Thursday, November 19, 2009

That Wasn't There Yesterday

New fencing on the east side of Woburn Street

New landscaping at Hancock Avenue

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Possibly the Last Ring Post Posting

Even after hundreds of trips up and down the trail, a previously unseen relic of railroad days catches my eye. Yesterday I spotted a ring post lurking in the trees and brush. It's on the inbound side along the horse farm in Lexington, nearly opposite the boardwalk entrance to Parker Meadow.

Another Ring Post

Landscapers have opened up the end of Hancock Avenue at the trail, removing trees, brush, and a rusty old barrier made of rails.

Hancock Avenue today

Hancock Avenue one year ago.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shining Lights

I hardly ever see bicycle lights along the trail on account of only being out on fair days. By chance I saw both a headlight and a taillight this morning, both as I neared Mill Street. Even in full daylight, the new LED lamps are a great aid to being seen. I had no trouble picking out the dwindling red taillight when the rider was 200 yards ahead of me. The best bicycle lamp of my childhood -- powered by Raleigh's front-hub generator -- was dim and fragile by comparison.

Today: 4.5 miles. This year: 166.9 miles.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Snake on the Trail

Near Arlington's Great Meadows

Today: 13 miles. This year: 97.2 miles.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Brush Fire in Arlington's Great Meadows

There was a widespread brush fire in Arlington's Great Meadows on Friday, burning a large portion of the open area and threatening nearby houses. The Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows have a map of the burn (pdf). The taste of soot was still in the air today as my wife and I walked along the Minuteman Trail west of Fottler Avenue and then onto a short loop of the Great Meadows Trail (pdf).

View from Glacier Knoll

Brush and leaves burned to the edge of the trail

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Optical confusion

I thought for a second that someone had blacked out the centerline on the bridge over 128, but it's only the shadow of the fence rail.

At MA 128 / I-95.

Yesterday: 8 miles. This year: 33.7 miles.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Almost Clear

I skated west from Lexington Center to Bedford Depot Park today, relying on Yury's report that the trail was clear enough for all activities. That's nearly so, undercut only by some sand and gravel at Bedford Street, followed by rotting ice across the path just west of there.

Falling whistle post at the Lexington DPW

Today: 8 miles. This year: 15.7 miles.

The First Few Miles of 2009

I skated west from Hurd Field into Lexington yesterday and found the trail much clearer than I expected. There's some gravel at Fottler Avenue and some ice in the shadow of Maple Street. I turned back at the private driveway between Seasons Four and Woburn Street, where there was only a narrow strip of wet pavement surrounded by melting ice.

Arlington's all clear.

West across the private driveway crossing, Lexington

Yesterday: 5 miles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lexington: Still a Mess

East from Seasons Four


At the Seasons Four crossing


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Deadwood of Damocles

Temperatures in the fifties, maybe up to sixty degrees this weekend should take a big bite from the last of the snow and ice in Arlington. Lexington has a lot further to go.

At Drake Village, Arlington

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Upper-body exercise

While the trail is nearly skateable, many ramps are still thick with ice. I stopped at Hurd Field with a spade this morning and cut a two-foot-wide slot through the ice on the ramp. The drainage and exposed pavement should make the remaining ice melt away much sooner than it would have. Once the trail dries out, I should bring a broom instead.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trail Conditions: Coming along quickly

Sunshine and warmth raised my hopes that some part of the trail might be clear enough for skating. Full-width puddles, streams of runoff, and some scattered ice fields dashed those hopes for today. Even so, I walked from Thorndike Field down to Alewife Station and up to Arlington Center and found the trail quickly clearing. Online there are renewed plans for plowing in Lexington, although probably not until first the ice melts and later it snows again.

Last year a commenter remarked on some old signs in East Arlington that face away from the trail. One is east of the trail, roughly facing the end of Chandler Street and the other faces White Street to the west. The first has traces of lettering and the second is completely effaced. The top line might end in MPING. DUMPING FORBIDDEN is the best fit I could think of. My photo of the face was washed out by strong backlighting; you'll have to look for yourself.

At Thorndike Field, Arlington

Alewives near Alewife Station, Cambridge

Looking east toward Lake Street, Arlington

I never knew about the fines.

Illegible sign near Chandler Street, Arlington

Today: 2.7 miles walking. This year: 2.7 miles.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quads to move

The long-vacant Brattle Pharmacy, 1043 Mass. Ave. in Arlington, has a banner on the Brattle Street side announcing that Quad Cycles and Team Quad will soon be there. Much like their old location in Arlington Heights, they'll be just a couple of blocks off the Minuteman Trail at an access point with stairs. Either shoulder your bike or get off at Ryder Street instead.

Updates: Ted Packard reminds me there's a ramp from the trail to Washington Street, just 50 narrow, bumpy, semi-paved yards from Brattle Street. And after driving by from the other direction, I see there are posters advertising the new tenants on three sides of the building.

View Larger Map

Trail Conditions: Meltdown

Four days later, the same stretch of trail is awash in meltwater and edged with ice.

West from Mill Street, Arlington

Ice covers half the inbound lane at Mill Street.

This day, week, month, and year: 0 miles.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trail Conditions: Bright White

Even after plowing, the trail is a brighter white than your freshly-washed sheets.

Equipment tracks in the snow

West across Mill Street toward Arlington Center

East from Mill Street behind the old Brigham's building

Today: 0 miles. This year: 0 miles.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lexington suspends bikeway plowing

Plowing wasn't going well in Lexington and now the town has suspended the program. You read more on Clear the Trail and the FOLB blog, or respond to the Lexington Minuteman's weekly poll.