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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 02-12-24, 11:53 PM
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Late Monday afternoon I took the Seven up the Minuteman to Lexington Center for a sunset ride, the last on that bike, perhaps, for that unknown number of days until whatever sand and salt that is laid on the roads for the next snowstorm is washed away by the next rainstorm, or swept away by the rarely seen street sweeper. As Jim Caidenhead at Battle Road Bikes put it, "The good news is that your frame and fork are bomb-proof. The bad news is that your brakes and drive train are not."

I was pleased to find a bit of sunset color on the horizon at Arlington's Great Meadow.




Last call for sunset color!


In Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, it is revealed that everything lost on Earth can be found on the Moon. There must be a lot of common sense lying around up there just now, given what I read in the papers.


Turned around and rode home, squinting at the oncoming headlights shining like so many lanternfish.

rod

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Old 02-13-24, 10:01 AM
  #11127  
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critters are happy
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Old 02-15-24, 06:00 PM
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Took the 1987 GT Karakoram rigid mtb, equipped with Nokian W240 47-559 studded tires, up the Minuteman at the end of the day, temperature in the mid-30's.


The idea for this ride was to assess the surfaces, not only looking for ice from the STORM THAT MOSTLY WASN'T, but also to check the vast salt fields deposited on our roads with the best of intentions by various DPWs and private contractors.

There was almost no ice to be found. Such ice as I found was lurking in the South side of the Minuteman in a few places, most notably the inbound approach to Mal's.

Road salt had been applied in great quantities practically everywhere, on major thoroughfares (Broadway), back roads (Winslow, Alton, etc.), and the odd parking lot and private road. The only place free of it was the Minuteman.

By the time this is read by the few who will read it, the Clipper will have given us another quick inch of snow, and everything will have changed.

rod

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Old 02-15-24, 06:55 PM
  #11129  
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Read it! Seriously cold and windy in Gloucester today ... a no ride day for me.
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Old 02-17-24, 05:21 PM
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Checked the weather forecast, thought a bit about road conditions, then took the 1987 GT Karakoram rigid mtb and rode East.


The prospect of "pop-up snow showers" partially motivated the choice of bike. The fact that the roads are still lousy with salt was a contributing factor. In any event, speak of the pop-up snow shower and he appears.


Another broad paraphrase of "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror".


Non-photo notes: it was cold enough, temperatures bouncing out of the low 30s into the mid 30s, with a bit of a breeze playing spin-the-bottle on the compass rose. Such snow as there was never accumulated, which was just as well, but the snow was downright decorative at times. Drivers seemed disturbed by the weather (when don't they?), and there was honking. The most egregious display of goose-talk was on the Fellsway on the border between Medford and Malden, when some moron honked at a car that was yielding right of way to an oncoming ambulance.

This was, indeed, the hills-and-traffic drill, and I've been mostly running on about the traffic, but it's worth mentioning that the somewhat eccentric (pun, yeah) Shimano BioPace crank on the GT comes into its own in hill climbing. I forget that when it isn't happening, and it always comes as a pleasant surprise when I rediscover it. "So that's what it's for..."

Good, cold fun on the hills and flats of Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, entirely in the daytime for once.

rod

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Old 02-19-24, 05:48 PM
  #11131  
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On the Monday holiday, I moved the Surly Long Haul Trucker into the rotation for the first time since May of last year, giving the Sam Hillborne a rest until later this Spring. I've got 13799 miles on the LHT, far more than on any other bike, and I truly love to ride it. Last year's wave of novelty resulting from the commendable work by the mechanics at Battle Road Bikes as they resolved my bike tinkering backlog had my head spinning and the LHT parked. This year I expect to experiment with various rotation strategies.


In many ways, this LHT is THE BIKE in some out-of-the-way nerve bundle between my ears that keeps track what's what. It was a hoot to ride it again, nipping along the Minuteman up to Lexington Center and back.


I expect that this will be my go-to bike for non-studded-tire rides until the road salt menace recedes, and a frequent choice thereafter. Speaking of salt, there's a fair bit on my front tire after this ride. One more reason to take the old bike in Winter.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have produced a masterful miniature, apparently representing a Dodo Bird. Clan totem, or Neolithic humor? Or perhaps I have rocks in my head...


rod

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Old 02-20-24, 10:41 PM
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Tuesday afternoon, it occurred to me that the Green Line Extension Path is a ride in itself, as well as a connector to various other destinations. I set out on the Surly Long Haul Trucker to test that hypothesis. Of course, getting there was half the fun. This swan in Yates Pond swam into view as I left the Minuteman and headed around the back of Alewife station.


I picked up Alewife Linear Park, and followed for Davis Square and the Somerville Community Path. At Seven Hills Park, the LHT engaged 3 statues in lively conversation. Turns out that the Mime had a bad case of velophobia, and had never had the nerve to talk to a bicycle before. The LHT was reassuring, and the Mime agreed to find professional help.


Continuing on the Somerville Community Path, I paused to photograph some of the Public Art, which seems to have evolved since I last passed that way. That stuff always brings a smile.


Continuing past Lowell Street put me on the Community Path Extension, running alongside the Green Line tracks (and occasional trains). This was the object of the ride, and I cranked along with a will, now and then taking a few photos more or less at random, as things caught my eye. Once again, I was struck by the variety of grades on this trail. It was challenging to ride at speed, and appeared to be a good place for pedal assist. I was glad of the hill climbing drills I've been doing for the past couple of years. These photos don't include the steepest and longest grades, but at least begin to show the sheer variety of the Extension. Not rail trail flat, nope.


I turned around at First Steet, in East Cambridge, and cranked home. Along the way, I witnessed a guy on an e-bike nearly get nailed by a car that he sailed into the path of, with only a few feet to spare, through what looked like potentially lethal inattention. Hate to see that. When the ride was done, it developed that, from door to door, it had run 11 miles, the same distance I ride to Lexington and back on the Minuteman, but with a lot more and more varied grades, and a rich urban surround that rewards the curious eye. Many happy returns for this as a free-standing short ride, as well as a gateway to East Somerville, East Cambridge, Charlestown, Boston, and more.

rod

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Old 02-21-24, 04:55 PM
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Had a brief spin out the Minuteman to Lexington Center, temperatures in the mid-30s with a breeze from the SE.


I was too early to see the sunset, but I did get a view of the moon.


With apologies to Y_o_s_h_i_t_o_s_h_i.

rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 02-21-24 at 07:52 PM. Reason: debowdlerize the name of a Japenese artist
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Old 02-21-24, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Had a brief spin out the Minuteman to Lexington Center, temperatures in the mid-30s with a breeze from the SE.


I was too early to see the sunset, but I did get a view of the moon.


With apologies to Yo****oshi.
rod
Love the Minuteman Rail trail in the winter. Sometimes it is the only option among rail trails since it gets plowed in the winter. It is nice to explore more towards Boston once you get to Alewife on that community path.

Sometimes I enjoy taking a gravel bike from the Bedford parking lot and going west up the Reformatory Branch and Narrow Gauge Rail trails as well.
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Old 02-21-24, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by EDP
Love the Minuteman Rail trail in the winter. Sometimes it is the only option among rail trails since it gets plowed in the winter. It is nice to explore more towards Boston once you get to Alewife on that community path.

Sometimes I enjoy taking a gravel bike from the Bedford parking lot and going west up the Reformatory Branch and Narrow Gauge Rail trails as well.
Welcome!

rod
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Old 02-22-24, 05:32 PM
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Took the Surly LHT out early Thursday afternoon on the Community Path Extension, which today seemed to me to be a climbing structure for bicycles (and cyclists).


Today, the game was Snakes...


... and Ladders....


... however broadly construed.


rod
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Old 02-24-24, 06:05 PM
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Saturday afternoon was cold and blustery, so I took the LHT and rode East.


Whoa! Let's see that again...


Yup... the N wind blew the bike over; not a great feat, since the bike was balanced against the curb on one pedal; and not the first time I've gotten into that sort of trouble while taking that sort of photo; but it was the first time I've managed to capture the fall in an animation. I'll try not to make a habit of it.

So, cold and windy, with drivers who seemed to get a little rowdier as the day wore on. Here's a photo that manages to capture bits of "hill", "traffic", and "sunset" in one image.


rod
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Old 02-25-24, 01:08 PM
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And a "Dislike" for the toppled bike, of course. Not sure I would have confessed to that myself
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Old 02-25-24, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
And a "Dislike" for the toppled bike, of course. Not sure I would have confessed to that myself
As a mechanic once told me, "It's hard to kill an LHT." Windy day out there. ;-)

rod
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Old 02-26-24, 12:15 AM
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Late Sunday afternoon, I took another cold ride, this one out the Minuteman on the Seven. I had been watching the road salt accumulations on the roads disappear in the modest rain showers we had a few days earlier, and figured I wouldn't be screwing up the drivetrain or brakes by rolling out through what little was left.


I rode along, reflecting on the differences and similarities between the Seven and the LHT: big bikes, big, supple tires, different frame materials, different-generation drivetrain and braking, but each effectively responding to the rider's will. Both a whole bunch of fun.

I looked for sunset colors, and didn't see them, until I turned around and, some minutes later, checked the rear view mirror. The sunset was following me home.


rod

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Old 02-26-24, 03:28 PM
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I got out today for the first time since the salt storm we had two weeks ago, judging the roads sufficiently rinsed clean. I took the Checkpoint out to Bedford Depot Park.

There was quite a headwind on the way out. While that (plus not having ridden much lately) slowed me down, it didn't diminish the pleasure of the day. I saw a lot of folks on nice bikes, so apparently I wasn't the only one taking advantage of the nice weather and clean surface.

The building being reconstructed after the fire damage at the Bike Stop has sprouted a new second floor:



Will the bike shop reopen there?

I paused at Arlington's Great Meadows in East Lexington, which seems to still be sleeping for the winter:



I'm still enjoying the new Gravelkings, though I have yet to ride them off pavement.

After a brief stop at the Lexington Visitor's Center (outside bathrooms locked at 1:50 even though the building was open), I continued on to Bedford:



On the way back I was passed by a group of 4 cyclists all riding Sevens. Actually, because they stopped several times, I passed them and they repassed me repeatedly. It got to the point where we were all saying "You again!"

The Japanese (I assume) ceiling lanterns at the Lexington Depot have been joined by an additional vertical display:




Continuing homeward to Arlington I stopped at Peeper's Pond. All the waterfowl were at the far shore, so I couldn't discern the swan hatchlings another visitor was seeking:




Overall, A very nice ride. The usual 19 miles round trip.

I haven't been out in the woods for awhile - don't know how muddy the Reformatory Branch, for example, is right now.
Looking forward to riding out to Concord as I get re-acclimated to the saddle.

Tom

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Old 02-26-24, 10:57 PM
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Followed up a productive trip to the dentist's with a quick spin up the Minuteman on the Seven. I cranked right along, passing some and being e-passed by others.


The weather was downright benign today. Layers of clothing were dropped, mostly to good effect.


Saw subtle sunset colors at Arlington's Great Meadow, then more color in the rearview mirror as I was heading home. For whatever reason, I photographed the former and let the latter go.


Looking forward to the season of long, warm rides. It's coming, I can feel it.

​​​​​​​rod
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Old 02-27-24, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I got out today for the first time since the salt storm we had two weeks ago, judging the roads sufficiently rinsed clean.
The salt storm, I like that. It was indeed, out here in Chelmsford, as well. A few people lost their gruntles over what was perceived as disproportionate preparations.

I was kept off the bike first by cold, windy weather and then by a few days of feeling unwell around the middle of the month, but have been making up for it recently. First with a tentative, not even 8 mile loop on local roads this past Thursday, when the BFRT was still too icy, and then with a couple of BFRT rides on Sunday (out and back from Chelmsford center to Donelan's supermarket in Acton) and yesterday (out and back from my house to MCI Concord), both on the single-speed Van Dessel. Not many photos, due to wearing full-fingered gloves and stashing the phone in the saddle bag, but some observations.



The pond at NARA Park on Sunday. I like to get off the bike and walk around the pond (I ride in stiff sneakers, clips and straps) but it had been a while since the last time I did that. I was surprised to find my path blocked:



This meant a significant detour, but I decided to see what was what, rather than turn around. Walking the bike past the amphitheater, the parking for same, concession stands, and the huge adult softball field, I picked up the concrete path again, and eventually came to this elevated view of the works. The entire boardwalk is being replaced, and construction appeared surprisingly far advanced for a mid-winter project. It looked like all the hard work in the water was already done, and only the decking and railings left to be installed. The outlook for fishing, duck-watching, turtle-spotting, etc. in Acton is bright.



Yesterday, layers were not so much shed as left at home to begin with, and were not missed:



This was at my turnaround point, the new, expanded parking across from the state prison. I think this will be "branded" as Warner's Pond, rather than BFRT, parking. At any rate, the structures (bathroom building and a large picnic shelter) look finished, and the parking lot now has the final coat of asphalt and should only need signage and lines.



Also of (long-term) interest, of course, is that the prison is actually slated to close down and the property to be sold off very soon. I suppose any redevelopment there is years off, but I do wonder what will happen to the nearby state police horse stables. If you recall, the safety of the grazing horses, as well as the privacy of the inmates tending to them, made a tall fence necessary, which delayed the official opening of the trail section.

All in all, I put in just over 140 miles this month, and might add a few more today, before the weather turns on us again. That's considerably more than last year, even though January and February of 2023 were also unusually dry and mild. I am reminding myself, however, that last March brought quite a bit of snow, and I only got in 16 miles all month!
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Old 02-27-24, 05:45 PM
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Had time for a mid-afternoon ride on the Seven out the Community Path Extension and its precursors (Minuteman, Alewife Linear Park, Somerville Community Path). I've been riding the Extension on the LHT, a bike I know very well, and learning the trail and its unusual combination of grades. It's been referred to as an urban version of the Province Lands Trail out on the Cape, a wild little path built over dunes in Provincetown. This one is much bigger, built of reinforced concrete, and at least as challenging. I took the Seven out there this time to see what the trail could teach me about the bike, its drivetrain, and the human interface that the GRX brifters provide (I was late to the brifters party, part of my Touring Bike orientation). But first things first: I paid my respects to the Public Art on the Somerville Community Path. Hard not to...


On to the Community Path Extension: I didn't take many photos, mostly just registered the number of times I shifted gears (many, many), along with the technical environment of the trail (somewhat demanding, narrower than the Minuteman, with steeper grades than railtrail users are used to). The skill level of the various trail users seemed relatively high. It will be interesting to see how that evolves as the Spring weather brings out additional users. To cut to the chase, here's one of the few photos from today's ride, a view down the biggest descent, from the high point. This is roller-coaster stuff.


The same structure traversed in the opposite direction is the steepest, longest climb, shown here in a photo taken a few days ago, while I was riding the LHT.


Here's a longer view of the climb, closer to what was seen on the descent:


As "The Noble Duke of York" put it, when you're up, you're up. Here's a photo of up, for completeness...


A few notes: the Seven performed well in this environment, as I hoped it would. It climbed valiantly, leading me to the right gear ratios for the steepest climbs encountered, and ponied up as much speed as I had the nerve to ask for on the descents (22mph, a function of discretion with braking, rather than anything like what the grade or the bike were prepared to deliver, I think). The bike stayed in control at all times. Once or twice, another cyclist engaged in behavior which I would have been inclined to criticize them for on the Minuteman, but which may have been closer to the norm on this trail. I assume that the culture of the Extension is still evolving. I wonder what online community is fostering that? Anyhow, it is uniquely stimulating among our roster of bike trails, short enough to be ridden often, steep enough to be useful for training, and geographically situated in such a way as to get traffic from Point A to some interesting Points B, C, D, etc.

That's enough for now.

rod

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Old 02-27-24, 07:00 PM
  #11145  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
On to the Community Path Extension: I didn't take many photos, mostly just registered the number of times I shifted gears (many, many), along with the technical environment of the trail (somewhat demanding, narrower than the Minuteman, with steeper grades than railtrail users are used to). The skill level of the various trail users seemed relatively high. It will be interesting to see how that evolves as the Spring weather brings out additional users. To cut to the chase, here's one of the few photos from today' ride, a view down the biggest descent, from the high point. This is roller-coaster stuff.
I like that aspect of the Extension: Hills! Turns! A nice occasional change from the Minuteman, in addition to the urban scenery.
BTW: I am sure you have noticed the crossing, I think at School St, where the curb cut is misaligned with the bike path. If you went straight you would crash into or off of the curb. You have to making a sharp zig-zag to avoid disaster. What's up with that? There were bollards indicating the hazard the last time I went through there (early January), but that's an accident waiting to happen.

Tom
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Old 02-27-24, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I like that aspect of the Extension: Hills! Turns! A nice occasional change from the Minuteman, in addition to the urban scenery.
BTW: I am sure you have noticed the crossing, I think at School St, where the curb cut is misaligned with the bike path. If you went straight you would crash into or off of the curb. You have to making a sharp zig-zag to avoid disaster. What's up with that? There were bollards indicating the hazard the last time I went through there (early January), but that's an accident waiting to happen.

Tom
Agreed. It's a whole lot of fun. Also a bit haphazardly constructed. I guess we need to count our blessings that something with this much hilarity made it through the multi-step review process. With luck they'll fix the real buggy bits, without fixing the amusement park ride bits. ;-)

rod
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Old 02-28-24, 05:20 PM
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Wednesday afternoon, the South Wind wanted to play. Here it is pushing up waves on the Lower Mystic Lake.


I took the LHT out to play with the South Wind. They're old friends. The LHT is quite stable and sure-footed, especially when its gyros are spinning, with their big old 44mm Snoqualmie Pass Extralight tires. The South Wind and the LHT chase each other around the neighborhood, and I get a little ride out of the deal. It's a good system.


rod
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Old 02-29-24, 05:39 PM
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On Thursday, the Seven befriended the West Wind, a cold wind in February, whatever may be true in May, June, July, or August. I rode up the Minuteman in the teeth of the gale, and returned with the wind at my back.


I stopped at Battle Road Bikes to talk to Jim and Pete, and to set up a project to improve the pedals on my bikes before bike-tinkering season ends and the Circus returns to town. I took the opportunity to put on a KN-95 mask for the return ride, simply to keep my face warm. It worked very nicely.

The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders appear to have given us a mushroom garden. Soma? The Boston Mycological Club may be interested in this development.


rod
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Old 03-01-24, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
The salt storm, I like that. It was indeed, out here in Chelmsford, as well. A few people lost their gruntles over what was perceived as disproportionate preparations.

I was kept off the bike first by cold, windy weather and then by a few days of feeling unwell around the middle of the month, but have been making up for it recently. First with a tentative, not even 8 mile loop on local roads this past Thursday, when the BFRT was still too icy, and then with a couple of BFRT rides on Sunday (out and back from Chelmsford center to Donelan's supermarket in Acton) and yesterday (out and back from my house to MCI Concord), both on the single-speed Van Dessel. Not many photos, due to wearing full-fingered gloves and stashing the phone in the saddle bag, but some observations.



The pond at NARA Park on Sunday. I like to get off the bike and walk around the pond (I ride in stiff sneakers, clips and straps) but it had been a while since the last time I did that. I was surprised to find my path blocked:



This meant a significant detour, but I decided to see what was what, rather than turn around. Walking the bike past the amphitheater, the parking for same, concession stands, and the huge adult softball field, I picked up the concrete path again, and eventually came to this elevated view of the works. The entire boardwalk is being replaced, and construction appeared surprisingly far advanced for a mid-winter project. It looked like all the hard work in the water was already done, and only the decking and railings left to be installed. The outlook for fishing, duck-watching, turtle-spotting, etc. in Acton is bright.



Yesterday, layers were not so much shed as left at home to begin with, and were not missed:



This was at my turnaround point, the new, expanded parking across from the state prison. I think this will be "branded" as Warner's Pond, rather than BFRT, parking. At any rate, the structures (bathroom building and a large picnic shelter) look finished, and the parking lot now has the final coat of asphalt and should only need signage and lines.



Also of (long-term) interest, of course, is that the prison is actually slated to close down and the property to be sold off very soon. I suppose any redevelopment there is years off, but I do wonder what will happen to the nearby state police horse stables. If you recall, the safety of the grazing horses, as well as the privacy of the inmates tending to them, made a tall fence necessary, which delayed the official opening of the trail section.

All in all, I put in just over 140 miles this month, and might add a few more today, before the weather turns on us again. That's considerably more than last year, even though January and February of 2023 were also unusually dry and mild. I am reminding myself, however, that last March brought quite a bit of snow, and I only got in 16 miles all month!
bathroom ... cool

yeah I often wondered about that wooden path

when I ride it I wonder about slipping, falling & getting a giant splinter

fortunately, no fall at :33

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Old 03-01-24, 04:01 PM
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With the long range forecast showing a lot of rain, I made sure to get out for a ride today. Just went up the Minuteman to Lexington Center, with a detour up the Vinebrook Trail, via the Fletcher Ave crossing, to North St .

It was cold and windy, but I dressed accordingly and found the chill to be satisfying. Had me pondering that in a few months we'll be complaining about the heat.

I noticed a few changes along the MM just since earlier this week.

The windows have been installed in the new 2nd story at the Bike Stop building:




At the Lexington Depot, the lanterns on the columns are gone. Apparently they were for the Lunar New Year Lantern Festival. The ones that have been on the Depot ceiling for the past year are still up:




One thing that hasn't changed in awhile: access to North St Lexington from the end of the Vinebrook Trail is still blocked by the MWRA water main project:



Oh well - I was going to turn around there anyway.

A good ride.

Tom
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