Biking the Minuteman trail

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Sunday – 02SEP12

 

The Minuteman trail is a long bike path that runs from a bit past Hanscom Air Force Base in Lexington all the way into Cambridge, terminating at a new path that goes from Alewife into the heart of the city. I’d biked part of it once before, back in High school, but when Mike asked if I wanted to do the whole thing in a go… I jumped on the chance.

I haven’t gotten to do a solidly long bike ride since the Midnight Marathon weekend, where I churned out a solid 65+ miles over the course of 36 hours. It had been amazing, but left me sore for days on end… and between this lazy Sunday at that weekend, I had barely done any biking at all.

But I felt solid – Biking is one of my two biggest things (second to Rock Climbing, and a bit above backpacking), so there was no way I was going to let a wee little ride of twenty-something miles intimidate me.

But as we worked our way into the tenth mile… Yeah, I felt amazing actually. We’d been keeping a solid pace – not too fast, but not lazy either. Just slow enough that our headlights were able to keep the path in front of us safely lit. A downside of starting into the ride right as the sun was starting to set.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why we waited so long to start the actual ride… maybe it was lazy, or just slow-Sunday-syndrome, but either way we hadn’t actually left Davis Square until nearly 19:00. And so, our most useful piece of gear quickly became the headlights on our bikes – it was far too dark to ride unlit, and the moon wasn’t nearly full enough to light our path through the dense trees overhead.

But even without the moon, the night was perfect. If you talk to anyone in New England, they’ll say that they either love or hate the Winter/Summer… but everyone that I’ve met has agreed on the perfection of Autumn in New England. It’s a bit cold, but just warm enough that you want to be outside… and cold enough that a hot coffee really makes everything better. The skies are clear, and the nights have a crispness to them that just makes you feel alive – makes you feel like you need to go out and live. It’s amazing, and that starlit night was the perfect example.

But it was pitch black out.

So when my light died out, we knew we were in a bit of a pickle. Mike had his own, of course, but it’s surprisingly difficult to ride without your own light, especially when we’d usually take slightly different paths around the street crossings and overpasses. I stuck with Mike like glue though, and so we found ourselves back at a restaurant called the Yangzee River before too long.

We’d passed by it on our way outbound (we turned around a few miles into Concord) but right about now it looked perfect. The light beckoned us inside, to the warmth and the coffee and the massive buffet of food.

And it beckoned just in time too – we walked in right about 20:45, exactly 15min before they closed off the buffet and started closing down the kitchen. Technically they were open until 21:30 though, to fill delivery orders, so we were able to sit down and I started helping myself to a rather large helping of General Tso’s chicken and Mongolian Beef.

We stayed as late as was polite, leaving just after they officially closed for the night. The way back was taken a bit slower, thanks to the food in our bellies, and we stopped off for a bit to stretch out our new cramps at a small pond in Arlington called Spy Pond. It was amazing, and we briefly debated hauling in the Kayak for a bit of midnight-exploration, but decided against the thought – neither of us knew the legaleze for kayaking in a semi-public pond at midnight, and neither of us were really bored with our jobs enough to risk getting arrested just yet.

So, we powered home, through the moonless sky, into the heart of Cambridge.

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