As it turned out I made a turn into the woods in Lincoln and thought I'd see where it went. It didn't go far but I saw a guy walking his dog and he suggested that I take the Oxtail Trail just north of the trail we were on. He said that he and his family regularly ride it on mountain bikes but it was a decent surface for my narrow tires (25 mm Clement Strada LGG) so I tried it. I didn't look at any online maps but remembered that the guy said I should follow the main route and then take a left, which would take me around Flint Pond. The route was pretty nice. It turns out that it is an official bike route and I started to notice the signs (if you happen to try this they are small, blue signs). The path was as wide as it was described to me and was in great shape. And it was lovely ride in the late fall woods. There were a number of rocks on the trail after the left turn but there was always a clear path through them. The off trail section was about 1.5 miles. It was well worth the detour, although it threw my plans of riding into Boston out the window.
After I got to the road (Sandy Road), I followed my usual route south of Lincoln center to Conant then Old Conant Road and eventually into Lexington center where made my coffeeneuring stop at Ride Studio Cafe. I enjoyed a pastry and latte along with a conversation with Zach, who was scheduled to sweep a ride, and Patria, one of the co-owners. As always, Ride Studio Cafe didn't disappoint, both in the coffee they serve and the atmosphere. And they had this great fat tire Seven (with 4.7 inch tires) for me to check out. I'm not sure I could actually buy a fat bike but they sure look like fun and this one had great lines, if you ask me.
I never fail to think of Rob Vandermark (of Seven, Honey, and Ride Studio Cafe) when I get on trails like the Oxtail Trail. I've been going off road and on trails on my road bikes here and there for a few decades but I'm pretty inspired by his ideas and rides like Diverged and Honey Hundred (and probably a few others). I'd probably do better with a bike with wider tires on a frame like Rob's Seven Evergreen but I seem to be able to do a decent amount of off road miles on my IF with its narrow tires so I'm happy to see where it will take me. I do have my Surly when I know I will be riding off road but it's nice to have the option on my IF.
My route (with off road portions in green).
The off road section of my ride:
Obligatory photo demonstrating that I actually did some coffeeneuring.