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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 03-08-24, 06:03 PM
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Today I had the pleasure of riding on a sunny day. A bit of breeze flew the flag.


The Seven continues to grow on me, showing me things, removing obstacles. Wheee!


Stopped in at Battle Road Bikes to tweak the pedals upgrade campaign. Things are looking busier, the Circus is coming...

rod
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Old 03-09-24, 10:48 PM
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The clouds returned on Saturday, but didn't bring the rain along with them, and I took the LHT and rode East.


Lots of traffic, some of it snarky. Most Conspicuous Snark award goes to the driver of an MBTA 94 bus that chased me up High Street, Medford, honking all the way. I understand they've got the blues at the T these days, but that sort of thing is apt to make them bluer. To be fair, cars were honking at each other like so many geese, so why should the bus drivers miss out on the fun? I can, perhaps, suggest a few reasons. But nothing like a honking bus to stimulate the quadriceps to a hill-climbing burn.

The unusual prevalence of funeral processions did not help drivers' moods.

Had a bit more fun taking another crack at "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror".


Almost missed the sunset, but finished in the dark anyhow. The return of EDT should help with that.


rod

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Old 03-12-24, 09:15 PM
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Although I declined to ride in Monday's big wind, I did take the Seven out in Tuesday's lesser winds. I experimented with layering variations, and mostly got that wrong, which suggested a shorter ride than otherwise. Battle Road Bikes was a conveniently nearby destination, so off I went to that, blown about by the rowdy wind. I turned the crank on the pedals improvement project (pun pretty much unavoidable, I fear).

On my way out to the bike shop, noticed that Taylor Rentals was inflating a bouncy house (bouncy castle? bouncy Kremlin?).


A bouncy house on a windy day... what could happen? Whatever could, didn't, so I guess they did a good job securing it. I'll banish the images of kids getting their wings at the birthday party to some write-only memory region of my brain. I did my business at Battle Road Bikes, and rode home, the bouncy house still earthbound.

rod

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Old 03-13-24, 04:10 PM
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This afternoon we finally had the combination of mild temperatures and light wind that has been so elusive recently.
Not having been out to Concord in awhile, I decided it was time to check out the Reformatory Branch Trail, via the Minuteman and Depot Park. Normally I would choose the Checkpoint for that route, which is really in its element, and a joy to ride, on the RBT. However, considering that nominally this is mud season, and not knowing what to expect, I decided to saddle up the Cannondale hardtail. This also gave me a chance to validate the maintenance (repack hubs and replace brake fluid) I gave that bike the winter.

So, here's my trip report.

Outbound on the MM was quiet, though I did have to yield to a work vehicle near the Lexington Visitor's Center.
No, you go first:




I used the Elm Brook Trail, accessed from South Rd, to get from Depot Park to the RBT. It was in good condition:



You can see there's quite a bit of water in the brook. That was true of all the trailside bodies of water I encountered.

The RBT itself was mostly dry, typically looking like this:




There were however a few spots that made for some fun slithering through the mud:




My turnaround point was at Lowell Rd Concord:




I stopped at Great Meadows National Wildlife Sanctuary on the way back. This view from part way up the observation tower shows how high the water levels are:



(BTW: new bathrooms at Great Meadows are still locked.)

Depot Park is always a welcome milestone on the way home:



I continued home on the MM, availing myself of the restrooms at the Lexington Visitor's Center. There was quite a change in the weather during the last hour of the ride. At 3pm at Great Meadows I was so warm I wished I was wearing shorts and considered peeling off a top layer. By 4pm in Lexington it had cooled so much I closed all my zippers and put my neck gaiter back on.

The round trip was 28 miles, the longest ride for me since December (this was a fact that my butt and knees kept pointing out to me.)

A great afternoon.

Tom

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Old 03-13-24, 10:25 PM
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Towards the end of Wednesday afternoon, I took the Seven for a sprint out to Lexington Center and back on the Minuteman. Between the lightweight frame and fork, and the apparent and unexpected tendency of the brifters to coax me into the right gear ratio for any given conditions, the bike seemed to fly. I also discovered that the brifters were fully operable from the drops. That surprised me, although perhaps it shouldn't have. Once again, the bike is teaching me things.


The weather was fine, and many a cyclist was taking their bike for a spin. As I was riding at a brisk clip through Lexington, a well-taken-care-of housecat hopped on the trail and began making feline overtures. I greeted it with a warm "hello kitty", immediately after which half a dozen young riders came barreling up the left lane. The cat very sensibly dived for cover. And so it went. Relatively good conditions breed population pressure. It's the migration phenomenon in microcosm. Everybody's doing it.

rod

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Old 03-14-24, 04:58 PM
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Another little ride at the end of the day, this one out to the Mystic Lakes at speed. The Seven lends itself to that, runs like a whippet. Quickest way I know to have my legs feel like they've been somewhere. Meanwhile, the various scenes along the lakes are waking up, however tentatively, from their respective hibernations.


rod
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Old 03-16-24, 02:33 PM
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I decided it was high time to take the classic Fuji out for a ride, heading up the Minuteman to Depot Park right after lunch.
I normally don't ride the MM on the weekends during the high season, but I figured "heck, it still only the middle of March". It was pretty busy, but not as crazy as it will be in a month or so.

Here is an example of busy: crossing Great Rd inbound:




Another busy spot: Inbound passing behind Lexington Toyota:



Bikes! Dogs! Walkers!

I always try to be courteous when passing, but a couple of times I was passed, without warning, at high speed, with very little clearance. Thanks a lot hotshots!

Of course, there were plenty of peaceful moments. My green bike against a still very brown Arlington Great Meadows:




The Lexington Visitor's Center was a popular hangout for cyclists:




I chatted with some fellow cyclists at Depot Park - the Fuji drawing several compliments:




The final traffic jam was encountered approaching Water St Arlington:



Wow!

It was a great ride, but I will definitely be more cautious about choosing my riding times/destinations now that the weather is bringing out the throngs.

Tom

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Old 03-16-24, 10:03 PM
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Saturday afternoon I took the Surly Long Haul Trucker and rode East.


This was the more-or-less-weekly hills-and-traffic drill through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, up hill and down dale, in and out of traffic, something for the legs, something for the lungs, something for the wits.

When Channel 5 reported on a house fire on Old Ship Street, Medford, I recognized the address. Would rather have been wrong about that.


The Seven seems to be training my legs in hill climbing, and lessons about gear ratios and cadence are getting transferred to hills I climb on the LHT, despite the differences in drive-train, gears, and shifting machinery. This isn't a complaint, although I find the process a little mysterious. In any event, I went haring up and down hills with abandon, throughout the ride. Whoosh!


rod

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Old 03-17-24, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I decided it was high time to take the classic Fuji out for a ride, heading up the Minuteman to Depot Park right after lunch.
...
I chatted with some fellow cyclists at Depot Park - the Fuji drawing several compliments:



...

Tom
That Fuji is a beauty, for sure!

rod
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Old 03-17-24, 10:39 PM
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Sunday afternoon had patchy weather, sometimes cloudy-rainy, sometimes sunny, always windy. I took the Seven out in it, and made my standard sprint up to Lexington Center and back, with a headwind outbound, a tailwind inbound, and a confused crosswind in some of the Arlington back streets. Here's a photo of one of the cloudy-rainy bits.


The weather (probably the wind, as much as anything else) seems to have driven many of Saturday's trail users away on Sunday. The solitude this provided made for fast times on the trail, and metabolic happiness. It gave me the opportunity to explore the Seven's handling on a windy day, just another thing I needed to learn about the bike.

rod

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Old 03-19-24, 07:50 PM
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We got the wind, tossing the tree-tops, yup, yup, we got the wind. Sunny, cold ride in the Tuesday mid-afternoon. The Seven went slithering between the gusts, we got the wind..


Someone called out to me, a merry salute. Tom, was that you? Or some other chaser of trails?

Stopped in Battle Road Bikes to talk with the wrenches. The Seven was flirting with a Jones Long Wheel Base that was propped against the wall. Ah, the life of a bike...If I buy another one, just shoot me.

rod

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Old 03-20-24, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
Someone called out to me, a merry salute. Tom, was that you? Or some other chaser of trails?
No, that wasn't me. By the time my brain registers an acquaintance going the other way, its usually too late for a shout out.
Still, I keep on the lookout and call out when I can.

Tom
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Old 03-20-24, 09:59 AM
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It is a puzzlement, as the King of Siam said on Broadway. But everybody's on the Minuteman, at one time or another.

rod
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Old 03-20-24, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
No, that wasn't me. By the time my brain registers an acquaintance going the other way, its usually too late for a shout out.
Still, I keep on the lookout and call out when I can.
lol yup. more than once, I've had eye contact w/ a "mature rider" coming the other way & thought "is that? should I? nah, better not"
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Old 03-20-24, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
When Channel 5 reported on a house fire on Old Ship Street, Medford, I recognized the address. Would rather have been wrong about that.
wow evidence of fire on all 3 floors, looks deadly
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Old 03-20-24, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
I decided it was high time to take the classic Fuji out for a ride, heading up the Minuteman to Depot Park right after lunch.
I normally don't ride the MM on the weekends during the high season, but I figured "heck, it still only the middle of March". It was pretty busy, but not as crazy as it will be in a month or so.
Here is an example of busy: crossing Great Rd inbound:
Another busy spot: Inbound passing behind Lexington Toyota:
Bikes! Dogs! Walkers!
I always try to be courteous when passing, but a couple of times I was passed, without warning, at high speed, with very little clearance. Thanks a lot hotshots!
Of course, there were plenty of peaceful moments. My green bike against a still very brown Arlington Great Meadows:
The Lexington Visitor's Center was a popular hangout for cyclists:
I chatted with some fellow cyclists at Depot Park - the Fuji drawing several compliments:
The final traffic jam was encountered approaching Water St Arlington:
Wow!
It was a great ride, but I will definitely be more cautious about choosing my riding times/destinations now that the weather is bringing out the throngs.
yikes! knew I shudda got more riding in this winter! maybe a ride after work won't be so bad, eh?
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Old 03-20-24, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bike_tom
availing myself of the restrooms at the Lexington Visitor's Center. There was quite a change in the weather during the last hour of the ride. At 3pm at Great Meadows ...
wondering when Bedford Depot & the new Great Meadows restrooms, will open for the season
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Old 03-20-24, 04:31 PM
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Had a little slot in the schedule that could accommodate a little ride up the Mystic Valley Parkway, a quick roll up to the Mystic Lakes. Past Shannon Beach, I followed the old berm that is all that's left of the Old Middlesex Canal in that part of town.


With the Seven parked overlooking the narrows that used to be spanned by the Canal's aqueduct, I admired a pair of swans.




I rode on down to the dam that separates the Upper and Lower Mystic Lakes, and watched a man fish from what must be very close to the Minimal Fishing Boat, what looked to be a paddleboard with an electric motor, and a pair of wheels to permit its being towed, perhaps behind a bicycle. I was reminded that I was going to arrange for a fish dinner myself, but more indirectly. A Canada goose foraged in the foreground.


A one-legged goose looked on from the dam earthworks. What are its prospects?


rod

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Old 03-22-24, 03:54 PM
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I bundled up today and took a ride to Charlestown via the Minuteman and the Somerville Community path.

I'm always grateful there's a dedicated light for cyclists to cross Mass Ave:




Art along the community path:




I always enjoy seeing the USS Constitution:




Along the Charles:




Today I came back the same way I rode out.
On another ride I will repeat the Charles River loop and come back via Watertown, which I have posted about in the past.

There are definitely some oddities along the Community Path. I took a short video of the School St crossing, to show how odd it is:


(I think those clicks in the audio are my cables hitting the camera body.)

You definitely don't want to run off of or into that curb on the west side of the street!

I am glad I got out there. Today's cold was invigorating and tomorrow looks to be a washout.

Tom

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Old 03-22-24, 09:59 PM
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Friday was another cold, dry day, but not as windy as Thursday and not as wet as Saturday, so I took the Seven and rode East.


This was the now-near-customary hills-and-traffic drill, and the peppiness of the Seven helped with both, sending me whizzing up hills and sailing down hills, while darting in and out of traffic with all deliberate speed and mature judgement (who is that old crank on the bicycle?). No photos of any of that, too hard to do it and shoot pictures of it at the same time.

But... I did manage to take a few photos at the Commuter Rail crossing at Wyoming Hill station; it's easy to take pictures while waiting for a train. Here's an animation of the crossing scene.


Whoa! Let's see that Wheelie Boy again!


With long johns, a good shell, and the occasional hill climb, "cool not cold" seems a bit more practicable.

rod

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Old 03-24-24, 08:58 PM
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Late Sunday afternoon, after various non-bicycle priorities had come and gone, I took the LHT out for a spin up the Minuteman, temperatures in the low 40s, wind from the NNW. Another cold one, but the Surly nipped right along and my legs felt happy.


rod
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Old 03-25-24, 10:03 PM
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Monday afternoon I took the Rivendell Appaloosa out for a spin up the Minuteman to Lexington Center and back. This was only the second time I'd ridden it since I had Battle Road Bikes transmogrify it from a (in my view) somewhat eccentric beach cruiser with a 1x10 drivetrain and Billie Bars to an honest touring bike with Noodles, a 3x9 crank and bar end shifters, and Paul cantilever brakes with Dura Ace levers. There's no place like home, and, for me, the rebuilt configuration was downright homey, a better use of the long wheelbase frameset. After the first ride in the bike's new configuration, the snow and icy weather moved in, and I took the Appaloosa out of the rotation until Spring. Today I figured the time had come to continue the shakedown rides, and get to know this bike.


The Appaloosa proceeds at a smooth, unhurried pace, with the 55mm Fleecer Ridge Endurance tires on hand-built 29er wheels and the long wheelbase design (think stretch limo) smoothing any irregularities in the path. It's not quick, but it's smooth.

As the ride was beginning, I encountered a small demonstration in Arlington Center. The World comes home to roost in Arlington Center more often than you might think, and these manifestations have become customary.


Arlington's Great Meadow appears to have had a rough season. I was pondering "meadow", and wondering if "savannah" or "prairie" might be a more appropriate term for it.


Cranked smoothly up to Lexington Center and back, letting my legs get accustomed to the machines and the relatively heavy bike, getting the hang of when and how to shift so as not to pick fights with the drivetrain. Riding it kept me warm on the cold day.

rod

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Old 03-29-24, 04:47 PM
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The rain finally went out to sea, good place for it, and I took the transmogrified Rivendell Appaloosa for another shakedown ride out the Minuteman. It was a cool and breezy day, of the sort that would like to be cold and windy when it grows up. Here's a picture of the bike along with the wind in the treetops.


For this sort of ride, I'm generally out to learn anything about the bike that it cares to show me. Today it was some somewhat reluctant shifting, which may simply improve with use, and behavior in the wind. The bike soldiers on in a headwind, flies along with a good deal of stability in a tailwind, and was a bit tricky in the occasionally-encountered crosswind. I attribute that to the 55mm Fleecer Ridge tires, which pretend to be sails for fun, and invite the wind to steer. In general I was able to manage the crosswind dancing, but in the big Winslow Street crosswind the bike (and rider) got blown, laterally, several feet N. This has happened in the same location on at least one other occasion with a different bike; I'll have to look back and see which bike (and what tires) that happened with. It's not an experience I'd necessarily want to make a habit of.. I have some thoughts about contributing factors (cockpit errors). The research continues.

rod

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Old 03-29-24, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951
...
In general I was able to manage the crosswind dancing, but in the big Winslow Street crosswind the bike (and rider) got blown, laterally, several feet N. This has happened in the same location on at least one other occasion with a different bike; I'll have to look back and see which bike (and what tires) that happened with. It's not an experience I'd necessarily want to make a habit of.. I have some thoughts about contributing factors (cockpit errors). The research continues.

rod
So, I did take a look, and it seems the last time I was translated laterally on Winslow Street, I was riding my Ebisu All Purpose Bicycle equipped with 32mm Compass Stampede Pass Extralights. Sufficiently different bike and tires to make me pause and reconsider prior theories, which focused on the contact patch. On the Appaloosa, the knobbies on the 55mm tire (Fleecer Ridge Endurance) complicate the situation. The Stampede Pass are road tires (low-profile file tread), but with a much smaller contact patch. I'm tempted to try putting Antelope Hill Extralight 55mm road tires on the Appaloosa to see if the presumably larger contact patch materially helps the bike hold the road in that situation.

Plan B: avoid Winslow Street on windy days.

rod
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Old 03-30-24, 09:51 PM
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Saturday afternoon I took the LHT and rode East.


Conditions were mixed, with bright sun and a stiff and gusty breeze from the W that continued to present as a vexing crosswind strong enough and often enough to challenge the rider. I went cranking along imagining the vector algebra involved, which actually seemed to help. Found myself mashing more than spinning: that provided the illusion, at least, of control. Didn't get knocked sideways, for a change. Stayed pretty wind-focused, mostly ignored the drivers, who mostly just picked on each other.

Good ride, I seem to be reaching a new understanding with the wind. The LHT, shod with 44mm Snoqualmie Pass Extralights, was confirmed in its status as the best windy-day bike of the bunch. And the hills never disappoint.


rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 03-30-24 at 09:57 PM.
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