Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coldest ride yet this fall

Another nice Sunday morning ride today. It was about 22 degrees when I left home at 7:00, and I did the same 30-mile loop as last week, including the little off-road bit. I probably saw fewer than half a dozen other cyclists during the whole ride - not even any in Concord center!

The cold didn't bother me so much since I bundled up well. I had a buff and my nice wool hat; four layers on top: a base layer, a nice wool jersey under a light fleece top, and my Gore Tex jacket. On the bottom, I wore my Endura winter tights under my wool Kucharik tights. I also wore light wool glove liners under my heavy gloves. All that worked just fine. My toes even stayed warm for a while, but got to be pretty uncomfortable after an hour or so. I decided to give my cleats a miss today and wore wool socks with my Sambas and my overshoes on top - but still not warm enough. I'll have to figure out something better for next time.

The off-road bit is really nice - I'm thinking about trying to organize a group ride that takes in this one and the other off-road trail from the end of the bike path up to Billerica. Just better do it before the first snow, and I suspect I won't have much time before that happens.

Also saw lots of wild turkeys today, brazenly running around less than a week before Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A nice ride, and my faith in mankind restored

It was great to get out on Thorny again today after 2 weeks of riding the Christiania exclusively! I got a new set of Pocket Maps last week, and today I tried a new route. Nothing revolutionary (nice pun if you know the area), just my usual ride to Bedford via the bike path, up 225, and down River Rd to Monument St into Concord.

The revelation was the return to Bedford from Concord. I started on Rd 62 which was nice enough, but then I followed the off-road option on Reformatory Branch Rail-Trail that parallels that road almost all the way back to the start of the Minuteman. The surface was a lot like the Narrow Gauge Rail Trail that extends from Bedford to Billerica - hard packed dirt/gravel, covered with wet leaves now. I really like the Billerica route and I've done it a bunch of times but never managed to do the Concord one.

I also had a nice chat with an Englishman I met by chance in Concord center today while having my usual breakfast sandwich.

So not too long after I'd arrived at home, I noticed a message on my phone. It was from AAA, calling to say that the Concord Police had called them because someone had found my wallet on Bedford Road! Then, just as I was hanging up, Citibank called to tell me exactly the same thing. I called the Concord Police and they gave me the address of the station, and we drove over a little later to pick it up.

Remarkable! I don't know what's more amazing: that some good samaritan picked up my wallet on the street and took it straight to the police; or that the dispatcher at the station had nothing better to do than call all the numbers he could find in my wallet (plus the Arlington police, he told me)!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Commuting on the Christiania

I've been commuting to work for a couple weeks on the Christiania. I started riding it more regularly when I was taking the girls to school, then it just seemed more convenient with all the cargo space and ease of locking up. I don't even mind the ride home up the hill so much any more!

It was sort of scary riding home in the dark until I got my act together a bit... I found the strange Danish light that slides onto a mount in on the front of the box, started wearing my reflecty vest with my Cateye flasher on my collar, and I just got a nice Planet Bike headlight for my helmet.

The helmet light is the big revelation. It was only $30 or so, but it's wonderfully bright. It's also amazing to be able to see wherever I'm pointing my noggin!

Last night, I needed to decompress a bit and the weather was nice, so I rode all the way up the bike path to Arlington Heights before riding up Park Ave. (I usually go up Highland and Gray, which saves a couple miles.) Because it was only about 6 but still pitch black, the path had lots of bike traffic, and everyone was all bedecked in lights and visi-wear. It was really fun seeing the reflecty patches go by and seeing how all the light combos worked. Unsurprisingly, the lycra-clad riders on $5k racing bikes all have VERY bright rechargeable lights to match. Most seem to have more modest arrangements like me. The surface was completely leaf-covered in most parts, and I definitely felt safer on three wheels.

Better make the most of it while the weather cooperates!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rice Road Ride

It's another cold one! The clocks changed last night, so it was easier than usual to get out of the house early. Of course, it was pitch black for the first 90 mins or so, but no big deal.

Very cold, though. My bottles are very icy and my toes aren't too far off. I'm dressed more or less appropriately today, but my neoprene booties aren't sufficient. What did I do last year?

In any case, i'm doing the Pocket Maps Rice Road ride. About 40 miles around the northwest suburbs. Very pretty riding, but a bit toooo suburban, maybe. Great time of year despite the cold - the leaves are gorgeous and the air smells wonderful.
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