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  1. #1
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    Places near the Minuteman

    Hello to all - This is my first real post here, so I hear I'm suppose to give a brief introduction. I rode mountain bikes as a pretty religious weekend warrior (and often weekday) from 2000 to 2005 in New Jersey hitting up Ringwood often as well as most of the other North Jersey spots. I've recently moved to Somerville and am right on the Minuteman Bikepath. I've always been a drive to the trail and only ride on dirt and rocks guy, but being in such close proximity to the bikepath I've been trying to find interesting things near and off of it. So far the only legitimate trail I've found is in the Landlock forest which is a good 2 miles from the path (up Hartwell Ave. and beyond).
    I'm planning on biking up Winthrop St. in Somerville to The Middlesex Fells as I've read there is some interesting riding there.
    Is there anything else that anyone has discovered? Right off the Minuteman path, I've ducked into the Arlington Great Meadows but it doesn't seem like there is enough trail in there to be worthwhile. (I think I hit it all in 15 minutes unless I just kept making a bad turn)

    I used to visit mtbr.com several years ago when I was mountain biking and that's how I found out about the great trails in Jersey. I used to drive to them there, and I'm sure I'll end up doing the same here, but it would be kind of cool to find any little hidden gems around the Minuteman Bikepath, so any pointers would be much appreciated.

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    I've been trying to find the answer to this question too. I recently did a post on the trail from Beford to Concord. There appears to be some singletrack off of this, but I haven't had time to check it out. Also, it looks like the Bay Circuit Trail is accessible from this Minuteman offshoot. You'll notice the BCT signs on the trail, but it branches off somewhere before Concord. Again, I have yet to discover where it branches off. The BCT should get you all the way to Great Brook Farm.

    If you go to my website (in my profile) there are maps and links to information on the BCT. Good luck!

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    The Battle Road Trail in Lexington is an interesting dirt road and just off the Minuteman. For real "mountain biking" though, the Fells (which are in the opposite direction) are the only things close.

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    Ah, I think I saw that dirt road today on my trip down the minuteman just after the strange sign that shows crabs and jelly fish... Sounds like a good trip to take girlfriend on who is just getting into biking off road.

    I'm planning on riding to the fells tomorrow since it's a few miles from my front door. Seems like it's a decent spot from what I've read/heard. Having a cool place I can ride to from where I live will definitely be huge.

  5. #5
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    There is plenty of riding you can get to off the Minuteman. Check out google maps and figure out how to link together the green spaces - you'll see that there are a lot of these in the area.

    The trick is to plan your entry and exit from each that maximizes the off road route and keeps you on quiet side roads. I routinely do 50+ mile rides right out of the house, for example out to Russell Mill and back or out to Lynn Woods and back. I've also taken the commuter rail out of town and connected on trails all the way back home. There are a lot of possibilities. Have fun.

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    Tom, any chance you use everytrail or some other route recording tool? I'm riding and looking every day but I have to get to Bedford before anything remotely interesting pops up and even there it's a few miles on pretty straight dirt paths before any mountain trails present themselves. I don't mind the mellow trails, and they're especially good now as I'm reacquainting myself with riding as well as introducing my girlfriend to it, so any and all technical levels are going to work well. Just tired of that 11 miles of pavement to get there.

    Yesterday I made it Walden pond via the Bay Circuit Trail and it had some interesting sections and I find one nice flowing stretch of single track on a blue trail in the Walden Woods that was fun, but short...

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    If you don't mind some riding in Boston, you can make it through the Jamaicaway to the Arboretum, to Stony Brook to Blue Hills. There are trails there, although that would be about 15 miles to get there, and if you're willing to ride that far, you might be better off heading to Lynn Woods.

    You could also go all the way up the Minuteman to Great Brook Farm: http://www.nemba.org/ridingzone/p_Great_Brook.html

    That's not much further than Walden Pond is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danhasdrums View Post

    Yesterday I made it Walden pond via the Bay Circuit Trail and it had some interesting sections and I find one nice flowing stretch of single track on a blue trail in the Walden Woods that was fun, but short...

    Where does the BCT go once you get to Lowell Road in Concord (when coming from Bedford)? GoogleEarth seems to indicate that the Reformatory Branch Trail is on-street into the center of Concord. Once you get to the middle of Concord I can't seem to figure out where it goes. (Or if the BCT branches off at some point before the Lowell Street crossing)

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    Where does the BCT go once you get to Lowell Road in Concord (when coming from Bedford)? GoogleEarth seems to indicate that the Reformatory Branch Trail is on-street into the center of Concord. Once you get to the middle of Concord I can't seem to figure out where it goes. (Or if the BCT branches off at some point before the Lowell Street crossing)
    It's a road section down the Cambridge Turnpike. Keep an eye out on the right - there's a crosswalk and at that point the trail enters the woods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Tom) View Post
    It's a road section down the Cambridge Turnpike. Keep an eye out on the right - there's a crosswalk and at that point the trail enters the woods.
    This is correct... You have to ride the road for a little while to get back int he woods. Here's a link to my trip which you can see where to get in there: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1195970

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    Thanks for posting that map. I think I can see the crosswalk in question on the satellite view.

    As an aside, I rode out to the end of the Narrow Gauge last night and checked out the trails around Fawn Lake and the Wilderness Park. The trails in Wilderness were pretty crisp (not alot of traffic), but there's some nice singletrack in there. It is all pretty well dried out now, although earlier in the season it looks like it gets boggy.

    Has anyone ridden in the York area?

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    Thanks for posting that map. I think I can see the crosswalk in question on the satellite view.

    As an aside, I rode out to the end of the Narrow Gauge last night and checked out the trails around Fawn Lake and the Wilderness Park. The trails in Wilderness were pretty crisp (not alot of traffic), but there's some nice singletrack in there. It is all pretty well dried out now, although earlier in the season it looks like it gets boggy.

    Has anyone ridden in the York area?
    Being new to the area, I have no idea what/where any of those places are...
    But... A quick internet search led me to realizing that Murray York and Fawn Lake are right off the Billerica rail trail leading out from Bedford. I've definitely gone by that are and explored a bit. I've explored a lot in those areas, but finding good flowing trails has been elusive, although I never crossed Springs Rd. into Wildnerness Park...

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    Quote Originally Posted by danhasdrums View Post
    Being new to the area, I have no idea what/where any of those places are...
    But... A quick internet search led me to realizing that Murray York and Fawn Lake are right off the Billerica rail trail leading out from Bedford. I've definitely gone by that are and explored a bit. I've explored a lot in those areas, but finding good flowing trails has been elusive, although I never crossed Springs Rd. into Wildnerness Park...
    If you want to keep going to more trails get back on the NG rail trail and follow it all the way to the end. There will be some residents only signs but I believe they apply to the person's driveway at the end of the road, not the rail trail right of way.

    Follow the RT into the industrial park. You want to cross Concord road to Randlett lane. Ride downhill on Randlett, eventually the pavement will end and it will turn into a trail.

    Take a right on Rt 4. Cross the bridge and take your first left and follow it straight to the Greenough land. You can loop in here. There are trails that connect to Brook street.

    From there take East Riding drive to to East street where you can enter Great Brook state park. Alternatively you can take a left on Tophet off E. Riding drive. That will end in a trail, there is one road crossing and you will come out at Kimballs on RT 225.

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    I'll check some of that out today. I'm in Somerville in Davis Square, so it looks like I'm either facing an 11 mile ride to get to these sparse trails that begin in Bedford, or I'm taking a 3 mile ride to the Fells. Still not bad since I used to live in Manhattan, or across the river in NJ for most of my adult life where I was always looking at 45 minute car ride to get anywhere remotely interesting.

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    Thanks Tom for posting that bit about how to get from the end of the RT to Great Brook Farm. I've been out to the "Residents Only" sign, but hadn't ventured past. Nice to know there is more singletrack beyond.

    Getting mileage isn't a bad idea to improve your mountain biking. I had read this somewhere, but didn't really believe it until this year when I've been putting alot of Minuteman miles in and really noticed a difference on my trips to more technical parks. I use a quasi hybrid for my night ride: basically an old mountain bike frame with smoother tires. This has worked well.

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    Whipple Hill

    No one has mentioned Whipple Hill. It's like a mini Fells but more pristine.

    On the Minuteman in Arlington Heights @ Trader Joe's go North over baseball field, around the reservoir and there's a trail head @ the intersection of Summer and Lowell St. There's other entrances to the East also.

    M A P

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    I'll definitely check out Whipple Hill. I ended up going to the Battle Road Trail which was pretty boring, but a good place to take my girlfriend since she's new to the sport. I ventured off by accident into some trails I wasn't supposed to be on that were okay, but I'm still looking to modify this loop.
    Here's a link to what I did today:
    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1200334

    The riding around Fairyland Pond/Hapgood Wright Forest was definitely the most interesting and fun. I also enjoy darting off the minuteman into Arlington Great Meadows as well as Parker Meadow on my way out to Bedford to break up the monotony of all that pavement.

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    I live in Arlington Heights and had never heard of Whipple Hill as having mountain biking trails. I can't wait to go check it out. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    I live in Arlington Heights and had never heard of Whipple Hill as having mountain biking trails. I can't wait to go check it out. Thanks!
    Hey, I'm in Arlington also. Do you know if that strip of land across Mystic Lake is private or public?
    MAP LINK.
    If I could go across there, I could be in the Fells in 10 minutes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    I live in Arlington Heights and had never heard of Whipple Hill as having mountain biking trails. I can't wait to go check it out. Thanks!
    If you're in the heights check out Sutherland woods too. It's very small but will get you over to the trails in Belmont and the Western Greenway and conservation land in Lexington. There are trails behind the Bowman School and you can link that to Hayden Woods. The best way into the Western greenway is the trail off the watertower. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=medfor...162&gl=us&z=14
    Climb to the top and there is a singletrack downhill which will enter into the DCR "lot 1" land. From here's it's possible to follow the WG into Waltham to storer conservation land and prospect hill park.

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    Thanks for all the information here! This is some great stuff and will thoroughly enhance my riding from Somerville.

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    Very familiar with Sutherland and the Western Greenway. I ride Belmont on most nights, and just discovered a way to get there by using back roads from my house. I wasn't aware of the trails around Bowman school though... more to check out!

    The Western Greenway is awesome given the fact that it is usually deserted and has miles of singletrack (all the way into Waltham center). It actually could use more traffic to keep the weeds in check.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    Very familiar with Sutherland and the Western Greenway. I ride Belmont on most nights, and just discovered a way to get there by using back roads from my house. I wasn't aware of the trails around Bowman school though... more to check out!

    The Western Greenway is awesome given the fact that it is usually deserted and has miles of singletrack (all the way into Waltham center). It actually could use more traffic to keep the weeds in check.
    If you can show me on a map where the Western Greenway is, I'll help with the weeds.

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    I'm still too new to post links, but if you go to my profile there is a link to my blog. Do a search on it for "Western Greenway" or "Belmont" and some posts with maps will come up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    I'm still too new to post links, but if you go to my profile there is a link to my blog. Do a search on it for "Western Greenway" or "Belmont" and some posts with maps will come up.
    Thanks, and I found the links. Now I just have to find the most mountainous way to get there from the minuteman... Eventually I should have a good loop. I explored Whipple Hill today but ended up hiking once I got to the top of the hill which seemed to consist of an enormous rock that I didn't want to ride down from... Maybe in my younger days I'd tackle that stuff, or be okay with crashing down it, but today I avoided blood.

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    Did this loop at the end of the Minuteman. I think I minimized road riding. All of it was pretty fun riding with the Davis corridor being a little under ridden for the first mile or two and could use some bike tires on it to smooth it out.

    From Bedford we went to the end of the Narrow Gauge RT (with an excursion into York Conservation area). Then per the suggestion here, went to the Industrial Area and found our way into the Greenough Forest area, to Great Brook, then through the Davis corridor to Concord and then up back to Bedford. A pretty fun loop and a good work out.

    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip....e4a828b6340048

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    I went to the Burlington Landlocked Forest this weekend, and it's a great trail system that's smooth and beginner friendly. No extreme climbs or drops, and incredibly root/rock free for the area.

    Pretty easy to get to off the Minuteman too: Map

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    Fireball- It looks like you can also get to the LL Forest from the Minuteman by taking Hartwell to Bedford Street, crossing over, then taking the power line trails behind the Boston Sports Club (Paint Mine/Simond's Brook Conservation Areas) This has less mileage on-street, but the tradeoff is the busy crossing at Bedford Street. I haven't ridden the trails through these two conservation areas, but given that the power lines run through them, and from what I've seen of Paint Mine on my trips to the LL Forest, I assume they are passable.

    dan- I can't wait to check out Davis Corridor. Thanks for posting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    dan- I can't wait to check out Davis Corridor. Thanks for posting!
    Good luck. It covers a very convenient span of earth but is not a very enjoyable ride. Bring bug spray as well because they are on steroids in there. There are a couple of logs that I'm pretty sure 99% of all riders would need to get off their bikes for that forces you to let the bugs catch up for a few seconds...
    The loop I did is overall enjoyable though and when I leave from where I love in Somerville, it will be a good 45 mile work out. Thinking of doing it tomorrow...

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    I rode around the Paint Mine this weekend while at the LL, it's definitely passable, although oddly enough, not by the power lines. There's one well marked trail that criss-crossed the power lines that takes maybe 10 minutes to get through, and is a great spot if you want to work on riding single-board bridges without any major consequences for getting it wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Tom) View Post
    If you're in the heights check out Sutherland woods too. It's very small but will get you over to the trails in Belmont and the Western Greenway and conservation land in Lexington. There are trails behind the Bowman School and you can link that to Hayden Woods. The best way into the Western greenway is the trail off the watertower. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=medfor...162&gl=us&z=14
    Climb to the top and there is a singletrack downhill which will enter into the DCR "lot 1" land. From here's it's possible to follow the WG into Waltham to storer conservation land and prospect hill park.
    Is that link correct? I went exploring today and am trying to find a more fluid way to the Greenway/Belmont trails. My GPS tracking wasn't working too well today, but this shows the road routes I took to get to the trails. Is there a better way?

    http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1218452
    Last edited by dirtdan; 08-01-2011 at 04:49 PM.

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    link is wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by danhasdrums View Post
    Is that link correct? I went exploring today and am trying to find a more fluid way to the Greenway/Belmont trails. My GPS tracking wasn't working too well today, but this shows the road routes I took to get to the trails. Is there a better way?
    That map link is in Medford.

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    Dan- If you're looking fro a less traffic-y way to Belmont than Winter St., try going east a little bit and cross under Route 2 at Dow Ave. You can wind through those neighborhoods all the way to the "Highland Meadow Cemetery" in Belmont where Greenway/Rock Meadow trails start. I believe there isn't any biking allowed in the Audubon Sanctuary, otherwise I'd try to find a way through there.

    I rode out to the Landlocked Forest today via the Minuteman on that route I mentioned above. The "trail" is navigable starting from behind the Boston Sports Club all the way to the Paint Mine Conservation Area. There were a couple minor wet areas when you first start out, and some brushy spots (check for ticks!), but not that bad overall. Also, no kidding about the balance boards.

    I also found some new singletrack at LL Forest that I hadn't ever noticed before (runs parallel to the treeline). Very fast and flowy.

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    I put together a blog post with maps and photos of the route between the Minuteman and the Landlocked Forest in Burlington. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Nor'Easter Backcountry: Beyond the Minuteman: Landlocked Forest Unlocked

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    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    Fireball- It looks like you can also get to the LL Forest from the Minuteman by taking Hartwell to Bedford Street, crossing over, then taking the power line trails behind the Boston Sports Club (Paint Mine/Simond's Brook Conservation Areas) This has less mileage on-street, but the tradeoff is the busy crossing at Bedford Street. I haven't ridden the trails through these two conservation areas, but given that the power lines run through them, and from what I've seen of Paint Mine on my trips to the LL Forest, I assume they are passable.

    dan- I can't wait to check out Davis Corridor. Thanks for posting!
    "That trail out of the Boston Sports Club is barely passable. It's very grown over... I went in that way today, but came back using the street because it was such a pain in the arse.
    Here's the link to my trip:
    minuteman to landlocked forest - Mountain biking trip | EveryTrail

    As you can see, I took the road back. I'd love for that trail to get some use and packed down because the Landlocked forest is the nicest riding I've found close to the Minuteman...

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    It's not quite as direct, but here is how I get there from work:
    Land Locked Forest - Google Maps
    You'd take Wiggins Ave off of the Minuteman and follow it to where Bridge Street intersects with the industrial park on my route. Let me know if you need any better directions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    It's not quite as direct, but here is how I get there from work:
    Land Locked Forest - Google Maps
    You'd take Wiggins Ave off of the Minuteman and follow it to where Bridge Street intersects with the industrial park on my route. Let me know if you need any better directions.
    How are the trails from Wiggins into the Landlocked Forest? It looks like there's some pretty good distance in there. Since I come from the east, going to Wiggins would definitely add time and miles to my loop so it might be tough when I just need to sneak in a quick 2.5 hour ride, but if those trails leading in are fun, I'll add that to my longer days instead of going around the Landlocked Loop twice, or three times, or...

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    Not too techy, but better than ashalt or bushwacking if you go in by way of BSC. There are a couple trees down right now that make it less than fun, but I'm guessing those will be gone once the elves get loose this weekend.

    Not sure if you're aware of this, but if you have (edit) more than 2.5 hrs to ride: If you can get to Great Brook, you can get to Russel Mills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    Not too techy, but better than ashalt or bushwacking if you go in by way of BSC. There are a couple trees down right now that make it less than fun, but I'm guessing those will be gone once the elves get loose this weekend.

    Not sure if you're aware of this, but if you have (edit) more than 2.5 hrs to ride: If you can get to Great Brook, you can get to Russel Mills.
    Yeah, I've done that trip, but that's a plus 40 mile day for me from where I live and it's closer to 4 hours.

    Here's that loop for me:
    <h2><a href="http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1237596">minuteman greenough great brook</a></h2> <object width="400" height="300" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/swflash.cab"><param name="movie" value="http://www.everytrail.com/swf/widget.swf"/><param name="FlashVars" value="units=english&mode=0&key=ABQIAAAA_7wvFEi7gG ngCZrOfos63hSN1xyBy-BzBD--25ZLXpVi3GfbehTQlZCXdpUFII2A5CGeExVTCyX1ow&tripId= 1237596&startLat=42.3985878&startLon=-71.12589253&mapType=Hybrid&"><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.everytrail.com/swf/widget.swf" quality="high" width="400" height="300" FlashVars="units=english&mode=0&key=ABQIAAAA_7wvFE i7gGngCZrOfos63hSN1xyBy-BzBD--25ZLXpVi3GfbehTQlZCXdpUFII2A5CGeExVTCyX1ow&tripId= 1237596&startLat=42.3985878&startLon=-71.12589253&mapType=Hybrid&" play="true" quality="high" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer"></embed></object><br/>EveryTrail - Find the <a href="http://www.everytrail.com/best/hiking-cambridge-massachusetts">best Hiking near Cambridge, Massachusetts</a><script type="***************" src="http://www.everytrail.com/trip/widgetimpression?trip_id=1237596"></script>

  40. #40
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    Here's some info on Arlington's Great Meadow: another option off of the Minuteman (albeit a relatively small one).
    Nor'Easter Backcountry: Beyond the Minuteman: Arlington's Great Meadow

    Thanks Dan for posting that info on the run over to Great Brook Farm. I finally made that trip. The ice cream stand at GBF is a nice pit stop. I also rode Russell Mill for the first time last week. Wow. That place has some great flowy singletrack with well-planned technical challenges. I was really impressed.

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    Great Meadow < - > Whipple Hill

    Quote Originally Posted by noreasterbackcountry View Post
    Here's some info on Arlington's Great Meadow: another option off of the Minuteman (albeit a relatively small one).
    Nor'Easter Backcountry: Beyond the Minuteman: Arlington's Great Meadow
    .
    Hey,
    Thanks for posting that trail map thru Great Meadow. I'll check it out.

    It looks like you could link up Whipple Hill w/ Great Meadow by cutting thru the Lexington Christian Academy field to Bartlett ave.

    Oh, btw, we met @ Harold Parker last weekend. Rode it again today. So much singletrack.

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    Nice meeting you over at HP. I love that place, although that particular day the crew I was with had a rough go. We hit some freshly cut singletrack that I hadn't been on before, and it was pretty gnarly.... lots of twisty, steep, rocky, high penalty-for-failure stuff. Hard to get the flow going.

    I'll probably ride Belmont Monday night around 5:30 if you're interested in a tour.

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