Monday, May 13, 2013

From the Cafe to the Trail

I had the afternoon off today.  So leaving work, I stopped by Sorelle Cafe near Boston's South Station to relax for a bit with an iced coffee, muffin, and the latest copy of Cyclist magazine.

If there's one thing that's almost as good as cycling, it's sitting in a pleasant coffee shop reading about cycling.

Looking through pictures from the cobbled-classic races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, I felt the urge to ride a different terrain myself.  So arriving home a short while later, I hopped on my bike and rode out to the Neponset River Trail.

I passed by the Granite Avenue drawbridge -- a tiny masterpiece from an earlier industrial age...

...and then onto a section of the trail that has been left unpaved.

It's not exactly cobblestones, but zipping over the dirt and gravel I could at least get the sense of flying over a less-than-ideal surface.  Because that's what it feels like: flying.  Keeping a light grip on the handlebars, it's as if the bike finds just the right way through the nooks and crannies of the dirt path.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To the Reservoir

My 40 mile Saturday early-morning ride took me through light rain...

...on Boston's bike lanes all the way to the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, near Boston College.

The sky sure looked beautiful, between short bursts of rain...

...and I passed by the awesome Waterworks Museum, which seemed fitting, considering the wet weather.

The Citgo sign over Kenmore Square greeted me on the way home....

...and I rode by the brownstones of the Back Bay...

...and made a side trip through South Boston.

A very cool adventure for a Saturday morning.

Monday, May 6, 2013

East Bay Bike Path

Around this time of the year, I begin to sense that one amazing ride will come along that will catapult me back into the cycling scene, putting the New England winter behind me once and for all.

Last weekend that ride finally arrived.  I rode the wonderful East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island:

Running 14 miles along old what are now near-hidden rail lines...

... from Providence ...

... to Bristol, Rhode Island ...

... the East Bay Bike Path is everything a great 21st-century bicycle path should be.  It's beautifully paved with a clear yellow line down the middle, has well marked road crossings (where every car I encountered patiently stopped to let cyclists pass), the scenery is beautiful and fascinating, and it's full of people on a warm spring afternoon.  Plus, the path winds its way through well-populated areas, which I love.  Unlike roads that often shape the landscape around them, bike paths gently meander between backyards, beside parks, along harborfronts, and through forests, making even the simplest sights seem quaint and lovely.

The "Bay" in "East Bay Bike Path" is the magnificent Narragansett Bay.  Running in a craggy southward line from Providence to the Atlantic Ocean, Narragansett Bay is a mix of rocky New England coastal scenery and the gigantic machinery of a busy port.

Driving in a car, you usually can't get too close to large tankers ships.  But on the Providence end of the bike path, huge tankers are just a couple hundred yards away.

This one is named "Alpine Mystery" and is registered to Hong Kong.  I'm not sure what the Alps have to do with Hong Kong, or even a seagoing vessel, but maybe that's where the "mystery" part comes in!  Anyway, being so close to a gigantic ship like this is pretty awesome.  You can even here the sound of its engines idling.

Another awesome feature of the East Bay Bicycle Path is the roar of the wind.  The bay's headwinds swooping in from the Atlantic were unbelievably strong, giving this otherwise flat bike path its own unique set of challenges.  But the great thing about battling a headwind on a linear path is that once you reach the end and turn around, that headwind becomes a tailwind, and it's pure cycling bliss the whole way home.

Some of my favorite sights on the ride were the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse...

 ...and little shops along the way, like Dell's Lemonade:

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon on a perfect bike path, under warm and sunny skies.  If that's not a sure sign that spring has arrived, then I don't know what is!