Bicycle Route Thru Concord, Carlisle, Sudbury, and Lincoln

Now that I've mapped some bicycle tours around Concord as shown here, today I combined and traversed the suggested routes. Two hours, two flattened turtles, one flattened skunk, one eighteen-wheeler, and many clumsy landscape trucks later, here's the stats on this combined loop:

2001 Giant Cypress DX

Garmin Forerunner 201
Time: 2:02 (2 hours, 2 minutes)
Distance: 28.47 miles or 45.5 kilometers
Average Speed: 14.0 mph or 22.4 kph
Average Pace: 4.3 min/mi or 2.7 min/km
Highest Speed: 30.7 mph or 49.1 kph (on Lincoln Rd, near Audubon Sanctuary approaching Rt 117)
Calories burned: 1,895 (estimated by Garmin's setting for body weight)

I prefer to strap the Garmin Forerunner to my Giant Cypress DX handlebar rather than my arm because it makes viewing much easier. Seeing my current speed and distance provides constant motivation. The velcro strap fits snugly around the handlebar when wrapped over the headlamp mount.

Mountain Biking in Carlisle and Kudos to Belmont Wheelworks

Click for photo gallery of Great Brook Farm State ParkNow that I'm on my sabbatical, I've started doing more road biking every day, and I realized I wanted to hit tougher trails, too, but my Mongoose hardtail was a little out of shape. Thus was the impetus for visiting Belmont Wheelworks, on Trapelo Rd in Belmont, MA and my purchase of a new Trek Fuel 80 full suspension mountain bike. After researching hardtail and entry level full suspension mountain bikes online from Giant, Gary Fisher, Cannondale, and Trek, I settled on the Trek Fuel model since the price was lower among full suspension models, although it seemed to have very good components including tires, rear suspension, brakes, and derailleur.


[steven@macromedia /work]$ shutdown -h +360 'Going on sabbatical. Please log off'

Like many others at Macromedia, its my turn for a long sabbatical, although I've been eligible for over a year. For the next six weeks, until September 12th, I'll be out of the office. I suspect that this is the first and the last time I'll be able to take such an extended leave.

I plan to spend the first 3 weeks at home, biking, swimming, reading, and blogging. Some of my objectives include reading parts of several technical books including one on Eclipse which has a chapter on building plugins, one on building Dashboard Widgets on Mac OSX, and one on Photoshop CS. I may take some time to read up SELinux, too.

During this last month I've been reading Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, which I highly recommend, so I hope to finish that up. I think that Friedman's book is complemented by Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, and by Spencer Well's The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, but best if read (or viewed) starting with Wells and finishing with Friedman. If I find a day to spare, I think I'll finally sit myself down to watch the whole 8 hour series Cosmos, by Carl Sagan.

During the second half of my sabbatical, I'll be in Barcelona, Spain and then in the high Pyrenees. My wife and I were married in a civil ceremony two years ago and now we will be having a formal ceremony in a 12th century church in a small mountain village near the border with France, close to Pico Aneto, the highest mountain in Spain. I used Ray's BlogCFC to create a dual English/Spanish informational website to assist the guests.

If you're not familiar with the region, check this out. Its a small Javascript app that zooms in on Barcelona and the Pyrennes, which I made for those who will be travelling from the US. It's a little slow in MSIE, but great in Firefox. This was before Google Earth came out, so I was trying to provide a way for non-technical people to get their bearings.

shutdown -h +360 "Going on sabbatical. Please log off"
Broadcast message from root (pts/1)
(Fri Jul 29 11:56:35 2005):
Going on sabbatical. Please log off
The system is going DOWN for system halt in 6 hours!

Suggested Bike Routes Near Concord, MA

Click for detail map of recommended bike route near Concord Since late last year I've taken up an interest in road cycling for regular exercise, and for a while I had been biking the 13 mile route from my home in Concord to my work in Newton, but the traffic along that route, especially closer to Newton, is usually heavy and rather bothersome.

To reduce my anxiety while keeping up regular cycling, I've plotted some routes around Concord that I can complete in the mornings before driving to work, and on weekends. I've two favorite loops, one from Concord to Carlisle and back, and another to Sudbury and Lincoln and back.

The Concord Carlisle route is about 13 miles and requires about 50-55 minutes, up Monument Street to Carlisle Center, and down Lowell Road. There's only one hill right around Punkatasett Hill at the start of Monument St, with a few smaller hilly sections during the remainder of the route. Monument St has many horse farms and very little traffic, and its really ideal so sometimes I just turn around in Carlisle and return the same way because I love that road. Lowell Road is somewhat busy and cars travel about 40 mph there, but there's a wide shoulder.

The Concord Subury Lincoln route doesn't have bad traffic at all, passes by the Nashawtuc Country Club, and then through Great Meadows along Lincoln Rd. The Lincoln Rd section is absolutely beautiful with very little traffic, but moderately hilly. I especially enjoy a brief stop on Sherman Bridge over the Sudbury River in the middle of Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Crossing Rt 126 and turning south to pick up the other side of Lincoln Rd, the road turns to dirt for over a mile, but the wide farm fields make this segment a very bucolic ride. The loop joins traffic again in Lincoln after crossing Rt 117, past Codman Farms, and along Rt 126 past Walden Pond. This 16 mile loop requires about an hour and ten minutes.


Fun story on the challenges of bicycling around Concord

Casey Lyons, a staff writer at the Concord Journal, wrote a fun and wry essay in this week's edition on the many hazards and adventures of biking through the genteel neighboorhoods of Concord.

A Friday afternoon bike ride around Concord

July 28: The article has been removed from the Concord Journal online edition, so I am copying the story from Google cache to here:


Movie Meme

Taking a clue from Leslee, here's my own take on the Movie Meme...

Total number of films I own on DVD and video:
Looking at the two bookshelves on either side of the living room TV, Id say there must be over 200 DVDs right there. This includes perhaps 100 movies from the states, and 50 foreign films including mostly Almodovar and Amenabar films, but theres the odd French films in there too including almost all of the Audrey Tautou films and an old favorite Betty Blue. The other 50 DVDs are of the educational variety such as the Carl Sagan series Cosmos, the PBS series on String Theory called The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, a whole bunch of Nova episodes, the 2001 PBS 6 hour series on Evolution, the 4 hour Ken Burns special on Lewis and Clark, several NASA/Space Travel type shows like Origins, and the Revolution OS flick which traces the development of Linux and includes curious interviews with Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, and of course Linus Torvalds. Among the VHS tapes, I still have my very first VHS purchase, Jeremiah Johnson, and my most recent VHS purchase, the Ernest Shackleton 6 part series starring Kenneth Brannigan(?).

Last film I bought:
Just this week the most recent addition to our DVD collection came in from Amazon... Northern Exposure, Season 3. This television series was a centerpiece to my twenties. The story as a whole further compelled me to travel to Alaska several times, although the filming was done in Roslyn, Washington outside Seattle where I had to stop and have a beer in The Brick,and I did manage to spend a couple days in Talkeetna, AK where the series was supposedly based on. Check out my photos. Only this past year has the NX series been available on DVD. Previously, while fearing that I would never obtain a video archive of the series, I bought a few key episodes that were available on VHS from independent vendors on Amazon. I paid $20-45 for individual episodes that I felt were most memorable, including "Northern Lights" from season 1 and "Thanksgiving" from series 3. The most inspiring character to me was Chris Stevens, the self-taught, quasi-hippi/biker from a wrecked home in West Virginia that elevated himself to the Cicelys poet laureate, DJ, lay philosopher. I remember frantically writing down and later researching all the literary fragments that were used by the Chris Stevens role. There was even a book published containing only the musings, quips, and quotes of Chris Stevens, : Chris in the Morning: Love, Life, and the Whole Karmic Enchilada. By season 5 the NX writers were jumping the shark, and as much as I loved the series I could hardly bring myself to watch with the new doctor and all. I missed the final episode Tranquility Base, which ended with the folky Our Town by Iris Dement, so I guess it will be a year or so before its available on DVD.


The Best of Concord Police Logs

I love reading the crazy things that happen around the sleepy town of Concord, as reported in the weeekly Police Logs from the Concord Journal. I've lived in a lot of places, some where most people wouldn't bat an eye if a carjacking were happening, but here in Concord the residents are easily spooked... Enjoy!

I'm proud to claim my own place in the town's log. Here's the what ended up in the newspaper when I was spotted taking pictures in the early morning hours:

    Sunday, Oct. 16 2005
  • At 1:23 a.m., officer on patrol reported a male subject on foot in the Milldam. Officer spoke with the individual, who was taking photos for a college course.

This blog entry will be updated with a selections taken from those logs.

    Week of June 12, 2006
  • At 11:45 a.m., a Simon Willard Road caller reported someone had dumped a bag of brush in her yard. (Why would someone call the police for this? Just pick up the bag and put it in the trash!)
  • At 11:38 a.m., staff from a Sudbury Road country club asked for police assistance with a squirrel that was stuck on a roof. The fire department was dispatched.
  • At 6:13 a.m., emergency crews responded to reports of a smoldering bonfire at White Pond.
  • At 11:48 a.m., a cellular caller reported a motor vehicle versus deer accident on Shadyside Avenue. The deer left the scene.

    Week of June 5, 2006
  • At 7:58 p.m., police received a call about a trespassing bather and his children at White Pond. When confronted the bather apparently got agitated and used profanity.
  • At 8:35 p.m., a Lexington Road caller reported a loose horse and carriage heading down the street. The horse was wrangled by its owner.
  • At 10:31 a.m., a Peter Bulkeley Road caller reported a three-legged pit bull and a Welch corgi running through her yard.
  • At 1:04 p.m., a Manuel Drive caller reported a former friend had posted her picture on a Web site. The pictures were not obscene, the caller said, nor were they appreciated. Police told the caller to contact police in Shirley, where her former friend resides.
  • At 5:19 p.m., a guest at an Elm Street hotel reported she was concerned about the children in the room above her because they had stopped making noise. In an apparently unrelated incident, she also reported heavy set male walking in the hallway. Then she asked for a phone number for the CIA because the FBI had been rude to her.
  • At 7:42 p.m., a resident walked into the police station with her son to report someone had sent the son unwanted instant messages while he as on the computer.

    Week ending July 25, 2005
  • At 8:45 p.m., a College Road caller reported finding dog feces in her mailbox.
  • At 2:50 p.m., a caller reported a male drinking a beer in a vehicle at the West Concord Plaza.
  • At 2:59 p.m., a caller reported a couple engaged in a "public display of affection" on a bench near The Concord Depot.
  • At 5:58 p.m., a Shore Drive caller reported youths swimming in White Pond.
  • At 1:21 a.m., a Shore Drive caller reported people being loud in the area of White Pond. Police found no one at the beach and placed a pair of sneakers, two pairs of sandals, a cell phone, three shirts and a belt into property.
  • At 7:28 p.m., a caller reported two vehicles weaving in and out of traffic shooting water guns at each other. State Police responded


Commuting on Bicycle Again

Bike Route from Concord To Macromedia in Newton While I still love coming to work at Macromedia every day, now that I'm biking to work a few times a week again the best part of the day is now the bike ride home. I started last October, but soon the first snows fell and I had to hang up the bike. This April the temperature is back into the 60's and the last snow is a couple weeks behind.

The first 3 miles of the 13 mile trip home is largely uphill, but then as the roads grow smaller as I wind my way into the suburbs the ride flattens out and I can enjoy the sights and smells along the way.

Just past the train tracks on rt. 117 in Lincoln, I pass the Audubon Society's Drumlin Farm where cattle are grazing by the roadside. I love the smell of cow manure in the evening. I'm just that way.

Continuing through Lincoln I reach Codman Farm and the community gardens, and there I change from the pedaling on the sliver of road they call a shoulder to a flowing, country walkway with some fun hills that twist and curve under apple trees and along side sheep and wide open farm fields.

The country path continues along rt 126 where the nearby vernal pools are filled to the brink not just with fresh water but with a chorus of spring peepers. If I time it just right, I pass Walden Pond (satellite) just as the sun sets at the opposite end just before it passes through the distant pine trees.

I don't think listening to podcasts is great idea for bike riding on the roadside, but its a great way to review the days events, and I even wrote this blog entry in my head on the way today, now all that's left is the typing.

Concord Bookshop: A reading from local author Alan Lightman

A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit

Ten years have passed since I first met Alan Lightman when I heard him read from his second novel Good Benito at the Concord Public Library in 1995. I particularly enjoyed how Alan used highpitched, nasal tone when he read the part of Arnold Scalapino, a cantankerous old physicist that fell into recluse while living in Fells Point, in east Baltimore. I recall a shiver ran up my spine when Alan delineated familiar places in Fells Point like Aliceanna Street, The Horse You Came In On or the Cat's Eye Pub, as these places I knew very well since I had grown up in east Baltimore.

Once again, I had the pleasure of hearing him read, this time from his current book, A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit. A crowd had drawn this afternoon in the Concord Bookshop to listen to Alan read the first in a in this collection of essays.


Biking to Work

Bike Route from Concord To Macromedia in Newton Lincoln - Biking to work
Weston - Biking to work Biking Home at Night

Working the software industry for going on five years now, I've managed to become as active as a sloth, able to sit in one place for up to 10 or 12 hours while running on just coffee and snackfood. To help fight this downward spiral of deteriorating physical fitness, I've decided to start biking to work a few days a week, weather permitting.

Today was my first day biking to work and the weather was absolutely fantastic. It was a crisp fall morning in New England, with leaf littered roads and a trace of frost. I carefully mapped out what I believe is the shortest route between Concord Center and the Macromedia office in Newton near the Riverside T Station. In total, its 13 miles one way, and with the many little hills its a pretty good workout. The ride home was in the dark now that we are approaching the autumnal equinox and the shortest day in the year, and we haven't even turned the clocks back yet. Leaving at 6pm, it was already rather dim outside, and after the first 3 or 4 miles it was completely dark. I've got the bike equipped with two headlights -- one positioned as a high beam, the other low -- and two flashing tail lights. Traffic along the route was moderate and tolerable. I didn't really have any problems with vehicles passing too closely, and when crossing intersections its best to assert some authority by riding closer to the middle of the lane and using hand signals. I think drivers keep a little distance and respect you by doing this, and it doesn't hurt to have a bright yellow bike jacket!

After 26 miles round trip today, I'm pretty worn out. A few days rest and I'll do it all over again. Two pounds down and 38 more to go :-)

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