Saturday, November 30, 2013

The ALB - Black Friday Ride

The last day of November most Americans spend at a table, celebrating a safe beach landing of a bunch of people crazy enough to cross the Atlantic nearly 400 years ago. (I wrote "most Americans" since if you happened to be a Native American, you wouldn't want to celebrate hundreds of years of environmental massacre and cultural rape.)

That day wasn't much different for me. I also spent it at a table although I wasn't sure what I was celebrating. Anyway, the following morning, on a day called for some unknown reason the Black Friday, I decided that it was a time to burn some of those turkey calories and go for a ride.

I left my house at 7:00 a.m. and it was a bit chilly outside with air temperature of -5C (22F). I was debating whether to go for a longer 70km (44mi) ride or settle for a shorter 40km (25mi) one. I was a bit worried that my gloves and cycling shoes are not going to keep my fingers and toes warm enough in this weather and eventually, I decided to take a shorter route. I rode around Arlington, Lexington and Belmont (hence the name - ALB) starting at the Minuteman Bikeway and reaching Lexington center around 7:20. The sun was rising quickly.
Sunrise in sleepy Black Friday's Lexington center.

Next, I went south to find a path through the Hayden Woods. I've visited this area before, or actually, I was trying to visit it but I gave up because it was getting too dark. This time, the path was clearly visible but a bit disappointing after all. This small forest in the southern Lexington is probably more suitable for hiking than cycling. The paths are narrow and difficult to navigate with multiple fallen trees and many rocks around.
I left the woods and took a path across the Dunback Meadows, beginning at Allen St. This was much more fun as this trail is wider, easy to ride and has many wooden boardwalks running above the swampy areas.
At this point, my toes felt like being completely frozen so my suspicion about the cycling shoes was correct. However, to my surprise, my hands were cozy and warm. Apparently, my cheap full-finger gloves with extra liners inside were just good enough at this temperature.

I crossed the Rt.2 and next took a bike path off the Metropolitan Pkwy in Belmont. I have planned to visit this place many months ago yet somehow never had a chance. It turns out that the Western Greenway Trail is a great place to ride a bike. The paths are well-marked, wide, and have just the right number of obstacles like roots, rocks, steeper inclines and downhills. I will definitely have to visit this place again.
The trail ends at Mill St but then continues as the Great Meadow Trail on the other side of the street and goes all the way to Pleasant St in Belmont. Finally, I took a long way back home around the Fresh Pond in Cambridge connecting through greenways to the path around the Mystic Lakes in Arlington.
It was a great ride and something I should try more often as long as I manage to get up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings. One lesson I learned - my shoes are completely inadequate for winter riding (duh!) so I've started looking for some solutions. Seems like Northwave Celsius shoes may be the answer.

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