Monday, October 29, 2012

Riders on the Storm

It was back in 1991, August 19th to be exact.
I was at International Bicycle n Allston,Ma at the time. I got the word that the store would be closing early that day because of Hurricane Bob.
Shortly after the announcement, I got a call from my friend Bob Barton.
"Want to go for a ride?"
He wasn't kidding. We were going to meet Rick Corimer and head out to Dover for a Mountain Bike Ride. "Great! Count me in!"
We drove and picked up food for after the ride, and arrived at the edge of the woods as the wind was really starting to blow. The sound of trees breaking was everywhere. It was August and all the trees had all the leaves still on.
I will always remember the super strong gusts of wind through the leafed tree tops and the huge smiles it caused. Then there would be a eery calm as if nothing was happening at all. It would start to blow and get louder and louder and still louder. Cracking and the wind sounded more like a jet engine. In the shelter of the trees most of the time, it wasn't as hard to ride as one might think. Warm and wet, we did the trails we normally rode on. Topping the rock topped peaks to take a look was only done for a moment. Out in the open, it was hard to stand up. There wasn't much to see anyway.
After covering most of what we then knew as "Peabody's Woods" we crossed town on pavement to Snow Hill and the fire tower. The storm never stopped over the course of our ride.
Coming out to the street, there were branches down everywhere. Absolutely no cars.
We got to the edge of the woods and came across a dog walker. The dog didn't seem to notice the storm, but the owner, wide eyed did. He asked, "Are you guys going to the tower?" We had never been to Snow Hill without going to the tower, so the answer was "yes." I could tell by the look in his eyes that he would have traded the dog for that afternoon for a Mountain Bike just to join us.

Rain always looks worse from inside and behind glass but today, from inside, you couldn't see out.
Riding in the wind was not bad. Again being sheltered by the trees but coming out in the open, the wind was stronger then it had been all afternoon. The top of the hill is only 450' above sea level but winds of 140 mph were measured on top of Great Blue Hill in Milton that day only 8 miles away.
Hiding the bikes from the wind in the bushes, we topped the Snow Hill on foot and got to the base of the tower.
"Its Open!" Bob yelled at the top of his lungs, holding on tight to the angle iron structure.
Step by step we climbed in the gusting wind. Above the trees to what looked like a ocean of movement. Cracking everywhere, the tower swayed and the guide wires sang. Step by step holding on like never before. We stayed together that day, Rick, Bob and I and made it to the top together and into the shelter of the towers top.

Wiping his hands and face, Bob pulled from his backpack 3 ice cold bottles of Becks Beer.

The bottles were popped open and the toast was made to a ride we would never forget.

We made it out of the woods that day without problem. I remember getting back to the house and the difference of being in.
We all spent the afternoon occasionally looking out the window. I will remember the feeling of missing being outdoors and the excitement of the storm. It was the same with all of us. The storm had changed us as a group. We knew we had done it but at the same time knew we would never be able to explain to riders who had stayed inside that day of its true excitement of what would have normally be a short and simple ride with Bob.

Climb up the Snow Hill Tower on this sunny winter day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Echo Bridge

Tots never rides without his trumpet. Here is a little bit he did for BOSRUG when I told him about the famous echo at Echo Bridge in Newton Upper Falls. Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Time to Enjoy the Color

There is still time to get out and enjoy the color of New England. Beautiful Indian Summer days are here and time on the bike is well worth spent.
Take the time to go out and get a little lost. Find a new place and call it yours.

This beautiful Raleigh Dawn Tourist is the perfect bike for today. Everything you would ever need for the perfect ride through New England's lanes and countryside. Heads up and happy.

I hope you get a chance to get out today!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Blackstone River Bikeway

The Blackstone River Bikeway is another great get a way close to Boston. A favorite for years, the trail follows the Blackstone River Canal from Woonsocket to Central Falls in Cumberland.

The actual bicycle trail is only 10 miles long, but following well placed markers, you can make your way all the way to Providence.

As you ride along the canal, you pass old foundations of large mills that once got the power from the river. There is a cute, free museum at the Cumberland, Lincoln River crossing that has any and all information about the river, canal and surrounding towns.

The perfect spot for any type of wheel, The Blackstone River Bikeway is used by all. Crouds on the trail during the week are few and large sections are ridden without seeing a soul.

This is a must see. Riding to the trail can be done, but for a simple afternoon of riding and site seeing there is ample parking to unload your roadster for the perfect afternoon tour.

Click on the link above to see more about the trail and plans to extend it to Worcester.

We were happy to see that the trail had been extended to Woonsocket Center through a section high above the river. The return back had wonderful views of the shore and the high rock ledges the Blackstone River is known for.

We are looking forward to returning soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Locke Ober's

Locke-Ober Cafe was a true joy. Old world Boston. You were treated like royalty the moment you walk through the door.
The restaurant remained as it had for years. Ceiling to floor hand carved mahogany panels and Tiffany style stained glass windows. As you entered the restaurant you were faced with a Bronze sculpture called "Glori Victis" by French sculpture Marcus Jean Antonin Mercil, known as "Boston's most famous hat rack"
The most distinguishing characteristic of the dining room was 7 large silver Tureens with a system of pulleys and wires to lift the lids. Its said the heavy silver lids can be lifted with one finger.

Locke-Ober started as a small "cellar cafe" somewhere around 1870 by a fellow by the name of Louis Philippe Ober. After the "Great Fire" of 1872 the restaurant soon grew into a grander eating establishment at 4 Winter Place.
Louis Ober sold the Restaurant 25 years later to "Wood and Pollard" a wholesaler of liquor.
Two years later the owner of a restaurant at 2 Winter Place, next door, Frank Locke bought Ober's Restaurant Parisian. He had run a successful restaurant called "Frank's Wine Room" serving Wine, Liquor and Lunch. The location for the most part was a men's restaurant and closed to women except between the hours of 9:00-11:00 am for viewing only.
His ownership of Ober's was short lived. He passed away in April of 1894.
Two months after Frank Locke's death the restaurant was again purchased by Wood and Pollard. The two restraunts were combined.
The restraunt was then sold to Emil Camis where he combined not only the two menu's, but also the names. Locke-Ober. With the help of J.B.Bailhe' Head chef for "Ober's Restaurant Parisien",they ran a successful restaurant for 40 years.
Since then Locke-Ober has been owned by many different folks, All keeping the old world charm that had you feeling you have gone back in time.

Locke-Ober Closed its doors for good yesterday. Its sad to see it go. Its about time that the city of Boston should step in and save our dieing past. Places like this need to be preserved for generations to come. Possibly a school for young waiters to learn old world charm.
I will miss Locke-Ober

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New England at its Best

Fall seems to be every New Englanders favorite time of year. After the first frost when the temperature comes up over 70 degrees is when things get nice. Indian Summer is best enjoyed outdoors, and if lucky on a calm day like yesterday.
Taking the time to get out and view the Fall colors in a spot free from the hustle and bustle of city life has you in short order realizing exactly why we love living here.

The Nashoba Vally Winery is the perfect place to be on a warm fall day.

Its huge parking lot has ample space to start the perfect Fall ride. Explore the area south to Clinton and the Wachusett Reservoir. Bolton, Boylston and Berlin have roads the time has forgotten. Great hill climbs that will have you thinking that 3 speeds just are not enough and downhills that will have you remembering why we love our roadsters so much.

Stop at the Flat Penny Bar and Grill in Boylston for a Shipyard Pumpkin Ale. Served the way you like it, this cute spot has all the charm of English Pub and the best Sea Food in the area.

Passing through Clinton Center, don't forget to stop at The Oldtimers.

Round the corner back to the car and the winery for a picnic set in a world class spot.

Week day bicycle touring is the best to beat the crowds. This is very popular amongst the "Leaf Peepers", but can be enjoyed during any Indian Summer day!

This simple little tour can be enjoyed on any style bicycle but best on a Roadster, head up with full view. Figure the loop is only about 17 miles. With stops, around 3 hours.

What a great way to spend an afternoon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Getting Ready for Winter

Here we go again! Winter. Even the sound of it has you looking for your sweater. A cold and wet day like this makes it easy to imagine.
When the snow falls and the road salt gets spread, its not time to stop riding, its just time to stop riding your nice bikes.
Damage from road salt creeps up on you. You won't notice it at first, but it can ruin any bicycle over time.
Here's what I do. I never take anything collectable out on wet salty streets. Cold dry surfaces can be OK but still require washing the bike afterwards. I have been told that road salt has little effect on steel if kept below 32 degrees. I'm not so sure about that but if the bike is kept in your garage or a cold spot out of the weather, then maybe you can delay cleaning the bike for a day or two. If you are caught out on your nice bike during an event or special occasion, pour warm water over the effected areas to rinse off the salt. You may not see it, but assume its there.
The best solution to a messy subject is to get another bicycle. We are lucky here in New England to have many bikes to choose from. Dump picks and Craig s List offer cheap a solution to taking out your prize British Roadster.
Start looking now and get your "Ride" set for the cold and salty winter months ahead. It will be here sooner then you think!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Nice to be back in New England

Fall Champagne Toast on the Foot Bridge on the Charles

A Little France in Framingham

Framingham is not known for its European style. If anything is more work a day world that has its feet planted firmly right here in the USA.

But if you get around, you might find this little bit of farm heaven tn the North West corner of the town. Near Nobscot and the Wayside Inn in South Sudbury, there is a little dairy farm that has all the color and background of any French or Swiss village.
I have passed it for years admiring the stucco silos with their conical tops. I always thought that it was like out of a storybook.

Eastleigh Farm is just that, Story book. Ice cream raw milk and cheese. Farm made butter. fresh eggs and cream. All the goodness you would expect in an European village dairy. Just wonderful!

Go to their farm or go to their web site. This is a real gem run by folk with huge hearts.

A short distance from Boston, A wonderful day trip that will have you feeling like you have stepped back in time.

While in the neighborhood, stop by the Wayside Inn. Lunch is wonderful or just for tea in the "Tap Room."