Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What I did this weekend: Part 2

Yesterday I spent time talking about my Friday and Saturday. Today's post is about my Sunday fun in the sun from the back of a bike.

We have laundry machines in our building, and one of my weekly errands is to get the quarters we need to do the laundry. Normally, I do that when we get groceries; but the sun and this particular errand gave me a good excuse to get out on the bike.

Whats great about where we live is that there's so many interesting things going on. The 400 lb. gorilla in the room neighborhood is of course Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The grocery stores we visit most are in the Fenway neighborhood, so I headed out in that direction. I figured I could use the trip to get quarters to determine if I was dressed appropriately for the weather. Plus, I promised the professional photographers that follow my blog (all 2 of them) that I'd take some pictures of Boston while I was out. (note: this was all done with just my 5 megapixel camera phone; I'm all about the high quality equipment).

After I got the quarters I decided I was warmly enough dressed, and figured I'd get some photos of Fenway on the way back over to the river.

The Sox have yet to retire my number
I wasn't the only one out enjoying the sun; I saw a group of bikers with their oriental road machines who went out for a ride and a motorcycle show broke out.

These bicycles are really loud and look too heavy to pedal up hills
It's amazing to me how diverse these neighborhoods are. Literally right across the street from the motorcycle guys (and their requisite biker groupie), there was a woman painting a portrait of a portion of Fenway Park from the outside.
No snarky comment here; this is 100% cool
A local artist, she's been capturing several different slivers of Fenway for a while. If I had to guess she was in her early 70's, but her hand moved crisply and based on just this one sample, her eyes are sharp. Her art is on display at the Fenway Studio along with the work of greater Boston area artists. I don't know what it will cost, but I'm definitely going to go see what her similar pieces run.

The roads and buildings around Fenway sort of cocoon around it, with the road we take the grocery parallel to the road running along the stadium behind the Green Monster. I took the opportunity on the bike to spin down that road and join the tourists taking pictures in this area.

What baseball stadium? All I see is a sexy blue bicycle
At this point, I'd done more exploring than riding, so it was time to stick my phone in my bag and get some real riding in. That means heading over to the Charles.

The only safe place to really get in a good hard ride is alone the Charles River. There is a trail connecting a series of parks for miles and miles along the river. It's completely beautiful, and on a slightly chilly day, not very busy. This allowed me to really open up in sections, and stretch the legs. I wound up doing several miles, stopping just once to get a shot of a university boat house. These big, awesome structures dot the river in spots, adding a distinctly New England feel to the beautiful well maintained nature areas on both banks. 

Boston University Boathouse, home of the doggie paddlers
As i rode my way up the path at darn near lightspeed 16 MPH, I realized while shifting gears my bike wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. I had to overshift, wait for the rear dérailleur to adjust, and then shift to the right gear, hoping it would stay where it's supposed to. 

As I've mentioned in the past, I can do plenty of the standard maintenance, but I am not very good with some of the more delicate adjustments. For all of the components involved in shifting, it usually comes to minute adjustments that I haven't quite mastered (even though there are the very non-technical barrel adjusters on each end of each cable to make easy changes). This meant stretching my ride a bit west to International Bicycle on Comm Ave in order to have them take a look. 

Yes, I was riding on the sidewalk for a minute. Shoot me.
International Bicycle Center is where I bought Rachelle's bicycle/wedding gift and I've been going there ever since for fairly cheap maintenance. They were kind enough to charge me a mere 12 dollars for a couple turns of a screwdriver and a couple minutes tinkering with barrel adjusters. They took my $10 and a couple dollars worth of laundry quarters, and off I went.

Home is basically downhill from IBC, so I did the last couple of miles at a nice pace, able to switch freely between the two gears I actually use most of the time. In the end I did a little over 8 miles, and all of this, including stoping for pictures and bike service took about an hour. Not a very hard workout for the most part, but sometimes you just want to get out and ride.

Attention thieves, our apartment is NOT the second window up


  1. Thanks for the pictures! I remember all those places around Fenway & the Boathouse from my visit there. Glad you had a great ride.

  2. Thanks Barb. I think I'm going to do this regularly. Pictures of Boston (and the other places we travel to train and race) throughout the summer. Theyre not as good as what you'd get but for me I was pretty happy!