Minuteman Bikeway- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Minuteman Bikeway

    So my girlfriend and I recently purchased bikes, and the first place we went, to get our legs back into it (neither had been on bikes since the early 2000's - myself, besides a one-day charity ride in 2005, hadn't ridden a bike since probably 1998), was the Minuteman Trail.

    My girlfriend has been a dancer since she was little, so she's got lungs, but doesn't really have bike legs, was on a 26", and I was on my 29" (so I did more coasting than anything).

    Anyways, our first ride was on Sunday the 18th, the beautiful day after St.Patrick's Day. Being one of the first great days, the trail was relatively busy, and it was my first taste of Minuteman. First, I had no idea that walkers used the trail, second, I had no idea that walkers, walking 3-abreast, shuffling along like Walking Dead walkers, used the trails.

    IT WAS MAYHEM. I'm trying to get a semi-decent workout in (although I am overweight, when I work out, I like to make it worthwhile - and the main reason I bought the bike - to get un-fat), while trying not to crash into my girlfriend in front of me. We're trying to be respectful to other bikers, letting them pass us, and trying to not crash into walkers. Then along comes the families. I'm not trying to sound like an a-hole, but the families should know their surroundings, and realize that the path probably isn't the best place for your daughter who can't ride her bike without serpentining all over BOTH sides of the trail.

    TO TOP IT OFF, while you're trying not to kill anyone on your bike, you have to watch out for Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis wanna-be's flying down the trail at Mach 3. Now I'm not b--ching about road bikers, as a lot of them were quite respectful of everyone on the trail, however there were some who were absolutely flying down the trail, and being complete d--ks to everyone. There's a difference between using the trail for fitness, and using it for a Time Trial between Bedford and Alewife when the trail is packed.

    We have enjoyed our rides despite so many different types of users in such a small space.

    I also look forward to branching out to other trails (paved and unpaved), so I don't get laughed at by all you guys, who are saying to yourselves, "who the hell rides Minuteman?"

    Thanks for listening, and "cool story bro."

  2. #2
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    Yeah, that trail is a mess. I used to work right next to the trail and would run on it during lunch. The people who walked abreast taking up both lanes upset me as much as the Mach 3 roadies. Here's a protip: The walking barricades are as afraid of getting clocked by the super fast roadies as you and I. I'd wait until I was right behind them and then shout "ON YOU [email protected]@" as if I was one of the roadies. They'd jump for the bushes as I jogged on past them.

    Otherwise, it's best to avoid unless you're using it during off hours. From Bedford to Concord the trail is dirt, so it doesn't get much traffic but would be fine for you on a mountain bike.

  3. #3
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    you have to remember though that the Minuteman is a *multi-use*, all abilities rail trail. Are there clueless, inconsiderate trail users of all modes of transport there? of course. can it be frustrating, hell yes. but, it gets a lot of people outside exercising which is great. if you have an expectation of it being a bike autobahn on a sunny day you're going to get ***** slapped back to reality right quick.

    expect mayhem between Arlington center and Lexington center on sunny weekend days. out past lexington it tends to thin out. go early morning for less traffic on it.

    sorry if I don't sound 100% sympathetic. we all need to be courteous of other trail users on whatever trail we are riding.

    ps. it is possible to string together a series of small pieces of singletrack near the minuteman if you wanted to detour off it and then back on to it to mix it up. or go someplace else like Great Brook maybe, if you want a nice mix of doubletrack and singletrack to get your legs back.

  4. #4
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    The Battle road trail from Lexington (P just West of 2A X 128) to Concord is IMHO a quieter place to walk or ride a bike than the Minuteman trail Zoo. I would leave the Minuteman to the elderly, parents with small kids and inline skaters.

  5. #5
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    No self respecting roadie ever rides the Minuteman. Mass Ave. between Arlington and Lexington is as biker friendly as any road you can find inside 128.

    That said... I am not a self-respecting roadie so I put in plenty of miles on the Minuteman last summer. Granted I did pretty much all of my riding after work when the crowds weren't too bad. You can jump off onto the trail into the Great Meadow for a quick break. I also found the Narrow Gauge rail trail in Bedford to be pretty quiet (as is the trail to Concord). There are even a couple small parks right along NG that have some fun singletrack if you sniff around.

    You should give Belmont and the Western Greenway a try for some pretty mellow singletrack. Much less traffic. And if you're looking to knock the dust off of the 29'er then hit up Whipple Hill in Lexington. It is pretty compact, but has some great technical challenges.

  6. #6
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    Nice to see others have appreciated all of the different people on the Minuteman.

    Thanks for the advice on the other trails around Minuteman, I plan to check them out, especially the trails near Bikeway Source into Concord, and the Battle Road.

    -David

  7. #7
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    What kind of bikes do you have? Hybrid, road ? At the end of the mm trail in bedford, it splits, go left about 50 yds and go behind the guard rail, 4 miles of smooth flat dirt to concord center. If you go right at the end of the mm trail, you will find a crushed stone trail that goes up toward Billerica.

  8. #8
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    I bought a (cheap) pair of rims and hybrid tires and a roadie cassette, and I switch that out with my mountain rims/tires/cassette on my hardtail whenever I head out to ride the Minuteman.

    There's also singetrack off of the trail to Concord as well as the one out to Billerica.

    Nor'Easter Backcountry: Bedford Isn't The End of the Line: Part II (Taking a Right Turn)

    Nor'Easter Backcountry: Bedford Isn't The End of the Line

  9. #9
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    Are you new to Massachusetts? Most people walk the same way they ride which is the same way everyone drives which is of course without any thoughts about other people.
    noreaster has some great recommendations and I've ridden many of those trails with him. If you're up for an epic day, you can ride all the way up to Great Brook by continuing beyond Billerica...

  10. #10
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    The Blackstone Bikeway in RI has it right. They tell walkers to stay left and bikes to the right. Makes passing much easier because they can see you coming. The 10 mile section from Woosocket to Lincoln only has 4 road crossings and one is just the road to a bikeway parking lot and two are witin the last mile. So you could do an 18 mile ride with only two real road crossings.

    Also, a bell comes in handy.

  11. #11
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    That path is the "muscle beach" of the whole Boston region. A lot of unnecessary attitude. You will find mostly spandexed riders sporting this attitude. God forbid you slow them down.

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