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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 08-24-14, 07:49 PM
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I agree that the MM is horrible on the weekends. I usually avoid most of it on the weekends but yesterday, I decided to do a Belmont - Concord Loop so I could also see the newly paved parts. I always pass with care when I ride and yield to pedestrians and slower cyclists when I can't pass, but this one guy really reminded me of why it sucks on the weekends. I should've yelled at him, but I'm a nice guy and usually don't confront people. Luckily, my handling skills are pretty good whereas if it were some other less experienced cyclist, they may not have fared as well.

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Old 08-24-14, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
A recent Metro Boston post however suggested another itinerary in a sector of the Metroverse I haven’t ridden in lately, so I decided on that new destination, I'm calling the "Magical Mystery Tour" because

Originally Posted by Kurt Vonnegut
”Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”
…Well, at least now I have two long Saturday rides planned out, the previous “low Boston orbit” and the new ”Magical Mystery Tour.”
My Magical (and Musical) Mystery Tour, Saturday, August 23

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
…This past week I picked up a handlebar mount for a camera and rode with it yesterday, took a dozen videos of lengths half a minute to several minutes… Climbing the west side of the big hill between Lexington and Woburn:


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
What road is in the photo? It looks like a nice shoulder.

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
That road actually has several different names. That picture is Woburn St which runs east from Lexington Center, then turns northeast when it crosses Lowell St. Just over that hill it crosses into Woburn and so becomes Lexington St. At the bottom of a steep downhill it crosses Rt 3 at a busy intersection I like to call Woburn Center West but which I've been told is actually named Four Corners (there must be a few dozen of these in Massachusetts). It continues northeast for another mile or so and then inexplicably changes to Pleasant St. before proceeding through Woburn Center. The straight line continuation through W.C. (which you can't quite do in that direction because you have to loop around The Common) becomes Main St/Rt 38, trending north in a block or so. (The other part of Main St/Rt 38 comes up from the south and merges with the loop around The Common.) So it has either three or four names depending on how you see it.
It has that nice shoulder, wide enough to take parked cars but hosting virtually none, from Lowell St all the way through W.C. A good third to half of my commute.
So this Saturday, I decided to find that road, and even capture the same picture. I left in jmm’s full description because it was an accurate detail of that road, though I rode it in the opposite direction as written. I have recently been thinking about riding the Fellsway; not been on it since July last year. So that would be the route to “Jim's Road.”

The Fellsway segment is little-described on this Metro Boston thread. In my Cyclist's Guide to the Metroverse it's in the northern suburb sector, but not even mentioned. It's actually a distinct subsector, mostly comprised of the towns of Malden, Melrose, and Medford (“Meffed”).

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Northern Suburbs: Lynnfield, Reading, Wilmington, Woburn, down through Winchester, etc: Pleasant suburban to rural inland roads.
I started out from Kenmore Square at about 6 AM, an hour later than planned, but that allowed for some pictures from the N. Washington St. Bridge. Usually I access Rutherford Ave, my gateway to the North Shore, from the Memorial Drive in Cambridge, and this was my first time in decades of Boston cycling to take the bridge through Charlestown.



I told my 50+ Bike Forum visitor from Ohio this past July, rtool, the story of the naming of the beautiful Zakim Bridge. Leonard Zakim was a director of the Anti-Defamation League, and had died just before the bridge opened. As I understand it, his name was proposed because he "built bridges” between groups. Many opposed this suggestion, particularly the people of Charlestown, because he was a relatively minor figure in Boston history for such a bridge that defined the Boston skyline; they preferred the Bunker Hill Bridge. Cardinal Bernard Law used his then-prestigious influence to sway the Zakim name, just before the clergy sex-abuse scandal hit the fan.

I preceded up Rte 99 to Rte 60 thorough Malden. On the way I stopped off at the dance joint that my wife and I visit every Saturday night. To me it resembles a speakeasy because behind that industrial looking door inside the Jackson Street parking structure is a festive and well-appointed ballroom, with live music, a great dance floor, and cheap but good drinks. Just say, “Jim sent me.”



I then rode further on rte 60 and turned north on Fellsway East (as opposed to Fellsway West). Both Fellsway routes are pleasant slightly uphill northbound roads, both mostly through the wooded Middlesex Fells, and quiet Malden-Melrose neighborhoods.

Near the end of the Fellsway, I got totally, but pleasantly disoriented, even though with a map check I convinced myself I was on the right track (but in the wrong direction). I did about a 5 mile loop through pleasant Melrose including Main Street. Even though I had ridden Main St northbound a few times, it was a total jamais vu as I rode south. On this ride I didn’t see many fully-kitted cyclists until Lexington, though I did get passed by this well-organized paceline, but I couldn’t get all five riders in one shot.



I also passed a nice-looking Restaurant on Main St called Bobby C’s. After the ride I googled it and to my delight they offered an acapella show with the well-known North Shore Acapella. If I ever get a Wednesday off, that will be a destination, though Wednesdays are also big ballroom dance nights too.

When I arrived back in Malden, my sense of direction became clear, so I re-traced my route through Melrose, on to Stoneham to take Montvale Ave to Woburn. I know of Montave Ave mostly as a Rte 128 exchange often mentioned in traffic reports. Other than about a half mile on either side of Rte 128, it was a nice residential street but with a steep, long downhill run to wetward to 128, and a steep uphill payback towards Woburn.

Woburn Center is basically a rotary. I stopped for a brief rest in the pleasant traffic circle common / war memorial, and with my large scale paper map and dead reckoning reconnoitered which un-signed road to take out of the center. I chose wrong and went about a quarter mile down a commercial street (retrospectively I think it was Winn Street). I asked for directions for Lexington St at an auto repair shop. The guy said to go back to the Center, then pass the Courthouse, and take a right at the next light…”You know where the Courthouse is, don’t you?”…”Yes” (figuring it was in the center of town). Well it was just slightly off-center, but I see why the mechanic considered it a notable landmark (photo below).



As I was riding off, I noticed a statue of Benjamin Thompson / Count Rumford, and I wondered why is he so honored in Woburn? I confirmed my recollection of who he was, and learned he was born in Woburn:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford,,,,March 26, 1753 – August 21, 1814) was an American-born British physicist and inventor whose challenges to established physical theory were part of the 19th century revolution in thermodynamics. He also served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Loyalist forces in America during the American Revolutionary War. After the end of the war he moved to London where his administrative talents were recognized when he was appointed a full Colonel, and in 1784 received a knighthood from King George III…

The birthplace of Benjamin Thompson is now owned by the Rumford Historical Association, founded in 1877 to maintain it as a site of historic interest. In its museum are reconstructed models of Count Rumford's scientific experiments and inventions. A copy of a portrait of Count Rumford by Gainsborough is on display. The house also has a library of Rumford biographies and essays. It is open weekend afternoons 1 - 4:30PM. Admission is free.
That next right turn was onto aptly named Pleasant St where Jim's Road begins (or ends).

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
…It continues northeast for another mile or so and then inexplicably changes to Pleasant St. before proceeding through Woburn Center.
END Part 1.
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Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-24-14 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 08-25-14, 04:51 AM
  #3953  
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JFB, nice travelogue! The details about the Zakim Bridge and Count Rumford are fascinating. I did not know about the bridge, and have always ridden ridden through WC, noted the statue, figured he was some academic, but never stopped to see who. Of course, I'm usually riding through there with a purpose.

I'm honored that you were inspired by my post to find Pleasant/Lexington/Woburn St. Also fascinated how you (and others in this thread) can ride around to places seemingly impossible to reach at all. Some of those roads you mentioned I have noted on a map, but never ridden because they don't quite go where I need to.
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Old 08-25-14, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
JFB, nice travelogue! The details about the Zakim Bridge and Count Rumford are fascinating. I did not know about the bridge, and have always ridden ridden through WC, noted the statue, figured he was some academic, but never stopped to see who. Of course, I'm usually riding through there with a purpose.

I'm honored that you were inspired by my post to find Pleasant/Lexington/Woburn St. Also fascinated how you (and others in this thread) can ride around to places seemingly impossible to reach at all. Some of those roads you mentioned I have noted on a map, but never ridden because they don't quite go where I need to.
Hey jmm,

Thanks for your nice reply, and I’m further encouraged to write part 2. I get around with a low tech Metro Boston paper map from the AAA. Besides getting to Norwood to work, at my convenience, or home to Kenmore Square, mileage is my goal on Saturday rides. Your prompt to find Jim’s Road was a further happy incentive.

On that statue of Count Rumford, his right hand holds a dandy walking stick, and his left a scrolled piece of paper suggesting an academic. His name pops up again in part 2.
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Old 08-25-14, 05:57 AM
  #3955  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Hmmm. If I were trying to do that, I'd reach back for one of Buzzman's descriptions of his 120-mile commute to the Berkshires... or SBP's history rides... or antimoysarah's randoneuring adventiures... or Jim and Sharon's tandem rambles... or Bishbike's sculpture rides... or mr_bill's handlebar movies... godshammgod's ride to Provincetown... or commuter stories from mtalinm, Jim Muller, Buzzman, and you... It's really AND, not OR, riding in this town, more good rides than you can shake a stick at, or fit in your head, or fits in a single post... Best thing would be just to send 'em the link to SBP's first post, and let 'em read all about it as they have the patience and inclination to do so...

rod
Thanks for your reply. Indeed I did add a link to the first post of this Metro Boston thread, but as I recall the photos started later on, well into the current 159 pages.

BTW FYA, I did find on another thread a link to an earlier thread that seemed to be a precursor to this current Metro Boston one called “Greater Boston Roll Call !”. I noted that among others, sbp and buzzman posted to it.

PS: It was 13 pages long, happened in 2008, I noted Bishbike on it too.

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Old 08-25-14, 08:17 AM
  #3956  
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
[RANT]
... We were passed by numerous Lance-Wannabes who should have known better than to hammer through heavy traffic, most without giving any "passing" warning. While we were coasting at 17mph downhill into Arlington (I know because I checked my speedometer then) we were passed by someone hammering an MTB at least 25mph, perhaps even 30mph.
...
Sorry for the angry tone of this part of the note but I've had it up to here with idiotic behavior. It is bad enough when people walking baby carriages don't stop to think there are fast bicycles going by and perhaps they shouldn't walk side-by-side. But a cyclist who endangers people should have his wheels taken away.
[/RANT]
Yah. We've all got these stories (perhaps,sometimes, we ARE these stories for some of our fellows). The one that lingers with me was the late afternoon ride in which the young blind woman, one of the Minuteman sunset regulars, was almost wiped out by a roadie-equipped young man, what our grandparents (or great-grandparents) would have called a "scorcher": he screamed, "Didn't you see me coming?", oblivious to her long white cane. As Bugs Bunny would say, "Sheesh, what a maroon!" The young man obviously has a few things to learn, hopefully not at someone else's expense...

"In May 1895 the Brooklyn Bicycle Club put itself on public record as being opposed to ‘scorching’ on the Coney Island Cycle Path, and recommended to the authorities the prompt punishment of every offender. The practice of fast riding should never have been permitted on such a liberally patronized riding ground… The speed limit was 12mph. Scorchers were stopped by policeman on bikes and could expect stiff fines."
(Via roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com)

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Old 08-25-14, 08:45 AM
  #3957  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My Magical (and Musical) Mystery Tour, Saturday, August 23


...
The Fellsway segment is little-described on this Metro Boston thread.
...
Jim, thanks for that description of riding the Fellsway; I've crossed it several times on rides headed East, but haven't ridden it yet. Looking at the map, it seems like a valuable piece of the Northern puzzle, but, as Ezra Pound said, "Courage is having done the thing before".

rod
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Old 08-25-14, 11:06 AM
  #3958  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Had another foray to the North Shore today, 73 miles through Arlington, Medford, Malden, Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem, Beverly, Wenham, Hamilton, Ipswich, Essex, Danvers, Peabody, Lynnfield, Wakefield, Stoneham, and Winchester. This is an instance of a template that has emerged over the summer: ride the Bike to the Sea route (Northern Strand Community Trail) outbound, meander up the coast to Wenham, where my daughter has recently moved, fool around riding in some of the adjacent towns with her in the afternoon, then high-tail it back to Arlingon on the Danvers Rail Trail and an odd lot of roads in The Sprawl That Route 128 Built. There are two catches: 1) I seem to be physically unable to start a Saturday ride much before 10, and 2) the days are getting shorter. So some of this took place at night.

Today's ride, templated as indicated, had a few novel features:

1) A brief spiritual pilgrimage to the Medford Stupa; I had a little business of that sort to transact.


2) A preview ride of the not-yet-complete Revere section of the Northern Strand Community Path, skirting Rumney Marsh. It is quite beautiful, even though the work-in-progress trail surface was challenging to ride. I got my Gravel Grinding merit badge, so that's something.


3) A detour to the Saugus Iron Works, which turns out to be only a few blocks North of the Saugus section of the Northern Strand Community Trail; once upon a time, antimonysarah (whose systematic research on bicycle routes to the North Shore has been inspirational) had complained about not finding a satisfactory route to the Iron Works; this one is ok, provided you're running at least 28mm tires to accommodate the crunchy crusty crushed asphalt surface that Saugus put on its segment of the trail.

Nice! I do, in fact, have tires that could deal with that. I was up on the North Shore this weekend as well, but I did *gasp* drive out past some of the city bits -- there was a 200k brevet out of Beverly on Sunday, and I didn't feel like turning it into a 300k day (and especially didn't feel like getting up any earlier than I had to!). We went past that Myopia Polo field, and then continued on up along the shore to Kittery Point before turning inland and coming back south through Dover and Exeter and Groveland. I'd only ever seen the giant-shopping-mall part of Kittery; the part we rode through was as scenic as that part is NOT. The route back was just as pretty, I think, but I decided to set some speed goals and had the athletic sort of fun rather than the tourist sort, and it's a bit of a blur. I did pass over a bridge I'd previously only seen from canoeing under it, which was a novelty.
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Old 08-25-14, 12:28 PM
  #3959  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Jim, thanks for that description of riding the Fellsway; I've crossed it several times on rides headed East, but haven't ridden it yet. Looking at the map, it seems like a valuable piece of the Northern puzzle, but, as Ezra Pound said, "Courage is having done the thing before".

rod
Actually rod, IMO the Fellsways more fit jmm’s definition:

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
…Some of those roads you mentioned I have noted on a map, but never ridden because they don't quite go where I need to.
They are really pleasant roadways, but I use them for mileage rather than as destinations. My last ride on Fellsway West was July 4 last year when I wanted to do a novel 25 mile loop from Kenmore. Or I have ridden them for longer loops to the North. They would be out of the way to get to the North Shore from Boston, or Arlington. I think the access to them in Medford-Malden would be more enjoyable from Arlington, than from Boston, which involves passing through congested Charlestown, Everett, Cambridge and/or Somerville.

Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
"In May 1895 the Brooklyn Bicycle Club “put itself on public record as being opposed to ‘scorching’ on the Coney Island Cycle Path, and recommended to the authorities the prompt punishment of every offender. The practice of fast riding should never have been permitted on such a liberally patronized riding ground…” The speed limit was 12mph. Scorchers were stopped by policeman on bikes and could expect stiff fines."
(Via roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com)
Thanks for that link about the history of 19th-early 20th century roads and bicycling; I’m fascinated by that era. Being from the Motor City, my family history is invariably tied up with those halcyon days. Even Henry Ford gets a mention as a cycling enthusiast. I think of that time as exciting then as the Information Age has been on the cusp of the 20th -21st century.

I’ve often thought how serendiptous it was that Dwight Eisenhower as a new military officer participated in an arduous cross-country transport in 1919, became familiar with the autobahn in WWII, and promoted the Interstate Highway System during my early years.
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Old 08-25-14, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
Nice! I do, in fact, have tires that could deal with that. I was up on the North Shore this weekend as well, but I did *gasp* drive out past some of the city bits -- there was a 200k brevet out of Beverly on Sunday, and I didn't feel like turning it into a 300k day (and especially didn't feel like getting up any earlier than I had to!). We went past that Myopia Polo field, and then continued on up along the shore to Kittery Point before turning inland and coming back south through Dover and Exeter and Groveland. I'd only ever seen the giant-shopping-mall part of Kittery; the part we rode through was as scenic as that part is NOT. The route back was just as pretty, I think, but I decided to set some speed goals and had the athletic sort of fun rather than the tourist sort, and it's a bit of a blur. I did pass over a bridge I'd previously only seen from canoeing under it, which was a novelty.
That sounds like a great brevet! Beautiful country up there, blurred or not...

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Old 08-25-14, 08:04 PM
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JFB, nice travelogue and well done. You did indeed find my route and picture (though IIRC mine was from a little further down and captured one of the fine homes, probably an original farmhouse, on the north side of the road). That ramshackle building with the stack (south side of the road) is part of a farm and those other structures (north side of the road) are greenhouses with roles of white plastic unloaded there a month or so ago. I seem to recall that the farm has been working in recent years, but this year the fields have been largely fallow. There was some activity in the greenhouses though, flats of flowers laid out. Those fields have been home to a number of turkeys this year, and the steep (10% grade) section on the east side of that hill (further on in your second view) is where the animal-activist policeman stopped traffic to let a hen and two tiny chicks waddle across the road back in early summer.

The previous two pics are in the Four Corners intersection, with the big McD's children's playground and a DD dominating the view westward. For all the traffic and noise and afternoon heat that isn't really a tough intersection to get through. You just have to wait for the light.

You must have had a very nice exploratory ride on Saturday!

My day was just another commute. I was exhausted from the weekend, took my time coming home this afternoon. But this morning was, um, satisfying. I was northbound on Rt 60, standing still by the curb, waiting for the light at Leonard St in Belmont. After it changed red for cars crossing Rt 60 a car came down the hill and through the light anyway heading into Belmont Center. I pointed at the driver, a middle-age man in a business suit, made eye contact and followed his car with my head as he turned to stare at me while he went past, his ear to a cell phone. A second later the car behind him also ran the red blatantly, and I pointed at him and followed his car with my head also. I figured a little guilt trip might be in order. About one second later the policeman who was second car in line waiting to make a left into Belmont Center burped his siren, flipped on his lights, and went after them. I hope he caught them both.

Addendum-de-dum-dum: JFB, you must have deleted your post and then re-entered it just as I was posting my answer. Otherwise I have no way to explain the non-causal quantum-mechanical time-shift of my answer appearing before you question.

No ride today. Had a dentist appointment. He didn't strike oil and so will have to drill again.
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Old 08-25-14, 08:10 PM
  #3962  
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The Magical Musical Mystery Tour, Part 2. Saturday, August 22

That next right turn was onto aptly named Pleasant St where Jim's Road begins (or ends).

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
…It continues northeast for another mile or so and then inexplicably changes to Pleasant St. before proceeding through Woburn Center.
END Part 1

So now I was on Jim's Road, heading towards Lexington. Pleasant Street was certainly on the ritzier side of Woburn, with nice Victorian houses. Lexington St. then veered off southwest. The street surface proper was newly paved with a perfect surface, and a wide asphalt shoulder. It was residential with single-family homes, and not much traffic for that Saturday midmorning.

My recollection of jmm’s photo was of a segment of road devoid of houses and trees. Since I was riding in the reverse direction as he, I kept checking the opposite side of the road and my rearview mirror to find a similar spot. I can’t recall exactly if I took my photos before or after I intersected Rte 3.

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
...At the bottom of a steep downhill it crosses Rte 3 at a busy intersection I like to call Woburn Center West but which I've been told is actually named Four Corners (there must be a few dozen of these in Massachusetts).
I think I took my photo my photos on the west (Lexington) side of Rte 3. I recall thinking I needed some kind of documentation that I was on that same road as described by Jim. I did a bathroom stop at the Dunkin Donuts, and afterwards while straddling my bike I took a couple shots of that intersection, so they are not particularly well-framed.



That intersection was familiar to me because I have done several rides on Rte 3 from Arlington up to Billerica, and once to Lowell. There is a northbound downhill run on Rte 3, and that is the approximate area where Rte 3 transitions from the nice to upscale neighborhoods of Arlington and Winchester to the commercial strip through Burlington.

I think it was on Lexington St after Rte 3 that I decided to take a picture of a more intimate landmark on Jim's Road, the ramshackle building below. On the other side of the street, facing eastward (towards Woburn). I took the road photo, noting the wide shoulder that first captured my attention. Not necessarily the same position as jmm's photo, but I felt my mission was accomplished.



Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
…That picture is Woburn St which runs east from Lexington Center, then turns northeast when it crosses Lowell St. Just over that hill it crosses into Woburn and so becomes Lexington St….

It [Jim’s road] has that nice shoulder, wide enough to take parked cars but hosting virtually none, from Lowell St all the way through W.C.
I crossed Lowell St. going towards Lexington, and the shoulder narrowed from about 8 feet wide to about 2 feet. Still a nice road surface, with little traffic. So it appears that jmm’s picture was taken between Lowell St and Rte 3.

I immediately recognized where Woburn St intersected Mass Ave, just before Lexington Center. I didn’t want to dawdle any more, so I went down Waltham St-Lexington St on a speedy downhill, wind-assisted run into Waltham.

I’m quite familiar with that segment since that was one of the earliest long rides we had done from Boston…Rte 20 to Waltham, onto Lexington St to Totten Pond Road and on to Walden Pond. On my speedy downhill, I actually missed the left-hand split of Lexington St, and got on to Bacon St. I did know Bacon St because of a prior ride to Waltham this summer. As usual it was novel because I was riding in the opposite direction.

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
…I'm honored that you were inspired by my post to find Pleasant/Lexington/Woburn St. Also fascinated how you (and others in this thread) can ride around to places seemingly impossible to reach at all. Some of those roads you mentioned I have noted on a map, but never ridden because they don't quite go where I need to.
Appropos of this comment, for the past few years after doing training rides all around the Metroverse, I have thought this about these long rides. Whereas inhabitants of neighborhoods know their areas as an entirety, I know them as routes with peculiar things I note as landmarks. It becomes very satisfying when I ride a new route and it suddenly intercepts a familiar route in the same neighborhood, and that neigborhood now becomes more of an entirety to me too. Often when I meet someone new, I ask them where they live because invariably I’ve ridden through their neighborhood, and that questions spurs a lively conversation.

Bacon brought me to downtown Waltham, then Moody St to Auburndale. In Waltham a funeral procession of motorcycles was assembling. I rode off to the side, out of respect because I consider motorcyclists as “brothers and sisters of the two wheels.” Somehere in Waltham or Newton, I noticed I passed Rumford St, no big deal had I not seen his statue in Woburn.



I arrived in Norwood after 53 miles, did some work and set out for the 14 miles back to Kenmore. As I passed through Norwood Center I was treated to a carillion concert.

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
the Norwood Memorial Municipal Building (Town Hall). It includes a 57-bell carillon tower housing the Walter F. Tilton Memorial Carillon, one of nine carillons in Massachusetts and the seventh-largest in the United States.
A couple miles down the road was a bagpiper playing before a wedding in Westwood.



Finally to end the Magical Mystery Musical Tour, we went back to Malden for dining and dancing that night,

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…To me it resembles a speakeasy because behind that industrial looking door inside the Jackson Street parking structure is a festive and well-appointed ballroom, with live music, a great dance floor, and cheap but good drinks. Just say, “Jim sent me.”
…”Jim (Muller) sent me.”



(The dance floor is empty, because we arrived early.)
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Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-25-14 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 08-26-14, 03:15 PM
  #3963  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Last week I replied to this thread on the Living Car Free Forum, "Bicycling Heaven"
Here's my "Apologia" to prove Bicycling Heaven is in MetroBoston:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Since this thread is divided between pie-in the-sky descriptions of a metaphysical bicycle heaven, and its locations on earth, I would add Metro Boston to the list. There is an active thread devoted to the Riding Experience here…
I like Wipekitty’s criteria for bicycle heaven, so I applied them to cycling in Boston. I highlighted full concurrence in blue, partial in green:

Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Terrain: A good mixture - flats, rollers, challenging climbs. Interesting geographical formations to look at. Areas with trees and areas of barren land. Water optional.

Roads: Wide shoulders, no potholes, maintained year round. A few paths for families and others who prefer to be away from cars. Traffic signals in town that change for bikes as well as cars.

Weather: Sunny most of the time, low humidity. A few hot days, a cool and dry summer, and a cold and snowy winter of several months for icebiking. (Hey, it's my paradise!)

Setting: A smaller city or larger town with coffee shops, universities, and an interesting downtown. Easy access to a nearby big city using bike-friendly public transportation; city also accessible by long bike ride. Low traffic in town; infrastructure to support pedestrians, cyclists of various speeds and abilities, and drivers. Bike parking always closer to the door than car parking.
I had to be hypercritical to assess items in green, and even the negative aspects don't apply all the time or all the places.
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Old 08-26-14, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
JFB, nice travelogue and well done. You did indeed find my route and picture (though IIRC mine was from a little further down and captured one of the fine homes, probably an original farmhouse, on the north side of the road)...

Addendum-de-dum-dum: JFB, you must have deleted your post and then re-entered it just as I was posting my answer. Otherwise I have no way to explain the non-causal quantum-mechanical time-shift of my answer appearing before you question.


Hey jmm

Thanks for your reply, or shall I say prelude? I just noticed the addendum and you are right, I accidentally sent the post, then deleted it to finish properly about an hour later. I was so posted out by composing it that I hoped you would figure it out.

Among the reasons I try to ride as much as I can in the summer besides that it beckons, and I try to train for a century, is that I want to savor and grab all summer gusto I can. For me, writing a detailed (long) ride report is a way to journal and preserve the experience to appreciate later; kind of like canning summer fruits and vegetables to enjoy in the winter.
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Old 08-26-14, 07:07 PM
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10 miles on the Minuteman this evening at a recovery pace, a gentle spin through the warm air, Summer while it lasts, or at least that's what I think the bugs were singing...


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Old 08-27-14, 10:59 AM
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Well, I attempted my first group ride since the "come back" began and it didn't last very long. I made it to the end of Greendale in Needham on the "Crack of Dawn" ride before my legs were burning and I was out of breath. Thankfully the friend I met up to ride with agreed to do a slower, more relaxed ride. It was blissful. I've now done two rides over the hour mark, which is very encouraging. I'm especially happy to be riding as we begin to enter fall, because it is my absolutely favorite time to ride!
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Old 08-27-14, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by godshammgod View Post
Well, I attempted my first group ride since the "come back" began and it didn't last very long. I made it to the end of Greendale in Needham on the "Crack of Dawn" ride before my legs were burning and I was out of breath. Thankfully the friend I met up to ride with agreed to do a slower, more relaxed ride. It was blissful. I've now done two rides over the hour mark, which is very encouraging. I'm especially happy to be riding as we begin to enter fall, because it is my absolutely favorite time to ride!
Yay! Ride today, group tomorrow...

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Old 08-27-14, 01:41 PM
  #3968  
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Originally Posted by godshammgod View Post
Well, I attempted my first group ride since the "come back" began and it didn't last very long. I made it to the end of Greendale in Needham on the "Crack of Dawn" ride before my legs were burning and I was out of breath. Thankfully the friend I met up to ride with agreed to do a slower, more relaxed ride. It was blissful. I've now done two rides over the hour mark, which is very encouraging. I'm especially happy to be riding as we begin to enter fall, because it is my absolutely favorite time to ride!
Hi ghg,

I rode a couple times with the COD,and I would consider them a tough challenge, apparently even for you in rehab. Where did you ride? (No reply necessary, but I know Needham pretty well.) According to my "Cyclist Guide to the Metroverse," it's in the prestigious

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Southwest: Needham, Wellesley, Dover, Medfield, Walpole, Westwood, etc: probably more popular than the western burbs; wealthy exurban to rural, moderately hilly country roads, horse farms, mansions.
Hope we meet again some time on the road. You were my only spontaneous encounter as a subscriber.

Jim
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Old 08-27-14, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Hi ghg,

I rode a couple times with the COD,and I would consider them a tough challenge, apparently even for you in rehab. Where did you ride? (No reply necessary, but I know Needham pretty well.) According to my "Cyclist Guide to the Metroverse," it's in the prestigious



Hope we meet again some time on the road. You were my only spontaneous encounter as a subscriber.

Jim
Indeed, it can be speedy. Usually MWF are more relaxed, while T/TH is faster. The route starts in Needham and winds through Dover. It's beautiful, especially in the morning; my friend and I had to pause a couple of times and marvel at the sunrise.

The route (generally, it occasionally deviates into Wellesley): Bike Ride Profile | Too out of shape for COD so I did an easy cruise with Adam near Newton | Times and Records | Strava

Soon I'll be moving and will be riding out of Framingham...new roads, huzzah!
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Old 08-27-14, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I rode a couple times with the COD,and I would consider them a tough challenge, apparently even for you in rehab...

Originally Posted by godshammgod View Post
Indeed, it can be speedy. Usually MWF are more relaxed, while T/TH is faster. The route starts in Needham and winds through Dover...

The route (generally, it occasionally deviates into Wellesley): Bike Ride Profile | Too out of shape for COD so I did an easy cruise with Adam near Newton | Times and Records | Strava

Soon I'll be moving and will be riding out of Framingham...new roads, huzzah!
I couldn't download the map on my Hunkajunk PC, model POS, but I enjoyed the comments:

Adam L. It was fun Noah! Thanks for the company.
Noah L. Any time! Glad I'm now able to go for more normal distance rides. I missed the COD route.
Adam L. Me too. Back feeling ok?
Noah L. So far, so good! I bet I'll be sore tomorrow though. Honestly, my legs felt worse than anything else; they were burning by the end of Greendale
Adam L. My how the mighty have fallen!!!
Noah L. I'm not sure how mighty I was to begin with!

A favorite ride of mine in Framingham is Salem End – Oregon Rd. I’m always amused and curious to see the apparently swank Oregon Club Steakhouse on that sleepy road.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Another nice enchanted road in Metrowest is Salem End Rd, a designated scenic route in Framingham, to Oregon Rd in Ashland. On Oregon Rd is The Oregon Club of Ashland a nice looking steakhouse, and legendary speakeasy. Back in Prohibition Days, it must have been a really out-of-the-way place.
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Old 08-27-14, 05:54 PM
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No ride on Oregon St today, nor anywhere near Oregon at all. Just Waltham to Woburn and back. A humid day but not too hot, just a bit of August. School seems to have started in Lexington at least., gaggles of children and parents hanging around waiting for the bus. At one such stop a bunch of youngsters waved so of course I waved back. The afternoon commute was supposed to be under threat of rain, but noop, it didn't happen on my watch.
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Old 08-27-14, 09:38 PM
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Out and back from Waverly Square to Harvard. 61.56 miles of sun dappled bliss.
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Old 08-28-14, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
...Just Waltham to Woburn and back...
Having ridden “Jim’s Road” from Lexington to Woburn, is this segment on your usual route? To go from Waltham to Lexington appears to violate Pythagoras’ Theorem of the Shortest Distance Between Two Points. Besides Waltham St in Lexington, I noted another Waltham St slightly west of Rte 3; it looked peaceful and more direct to Waltham.

Just a curious cartographilic question. I once read that the ultimate decision to name a street belongs to the local Fire Department so that similar sounding street names are not assigned to nearby streets, to prevent confusion and erroneous dispatches. Both Waltham Sts appeared to be in different towns (Woburn and Lexington), but maybe three miles apart.

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Old 08-28-14, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Having ridden “Jim’s Road” from Lexington to Woburn, is this segment on your usual route? To go from Waltham to Lexington appears to violate Pythagoras’ Theorem of the Shortest Distance Between Two Points. Besides Waltham St in Lexington, I noted another Waltham St slightly west of Rte 3; it looked peaceful and more direct to Waltham.
Good morning, JFB. And everyone else too.

I see no pic attached to your query about "this segment" so I can't quite answer directly.

There is a rather thoroughfare-ish Waltham St in Lexington which becomes Lexington St in Waltham, carries a lot of traffic, has minimal shoulders, some shopping centers on the flanks, and seemingly a zillion stoplights though it's probably only half a dozen. It's not for the faint-of-heart cyclist, at least the Waltham segment. It's better in Lexington.

The Waltham St in Woburn appears quieter though I always observe quite a few westbound cars turning left, southward, there from Lexington St. I've ne'er been tempted to bike there because it goes straight up, more or less, even compared to the Lexington St climb. For you see, it goes over even more of the big hill named Mt. Zion in DeLorme's TopoNAm, with a slope running about 13%. After half a mile its name changes to the appropriate Ridge St. On the map it seems to dump into parts of Arlington which offer no great improvement on the commute route.

My commute is different morning and evening for traffic and bikeability reasons, and no they are not "shortest distance" routes. In the morning I run through Waverley Sq, across the Start Market parking lot to Rt 60 into Arlington Center where I pick up the MM. I run the MM west to Bow St, cut through that residential area to Lowell (Rt 2A) then west to Woburn St. It's pleasant, quiet. Alternatives, shorter by a mile or less, include getting to Mass Ave via Pleasant St or Winter St past Wilson Farm to Mass Ave, not bad except it requires either a steep climb (more 12-13%) up Concord Rd or the narrow gauntlet through Belmont CC. From Mass Ave or the MM I could take Maple St over Lowell/2A, not bad but the Bow St run is quieter.

The return route would be the same but for two problems. First, Rt 60 north out of Arlington has a worse shoulder. I could avoid it by running the MM further east, say to Lake St, but that's longer. Second, the Maple/Mass Ave intersection is a small rotary where making a left from Maple to Mass Ave can be very tedious at rush hour. Cars sit there in a string for 45 minutes, maybe even three hours , trying to find a break in both directions simultaneously in the Mass Ave traffic. I've had to wait on my bike for more than a few minutes too. So I avoid it by running Woburn St all the way to Mass Ave and then turning left. It's longer but nicer and easier. The run from Mass Ave to Waverley Sq requires the gauntlet up the small hill past Wilson Farm, but Pleasant St and a tiny residential section provide easy access to Concord, followed by a thrilling (if dangerously fast) downhill.
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Old 08-28-14, 06:10 AM
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Rode from Brighton to South Station last night in the dark and rain, mostly down Comm Ave... then Boylston and Essex st. Was scary but fun. Comm Ave is really good in some ways... smooth, flat, wide... but also bad because of all the restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, attract a lot of double parkers. I don't usually ride when its dark or rainy but had no other choice last night. The rain was actually kind of refreshing, but made me ride slower because I knew I'd skid if I had to stop short. The dark was tough... I have lights but not enough to illuminate my path... Comm Ave is very poorly lit at certain points.
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