Thursday, June 28, 2007

You win some, you lose some

I left home for work at 5:30 this morning. It's trash day in Arlington, so I was naturally scanning the heaps of rubbish on the curb as I sped down Gray, when I spied two dusty old bikes standing gingerly among the trash and recycling just a couple blocks from the intersection with my street.

Closer inspection revealed one to be an early 1970s Phillips racer and the other was a late 70s ladies' Schwinn Suburban. Both were in great shape, with no rust or blemishes on the frames, but a heaping helping of dust and cobwebs all over.

I was late-ish for work, and still needed to shower and dress on arrival. So what to do? I grabbed the Phillips and hoofed it up the hill with it in one hand and Thorny in the other (which, in full commuting mode weighs about 40 lbs), then left it next to the house. I rode back down, but really didn't have time to do anything about the Schwinn.

So I sped off to Boston and emailed Kim to see if she'd collect it for me. All I really cared about, though, was saving it from the landfill. If someone else got it and would make use of it, fine - I've got enough "project" bikes festering away. But by the time she got there around 9, it was gone... but so was all the rubbish.

I'd like to think that someone saved it before the compactor came, but I don't think that happened. It was really, truly upsetting to think about that beautiful old upright ladies 10-speed getting thrown into the back of a garbage truck with the rest of the trash.

In retrospect, I could have moved the bike away from the trash, or even put it back into the driveway of the house, but it didn't occur to me. At least I saved the Phillips.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ride to Great Brook Farm

Old North Bridge
Originally uploaded by ahconway

I was out of house at 5:30 on Sunday morning and on the Minute Map trail a few minutes after that. My goal was to do a 27-mile ride from the Pocket Rides kit that starts at the Bedford end (Ride 8 from "Beyond the Minuteman Bikeway). The sun was out but it was still a little chilly, so the ride out to Bedford was perfect, and not a soul to be seen.

The directions on the map card were largely clear and accurate, and I had no trouble at all getting on at the starting point. The ride took me up through Bedford, Concord, Carlisle, and Chelmsford, taking in Great Brook State Farm Park on the top end. Well-paved, rural roads, with lots of farms and horses - gorgeous!

Many of the turns weren't signposted, though, so I did have a bit of trouble here and there - but I always found my way back on to the route, either through trial & error, or using Google Maps on my phone. I was glad to have brought all the provisions I needed, since there were few shops along the way - and none open at such an early hour on a Sunday.

On the way back, the route passes through Minute Man Historical Park in Concord, and I stopped at the Old North Bridge (where the American Revolution started) for a snack.

I try to vary my routes, but this one is definitely a keeper.

UPDATE: Took the family up to the park for a nice 1-mile hike in the woods on Saturday - beautiful! Very easy to get to by car (except for the delay caused by the annual parade in Carlisle center). We chose a combination of 2 paths, providing some nice open fields as well as some more challenging rocky foresty bits.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

An important lesson about locking

I've reluctantly started locking up outside the office on South Street, instead of over on Summer Street. Should be okay with my 3fer lock combo (U-lock to attach to parking meter, heavy cable around meter, front wheel and downtube, and flexi cable through seat and back wheel). But the whole affair is so cumbersome that I figured I'd leave it locked to the meter overnight.

What I didn't anticipate was the popularity of small dogs with the residents of this neighborhood, and the popularity of parking meters with the dogs. So today I'm actually hoping for a bit of rain to rinse my locks off before I try to find somewhere else to stash them.