Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Riding the Battle Road and Reformatory Branch Line

Last Sunday I had a chance for a short ride.  The day was cold and my original intention was to ride to Londonderry, NH but the morning temperature of 37F was a bit too much  I would need booties for an extended ride and maybe more clothes than I could comfortably ride in for 3-4 hours).  Since I couldn't go far and my IF is in the garage for repairs - it needs a new chain - I took the Surly.  Since I had wider tires (700x32), I tried a dirt path that I have been curious about, the Reformatory Branch Trail (search the page for it).  This path goes from Bedford, west of the bike path, to Concord center.  I didn't have time for the whole ride and left the trail near the Concord waste water plant.  I returned on Battle Road (mostly crushed stone surface) to Mass Ave and then the bike path.  The ride looked like this.  In the end it was a very cold day for a ride and had I been thinking I would have run out in Estabrook Woods.  It is the best time of year for running in the woods.

And like all rides at this time of the year, it could be my last ride of the season.  I have about 2200 miles on my bikes this season, which is pretty good for how constrained my time can be.

The entrance to the Reformatory Branch Trail in Bedford:

The only impediment on the trail was this recently downed tree, which you could carry bikes over, with care:

 The path was reasonably smooth.  It was never all that far from houses and Route 62:

 On the north side of Route 62, you pass the Great Meadows NWR:

 There is an observation tower in the parking lot that gives a great overlook:

On the return on Battle Road there were a couple of boardwalks that you have to dismount for.  One of them was quite long.  The fall from them were significant so I gather that the NWS was just being cautious:

View from Battle Road.  Unfamiliar, although I have passed close to this spot many times:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last ride of the season, again

It seems that every ride is the last ride of the season, or could be.  The weather is certainly colder and the days are shorter.  Once the roads are salted then I am off my bike.  I already have the basement spinning setup in place and did a session last night.  I did get out on the 12th (Veterans Day day off).  The day was very warm.  I was about to go in the basement to spin and my wife wondered why I didn't get outside.   I took her advice and rode out towards Lincoln on Mass Ave then Battle Road towards Concord.  The road was iffy for a road bike before the Old Mass Ave/2A intersection but west of there it was crushed stone.  I had my Surly, which handles much rougher roads than anything on that stretch.  It was nice to be outside and riding in shorts and in the woods for a couple of miles.  The ride was only 15 miles but it was much nicer than spinning in the basement.  I did get out running recently, 22 miles in the last week.  I now have run more miles in November than I rode in November.

On Battle Road before heading back to town on Mill Street (to the 128 underpass):

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Foggy morning

Last Saturday I went for one of my last rides of the season.  I left late, around 5:30AM, so I would have enough battery power for the ride.  It was short, 34 miles, and took me to Concord, Carlisle, and home by way of Maple Street in Carlisle to the bike path.  I had energy for a lot more riding but no time.

The ride was more difficult in some ways that I thought it might be.  There was definitely humidity in the air when I left but it really wasn't foggy.  Heading down 2A towards Concord, it turned foggy then really foggy.  There weren't many cars on the road and I turned to let the ones I did see know I was there (my very bright light was mounted on my helmet) so I didn't feel unsafe.  The worse conditions were at the low point on 2A just east of the intersection with Lexington Road but got much better by Concord center.  The fog conditions never got quite as bad as that stretch during the rest of the ride but it was never what you could call clear either.  I stopped to snap a picture from the Maple Street bridge.  A few minutes later a small peloton (about 12 people) came towards me in the opposite direction.  There were well lit like I was and quite visible, making me think I wasn't quite so dumb for being out there in the foggy conditions.  It turned into a very nice day after the ride.

Fog from the Maple Street bridge, a couple of minutes before I saw the peloton: