Right on, ride on

Ceci n'est pas une vélo

Countdown to 30: Sculpture Park Loop

Posted by @teeheehee on May 10th, 2009

This weekend’s ride started on Saturday morning. I began it a bit later in the morning while I waited for some rain to pass and, as designed, the ride was shorter than last week’s. After the rain moved on it became a very nice day, and perhaps a bit too nice as I opted not to put on any sunscreen and now have somewhat reddened shoulders and arms to remind me to apply it in the future.

I chose a Minuteman Bikeway extension ride that went from the Bedford end and hit Walden Pond and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. I haven’t been to either location and have been wanting to visit each for the last few years. Added bonus: Hanscom Airforce Base – the first airport I’ve ridden to.

View 50 Mile Ride, Sculpture Park Loop in a larger map

The cloud cover provided some relief from the sun as did the partial tree coverage the entire route had in store for me. The temperature was fine, and it wasn’t even that windy out. Such nice riding conditions! Typically if the weather works against me I have to take more rest breaks to recover as much from external forces as from internal exhaustion, and because there was less outside stress I was able to focus more on my riding technique and stop more for enjoyment rather than recovery.

This ride also was the first with my new GPS logger. The model I chose was cheap and screen-less, it can only connect to other devices to provide real-time location using USB or bluetooth and, for me, will more generally be used in log mode for simply recording the path of a day’s ride. The data it records can be downloaded later (when working on my blog post) and used to automatically geotag all of my pictures and help me in constructing my little map of the ride. Before this ride I had done all this manually and the time it took to report on a ride was pretty much equivalent to the time spent on the ride itself. Unfortunately the data this logger outputs to isn’t very directly usable for my maps, so I had to do a little scripting and data munging to make it digestible by Google Maps. Now that I have a tool to convert the GPS log to a decent map I should be able to crank out ride reports much, much faster.

Very shortly after getting into Bedford my route took me on a hard-packed dirt path through a conservation area. The trail was not very well marked, but was navigable and quite serene. It is not often that I get to enjoy some off-road conditions, and these were very mild as far as that goes, but some of it reminded me of the trails in the woods I used to ride back home when I was growing up. Just like paths back home there was the occasional rock or root to maneuver around, and the ample tree coverage gave me the sensation of security that comes with being reminded of something from your youth. Towards the end there was a series of little ups-and-downs that made it feel like I was riding on waves, which I loved. This little path was a fantastic addition to the ride and I think I’m going to have to go back to it, and find any others if they exist.

Moving on through Bedford and into Concord I began making my way to Walden Pond. Although I have waited some years to visit Walden I did not end up spending much time there. In part I passed right on through because I’d like to go there for a day trip all unto itself, and partly because I had in mind that I would be hitting the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park shortly thereafter and I had more interest in racking up time looking at some artwork.

Between Walden Pond and the DeCordova I rode past the Walter Gropius House. I guess I would know more about it if I had taken any architecture courses in college, but I instead went for computer science and so I have no idea who Gropius was or why his house will be open to the public starting on my birthday. Thoughts of a potential visit entertain themselves in my mind.

The DeCordova has sculptures in various parts of the lawn as well as a museum, store, and studio spaces. The museum was fairly modest but had in it some rather interesting works, none of which I ended up taking any pictures of. The really interesting work is all outside so that’s where my shutterbug behavior kicked in to full gear. I ate lunch at the cafe’s veranda looking over the nearby Flints Pond, then set about to look at the sculptures. I ended up spending a little more time there than expected, about two hours or so, but I also had to pay $12 admission and didn’t want to leave without making the most of the visit.

After the DeCordova it took me some time to get back into a decent rhythm, but eventually I was able to and before too long I was riding around the roads of Hanscom Field. This is the first airport I’ve ever ridden my bike to (I’m still trying to figure out how I can manage to get to Logan,) but what makes Hanscom particularly nice for riding to is that it serves General Aviation (GA) aircraft. This is to say that a lot of non-commercial flights take off and land at Hanscom, including privately owned aircraft. If I were to take lessons and become a pilot, and if I were to own a plane, it would probably be stored at Hanscom and that is where I would fly in to and out of. Maybe one day I will own my very own Daedalus.

Once done finding my way out of Hanscom and back onto my route I hit the hard-packed dirt trail again and was on my way home via the Minuteman. It seemed like a short jaunt when all was done, with the exception of the two or so hours at the DeCordova. I guess this is a good thing, since next week I am due to double the mileage and *gasp* complete my first Century. Wish me luck!

Lots of pictures from this ride. I’m really pleased that the GPS data could be applied in the geotagging process – that saved me hours.

2 Responses to “Countdown to 30: Sculpture Park Loop”

  1. Right on, ride on » Blog Archive » Countdown to 30: Century: Monument St and Dover/Sherborn Loops Says:

    […] Countdown to 30: Sculpture Park Loop […]

  2. Right on, ride on » Blog Archive » Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Ride Says:

    […] ankle. Plans shifted from riding out to Concord, to starting a ride from Concord that might include Walden or the Sculpture Park, or even the Nagog Pond Loop (as I’ve been meaning to revisit it all summer.) But, when word […]

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