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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Old 03-03-15, 09:13 PM
  #4476  
Melissa Davis
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Great to be out on the road.
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Old 03-04-15, 07:24 PM
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So, still getting out each morning. There is only one other guest taking out one of the three bicycles.

FWP - Tom Tom bicycle routed me up 17th street - which is a 17% grade - unsharable. Traffic was heavy, so I bailed the road and walked up the sidewalk. Yeah, that's why.

(Should have used Google maps.)

Anyhow - got to the top with my own two feet.



-mr. bill

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Old 03-05-15, 07:33 AM
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I, very sadly, went 0 for February this year. March is not starting out any better, watching the snow fall as I type this.
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Old 03-07-15, 04:12 PM
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Rode out the Minuteman from Arlington Center from Lexington Center this afternoon... except when I walked the bike... which was frequently. Temperatures were in the high 30s with an increasingly assertive sun. The Minuteman was in pretty tough shape in Arlington, with stretches of seriously gnarly rutted ice starting in the short block between Water Street and Mill Street, and recurring at intervals pretty much all the way to Lexington line. Although I had the bike with studded Nokians, much of this was stuff that I dismount for if I see it before I hit it. After awhile, I found myself dismounting for other icy stretches that, earlier in the season, I would have ridden over, and enjoyed the challenge, along with some stuff that I probably would have barely noticed... but I guess I've simply had enough of Winter.

Icy ruts opposite Russell Place: DO NOT WANT!


Then a stretch of seductively bare asphalt...


Then more rough ice, including this mess at the Bike Stop (guess folks will stop one way or the other)...


Some of the hazards were compact...


Some extensive...


Once into Lexington, there was more bare asphalt, but more flooded, icy sections, good for their own sort of fun.




A field of bedraggled snowmen behind the Waldorf School evoked the Zombie film genre.


My eyes tricked my brain into thinking that some of the vegetation in the middle distance is starting to show signs of the coming Spring... wishful thinking, no doubt.


After that, some more ice, then I got to Lexington Center. I had satisfied my curiosity about conditions on the Minuteman (LOUSY), so rode back on Mass. Ave. This was no prize, either, but didn't kill me, didn't waste my time, and only honked at me twice.

When is a bike lane not a bike lane? When it's a parking space. Or covered with snow. Or both.


While passing a bus that was taking on passengers, witnessed the fall of an elderly man trying to board the bus over an ice field. The bus driver rendered assistance. This thaw period has none of the virtues of the cold that preceded it, locking up the water as solid ice, or of the true Spring that is to come. The best thing it can do is get on with it, do its job, and disappear. It's a treacherous time, surfaces cannot be counted on: watch out, everybody!

rod

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Old 03-08-15, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Rode out the Minuteman from Arlington Center from Lexington Center this afternoon... except when I walked the bike... which was frequently. Temperatures were in the high 30s with an increasingly assertive sun. The Minuteman was in pretty tough shape in Arlington, with stretches of seriously gnarly rutted ice starting in the short block between Water Street and Mill Street, and recurring at intervals pretty much all the way to Lexington line. Although I had the bike with studded Nokians, much of this was stuff that I dismount for if I see it before I hit it. After awhile, I found myself dismounting for other icy stretches that, earlier in the season, I would have ridden over, and enjoyed the challenge, along with some stuff that I probably would have barely noticed... but I guess I've simply had enough of Winter.

Icy ruts opposite Russell Place: DO NOT WANT!
Wait, so you rode over that stretch? Penguin walking that stretch was so bad that when I reached the point of no return I was kicking myself for not bailing onto Russell Place in the first place.

I have noticed that the good will of February has melted away well before the snow.

Walking in the street where there are either no or impassible sidewalks is somewhat unenjoyable.

-mr. bill
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Old 03-08-15, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Wait, so you rode over that stretch? Penguin walking that stretch was so bad that when I reached the point of no return I was kicking myself for not bailing onto Russell Place in the first place.

I have noticed that the good will of February has melted away well before the snow.

Walking in the street where there are either no or impassible sidewalks is somewhat unenjoyable.

-mr. bill
No, no, I walked it too, the first of many little walks that punctuated this ride. I've ridden stuff like that in the past, and while the Nokians generally prevent falls, it's NO FUN at all to ride over, and I generally just coast to a stop and dismount. In this case, since I saw it first, I dismounted, took its ugly picture, and walked; pretty soon I became aware of the fact that I was using the bike and its Nokians as a walker... One of those little aperçus that put things in perspective; cognitive priming for the bus stop incident...

rod
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Old 03-08-15, 05:42 PM
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I've been avoiding the Minuteman path for a while now, after seeing the esplanade along the Charles in similar shape over certain stretches. I've been riding along the road into Belmont and down to Bentley University.
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Old 03-08-15, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bigredkevbot View Post
I've been avoiding the Minuteman path for a while now, after seeing the esplanade along the Charles in similar shape over certain stretches. I've been riding along the road into Belmont and down to Bentley University.
Good call. It was ridable (with studs) for much of the season, but there were a couple of misadventures with plowing in Arlington that have made it difficult recently. Lexington has, on average, been in pretty good shape. I have no idea about the Bedford section, I don't think I got out that far in February: the temperatures drop, and the horizons contract...

rod

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Old 03-09-15, 06:35 AM
  #4484  
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I haven't been riding "winterized"; the closest I get is deflating my 35c tires down to 40-50 psi.
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Old 03-11-15, 08:00 AM
  #4485  
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Hmm mmm mmmm mmm
Going to go for a ride today.....on a bike....hmmm. I haven't figured out where yet. I've afternoon and evening commitments so I'll sneak out mid day. I'm thinking quiet, albeit narrow back roads will be better than icy trails.

XC skied and snowshoed a little and this weird weather we are having may be just an aberration before we get back to the norm....
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Old 03-11-15, 08:23 AM
  #4486  
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I was looking at today's weather prediction and thinkin' I wanted to bike-commute today. But I got pressure not to from various directions so I chickened out, or if you prefer, better-judgmented out. With the roads still a muddy mess I wasn't hard to convince. At least traffic patterns seem to be mostly back to normal. in the meantime I do my biking indoors.
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Old 03-11-15, 01:52 PM
  #4487  
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
I was looking at today's weather prediction and thinkin' I wanted to bike-commute today. But I got pressure not to from various directions so I chickened out, or if you prefer, better-judgmented out. With the roads still a muddy mess I wasn't hard to convince. At least traffic patterns seem to be mostly back to normal. in the meantime I do my biking indoors.
Huge difference just in these last two days. Was still icy in the AM commute and slushy in the PM commute on Monday. Yesteryday, saw a lot of the snow/ice leftovers giving way to bare pavement from the bike paths (SW Corridor, J-Way and Olmstead). Today, had a great AM commute with my road bike instead of the (winterized) mtn bike with the studded Nokians. Looking forward to the commute home, with 50 temp and sunshine.

My be still a couple AM commutes next week with the studded tires to deal with the black ice. But, I think dealing with left-over slush on the paths is pretty much over with (knocking on wood).
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Old 03-11-15, 02:27 PM
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Met a friend and biked from the Weston Observatory and took Sudbury Rd/Glezen Lane to Wayland Center for lunch and back via Draper Rd. Spectacular weather, a few potholes and pretty useful fender. I rode my mountain bike in anticipation of some ice but only encountered runoff and puddles.

I will take my truck to meetings this afternoon because I will be back in the dark and don't like the combination salt sprayed windshields, narrow roads and uncertainty of what lies below the surface of the puddle.
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Old 03-12-15, 06:11 AM
  #4489  
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The great melt....



-mr. bill
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Old 03-12-15, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
The great melt....
-mr. bill
Where?
I first thought the Fenway, but dismissed that.
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Old 03-12-15, 09:01 AM
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Compare with first picture of Rod's post on Saturday of walking/biking on the Minuteman.

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Old 03-12-15, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Compare with first picture of Rod's post on Saturday of walking/biking on the Minuteman.

-mr. bill
Good to see the Minuteman looking like itself again...

rod
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Old 03-17-15, 10:07 AM
  #4493  
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Metrobostonorth subscriber, Leebo, recently posted,

Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Doesn't everybody commute year round? Got 6 trips tough trips in February.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
In the past couple weeks [early March] we’ve had occasional days into the 40’s and the road glaciers have retreated off the shoulders to the curbs. Two days ago a day-long rain has washed the visible salt off the road, and yesterday was sunny, but in the 20’s. For me a dry, salt-free road is the incentive to bring out my pristine CF road bike with clipless pedals, not ridden since January 1. Temperatures don’t matter.

Of course today, when I have the chance to ride, it’s back on the beater with studded tires, because freezing rain is predicted.
My winter commuting has been stalled by work and family issues, and only about six 14-mile Kenmore/Norwood rides have been done in February. But during this historic winter I did get in rides under the worst circumstances of the weather, and posted about them on other threads. Now that winter is receding, I want a single chronicle of those rides since they required all the gear and experience (“gear and gumption”) I have accumulated during my decades of year-round cycle commuting:
Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Since the snow has piled up, I've noticed (while driving, mostly) that many drivers seem to think that conditions license them to reinvent the right-of-way rules. I'm seeing a lot of creeping out of parking lots and side streets across streams of on-coming traffic. On the bike on Friday night, I got cut off a lot. Perhaps we can add visible weather and piles of snow to texting and booze on the list of causes of distracted driving. Poor dears have brain overload.

Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
All food for thought. I notice two frequent features of drivers' behavior.

1. They are frequently polite or considerate. I try to acknowledge it in response.

2. They are sometimes overly polite…
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…When I'm peeved by a driver’s actions, instead of the middle finger and obscenties, I give my own special Bicyclist's Curse…

I do also bestow Bicyclist's Blessings to drivers who show even a modicum of respect and compassion… Even in car-crazy Boston, I perform numerously more blessings than curses. Probably about 2-3 blessings a day on a 14-mile commute vs about 1 curse every 3-4 weeks…
Well, this winter IMO brought out the worst in drivers, mainly because of the narrowed roads, besides all those other frustrations, and my ratio of blessings to curses has just about inverted. Not that there were many more uncaring cagers out this winter than in the nice weather I think, but the stresses of winter driving were a higher threshold to reveal those with a lower tolerance.
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Old 03-17-15, 01:37 PM
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Pertinent to cycling in Metro Boston, see today's Herald: Someone should stick Howie Carr's head in a bucket of cold water.

Howie think of it like this. When I'm on my bicycle you can pass me. When I'm driving my car instead, I could get in front of you, drive 10mph under the speed limit, pull away slowly at every stoplight, start decelerating 2 blocks away from every green light because you never know when it will turn red, and through all that you wouldn't be able to pass me. Which situation would you rather have, me on my bike or me in my car? And of course I could still run red lights whenever I feel like it.
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Old 03-17-15, 04:07 PM
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Wow I just read the bit in the Herald. It's too bad that many motorists in Boston would agree with him!
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Old 03-17-15, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Pertinent to cycling in Metro Boston, see today's Herald: Someone should stick Howie Carr's head in a bucket of cold water…

Howie think of it like this…And of course I could still run red lights whenever I feel like it.

Originally Posted by David325 View Post
Wow I just read the bit in the Herald. It's too bad that many motorists in Boston would agree with him!
Hey jmm,

Thanks for the heads up; here’s a link to the column. Just after I read your post around 5:30 PM, while listening to the Howie Carr show, he announced he would be discussing the topic, but unfortunately I missed most of it. But from what I did hear, it was the Same Old Stuff. Often various segments are put online as podcasts and I will look for that.

Like it or not I have previously cited Howie Carr as the vox populi of the motoring public. On the thread, “Beginner Commuting In a Big City”, in response to a post by Lanovran:

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Where do you encounter all these infuriated people complaining about arrogant and dangerous cyclists? Do they bring these observations gratuitously to you; are they presented in some sort of rationale tone; or is it more like the ranting seen in the comments section of any online publication on any and every subject?

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
[In a reply to a different post on a different thread, I wrote]… As a decades-long, year-round cycle commuter in Boston, and from many discussions with motorists, that is an excellent list (of things that give cyclists a bad rap)….

One public reflection of those motorists’ attitudes is occasionally expressed on a talk radio show here in Boston, The Howie Carr Show with anti-cycling rants as the topic. I once called in with this reply about filtering and (carefully) running red lights.

IMO, just as when the behemoth dinosaurs were co-existing with little furry mammals, they may have been not necessarily predators and prey, but I’m sure a survival strategy for the mammals was to stay away from the dinos just to avoid getting trampled. So too, my survival sense tells me, don’t congregate with cars when they jam up at intersections; and look who won out by following the Law of Survival.

Fortunately my rides are at early hours on lightly-traveled residential, light commercial and exurban roads, and anyways, Boston drivers are notorious for their own “trangressions.”

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
FWIW, IMO, most radio talk call-ins/shock DJ commentary is as representative of intelligent thought as the dingy commentary posted by ranters in response to articles about bicyclists on blogs and newspapers. Does anyone think sensible bicyclists should pay attention and/or modify their cycling behavior in order to try and placate irrational goofballs?
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Old 03-18-15, 04:35 AM
  #4497  
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Pertinent to cycling in Metro Boston, see today's Herald: Someone should stick Howie Carr's head in a bucket of cold water.

… And of course I could still run red lights whenever I feel like it.
To contnue this discussion started above, there certainly are many subscribers that agree more or less with Howie and his audience. For example from the thread cited above:

Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
Yeah...I know what the Idaho Stop is, and it's not the same as "always run the light and traffic signal." … I'm afraid I honestly don't know how it's supposed to make anything safer for anyone, though, when the result of running red lights and such is invariably to make a cylist less predictable to motorists (not to mention more infuriating).

The best things for safety on the road are a carefully chosen route, good visibility, and predictable riding behavior. In any case, however, to make a sweeping generalization to a newbie bike commuter that the safest thing to do is to "always run the light and traffic signal" is irresponsible at best, so I'm going to hope that it was merely a case of poor wording.

Meanwhile, what's up with all this morbid talk about "make it home alive" and "do anything to survive?" What kinds of hellish warzones are you people riding through to breed such fear and paranoia? How did a thread started to offer advice to a new commuter turn into a group rant about how cyclists are fragile little critters who must dart and dodge to avoid being trampled by blindly rampaging dinosaurs (a very poor analogy, by the way)? Whence came this bizarre "wisdom" going around which states that one should ignore both traffic laws and any instructors or experts one may encounter in favor of "trial-and-error?"

I mean, I fully realize and respect the fact that there will always be an element of risk inherent to cycling, but cripes...what an insufferably obstinate bunch of pessimists we have around here...

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Well said, and thanks for reading my post. At least I didn't receive the same reprimand as spare_wheel.

Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
I'm sorry, but I just have to say... That is, in my opinion, one of the single stupidest things I have ever read on BikeForums.
I fortunately ride away from the “hellish warzones” for which Boston is notorious, and traffic avoidance is a cornerstone of my commute. On the streets currently narrowed by massive snowbanks, I frequently pull into driveways to allow upcoming cars to pass.

Personally I suffered from the risk inherent to cycling when hit from behind while riding well-lit and far to the right myself on a wide, well-illuminated, low volume, low speed, residential suburban road…
BTW, spare_wheel’s “stupidest” comment was,

Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
…IMO, the single most important rule when it comes to urban commuting is to get the @#$% away from motorists at intersections. If the coast is clear the safest thing to do is to always run the light or traffic signal….
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Old 03-18-15, 07:09 AM
  #4498  
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Now that Howard Louis Carr, Jr. is back on the local radio dial, be aware that we are sharing the road with his listeners again on weekday afternoons.

(I'm actually serious about this - the temperature on the roads is climbing, and now he's raised the temperature behind some steering wheels, so be careful out there, *especially* between Harvard Square and Arlington.)

So a few points:
  • Never ever seen a Scott Plasma Premium bicycle out in the wild on Mass Ave - doubt Howard Louis Carr, Jr. has either. (BTW, Howard Louis Carr, Jr. If you are going to make up a bicycle that you saw on Mass Ave, you should have gone for the Scott Plasma Team Issue at $9,999.00.)
  • Ten traffic lights from Out of Town News only puts you in Porter Square. It's closer to two-dozen lights to the Arlington border.
  • I don't run a single red light on Mass Ave from Harvard Square to the Arlington line and still go faster than everyone listening to Howard Louis Carr, Jr.'s in their cars - and everyone not listing to him in their cars as well.
  • Even when Howard Louis Carr, Jr.'s afternoon listeners run red lights I'll catch up with them, pass them, and get to Arlington first anyway. (See below. Switched from the left lane to run the light too.)
  • For those few cyclists who run red lights on Mass Ave - just do me a favor, please don't. But if you do, please, when I'm stopped at a red on my bicycle, don't close pass me, and please please please give me a heads up. (Oh, and know that more likely than not I'm passing you in a block or two too.)
    • I know I know, it's particularly tempting to run the red lights at Waterhouse St, Upland Rd, Walden St, Rindge Ave and Cedar St. Still, please don't. But if you do....


-mr. bill

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Old 03-18-15, 10:57 AM
  #4499  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Now that Howard Louis Carr, Jr. is back on the local radio dial, be aware that we are sharing the road with his listeners again on weekday afternoons.

(I'm actually serious about this - the temperature on the roads is climbing, and now he's raised the temperature behind some steering wheels, so be careful out there, *especially* between Harvard Square and Arlington.)…
One thing I found funny was that he referred to cyclists as a new “protected” class, the Spandex-Americans. As funny IMO, as ”Gyno-Americans.”

Almost always the only time I ride Mass Ave through Cambridge to Arlington is early on a Saturday or Holiday morning, and occasionally on return trips on those afternoons. I have heard there is a relatively strong police presence there (at least during usual commuting hours) and they will ticket.

BTW, even in laissez-faire Boston, I will not run a red light in a police presence, not so much for fear of being stopped, but out of respect for the uniform. Last year I was given a warning in Newton on a Saturday 6 AM for running a red light (crossing Walnut St on Comm Ave while screeching downhill westbound). The officer, whom I did not see, was pretty good about it, telling me he stopped me out of concern for my safety.

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Old 03-18-15, 04:20 PM
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rholland1951
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Pertinent to cycling in Metro Boston, see today's Herald: Someone should stick Howie Carr's head in a bucket of cold water.
Howie CARr? Rob FORD? Who's writing the script here, Thomas Pynchon?

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