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Thread: I'm shipping up to Boston

  1. #1
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    Default I'm shipping up to Boston

    After 15 years in the DC area, I've recently accepted a new position in Cambridge and will be moving that way by the middle of March. I spent more time in the area during the interviews than I had my whole life prior, so I'm utterly at a loss as to what to expect, where to ride, who ought to roast my coffee, and who might fix my bike. I know many here hail from that way and I'd love to learn from all of you your favorite bits about the area and your recommendations for life's necessities. We're renting a place in Winchester for a while, but I'm happy to explore each and every place, neighborhood, and town recommended as we'll hope to settle down within a few years. I'd also love to go for a ride or meet for a cuppa if you're in the area and feeling social.

    Cheers!
    This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the bike.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    come visit in deep river

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    I think Firefly does a debriefing/re-orientation with every new bike order at time of move.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    come visit in deep river
    You can count on it.
    This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the bike.

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    It's funny, as I started reading OP my first thought was "I lived in Boston for 15 years, I'll have a lot of good ideas!"

    But then I realized two things:

    - my Boston years were all way back before I became an avid recreational cyclist. So, I could maybe tell you the best commuter routes to Back Bay from Somerville or Allston/Brighton, but where to ride for fun? No clue.

    ...and
    - Boston is such a dynamic city that apparently everything I remember about it -- the best neighborhoods, the best restaurants, the best place to get your Volkswagen repaired or your alto flute overhauled, the best time of day to ride the T, etc. -- that's all changed, three times over, since I last set foot in Beantown.

    So I got nuttin' ...except dem nostalgic feels. :) Enjoy your move, Cambridge is (or, uh, was) a fantastic place to live and work!

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    Winchester = Middlesex Fells, a great place to hike or mountain bike is right down the road, sort of.

    I don't live in Boston but visit either on vacation or business visits. I've taken the bike twice and didn't find the riding any worse than riding in or around the NYC 5 Boros which might not be saying much! I don't think it's a place you'd leave your bike unattended ever. Riding along the Charles River is nice. Anytime I'm in town I visit Casa Romero, down a dimly lit alley, for some delicious Mexican food. There's a strong donut culture, including Union Square Donuts that is accessible via bike. Belmont Wheelworks and Ride Studio Cafe (closed now I think) are two shops that stand out in my memory, the 1st because it had a separate room for tandems IIRC....but that was a few years ago.

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgorman View Post
    After 15 years in the DC area, I've recently accepted a new position in Cambridge and will be moving that way by the middle of March. I spent more time in the area during the interviews than I had my whole life prior, so I'm utterly at a loss as to what to expect, where to ride, who ought to roast my coffee, and who might fix my bike. I know many here hail from that way and I'd love to learn from all of you your favorite bits about the area and your recommendations for life's necessities. We're renting a place in Winchester for a while, but I'm happy to explore each and every place, neighborhood, and town recommended as we'll hope to settle down within a few years. I'd also love to go for a ride or meet for a cuppa if you're in the area and feeling social.

    Cheers!
    Lived/Worked in the Brookline/Boston area 2015-2021

    I have had work done at all of these shops:
    - Apex Velo (IMHO) is the best of what is around.
    - Belmont Wheelworks is fine.
    - Landry's is also fine (depending on the location)
    - Ride Studio Cafe/Ride Headquarters (unfortunately) is now a "Big Red Van" so I am not sure how much repair work they do. They are good for a new Seven Cycles (Rob V. owns Seven, Patria V. owns RSC/RHQ). I purchased my Seven Axiom SL from RSC.

    ** Like many LBS these days, Boston area shops have trouble finding and keeping good mechanics.
    *** All these shops (maintain lists of and) run good rides.

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    93n will be your escape route.
    Make sure you can navigate a car to it without too much traffic potential. Make sure you can figure out a road bike route from the dwelling that gets you outside the 128 belt easily.

    The best burritos in Winchester… are in Medford at Tenoch.

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    Mickey's quite right about the Fells. Horn Pond Reservation's right close in the other direction and has some fun trail. For road riding, I tended not to ride too much around Winchester and environs because it is all pretty built up around there. The best direction is toward Lexington and Concord. I know more about the western suburb riding so I'll talk about that:

    I lived right where Cambridge, Belmont and Watertown come together for 8 years, and then in Concord and Maynard for another 7. From Cambridge, particularly Harvard Square, the trade route out to the good riding was usually Brattle Street or Mt. Auburn Street, and then Belmont Street out to Waverly Square. Going out Mill Street and I think Smith Street and Trapelo gets you out to Cambridge Reservoir and Lincoln and Concord and Carlisle - there's a whole series of routes of different lengths out that way, the shortest being around the Cambridge Reservoir and back through Waltham. Prospect Hill Park is connected to that loop; it's one of the best climbs inside Rt. 128. RidewithGPS or similar should show you rides that go over Silver Hill Road, past Walden Pond, out to Great Brook State Park, out to Harvard (the town) - all the small roads out that way, and into Boxborough and Stow, are good riding, and you can put together good loops that don't involve much riding on heavily trafficked roads. That whole sector west-northwest of Cambridge is where I did most of my riding.

    Your commuter rail in Winchester is the Lowell line, which is kind of meh for riding. You can take your bike on the Fitchburg Line commuter Rail that goes through Porter Square, and that's a great way to get further out. If you take the train to Fitchburg, you get into very quiet and good riding really quickly. Mount Wachusett is a great destination.

    Wheelworks was always my shop; Belmont was closer for me, but Ace in Somerville is also very good. Still owned by John Allis, Peter Mooney, and Clint Paige, as far as I know. Ed Sassler does a lot of the fit stuff and he always did a great job with cleat position. Even after I moved back to Berkshire County I used to drive in and have him set up my cleats with the Fit Kit. Wheelworks used to have training rides on fixed gears all winter at 6:30 am. I did those for a couple of winters. Boy did my feet get cold. The shop probably still has a booklet of local loops - the Allis Loop is a classic https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37026427.

    As far as mountain biking, there's tolerable riding in Beaver Brook Reservation and connected land in Waltham. You can ride there from Cambridge. McLean Hospital used to have some beautiful trails in Olmstead-designed grounds, but they developed some of that so I don't know what is left or if it's legal. The old Metropolitan State Hospital has been redeveloped now, but it was always spooky riding around in there. As Mickey says, the Middlesex Fells are good and within riding distance. Lynn Woods is a little further. For me, the best local riding was in Leominster State Forest and at an area called Vietnam near Milford. Groton Town Forest had a super nice loop, too. I'm sure everything has evolved a lot since I left town, though. Hook up with NEMBA people. They'll know.

    I don't know if you are interested in paddling, but it's really fun around there. The Nashua, Concord, Sudbury, and Assabet rivers are all accessible and fun to paddle.

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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    Amazing - thank you everyone.
    This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the bike.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: I'm shipping up to Boston

    all the trails in Belmont/Maclean are all gone at this point.

    Just gotta mention.
    JRA Cycles in Medford is a great shop. Some of the happiest mechanics in the metro region.

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