Saturday, August 28, 2010

Training Run / Looking Like Fall / Touring 6211

A Boston Fit training run brought unusual crowds to the trail this morning. The trainees had the good sense to run singly or in small groups, limiting congestion. I saw refreshment stations at Hurd Field (Arlington Heights) and near Fletcher Avenue (Lexington Center). Basement cat presided at the latter.

Near Fletcher Avenue, Lexington

Last week's rain after the dry summer covered the trail in dead leaves, creating an autumnal appearance in August.

Near Valley Road, Lexington

I'm always at Bedford Depot Park early in the morning, so I've never seen Budd car 6211 open for inspection.  My wife and I walked part of the Bedford Narrow Gauge Rail Trail today, then toured 6211 and the Freight House at the park.

At Bedford Depot Park

Today: 10.5 miles. This year: 740.4 miles.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just Damp

I hoped today's sunshine, breeze, and warmth would clear the whole week's rain off the trail by noontime. This was close enough to true for me to skate from Lexington Center to Arlington Center, scattering acorns and sliding across wet leaves. I'd call it about three-quarters clear, one quarter messy, and nowhere actually obstructed.

Today: 9.4 miles. This year: 716.9 miles.

Update: Friday morning, the wind has wafted away the widespread wetness, leaving only a few puddles. Sticks, leaves, and acorns continue unabated.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lexington Patch: Bikeway Signage Improvements

An article on Lexington Patch today discusses trail/street crossing safety and coming signage improvements. I'm just shaking my head at the cyclists who keep their helmets on their handlebars.

Today: 11 miles. This year: 707.5 miles.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lung Assoc. Seeks Recreational Breathers

The New England chapter of the American Lung Association is out to recruit cyclists. There were a dozen of these signs in Lexington and Bedford today.

Bedford Depot Park

At Hartwell Avenue an oncoming bicyclist asked if I were still blogging. I had time only to say "yes" as we crossed in opposite directions, but I'll take this opportunity to point out the buttons near the bottom of this page for following or subscribing.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 683.5 miles.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Monday evening was breezy enough to raise some chop on Spy Pond. I walked with my wife through Spy Pond Park, parallel to the bike path, and we wondered at the foam along the water's edge. It reminded us of the problems caused by high-phosphate detergents when we were in junior high school, back in the day. But a check with my Facebook friends produced a natural explanation: tannins, probably from the many nearby oaks. One friend who's an avid hiker tells me he's often seen the effect in unpolluted mountain streams.

Spy Pond, Arlington

Today: 13 miles. This year: 670.5 miles.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 85, Section 11B, says "A person operating a bicycle on the sidewalk shall yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian." These stickers just appeared at locations along the trail in Lexington.

East of Bedford Street, Lexington


Today: 14 miles. This year: 595 miles.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Helmet

Did you know you're supposed to replace your helmet every five years? Me neither. I wondered about helmet life as I was re-gluing the Velcro attachment tabs in my old helmet this morning. Now the old one's in the trash and a new one's ready to use.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bad Bicycling

Two women on bicycles overtook me as I came inbound toward Woburn Street. Let's call them Ablivia and Oblivia. Ablivia wanted to turn left at Woburn Street, so she moved left in the crossing until she was completely out of the trail. Oblivia wasn't turning left but wanted to chat with Ablivia until the very last second, so she moved into the left lane of the crossing. She kept that lane blocked against oncoming traffic, forcing an oncoming cyclist to swerve around her and come straight at me. He missed me because he was paying attention.

Neither A. nor O. wore a helmet. If they notice their bad behavior at all, they must imagine that only other people will be injured by it.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 503.4 miles.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A co-worker is training for the Northshore Inline Marathon, held each September in Duluth. Searching for something closer to home, I found a directory of North American Inline Skating Marathons at It looks like New York and Montreal are the closest events to Boston, both in September.

Today: 9 miles. This year: 477.4 miles.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make Way for Ducklings

I was always entertained by the illustrations in Make Way for Ducklings when I read it to my children. Not only for the obvious local interest -- we live near Boston and know the setting well -- but because I worked then for Thinking Machines Corporation in the former Carter Ink building. I could point to my own office window in the background as the ducks nested on an island in the Charles.

Quack, Pack, Ouack, Nack, Mack, Lack, Kack, and Jack.


Today: 9 miles. This year: 468.4 miles.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Heads up!

At Seasons Four this morning I saw an inbound cyclist turn left into the parking lot directly in front of an outbound cyclist. I can only imagine she never bothered to look for oncoming traffic. Maybe a good shouting-at will inspire her to be more careful.

There's a Minuteman Bikeway group on Facebook. Also a couple of unmaintained Minuteman Bikeway pages.

Today: 9 miles. This year: 446.4 miles.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is this yours?

Either somebody dropped their Dictionary of World Mythology in the Hurd Field parking lot between 7:30 and 8:30 this morning, or it was concealed until then by the car parked next to mine. I moved it to the curb, where it won't be run over.

Hurd Field, Arlington


Today: 7.8 miles. This year: 408.1 miles.

Monday, June 14, 2010


That's what we have here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

HI -->

With infinite patience and a dead calm, you could build a cottonwood snowman today. It would be a milestone of ephemeral art.

At Bedford Street, Lexington

Today: 13 miles. This year: 396.1 miles.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cottonwood Snowfall

There was a trail cleanup in Lexington too this weekend. Trashbags awaited pickup along the trail all through Lexington this morning.

When I was in grade school, near Rochester, New York, heaps and drifts of cottonwood seeds always marked the closing of school around mid-June. I don't know if the season has advanced since then or if Boston's poplars were always a bit ahead of Rochester's.

Near Tophet Swamp, Lexington


Today: 13 miles. This year: 383.1 miles.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Minuteman Trail Cleanup Tomorrow

From the ABAC mailing list:

Please join members of East Arlington Livable Streets and the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee as we do our yearly clean sweep of the the Minuteman trail. We will have bags, all you need to bring is a pair of gloves.

We have two groups starting at 9 am, one at Alewife that will clean to Arlington center and one that starts at the Uncle Sam statue in the center and clean to Arlington Heights. We are planning on being done by lunchtime. DPW will be removing the collected trash and recycling on Monday.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 370.1 miles.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Foliage and an Oddity

Spring foliage is well developed all along the trail. I've never seen the new growth on the evergreens so prominent and clearly delineated as it is this year.

At Bedford Depot Park

East of Woburn Street, Lexington

Of all the things I've seen lost or abandoned along the bikeway, this seems the oddest.

Near Arlington High School

Today: 11.6 miles. This year 295.6 miles.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Roll Up and Be Counted

A bikeway census worker was counting passers-by from the platform of the Lexington Depot today. There's also a Saturday survey, though I didn't think to ask if it was last Saturday or next.

I saw a barefoot runner in Lexington carrying his shoes, the first I've seen on the trail despite barefoot running's trendiness. I saw a trail user wearing Vibram Five Fingers shoes last month, but she was cycling.

Today: 11.3 miles. This year: 271 miles.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


...tumor pressing on her brain.

Will she stay with you?

Not really an option...

...because of the stairs?

The only shower is upstairs. siente como asi.

So they're raising chickens.


Today: 8.8 miles. This year: 230.7 miles.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Perfect Day

The threat of showers later motivated me to skate early this morning and rediscover why it can be the perfect time of day. The sun is low and doesn't burn me. The wind is low and doesn't slow me. The temperature is low and keeps me comfortable even when I'm fully warmed up. And there's more wildlife to be seen than later in the day. This morning I saw two obviously wild rabbits -- dark, mottled, and shy -- near Parker Meadow in Lexington.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 208.9 miles.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"The regulars are coming!"

I heard that from a horseman coming up Mass. Ave. as I skated past Lexington Center today.

Today: 8 miles. This year: 195.9 miles.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Bikeway to Reopen"

Arlington says the bikeway will be open after 8 PM tonight, April 15th. While that notice was in the e-mail, I skated through the repaired section and found it wide open. The detour signs are gone, the rebuilding and repaving are complete. The new pavement is a little wavier than the old -- you'll feel the difference under your wheels.

Today: 8.8 miles. This year: 187.9 miles.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paving in Progress

The cut-out sections of the trail are semi-paved today: just the base layer, not the top coat. I turned around at Park Avenue to avoid detouring through the soft shoulder and filling my skate bearings with grit. I expect the paving to be done tomorrow at this rate.

Today: 10.8 miles. This year: 179.1 miles.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Detour Optional

At mid-day today the detour was still posted, but the barriers were off to the side and trail traffic was moving through the construction zone. All the damaged sections are cut out, the roadbed is mostly refilled with sand and gravel, only pavement is missing. Some of the damaged areas are lined now with granite blocks to prevent future wash-outs.

Behind Arlington Coal and Lumber


Today: 8.8 miles. This year: 158.3 miles.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fresh Paint

Many Lexington crosswalks are newly repainted, part of the town's annual run-up to Patriots' Day.

The stock of cut stone, broken stone, gravel, and sand at Hurd Field dwindles as repairs progress. The detour sends bike traffic through the parking lot there, so watch out whether you're driving or riding.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 149.5 miles.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Detour, Repairs in Progress

From the Hurd Field parking lot

Behind Trader Joe's

Last week's ring post, better lit

West of Lexington Center

Today: 13 miles. This year: 123.5 miles.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

How Many Ring Posts Can There Be?

This ring post lies on the south side of the trail, very nearly behind my oral surgeon's office. I rolled away a branch obscuring the inscription.

Today: 8 miles. This year: 102 miles.

Repairs in Progress

Tuesday morning there were signs of Monday's repair work: cleared debris and vegetation, and pavement cuts around the damaged areas. Friday morning the only change is that it's sunny and warmer. Nothing more's been done.

Behind Gold's Gym

Approaching Park Avenue

Behind Alpha Auto Body

Old ties exposed near Park Avenue

Monday, March 29, 2010

Closed for Repairs

Arlington is closing the Minuteman Bikeway for repairs this week from Hurd Field (Trader Joe's) to Ryder Street (Arlington Recreation Center). Seeing how it's pouring today, with more rain expected tomorrow, I doubt they'll finish on time and there might even be further damage.

Thanks to Jack Johnson of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee for the tip.

Update: Jack reports there's no repair work today. I bet that goes for tomorrow, too.

Update 2: The closure, repairs, and renewed rain are also noted on

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dig Safe

There are Dig Safe markings on the trail from Colonial Village down past Park Avenue, where the pavement collapse from each side might soon meet in the middle.

Near Park Avenue, Arlington

Near Seasons Four, Lexington

Today: 8.8 miles. This year: 76.1 miles.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Secret of Wii Juggling

OK, this is off-topic. But we all want to improve our balance and coordination, right?

As a casual real-world juggler, I've been frustrated with my slow progress in Wii Fit Plus 5-ball juggling. This morning I looked at my technique and saw that I was holding the controllers as I would for other activities: palms mostly toward each other, fingers near the buttons. That's not like juggling at all. I turned my palms up, rotated the controllers right-way-up, and got a perfect score.

Today: 13 miles. This year 67.3 miles

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Damage and Repairs

The smallest repairs are beginning along the trail: the new-cut gully above Frazer Road is already refilled. Where the trail was undermined, though, a slow-motion collapse continues.

Under Lowell Street


Google's bicycling directions have made Gmaps Pedometer obsolete, at least for my purposes. Google understands intersections with the Minuteman Bikeway, giving (needless) directions and exact distances along the trail. Here's today's skating route as an example.

Today: 8.8 miles. This year: 54.3 miles.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lexington and Bedford Conditions: Good!

From the superlative conditions, I'd say Lexington has already swept most of the trail east of Bedford Street. I didn't see any substantial damage from milepost V/VI (counting outbound/inbound, between Seasons Four and Maple Street) all the way to the Bedford end. The most obvious change was that milepost VII/IIII now stands in a stream where last week it stood on the bank.

Milepost VII/IIII, Revere Street in the distance.


Today: 10 miles. This year: 45.5 miles.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's a Mess

Near Frazer Road, Lowell Street bridge in the distance.


Debris piled up under the Lowell Street bridge.


Rushing water undercut the trail at Lowell Street.


Gravel filled the streambed under Park Avenue, forcing the stream out over the trail.


Under the Park Avenue bridge.


From the Park Avenue stairway.


The water was clear and sparkling.


This landscaping timber lay on the trail near Park Avenue like a carelessly dropped coffee cup.


The water cut a new channel along the collapsing edge of the trail.


Across from Colonial Village.


Near Arlington Coal and Lumber.


Hurd Field, looking toward Drake Road.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Special All-Flooding Edition

From the Lowell Street bridge toward Park Avenue

From the Lowell Street bridge looking east

From the Lowell Street bridge looking down on the east side

Mill Brook near Forest Street

Watermill Place near Frazer Road

Bikeway entrance at Frazer Road

Frazer Road opposite the bikeway entrance

An Arlington town truck enters the bikeway from Frazer Road

Trail Conditions: Cold Running Water

Westbound at Hurd Field, Arlington Heights

Hurd Field from Trader Joe's

The body of water in the background is an extension of the usually small and placid brook which flows from the Old Reservoir.