one of these first days.


Upper Mystic Lake: on the Tufts Bacow Sailing Pavilion docks, two friends and a duck.


Lower Mystic Lake: two fishermen get dinner organized.




Not photographed: an apparently homeless woman parked above the fishermen, her car filled with household miscellany.

Stories could be told about this scene, but the true ones are beyond my ken.

rod

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Old 04-16-23, 05:32 PM
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Sunday morning began early, I think we were both wide awake at 6:30, still getting used to open windows and the resulting morning cool and birdsong filling the bedroom. The upside was an unrushed morning with strong coffee brewed in a big Bialetti pot and an omelet with stewed grape tomatoes and the first chives from the garden, followed by more coffee while reading the news and listening to WICN. Next thing I remember it's nearly noon! Well I think we washed some dishes somewhere in there but honestly I have no clue where the morning went!

Lunch, some yard work that didn't amount to much on my part, mostly just digging up various items my wife needed from the depths of the garage. By now the little bit of morning rain had dried up and more did not seem to be coming, so thoughts turned to where and what to ride. I decided I wanted a change after all the BFRT rides on the fixie so the Bianchi was prepped, not without also giving some attention to the Van Dessel which had clearly been slowly dropping its seatpost. This was not entirely unexpected--it came to me with a layer of electrical tape wrapped around the clamping section--but I had been hoping to avoid that kind of klutzery. The post is a custom aero affair, definitely correct for the bike, so I reassembled it with some friction-enhancing paste. We shall see. I may need to use Loctite on the pair of clamp bolts, too. In the process I discovered a 2005 date stamp on the post so the bike shall henceforth be considered that vintage. Old enough to vote!

I guess I must have been pretty eager to set out because I later realized I did so without my pump and toolkit, very much against my usual habits. I did have water, phone, and flashers fore and aft, so at most it would have been an inconvenience. By this time it was mid-afternoon and a long ride was out of the question. I decided to just set off on my local road loop either side of Stony Brook which consists mostly of Lowell Rd and Plain Rd in Westford. I pulled into the Grassy Pond parking lot and, finding it nearly empty, with no walkers in sight, decided to walk the bike to a pondside bench near the entrance.



Rachel Carson's advice was heeded but the beauty on immediate offer was still a little sparse. Those are however mergansers in the distance, I can assure you, a nice change from the common mallards that we get near our house.


My cheap phone kept hunting for focus on the blossoms, and clearly failed.


I also went in search of any early signs of ladyslipper orchids which I know will be growing here in about a month, but was unsuccessful. Too early even for baby leaves to be showing, I suppose.

Back on the road I went, past many a front yard being spiffed up by its owners, whereas I had only gotten some small tasks done this weekend. I found myself shifting down a bit too much on one of the last uphill stretches and thought this will never do, just three weeks until that track riding clinic! So I did another lap for good measure! Which brought this ride to 12.7 miles and 458 vertical feet.

Still didn't feel like enough exercise so when an opportunity presented itself just after 5, I grabbed the Zizzo folding bike and went on a quick errand to town center and back. 4.4 miles, 288 ft

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Old 04-16-23, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I have always wanted to make a video of riding through the RBT pinball section. Here it is:

Funny, its great fun to ride through that, but the video makes my head spin!
this is really fun! thank you!
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Old 04-16-23, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
Earlier on, in the slow going leaving Chelmsford, I had noticed this juxtaposition of old and new for the first time:

We had been wondering in this thread what the significance was of the yellow numbered posts. Some time ago I learned, from a BFRT Facebook post, that they're in fact tenths of miles, posted every 0.2. And look, there is indeed a tiny dot between the digits. Duh. And as the historic mile marker shows, they're aligned with the old railroad mileage, so 0 would be where the Lowell end of the line was, well past the current trail terminus.

The other side of the old marker seems to give testament to a little "oops" moment in history. Clearly they meant to mark 22 miles from the Framingham end, but forgot to bring the number 2 stencil and had to make do with an upside down and mirrored 5 instead Or is this just Yankee frugality?
ah ha, thank you!
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Old 04-18-23, 04:02 PM
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I waited for the early afternoon sprinkling to end, then headed out to Depot Park on the Checkpoint.

The sky was pretty moody coming into Lexington Center:



In fact, I think I felt a few isolated drops while I was taking a break at the visitor's center.

I like this image of the church steeple, seen through the flowering trees, with the ominous clouds in the bacrground:



Took a few "I was there" pictures at Bedford, but nothing special, so I won't bore you with them.

Peepers Pond had some nice reflections and dappled sunlight on the way back:



A pleasant ride.

Tom
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Old 04-18-23, 04:36 PM
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Ominous skies today, indeed! And you forgot to mention the nasty wind.

I got out for two separate speed runs on the BFRT today, first between Pond St and Griffin Rd alongside Route 27 just before noon, with excellent results:



This was in 45x14, without a lot of warming up, wearing pretty loose pants, and watching like a hawk for other users ahead, so I was very happy. Already works out to a flying 200m of 14 seconds, if I can match this on the track.

Spring had rolled out red carpets across the trail today, under every red maple tree.



My second run in the afternoon was less successful. I picked the Route 110 to Lowell stretch again but it was terribly gusty there and then. Vmax was 31 mph but I think I had a tailwind for part of that attempt. I did however confirm that I can use a speedometer app on my phone, even while it's in a pocket, which has the advantage of decimals that the watch won't give me.

I was also testing, once again, the Look pedals now. I had disassembled and relubed the mechanism, hoping this would cure my problem particularly with the left side. It did not, and I hit the ground once more. Scraped my knee and two fingers but was able to roll on a little more, if gingerly. Kind of at a loss now. Maybe it's the knockoff Chinese cleats that came with the shoes. I think I'll ride my old clips and straps again, and bring the clipless outfit along for the track session for more experienced people to check over.

Funny thing today, I saw the same maybe 10 year old kid on his electric stand-up scooter three times over these two short outings. First out of my car as I was heading to the Heart Pond parking lot, then he zipped by on the BFRT as I was unloading, and then he showed up at the Route 110 parking lot in the afternoon, as well, jumping those speed bumps with a buddy. Well, he jumped, buddy crashed (harmlessly).

Total of about 6 miles today.
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Old 04-20-23, 04:54 PM
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Technically, New Bike Day for the Rivendell Atlantis build was December 9, the day I brought it home from Battle Road Bikes. It was the next-to-last in the bike tinkering backlog.


After one little ride, I concluded that it was better to let it winter over in the nice, dry basement, rather than expose it to lots of salt and sand, so it hibernated until today, when I equipped it with lights, bags, and a bell, and took it for a 14-mile spin on the Minuteman. The big Antelope Hill Extralight tires and the long wheelbase geometry ("Rivendelian gigantism") entail a bit of learning curve, but so far, so good. And Pete did a beautiful job with the build.


I'm tempted to tour with it.

rod

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Old 04-20-23, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
After one little ride, I concluded that it was better to let it winter over in the nice, dry basement, rather than expose it to lots of salt and sand, so it hibernated until today, when I equipped it with lights, bags, and a bell, and took it for a 14-mile spin on the Minuteman. The big Antelope Hill Extralight tires and the long wheelbase geometry ("Rivendelian gigantism") entail a bit of learning curve, but so far, so good. And Pete did a beautiful job with the build.

rod
Nice looking bike.

Your post prompted me to look up just how big those Antelope Hill tires are. Wow, 29x2.2 (aka 700cx55)! That's bigger than I have on my hardtail MTB. And you can fit them with fenders!
I've noticed you tend to choose the Extralight version of Rene' Herse tires. How do they hold up in terms of punctures?

Speaking of MTBs, I wonder if the knobby version of the Antelope Hill, the Fleecer Ridge, would be a good choice for a hardtail that spends a lot of miles on pavement on the way to the woods.

Tom
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Old 04-20-23, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Nice looking bike.

Your post prompted me to look up just how big those Antelope Hill tires are. Wow, 29x2.2 (aka 700cx55)! That's bigger than I have on my hardtail MTB. And you can fit them with fenders!
I've noticed you tend to choose the Extralight version of Rene' Herse tires. How do they hold up in terms of punctures?

Speaking of MTBs, I wonder if the knobby version of the Antelope Hill, the Fleecer Ridge, would be a good choice for a hardtail that spends a lot of miles on pavement on the way to the woods.

Tom
My experience with the Extralight casings of the Compass/Rene Herse tires has been generally favorable. They ride splendidly, of course, but are also counterintuitively durable. I used to flat fairly often on the old 700 x 30c Grand Bois Cypres Extra Leger that were my first experience with this family of light, supple tires, but I've found that the 32 x 700c Compass Stampede Pass Extralights have been a good deal more durable, with a thicker tread and better sidewall design. Once I moved to fatter tires (38mm Barlow Pass, 44mm Snoqualmie Pass), flats from sharps became rare. When an Extralight tire is near the end of its service life, it begins to flat more frequently; I've run across that behavior a few times, and generally heed its significance and change one or both tires. I have occasionally had a Schwalbe tube fail, in various quirky ways, but it's pretty clear that's modal behavior of the tube itself. I'm currently running 4 different 55mm Rene Herse tires: Rat Trap Pass Extralights, Humptulips Ridge Extralights, Fleecer Ridge Endurance, and Antelope Hill Extralights. Thus far, none of them, to the best of my recollecton, have flatted due to a puncture or damage to the sidewall. I have over 4000 miles on the Rat Trap Pass Extralights,(including trips on Estabrook Road and Old Morse Road) and over a 1000 miles on the Humptulips Ridge Extralights, so, at least in the case of those tires, the appearance of durability probably means something. With the others, it's early in the game, but I'm hopeful.

I've been impressed with the Herse dual-purpose knobbies. They really do seem to function equally well on road and off. I expect you'd enjoy running a pair of Fleecer Ridge tires on your MTB.

rod

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Old 04-21-23, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
My experience with the Extralight casings of the Compass/Rene Herse tires has been generally favorable. They ride splendidly, of course, but are also counterintuitively durable. I used to flat fairly often on the old 700 x 30c Grand Bois Cypres Extra Leger that were my first experience with this family of light, supple tires, but I've found that the 32 x 700c Compass Stampede Pass Extralights have been a good deal more durable, with a thicker tread and better sidewall design. Once I moved to fatter tires (38mm Barlow Pass, 44mm Snoqualmie Pass), flats from sharps became rare. When an Extralight tire is near the end of its service life, it begins to flat more frequently; I've run across that behavior a few times, and generally heed its significance and change one or both tires. I have occasionally had a Schwalbe tube fail, in various quirky ways, but it's pretty clear that's modal behavior of the tube itself. I'm currently running 4 different 55mm Rene Herse tires: Rat Trap Pass Extralights, Humptulips Ridge Extralights, Fleecer Ridge Endurance, and Antelope Hill Extralights. Thus far, none of them, to the best of my recollecton, have flatted due to a puncture or damage to the sidewall. I have over 4000 miles on the Rat Trap Pass Extralights,(including trips on Estabrook Road and Old Morse Road) and over a 1000 miles on the Humptulips Ridge Extralights, so, at least in the case of those tires, the appearance of durability probably means something. With the others, it's early in the game, but I'm hopeful.

I've been impressed with the Herse dual-purpose knobbies. They really do seem to function equally well on road and off. I expect you'd enjoy running a pair of Fleecer Ridge tires on your MTB.

rod
Thanks for the detailed reply!

After putting a lot of miles on the Checkpoint, with 40mm tires, I have come to appreciate the appeal of wider rubber even on pavement.

Tom
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Old 04-21-23, 02:34 PM
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My wife joined me for this morning's ride. Since it was her first time out this season, we just went to Lexington and back on the Minuteman. It was pleasantly chilly, and in general pretty quiet.

We took our turnaround break on the front side of the Lexington Visitor's Center, overlooking the Buckman Tavern:



The wind was mostly out of the east, providing a chilly headwind on the way home, but that didn't detract from the beauty of the day.
Side note: my tweaking the freewheel on the Fuji seems to be holding up, as I experienced no chain skips.

My wife vows to ride more this year, which I will be encouraging her to do.

Tom
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Old 04-21-23, 07:55 PM
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Friday afternoon presented me with a small, cold, windy opportunity for a ride, which I took by rolling out the Mystic Valley Parkway on the Rivendell Atlantis.


Another quiet day on the Mystic Lakes.


I cranked along on the big bike, perched on Mr. Petersen's Percheron, as it were.

rod
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Old 04-22-23, 03:03 PM
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My recent rides/runs are probably of little interest to the thread, just repeating the speed trials. I changed from 45x14 to a marginally higher 52x16 (3.21 versus 3.25) but my top speed has gone down to just under 30 mph. Lots of other variables, most significantly that the trail has been busier, but I'm also on lower tire pressure now.

Today I headed out after lunch but avoided Chelmsford center because of a political rally on the Common. Instead I drove to Heart Pond and headed south on the BFRT, a little hesitant at first, as my outfit (shorts over tights, long sleeved jersey over cotton tee) proved a little insufficient. But I warmed up enough and after a little while, was passed by a younger guy on a road bike. Aha, a wheel! I managed to stay with him, and pass him once (to his surprise?), but once we were getting closer to NARA, with its twisties and increased foot traffic, he had the advantage of brakes and freehub while I had to play it safe.

I looped the NARA parking lot a couple of times and then stopped briefly for this hasty shot (didn't want the pedestrians to be recognizable).



Clockwise from top left: the Silver Arrow, an announcement for that weird other form of exercise, fresh street art (one of several designs there), and a new concrete pad, the purpose of which is as yet unknown. I noticed another one like it next to the bench just north of NARA.

Returned to Heart Pond, decided it was still early, and went for another run to Griffin Rd and back. A little rest at the pond, picked up a book from the Little Free Library for my wife, and then it was time to head back home to bake the coffee cake that I left to rise while I was out. Brunsviger, a Danish recipe, excited to try it--right now! About 12 miles altogether.

Edited to add that the cake was very yummy and shall be added to our repertoire. Even better, it's really an enriched yeast dough, a kind of sweet focaccia, so I took some of it to shape a couple of buns for tomorrow's breakfast. I found the recipe here and simply used our bread maker on the dough cycle.

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Old 04-22-23, 10:41 PM
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Saturday I took the Rivendell Atlantis and rode East.


This ride, my hills-and-traffic drill, let me test the hill climbing and descending behavior of the Atlantis against familiar terrain. I learned something interesting: to ride this bike comfortably and efficiently, more attention should be paid to timely shifts, especially in the lower gear ratios while climbing. There always seem to be 1-3 comfortable gear ratios for any situation, and they reward attention paid with less stress on the knees, among other things. Proving out the big bike in the hills gave me a good workout. The bike handled well in traffic.

rod

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Old 04-25-23, 07:00 PM
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Monday night, one of the local tv weatherman dwelled at some length on "graupel", one of the novelty precipitation modes. Tuesday afternoon, I set out on the Rivendell Atlantis in search of this graupel. Didn't find any, but did get rained on, a bit. Made it as far as Depot Park, Bedford.


Depot Square, Lexington, not to be confused with Depot Park, Bedford, is set up for a Lantern Festival.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have discovered Funny Hats.


I fiddled a bit with the saddle height, and am getting less pain and more power from the Atlantis. I'm gradually learning to ride this particular bicycle.




It was, after all, Spring.


rod

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Old 04-26-23, 10:14 PM
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I had just enough time Wednesday afternoon to take the Atlantis for a quick spin on the Mystic Valley Parkway. Stopped briefly to raise the saddle a smidgin, and that seemed to be helpful: no knee pain, and a higher average speed for the ride. Perhaps I'm coming to an understanding with this bike.

It was a quiet afternoon on the Mystic Lakes, here and there people were positioning themselves to enjoy the sunset.


rod
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Old 04-27-23, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
It was a quiet afternoon on the Mystic Lakes, here and there people were positioning themselves to enjoy the sunset.
I like that you often photo this dock. when do they start jumping in?
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Old 04-27-23, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
I like that you often photo this dock. when do they start jumping in?
Depends on the weather. Sometime in May, probably. The distance swimmers will be the first in. Some of them have antifreeze in their veins.

rod
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Old 04-27-23, 03:14 PM
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We enjoy that trail. I'm from the South Shore and don't make it up there enough. It will be on my ride list this summer.

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Old 04-27-23, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike.delaney601
We enjoy that trail. I'm from the South Shore and don't make it up there enough. It will be on my ride list this summer.
Summer's coming!

rod
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Old 04-27-23, 07:52 PM
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Took the Rivendell Atlantis out again Thursday afternoon, on the Minuteman this time.


The saddle, which I had raised the day before, still struck me as a little low, so I raised it again, and resumed pedaling. While this in some ways improved the situation, I was getting the familiar signals of a too-high saddle. I reached Lexingotn Center and turned around. As I was approaching TJ's, Pete, the mechanic at Battle Road Bikes who had built the Atlantis up from a frameset, came riding by. I got inspired to do a little tinkering on the spot, pulled over, and lowered the saddle marginally. When I got on the bike again, I could tell that this was the real improvement I had been looking for: I felt in the bike, not on the bike, and my pedal strokes felt efficient and comfortable. This last adjustment may just be a keeper. We'll see.


Got rained on a bit in the process. Not the worst thing that could happen.

rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 04-28-23 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 04-28-23, 10:44 AM
  #10699  
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Originally Posted by Mike.delaney601
We enjoy that trail. I'm from the South Shore and don't make it up there enough. It will be on my ride list this summer.
Where do you like to ride on the South Shore? Any recommendations?

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Old 04-28-23, 03:09 PM
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Without going into details, my workload fluctuates a lot, so this week almost went by without any ride time. At this point my weekend is shot, anyway, so I decided to make use of today's weather for at least a little run on the BFRT. More unremarkable sprints and abortive speed attempts, as the trail was predictably popular. I went from Heart Pond to NARA Park and back roughly between 3 and 4 PM; herewith some observations of interest.

Turns out the mysterious concrete pads in the NARA Park area are for improved signage:


I overheard one passer-by wondering "what museum?" and, sharing her puzzlement, looked it up. Apparently there is a modern sculpture museum hidden in the woods just west of the park, called the YV Museum. https://contemporaryartsinternational.org/

The bathroom sign is considerably more intuitive and I can report that the permanent bathrooms at the beach pavilion are now open for the season.

Back at Heart Pond, a brand new dock had just been installed. I understand it was made from donated materials, hence the mix of decking. Moments later the teenage crew of the moored craft reappeared and loudly critiqued the new addition, followed by a noisy departure with much rooster-tailing and little forward motion.


Just 8.2 miles today.
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