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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 12-31-23, 02:37 PM
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My last miles for 2023! 25.1 of them, to MCI Concord and back on the BFRT. This is just south of Route 27/Main St in Acton.



The only photo I took on today's ride. It was cold and the phone remained in the saddle bag except for texting updates to home base. I doubt I would have been out in 37 to 39 degrees, if not for the bit of sunshine, and having received some new thermal gear for Christmas, and, well, just that New Year's Eve feeling. The BFRT was surprisingly busy almost end to end; it seemed everybody wanted to catch some of this elusive midwinter sun.

This brings my total for the year to 1,442 miles on road/trail rides, plus whatever my track season amounted to. Something on the order of 150 miles across 16 events.

A final porta-potty report (reporta-potty?) for 2023: The conveniences at both Donelan's supermarket and MCI Concord have now disappeared. One remaining unit at NARA Park, much in need of servicing. There was some minor landscaping and construction work still ongoing (brand new EV chargers getting installed in the parking lot) and I suspect it may get removed once that's all wrapped up.

All the best for 2024, and keep on riding!
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Old 12-31-23, 10:59 PM
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End of the day, end of the year, took the Rivendell Atlantis out the Minuteman for a New Years Eve ride, meditative and quiet except for several minutes spent chatting with an older man (read: my own age, plus or minus 10) on a touring bike who matched my speed and engaged in conversation as we rolled along. Seems he lives in the Berkshires, had brought his son (or grandson?) back to school in Boston, then parked his car at Depot Park and set out to explore the various old and new bike paths in the Boston area. He'd made a day of it, and was just then heading back to his car for the drive home. He bade me farewell, and as he began to accelerate away, he said, "You're lucky to have all this." He was right, of course.


rod
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Old 01-02-24, 07:52 PM
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some weather moving in. temps fluctuating but there's gonna be enough to get the winter play started. get yer dry road bike & tire rides in now

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Old 01-03-24, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
some weather moving in. temps fluctuating but there's gonna be enough to get the winter play started. get yer dry road bike & tire rides in now
I was watching that and planning to get a ride in, but work intervened. And on Saturday, I might need to get the snowblower ready, current forecast up here is upwards of 6 inches.
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Old 01-03-24, 05:29 PM
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Happy New Year fellow Metro Boston riders.

I got out for my first ride of 2024 today. I felt like riding the Cannondale hardtail - so I did.
I ended up taking the Minuteman out to Depot Park, and just a bit of woods riding beyond.

There's some construction going on adjacent to the path, at the Arlington skating rink. The signs say it is MWRA related:



That compact backhoe looks like it would be handy for yard work.

If you've noticed that large new building going up in Bedford all last year, like me, you have probably wondered what it is going to be used for.
A month or so ago a sign was finally put up along the MM. I've been meaning to take a picture, but I kept forgetting...




I had Depot Park all to myself:




As long as I was on the MTB, I decided to do the Elm Brook to Reformatory Branch loop. You can see the brook in the photo below:



Just past here, a canid about the size of an adult collie, but dark grey/black came up the bank, crossed in front of me, and disappeared into the woods on the right. It was too big to be a fox. A coyote? Someone's dog? I have to admit, it kind of spooked me.

Looping back to the Depot, the RBT showed effects of the high winds we had two weeks ago:



I am curious how the Concord end of the RBT looks. I haven't been that far west in almost 3 weeks.
Depending on how much snow we get this weekend, that route may be messy for awhile.

In any case, the MM was a quiet and enjoyable ride back to Arlington.

A good start to the year.

Tom
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Old 01-03-24, 05:59 PM
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I took the Seven Evergreen SL out for a shakedown cruise, first ride since 700C x 44mm Rene Herse Manastash Ridge Extralight tires, lights, fenders, a rear rack, bottle cages, a bell, a Brooks saddle, a lock, and a saddlebag were added. The bike is definitely fun to ride.


The air had the chill nip of Winter, although ice and snow were just distant rumors.


MWRA crews were busy on the Minuteman. Caution: Do not fall into excavations..


Rumors that the MWRA crews are at war with the Mole Men can be neither confirmed nor denied at this time. But if you ever saw a Mole Man, you definitely wouldn't want him in your water supply.


I paused at the Battle Road Bikes mural to take one of the canonical documentary photos.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn builders have given us a triad, just in time for Three Kings Day.


Caution: Do not throw the magi.

rod

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Old 01-03-24, 09:44 PM
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Coyote crossed in front of me at night one time. My lights were on but no camera. I made note of particulars.

grey

healthy & healthy coat

danced quickly past me efficiently, effortlessly, swiftly

in profile appeared to have a big grin on its face

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Old 01-03-24, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
I was watching that and planning to get a ride in, but work intervened. And on Saturday, I might need to get the snowblower ready, current forecast up here is upwards of 6 inches.
yup and despite high temps above freezing the nite temps will be in the teens
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Old 01-03-24, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
Coyote crossed in front of me at night one time. My lights were on but no camera. I made note of particulars.

grey

healthy & healthy coat

danced quickly past me efficiently, effortlessly, swiftly

in profile appeared to have a big grin on its face
I've seen that grin. "I'm not your dog," it says.

rod
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Old 01-04-24, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
I was watching that and planning to get a ride in, but work intervened. And on Saturday, I might need to get the snowblower ready, current forecast up here is upwards of 6 inches.
here too, "Metrowest" close to Stow

each year, I reluctantly put the summer patio stuff away kicking & screaming. looks like this is the kick-in-the-pants I needed to put the last few items away. I think I will also put my bike in the basement. if the snow lingers more than a cpl days, I guess I'll put the studs on it too

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Old 01-04-24, 05:23 PM
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Thursday, towards sunset, I took the Rivendell Appaloosa, recently rebuilt as an honest touring bike from its original beach cruiser incarnation, out the Minuteman for a shakedown ride. Nothing fell off, not even the rider.


The rebuilt bike morphed from a 1x10 to a 3x9, from Billie bars to Noodles, from V-brakes to Paul Neo Retros (front) and Paul Touring Cantis (back), from an odd melange of levers and triggers on the Billie bars to Dura Ace brake levers and shifters. The change in derailleurs I'd have to check on, but will remark in passing that a good front derailleur is harder to find than it used to be. Some things remained the same: the wheels, the tires (Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge Endurance 55mm 700C dual purpose knobbies), the Nitto Big Shiny rear rack, and of course the Appaloosa frameset itself, one of Rivendell's long-wheelbase wonders.

The temperature dropped from mid-40s to mid-30s during the ride, nothing I wasn't dressed for though, and the bike was dreamy to ride, especially on the return, when I was floating through the darkness and occasional ground fog. There were a couple of INVISIBLES on the trail, but I didn't hit them.

Thanks to Pete at Battle Road Bikes for carrying off this rebuild so smoothly. I've learned quite a bit in the process.

rod

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Old 01-05-24, 10:44 PM
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Friday afternoon, I rolled out to Battle Road Bikes on the Seven Evergreen SL to have a pair of "monarch wings " installed on the already in place MKS Gamma pedals. The wings, really bolted-on outriggers, have the effect of broadening the platform area, and when Jim mentioned that the shop had a pair, I wanted to give them a try with the Seven. Since the MKS Gamma (alias, "Grip Monarch") and the wings are artifacts of the Rivendell parallel bicycle universe, this was one more brick in the "Sevendell" edifice. So far, so good.


Wings installed, I rode up the Minuteman to Peepers Pond. I felt I was getting more torque to the crank with my big (13 EEEE) feet on those big platforms. Wheee!


Then it was time to turn the bike towards home, making my own windchill as I went. A chilly ride, but fun, and the wings proved their worth.

Hmmm... it occurs to me that, when the wing is installed, the MKS Gamma pedal has a face....

rod

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Old 01-06-24, 04:15 PM
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Today I did get my snowblower running, sort of (it has decided this year it needs starter fluid to get going, this despite fresh gas and a new plug) with enough time to spare to get my first few miles of 2024 in. There were almost new bullhorn handlebars to try out, along with a brand new helmet, and of course that is now looking like a major snowstorm heading our way. So I stowed the Van Dessel and my multi-clad self in the car and parked in Chelmsford center, then rode the BFRT just to Route 225 in Westford and back. It was pretty cold!

Not much to report. The trail had a fair share of users, mostly on two feet/four paws. I think I saw only two or three other cyclists. I'm pretty sure that's a new kiosk at the little seating area at 225.



Total of just over 10 miles. It's a start, I guess.
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Old 01-06-24, 11:50 PM
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Saturday afternoon, I took the Rivendell Sam Hillborne out and rode East.


This was the hills-and-traffic drill through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, Winter Edition. The air was cold but not too cold for the clothes, the traffic was heavy and a little crazed because THE SKY IS FALLING (or would be falling, sometime soon, so better run to the store to stock up on whatever), light and darkness came and went, nothing that the bike lights couldn't handle. I cranked away up hills and down, blessing the 38mm Rene Herse Barlow Pass Extralight tires every time they flew over broken pavement. It was a good day to be riding, and I never got rained on or snowed on. Eventually I called it a day, and rode back by the Kurukulla Center to take a nighttime photo of their Winter lights.


rod

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Old 01-07-24, 11:44 AM
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just about 6" but it started snowing again




I can ride where it's plowed ...
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Old 01-07-24, 12:55 PM
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I had 12 inches in my driveway two hours ago when we finished our first round of shoveling. The snowblower turned out to be useless; it starts with fluid, but dies under load. Probably just a carb adjustment issue but I quickly lost patience fiddling with it, covers off for access, and testing it in leftover snow. Some other time.

Then the power failed! Just over half an hour for us, but there were a lot of separate outages across multiple towns. According to the National Grid map, we're still out right now! But we're not. We have a fire station right around the corner so we tend to get restored first.
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Old 01-07-24, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
I had 12 inches in my driveway two hours ago when we finished our first round of shoveling
approx. where are you? I'm near Stow/Acton/Sudbury
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Old 01-07-24, 05:51 PM
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So, to continue the theme, I too put the bike aside in order to pursue my other Winter sport: snow shoveling. I started with an actual shovel, and did the wet'n'heavy stuff that way. I was planning to switch to the snowblower for the promised abundance of cold-light-fluffy stuff, but, at the moment of truth, the old Troy-Bilt informed me it wished to join the Legion of Inert Objects, so after reasoning with the machine for a few minutes, I finished the job by hand. Just before going indoors, at the end of it all, I went into the garage and gave one more yank of the starter cord, and the snowblower roared to life. Maybe next time...

rod
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Old 01-08-24, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
approx. where are you? I'm near Stow/Acton/Sudbury
Chelmsford. This morning I measured 14 inches on the lawn, but it's always more as it's coming down, before the compaction. I probably shoveled 2 feet, 12" + 6" + 6".
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Old 01-08-24, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
So, to continue the theme, I too put the bike aside in order to pursue my other Winter sport: snow shoveling. I started with an actual shovel, and did the wet'n'heavy stuff that way. I was planning to switch to the snowblower for the promised abundance of cold-light-fluffy stuff, but, at the moment of truth, the old Troy-Bilt informed me it wished to join the Legion of Inert Objects, so after reasoning with the machine for a few minutes, I finished the job by hand. Just before going indoors, at the end of it all, I went into the garage and gave one more yank of the starter cord, and the snowblower roared to life. Maybe next time...

rod
I think I've just about had it with gas engines! We only have a small single-stage snowblower. I don't want the complexity of a bigger machine, and I don't have room for one in the off-season. But what that little thing does, an electric one could probably do just as well, even a cheap corded one.
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Old 01-08-24, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
I think I've just about had it with gas engines! We only have a small single-stage snowblower. I don't want the complexity of a bigger machine, and I don't have room for one in the off-season. But what that little thing does, an electric one could probably do just as well, even a cheap corded one.
One of the neighbors has an electric. Seemed to do the job yesterday, not that Arlington got particularly walloped in this storm.

rod
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Old 01-08-24, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
Chelmsford. This morning I measured 14 inches on the lawn, but it's always more as it's coming down, before the compaction. I probably shoveled 2 feet, 12" + 6" + 6".
oh yeah, you guys got more than us. I could tell this morning, as I was driving North on Route 27. the trees were so pretty but hanging low over 27, then as I got further North of Acton, the hanging trees became more severe & I could tell that, as covered our trees were, Carlisle & Chelmsford, had even more on the branches!

I work in Tewksbury & I've been watching it all fall from the trees all day, today. but there's still some hanging on

that upcoming storm, with high winds & torrential rain, tomorrow night, I'm afraid, is gonna be ugly. say a prayer for my little basement sump pump ... hahaha
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Old 01-08-24, 02:45 PM
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I'll bet the MM Bedford to Arlington gas been plowed & has that wonderful thin layer of hard packed snow that is luxurious to ride over
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Old 01-08-24, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
I'll bet the MM Bedford to Arlington gas been plowed & has that wonderful thin layer of hard packed snow that is luxurious to ride over
I drove past the intersection of the MM and Mill Street, and that looked strangely clean and dry. But that's only one little bit of it. The GT is already in studded Nokians, and I'll give it a try tomorrow afternoon, just before the next storm washes whatever remains. Unless I don't...

rod
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Old 01-09-24, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
I drove past the intersection of the MM and Mill Street, and that looked strangely clean and dry. But that's only one little bit of it. The GT is already in studded Nokians, and I'll give it a try tomorrow afternoon, just before the next storm washes whatever remains. Unless I don't...

rod
Well, so, I did take the icebike out. It's been a while, so it's worth naming the parts: a 1987 GT Karakoram rigid mtb shod with 47-559 Nokian W240 tires, 47mm tires in a 26" wheel size with 240 carbide studs on each tire and an aggressive tread. It's a little like driving a tractor, but it makes the prospect of riding across sheets of ice a good deal less harrowing. And it's certainly good exercise.


Trail conditions can be summarized as follows (no generative AI required, I might add): lots of clean, dry pavement, especially in Arlington, except when the pavement is a little icy, except when the pavement is very icy, especially in Lexington.








Of course, by now the rain that will wash away all conditions then prevailing has already started to fall, and none of this snow and ice remains to be slipped and slid upon. But these photos are indicative of the likely orientation of the towns towards snow removal on the Minuteman this season. There was nothing there that studs wouldn't handle, and a certain number of riders were getting on by just using the Force.

Enjoy.


rod
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