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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 08-01-19, 08:55 AM
  #8276  
mr_bill
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A Colored Bike Facility - specifically green like Kermit.

(I am not holding my breath that the green through the intersection will make any difference whatsoever.)

-mr. bill
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Old 08-01-19, 09:36 AM
  #8277  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
A Colored Bike Facility - specifically green like Kermit.

(I am not holding my breath that the green through the intersection will make any difference whatsoever.)

-mr. bill
Thanks for the lexical aid. I always wonder whether the paint impairs traction in wet weather. YMMV, I'm guessing.

rod
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Old 08-01-19, 10:06 AM
  #8278  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Thanks for the lexical aid. I always wonder whether the paint impairs traction in wet weather. YMMV, I'm guessing.

rod
Of all the things to worry about, traction isn't one of them. The surface is skid resistant (and I think retroreflective too).

-mr. bill
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Old 08-01-19, 10:14 AM
  #8279  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Of all the things to worry about, traction isn't one of them. The surface is skid resistant (and I think retroreflective too).

-mr. bill
OK, I'll send that worry to /dev/null.

rod
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Old 08-01-19, 07:44 PM
  #8280  
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We're in an interesting period, with new bike paths, lanes, and other goodies coming on line now and then. Sometimes, these fit into a jigsaw puzzle of a larger ride, either improving an existing route, or making a new route possible. After a bit of thinking about the newly-opened MCRT-Wayside, in Wayland and Weston, I took the LHT on a 48-mile loop through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Concord, Lincoln, Wayland, Sudbury, Weston, and Waltham. This was structured around Sherman's Bridge Road (Wayland), Water Row (Sudbury), Pelham Island Road (Wayland), the MCRT-Wayside (Wayland and Weston), and the Cambridge Reservoir (Waltham and Lincoln), with "transportation stages" on the Minuteman, Route 62, Route 126, Trapelo Road, Smith Street, Spring Street, and Marrett Road. The trick is that MCRT-Wayside provides a missing East-West link, far more rideable than the Boston Post Road or Route 117, with an easy connection to the Cambridge Reservoir for the return. Hence the route. I'd ridden rough equivalents before, but this does seem like an improvement, with less exposure to snarky BMW drivers in their natural habitat.

Sherman's Bridge Road, crossing the Sudbury River for the first of many times.


Water Row, Sudbury, a moist world of frogs and bugs.






Pelham Island itself gets instantiated when Wayland gets enough rain. Pelham Island Road, on the other hand, is always there.




Pelham Island Road: this farmhouse retrofitted with a glass curtain wall was an early solar heating hack, famous long ago.


MCRT-Wayside, Weston. Speedy, quiet, no BMWs, damn few users on this weekday afternoon, solitude and nature. Some of the side paths lead to more Weston conservation land and bear exploring.




Peeping at the Cambridge Reservoir from Old County Road, Lincoln.


It was a pleasant ride, a hair under five hours, an afternoon's worth, 48 miles, 3806 feet of elevation gain, hit 34 mph on some descent or other. And it demonstrated how the MCRT-Wayside fits into the larger puzzle.

rod

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Old 08-02-19, 05:56 PM
  #8281  
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Was off today so had a chance to take an early ride out to Concord on the MM and the Reformatory Trail. Before noon the weather was fabulous for riding.
Overall it was pretty quiet, though I had a nice chat with some folks at the Bedford Depot.

Some things to report along these familiar trails.
Foundation work is under way at the new Lexington Visitor center:



Noticed that fresh gravel has been placed over several low wet spots on the Reformatory, in the area east of Hartwell Road:




Biggest news was the improvement at the Bedford/Concord line, at the eastern edge of the Great Meadows. That tricky spot with the pit and exposed drainage pipe has been cleaned up considerably:



And somebody finally mowed the tall grass at the clearing on Lowell Rd, across from Trails End:




As has already been reported by others, Lexington is going to start repaving the MM between the Arlington line and Season's four next week. Expect detours onto Mass Ave on weekdays starting this Monday.
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Old 08-03-19, 01:03 PM
  #8282  
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This was a day to remember! It was supposed to rain at some point, but I took a chance. After I left Fern's, I headed up 225, and a couple of guys on Harleys passed me going up the first hill. I marveled at how far they could turn their wrists to add power to the climb, then I choked on the exhaust fumes for the next quarter mile. As I came up and over the next big hill, it started to sprinkle. Soon after, I saw the two Harley riders taking refuge under a big tree by the side of the road. Pansies!
I got into Harvard non-stop, and there was a big skateboarding event in the center of town. They had one of the streets blocked off, and a police and EMS presence too. After a quick coffee, I headed out toward Bolton, and my favorite down-hill road called "Golden Run Rd." I was going down Golden Run at a pretty good speed with my big stupid mouth wide open, when a bug flew in and hit hard at the back of my throat! This thing really hurt, and made me miserable for the next 20 or so miles. A Coolata at the West Concord DD really helped!
Okay fine... the rest of the ride was pretty normal until I got near home. My ride was a few tenths short of fifty miles, so I decided to ride to the corner store to get my lottery for tonight. On the way there, I saw a Police cruiser flashing blue, and heading in the opposite direction. On my way back, they had the road blocked off, and I was told to leave immediately. It looked like a potential SWAT deal going down, so I detoured around, and wound up with 52 miles for the day. Oh, the rain pretty much stopped by the time I got into Harvard, but I wonder how those "Harley" guys made out.
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Old 08-03-19, 08:27 PM
  #8283  
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Took the Rawland out for a quick run up to Lexington to try to get some insight into occasional chain slip. I checked the chain stretch, that's not the problem. Paid attention to when this was happening, and formed a hypothesis, which I'll test over the next couple of days.


Bike tinkering aside, it was a nice day to be out on the Minuteman, and there was plenty of company.


Rode past a beer garden session in Arlington Center. Nice that that's become a Summer fixture. I should stop in one of these days.


The forecast dunderheads never materialized. A short ride, but a merry one.


rod
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Old 08-04-19, 06:03 PM
  #8284  
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So, the dam is finally about to be getting the damn paint they promised.



-mr. bill
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Old 08-05-19, 09:55 AM
  #8285  
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Mass Ave in Lexington is going on a road diet in preparation for the bikeway repairs. Seems like it was sketched out but not yet striped for narrower driving lanes, then parking, then bike lanes, basically forcing cyclists to ride near the curb. Not sure that's an improvement, as the pavement there is in a somewhat bad shape overall and full of debris. It's a stretch popular with roadies and I personally never had any issues sharing it with cars given how wide and not highly-trafficked it is. Time will tell if it's for the best.

On Saturday I did a quick wash & relube the bike in the morning and then did a quick run to the grocery store with the kiddo; despite me checking the forecast and the radar 3 times, we got rained on and it didn't let up, so we cut the ride short because the kiddo got cold even in the long-sleeve shirt. Had to wash all the bikes again, and the kid as well. I never intend to take her out in wet conditions because she doesn't have a fender on her trail-along but somehow this is the 3rd time she got wet on the bike so maybe I should invest in one.

We tried again in the afternoon when it was much drier and nicer and made it out to Bedford, where for the first time ever (in like 7 years) we went into the bike store there and bought a ridiculously pink helmet for the kiddo because she seems to have outgrown her current one.

D2R2 is coming up fairly soon, I signed up myself and my wife for the 1st ever 50-mile paved route. I'm not too worried about myself, but starting to get concerned about the wife because she's been lagging in her riding and struggling with hills. The route has a bit more elevation than she's used to so we might need to do more catching up riding.
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Old 08-05-19, 08:33 PM
  #8286  
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Took the LHT on a straight NW vector out the Minuteman and Route 225 to Forge Village (Westford), then hopped up Abb0t Street, Town Farm Road, North Main Street, West Street, past the gunnery range, continued on Granteville Road (Groton), skipped across Route 40, and up Millstone Road and the campus of the Haystack Observatory, 56 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Carlisle, Westford, Groton, and a smattering of Tyngsborough, 5002' of elevation gain, and a MaxWheee! Index of 37mph; there are some big hills on that route, but the good news is that the Route 225 pavement was in the best condition I've ever seen, so after laboring up a hill, it was entirely delightful to go whizzing down the other side, with no potholes to bounce in and out of. The LHT stability on a fast descent is admirable.






Route 225: the Gnome's House, perhaps a wellhead. Small, tidy, and numinous.


Westlawn Cemetery, an 18th Century burying ground in Forge Village.


I think of Haystack as a sort of 20th Century Stonehenge, and try to get at least one ride there every year as a secular pilgrimage. The roads on the campus itself are quite hilly, and the campus is situated in the muddled borderlands of Westford, Groton, and Tyngsborough. I've seen Pileated Woodpeckers there, an avian bonus.

Is that a cloud? Nope, it's the dome of a radio telescope.


A couple of observatory domes on the left, used for optical telescopes and the occasional laser experiment, if memory serves. The antenna of the big tracking radar on the right was being actively mechanically steered while I was there: it had a job to do.


Curious about the ionosphere? These devices will fix you right up.


The turnaround point: the biggest of the radio telescopes, good for picking up cosmological insights or the odd SETI session. After eating a peanut butter sandwich, I whizzed back down the hill, got myself back to Route 225, and got back to Depot Park before rush hour traffic became inconvenient. Ate another peanut butter sandwhich there, then rolled home on the Minuteman.


rod

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Old 08-06-19, 05:10 AM
  #8287  
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Originally Posted by E53 View Post
. On my way back, they had the road blocked off, and I was told to leave immediately. It looked like a potential SWAT deal going down, so I detoured around, and wound up with 52 miles for the day. Oh, the rain pretty much stopped by the time I got into Harvard, but I wonder how those "Harley" guys made out.
Wonder if this was going on: https://maynard.wickedlocal.com/phot...805009985/PH/1 (love the fashionable "tactical" boots and the haircuts)
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Old 08-06-19, 05:13 AM
  #8288  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Took the LHT on a straight NW vector out the Minuteman and Route 225 to Forge Village (Westford), then hopped up Abb0t Street, Town Farm Road, North Main Street, West Street, past the gunnery range, continued on Granteville Road (Groton), skipped across Route 40, and up Millstone Road and the campus of the Haystack Observatory, 56 miles through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Carlisle, Westford, Groton, and a smattering of Tyngsborough, 5002' of elevation gain, and a MaxWheee! Index of 37mph; there are some big hills on that route, but the good news is that the Route 225 pavement was in the best condition I've ever seen, so after laboring up a hill, it was entirely delightful to go whizzing down the other side, with no potholes to bounce in and out of. The LHT stability on a fast descent is admirable.






Route 225: the Gnome's House, perhaps a wellhead. Small, tidy, and numinous.


Westlawn Cemetery, an 18th Century burying ground in Forge Village.


I think of Haystack as a sort of 20th Century Stonehenge, and try to get at least one ride there every year as a secular pilgrimage. The roads on the campus itself are quite hilly, and the campus is situated in the muddled borderlands of Westford, Groton, and Tyngsborough. I've seen Pileated Woodpeckers there, an avian bonus.

Is that a cloud? Nope, it's the dome of a radio telescope.


A couple of observatory domes on the left, used for optical telescopes and the occasional laser experiment, if memory serves. The antenna of the big tracking radar on the right was being actively mechanically steered while I was there: it had a job to do.


Curious about the ionosphere? These devices will fix you right up.


The turnaround point: the biggest of the radio telescopes, good for picking up cosmological insights or the odd SETI session. After eating a peanut butter sandwich, I whizzed back down the hill, got myself back to Route 225, and got back to Depot Park before rush hour traffic became inconvenient. Ate another peanut butter sandwhich there, then rolled home on the Minuteman.


rod
Wow, this is awesome, didn't know we had this in our back yard. Some of that equipment looks like it is in less-than-perfect shape, unfortunately. Is all of it in active use?
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Old 08-06-19, 07:05 AM
  #8289  
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Wonder if this was going on: https://maynard.wickedlocal.com/phot...805009985/PH/1 (love the fashionable "tactical" boots and the haircuts)
I don't know exactly how far they got into it before it was figured out that it was a hoax call. These things have been occurring lately, and it's pretty stupid and dangerous.

Here's a telescope you might not have seen. It's on Rte 117 just past Nashawtuc Golf course.

Last edited by E53; 08-06-19 at 08:10 AM. Reason: add photo
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Old 08-06-19, 09:33 AM
  #8290  
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Wow, this is awesome, didn't know we had this in our back yard. Some of that equipment looks like it is in less-than-perfect shape, unfortunately. Is all of it in active use?
As far as I can tell, it's all still in use. The big ionosphere radars have *new* signs warning of rf hazard when the light is flashing. Of course, I've never seen it flash, but the implication is that it could. The tracking radar was visibly operating yesterday, and my understanding is that the radiotelescopes are active.

I did a bit of digging with Mr. Google, and it appears that it's a case of what you see is what you get. All the major instruments appear to be operational and in use. Big radars are built to last, it seems.

Useful resources:
https://www.ll.mit.edu/about/facilit...llance-complex
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haystack_Observatory
https://www.haystack.mit.edu/obs/index.html

rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 08-06-19 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:02 AM
  #8291  
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Originally Posted by E53 View Post



...

Here's a telescope you might not have seen. It's on Rte 117 just past Nashawtuc Golf course.
First rate use of a barn!

rod
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Old 08-06-19, 11:03 AM
  #8292  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
As far as I can tell, it's all still in use. The big ionosphere radars have *new* signs warning of rf hazard when the light is flashing. Of course, I've never seen it flash, but the implication is that it could. The tracking radar was visibly operating yesterday, and my understanding is that the radiotelescopes are active.

I did a bit of digging with Mr. Google, and it appears that it's a case of what you see is what you get. All the major instruments appear to be operational and in use. Big radars are built to last, it seems.

Useful resources:
https://www.ll.mit.edu/about/facilit...llance-complex
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haystack_Observatory
https://www.haystack.mit.edu/obs/index.html

rod
Fascinating! Just added it to my routes.
Found this informational 'photo' on Google Maps as well: https://www.google.com/maps/place/MI...59!5m2!1e4!1e3

Originally Posted by E53 View Post



I don't know exactly how far they got into it before it was figured out that it was a hoax call. These things have been occurring lately, and it's pretty stupid and dangerous.

Here's a telescope you might not have seen. It's on Rte 117 just past Nashawtuc Golf course.
Those hoax calls are ridiculous. They actually resulted in several wrongful deaths in the nation. Teens call them in on one another because of video gaming disputes, of all reasons.
Personally, I actually HAVE seen that telescope on 117. My reaction was "the heck is that thing doing there, someone's got a very serious hobby?" Wonder if there's more info about it.
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Old 08-06-19, 11:29 AM
  #8293  
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
...
Personally, I actually HAVE seen that telescope on 117. My reaction was "the heck is that thing doing there, someone's got a very serious hobby?" Wonder if there's more info about it.
I wonder what the cost would be, expressed in new Ti or CF bike equivalents? Hobbies can be compelling, if the $ are available.

rod
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Old 08-07-19, 04:58 AM
  #8294  
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That observatory/dome/telescope (or whatever) has been there for quite a while. Someone did or still does have a serious hobby.

I just rode my commute yesterday. And the day before. The official eastern Massachusetts free range organic wild turkey flock is doing well, it seems.
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Old 08-07-19, 11:53 AM
  #8295  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
As far as I can tell, it's all still in use. The big ionosphere radars have *new* signs warning of rf hazard when the light is flashing. Of course, I've never seen it flash, but the implication is that it could. The tracking radar was visibly operating yesterday, and my understanding is that the radiotelescopes are active.

I did a bit of digging with Mr. Google, and it appears that it's a case of what you see is what you get. All the major instruments appear to be operational and in use. Big radars are built to last, it seems.

Useful resources:
https://www.ll.mit.edu/about/facilit...llance-complex
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haystack_Observatory
https://www.haystack.mit.edu/obs/index.html

rod
So, thanks for the tip. I had a long, crappy day at work yesterday and decided to do a longer-than-usual Wednesday morning ride and then work from home as I had no meeting scheduled. Just doing a loop on the regular roads in the morning didn't appeal to me so I decided to punt it and go to Haystack myself. Very fitting, because last night my daughter and I were looking at the sky and pointing out stars and planets.

I got up early and pedaled here to eat a fancy almond butter/homemade kumquat sandwich while watching the dishes do their thing:

I'm breaking every single bike photo rule there is and I don't care! The facility has two 'whisper' dishes installed to demonstrate the focusing they are able to achieve, you can see one of them in the top of the photo above my handlebar bag.



This thing was super-impressive


The long-range tracking dish gave me a bit of a show on the way down. It's impressive how smoothly and quietly it operates, save for the hum of (cooling?) machinery.


Frustration-free navigation thanks to my new $10 mount (same one LimeBikes use, apparently), an old phone, and OsmAnd. The screen visibility and battery life are terrible but I can deal with it for now and not pony up $250 for a dedicated GPS unit.

On the way back I started getting tired of all the cars whizzing by on 225 so took a bit of a detour on the Bruce Freeman. It's a very nice trail! Super wide, excellent pavement, all marshy, and I bet it will be beautiful in the fall. However, given the abundance of 'private property' and 'no trespassing' signs, one gets the idea that it took a lot of effort to cut through the opposition to get it built.




After filling my bottles in Concord I had a nice chat about technology of today and yesteryear with a retired math teacher and then all of a sudden we both had to split because the sky was starting to look like it was going to ruin our day.
Just a hair over 50 miles for me, which is a big ride for a workday but it's amazing how much you can do if you get up early (damn you, sleep!). It worked out well with traffic, pretty much no one was leaving Concord on my way in, and I was coming back after the peak rush hour on the way back. 99% of drivers were courteous, except for one very close pass and one lady that decided to pull out in front of me. Sometimes I wonder if the risk is worth it on such busy workdays.
There's a lot to be said about having a destination on a ride, and stopping at the destination to hang out for a bit. I need to do more of that.
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Old 08-07-19, 02:18 PM
  #8296  
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Thanks for the reports and pics, guys. They're really fueling my adventure spirit! This weekend i'll dig through this thread and make one of the trips. I had no idea much of this existed.

Interesting to see MIT Haystack. I work for the other big university in town's astrophysical observatory program, but in the optical/IR side of things instead of radio.
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Old 08-07-19, 03:34 PM
  #8297  
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
So, thanks for the tip. I had a long, crappy day at work yesterday and decided to do a longer-than-usual Wednesday morning ride and then work from home as I had no meeting scheduled. Just doing a loop on the regular roads in the morning didn't appeal to me so I decided to punt it and go to Haystack myself. Very fitting, because last night my daughter and I were looking at the sky and pointing out stars and planets.
...

The long-range tracking dish gave me a bit of a show on the way down. It's impressive how smoothly and quietly it operates, save for the hum of (cooling?) machinery.


...
There's a lot to be said about having a destination on a ride, and stopping at the destination to hang out for a bit. I need to do more of that.
Glad you went, that ride is down-right therapeutic, not to mention inspirational. You took some great photos, to boot!

rod
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Old 08-07-19, 04:16 PM
  #8298  
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On the flip side of starting early, I started a bit too late for the weather today. I spent a few minutes studying the weather radar on Weather Underground, with its delphic "Future" setting, and determined that NE and NW rides would run me afoul of foul weather, but that SE ought to be ok, if only I ignored what looked like a single anamolous frame in the animated future. Then I was puzzled at the very fresh puddles on the driveway: the app hadn't said anything about recent rain, and I hadn't bothered to look out the window (I know, I know...). Anyway, off I went on the Trucker DeLuxe, intent on riding into Boston on those fat, supple Rat Trap Pass Extralights. It immediately started drizzling; no problem, I'm not water soluble.


The drizzle, very light, continued as I rode towards Alewife on the Minuteman, noting the umbrellas of pedestrians.


Alewife was dry, a good sign I thought, but the clouds were massing.




Peeped at the clouds through the cemetery gate on Rindge.


Picked up Sherman, climbed the hill and picked up Garden, at which point there was an authoritative booming from the dunderheads. The sound effects stayed with me as I rolled into Harvard Square, along with an increasingly intense rain shower. Behind Brattle Square, my bike and I availed ourselves of a bus shelter. Another cyclist joined us.


I consulted the Pocket Devil at this juncture, and made the amusing discovery that it now showed a series of pretty good thunder storms converging on my trajectory, at half-hour intervals. It hadn't mentioned that before, but Devils are tricky, after all. I went riding back through the diminishing-for-the-moment rain shower, essentially retracing my previous route, with Zeus roaring his approval. I noted that the thunder had cleared the pool on Rindge.


There was a new and interesting mass of clouds to be seen over the Alewife quarry (or whatever that ex-swimming hole really is).


A couple of swans were keeping company in the little Alewife Brook lagoon, ignoring the posting about water quality on the tree nearby.


This tiny ride ran to 7 miles, and was wet enough to be refreshing, and brief enough to allow me to make a hair-cutter's appointment that I had completely forgotten about. Providence provided, once again.

rod

Last edited by rholland1951; 08-08-19 at 09:47 AM. Reason: Google Photos appears to have been appeased by the substitution of a new shared album. Holler if you can't see the images.
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Old 08-08-19, 02:30 PM
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autonomy
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Glad you went, that ride is down-right therapeutic, not to mention inspirational. You took some great photos, to boot!

rod
Thanks! I didn't want to duplicate any of yours. Except for a brief 4-lane stretch where 225 merges with 110, it's good quality suburb riding and very easy to follow. Now I need to find more destinations like this to ride to!
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Old 08-08-19, 08:14 PM
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Took the Trucker DeLuxe out on the Minuteman for a quick mid-afternoon ride.


There appears to be a new crop of haiku laid down in the Arlington section of the Minuteman. Here's one I noticed, probably because of the incongruity of February snow on a warm August day; plenty of time to get to know the rest.


rod
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