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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

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Metro Boston: Good ride today?

Old 05-14-21, 03:06 PM
  #9251  
bike_tom
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Isn't the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway supposed to be done soon? Though I'm not sure if that gets all the way to the Charles River path. https://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Proj...egreenway.aspx
Yes, its the Watertown Cambridge Greenway I was thinking of. I need to explore the paths from Alewife to the Fresh Pond Reservation and then see how much of the new Greenway is open.
This page has some pictures of the Greenway in progress.

Originally Posted by DBrim View Post
I live fairly close to the future Gilman Square station and from the Walnut Street bridge I am not entirely clear on what they are currently doing with the path. It seems like there may be a ramp in progress to take bikes up to street level from the tracks (there is a ~10-15 foot wide flat section next to the tracks) but I'm not sure if that is going to be used for the bike path or if it's pedestrian access for the station. At any rate it looks further behind than the station platform, which is almost fully constructed. The Ball Square platform is almost done too. The station itself is supposed to open this fall so I suppose we will get answers sooner rather than later.
It is not clear to me either exactly where the Somerville Community Path extension is going to be in relation to the tracks and stations. Hopefully this will become apparent toward the end of the year when the trains start running.
There is a picture here of a new section of the path, I think near Lechmere. Looks like it will have quite a view.
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Old 05-14-21, 08:19 PM
  #9252  
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Took the Rawland Nordavinden for a quick spin around the Mystic Lakes before dinner. Lovely weather, made me smile.


rod
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Old 05-15-21, 04:27 PM
  #9253  
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Got some new tires on the commuter bike on Friday and took them for a spin today, mostly on the Minuteman up just beyond Lexington Center. Saw 9.2 on the Garmin when I took a snack break in the park by the visitors center, so I had to continue a little bit to make sure I got to 20+ total for the ride (overall distance 20.5). Longest ride since 2015 for me, though I'm definitely looking to extend the endurance a lot more this summer. My longest ride ever is a shade over 40 miles (also on this Trek) and I want to surpass that this summer. Might be time to shoot for a half-century.

Had a nice mid-ride interruption on the way up the hill into Lexington, as two kids (maybe eight years old) flagged me down. One of their bikes dropped their chain so I got it back on for them. A minor thing, but it's those kind of little interactions that I really missed over the last year.

I was not the only one enjoying the very nice weather on the minuteman today, as expected, though it was less busy than I thought it was going to be. It didn't stop some careless dog owners from almost getting me decapitated by letting their dogs chase geese off-leash and scare them into flight. There's always somebody on a ride like this.


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Old 05-15-21, 05:35 PM
  #9254  
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I'm still mesmerized by Rod's circumnavigation of the Earth and finding nearly all of it is local.

Today I rode my bent to Sherborn's annual town meeting and back. It was indoor/outdoor in an open garage and some tents and the bike avoided traffic and parking. The public was heard and decisions made. 9 miles total.
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Old 05-15-21, 06:19 PM
  #9255  
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler View Post
I'm still mesmerized by Rod's circumnavigation of the Earth and finding nearly all of it is local.
I tried that once but I got wet and couldn't breathe very well once the water got deep enough.

We took our tandem out again today. We're gradually increasing our mileage, did 38.75 miles today. I could have stretched it to 40 but traffic seemed to be getting dense and frantic so I cut off one little loop.

Hutchins Field, Carlisle, looking east.
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Old 05-16-21, 10:39 AM
  #9256  
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Originally Posted by sherbornpeddler View Post
I'm still mesmerized by Rod's circumnavigation of the Earth and finding nearly all of it is local.
...
Fractals are like that, of course. And while I haven't crunched the numbers, I expect at least half of it was probably on the Minuteman... ;-)

Saturday afternoon, I took the Surly Trucker DeLuxe and rode East, across the rivers, over the hills and around the towns of East Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham.


Northern Strand Community Trail, Malden: adding groceries to the Malden Community Fridge.


Melrose: this photo, looking back down hill from near the crest of the Fellsway East rollers, illustrates the difficulty of capturing the slope of hills. I'm getting visual cues from the photograph that are tricking my eye into seeing an ascent climbing towards the horizon.


Add 180, and the slope of the remaining ascent is faithfully rendered. There must be settled art here, I suppose I just need to ask Mr. Google about it.


Representation aside, cresting the hill launched me on a whizzy descent down to Malden, which left a 29mph residue on my GPS log. This brought me to Fellsmere Park, Malden, where the Freshman Class was out for a stroll.



One of the two Fellsmere jets d'eau was operating for the first time I've seen this season. Hopefully, the other will follow.


Heading West, I stopped at the Kurukulla Center for the second time. Perhaps if I had "om mani padme hum" engraved on my crank arms, my bicycle would function as a prayer wheel. Assuming I could find someone qualified to bless it, of course.


High Street, Medford, has been a little less than divine lately, but was only moderately vexing today. I sailed through the rotary and over the hill without incident and largely free from suffering.


rod

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Old 05-16-21, 06:51 PM
  #9257  
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Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Fractals are like that, of course. And while I haven't crunched the numbers, I expect at least half of it was probably on the Minuteman... ;-)

Saturday afternoon, I took the Surly Trucker DeLuxe and rode East, across the rivers, over the hills and around the towns of East Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham.....

rod
I wish I had some geometric pattern to my riding. Took my regular diamond frame Serotta out for the first time this year. Blinkie, headlight and odometer where all discharged slightly more than my legs. It was nice to get out. In addition to knees and sit bones getting the rust off neck strengthening begins not required by the recumbent. I know the route well enough I did a lot of cheating hanging my head because I know the Forest to Farm to Bridge to Farm roads well enough.
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Old 05-17-21, 07:07 AM
  #9258  
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Lovely short ride to Davis Square for Saturday afternoon Bluegrass outdoors behind The Burren.

Sat in the last table in the back left and locked up my bike. Turns out I was the footy bikey section, guys at the next table also used to play and also rode to the pub. Small world.

Even though I was outdoors on a glorious day I was just as much at home as any cozy pub in Ireland, with wonderful conversation about bikes and soccer and great music. (Okay, the music is Irish/Scottish/English/African diaspora music rather than Irish music, but great music is great music.)

-mr. bill
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Old 05-17-21, 10:51 PM
  #9259  
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Spun up to Lexington Center via the Minuteman on the GT Karakoram, then sprinted home.


Lots of people were out enjoying the good weather, and this little animation from the outbound leg doesn't begin to do justice to the crowds who turned up after I turned around and headed East again.


Meanwhile, the non-human world just a few feet from the trail was breathing the Spring air and doing what it does best: vegetative riot, accompanied by birdsong, frogsong, and bugsong, with the singers occasionally pausing to snack on one another, each according to their nature.


I rode by all that, stayed in my lane, and wished them well.
.
rod

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Old 05-18-21, 02:21 PM
  #9260  
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Rod, question for you. Does your lock rattle around when it's secured like that? Or do you have additional tie-downs (bungees/velcro etc?) I had to take off the frame mount for my lock because it was interfering with carrying the bike upstairs and am looking for a new solution. I have the rear rack part already.

I escaped work for an hour this afternoon for a quick run up to Arlington Center via the Somerville path, Alewife extension, and Minuteman. On the way home I took a spur down to the end of the Fitchburg cutoff to make the ride over an even 10 miles. Made some friends in cars on Highland Ave, and even better friends with the protectors of the freshman class of geese. They've definitely been out in full force around Alewife lately.
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Old 05-18-21, 03:31 PM
  #9261  
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Yesterday I hoped about my well traveled 2014 Trek 520 with Ortliebs carrying 16.1lbs of gear for a long planned trip. I rode 68 miles to Portsmouth. Today I rode another 58 to Portland.





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Old 05-18-21, 06:26 PM
  #9262  
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Originally Posted by DBrim View Post
Rod, question for you. Does your lock rattle around when it's secured like that? Or do you have additional tie-downs (bungees/velcro etc?) I had to take off the frame mount for my lock because it was interfering with carrying the bike upstairs and am looking for a new solution. I have the rear rack part already.
...
U-locks tucked into rear frames have worked well for me. They can rattle when I hit a bump, but I find I seldom notice it. If the lock is positioned wrong in the rack, the shackle can play a merry little tune on the spokes of the rear wheel, but that's the sort of mistake one doesn't tend to repeat.

rod
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Old 05-18-21, 06:40 PM
  #9263  
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh View Post
Yesterday I hoped about my well traveled 2014 Trek 520 with Ortliebs carrying 16.1lbs of gear for a long planned trip. I rode 68 miles to Portsmouth. Today I rode another 58 to Portland.




Great weather for a bicycle tour! And a great area to explore. Enjoy!

rod
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Old 05-18-21, 07:34 PM
  #9264  
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As I was approaching Arlington Center on the Rawland, I said to myself, "Those clouds bear watching."


So I took it up with Sam, who agreed with me: the clouds looked positively unreliable.


Sam pointed out that the clouds weren't the only thing askew: somebody had lost their head.


I rode off towards Lexington, keeping an eye on those clouds.


While the clouds did not inspire confidence, they kept their counsel and they kept their distance, and we'll not speak of them again.


rod
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Old 05-19-21, 02:41 AM
  #9265  
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On Monday I rode a loop I had enjoyed several times last year: Minuteman to Bedford Depot, Reformatory to its end at Lowell Rd, then a short backtrack to Great Meadows NWR. From there, Monsen Rd, Bedford St (Rt 62) and Old Bedford Rd to Meriam's Corner to pick up Battle Road through MM National Historical Park. Battle Road to it's eastern end, then Old Mass Ave, Wood St and Mass Ave to the Lexington Common and back home on the Minuteman. From my starting point it was 29 miles total, about one more than the direct way back via Bedford. About 12 of those were on dirt, as opposed to 8 the "usual" way. I stopped for a bio break at the Meriam's Corner restrooms, which thankfully are open again after being closed for a year:




I did the ride on my hardtail MTB, but it would be great on anything with suitable tires. I got to enjoy the challenging (at least for me) climbs on the two Mass Ave sections, with the rewarding final whiz down into Lexington Center.

Tom
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Old 05-19-21, 07:04 AM
  #9266  
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Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
On Monday I rode a loop I had enjoyed several times last year: Minuteman to Bedford Depot, Reformatory to its end at Lowell Rd, then a short backtrack to Great Meadows NWR. From there, Monsen Rd, Bedford St (Rt 62) and Old Bedford Rd to Meriam's Corner to pick up Battle Road through MM National Historical Park. Battle Road to it's eastern end, then Old Mass Ave, Wood St and Mass Ave to the Lexington Common and back home on the Minuteman. From my starting point it was 29 miles total, about one more than the direct way back via Bedford. About 12 of those were on dirt, as opposed to 8 the "usual" way. I stopped for a bio break at the Meriam's Corner restrooms, which thankfully are open again after being closed for a year:




I did the ride on my hardtail MTB, but it would be great on anything with suitable tires. I got to enjoy the challenging (at least for me) climbs on the two Mass Ave sections, with the rewarding final whiz down into Lexington Center.

Tom
I've done the reformatory branch before but never battle road, how do the two compare in terms of surface quality? I've done similar loops in the past but I always took 2A back through the Minuteman area before turning off on Mass Ave
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Old 05-19-21, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DBrim View Post
I've done the reformatory branch before but never battle road, how do the two compare in terms of surface quality? I've done similar loops in the past but I always took 2A back through the Minuteman area before turning off on Mass Ave
The surface conditions are similar. If you are comfortable on the Reformatory, you'll be comfortable on Battle Road. Battle Road is a bit more interesting because, not being a rail trail, it has some elevation changes and turns. As you know, the Reformatory is basically straight and flat except for a few spots (the fun ones...) Battle Road is better maintained and typically does not have as many muddy sections as the Reformatory. I probably would not do Battle Road on the weekend, as it will be too busy with walkers and tourists. (for that matter, I avoid the Minuteman on the weekends now too.) I did my ride mid-morning on Monday and there were very few people anywhere on my route.

If you try Battle Road, let us know what you think.

Last edited by bike_tom; 05-19-21 at 07:45 AM. Reason: Add info
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Old 05-19-21, 08:01 PM
  #9268  
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Cranked out to Lexington Center on the Surly Trucker DeLuxe before dinner, very focused ride to make time and clear my head. Did both, once the light changed at Mass & Mystic.


Fun with Rat Trap Pass Extralights.


rod
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Old 05-20-21, 01:19 PM
  #9269  
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Originally Posted by DBrim View Post
I've done the reformatory branch before but never battle road, how do the two compare in terms of surface quality? I've done similar loops in the past but I always took 2A back through the Minuteman area before turning off on Mass Ave
Originally Posted by bike_tom View Post
The surface conditions are similar. If you are comfortable on the Reformatory, you'll be comfortable on Battle Road. Battle Road is a bit more interesting because, not being a rail trail, it has some elevation changes and turns. As you know, the Reformatory is basically straight and flat except for a few spots (the fun ones...) Battle Road is better maintained and typically does not have as many muddy sections as the Reformatory. I probably would not do Battle Road on the weekend, as it will be too busy with walkers and tourists. (for that matter, I avoid the Minuteman on the weekends now too.) I did my ride mid-morning on Monday and there were very few people anywhere on my route.

If you try Battle Road, let us know what you think.
One of my favorite trail/gravel loops these days is the triple-trail: Narrow Gauge, Reformatory Branch, Battle Road. They're all well-packed down and I typically do them on 40mm MSO XPlor but it's more fun - and work - on 50mm GravelKings. Most of the pavement/road happens first this way and lets me satisfy the need for speed first and if I start early enough, avoid car traffic (though one could replace the road portion with a 4th trail, the Minuteman).
I should try going further north on Springs Rd, past Fawn Lake, to try and get the full length of the Narrow Gauge, but I know that it gets narrow and very sandy at the end, which isn't fun. BTW, I've done this ride on 28mm tires as well but much prefer the speed and confidence of the 40mm. Page Road is a nice little climb which is named Col Du Lex or something on Strava.



Also note there's a way to avoid Railroad Ave and ride on some cool and smooth singletrack:


Battle Road has a couple of sections where you need to be careful (describing heading west)
  • The start of it, by Fiske Hill, to 2A: sandy in spots, windy, drainage ruts. I tend to avoid this and just take Old Mass Ave although last time I went through Fiske Hill, which was totally fine on 40mm but I had to slow down at the top due to rocks and roots. This part of the trail is also very boring.
  • The sandy area east of the tunnel under Hanscom Dr - this is a the most treacherous place going both ways as there are pretty much sand pits here. Heading west is especially bad since you are going downhill AND into a curve. The area west of the tunnel is not too bad, it's remnants of pavement with some sand on it which can get you to lose traction; resist the urge to bomb downhill if you're easttbound
  • Hartwell Tavern area - there are 3 large speedbump-like berms here which used to be a fun reason to catch air heading east. However, this area is very problematic in terms of drainage and these days there are some ruts here.
  • Where the trail makes a bunch of turns (Bloody Angle?) there's a sandy downhill area with a "Slow" sign; it's there for a reason
  • Before the first boardwalk there are two areas which were muddy; two weeks ago there was what seemed to be a leak/spring right on the path here. As of last weekend, they've both started drying up
Now, the geeky part: I've been trying to make a good connection between the Reformatory Branch and Battle Road for a while. My default path, most suited for my everyday 40mm tires is this:


There's a very short rooty section near the swamp where I don't mind pushing the bike uphill for a little bit; the swamp can get very muddy but I haven't ever had been stuck in there. Riding through there is very eerie with the dead trees towering above


Other ways I've tried:
Reformatory all the way west to Lowell St, then ride Lexington St to Meriam's Corner, the boring way (plus road/cars)
Reformatory all the way west to Lowell St, then ride Lexington St to Ridge Rd to Wayside Rd. From there you can find your way to the trails and avoid the cemeteries, but this way is slower and jarring on 40mm tires and much better suited for 2"+
Monsen to Old Bedford is a great way to go too, I hadn't done that in one go.
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Old 05-20-21, 01:43 PM
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Thanks for all the great info! My only bike right now has 35mm tires that are not particularly optimized for off-road. I've ridden Reformatory Branch with the stock tires (which weren't great) and remember it being a little iffy. I plan on giving at least that part a shot in a few weeks, as of now I don't have the legs to do a ~33 mile ride with my big hybrid, but if I keep at it that strength will come back soon enough.
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Old 05-21-21, 12:47 PM
  #9271  
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Over the last year, the Bike to the Sea people were reporting progress in upgrading and completing the Northern Strand Community Trail, including paving the Revere and Saugus sections and bridge replacement in the Saugus and Lynn sections. This is great, although a practical side effect of all this road work has been that the Revere, Saugus, and Lynn sections have been intermittently unavailable in whole or in part while the work proceeds. Thursday afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the nice riding weather to do a little reconnaissance on the GT Karakoram, to see for myself what the conditions are.


The first big change I encountered was the paving of the Revere section, at Rumney Marsh. This had been coarse gravel, and while my bikes generally had the tires for it, it was putting off substantial subsets of the user community, e.g., roadies and parents with strollers, two groups not generally thought of in an equivalence class.

Look Ma, no gravel!


Zipping under the Route 1 overpass on fresh pavement; the owls are not what they seem..


Rumney Marsh at low tide, mostly mudflats.


I continued on into the Saugus section of the trail, and was pleased to discover that it has retained its charm as a cool, green tunnel, but with the stone dust surface replaced with pavement.


As before, the urban forest gives way to the flats of the Saugus River estuary, now served by a paved path.


The old bridge over the Saugus River has been replaced, but is not yet open. Two inquisitive kids explore it anyway. When work is finished, this will open the way to the Lynn section of the trail.


Everybody's riding to see the new bridge. When they arrive, detours are discussed.


Meanwhile, in Revere, tidal inflow recharged the Rumney Marsh.


This is a good year. Multiple rail trails are getting there. The riding environment should evolve considerably over the next six months.

rod

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Old 05-21-21, 02:27 PM
  #9272  
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Tuesday afternoon I settled in at the hotel and soon found my way to the lounge to begin eating several varieties of shellfish and local brewed beers. Wednesday I did more of the same but started the day with coffee and breakfast from one of the many cafes to choose from. The day was filled with dining, reading, walking and some more reading. Thursday was the pick of the entire trip. I modified my return route to Portsmouth to more diligently keep along the coast through Kennebunkport instead of a shorter less scenic option. After a waterfront dinner in Portsmouth of more shellfish, this time just oysters and lobster and a smaller volume of local beer I prepared for Friday’s final 80 mile push home. Even though I was coming home to a smiling family the siren call of the adventure, discovery and excitement made the final pedal strokes a little heavier. Already dreaming of how I’ll mix it up next year,



Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport


Home with a freshly applied Portsmouth, Portland, and a new BLM sticker.
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Old 05-21-21, 06:35 PM
  #9273  
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Took the Rawland Nordavinden out for a brief ride on the Eastern shore of the Mystic Lakes on Friday afternoon, just enough time and effort to get a good warm up, to enjoy the fine weather, and for a few minutes to feel a part of that benign recreational scene.


rod
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Old 05-22-21, 09:55 PM
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rholland1951
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Saturday afternoon, took the Surly Trucker DeLuxe East.


Up hill, down dale, in and out of traffic, on the varied roads of East Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham. A warm day made for interesting riding conditions; sweat, a Merino jersey, and evaporative cooling work well together. After enough sweat, I turned the bike West, topping 30 mph on the fastest descent.


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Old 05-23-21, 01:53 AM
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Great rides and symmetry

Originally Posted by rholland1951 View Post
Saturday afternoon, took the Surly Trucker DeLuxe East.


Up hill, down dale, in and out of traffic, in the varied roads of East Arlington, Medford, Malden, Melrose, and Stoneham. A warm day made for interesting riding conditions; sweat, a Merino jersey, and evaporative cooling work well together. After enough sweat, I turned the bike West, topping 30 mph on the fastest descent.


rod
I took my Serotta for an out and back with a stop at the top of Pegan Hill in Dover.
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