Driving around this morning I crossed the bikeway at Bow Street, Maple Street, and Bedford Street in Lexington. There's been no plowing at all near those crossings. Clear the Trail reports that Arlington has plowed and Lexington is "off to a slow start." There's no update on the Friends of Lexington Bikeways blog.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
There's a rare new posting at the Friends of Lexington Bikeways blog. On my way to mentioning that I noticed the Blogspot settings for following blogs and the layout gadget for displaying followers. Now you can follow this blog and I can see how microscopic my readership really is.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Today's Boston Globe declares "Bikeway to be plowed". The article explains that plowing in Lexington will be more expensive than in Arlington because of the bollards. Fund-raising isn't complete yet, so trail users should consider chipping in. There's more info in the Lexington section of Clear the Trail.Tomorrow's forecast has the temperature rising to 50°F before the rain comes in -- it might be a skating day.
Friday, December 5, 2008
After not skating for several weeks, I was surprised to find the trail crossing of Woburn Street and Hayes Lane in Lexington remodeled. Instead of the long diagonal two-part crossing, the trail jogs left at Woburn Street along some newly widened sidewalk (lower left in photo), then turns right for a short, perpendicular crossing that avoids Hayes Lane (far right) completely.
Yesterday: 10 miles. This year: 1556.7 miles.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A Lexington Minuteman article announces that Lexington will join Arlington in plowing the bike path this winter, but using private donations. Amusingly the article was originally headlined "Lexington to pave bikepath this winter", but it's been corrected.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is only off-topic if you never get a road rash. I donated my 82nd pint of blood last week, not that much of a feat spread over 26 years, and asked for a Coban™ bandage to avoid the itchy rash that I used to get on my arm from the adhesive tape. The lingering rash with intense itching was by far the worst part of donating, edging out the inconvenience of skipping skating the day after. I've used Coban and store-brand imitations mostly after blood donations, but it's also good for large abrasions such as you get from falls.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Already repaved, Woburn Street had its curbs reset on Tuesday and Wednesday. The bike path still detours around the construction to Fletcher Avenue.
The pedestrian crossing of the trail just short of the Lexington Depot, previously just a painted path often covered with an illegally parked car, is being rebuilt. The new approach has granite curbs and brick surfaces, much like the steps to the trail a hundred feet east.
Yesterday: 14 miles. This year: 1546.7 miles. To Stillwater: 89.8 miles.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Mid-day on Friday I skated comfortably in shorts and a t-shirt. At eight this morning I wore long pants, a flannel over-shirt, and running gloves, yet it took nine miles for my thumbs to warm up. My halluces were cold after thirteen miles despite double socks. Maybe I skated at the wrong time of day: the afternoon forecast calls for warming to 54°F.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 1518.7 miles.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wet leaves are easier to see, of course. The resemblance to black ice is in the slickness and the difficulty of assessment. How wet are they? How rotten, and how deep? The more fortunate connection is that black ice and wet leaves both fade in the warmth of the day.
Just as Yury suggested, the shallow excavations later topped with concrete are the foundations of new benches. The one below is on the outbound side of the trail west of Wiggins Avenue in Bedford.
It's hard to keep track, but I don't think this tree leaning out from the tree line used to be so prominent. My guess is that its great height and the rain-softened ground are slowly tilting it over the trail just outbound from Fletcher Avenue in Lexington. There are high wind warnings tomorrow afternoon into Wednesday morning. Don't stand right there.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 1493.7 miles.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Woburn Street's beautiful new pavement isn't yet finished out to the curbs. The detour to Fletcher Avenue continues.
The small rectangular excavations in Bedford are filled with concrete now. Are these are foundations for benches?
Today: 13 miles. This year: 1472.7 miles. To Stillwater: 163.8 miles.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I passed the end of the Minuteman this morning and skated the paved portion of the Bedford Narrow Gauge Rail Trail over to the Great Road. I hadn't been there in years and had completely forgotten that a hundred yards or so of narrow gauge are rusting away alongside the trail. [Update: These rails are a re-creation, not original, and probably weren't there at my previous visit ten years ago.]
On both trails I saw neatly excavated, taped-off rectangular plots. Landscaping? Archaeology? Shallow graves? I don't know.
After months of disruption and more than a week of outright closure, Woburn Street in Lexington was repaved this morning.
Today: 13.8 miles. This year: 1459.7 miles.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
At The Beginning of 2007, I mentioned my ambition to skate the distance to Stillwater, OK that year. It didn't happen. I renewed the goal in my Welcome to 2008. My plan was to keep ahead of 2007's pace and continue in 2008 past where I got lazy in 2007. That plan dissolved in mid-April with spring rains, chilly weather, and a week-long cold that kept me in the house. In late June I bottomed out 137 miles behind the previous year's pace.
Today it's all different. I'm (just barely) ahead of 2007-to-date. Another 16.3 miles will put all of 2007 behind me, leaving less than 200 miles to my annual goal. There might be a month of skating weather left. That should be enough.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 1423.2 miles.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Today's Boston Globe has an article about the increasing number of bike cages at Alewife Station, built in response to rapidly rising demand.
Yesterday: 10.5 miles. This year: 1384.2 miles.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Arlington Town Day Road Race (pdf brochure) was using the trail from Frazer Road to Mill Street this morning. I knew that in advance and steered clear. A water station behind Trader Joe's should have raised my suspicions. Another one at Seasons Four in Lexington made me wonder. I stopped at a third one by Bedford Street and learned about the Boston Fit marathon training run. I'm sure the trail was crowded where the two runs overlapped.
Coincidentally there was another trail traffic survey today. The woman counting trail users at the Lexington Depot didn't know where the results wind up, only that the various reporting organizations share them with each other and the state.
Arlington Town Day fireworks at Spy Pond
Today: 10 miles. This year: 1284.7 miles.
I wore running gloves yesterday morning and was glad to have them. I missed something for my ears at first, but soon warmed up. It's not time for the headband yet.
There were flashing lights and a Middlesex sheriff's van at Hartwell Avenue. Not an accident, just a prison work detail repainting the signal lights. They finished up at Hartwell and moved to Bedford Street while I was skating.
Another skate brake worn to the limitYesterday: 13 miles. This year: 1274.7 miles.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The silhouette of the cycling Minuteman will be familiar if you used the Minuteman Bikeway in its first years, when he was stenciled in all the crosswalks. He's just made a new appearance on stickers through the Lexington section of the trail. I imagine these are connected with the bikeway celebration signs which also just appeared.
Today: 14 miles. This year: 1237.2 miles.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The proposal to plow the Minuteman Bikeway in Lexington is in the news today -- the Milford Daily News, for some reason.
Lexington was busy maintaining the trail yesterday, with both the tractor-mounted blower and the shoulder mower at work. When I saw the mower it had slid into the ditch east of Revere Street. This was probably the result of mowing with the ground still soft from Tuesday's heavy rains. Today there are deep ruts on the shoulder and mud on the trail to mark the spot.
The mower with the robot arm was on the job in Bedford. It fills the trail, but the driver is very patient about moving aside to let trail traffic pass.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 1209.2 miles.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The trail was closed from Mill Street in Arlington to the Summer Street entrance this morning, with traffic detoured out to Summer Street. There was no obvious reason, though it might have to do with tree trimming or the removal of equipment from the old Brigham's building.
Today: 16.1 miles. This year: 1175.2 miles.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Following last year's success with winter clearing of the trail in Arlington, clearthetrail.org is campaigning for Lexington to do likewise. I was no fan of their Arlington campaign, as I doubted that Arlington would bear the expense and that the clearing would be effective. The expense turned out to be minimal and the clearing was reasonably good. Icy spots and snowbanks at crossings meant that you could walk fairly easily or bicycle cautiously. The biggest benefit to me was the early availability of the trail in the spring, without waiting weeks as the icepack slowly melted. Now I'm a cautious convert to their cause. If you're in favor, visit their Lexington news page for information.
Last week: 72.1 miles. This year: 1146.1 miles.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The weight-loss group at my office is 15 weeks old now and I see I haven't said how it's going since way back in June. Now, as then, it's going brilliantly for me and pretty well all around. I'm down 30 pounds while some others have lost 15, 16, and 18 pounds. The founders of the group, ironically, have lost the least weight and the most money.
The center line of the path was repainted through Arlington this morning, concealing the recent white dots.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 1120.1 miles
Monday, September 1, 2008
The fading center line of the path is marked with white dots from one end of Arlington to the other. Is this a prelude to repainting the line? The dots seem too subtle to be permanent markings themselves.
Today: 12.1 miles. This year: 1086.1 miles.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I found a discussion of the Middlesex & Boston Street Railway on railroad.net and asked if the Lexington-Woburn line ran along Woburn Street. One of the participants provided the perfect confirmation shown below. Not only did the line run that way, there was a stop at the Boston & Maine crossing, now the bikeway crossing, exactly where I saw the rails dug up earlier this week.
Yesterday: 13 miles. This year: 1014.8 miles.
Update: The trench on Woburn Street is filled and partially patched. Large-diameter concrete drain sections are still standing along the street, so you can be sure more excavation is coming.
Today: 6.2 miles. This year: 1021 miles.
Friday, August 22, 2008
The continuing excavation of Woburn Street in Lexington reveals some old tracks running along the street there. These could have been a siding, spur, or branch of the railroad that later became the Minuteman Bikeway, but their orientation along the street makes me think of streetcars. I've written to the Lexington Historical Society to ask if they know something about this.
Yesterday: 16.5 miles. This year: 1001.8 miles.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Today's weather is perfect: sunny, dry, and 50°F at 8:00 this morning; still only 70°F at midafternoon. You'd never know it's August.
The bad news is that Woburn Street in Lexington is being excavated again, right through the trail crossing. You can go out to Mass. Ave. and rejoin the trail at Fletcher Avenue.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 985.3 miles.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Near Arlington's Great Meadow this morning, I passed a woman who doesn't use her arms at all for balance but keeps them both behind her back. And not just loosely behind her back, but with each hand grasping the other elbow. It's a pose I'll never adopt first because it would dislocate my shoulders, second because I'd break my nose on the pavement, and third because I passed her effortlessly -- it doesn't lead to a quick pace.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 947.8 miles.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Swaying my arms from side to side is a better style than I imagined. The expected result is that I go a little faster with the same effort or faster still with more effort. The corollary is that it'll take some conditioning to see the full advantage of this: my knees, hips, and thighs aren't instantly up to the increased load. The unexpected part is that this motion is easier on my arms and shoulders than what I'd been doing. Swinging my arms forward and back meant straining to resist the side-to-side motion. I should have changed over long since.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 934.8
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I learned to skate by skating and by reading the rec.skate FAQ. You can imagine that my technique is not what it might be. Today I saw an oncoming speed skater vigorously swinging his arms from side to side, a great contrast to the casual fore-and-aft style I use or the more serious hand-behind-the-back. I tried the new motion and found that swinging my arms side to side counters the swaying of my body and lets me push off harder. Maybe I'll keep it up.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 918.3 miles.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The new Minuteman @ Flickr link under Trail Information gets you photos tagged with "Minuteman" and "Bikeway" at Flickr, sorted by date. Just in case my Picasaweb album hasn't got enough trail photos for you.
Today: 14 miles. This year: 848.3 miles.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Yury wanted a picture of Bedford's robot mower, mentioned here back in May. I saw it this morning on Wiggins Avenue, fifty yards off the trail, so now I can oblige.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 821.3 miles, just over half-way to Stillwater.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I didn't see any major damage following yesterday's storms, just every kind of water-borne hazard. The only novelty was a temporary stream running westbound along one side of the trail in the wetlands area east of Hartwell Avenue.
Conditions were excellent above the ground today. It was cool for late July and dry compared to yesterday's torrential rains.
Today: 10 miles. This year: 786.8 miles.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The first acorns have fallen near the wetlands east of Hartwell Avenue. They're small, few, and early.
The Bedford end of the trail was a mess yesterday, slightly less so today. It's the victim of some very zealous mowing that scattered clippings, leaves, fir needles, twigs, and branches all along the last mile of the trail.
A thoughtful trail user has marked many bumps, dips, and cracks with orange spray paint. The marks run at least as far east as Grove Street in Arlington and as far west as Wiggins Avenue near the Bedford line. Lexington Center was skipped -- there aren't any markings between Hayes Lane and Fletcher Avenue, for example, though that stretch could use quite a few.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 742.8 miles.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
A woman in a lawn chair was watching the trail from the Lexington Depot platform this morning. That seemed odd until I saw a man doing the same thing near Wiggins Avenue and realized it was a traffic count. The fellow near Wiggins told me this is part of a periodic state survey of trail use over several days. I should have asked where earlier survey results might be found.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 693.3 miles.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
From the New York Times: "To Beat the Heat, Learn to Sweat It Out". The quick summary is that acclimation helps, you're going to sweat like a cold beer bottle, you need to rehydrate, and you will be slower. This morning's cooler temperatures and drier air reminded me of this week-old article. It wasn't really cool or dry today, but after being roasted these last few days it felt wonderful.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 635.8 miles.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
All the bikeway towns are working to keep up with the damage and debris from these daily thunderstorms. Tuesday I saw Lexington town workers shoveling off the worst of the sand. Wednesday a motorcycle patrolman was surveying storm damage near the Bedford end. Thursday Arlington workers were clearing debris with leaf blowers and Lexington had their tractor-mounted blower running.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Today's Boston Globe Northwest Weekly section has a feature on the trail: Wheels of good fortune. The reporter toured the trail with bicycle enthusiast and activist Jack Johnson and, naturally, got a very positive view of the Minuteman and proposed connections.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The trail is in better shape than I expected after yesterday's downpour. There's sand and mud, of course, and sticks and leaves, but less than after other recent storms.
Today: 10.5 miles. This year: 521.3 miles.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The Boston edition of the Chase Corporate Challenge will be run tomorrow night. The 3.5 mile course stretches from the Boston Common to Kenmore Square and back. My employer will be well represented with dozens of runners and less well represented by non-runners like me.
The trail was wet and spattered with storm debris yesterday, so I went 3.5 miles on foot instead of skating. It was immediately clear there's no way I'm running that distance. I'll be walking at a brisk four miles per hour instead. Our team captain tells me there are plenty of non-runners at the event and huge crowds in the way anyhow.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 484.8 miles.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Near Revere Street in Lexington today I saw a bicyclist retying the laces of his shoe. This would be perfectly unremarkable if he hadn't been doing it on his moving bicycle with his foot up on the crossbar. I hope his front wheel didn't strike a twig or pebble before he finished.
Today: 14 miles. This year: 464.8 miles.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
In-line skating was more popular ten years ago than today. When I first skated on the Minuteman Trail there was a faint herringbone pattern on the pavement from skaters' wheels as they stroked. It's long gone. Not only do I see fewer skaters on the trail, it's much harder to find a store with a good selection of skates. But this spring (and summer, if you count today) there's a definite uptick both in skaters overall and in really good skaters, people who make me feel like a rank amateur after 7,000 miles. A woman passed me this morning in Arlington Heights with a good pace, so I dug in and trailed her to Lexington Center. She told me she's cutting back from doing 18 miles at a time, a serious workout. On my way back to Arlington a man in an elastic cycling suit tore past me at a speed I can't approach.
I've seen any number of bike trailers along the path, but never a bicycle sidecar until today. From a little googling, I think it was a Chariot SideCar bicycle trailer.
Today: 10.5 miles. This year: 450.8 miles.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
For my money, the office weight-loss group is working brilliantly: I've lost 9.5 pounds in a month and collected $32.50 from less determined dieters. There's a clear sign that the group's overall motivation is flagging, though, as last week's average weight loss was zero. My guess is that biggest cash loser in the group will bow out soon unless he can make a stunning comeback.
Today: 16.5 miles. This week: 415.3 miles.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
An unusual device looms over the trail just west of the Lexington Depot (now home of the Lexington Historical Society). The first photo shows the dangling metal tines that brushed the tops of rail cars arriving at the depot. The second photo shows that the mast holding the boom and tines is a section of railroad rail mounted vertically. As that mass of metal makes an excellent electrical ground, I'm guessing that the purpose of this was to remove static charges from the cars. I wouldn't expect all-metal cars (such as #6211, now at Bedford Depot Park) to need this, but maybe other styles did. Does anyone here know more?
Occasional reader Jeff coasted alongside for a while yesterday to check my identity and ask what I knew about harassment of trail users near Arlington High School. This was the first I've heard of the problem, which involves teens pelting riders and skaters in the afternoon. Jeff told me it was a topic at the quarterly trail meeting ("Meeting of Minuteman Bikeway Communities") on Thursday. Another meeting topic was the possibility of Lexington clearing the trail next winter. Jeff was happy about that as a supporter of Arlington's Clear the Trail initiative.
I noticed new bikeway banners in Arlington Center while eating at Punjab Thursday night. There's a little about them on the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee's home page and also on the Bikeway news page.
Today: 10.5 miles. This year: 390.8 miles.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has selected the Minuteman Bikeway as its June 2008 Trail of the Month. Following trail-of-the-month honors, it will be enshrined in the Conservancy's Hall of Fame. There's a write-up in today's Boston Globe.
P.S. (that's "Post Skating") Yesterday's storm debris is practically gone. The warm weather and low humidity are bringing out a great many trail users. And the publicity probably doesn't hurt.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 355.8 miles.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The trail is covered in petals and pollen from Arlington to Bedford. Rain floated much of the pollen into puddles and the drying puddles leave chalky yellow streaks.
Today: 13 miles. This year: 339.3 miles.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
I can't believe I overlooked this useful coincidence for so long. The distance from Hurd Field to Mill Street, one and three-quarter miles, is also the distance from Alewife to Mill Street. If you do as I do most days, entering the trail at Hurd, going east to Mill Street and then turning around, the outbound milestones show your total distance -- no computation needed until you get to Bedford and turn around again.
Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 293.3 miles.