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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 07-07-23, 12:58 PM
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I got out early today (8:30am - early for me) and headed out to Concord via the MM and the Reformatory Branch Trail. I hadn't been on the RBT in over a month - there were actually several new things to note.

The surface conditions were pretty good. There were some muddy sections, but nothing terrible.

The first change of note was that the Bedford Water Dept access driveway has been freshly paved:



When I passed through, there was a work crew fussing with the five green bollards (S M I L E) where the driveway meets the unpaved RBT.

The other item of note, is that the new bathrooms are finally under construction at GMNWR. Unfortunately, they look to be of the unheated, waterless, concrete block type that a GMNWR worker told me about during a walk there last winter. That seems like a step backward to me. Sorry, I didn't get a clear picture.

The obligatory "I was there" photo at Lowell Rd:



On the way back, I stopped to check out Peeper's Pond in Lexington. The waterfowl were very cooperative in posing for a nice portrait:



Swans and geese living together - oh no!

It was a good ride. I am glad I went early in the day. About 28 miles roundtrip.

Tom

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Old 07-07-23, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
When I passed through, there was a work crew fussing with the five green bollards (S M I L E) where the driveway meets the unpaved RBT.
those are so odd. what were they doing?
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Old 07-07-23, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
those are so odd. what were they doing?
I couldn't tell as I was riding by, in either direction, what they were doing. However, take a look at this image I grabbed as I approached them outbound:



I only see 4 bollards in this view. Maybe they spaced them out? I think the 5 were closer together before.

Will definitely give that a closer look next time I am out that way.
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Old 07-07-23, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I couldn't tell as I was riding by, in either direction, what they were doing. However, take a look at this image I grabbed as I approached them outbound:

I only see 4 bollards in this view. Maybe they spaced them out? I think the 5 were closer together before.

Will definitely give that a closer look next time I am out that way.
ahh thank you. Yeah can’t spell smile w/ only 4 bollards. The plot thickens!
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Old 07-12-23, 07:59 AM
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Yesterday I finally managed to get on a bike again, after an unintended hiatus of over two weeks (rain, work, bad back). I had about an hour and a half before lunch, on the Lotus. The creaking I heard last time, and dismissed as coming from the slightly pitted spindle, was in fact the left crank working loose, and the right one followed suit during my outing today. I guess I should have rummaged around for that Allen attachment for my torque wrench. Well, let's hope I caught it in time. This now settles the cartridge BB versus period-correct cup-and-cone question. Cartridge it shall be, with Loctite on the crank bolts, hopefully never to be disturbed again under my watch.

The brief time window and my still somewhat sore back demanded an easy, smooth route, so I picked the familiar roads to the BFRT, NARA Park, and back again. The trail was only semi-busy, it being a weekday, so I managed a speed attempt between Greenwood Rd and Griffin Rd that produced a satisfying 30mph max. reading in the very slight uphill direction. (Oddly enough, on the return run later on, nominally downhill, I topped out at 29. I didn't notice at the time but weather observations show that there was a bit of wind from the NW involved.)

NARA was predictably popular, but the playground much more so than the beach, despite two lifeguards on duty and the fleet of pedal boats now available for rent. I still decided to limit myself to this discreet shot.



My customary walk around the pond brought sightings of painted turtles and mother and daughter mallards, both resulting in inadequate photos taken with one hand in the full sun i.e. pretty much aiming blindly. The waterlilies made for an easier subject.



2+ weeks in full summer made for quite a difference in the trailside vegetation. A quick Google collage of the day's identified species:

Clockwise from top right we have butterfly milkweed, a particularly showy Rudbeckia that my app couldn't quite resolve to species level, annual fleabane, a likewise unidentified species of sunflower (Helianthus), and finally spotted knapweed, the only invasive species this time around. All in and around NARA Park.

15.9 miles and 545 vertical feet.
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Old 07-12-23, 03:08 PM
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Once again I got out early today, in an effort to beat the heat. I took the Fuji out to Depot Park via the MM.

Thank goodness for the shade cover. This is along the last mile of the MM before the Depot:



Welcome shade at the Depot itself:




These work vehicles made for a somewhat scary pass on the way back to Lexington Center:



The signs imply they are halfway there with getting the outside restrooms online again at the Lexington Visitor's Center, but I didn't verify:



I was glad to be back home before 11 and avoid the heat of the midday sun.

Tom

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Old 07-12-23, 10:57 PM
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Took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler on a quick, shady ride on the Minuteman in the heat of the day.


The Lexington Bike Committee has been busy: new signs.








That 15 mph limit on pet speeds may be tough for greyhounds to comply with...

rod

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Old 07-13-23, 05:26 AM
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Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury shortly after 6:00 this morning.
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Old 07-13-23, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh

Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury shortly after 6:00 this morning.
Beautiful!!!

rod
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Old 07-13-23, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury shortly after 6:00 this morning.
just look at that steamy humidity! how was your ride?
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Old 07-13-23, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler on a quick, shady ride on the Minuteman in the heat of the day.
The Lexington Bike Committee has been busy: new signs.
That 15 mph limit on pet speeds may be tough for greyhounds to comply with...
funny, but seriously, wow! nice new signs! hope ppl read them! thank you for sharing!
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Old 07-13-23, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
Once again I got out early today, in an effort to beat the heat. I took the Fuji out to Depot Park via the MM.
These work vehicles made for a somewhat scary pass on the way back to Lexington Center:
interesting trucks, is that one in front, a tanker? can't imagine a landscape committee would plant anything that requires watering. were they doing something w/ cement?
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Old 07-13-23, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
interesting trucks, is that one in front, a tanker? can't imagine a landscape committee would plant anything that requires watering. were they doing something w/ cement?
Yes, it was a tanker. Don't think they were doing anything with cement.
The trucks completely blocked my view of the right shoulder, so I couldn't see what they were doing.
Maybe they were spraying invasive plant species?
(though that was an awful big tanker for that!)
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Old 07-13-23, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
funny, but seriously, wow! nice new signs! hope ppl read them! thank you for sharing!
I've also noticed those signs over the past few weeks, but I was always going too fast to read them...just kidding.

A real issue that needs to be dealt with is battery powered vehicles. Almost every ride now on the MM I see someone riding what is basically an electric motor cycle. Even if those folks obeyed a 15 MPH limit, the mass involved in a collision would devastating. Defeats the point of an off-street path for pedestrians and cyclists.
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Old 07-13-23, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
just look at that steamy humidity! how was your ride?
pretty good!
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Old 07-13-23, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I've also noticed those signs over the past few weeks, but I was always going too fast to read them...just kidding.

A real issue that needs to be dealt with is battery powered vehicles. Almost every ride now on the MM I see someone riding what is basically an electric motor cycle. Even if those folks obeyed a 15 MPH limit, the mass involved in a collision would devastating. Defeats the point of an off-street path for pedestrians and cyclists.
yeah I trust your intuition. it will probably take a serious injury to get any law enforcement involved, I'm afraid. I remember riding w/ Wifey & we got passed by a cpl weaving in & out definitely going over 15. it was a terrible display
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Old 07-14-23, 11:00 PM
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So, I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler out for a ramble, to explore the Green Line Extension Path, a.k.a. the Somerville Community Path Extension, what you will. This involved a big dose of novelty plunked down in the middle of familiar things, and got me thinking about just what I was seeing. For example, the good old familiar Somerville Community Path, with its charismatic public art, was new once upon a time, and still shows us a trick or two on occasion.


The open gate (really, absent gate) at Lowell Street is new, although we've been waiting so long for it that it was starting to get old.


I pedaled along the path, silently chanting "New new new!", no doubt grinning like a fool.


Just when I thought I was getting the hang of the novelty...


... the path was transmogrified into a pair of protected bike lanes along the road adjacent to the rails.


Old bridges were seen from fresh angles, in new contexts.


These street art murals were new to me, and made me smile. Hope they are allowed to age.


Those of us who associate rail trails with the gentle grades of railroad beds will find some of the climbs and descents on this path novel.


I reached Lechmere at last, and wandered over the North Bank Bridge, which still feels new to me, even though it is a friendly and familiar affordance by now.


I turned around at the Boston Navy Yard, with its ancient wooden ship restored continually through the years, definitely old enough to know better.


I rolled home on the Cambridge side of the river, by familiar paths.

rod

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Old 07-15-23, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
So, I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler out for a ramble, to explore the Green Line Extension Path, a.k.a. the Somerville Community Path Extension, what you will. This involved a big dose of novelty plunked down in the middle of familiar things, and got me thinking about just what I was seeing. For example, the good old familiar Somerville Community Path, with its charismatic public art, was new once upon a time, and still shows us a trick or two on occasion.


The open gate (really, absent gate) at Lowell Street is new, although we've been waiting so long for it that it was starting to get old.


I pedaled along the path, silently chanting "New new new!", no doubt grinning like a fool.


Just when I thought I was getting the hang of the novelty...


... the path was transmogrified into a pair of protected bike lanes along the road adjacent to the rails.


Old bridges were seen from fresh angles, in new contexts.


These street art murals were new to me, and made me smile. Hope they are allowed to age.


Those of us who associate rail trails with the gentle grades of railroad beds will find some of the climbs and descents on this path novel.


I reached Lechmere at last, and wandered over the North Bank Bridge, which still feels new to me, even though it is a friendly and familiar affordance by now.


I turned around at the Boston Navy Yard, with its ancient wooden ship restored continually through the years, definitely old enough to know better.


I rolled home on the Cambridge side of the river, by familiar paths.

rod
Great pictures! Yeah, it really is a mind trip making that journey along the new path. When I did it a few weeks ago, I felt like I had gone through a worm hole when I suddenly found myself under the Zakim bridge. I turned around in Paul Revere Park, not realizing how close I was to the Navy Yard.

BTW: I am glad to see that the North Bank bridge is fully open again. The day I was there, they were painting the railings (I think) so it was only half-width. Made for a very tight squeeze.

It is great that you did a loop using the Charles River paths. To get from the North Bank area to the river path, did you basically cross Rt 28 at Museum Way and then use the Land Blvd sidewalk to get to the Dudley White path?

Tom
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Old 07-15-23, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
...
To get from the North Bank area to the river path, did you basically cross Rt 28 at Museum Way and then use the Land Blvd sidewalk to get to the Dudley White path?

Tom
What you describe is what I should have done, and what I've done on other occasions. What I did this time was stupid and dangerous, and I won't go into it in detail, except to say that at one point I was standing in the middle of a very busy street listening to the music of the car horns. Mistakes were made. No pictures of that. ;-)

Thanks for your concise and lucid instructions for the right way to navigate a complex and dangerous intersection.

rod
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Old 07-15-23, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
What you describe is what I should have done, and what I've done on other occasions. What I did this time was stupid and dangerous, and I won't go into it in detail, except to say that at one point I was standing in the middle of a very busy street listening to the music of the car horns. Mistakes were made. No pictures of that. ;-)

Thanks for your concise and lucid instructions for the right way to navigate a complex and dangerous intersection.

rod


Sigh. Glad you got through OK.

We've got new paths coming on line at a regular pace lately, which is great, but there exist many gaps for safe passage between them. Another example is Alewife to Fresh Pond to pick up the Watertown Cambridge Greenway. I use the west sidewalk on the Alewife Parkway Bridge to get over the tracks and down to Concord Ave, but it leaves something to be desired.

As for the Lechmere area: if there were signs at the southern end of the Somerville Community Path indicating wayfinding to North Point, Paul Revere Park, Dudley White Paths, etc., I didn't see them. It seemed like it just dumps you out near the new Lechmere station. I grant that I may have missed them, so I will have to look more closely next time.

Tom
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Old 07-15-23, 02:00 PM
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As the forecast for Sunday morning racing at the Londonderry velodrome kept deteriorating, I started converting my track bike to road spec on Thursday night. Clincher wheels (single speed freehub), clip-and-strap pedals, and brakes went on, but my available time window was closing, plus I couldn't remember right away which chain I had been using. So this wasn't finished until Friday evening. I immediately set out on my customary 7 mile ride into Westford, carrying only my phone and not even stopping once, so no pictures. It had been almost three weeks since the last time on the Van Dessel and I thought about putting the easy 42 tooth ring on, but in the event 45x16 worked fine.

This morning, the Sunday forecast for Manchester airport (the track is just south of it) had gotten even worse, while the immediate hours ahead seemed fairly safe. However my suggestion to the group to switch racing to today met with nearly universal silence, so I added the bottle holder, put the bike in the trunk, and drove to the Chelmsford library to do a long stretch on the BFRT instead. The brakes needed a little trailside adjustment and in this time, several family groups on foot passed me in both directions; a sign of things to come, as it was to be a shared use path, indeed, today. I stuck to modest speeds and sitting upright with my thumbs hooked on the brake levers, ready for the usual kid/dog/adult-who-should-know-better shenanigans.

Thus I reached NARA Park in about half an hour and saw that I took those wildflower shots, above in #10830, just in time. The trailside had been mowed several feet out in the meantime. Yes, the lush growth in that narrow, twisty section was becoming a hazard (still is in many other spots all along the trail), but why take it all down when a foot or two would do.

I continued on to the Mass Ave/MCI parking lot and at that point the sun was beating down and I wasn't wearing sunscreen. I rested and snacked in the shade, and thus found other wild things to document.



Mushrooms my app couldn't (or wouldn't, per their legal department) identify. Not that I would ever gather any wild mushrooms, period. Really lopsided risk/reward ratio there.

The mosquitoes were vicious under the trees and the sky clouded over again, so I re-emerged into the parking lot and stumbled on this sight.



I can only venture a guess that the snapper found her customary nesting site suddenly paved over this season, but apparently some quick thinking saved the situation for now, and maybe this can become a teaching moment for the local schools.

I turned around and started back home, already a little late for lunch, and noticing that the sky had turned fairly dark in the north. Trail traffic was lighter and I maintained a good clip, but it was no use. By the time I reached Westford, the trail was soaking wet, and so were the oncoming joggers and cyclists. Maybe I missed.... ah, no. I'm riding straight into it! Soon it was coming down hard and I had to slow down as my glasses were in need of frequent wiping, and my rim brakes much diminished in stopping power. I kept going, through ever deepening puddles, soaked through and through, but not cold. An elderly man up ahead was decked out in a huge, billowing, blue rain cape, swinging his walking stick undeterred. I yelled "you came prepared!" as I passed, to his obvious delight. I passed Heart Pond with its rain shelters and almost instantly regretted it as the downpour reached a first crescendo. It didn't matter anymore. Three cyclists were already huddled in the trailside shelter at the Brickhouse. No room, and no point. I had to dismount for the downhill out of the parking lot, as it was quickly turning into a river. Pushing the bike through a six inch puddle at the bottom, I turned the corner and found a protected entrance.



I was finally able to text my wife that I was fine, and soon after managed to push on to the library in a brief lull, but the grand finale was still to come. Another five minutes under the eaves of the library entrance, and it was over like a switch had been thrown, without so much as a rainbow. I got to my car, stowed the bike, wrung out the hem of my shirt, and found a reusable shopping bag to sit on for the two miles home. Only to find that the downpour almost completely missed my house!

21.6 miles and 512 vertical feet.
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Old 07-15-23, 09:52 PM
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Took the OAC Rambler Saturday afternoon and rode East, hills and traffic, traffic and hills, through the highlands of Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, sweating the climbs and evaporating the descents, most of the drivers keeping themselves to themselves, with one conspicuous and lamentable exception on a side street in Melrose, but perhaps the heat and humidity had made him grouchy, poor baby. The Buddha counsels against karmic entanglement in such cases, with detachment, compassion, and loving kindness as needed: who's going to argue with that?


I realized that I had just clocked 1000 miles on the Rambler, since building it up in January, 2022. It's a dandy, and I've been taking the time to explore just how it wants to be ridden, what to expect of it. Coincidently, this afternoon I felt I had ridden most of that 1000 miles today: must have been the weather, and perhaps yesterday's ride thrown in, but I felt completely washed out by the end of today's ride. I'll ride another 1000 miles next week, and balance things out.

rod

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Old 07-16-23, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
snapping turtle nest sign
good thing coyotes can't read, eh?
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Old 07-17-23, 10:28 PM
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Took the OAC Rambler out for yet another ride on a warm and humid day, up the Minuteman this time.


I hadn't inquired about the Air Quality Index prior to the ride, but it turns out Canada is sharing again today; the air was visible and tasty. I hadn't brought a mask along, for once, so just enjoyed the ride, and made a mental note to add an AQI check to my pre-ride checklist.


I stopped to look in on Sam and complain about the weather. He didn't want to hear about it, had his own troubles, he said, and suggested that if I didn't like the sun, I might prefer the shade.


He was right, of course: the leafy green segments of the Minuteman were just what the doctor ordered (well, the doctor would have ordered a particulate mask for the smoke, but why quibble?) and I rode happily up to Lexington Center and back.


I paused to look in on the Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders, and noted they've made some small modifications to their kayak totem. Or is it a jet ski...?


No accounting for progress.

rod
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Old 07-18-23, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
I hadn't inquired about the Air Quality Index prior to the ride, but it turns out Canada is sharing again today; the air was visible and tasty. I hadn't brought a mask along, for once, so just enjoyed the ride, and made a mental note to add an AQI check to my pre-ride checklist.
oh please, thought we ere done riding w/ masks after covid
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