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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 05-09-24, 09:31 PM
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Took the Seven out for a quick spin late Thursday afternoon, pleased that the Sun continued to shine. It was a jolly ride. Lots of company on the Minuteman, but nothing too much.


rod
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Old 05-10-24, 07:38 PM
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Late Friday afternoon, I had a quick spin, lickety-split, up the Mystic Valley Parkway and along the Eastern shore of the Mystic Lakes. A series of quiet scenes prevailed there, a few canoes or something similar, a few people fishing, and a fair number of people on road bikes. I was rolling on the Nobilette, which fit right in.


I have a fixed idea that the folks I see fishing are fishing for the table, and dinner is at stake. I'm not quite sure why I believe that.


It was a pleasure to ride the Nobilette, as always, but airing up the 28mm tires seemed to point towards a fault in my floor pump. Something to investigate.

rod
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Old 05-11-24, 06:13 PM
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Waltham MCRT


Don't know if this has been mentioned in this thread yet, but Waltham has opened up a couple miles worth of the MCRT that connects to the Weston section. This picture is of the easternmost part currently open (Middlesex Rd. is across from the Petco parking lot off Main St.). Between the Waltham and Weston paved parts there's still some civilized single track with a couple old railroad bridges, but nothing the minivelo can't handle. Anyway, a big improvement over other ways of getting through Waltham to the west.
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Old 05-18-24, 10:02 PM
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I returned from California Friday, decided Saturday's forecast looked likely, and took the Sam Hillborne for a ride East.


This was yet another iteration of the hills-and-traffic drill through well-known roads in East Arlington, West Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham, with an option on a few other conurbations should the spirit dictate. The hills are always with us, but the traffic varies a good deal. Today things were a bit more congested than usual, and featured chartered shuttle buses substituting for Orange Line trains while the MBTA did some needed maintenance. The shuttle buses were a striking shade of yellow. Here's one:


While I started encountering a light drizzle in Medford, early in the day, I didn't run into an honest rain shower until near the end of the day. This is not a complaint. Even that was relatively gentle in the scheme of things, and the Sam Hillborne and its Barlow Pass Extralight all-road tires and Paul cantilever brakes handled the mild change of conditions with aplomb..


Good to be back on the bike after a week away.

rod

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Old 05-21-24, 06:44 PM
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Took another ride out to Depot Park and back with my son John, he on his Soma Pescadero, I on my 1982 Specialized Sequoia.


Both bikes are set up with STI machines (a.k.a. brifters), and support riding along two abreast and chatting. Which was exactly what we did.


Good ride, good talk. And we stopped at Battle Road Bikes and scheduled some work to be done.


rod

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Old 05-22-24, 06:40 PM
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One of those days when the time gets squeezed up from the bottom like toothpaste from a tube. Days like that, I most often take a little ride, all I have time for, and most often, it's up along the Eastern shore of the Mystic Lakes. That's what I did today, taking the Seven Evergreen out for a brisk, quick spin, turning around at the mouth of the Aberjona River, thinking to see the demotic and institutional response to the First Warm Day. And at Shannon Beach, that's more or less what was on offer.


On these rides, I've got a fixed pattern: Shannon Beach first, then down at the Dam to look at the more relaxed scene (usually) at the Tufts Bacow Sailing Pavillion. Today, uh-uh. Somebody's been taking Lemming Pills.


Usually, with congestion at that level, somebody has had the wit to hire cops on a traffic-directing detail. Not this time. No telling what happened, there and then, but if anybody knows, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Good ride, nonetheless. Some sort of Arboreal Cruft got into my eyes, stung a bit and kept me blinking. But the Seven kept reminding me that I really should ride it more often , preferably on a longer-distance ride than these little Pee-Wee Derbies.


Tomorrow's another, etc.

rod
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Old 05-24-24, 10:30 PM
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The previous two 20-mile sprints with John had convinced me that I needed to replace the legacy saddle on 1982 Specialized Sequoia, so I asked the Battle Road Bikes folks to sell me a Brooks C17 Cambrium. I've been running these on several bikes for the last couple of years, and regard them as a Good Place To Sit. The day after the installation of the C17 on the Sequoia, I spun out to Depot Park and back on a warm afternoon to see if that solved the fundamental problem.


Yup, that did it. I enjoyed a cool, brisk ride through the greenery, greeting the occasional extra-terrestrial as I rolled along.


Be of good cheer, for we are watched over by Science.




rod

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Old 05-25-24, 05:03 PM
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Saturday, I took the Seven Evergreen and rode East.


The ride was the thing, almost completely to the exclusion of photography or any other instrumentation. But the Fells Escarpment hills were real (though paved), and the Seven sailed up and down them, when it wasn't busy dodging in and out of traffic, and sometimes when it was. Splendid Spring weather, it was, it was! 44mm Snoqualmie Pass Extralight tires, TPU tubes, and a titanium frame, close enough to flight that I'm surprised the FAA didn't comment on it.

Good ride today, if a little under-documented. I had fun.

rod
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Old 05-27-24, 04:50 PM
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I put the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler back in the rotation because I was tired of not riding it, and went haring off on the Minuteman towards the end of the day, racing with the clouds and riding between the raindrops.


It was a pleasure to ride this bike again, perhaps for the first time this season. Aside from the hilarity that ensues from the low-trail geometry, it's set up for friction shifting (Suntour Power Ratchets), and I found myself transferring shift management lessons from my recent sojourn in Brifterland to the nearly-random-access domain of friction shifting. Way too much fun.

The bike got a compliment from another cyclist towards the end of the ride, in Arlington Center.

None of the rain was enough to do more than gently cool the rider, weather of the right sort.

rod
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Old 05-31-24, 10:59 PM
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Friday, I hopped on the Seven Evergreen SL to take the air on a spin out the Minuteman to Depot Park.
​​​​​​

I stopped in at Battle Road Bikes, as well. That shop has become something of a "third place" for me.


The rest was pedaling. Good day for it.

rod
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Old 06-01-24, 04:52 PM
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So, today was the best riding weather since the last time. Sunny, breezy, warm, people out in droves. What to do with such weather but take a bike and ride somewhere on it?


I took the Nobilette, aired up the tires, and rode to Depot Park.


Two or three strands of back story here. I've been using a Pedro Domestique floor pump in the garage for the last several years, and have lately become suspicious of its pressure gauge, which seems to have the secret ambition to pump 28mm tires up to 100 psi or more, which certainly wasn't my intention. A look on the Internet suggests that others have encountered this behavior as well, so I asked Pete at Battle Road Bikes to recommend a replacement, and am now testing out a Lezyne floor pump. I pumped the 28mm Chinook Pass Extralights on the Nobilette up to the RH Tire Pressure Calculater "Soft" value of 74 psi, and they felt right: a little yielding, not like the rocks that Pedro gave me for the same value. I chose Depot Park as a destination simply because I've been out there several times lately, and it feels like known terrain for such an experiment. I rolled out, and was delighted with the road feel I was getting from properly-inflated tires. Pedro flunks, Lezyne passes, experiment complete.


"Are you alright?", the too-frequently-annoying question put to any cyclist who stops pedaling for any reason, is apparently not just for humans anymore. One of the Taylor Lane horses has been getting it during nap-time. The sign says it best.

rod

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Old 06-03-24, 07:25 AM
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Thanks Rod for keeping the thread going, and for finding new and unexpected observations on mostly familiar rides. A skill I lack, and appreciate in others.
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Old 06-03-24, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by EVlove
Thanks Rod for keeping the thread going, and for finding new and unexpected observations on mostly familiar rides. A skill I lack, and appreciate in others.
You're very welcome. Sometimes the retiree is the only one not on vacation...

rod
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Old 06-03-24, 06:58 PM
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Rode 28 miles today through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, and Lincoln, a route that once was a commonplace, but approached again for the first time in over a year, it seemed long and a little tiring. The Minuteman, the Reformatory Branch, and various paved roads got me from one place to another, the Seven Cycles Evergreen SL did the getting. Here it sits adjacent to one of the vernal pools behind Lexington Center.


The Reformatory Branch was interesting, after the better part of a year away. It wasn't muddy, although sections were, though dry, severely rutted. This required attention to ride safely. But did encounter Bambi, and Bambi's girlfriend. Fortunately, no territorial grumpiness confused us.


In addition to four-legged trail users, the Reformatory Branch had its share of the two-legged variety, sometimes two-wheeled, well-behaved for the most part.


After leaving the Reformatory Branch and dodging traffic in downtown Concord, the next portion of the ride runs along Virginia Road. Early on, a large wetland is watered by Elm Brook, the same Elm Brook that runs under the Minuteman in Bedford. This is a low point that is followed by a series of climbs.


I parked at the end of the Hanscom runway on Virginia Road for a few minutes, reminiscing about the times my father would take me to the Charlotte airport to watch the planes come and go. I still get excited by that.


After the runway, the long, steep climb to the top of the biggest hill on the ride awaits. I was delighted to find that between some wisely-chosen gears and the light load of the Titanium frame, the climb was a bit less onerous than usual.

The Old Virginia Road forested entrance (or trailhead, if you will), is at the top of the Virginia Road climb, in Lincoln, if I've got my facts right. Cool and green, and something I should use from time to time. Today I just climbed to it on the bike, then went whizzing down the hill on the paved road. I became a little confused, however, by the curvilinear forms the construction is taking at the bottom of the hill. It seems clear enough, at the moment, but who knows what it will morph into? No pictures of that.


Lincoln Street, Lexington, and Lexington Road, Lincoln, run along the top of the Cambridge Reservoir. This is a good place to see how the drought is going, if there's a drought, or to admire the fully-charged reservoir, if you've got one of those. We're more on the fully-charged reservoir end of the spectrum just at the moment, but that can change with surprising speed, and a ride to the reservoir always feels like intelligence gathering. No mud flats today!


After the reservoir, a series of rolling hills awaits, followed by a bit of the Minuteman, the remaining ride seeming strangely foreshortened.

One of the consequences of discovering that the old pump's pressure gauge was on the fritz was that I needed to bleed and repressurize all the tires that were liable to have been filled by the bad pump. That went double for the Seven, whose tires should have been pumped up to 37 PSI, but were apparently up above 60 PSI, instead. On a rocky trail, that meant that it would hop from stone to stone like a kangaroo. I fixed that before rolling out of the house, and the difference was gratifying. I'll continue working my way through the various bikes and their overinflated tires.

rod

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Old 06-04-24, 09:29 PM
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My son John and I had a short ride up the Minuteman to Lexington Center on Tuesday afternoon, some pedaling, some chat, and some tasty frozen custard. His bike is the Soma Pescadero on the left; mine is the rebuilt 1982 Specialized Sequoia on the right. The frozen custard is not shown.


After the return from that ride, I rolled back to Battle Road Bikes on the Seven Evergreen SL, which needed some work after Monday's ride.


I rolled home on the 1987 GT Karakoram rigid mtb, which had developed a mysterious flat just sitting around in the basement, now repaired. Riding repair bikes to and from the shop seems preferable to me compared to toting them on the back of a car, although I'm not about to get rid of my Allen rack. But this is fun when it can be made to work.


rod


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Old 06-06-24, 10:48 PM
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Thursday afternoon, I wanted a ride. After spending some time in the garage adjusting some of the over-inflated tires, I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler rolling on Soma C-Line 700Cx38 tires. . Rob Perks, at Ocean Air Cycles, was the creative and organizational spark behind both the Rambler and the C-Line tires. Both the bike and the tires were creatures of their particular moment in bicycle history (2013), and I regard them as delightful to ride. The bike is essentially a low-trail touring bike with good all-rounder capabilities The tires were a collaboration with Panaracer to build 38mm 700C tires with Pasela treads. This was more or less the same moment when Jan Heine was turning out the earliest Compass Barlow Pass tires (700Cx38mm with a file tread). I bought a set of the Barlow Pass tires and a set of the Soma C-Lines the same week, and, after flipping a coin, put the Compass Barlow Pass tires on my Long Haul Trucker, on which I had already been experimenting with Grand Bois Cypres Extra Leger. The Soma C-Lines went into a drawer, where they stayed until I worked with Battle Road Bikes to build up the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler frameset that I had purchased from another member of the iBOB list; once that build commenced, I realized I had a karmic obligation to build Rob's bike with Rob's tires, and so I did. It's a happy combination, and I rolled out to Depot Park and back in speedy comfort.


On the way back, I looked in at Battle Road Bikes.


The weather was brooding, but seemed unlikely to mean anything by it.


Meanwhile, the Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have rendered a monastic character, perhaps an anchorite. I find this meditative figure a welcome addition to the trailside. So does the spider who is spinning her web on his nose.


rod

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Old 06-07-24, 10:04 PM
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On Friday, I rode the Nobilette to Battle Road Bikes to swap in a new Brooks C-17 for the old WTB SST. Here's a photo before the swap.


While that work was being done, I took the Surly Trucker DeLuxe, in the shop for a tire repair after a tube refused to hold air on one of its big Rat Trap Pass tires, out on a vigorous ride to Depot Park, Bedford, and back. The bike and the tires performed beautifully. Here's a photo of the Surly at a Bedford section of Elm Brook.


I whizzed back to Battle Road Bikes on the Trucker DeLuxe, and left that bike with them pending the arrival of yet another Brooks C-17, this one for the Surly. I regard all this saddle swapping as a series of experiments, that will be proved out in a series of long rides.


I picked up the Nobilette, with its new saddle, and rode it home, pausing for a couple of minutes to make a minor saddle height adjustment.


rod
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Old 06-08-24, 10:56 PM
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Saturday I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler and rode East.


Today the wind was salient, and the nimble, low-trail geometry of the Rambler virtually skipped over the pavement from gust to gust. I had forgotten what a lively ride this bike could take me on. I went in and out of traffic as the situation called for, and up and down hills with relative ease and consistency. The Pasela tread on the Soma C-Line tires seemed to me to allow for relative freedom to pivot on the pavement: what's true, what's illusion there? I've got one other pair of tires with a Pasela tread, an old pair of Compass 26"x1.75" that I used to run on the Surly Trucker DeLuxe; I suppose I could put those back on that bike, and look for some comparison data...

I felt pretty energetic myself during the ride, and didn't stop to take another photo--kids playing basketball in Dugger Park, West Medford--until I was about to cross the Mystic River back to East Arlington, at ride's end. The town was jazzed up by the Celtics' early success in the NBA Finals, and the kids had a gleam in their eye as they dribbled and feinted.


And still the wind blew, from start to finish.

rod

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Old 06-10-24, 09:10 PM
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Monday, I took the Ocean Air Cycles Rambler and rode into Arlington Center to attend a meeting. Something novel about using a bicycle as the agency of quotidian transportation. I could get used to that. The Rambler did not get stolen, contrary to expectations.


After we had settled into the afternoon, I took the Rivendell Atlantis (MIT model, long wheelbase, weighs a ton) out for a spin on the Minuteman, to Lexington Center and back. Enjoyed the ride, but I'm still getting the hang of that bike, and its sibling, the Appaloosa. Much more fun going downhill on those prodigious bicycles, but I'm learning that it's easy enough to climb if your expectations are reasonable. This was in part a shakedown ride for the Atlantis, and I have a couple of things to follow up on.


rod
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Old 06-11-24, 09:45 PM
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The good weather on Tuesday appeared to just possibly be conditional. A cloud-face of one of the storm gods was floating over the Minuteman, making me wonder if there might not be a downpour in my immediate future.


As I cut along on the Nobilette, the clouds were mixed with sunshine and blue sky, and it seemed that rain was for another day. Fine by me.


The story told by the Bike Stop site is increasingly bleak. I could imagine a different story: an Arlington Bike Kitchen, with Community Preservation Act funding. Anyone else thinking that way?


rod
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Old 06-12-24, 10:27 PM
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Took the Rivendell Rambouillet for a quick sprint out to Lexington Center and back. Is that a funnel cloud I see? Never a meteorologist around when you need one, although some phones are infested with them (meteorologists, not funnel clouds).. In any event, I outran the weather, which seemed pretty benign.


The Mile 4.0 Cairn Builders have given us a pair of bird totems. I'm sure we needed them, but I'm not sure what for. I did hear a raven calling recently. And looking at the smaller bird, I'm not so sure it isn't a frog. The larger bird asks, reasonably enough, "Lunch?"


rod

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Old 06-14-24, 11:01 PM
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There was a change in the weather, and thereby hangs a tale. I took the Rivendell Rambouillet up the Mystic Valley Parkway for a quick tour of the Mystic Lakes, just a little ride to see how people were enjoying the good weather of the morning and adapting to the forecast storms of the afternoon. The Rambouillet was a pleasure to ride, as usual, and I expected to have more than enough time to complete this brief ride.


Following the normal route for these rides, I turned around at the mouth of the Aberjona River, where it empties into the Upper Mystic Lake. Looking out across the lake, there appeared to be rain falling in the Winchester hills. That should have told me something, but I had been looking at weather radar just before starting out, and expected the weather, which was certainly out there, was no closer than I-495. A case of believing screen over eyeballs... what could happen?


Still, I pedaled a little faster, and made my way down to Shannon Beach. There, people seemed to be leaving, but not everybody, and not with any great sense of urgency. I took some pictures, and took my time.




I continued down the Parkway. The wind picked up, and a runner went padding along the footpath.


A kayak paddled by, headed, at least in fancy, down the Mystic River. I thought of "Paddle to the Sea". The paddler was making good time, presumably headed for one of the landings near the dam.


At the Tufts Bacow Sailing Pavillion, a number of cheerful young women were just leaving. A single distance swimmer churned past in the water, trailing a bright pink buoy.


The last photo that I took before the rain started falling showed a very low, rotating cloud mass, a wind-driven lake surface, and a dark human figure in the lower-left-hand corner of the image, possibly landing a kayak.


The first thing not photographed was a woman, who said to me, as she opened her car door, "Looks like it's going to do what they said". "It" I took to be the weather. No sooner had she said it, than big, cold drops of rain began to fall, in rapidly increasing numbers, as the wind rose and very quickly established itself as a miserable cross-wind, with the wind-driven rain limiting visibility, next best thing to a whiteout. I turned on blinking LEDs fore and aft, and wasted no time getting moving, taking particular care to stay in the breakdown lane on the Parkway that serves as a de facto bike lane. The wind was sufficiently challenging that pedaling to maintain traction, and steering to avoid an accident, kept me occupied. That, and the hail, which had started falling. And the flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder. I rode down to the Rte 60 rotary and took particular care transiting that, then rode down to Harvard Ave., Medford, and crossed the Mystic River to River Street, Arlington. The topography of East Arlington gives us a long hill to climb up to Broadway, and every down-hill road was a running, flooded watercourse. I moved off River Street to the relative shelter of Everett Street, but found myself riding through relatively deep, fast-flowing water. After a few blocks, I came to a tree that had just fallen across the road, at which point I dismounted the bike and walked it up the relatively dry (read: not flooded) sidewalk, walking that up to, and across, Broadway. This led me to take the last photo of the day, a flood at a Broadway intersection. The phone's touchscreen only grudgingly cooperated, but I did manage to capture a single image. No hill here, and no running water, but a little raft of debris spun at its center. From there, I walked home, meeting no one on the way, wondering about the other people who had been as slow leaving the Lakes as I was.


After the rain stopped (for a while), I took the bike to Battle Road Bikes, to consult about water damage to the bottom bracket and the hubs. I'm crossing my fingers about that.

That said, this ride was the most fun I've had on a bicycle in quite a while. I'll endeavor to avoid a repeat any time soon.

rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 06-15-24 at 09:42 AM.
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04-14-15 12:39 PM
ctyler
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10-10-10 08:29 PM

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