Sunday, February 8, 2009
Past the Reaches of the T
Day 10 – 2/7/09
My first “long trip”…. comparatively. Living in the city with everything so close together and not having a car, it makes anything that is not accessible by the T (subway for you non Bostonians) just way to far to get to. I mean who would go anywhere where the T doesn’t go…right? A couple of years ago I had heard of this far off place that one of my professors used to live, this far off place was called Stoneham. It was a mystical land that I thought I would never venture near because; well it wasn’t in the 5-mile radius of the city. The mention of this mystical town came into my life recently when Lara Fox was visiting a friend, Ashley, there and I decide to go and visit. But wait, how could I, a lonely city folk, get way far out to Stoneham…a feakin bike! Looking at the map on Google, Stoneham did look pretty far and it was 2 times farther away than any bike ride I have done so far, so I prepped for a great adventure. I wore extra cloths, I packed food, and water, and I printed out directions (walking directions that I altered to make sure I wasn’t biking down a busy one way). And I set out…After taking the wrong turn in Cambridge and ending up at the alewife T stop (which is way to far east of where I was going) I had to sacrifice some time and energy to find my way back to the trail that I had originally planed on taking. Once on track it was smooth sailing. I was going to ride through Middlesex Fells Reservation, which looked like an enjoyable ride, and then I would get to hang out with some grand people. I was cruising along College ave. past tufts university then getting on Main st. in Medford which was a nice calming ride then…. I came to the turning point in my ride. To get to 28, which goes right through the reservation, I had to get through a ROTARY!!! (For those of you that don’t know what a rotary is, let me explain. It is a death trap, where cars drive very fast in a circle till they feel like getting off, then they cut through the two lanes of traffic and jet off in a direction that could or could not be the right one. Supposedly it helps the flow of traffic, but I see it as a minnie NASCAR track that people can enjoy on their way to work.) So this circle of death lay in front of me and I thought to my self “this cant be safe, there has to be another way around”. I asked a local (man in a pickup truck) and he said that the only way that he knew how to get to 28 was to get on the rotary… so I checked in with myself and took a deep breath, came to peace with the universe and started pedaling. I got to the rotary entrance and started pedaling faster to catch up to the speed that the cars were going. My senses were on high alert, I felt as though I could see every movement of every driver of every car, I pulled into the outer lane then signaled with my hand to move to the center lane, the cars coming up behind me were your average oversized SUV and of course the HUGE SEMI truck. This made me sooo calm… I just focused ahead of me and realized that I needed to get to the outside lane because my exit was next so I signaled again with my hands and shot out of the rotary like a freaking bullet onto 28. The whole experience was probably 45 seconds but HOLY CRAP it felt like an eternity to me. After that I stopped in front of this nice little pizza place and had to breathe for a bit. After making a call to Lara telling her that I am alive I pedaled on. The cool thing about riding on 28 is that no body else is on that road. I had a 2-lane road to my self and I got to admire the gorgeous land that surrounded me. I passed by the entrance to the actual reservation and am going to definitely come back and ride in there. When I was about 3/4th through the reservation where 28 crosses over highway 93, I had to stop and take a picture because it amazed me how this huge highway literally cuts through this amazing land, and the people on the road probably don’t get to look out and enjoy all the beauty of what they are bypassing. It made me sad and angry. I know that man and nature have not gotten along to well but to see this highway as a scar on this land affected me. I am sure that on my travels across the country I will run into this sort of example everywhere. And I know that without these highways the country would not be the free and open travel country that it is but man we could have made the highways more attractive couldn’t we? Getting to Stoneham was very nice. It was a beautiful little new England town. I wanted to look around some more but it was getting dark and I had a play date with Lara and Ashley.
Looking back on the ride, the most enjoyable parts where when I was in the middle of the reservation, I felt apart of something, the land (maybe)? I will be exploring this feeling in the future but until I have another day where I can venture off into he woods of Massachusetts, I will bike in my little cement world of Boston and try and stay connected with that bit of my world. At least now I know that there is more out there past where the T lines end.
TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 13 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 2 hr 25 min
TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 8 hrs 20 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 58.39 Miles