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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 08-23-23, 06:25 PM
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I got a lot of miles in today, too, but was in a decidedly unphotographical mood. Went the roundabout way to the BFRT at I-495 and from there northwards to the Lowell end, to confirm something I had read on the BFRT Facebook group. The construction fencing in the trailhead parking lot is finally gone and the lot available again. Not that there is ever a lack of parking up there but technically it's reserved for the office building during business hours.

This wet summer has made ponds appear, or rather vernal pools never disappear, in unexpected places. One of these runs alongside the other large parking lot there, the one for the Showcase Cinema, where I had been practicing on my freshly built fixie for the track, back in April. Today I was on the Bianchi but the lot was practically empty and perfect for some quick practice sprints. Empty of parked cars, I should say, but popular with some rather big dragonflies! In between sorties over those rich watery feeding grounds, no doubt. A few loops of the lot later, a Lowell fire engine came through in a hurry, as well. Time to turn around and see how far south I could crank myself without a rest. The answer was West Concord! Where I ate my cereal bar in a bit of shade and took the only photo of the day:



Mainly to point out a very convenient drinking fountain, behind that bench on the far left, with separate taps for drinking and filling bottles, and even a dog bowl.

The inbound train pulling away made me realize that commuter trains apparently haven't been updated since I first moved to the area in 1997. We're a "liberal" and wealthy state and this is the state of our public transportation? Shameful, really. My mood didn't improve when, on turning around, I noticed a Bentley SUV parked behind me. I did not grace that absurdity with a photo.

I returned, likewise without stopping, and came by a once again closed Heart Pond--for the rest of the lifeguard season now, after a very brief reopening that was promptly followed by more torrential rain. At least the electronic signboard has been reprogrammed to read ALGAE, not ALGAL, as before. Home by a slightly different route that took in a stretch of freshly and smoothly paved North Road (Route 4).

All told at least 32.3 miles, plus my unmappable parking lot loops, so this is actually a new personal best for daily distance, by a slim margin.
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Old 08-24-23, 06:32 PM
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Fat and happy at Haute Coffee
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Old 08-24-23, 09:33 PM
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Thursday afternoon, the bikes kept disappearing in Arlington Center.


That was interesting, but what I really needed was a brisk little recovery ride on the Minuteman. Sam sold me one at a very reasonable price, and I went scooting up to Lexington Center on the Nobilette.


The Minuteman is so close to peak green it isn't worth quibbling about.


Does Peepers Pond really taste like pea soup? Ask the swans.


rod
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Old 08-25-23, 07:13 AM
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I guess this had to happen eventually. A quick 4.8 mile spin after replacing the rear tire on the Dawes. With two patches on the inner, as the only fresh 27 inch tube I could find in my stash had the wrong type of valve.



Lots of liquefied gas and construction plywood among the identifiable freight. One can just barely make out the fellow cyclist waiting on the other side. He was busy with getting back in the saddle when I passed.

This route crosses the tracks in two spots, so it's entirely possible to have to wait twice for the same train, it's happened to me in my car. Only once this time, and I was in no hurry. Made it home with plenty of time left to gather up the track bike and bits and load up the car for the last timed events evening of the season. I think I knocked 8 seconds off my 1km time since my first one back in May so that felt good!
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Old 08-25-23, 01:14 PM
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Manuel F Cornelius forest yesterday.
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Old 08-25-23, 01:15 PM
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Definitely had soggy socks after my ride today. I didn’t want to get my rain bike too wet so I rode my cross bike.
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Old 08-25-23, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh

Definitely had soggy socks after my ride today. I didn’t want to get my rain bike too wet so I rode my cross bike.
Michael, where was that picture taken? Looks like Out Yonder!

rod
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Old 08-26-23, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Michael, where was that picture taken? Looks like Out Yonder!

rod
Hi Rod, I was actually very close to home when I took that picture yesterday. It is at the end of the paved section of the Mass Central Rail Trail in Weston. Sometime in the semi-near future the path will incorporate that bridge when it connects to the almost completed section in Waltham.
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Old 08-26-23, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
Hi Rod, I was actually very close to home when I took that picture yesterday. It is at the end of the paved section of the Mass Central Rail Trail in Weston. Sometime in the semi-near future the path will incorporate that bridge when it connects to the almost completed section in Waltham.
Ah, that explains why it reminded me of the MCRT Weston before they paved it: self-similarity! Nice to see it again!

Out Yonder is where you find it.

rod
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Old 08-26-23, 02:12 PM
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Bagged another 80 miles today culminating in a stop at Harvard General Store for an awesome breakfast sandwich. 368 miles under my belt for this week. I didn’t mention my overnight ride to Provincetown with a ferry ride back to Boston earlier in the week. It was a my annual end of August week vacation from work to cycle almost every day. Tomorrow, on the seventh day I shall race….

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Old 08-26-23, 10:07 PM
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On Saturday, I took the Rivendell Rambouillet and rode East.


This was my weekly hills-and-traffic drill, a ride through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, up hill and down dale. Between Grant Petersen (the bike), Jan Heine (the tires), and Guru Rinpoche (the dharma), it seemed to me bodhisattvas were indeed smoothing my path.


After all, the hills were paved...


the traffic was multi-modal...


and the weather was benign.


All in all, I had it made in the shade.


rod

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Old 08-27-23, 06:14 PM
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Last Sunday of the track season at Northeast Velodrome, and pretty much my last chance to meet a little personal challenge I had been pondering: to ride there from Chelmsford, a distance of about 27 miles. I was hoping to do it on the track bike and then just take the brakes off, flip the rear wheel from freewheel to fixed, and maybe change the chainring to race, but never did put the necessary wheelset together all summer. So, Plan B: I would ride on the Bianchi, and my wife would bring the track bike in the car and meet me there. I picked not quite the shortest, but the easiest to follow route, which is Mammoth Road (aka NH 128, once across the state line) all the way from Lowell. I set out at around 7:20 am and was glad to make it through the city during the sleepy Sunday morning hours. Lowell behind me, I passed through Dracut, and while I never felt more than minor sprinkles on myself, it soon became clear that a substantial shower had passed through ahead of me. Miles of wet road, and a steady headwind (NE 6 to 10 mph, the record shows). I made my first brief stop at the N.H. state line when the sky looked rather ominous and I was wondering if we would be able to race at all:



This turned out to be the low point, however, and while I did pick up the fenderless biker's racing stripe, conditions quickly improved. A longer stop at a sports field that was hosting well-attended football and cheerleading practice sessions (dangit, it is the season for that) allowed for snacking and a restroom break.



It is not a very demanding route at all, mostly undulating New England farmland, and I was cranking steadily in 52x19 for much of it. I have to admit the road surface on the N.H. side was in much better shape than south of the line, too. Motorized traffic was thin, however not everybody was driving like the proverbial elderly churchgoer. Once or twice I came close to yelling "the first Harley was a bicycle!" at passing MC riders, helmetless--it being NH--they might have even heard it.

I reached the Londonderry town line, still over 9 miles to go ...



... stopped quickly for a typical farmland vista ...



... and finally reached the track, after about two hours, and to the surprise of my racing buddies, who were unaware of my plan. I was permitted a victory lap, ŕ la Paris-Roubaix, and the required pose was struck and photographed, though not on my phone and at any rate, not germane to this thread.



We didn't have a dedicated official available today so we were going to take turns. I judged the first and easiest race (scratch, i.e. everybody just races a predetermined number of laps to the finish line, no sprinting for points etc.) and then literally couldn't finish any of the remaining three that I was in. Just too exhausted to keep up, and rather than risk an accident, I pulled out. It didn't matter. I had a blast even so.

About 27 miles and 690 vertical feet.

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Old 08-27-23, 10:48 PM
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I only had a little time to ride Sunday afternoon, less than an hour, so I took the Rivendell Sam Hillborne for a quick sprint up the Mystic Valley Parkway, as far as the mouth of the Aberjona River. I paused to take a few photos at the Tufts Bakow Sailing Pavilion. Mistakes were made, ducks were fed.


Farther from shore, distance swimmers and a kayak made their way across the Upper Mystic Lake.


On the dam, three young fishermen looked to find dinner (or breakfast) in the waters of the Lower Mystic Lake.


rod
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Old 08-28-23, 04:41 PM
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Took the Rivendell Atlantis out for a quick sprint on the Minuteman this afternoon. The huge contact patch that the 55mm Antelope Hill Extralight tires make reminds me of gastropod locomotion, and, in particular, the "racing snails" that appeared in a children's story I once encountered, when I had small children to raise. In any event, it was a zippy ride, as the escargot...Here's a photo from Peepers Pond.


rod
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Old 08-29-23, 06:30 PM
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Tuesday's schedule was packed... Am I retired, or what? In any event, I managed to get an hour to take the Nobilette on a quick spin on the Minuteman, maintaining my fastest pace in a couple of months. That bike continues to make me smile, but, come to think of it, they all do that.


These kids put the "Multi User" in "Multi User Path".


Every time I get near a bike lately, I seem to find myself adjusting the saddle height. I had an important methodological insight about that today.

SADDLE HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT: Right Way


SADDLE HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT: Wrong Way


Pro tip: the frame pump is not involved in saddle height. Somewhere, Tyler Oulton's spirit is chuckling at the subtext here.

rod

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Old 08-30-23, 09:53 PM
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Another afternoon with just time for a brief ride, and freshly turned Summer weather that argued for dropping in on the scene at the Mystic Lakes, so I did the reasonable thing, taking the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler for a quick-paced ride up the Mystic Valley Parkway and turning around at the Aberjona River where it flows into the Upper Mystic Lake..


I rode into the Shannon Beach parking lot and looked in on the beach: not a lot going on there, just a few intimate conversations on a late Summer afternoon..


Continuing past the relatively busy picnic tables and on into what I consider the Shannon Beach Back 40, I paused to check out the small Lifeguard Tower Pound in a clearing in the woods. There appeared to be fewer towers than the last time I looked, but those appear to be in better condition. If you're drowning in the forest, these could come in handy. If the lifeguards are on duty, of course.


The path through the Back 40 ultimately leads to a vantage point overlooking a strait. This was the place an aqueduct carried the Old Middlesex Canal across the Lake. two hundred years ago and more. Some days the strait is busy with small boats, but this was a quiet day, perhaps because of the morning rain.


I rolled out of the Shannon Beach park, and on down to the docks at the Tufts Bacow Sailing pavilion. The quiet prevailed here, as well, with only a few swimmers, along with one small dog, who stayed on the dock.


I rolled on home, before the clock complained. I think I may have brought some of the quiet with me.

rod

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Old 08-31-23, 12:53 PM
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I raced for likely the last time this year on Tuesday night (tonight is the absolute last event of the season at Northeast Velodrome but I have too much work to go, overall a welcome development) so yesterday I was planning to take Bianchi-san on a gentle recovery ride on the BFRT. Well, I think I managed to actually do that exactly once all summer. This time, I got as far as Westford before someone riding their credit card decided to challenge me to a race. I caught him on the long stretch coming to NARA Park, he recklessly passed me back in the blind curves inside the park, and that was all I needed. I gave him a piece of my mind about that maneuver, let him pull ahead, and flew by him once we were safely on the other side of Acton's Main St and the trail was clear. Never saw him again until I pulled off at MCI Concord. Shame really. I never got to rub it in that the rider and bike had a combined age of 93

Now that I was good and sweaty, there was really no reason to hold back on the return leg, either, and so it was altogether a good workout. No pictures, however. I stopped briefly to inspect a brand new (I think) pump and tool station at NARA, but decided against taking a picture, as the young lady who was just sitting down on the bench next to it might have thought I was stalking her.

22.8 miles and 616 vertical feet.
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Old 09-01-23, 04:21 PM
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I've ridden the Minuteman out to Bedford three times this week.
My wife joined me on Monday for a ride to Depot Park, she on her Trek FX3, myself on the Checkpoint.
Yesterday I made it out to Depot Park again, this time riding the '83 Fuji Royale II.
I selected the Checkpoint for today's ride, continuing beyond the MM to Concord center via the Reformatory Branch Trail.

There was lots of cycling activity in Arlington Center as I began my journey. Took a while for this large group to overcome inertia once the light changed:



Skipping ahead to Bedford, that bank of hydrangeas near Depot Park continues to take on color as it matures:



The RBT was in pretty good shape, with a few easily skirted mud pits:



The trickiest spot was just past the twisty section west of Great Meadows road. The steep downhill slope (adjacent to the informal dirt jump) is really badly rutted from water runoff. I had to dab a foot down on the outbound run to stabilize myself. Forewarned, I made it through cleanly on the way back.

While I took a brief break at the Lowell Road end point of the RBT, a clump of fellow cyclists came through:



On the way back I checked out the new bathrooms at Great Meadows: still locked.

I continued home via Depot Park and the MM. It was actually pretty busy, lots of folks enjoying the last weekday of informal summer I suppose.

About 28 miles for today, 65 for the week. Not bad.

Tom
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Old 09-01-23, 09:22 PM
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Took the Rambouillet out on the Minuteman Friday afternoon, after a tiring round of what the social scientists refer to as "emotional labor", and what other folks refer to as "being a good listener". Cranking away on that old Rivendell fixed me right up, bicycle therapy at its best, a real mental health ride.


The Minuteman was, if not thronged, at least well-used. Lots of takers for this particular social service today.


rod
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Old 09-02-23, 10:03 PM
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Saturday, took the Sam Hillborne and rode East.


This was the customary hills-and-traffic drill through the paved portions of the Fells Escarpment. The hills and traffic seemed a little more entangled than usual, but on a couple of occasions this led to my catching a break and getting an empty street for several blocks. Other times, the bulls were running. I kept a brisk pace, and learned a little more about felicitous shifts for the Sam. Between the frame and the 38mm Barlow Pass Extralights, the Sam rolled gracefully over pretty much whatever rough pavement it was presented with, at speed. I've started to trust it will do that.

Today's ride was pretty much all ride and no photography, with the exception of this turkey, encountered on the crest of the hill on High Street, Medford. It was making short work of some roadside weeds that had gone to seed.


As soon as I put the phone back in my pocket, five more turkeys walked across the street to join it, snarling traffic in the process. On such a beautiful day for a ride, it's hard to begrudge a few turkeys their snack.

rod
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Old 09-04-23, 09:29 PM
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Took the Rivendell Atlantis for a ride on the Minuteman before dinner. The saddle is dialed in now, which is to say I'm sitting in the bike, rather than sitting on the bike. I'm making myself comfortable with the dynamics of shifting and pedaling this long-wheelbase, wide-tire, relatively heavy (lots of momentum when it's rolling) touring bike.


The foliage, here and there, is starting to change colors. Not all at once, and not yet the species that are most spectacular when they do get around to their autumnal finery. But some of the trees and shrubs have a message for us, sooner perhaps than we'd like it. I managed to snap a picture. There's more to come, I'm sure.


I paused on the Minuteman at Mill Street to turn off my daytime running lights (not needed on the trail, I believe), and came face to face with a hungry bunny.


The bunny's healthy appetite rang a bell with me, and after reaching the turnaround point, I pedaled off to attend to dinner.

rod

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Old 09-06-23, 05:05 PM
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I took the Nobilette out at the noon hour, in the newly-fledged heat of the day, and rode up along the Mystic Lakes shoreline, North to the Aberjona, then turning South to look in on the various scenes in progress on a hazy late Summer day. Shannon Beach was in gentle pond-swimming session.
.

I continued down Mystic Valley Parkway, and stopped to take some pictures of the bike at one of the numerous small parking areas and access points. The hazy air, for once, was easy to photograph. Moderate, the AQI app said, particulates, it said, ozone, it said.


A few more turns of the crank, and another stop for more photos, this time of some of the scale groups at play at the Upper Mystic Lake.


Farther along, and the scene at the docks of the Tufts Bacow Sailing Pavillion was best described as "indolent".


Mermaids of the Upper Mystic Lake.


Interference patterns, ephemera on a hot day.


The haze floats on the Lower Mystic Lake like a silver cloud, like unto the original sense of "mystic" in naming the river.


I rolled my hot head home.

rod

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Old 09-08-23, 01:38 PM
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Anybody ride in the storms today?

rod
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Old 09-12-23, 07:23 PM
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I live on Cape Ann ... there are several great 25 to 40 miles loop rides from Gloucester. Today, I cycled from Good Harbor to Singing Beach and back ... along the coast (White/Black/Gray beach MBTS and Magnolia). I love these early morning rides. Soon, I'll be able to share URLs and photos ... will do so when I'm not longer a newbie.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Anybody ride in the storms today?
Not on Friday, no. We were away in Maine with old friends and cut the weekend short when we read about the damage in Chelmsford. Turned out our house was unaffected except for a 15 hour power outage. Much worse elsewhere in town and along the BFRT. Photos from Monday, which was my first ride since August 30. The end of track season has not helped my motivation!





The trail had been cleared at least as far as Griffin Road in Westford by that time.

Relying on Facebook posts, today I went from Chelmsford center to MCI Concord and can confirm that all major obstacles and hazards have been cleared, except for one impressive widow maker, high up and out of reach without a bucket truck, near the golf club and trail parking lot in Acton. I forgot to take a picture.

Clear, but not clean; obviously leaves, twigs and other small debris are everywhere. Of academic interest, I'm afraid, as we're now in the midst of yet another storm, with hurricane Lee looming towards the weekend!

I took the opportunity to document the new repair station at NARA Park:



It's equipped with a QR code leading to basic repair tips, but could do with more conspicuous signage. I was able to explain it to one puzzled pedestrian who had been guessing it was some kind of charger.

By the way, if anyone fancies one of these for their garage or driveway, it'll set you back $1,100 without a pump (+$775), even in basic Ford Model T livery. If you want all stainless steel, another $1,000, please. https://www.theparkcatalog.com/deluxe-public-work-stand

I also checked in on that snapping turtle nest at Warner Pond but found it impossible to tell if any babies had emerged. I do hope the nest can handle all this rain but I understand these guys have been around for a while. The Turtle moves.



The pond offered this seemingly placid vista but the radar told a different story and I cranked home in a hurry after my cereal bar and water.



Made it without getting truly wet, but only just. 25.4 miles and 690 vertical feet.
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