Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Woburn-Winchester Lazy Friday Ride

Last Friday, I left my office in Burlington and took a longer, scenic route back home. My goal was to investigate if the nearby Mary Cummings Park at Burlington/Woburn border is an undiscovered gem where I could ride my bike. I took some back roads and eventually ended up on Blanchard Rd at one of available entrances to the park. Too bad it was so overgrown I could hardly find the path. I continued down the road and found the next entrance. This one looked a bit friendlier.
Once I found myself in the open area I realized that this is a hidden airfield! A miniature airfield, that is. It is maintained by a local RC modeler club and there where a few men there trying to locate their planes in nearby bushes.
I left the field and continued through the forest. Unfortunately, it didn't look like it has seen many walking visitors recently, not to mention cyclists. It was terribly overgrown and I often  had to be very careful not to get decapitated by some low hanging branches.
Then I got lost. I roughly knew, which way to ride. I planned to ride across the park toward the exit at Sylvanus Wood Ln. But in this heavily forested area figuring out my location was not a trivial task. And of course, I ended up in the middle of a bog.
Well, at least I got some flavor of what real cyclocross may feel like. I continued on foot, ankle-deep in mud and water. I managed to lose my sense of direction a few more times, desperately trying to find some paths between the trees. And then, finally, not only I found one, but it was the path I was planning on taking originally. The Sylvanus Wood Ln exit was just in front of me.
My conclusion was obvious. Mary Cummings Park is not your friendliest park in the neighborhood. If you want to explore it in detail be ready to bring your own machete.

I left the park and rode towards Horn Pond in Woburn. The northeastern part of this area is a real gem. The path takes you through some narrow wooden bridges, forest, bogs and around two small ponds on both sides of Fowle Brook. I like riding there since it is usually a quiet place and a bit off the beaten path circumnavigating the Horn Pond.
Next, I continued through Winchester south to the east bank of Mystic Lakes, eventually merging with Mystic River Path...
which connects to the Alewife Brook Greenway. It is a relatively new addition to this area. Completely rebuilt, the Greenway is now a pleasure to ride on and it is a nice biking corridor along always-busy Alewife Brook Parkway. In fact, it is the only reasonable way of moving on your bike along the Parkway. This road is simply too busy and too narrow to ride your bike there comfortably.
So this is it. It took me nearly 2 hours to ride back home from work but at least I was able to explore some new areas around, get my feet wet and lose a sense of direction a few times in the forest.

Time for a beer!

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