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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 07-31-23, 10:26 PM
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Rolled the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler out for a quick spin on the Minuteman Monday before dinner. Took a photo of Peepers Pond looking positively toxic; perhaps the film crew is back to make the sequel to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space".


The other unwholesome phenomenon noticed involved a plague of aggressive (and silent) high-speed passing maneuvers, including one episode involving a middle-aged man with a toddler in a carrier seat. Hey, buddy, do you know where the brakes for that thing are? I'm not sure it was any worse than any other day on the Minuteman, but it was my turn to notice.

rod

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Old 08-01-23, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I decided today was a good day to finally do the urban loop that I have been envisioning. Others have posted variations of this - here is what I did:
  • Minuteman to Alewife
  • Alewife Linear Park to Davis Square
  • Somerville Community Path, including GLX extension, to Lechmere / North Point Park
  • Dudley White Bike Path on Cambridge side of Charles to Watertown
  • Watertown Cambridge Greenway to Alewife
  • Minuteman back to Arlington
It was quite the urban tour!

I crossed Route 28 at Museum Way, and used the Land Blvd sidewalk to get onto the bike path along what's called Cambridge Parkway. The path there seems very new:




To be honest, I didn't initially realize there was a dedicated bike path and was riding on the sidewalk next to the river (to the consternation of some pedestrians.)
I should mention that it was a tight squeeze passing under the Longfellow Bridge: the bike path seemed to disappear there and all users are forced onto a narrow sidewalk,

By MIT, showing the BU "Jenga" building on the far left:


Quite a ride!
intriguing!
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Old 08-02-23, 02:01 PM
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Following the novelty of Monday's urban ride, this morning I decided to do something familiar and comforting. I rode the classic Fuji out to Depot Park.

The Depot was in fact very calm and comforting:



I've probably said this before, but I have realized that while I enjoy the brifters, hydraulic discs, etc. on the Checkpoint, the old Fuji, in its own way, is just as satisfying to ride. Of course, I wouldn't ride the Fuji, currently shod with 25mm Paselas, on the Reformatory Branch or, for that matter, on the cratered pavement of the Cambridge loop. Its nice to have options, especially when each is so pleasant.

I stopped to check out Peeper's Pond on the way home. The pea soup seems to have gotten even thicker. It looks so dense, I think these ducks could walk across if they wanted to:



The roundtrip was the usual 19 miles, which as I noted on Monday, is essentially the same as my tour along the Charles.

Tom
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Old 08-02-23, 10:22 PM
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Went skedaddling at a good clip out to Lexington Center and back via the Minuteman, on the Nobilette, Wednesday afternoon. The bike was rarin' to go, and I made one of my faster times on that route. I took care not to be one of those bikes, but how well I succeeded, I would probably be the last to know. Here's the bike in the lush underbrush of Arlington's Great Meadow, looking like it escaped from a View-Master.


I got the ride I needed, and had a good deal of fun in the process. Bicycle therapy.

rod

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Old 08-04-23, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Went skedaddling at a good clip out to Lexington Center and back via the Minuteman, on the Nobilette, Wednesday afternoon. The bike was rarin' to go, and I made one of my faster times on that route. I took care not to be one of those bikes, but how well I succeeded, I would probably be the last to know. Here's the bike in the lush underbrush of Arlington's Great Meadow, looking like it escaped from a View-Master.


I got the ride I needed, and had a good deal of fun in the process. Bicycle therapy.

rod
Hey, a Nobilette friend! My mom had hers made ~1984 when he was still in Ann Arbor and I've been riding it since 2010. I used to commute on mine on the Minuteman as well

I don't take photos very often, but here she is in the spring matching some peonies.


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Old 08-04-23, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by xanthochrome
Hey, a Nobilette friend! My mom had hers made ~1984 when he was still in Ann Arbor and I've been riding it since 2010. I used to commute on mine on the Minuteman as well

I don't take photos very often, but here she is in the spring matching some peonies.

Welcome to this thread! What a beautiful bicycle that is, fully chromed, no less! That it was built for your mother and you're a second-generation family rider is a lovely story!

I only built mine up (which is to say, had Battle Road Bikes do the work) from a frame and fork this year, and am still getting used to it. You've been riding yours for some years: what have you learned about the bike, what changes have you made to adapt it to your needs?

rod
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Old 08-04-23, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Welcome to this thread! What a beautiful bicycle that is, fully chromed, no less! That it was built for your mother and you're a second-generation family rider is a lovely story!

I only built mine up (which is to say, had Battle Road Bikes do the work) from a frame and fork this year, and am still getting used to it. You've been riding yours for some years: what have you learned about the bike, what changes have you made to adapt it to your needs?

rod
Nobilette sadly says he doesn't have a record of the frame but after thinking about it for a while and without prompting my mom said 'Nieble......Noble....Nobilette!'. Good enough for me, especially when she was in Ann Arbor at the time. She then said she had a flood of memories when she saw his logo and remembered getting into a bit of a fight with him about the chrome. Apparently she had the frame and fork shipped to a motorcycle place in Tennessee for chroming against his wishes before it was built up. She had a fully chromed Schwinn before having this made and decided she was just a chrome person. It was her only bicycle through the early 90's when she basically stopped riding, and she didn't have a car until she decided to have kids so this was her commuter/grocery shopper/weekend rider.

I've made a few changes: most importantly, everything became pink! I put on a prettier rack, got a new saddle, switched out to pedals that are flat on one side and SPD on the other, switched the brake levers to Dura Ace but only because of brake hood fitting issues on the originals, the wheels to 700c from 27" to get slightly wider tires (25/28, so still not wide!), derailleurs to Shimano 600EX to match most of the other components when I found a good price on eBay many years ago. Just now I switched the front crankset to a triple and put on a longer cage RD for a move to a much hillier area, but until that the original gearing was fine. I did not need to change the stem or handlebars or anything else for fitting purposes, as my mom is basically the same size as I am. It's roughly a size 52 equivalent with 36cm handlebars, no clue what the stem is.

What are you still getting used to on yours? The biggest adjustment for me was downtube friction shifting, but I love how easy it has made switching derailleurs etc. for someone who has never worked on anything mechanical other than this bike. I have put at least 15,000 miles on it since I got it and likely more, as I also have not had a car since I moved to Boston in 2010.

A few more fun photos:

A trip to the vet for a checkup on a drizzly day:



Winning the 'Bike Looks Most Like Owner' prize at the Somerville Bike Kitchen Bike Pageant last summer:



And a view near Wachusett on a solo two night camping trip, also last summer. Sewing those pink bags to match the bike was a weekend project when my partner wanted me to help him sew a frame bag. I had never made bags but do sew quite a bit and luckily it mostly carried over! I wish I had used a stiffer side support for the top tube bag, but you live and learn.


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Old 08-04-23, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by xanthochrome
... Apparently she had the frame and fork shipped to a motorcycle place in Tennessee for chroming against his wishes before it was built up. She had a fully chromed Schwinn before having this made and decided she was just a chrome person....

I've made a few changes: most importantly, everything became pink! I put on a prettier rack, got a new saddle, switched out to pedals that are flat on one side and SPD on the other, switched the brake levers to Dura Ace but only because of brake hood fitting issues on the originals, the wheels to 700c from 27" to get slightly wider tires (25/28, so still not wide!), derailleurs to Shimano 600EX to match most of the other components when I found a good price on eBay many years ago. Just now I switched the front crankset to a triple and put on a longer cage RD for a move to a much hillier area, but until that the original gearing was fine. I did not need to change the stem or handlebars or anything else for fitting purposes, as my mom is basically the same size as I am. It's roughly a size 52 equivalent with 36cm handlebars, no clue what the stem is....

What are you still getting used to on yours? The biggest adjustment for me was downtube friction shifting, but I love how easy it has made switching derailleurs etc. for someone who has never worked on anything mechanical other than this bike. I have put at least 15,000 miles on it since I got it and likely more, as I also have not had a car since I moved to Boston in 2010.

...
Winning the 'Bike Looks Most Like Owner' prize at the Somerville Bike Kitchen Bike Pageant last summer:




...
Sending the Nobilette to be chromed gave your mom a custom-custom. And a stunning bike!

I like all the mechanical changes, particularly the move to the triple. And for all the pinkness, brava!

On my bike, the thing I can easily point to that I'm getting used to is the bike's quickness. This is not a complaint. The relatively small, for me, tire size (28mm, Rene Herse Chinook Pass Extralights, inflated to 75PSI) is taking a bit of getting used to, but the tires themselves have a remarkable amount of pneumatic suspension, for their size, and I'm enjoying the ride. There may be some geometry things that I haven't properly thought about yet, and thus can't really speak about them. The bike was built with a Columbus TSX tubeset, intended for professional racers for use on staged climbs and long races. My build has more or less turned it into a sport-touring bike. The lack of braze-ons for racks and fenders puts a limit on that, of course. But it's comfortable, as well as quick. I'm running friction shifting too, using Suntour Power Ratchet bar end shifters, with a Sugino triple crank. Other bits are a mix of Shimano, IRD, and Paul. All that stuff feels familiar, but the integrated whole still seems rare, strange, and wonderful.

rod

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Old 08-04-23, 10:17 PM
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Heedful of the forecast rain, I took the Rambler with its fenders out to Depot Park in the afternoon.


No rain fell, however.

rod
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Old 08-04-23, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Sending the Nobilette to be chromed gave your mom a custom-custom. And a stunning bike!

I like all the mechanical changes, particularly the move to the triple. And for all the pinkness, brava!

On my bike, the thing I can easily point to that I'm getting used to is the bike's quickness. This is not a complaint. The relatively small, for me, tire size (28mm, Rene Herse Chinook Pass Extralights, inflated to 75PSI) is taking a bit of getting used to, but the tires themselves have a remarkable amount of pneumatic suspension, for their size, and I'm enjoying the ride. There may be some geometry things that I haven't properly thought about yet, and thus can't really speak about them. The bike was built with a Columbus TSX tubeset, intended for professional racers for use on staged climbs and long races. My build has more or less turned it into a sport-touring bike. The lack of braze-ons for racks and fenders puts a limit on that, of course. But it's comfortable, as well as quick. I'm running friction shifting too, using Suntour Power Ratchet bar end shifters, with a Sugino triple crank. Other bits are a mix of Shimano, IRD, and Paul. All that stuff feels familiar, but the integrated whole still seems rare, strange, and wonderful.

rod
It's funny because mine doesn't feel 'quick' at all. It feels very smooth, almost like it pedals itself (especially on the Minuteman heading towards Alewife! ). I'm not sure how much that's geometry vs tubeset material vs tires or what. My tires are very chunky -- I have a Schwalbe Durano Plus on the rear which apparently weighs a whopping 480g. Yours also visually looks like a smaller wheelbase than mine proportionally and maybe even overall, so maybe that's contributing to the quickness? Regardless, I'm glad it feels wonderful and unique with that mix of components! Maybe it's fun to feel like you're discovering new personalities instead of getting used to a bike. And I'm very glad to have made a Nobilette friend in Boston We even both have Sugino triples now.

Originally Posted by rholland1951
Heedful of the forecast rain, I took the Rambler with its fenders out to Depot Park in the afternoon.


No rain fell, however.

rod
Thank you for single-handedly keeping the rain away!
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Old 08-05-23, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by xanthochrome
It's funny because mine doesn't feel 'quick' at all. It feels very smooth, almost like it pedals itself (especially on the Minuteman heading towards Alewife! ). I'm not sure how much that's geometry vs tubeset material vs tires or what. My tires are very chunky -- I have a Schwalbe Durano Plus on the rear which apparently weighs a whopping 480g. Yours also visually looks like a smaller wheelbase than mine proportionally and maybe even overall, so maybe that's contributing to the quickness? Regardless, I'm glad it feels wonderful and unique with that mix of components! Maybe it's fun to feel like you're discovering new personalities instead of getting used to a bike. And I'm very glad to have made a Nobilette friend in Boston We even both have Sugino triples now.
This conversation is inspiring me to contact Mark Nobilette to see if he has any information about my bike's origins. Very happy to meet you! Perhaps we'll run into each other (figuratively speaking, of course) on the Minuteman.

Thank you for single-handedly keeping the rain away!
My pleasure. Weather magic has an important role to play in cycling.

rod
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Old 08-05-23, 04:38 PM
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After many trips out to Depot Park and Concord on the Minuteman and Reformatory Branch over the past few weeks, plus the urban loop along the Charles, I decided it was a good time to revisit the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

My wife signed on for a 20 mile roundtrip, so I loaded the bikes in the car and we drove out to the West Concord trail head. The weather was fabulous.

In the past we had only gone north from that parking area, over the new Route 2 bridge. Today we started out by exploring the 2 mile spur southward to the Sudbury line. Once you get past the congestion of the train station and Route 62, it is quite bucolic:



We turned around at Powder Mill Rd, the current southern terminus of the paved trail, and retraced our path, then up and over the bridge. Almost a bird's eye view from up there:



We stopped to avail ourselves of the facilities at Nara Park. Bathrooms with actual running water!



I think we ended our northern trek a bit shy of Heart Pond, sticking to the agreed upon 20 mile ride.

After stowing the bikes in the car, we enjoyed a great lunch at Nashoba Brook Bakery, which was actually pretty quiet.

We walked back to the car along the brook, behind the Brookside Square apartments. They have a really nice view of the brook, including where it crosses under the BFRT:



A great ride on a beautiful summer day.

Tom
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Old 08-05-23, 10:19 PM
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On Saturday afternoon, I took the Nobilette East for a turn on the hills-and-traffic drill through the roads of Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham.


I kept a fast pace on this ride, almost entirely on the streets, with just a little excursion on the Northern Strand. I gave the Nobilette a good exercise, and it returned the favor. The skinny 28mm Rene Herse Chinook Pass Extralights handled the stretches of rough pavement (e.g., Salem Street, Medford) with more grace than expected, and climbed and descended with intensity and control. Wheee!!!


I gave some thought to @xanthochrome's observation that the wheelbase of this bike is relatively short, and that that may affect the impression of it as "quick". There's definitely something to that. Here's a photo illustrating the wheelbase, with the rear wheel more or less tucked underneath the rider, along with a view of one of the Fellsmere Park jets d'eau thrown in just for the fun of it. Lots of maneuvering in traffic, at speed, today, but no pictures of that.


rod

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Old 08-06-23, 11:06 PM
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Busy day, Sunday, but I was able to take the Nobilette on a spirited sprint up the Mystic Valley Parkway, along the Mystic Lakes. The various scenes there were relatively quiet, which is not to say nobody was enjoying themselves. For example, this young boy was learning to throw rocks, an important life skill.


Two couples in kayaks paddled space-filling curves on the Lower Mystic Lake.


Shannon Beach soldiered on, with somewhat fewer soldiers than on some days. I found myself enjoying the footprints, put in high relief by the angle of the afternoon sun..


rod

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Old 08-07-23, 09:40 PM
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Monday, took the Rambler and cranked out to Lexington Center on the Minuteman in a focused sprint before dinner. I took one photo, which serves to illustrate that there was all the verdure you could eat (if you're a goat).


rod
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Old 08-08-23, 09:58 PM
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Tuesday, after the deluge, I put the Rivendell Rambouillet back in the rotation with a speedy ride up the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back. I reacquainted myself with this old bike, a pleasure to ride.


As I was leaning the Rambouillet against a tree to take its picture, a voice (I didn't see the speaker) called out to me. @bike_tom, was that you? Meanwhile, the Rambouillet was happy to talk to the trees. To me, it said, "Don't forget to steer." I never argue with a bicycle about things like that...

rod
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Old 08-09-23, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
As I was leaning the Rambouillet against a tree to take its picture, a voice (I didn't see the speaker) called out to me. @bike_tom, was that you? Meanwhile, the Rambouillet was happy to talk to the trees. To me, it said, "Don't forget to steer." I never argue with a bicycle about things like that...

rod
No, that wasn't me. Didn't have a chance to ride yesterday.

I do hope to be out there sometime today..

Tom
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Old 08-09-23, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
No, that wasn't me. Didn't have a chance to ride yesterday.

I do hope to be out there sometime today..

Tom
It's a mystery, then! Hello to whoever that was!

rod

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Old 08-09-23, 04:07 PM
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Rode out to Concord this afternoon via the Minuteman and the Reformatory Branch Trail. The weather was great, and the RBT was fine despite the downpour yesterday morning. It seems it is not taking that long for the trail to dry out after a heavy rain. There were however a number of washouts and gullies that one needed to keep an eye out for.

This is near the eastern end of the RBT, which is typically pretty dry:



This is a wetter but still fine section near Concord Rd:



The new restrooms at Great Meadows appear complete:



I tried the doors however and found them to be locked. I am curious to see if it is easy to bring a bike inside, as at Depot Park.

A lush and tranquil view along the RBT at Great Meadows:



On the return trip I had Depot Park to myself:


You can see that there were many cars parked in the Depot Park lot. A quick scan showed that quite a few of them had bike racks.

This partially downed tree was blocking the westbound side of the MM near Ryder St in Arlington:



On the way out I almost got a face full of said tree!

The ride was a pleasant ~28 miles.
( rholland1951 , if you were out there, I didn't spot you)
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Old 08-09-23, 06:13 PM
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The summer of deluges continues, and it's been making a real dent in my training miles. I only averaged about 100 miles/month in June and July. Not surprisingly, the last couple of times at the track, I've been struggling to keep pace. Time to dial up the effort! Today saw me heading out just before 2pm on the Van Dessel, road-equipped with freehub and brakes, but in single speed. 46x16, the 46t chainring being brand new, a $10 ebay find.

I knew this gear ratio was going to be challenging on longer, steeper uphill sections, more so if today's double-digit wind should be in my face. The plan was out-and-back on the BFRT once again, and pretty much all-out on the first leg, which would be net downhill and with the wind in my favor. Well, as "all-out" as was consistent with being in 46x16 and sharing the trail responsibly. Except for a couple of lights and crossings, I didn't stop from my house all the way to MCI Concord. I later calculated an average of almost exactly 17mph. Less than I had hoped for, in the favorable direction. Must have been my loose-fitting shirt

The BFRT past Mass. Ave. is terra incognita for me, so I dialed down the speed a lot and soon rolled into West Concord station, which seemed like a good spot to rest and turn around.



The bike shelter looked recent and doesn't seem to be present in the satellite view. Unfortunately there was only one bench in the immediate area, occupied by a lady with clearly lots of time on her hands, and lots of things to tell on her phone. I preferred to eat my snack leaning against the bike rack instead, and then I backtracked to the bridge over Nashoba Brook, not without noticing that the residents here were temporarily enjoying water views on both sides.



No sooner had I installed my still-unwinding self on one of the benches there than I became aware of another, much younger, female excitedly using a phone. A girl of about seven, with likely her mom and younger brother nearby, and it became clear that she was negotiating when and where (not if!) there would be ice cream. With a skip in her step. Obviously no more important subject in the world, the mom and I agreed with a smile.

I got back on the trail and started the return leg, now net uphill and against the wind, and capped off with the long climb almost all the way to my house after leaving the BFRT. So my pace was much more sedate, except when I found my customary drag strip in Westford empty of other trail users. I topped out at 27 mph, on tired legs and against the wind, I'll take that.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Along the trail in Acton, I noticed the two new bikeshare stations seemed to be in operation.



Their website hasn't even been updated with this information yet. Not that the program is of direct interest to us, but I will try to keep in mind that less experienced riders on what look like lumbering hulks of bicycles will start appearing further and further north.

I also stopped at NARA Park for a comfort break, and to push my bike around the pond, as well as through scores of (well behaved and adult supervised) children in swimsuits.

I left the trail at Heart Pond, which by contrast was deserted; the beach has been closed for quite some time due to an algae bloom. Onward and, soon after, upward. The hill was conquered, with a little out-of-saddle work, and the ride added up to 25.9 miles and 717 feet climbed.
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Old 08-09-23, 10:19 PM
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Took the Rambouillet out on the Minuteman for a midday ride on Wednesday. Kept a good pace, and got more out of the bike than I did yesterday. The particular fun of the Rambouillet is coming back to me.




The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders are revisiting miniatures again.


Some of the Minuteman trail users brought their own miniatures along for the ride.


rod
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Old 08-10-23, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
The new restrooms at Great Meadows appear complete:

I tried the doors however and found them to be locked. I am curious to see if it is easy to bring a bike inside, as at Depot Park.
are those bollards as far apart from each other as they look? meaning, can one fit a car between them? if so, wutz the point?
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Old 08-10-23, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove

By the way, it concerns me that these bikes don't seem to have any active or passive lighting up front. A must-have on a trail that has long stretches of deep shade IMO. Can't tell if that rear-facing gizmo is a light or just a reflector.
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Old 08-10-23, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
By the way, it concerns me that these bikes don't seem to have any active or passive lighting up front. A must-have on a trail that has long stretches of deep shade IMO. Can't tell if that rear-facing gizmo is a light or just a reflector.
Makes you wonder about the selection process a bit...

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Old 08-10-23, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
are those bollards as far apart from each other as they look? meaning, can one fit a car between them? if so, wutz the point?
Maybe they're drive-through bathrooms...
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