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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 05-15-23, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
was driving on Dutton Rd, Sudbury Sunday morning, & crossed what looked like would be a great rail trail, but then saw signs objecting to "power lines". I wonder if both can co-exist, if the power lines were maybe under ground? I did see someone walking in there

not sure if this was the spot
https://goo.gl/maps/ZRqCjm1a4ipj2tzF...78572&entry=tt















Buried high-voltage power lines, yup. Opposed by a local faction, supported by MASS DOT as the site of the Sudbury segment of the Mass. Central Rail Trail. Or so I believe. This is part of several larger patterns, including the RRrightofway->powerlines|gaslines|watermains|sewermains|MUPs infrastructure graph evolution. Minuteman has a regional sewer line running through Lexington-Arlington, Northern Strand has powerlines and gas lines, MCRT seems to be getting this Eversource transmission line, which is in turn funding a lot of the fundamental work necessary for MCRT Sudbury.

rod
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Old 05-15-23, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Buried high-voltage power lines, yup. Opposed by a local faction, supported by MASS DOT as the site of the Sudbury segment of the Mass. Central Rail Trail. Or so I believe. This is part of several larger patterns, including the RRrightofway->powerlines|gaslines|watermains|sewermains|MUPs infrastructure graph evolution. Minuteman has a regional sewer line running through Lexington-Arlington, Northern Strand has powerlines and gas lines, MCRT seems to be getting this Eversource transmission line, which is in turn funding a lot of the fundamental work necessary for MCRT Sudbury.
promising! thank you. really nice part of our metrowest area. we may never need to ride the roads again! or maybe our grandchildren won't have to
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Old 05-15-23, 04:39 PM
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Just back from a relatively gentle afternoon recovery ride, after competing in my first track races at the Northeast Velodrome yesterday morning! It was their Sunday Omnium format but due to it being Mother's Day, attendance was low, only six riders. A chilly morning, too, it was. But we got some spirited racing in, and I was happy with how things went. Kept it rubber side down, remembered to pedal at all times and look over my shoulder before changing my line, and all that. I took a back seat in the very first race and just watched and tried to get used to the pace. But then one guy didn't finish for some reason so there I was, in fifth, scoring my very first point. Next was miss and out (15 laps, last one to cross the line after 5 and after 10 gets pulled) and my only goal for the day had been not to be the first one out in that! Which I managed, beating the guy who had just won the first race, who was certainly surprised but a very good sport about it. Of course that was it for me and I was out after lap 10, but not without a good fight. Two rounds of chariot races (three riders, one lap, standing start), I came in second both times because one of our group was geared too high for this event. Finally a 15 lap points race (intermediate sprints after 5 and 10, and extra points for overall finish). I was in contention for 3rd for much of it, having a blast and getting some points, but I should have been drafting more, got dropped to last place in the end. We had a brief show of hands and it was 5 to 1 for ending it there, instead of holding a fifth race. Final tally had me tied for 5th, which is a smidgeon better than dead last, at least.

Anyhow, that was yesterday, and somewhat outside of our coverage area. Today I set out on one of my usual shorter rides, over into Westford, either side of Stony Brook, on the good old Bianchi. The main goal was to see how my legs felt after yesterday's rather intense workout and to my surprise, I was able to go at a good clip. Goal no. 2 was to check into Grassy Pond to see if the ladyslipper orchids are out yet. A brand new bike rack greeted me at the entrance but as I didn't have a lock with me, was only used briefly. I mean, nothing against the very good people of Westford, but you know what they say, trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.



We've been coming for years, I pretty much knew where to look, and it took only a brief stroll with the bike to find several.




Also in season, and out in force on a calm afternoon near water, were winged bloodsuckers, so it was best not to linger too much. From Grassy Pond it's mostly downhill for about three miles but the first mile, Plain St in Westford, has had road work going on "this past age and more" (for the Aubrey-Maturin fans among you) and was even worse than usual today, with several surprise unpaved gaps in the surface. At least traffic was still fairly light which allowed me to pick my line. That section ends at a 4-way stop sign, after which it's a nice smooth descent leading into a fairly tight right turn which is crossed by railroad tracks. Always a bit of an adrenalin kick, even in dry weather. That perked me up and I decided to go past the turn for the shortest way home and instead make a run at the radar sign on Main St in Chelmsford. Alas, it is "uphill both ways" (it really is, the signs for each direction are on opposite sides of a little hilltop) and the flashing digits never fail to disappoint. 21 mph today.

I took the next turn for home, Meadowbrook Rd alongside Route 3, and crossed the same waters and RR lines again for the final mostly-climb back, on what is probably Chelmsford's narrowest two-way street, Crooked Spring Rd. 9.4 miles and about 360 vertical feet.
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Old 05-15-23, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Buried high-voltage power lines, yup. Opposed by a local faction, supported by MASS DOT as the site of the Sudbury segment of the Mass. Central Rail Trail. Or so I believe. This is part of several larger patterns, including the RRrightofway->powerlines|gaslines|watermains|sewermains|MUPs infrastructure graph evolution. Minuteman has a regional sewer line running through Lexington-Arlington, Northern Strand has powerlines and gas lines, MCRT seems to be getting this Eversource transmission line, which is in turn funding a lot of the fundamental work necessary for MCRT Sudbury.
oh I see. before Eversource, this old google street view image, shows the old RR tracks

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Old 05-16-23, 05:26 PM
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Haven't posted much recently. Decided to share some scenes from a ride on the MM out to the Depot yesterday.

This was the status behind the Bike Stop as of midday:



Out in Bedford, they were clearing the growth on the shoulders with a huge John Deere fitted with a mowing arm. On the way out it was blocking most of the path, making for a somewhat harrowing pass. On the way back, the behemoth was resting:



Tom
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Old 05-16-23, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Haven't posted much recently. Decided to share some scenes from a ride on the MM out to the Depot yesterday.
This was the status behind the Bike Stop as of midday:
wow, what a scene! thank you! looks like a potential public safety hazard, eh?
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Old 05-18-23, 12:13 PM
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gosh what a gorgeous day!

still preoccupied / pregaming / test driving cars for our Son
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Old 05-18-23, 03:40 PM
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Rode the NGRT up to Billerica today. First time I have done that in awhile - probably first time in 2023. The weather was great.

The MM was quiet as I made my way to Depot Park. Not surprisingly, given the lack of recent rain, the NGRT was bone dry. Some places the surface was so loose and sandy it was like riding on the beach.



My reward for braving the rough 1/4 mile or so past the gates at the town line was the sight of this amazing bank of azaleas at a home on Springs Rd:



Fawn Lake was tranquil as always:



The day and the ride were indeed a joy:



Tom

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Old 05-20-23, 11:00 AM
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I'm not usually one for morning rides, but today's weather forecast moved me to try to get a small ride in early, before the predicted afternoon downpours. I took the 2010 LHT out for the first time in a while, and enjoyed the combination of its stable touring steel frame and the Compass (when I bought them) Snoqualmie Pass Extralight 700C x 44 tires (Snoqs to their friends). I headed up the Mystic Valley Parkway, along the E bank of the Mystic River and then the Mystic Lakes. Sure enough, a fine drizzle began to fall when I turned around, nothing too much, but earnest money for the promised rain to come.


There were walkers and runners, and walkers' and runners' dogs, and cyclists both on and off the road, along with a bit of auto traffic.


There was the solitary sailboat that I saw, on the Upper Mystic Lake, here putting into shore under human power.


Last man standing was the jet ski heard, but not seen, cutting capers on the Lower Mystic Lake. I glided along home on the big, supple Compass tires and put the bike away.

rod
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Old 05-21-23, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
There was the solitary sailboat that I saw, on the Upper Mystic Lake, here putting into shore under human power.
fun one!
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Old 05-21-23, 04:39 PM
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What a gorgeous day after yesterday's downpours. I had once again reshuffled my available tires during the week, grabbing the 25mm Gatorskins off the Bianchi for the latest wheels to join the stable, a new (take-off) Shimano R500 set I found locally for $50, to go on the track bike for training runs. The Bianchi was returned to its period-appropriate 23mm Michelins but that meant rough roads were to be avoided. It was also equipped with decidedly not period pedals, my other bargain buy this week, a set of Look Keo Sprint pedals and cleats, new in a minimally distressed box, $25 from Planet Cyclery (still available as of this writing). The pedals proved to be much easier to operate than the old Shimano-by-Look pair that had been giving me trouble (although I suspect the pedals were less to blame than the knockoff cleats), and the cleats somewhat easier to walk on.

The mission, should I choose to accept it, was to head for the BFRT on relatively smooth roads, and give the new pedals a proper shakedown ride. I rolled off at about 9:30 and, predictably, found the trail quite popular already. Also quite shady and not fully dried off everywhere. The trees have leafed out! A few clear stretches did open up here and there and I hit 27mph and upwards a couple of times before I got to NARA Park. Here the beach was empty but open, and looking ready for the season opener next weekend. I think a few people had actually been in the water at one point, as the beach showers clearly had been used not long before. Some kind of beach volleyball event was in full swing, with one game going right by the parking lot, at least one more way back on the green, and two more courts set up but presently not in use on the beach itself.


A young explorer had found a mountain range to conquer near the playground. Soon followed by several of his playground friends, and an out-of-his-breath adult reminding them that there was to be "no pushing anybody off!"



But he hadn't issued any restrictions against sitting down and sliding off on one's bum.

I continued on the BFRT which was itself approaching playground conditions by now, with newly-wheeled youngsters seemingly everywhere. I navigated carefully and complimented several of them on their newfound skills.

The foot and bike traffic showed no signs of easing as I got closer to the still not quite opened Route 2 bridge, which now has its final coat of asphalt/concrete and, I suppose, is only a few forms and signatures away from official status. In fact the signs were pretty much gone on the northern end already. Up and over I went, for the first time.




Beehives near the southern end. I couldn't make out what they were feeding on, there didn't seem to be a whole lot in flower right there.



I continued on as far as the state prison before I turned around. Approaching the bridge again from the south, possibly the Commonwealth's most ignored signs? "But on the other side, it didn't say nothing"



The return leg went undocumented as I was due back home for lunch. Left the trail at Heart Pond and decided to walk the bike on the stretch of gravel there, on account of my tires not only being narrow, but also a season and a half old by now. A quick wipe with a rag on the other side to further avert punctures, nothing was found. Four undulating miles later I pulled into my own driveway, only to suffer the only mishap of the day when the left pedal didn't release right away and I was too surprised and tired to react. There was actually plenty of room for another turn of the cranks. I was laughing and cursing at the same time even as I went over.

24.1 miles and 666 vertical feet.
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Old 05-21-23, 10:13 PM
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At the end of the afternoon I took the big, green Rivendell Atlantis out for a determined sprint up the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back, yet another instance of the ride that fits in the time allowed. I kept my speed up on this one, standing on the pedals to accelerate as needed, and the bike repaid the effort with my best average speed for a single ride since October. The 622-55 Antelope Pass Extralights are rolling well, and seem to store up energy on the down-stroke as I'm accelerating, an effect I've previously noticed with 559-55 Rat Trap Pass Extralights. Hurray for fat, supple tires, and the bikes that can accommodate them.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have erected a triad of totemic figures, or perhaps have discovered the Three Stooges. There's a paper in this somewhere.


The Bike Stop has a fine set of flying buttresses. Gargoyles next.


rod

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Old 05-21-23, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
What a gorgeous day after yesterday's downpours.

...

I continued on as far as the state prison before I turned around. Approaching the bridge again from the south, possibly the Commonwealth's most ignored signs? "But on the other side, it didn't say nothing"



...

24.1 miles and 666 vertical feet.
Thanks for that engaging report of a lovely ride. Sounds like it's time to reacquaint myself with the Bruce Freeman.

rod
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Old 05-22-23, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
The Bike Stop has a fine set of flying buttresses. Gargoyles next.
haha yeah, the 1st time you shared a photo of it, I thought of the Hagia Sophia, Turkey, but Notre Dame, Paris looks more like it

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Old 05-22-23, 05:29 PM
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I rode the MM out to Bedford today, without a clear intention of how far I might go. When I arrived at Depot Park, the weather being so great, I decided to see what condition the Reformatory Branch Trail was in, following the heavy rain we had last Saturday. I am happy to report that the RBT is in very good shape - just a few damp spots, hardly any mud at all.

This stretch (just east of Monument St I believe) is the worst I encountered all the way to Lowell Rd, and it only lasted a few yards:



More typically the surface was like this:



The Checkpoint was a great companion on this mixed pavement/dirt/gravel ride:



The round trip was 27.5 miles. A good day.

Tom
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Old 05-22-23, 10:15 PM
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Took the Rivendell Sam Hillborne out for a spin on the Minuteman in the bright, chilly breezes late Monday afternoon.


While I was setting a brisk pace, it wasn't as brisk as yesterday, and I was passed by a greater percentage of riders. Interesting to watch them whizz by.


A strong odor of pyrolized hydrocarbons now pervades the Bike Stop site. It's nasty. No photos of the miasma.

rod

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Old 05-23-23, 04:47 PM
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Today saw me back on the Van Dessel, and back on my default quick 7-mile loop into Westford. I mentioned the new set of training wheels and this was their first outing. Now, as can be gleaned from my bike list, I'm otherwise firnly stuck rooted in the 6-speed era, so wrenching on freehubs and cassettes is new to me. In fact, before the Amazon truck rolled up today, I didn't even own a lockring tool. That impediment removed, I was now able to take the only cassette in my possession off the worn out, unsafe Mavic wheel it came on. A 10-speed. Hmm. Bit of a problem, given that the narrowest chain in my possession was 8-speed. I decided to remix the cogs and spacers to gain enough clearance on either side of the one cog I wanted to use, and to my own surprise, that actually worked, at least in my driveway. A suitably demanding test ride was needed for final judgement.

I changed into cleated shoes, grabbed lights and helmet, and set off. (Notice I didn't say either "checked my air" or "grabbed my pump"... It turned out the rear was mighty low and needed to be babied across the lumpier parts of the ride.)

Quick stop at Grassy Pond for documentation:



I had somewhat optimistically decided on a 45:16 gear ratio, but it proved to be just low enough for the relatively short and gentle grades on this route. Except on the last stretch home, which includes a half-mile climb. A little mental appeal to Saint Sheldon of Newton got me over the hump.

So all in all a successful test, and my precious tubulars will now be reserved for track days.
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Old 05-23-23, 09:05 PM
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Took the Nobilette out on fast ride up to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman. Comparing the pedaling technique on this ride versus that used the other day on the much heavier Atlantis has given me food for thought, and there are some experiments queueing up in my brain. Stopped briefly to photograph the bike with the Bike Stop flying buttresses, which are really elegantly laid out.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have modified their totemic triad, and I was struck by the resemblance of the stone figures to the variously hatted and gowned Harvard scholars being photographed here and there, glimpsed as I drove from Mass. Ave. to Cambridge Street on an unrelated errand. So it's Commencement at Mile 4.0, apparently, or perhaps at some affiliated shamanic institution of higher learning.


The Wheelie Boys were out for an eccentric spin, trying to turn bicycles into unicycles. "What do they think they're doing?" I asked myself as I accelerated to pass them. "And what do I think I'm doing?"

rod

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Old 05-24-23, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Stopped briefly to photograph the bike with the Bike Stop flying buttresses, which are really elegantly laid out
looks like they've done this before. experienced pros. just noticed the rebar in the ground, to keep the boards in place. I guess that's a no-brainer
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Old 05-24-23, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
looks like they've done this before. experienced pros. just noticed the rebar in the ground, to keep the boards in place. I guess that's a no-brainer
Pros, yup. God bless experience. As Ezra Pound said in one of his lucid moments, "Courage is having done the thing before."
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Old 05-24-23, 03:45 PM
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Took a short ride today to Somerville and Belmont that I wasn't initially planning to post about, but I ended up grabbing a couple of photos worth sharing.

On the Somerville Community Path a piece of found art caught my eye:



I am not quite sure what they are saying, as the larger sign at the bottom seems to decry crimes against corporate America (?), while the smaller sign at the top makes the more expected statement against "corporate looters"

Later, I had to pause for goslings on the Fitchburg Cutoff:



The family was really in no hurry to get across. I had to wait a good minute before I could squeeze by. I've encountered some very protective and aggressive goose parents at places like Great Meadows, but these didn't seem to mind my passing fairly closely.

Tom
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Old 05-24-23, 09:08 PM
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Took the Nobilette out on the Minuteman mid-afternoon on Wednesday, with the goal of riding the little road bike the way I had ridden the big old Atlantis last Sunday, to see if I could better that time. It worked like a charm: standing on the pedals to accelerate through balky gear ratios got me an additional 1 mph on my average speed for the course, compared to the Atlantis run. This matched an average speed on the same course logged on August 12, 2021; when I traced the post for that ride, I discovered the bike was the old GT Karakoram, then sporting its Summer tires, Rene Herse 559-55 Humtulips Ridge Extralights, dual purpose knobbies. More food for thought. For reference, the Nobilette was sporting 622-28 Rene Herse Chinook Pass Extralights, supple but much smaller than either of the 55mm tires whose time they're being compared to.

Just took one photo of Wednesday's ride, at the turnaround.


It was a whizzy ride. Will try it again sometime when the Minuteman is empty.

rod.

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Old 05-26-23, 09:10 PM
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Was at liberty for a couple of hours Friday afternoon, and took the Sam Hillborne out the Minuteman to Depot Park and back.


One of my goals was to adjust the seat height, and possibly other parameters, to cure a problem I'd noticed the last few times I'd ridden the bike: it pleased neither my crotch nor my knees. After observing what seemed to be the problem, I did a trailside adjustment to lower the seat height and aligned the seat rotation with the top tube. Neither were large changes, but taken together they made the bike much more comfortable, and my pedal strokes noticeably more powerful.

The Girl Scouts put up a hand-drawn poster about foxes at Arlington's Great Meadow. After I saw it, I found myself singing the old Reynardine ballad all the way home.


rod
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Old 05-27-23, 03:14 PM
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My wife and I went for a ride on the BFRT today. We drove out and parked at the dedicated rail trail lot at West Concord, adjacent to the train station. It's a really convenient set up.

We rode northwest toward Chelmsford. The BFRT was as busy as I have ever seen it. Of course, that doesn't come close to the insanity of the MM on a nice weekend day like this. As was previously reported, the bridge over Route 2 has its final pavement now. Furthermore, the "Trail Closed" signs that were there a week ago are gone:



A nice view from the bridge:



The parking lot at Heart Pond was pretty crowded, but there weren't many people actually on the beach:



I rode the Fuji, my wife her FX3:



We agreed on a 20 mile round trip, so we turned back at High St Chelmsford. The ride back was just as pleasant as the way out.

After stowing the bikes in the car, we treated ourselves to lunch at Nashoba Brook Bakery (a short walk from the lot.) The place was hopping, including a bunch of cyclists.



Overall it was a great day, and a nice change of scenery. Last fall I cycled to the BFRT via the MM, the RBT, and Strawberry Hill Rd. I am hoping to do that again soon.

Tom
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Old 05-27-23, 07:51 PM
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us too! just later in the day

not too hot, but nice & warm. love the shady trail
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