Notes After 40 Miles

Apparently I can go on a 40 mile ride just several days after having gone on a 36 mile ride, with shorter (12 mile) rides in between. This gives me hope that I may be able to handle consecutive longer-mile days soon.

If I pace myself, I never get out of breath and experience only anaerobic (leg muscle) strain. Oddly, cycling reminds me of yoga and pilates in this regard, which I used to do in my twenties. I had never made that connection before.

I am absolutely fine without padded cycling shorts for 40 miles. But next time I will remember to pack warmer clothes, even if it's hot when I set off.

This one was surprising: Cycling long distance is more tiring for me with a partner than alone. The Co-Habitant and I seem to have different cycling rhythms. He may disagree with this, but my impression is that he starts out going as fast as he can, then slows down when he grows tired. I am the opposite: I start slow, then gradually gain energy and speed up as the ride progresses. Still, cycling together is of course more interesting.

Cycling to a beautiful and meaningful destination is highly motivating; the feeling of exploring holds my interest. I think I am ready for 50 miles. But where to?


  1. Stunning photos and your outfit is ******* amazing.

    I always thought that long rides were shorter with a partner. Maybe he should bring a heavier bike to slow him down?

    I would be very curious to hear what route you guys took, and maybe some comments about it.

  2. Thanks : ) The route was identical to this one, only 2 miles further down a woodsy (but kind of busy) road. Walden Pond was flooded, and all the historical sites that are usually open were closed. The trails were closed too. Plus there was a haze that afternoon that seriously diminished visibility. So all in all not the best day for a trip to Walden Pond, and I feel that describing it in this state would be unfair - but it was a nice ride none the less. Oh, and the market cafe on Main Street in Concord makes divine fish tacos.

  3. Your progress toward the touring goal is stunning! You've inspired me to tackle a longish ride I've been putting off. Thank you!

  4. Ahh Walden... a favorite destination of mine in the warmer months. Looks nice and (un)crowded.

  5. I've always loved the ride out to Walden Pond, though Trapelo road was pretty nasty last time i went. i've never seen the pond that high!!

    how'd the new handlebars work out?

    As for new destinations: I'm not sure where in Somerville you guys are, but without resorting to the Minuteman trail over-and-over, I'm not sure of the best way out of the city.

    One thing I learned from Charlotte over at Chic Cyclist was the idea of using the commuter rail to get a bit further out. Like take the train to Beverly and ride up to Gloucester and Rockport and finish up in Ipswich. this was you get a nice ride in without having to deal with Saugus or Lynn.

    They'd also do a ride to Newburyport, relax, go out to dinner, then take the train home. that's sounds wonderful!

    I live in Jamaica Plain, and there are tons of rides out to Dover and Needham which are awesome, but i always dislike having to end a ride coming through traffic. living in the city, there's no way to avoid it.

    Hope that helps a bit!


  6. Mike - I think it's the consistent short-distance cycling over the winter months that prepared me for this. You should try it!

    JPTwins - We did not go on Tapelo Rd. We went on Rt 62 West to Concord Center, then did a small loop past the center and back (just to see what the other edge of town is like), then down Walden Street straight to the pond. Walden St crosses Rt 2 just before the pond, but aside from this busy intersection it's a nice route.

    We live on the Somerville-Cambridge line off of BeaconSt., equal distances from Harvard Sq, Porter Sq, Inman Sq and Union Sq. We can get out of town on Mass Ave instead of the Minuteman Trail and I know that many cyclists do this. But my problem with Mass Ave. is not even the cars, but the fact that it is noisy, smells like exhaust, and super-sunny. I need shade and nature!

    We are considering the train idea, but it would have a different feel to it than doing everything by bicycle. I like feeling free and our own schedule. The train would change that at least to some extent.

  7. Agreed with the schedule, especially on the weekend when the trains run less often. Part of the reason i like the "train to the start and bike home" option. I plan on doing that to Plymouth sometime soon.

    i am also not a fan of doing casual rides on busy streets. i spend enough of my commute on a major thruway...

  8. congrats on the successful completion of longer and longer bike rides!

    "I like feeling free and our own schedule."

    ah, this is what i am jealous of.... if only had re-discovered cycling before kids, i'd be all over these weekly short tours!

    have you checked out to look for routes? it seems like a neat way to create fully annotated routes and share them with others.

  9. somervillain - I think it's not so much not having kids, as my unconventional work schedule that allows me to do this. I am on EU time, and usually have early am deadlines, after which it matters not a bit which hours of the day I spent working. When I go on rides, I am not gone all day - it's just a couple of hours. If I had kids, they'd be in school at certain times of the day anyway - and those would be the times I'd choose to cycle.

  10. If you only want to go by bicycle you will be pretty much confined to towns to the west of Boston. If you can bump your mileage up to 60, I think Lowell is ~35 miles by bike from our place in downtown Boston, making it somewhat closer for your round-trip. Go out to Concord, then north. There are some nice caf├ęs in Lowell these days, and a nascent art community. West and South will get you Wellesley and Dover which are nice but not as much of a feeling of 'destination'.
    We use the cue sheets from our randonneuring activities for touring, you can download them from the Boston Brevets website and modify your route as needed. The 200km route is our beginning for trips around the North Shore, as well as riding up to Hanover, NH; the 100km route gets you very much West, etc. Then improvise based on your own interests. As Microsoft used to say 'Where do you want to go today?'

  11. What a wonderful place to ride! And beautiful photography.
    I've discovered the same thing riding with other people. I start slow and get faster, but all my friends are the opposite. If I ride hard to keep up at the beginning of the ride, I get tired right away and never recover. Even drafting doesn't help enough, I'm faster overall staying at my own pace. Of course that's only a concern in certain situations, like a brevet, most other times it's nicer to have company.

  12. ( the kids will be in camp this summer from 9-4 a few days a week. I keep thinking about getting a job to whie away the time but perhaps I just need to take yet another summer off and do some touring. :-))

    looks like great fun and you describe cycling the way I see it- I rarely get out of breathe and usually only feel the leg strain, but otherwise with my type of cycling ( coast heavy and relaxed but moving when able) I feel I could cycle forever as long my body stays comfortable ( hand positions, bum, weather). Of course I've only done about 10 miles so far due to time contraints....

  13. Gorgeous. I really hope to work up to those kind of rides. Right now I am more a bike around town kinda girl. But someday, I am going to get out and really ride and explore.

  14. Impressive! I’m planning to go on longer rides myself, but I have to find the right saddle first. :(


  15. Looks like a great ride. I haven't really tried much riding outside of the city yet, but I have done probably 20 miles in a day inside the city, and I love just being out on my bike for a long period, and the exploring aspect really appeals to me too, so I might enjoy a long ride if I had the chance.

    That is, once I get my left cotter situation figured out :) Beginning to see why people moved away from cottered cranks: when they work well, they are great, but it can be a bit of an arcane science getting them fitted sometimes.

    Happy exploring!

  16. Congratulations to both of you.;)

  17. This is very inspiring :D I have been thinking about taking part in a 38 mile cycle ride for charity this May, but I don't think I am ready enough, although after reading your post I am more tickled by the idea! :D L xxx

  18. I bet you could do 50 now without too much drama. Another 50 the day after might be no fun though.

  19. Great cycling outfit! Functional and chic. I may have to borrow your idea ;)

  20. Me tired? Never. I slow down to let the hubs rest... :)

  21. I've used the yoga analogy a few times myself. I often feel that way on my bikes.

    I have good fortune of often riding with my sweets ~ we definitely each have our own pace, but he knows I'm slow and accepts that before committing to a ride with me. :) It brings out interesting self realizations...

    well done, getting out and enjoying it, that's what it's all about whether it is 5 or 50.

  22. Charlotte - Thanks for the advice; will start looking into these routes and making some plans.

    Ryan - I haven't mastered drafting either, partly because I am afraid to cycle too closely to another person's wheel.

    Vee - Summer camp sounds like fun... for you : )

    Zweiradler - Try a vintage leather saddle at a local shop? They are already broken in and can be amazingly comfortable. If buying new, look into a Brooks "aged" model - these have the same pre-broken-in quality.

    portlandize - I agree about cotters. Thankfully we have a local Cotter Expert and Supplier (somervillain) to ease the pain.

    naturallycyclingmanchester - What is the longest ride you have taken so far?

  23. Fantastic photos, especially the last two! The bike looks like it's walking (rolling?) on water. The Frenchy stripes are tres chic, plus the saddle shoes - now THAT is a touring outfit!

  24. my bf & i rode a tandem road bike from orange county to san francisco...Now my cycling-rhythm is very much his!

  25. Love the outfit - very spring-like!

    It's great that you're fit enough to do reasonably long rides a couple of times a week; I'm sure you'll be fit enough for multiday rides by summer. You have some wonderful places to choose from looking at the posts of places you've ridden to since you started the blog.

    I have the same trouble riding with my husband; our natural cycling speeds are different and it's easier for me to let him race off at his own pace and catch up later at some point or other and simply enjoy pedalling rather than be going insane trying to keep up. Solo rides can be an indulgent delight :-)

  26. To be fair, I'm never more than a hundred paces ahead. Any more and the tow line will get taut. :)

  27. You're getting there and looking really good doing it.


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