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UMassAm 02-10-13 02:12 PM

Originally Posted by rholland1951 (Post 15257623)
Sounds like a memorable ride!

Much of the impetus for the change is to make it safer for pedestrians, who are routinely hit crossing the road in the broad sections of Mass. Ave. in Arlington that elicit the 4-lane speedway reflex in too many drivers, a source of accidents of all sorts. The bike lanes--a nod towards encouraging multi-modal use by less-seasoned riders--have become a lightning rod for an us-versus-them political divide in the town that has mostly to do with changing demographics; there's a similar stink about a leaf-blower ban. Gasoline Alley's last stand...



stedanrac 02-15-13 12:56 PM

I decided to give the MM a try this morning (Depot Sq. -> Worthen Ave). At first glance my hopes were dashed because the sidewalk in from the street hadn't been touched, but looping in through the gate by the Antique store showed that the trail was perfectly clear. With the exception of the rough going at the street crossings the trail is a joy from Bedford to Lexington.

It is a mystery to me why Bedford leaves that sidewalk and the entrance to the trail in such terrible shape. This is the second snowstorm that has been like this. Anyone have contact in the Bedford DPW?


David325 02-15-13 05:29 PM

I went out for a ride today- couldn't believe the great weather! I took my fixed gear and ended up doing about 25 miles. The roads were wet, but oh well. Along the way, I got a flat tire but had no idea where I was (I was exploring and planning to do an out-n-back). I asked the nearest passerby if there was a bike shop nearby, and she actually was gracious enough to give me a ride there in car (she had just parked). It was the Dedham Bike and Leather Co.- the mechanic there, Jim I believe his name was, let me borrow his tools to fix my flat tire. Very nice guy, and a cool shop. Overall, really a ride that did a good bit to restore my faith in the kindness of others! And a beautiful day, too.

phulin 02-15-13 06:20 PM

Today was just too nice to stay inside. Three friends and I went down the Emerald Necklace path to the Arboretum, climbed the hills down there for a while, and came back via the SW Corridor. Awesome ride, and the Arboretum was great. Paths were mostly clear, except for a few muddy spots on the Emerald Necklace. Got to test out my new cross-y bike in the mud.

rholland1951 02-16-13 05:28 PM

After a long grind of a work-week and a busy Saturday, managed to get a short ride in at the end of the day, 10 miles to Lexington Center and back, high 30's. Lots of folks out, the Minuteman generally in good shape, dry pavement with puddles (ice tomorrow), with the exception of a snow montain that some nekulturny with a plow apparently pushed onto it between Mill Street and Water Street during the blizzard, complete with muddy detour. Had the sort of odd, mirror-image sunset we sometimes get on gray days: all the color was in the east, presumably reflected city lights.


stedanrac 02-17-13 12:43 PM

Lexington (a while ago
(it's a good day to stay indoors. Found these pictures on the Cary Library website. It is so cool to see how these folks loved their bikes just like we do today )

Headed out on Mass Ave in Lexington, traffic was pretty light:

There's a daredevil in every crowd:

Traffic picked up during the day

Needed to stop by the bike shop:

Met up with the Minute-men Bike Club:

Had a pretty good turnout (helmets still seem to be optional :)

An eclectic group rode to Salem:

Getting the ladies involved:

Back to Mass Ave, I can see the need for bike lanes:

jimmuller 02-17-13 05:54 PM

Stedanrac, nice pics! A bet it didn't look like that today though.

Only riding I've been doing is in my livingroom. Today we spent 6 1/2 hours on x-c skis at Bretton Woods. The temp was about 8F when we came off the trail, wind howling from the storm. Fortunately we still have all our digits. :)

rholland1951 02-17-13 06:27 PM

After the papers had been read, the furniture re-arranged, and the snow shoveled, I took the winter bike out as the sun was setting like a display of hamburger on the Western horizon. Wore the epic lobster mitts for this one, along with plenty of woolly layers under wind-blocking layers. New snow was no longer falling, but the Northeaster wind was doing a good job of re-arranging what snow we had. Every wind-chime within ear-shot was taking a solo, the flags at the war memorial in Arlington Center were cracking like thunder, and the odd road sign was clanking as it flexed. Through sheer force of habit, rode to Water Street and got on the Minuteman, which had recently been plowed. This route gave me the Boreal blast as a head-wind, which made for a pokey out-bound leg; at times, the wind simply roared in the tree-tops, and a couple of times gave me a little nudge, nothing that couldn't be corrected for. The road surfaces were either bare, wet pavement or slush; the Minuteman pavement was snowy-icy, but rideable with the aggressive tread and carbide studs on the Nokian W240s I run on that bike. From time to time, a wind-blown drift got deep enough to impede progress, or some ice-balls got away from a plowed parking lot and had to be avoided. Yesterday's snow-mountain between Water and Mill Streets had been cleared as part of the plowing, though the snow was a little deeper there.

I was the only bike out, there were a few pedestrians and a couple of dog walkers. One of the pedestrians, a young woman, asked me "Why are you riding a bicycle when the weather is like this?", managing to pack four separate rising inflections into the sentence, all of them indicating that she thought I was nuts. "Same as always, for the fun of it," was my answer.

Rode as far as Bow Street, Lexington; at that point (6-ish), Lexington hadn't plowed their section of the Minuteman yet. Turned around, and suddenly the ferocious headwind was a friendly tailwind. It still roared in the tree-tops, but it was no longer roaring at me. My headlights picked up little streamers of wind-blown snow undulating a few inches above the trail surface, often at about the speed I was riding. Would have taken a picture of that, but I had a strange aversion to removing my mittens. Saw my out-bound tracks in the snow as I rode back in, making new ones. Seven cold, windy miles.


jimmuller 02-17-13 06:38 PM

Rod, now I feel I've been two places at once today, here skiing and riding the MM with you. Nice work!

rholland1951 02-17-13 06:41 PM

Thanks, Jim. All this, and snow-shoveling too!


rholland1951 02-22-13 09:09 PM

Took the LHT on an evening ride on the Minuteman up to Lexington Center and back, 10 miles. Thaw conditions prevailed, with wet pavement or dry pavement, here and there some snow kicked onto the trail. There were a few ice patches, one between Mill Street and Water Street, the others near Trader Joe's. The sky had a dark ground, bright figure thing going on, low white clouds against a high purple cieling, reminiscent of what happens when a Kleenex goes through the dryer with the dark load. Not much company out there tonight, just spun away some of the mental debris from a particularly taxing work week.


rholland1951 02-23-13 06:14 PM

Errands, projects, and social obligations pretty much devoured all the dry, day-light hours this Saturday, the same old story of competing goods that often seems to be told these days. By the time all that was done, sunset was half-an-hour away, and the weather radar showed "mixed precipitation"--purple stuff--coming up from the SW, with predictive vectors suggesting it would get to Arlington soon enough. As I wheeled the LHT up the driveway, a couple of ice pellets on my sleeve gave credence to the radar visualization hocus-pocus. Rolled up the Minuteman and the sleet started around Arlington Heights. "Sleet" is what we called it when I was a kid: melting snowflakes, cold and lumpy rain-drops, ice pellets, all mixed together, water in a phase identity crisis; depending on where and when on the ride's trajectory, one or another form predominated. When I turned around in Lexington Center, it was getting dark enough for headlights, and I got to watch the individual flakes/lumps/drops strobing through the beams like cold, wet Morse messages (guess I should look up the pulse-rate of Planet Bike LEDs). Turning around got me a head-wind, and rain/snow/sleet/ice pellets in the face. Catching an ice pellet on the eyeball at speed stings a bit, although it compares favorably with a June bug up the nose. This whole little ride (10 miles, per standard) was more fun than not, but taught me something about the water-resistance of some of my riding clothes that I hadn't understood before.

One puzzlement: the snow (now slush) mountain, complete with muddy detour, seems to be back in place between Mill Street and Water Street. I could have sworn that had been cleared after the last storm. Either I was mistaken--stranger things happen with annoying regularity these days--or some enterprising individual with a snow plow has once again obstructed the Minuteman in the course of tidying up Russell Place. If the latter is true, I hope the Town of Arlington is handing out Suffering Snow tickets for that nonsense... ... since the bastinado is probably out of the question...


rholland1951 03-01-13 09:59 PM

Wedged a quick ride out to Lexington Center in before dinner, chasing my headlights and watching Winter thawing towards Spring, 10 miles. Managed nearly my Summer pace.


jimmuller 03-01-13 10:21 PM

Rod, it's good to see that at least one of us is riding outdoors. Pedal on! I've been doing my riding in the livingroom. And the rest of the time banging my head against work.

rholland1951 03-01-13 10:30 PM

Amen, re work. Worse than the weather...


jimmuller 03-02-13 01:30 PM

We play a show this evening but since I'd already loaded the car I took the Raleigh out for a spin on Rod's stomping ground. From Waltham across Belmont and Arlington to the MM, out to Lexington, back home. 18.4 miles.

Lots of bikes out today. Cool temps but not cold. Little rivulets of water here and there from melting snow.

The past two times I've been through Lexington Center it has been populated with fire engines and flashing red lights and blaring sirens and honking horns and more fire engines and cars pulling over.

This is the fist time I've taken the Raleigh out since installing the randonneur bar and white bar tape like it came with from the factory. I think I like it. That oversize bottle was borrowed form my Masi on which it looks nicer. I seem to have lost the white/blue/green LL Bean bottle that the Raleigh used to carry. I put it on the Bertin for my last ride and somehow it disappeared. I may even have misplaced it around the house.

It was a good day to ride.

rholland1951 03-02-13 06:33 PM

Jim, nice rando bars. Which manufacturer/model? Looking forward to hearing more as you live with them awhile.

I managed to get out during daylight, for once. Took the LHT out, but first had to swap out the tube that has been, uh, interesting for weeks; it finally decided to unambiguously play dead. That done, rode the 32 mile North Bridge loop, out the Minuteman, across the Concord River on Rt 225, up Skelton Street to River Road and Monument Street to North Bridge, then through Concord Center to Lexington Road, Old Bedford Road, Virginia Road, Hanscom Road, Rt 2A, Mill Street, Lexington Road/Lincoln Street, Middle Street, Marret Road, Mass. Ave., Maple Street, and back to the Minuteman and home. This is a well-loved route, that I follow like a dog on a scent-trail through Arlington, Lexington, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, and Lincoln.

The Minuteman was in good shape, still a little tight between Mill Street and Water Street in Arlington due to some misplaced snow. Lots of folks on it today, a slightly scaled-down version of the familiar Easter Parade. At the Depot Park end of the trail, it appears that the Town of Bedford has decided that the connecting sidewalk would have greater educational value with a tiny working model of the Greenland ice sheet on display.
This was, of course, easily circumvented via the parking lot.

Thaw conditions were turning lots of snow and ice to liquid water, and the rivers, streams, and low places in general were full of it. The Concord River flood plain was doing its job, being flooded.

The Concord River itself had a surprising amount of marginal ice, blocking the boat launch area at the Rt 225 crossing.

The rolling hills of River Road and Monument Street were a treat as always, and the blanket of snow transformed the familiar vistas of posh bucolic splendor. The horses were wearing horse blankets. Many, many cyclists out, most in a genial mood, lots of waving.

After clearing Concord Center, paused for a minute for some water, and snapped this picture of dead folks in the old burying ground on the hill peeping down at the Lexington Road traffic. Many of these old Massachusetts town centers have a matter-of-fact mix of the dead with the living, good for one's sense of perspective.
The dead here tell us stories of the Revolutionary War, the Transcendentalist epoch, Abolition, the Civil War, and so forth. Today I sensed an affinity between their stories and those of the Peace & Justice demonstrators I passed in Arlington Center at the beginning of ride. What the living and the dead might have to say to each other is an exercise left to the reader.

Both the Cambridge Reservoir--at least the North end that I passed on Lincoln Street--and the Lexington Reservoir were still iced over, though not with the sort of ice that looked prudent to walk on, let alone ice-bike across. The access ramp for the Minuteman at Maple Street was also icy: I overcame a brief urge to go barreling down this, and walked the bike sedately down instead.

As I was putting the bike away, I realized that this ride was not quite half the distance I had managed to ride in the entire month of February. Hurry, Spring!


jimmuller 03-02-13 11:52 PM

Rod, nice pics, nice story as usual.

Originally Posted by rholland1951 (Post 15336625)
Jim, nice rando bars. Which manufacturer/model? Looking forward to hearing more as you live with them awhile.

The stem is an SR about 80mm reach and the bar is an SR World Randonneur. It would have come from the factory with a GB bar and stem. When I got the frame it had a GB stem, about 90mm reach, a bit too long for me on that bike, and an unbranded alloy drop bar of fairly generic shape. (The stem is now on our tandem.) Some posters in C&V said they didn't like the SR World Rando bar as well as the original GB, but I'm not likely to find an original GB. I had the SR because I'd installed it years ago on Sharon road bike. She hasn't ridden it for years except on a trainer, and I recently switched her bike over to a nearly straight bar from Velo-Orange.

I can't say the bar was significantly better or worse than most any other drop bar. In fact I really haven't ridden that bike much this past year. But I did decide today that I do like the way it rides. So it should see more road time this year. The trouble is, Sharon prefers that we ride the tandem, and when I do get to ride solo it is usually on the Masi or Bianchi.

rholland1951 03-03-13 07:29 AM

Originally Posted by jimmuller (Post 15337607)
I can't say the bar was significantly better or worse than most any other drop bar. In fact I really haven't ridden that bike much this past year. But I did decide today that I do like the way it rides. So it should see more road time this year. The trouble is, Sharon prefers that we ride the tandem, and when I do get to ride solo it is usually on the Masi or Bianchi.

;) Sounds like an embarrassment of riches!


jimmuller 03-03-13 03:22 PM

Despite the last night's lateness Sharon and I took the tandem out today. 23.3 miles, a bog loop through Bedford, Concord, Carlisle, Concord, Bedford.

We stopped at the Great Meadows observation tower in Concord.

Then we stopped for lunch at Fern's in Carlisle. Lots of activity there with the Girl Scouts selling cookies.

Were drafted by two different cyclist through the day. One guy informed us that we had a derailleur scrapping. We said no, that was our generator wailing away to run the lights on a rather gray/white day. The second guy drafted us for a mile or more until we turned up River Rd to Concord and he kept straight on rt225 to Bedford. I had called out to him that when got tired of hearing our generator he could go on by. No, he said, it was okay. From what I saw I think he probably spun his pedals no more than 10 times for the whole mile.

It was a good day to ride!

rholland1951 03-03-13 06:12 PM

Sunset ride on the Minuteman to Lexington Center, cool and breezy with an intermittent, barely perceptible drizzle, 10 miles. Hints of the Night Chorus in the swampy sections, seems a little early in the season for that... perhaps it was between my ears, not in them. The silvery light of an overcast afternoon slid down the luminance scale to gray dusk during the ride back, and I turned on a headlight near Arlington Center. The timing worked out so that I heard six o'clock electronic carillon performances first drifting across Pierce Field from the First Baptist Church, then with great clamor from the steeple of Saint Agnes as I rode past on Medford Street. The Baptists were playing "How Great Thou Art", which I recognized from my South Georgia childhood; don't know what the Catholics were playing, but it was stately, and decorated with some lovely arpeggios (and LOUD). This ecumenical flood of hymnody in Arlington Center transitioned rather naturally to the doppler-shifting engine noise of several jets that Logan ATC had apparently directed to orbit North to South over East Arlington; sequestered, maybe.


rholland1951 03-04-13 08:33 PM

Took an evening ride in a snow shower that was too pretty to ignore. A fresh breeze out of the Northwest gave the outbound leg a slap-my-face-and-spit-in-my-eye character. Turned around in Lexington and rolled home with an intimate tailwind. All the dogs that make it their business to alert their masters to the presence of bicycles on the Minuteman were in good voice tonight. Near Seasons Four, heard but did not see what sounded like a turkey, but perhaps it was something else, e.g. a feral Organizational Change Management consultant.


jimmuller 03-05-13 03:36 PM

I took a break from working from home and snuck in 20 miles today, Waltham out to Tophet Marsh on the MM and back. It was nice to get out. I rode the Bianchi today. No pics. No flowing prose. Just the facts.

rholland1951 03-05-13 09:32 PM

Evening ride on the Minuteman before dinner, 10 miles, cool and calm. Bright clouds to the North and East, clear at zenith, with Orion, Jupiter, Aldebaran, and the lesser lights of the Pleiades on display, late Winter sky. The thaw proceeds, making room for the next snow, the bare patches smelling of the rot that generates Spring.

There's a spot in Arlington where the Minuteman runs alongside Summer Street, and the branches of a little stand of bare trees under a street light look like smoke.


sherbornpeddler 03-06-13 07:37 PM

You all are great to read and inspirational. During the maybe 40F days last week I rode a couple of loop de loop spandex rides on the Strawberry Hill, Pine and Forest streets of Dover Sherborn on my Serrota. I rode I-ain't-paying-that-much-for-gas errands on my fendered single speed Raleigh Oneway. To get ready for a Boston ride I just put a brand new Michelin World Tour (with reflective stripes) on my Raleigh 3 speed. See you on the roads.

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