Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Ink in the Globe

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

Trail Conditions

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.

Fog over Arlington's Great Meadow in Lexington

Rain-washed silt near the Arlington Rec Center

Today: 10.5 miles. This year: 521.3 miles.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Chase Corporate Challenge

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

Novelty of the Day

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

Skating Uptick; Bicycle Sidecar

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

Morning Mist

Arlington's Great Meadows in Lexington, about 6:30 AM

Today: 8.5 miles. This year: 423.8 miles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weight Loss Update

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

Static Discharge Brush? (Update: No, it's a tell-tale.)

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?

The tines hang from short lengths of cable on a metal boom.

The boom is supported by a length of rail.

Are You the Bikeway Blogger?

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

Minuteman Trail in Rail-Trail Hall of Fame

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

Petals and Pollen

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.

Pollen puddle west of Bow Street, Lexington

Dried petals east of Fletcher Avenue, Lexington

Fallen deadwood west of Seasons Four, Lexington

Today: 13 miles. This year: 339.3 miles.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One More Whistle Post Posting

That's milepost II/VIIII in the background, with the VIIII showing.

Eastbound behind Arlington High School

Today: 16.5 miles. This year: 326.3 miles.