Monday, October 12, 2009

But Where Are the Cyclists?

It was a beautiful, warm October Sunday on the Charles river trail. But as I cycled serenely past the glowing foliage and the glistening water, I had a distinct feeling that something was missing...

Ah yes, the cyclists! Where are they? On a long weekend, the Charles River trail is usually swamped with cyclists of all shapes and sizes. But this weekend, it was comparatively empty.

Out of curiosity, I stopped by the side of the trail to count the number of cyclists riding past - and waited 5 minutes before these two rode by. A month ago, a random shot of the trail on a Sunday would probably capture a dozen or so cyclists passing through.

I did see this lovely cyclist on an orange cruiser with cream tires and a basket. She matched the leaves quite nicely! But for the most part, the trail was almost abandoned.

Can it really be that the recreational cycling season is already over? With temperatures in the low 60s, strings of sunny days, and the Autumn leaves nearing their peak, it seems that this should be prime cycling time - but apparently not. Or is there an alternative explanation, like everyone being away for the weekend? It was good to have the trail to myself for large stretches, but also a little sad to think that others are missing out on such beautiful days.

14 comments:

  1. It was probably the holiday weekend! There are fewer people out here in NYC, too, despite the gorgeous weather.

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  2. I considered this, but the trails are usually more, not less crowded on holiday weekends. Over Labor Day weekend this very same trail was packed.

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  3. i've noticed this on my daily commute into work, as well! normally there are 5-10 bikes piled up at the light in inman square. this morning, as the temps hovered in the mid 40s, i was alone as i waited for the light to turn green! i was surprised, since commuters generally stay out past the end of cycling season and into winter... i know i do!!!

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  4. Wait, are you saying that other cyclists stop at the red light?.. This doesn't happen so much with the cyclists I encounter in Somerville!

    BTW, today is Columbus day, so the commuters could have had a day off?

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  5. well, despite the stone's throw distance, it's cambridge, not somerville ;-).

    and yes, i do find that about half the cyclists that i encounter during my short commute stop and wait at red lights; the other half either treat the lights as stop signs, or ignore them altogether.

    you might have a good point about today being columbus day, lol!!! i failed to consider that in my observation. i will re-visit the data tomorrow and report back :-). (but honestly, i've still noticed fewer commuters over the past week or so, and i've noticed the bike cage at work hasn't been as full lately).

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  6. I'm just a bit envious of all that fall colour and the distinct lack of cold and snow. Around my neck o' th' woods, autumn lasted about 20 minutes. Last week was sub-zero temps, north winds and snow flurries. (it's minus 11C as I type this) *sigh* Autumn is my absolute favourite season and I have to say I am feeling a bit short changed this year :(

    On the plus side, I'm still seeing a lot of cyclists out & about. I even saw a family with young children bundled up and riding around the park this afternoon.

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  7. I'm interested to hear about what you and the other cycling ladies do for winter cycling gear. This is my first year as a winter cyclist and I am all about knitting myself a Zhivago-like cashmere hood and some flip-top mittens with suede padding. And a u-lock cover because the thing is foul looking and fugs up my Pashley something fierce. Loving the blog, KrKr in Brooklyn.

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  8. I actually quite enjoy winter riding, it's just arrived a wee bit too early this year,

    Have you considered studded tires? They're heavy and noisy, but they're like velcro when it comes to riding on ice. I have one MTB set up with studded tires and the grip on ice is quite impressive. More importantly though, the grip is predictable. There's different styles available ranging from mild to aggressive so chances are pretty good you could find one to suit your needs.

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  9. somervillain - You are right; in my head I tend to mis-classify Inman Square. I wonder whether cyclists automatically switch to "Somerville mode" when crossing the city line.

    Mr. CrankyPants - I love winter and much prefer the cold to the heat. But I haven't tried to cycle in the winter yet; this year will be the first time. I am not worried about the cold so much, but I admit that I am terrified of the bike slipping on ice while cycling in traffic.

    Anon - Ah, you need to visit Dottie at
    Let's Go Ride a Bike! She has braced a harsh Chicago winter with her heavy duty bike and lovely outfits.

    And if you find your U-Lock is ugly, I recommend this gorgeous leather "U-Lock cozy" from Open Bicycle.

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  10. Mr. CrankyPants - Oops, our comments seem to have gotten temporally tangled. I definitely plan to give studded tires a try this winter!

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  11. What beautiful autumn colour - and with those cooler temps it sounds just perfect for a long ride. Hmm...not sure about your winter though ;-). I'm not a summer person either but we don't get snow and ice where I live. The studded tyres sound like the way to go; with Eustacia Vye's stability you should have a safe cycling winter.

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  12. Well where I live it's a seaside resort town and a university town. By the time the summer tourists clear out (who by the way rent a lot of cruisers bikes) the students are back. Then of course count in all the hometown regulars. We also have mild CA winters so the number of bicyclists cycling around our fair community is fairly consistent :)

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  13. That sure looks deluxe. I'm about to lose my mind with the unwelcome extension of summer here in Florida.

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  14. Five minutes before seeing a cyclist on the trail is a long time, especially on such a nice day. Like you, I really don't understand where are they all are. Such a waste of good weather, but at least it gives us more space to roam.

    MrCrankyPants, your description of studded tires' grip as velcro is apt. A good way to explain it to people.

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