Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ride Report - Pocket Rides Watertower Ride

Did a beautiful ride this morning from the Rubel Pocket Rides series. From "Beyond the Minuteman Bikeway, Bedford", no. 10 is "The Watertower Ride", featuring our own water tower here in Arlington Heights. It's listed as a 32-mile ride, but I cut a couple miles off by riding up the bike path to the Bedford end, where the ride officially starts.

On the bit that I cut out, there seems to be lots of twisty-turny-ness that I see little point to. Perhaps its a nice alternative to the bike path, which I guess could grow monotonous for some. The bike path was ideal for me when I set off around 6:30 since it wasn't quite light enough to see my queue sheet!

In any case, the weather was perfect early Autumn weather - leaves just beginning to fall, mid-40s and clear. The route is wonderful because it takes in beautiful countryside and also lots of genuine points of interest, like the Old North Bridge, Concord River (2 crossings), Walden Pond, and the Decordova museum. The other really nice thing about this ride is that it's easy to navigate - not more than 4 or so major turnings if you do it like I did.

A couple comments on the route:

  1. When the map indicates turning on "River Street", it's actually "River Road" - when there so many possible permutations of streets, avenues, ways, and paths, it's important to get that right.

  2. Heading into Belmont, there's a steep descent that the route description says is lots of fun, providing that you be prepared to stop at the bottom. In fact, it's quite a treacherous hill, particularly when the sun is coming up and the sun's in your eyes. While nearby Pleasant Street has been completely repaved, this bit hasn't been so lucky, and there are some VERY significant bumps on the way down. I hit a couple of them really hard and only quite managed to keep my hands on the bars because I was gripping them for dear life and not bothering to touch the brake levers. Which is why the sharp right-hand turn came as an unwelcome surprise and nearly sent me into oncoming traffic; there's also the possibility of going over the barrier on the other side if you really go wrong.

On the bright side, that little brush with my own mortality gave me the boost of adrenaline I needed to power back up the hill to the water tower before heading home.

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