Leaf Peeping

Distance: 31.7 miles

Time: 1:53:45

Avg. speed: 16.73 mph

Weather: 33-57º

September mileage total: 452 miles


Easy paced ride with Smudger and Ian from Stow, up into Harvard, through Littleton and Acton then back. We started at 7 a.m. and the weather was as cold as I've ever ridden in, but I was bundled up nicely, wearing full-fingered gloves, bib tights a nice eBay wool bike hat with the top layer being one of the new MRC Wool Jerseys. Ian, on the left, is wearing his with an MRC wind vest over the top.


We poked along, chatting and admiring the scenery–a nice change from having to mind the wheel in front of you or dodging cars/pot holes, etc. and made our way up Stow Road, right on Slough and then left back down Woodchuck into Harvard center. I expected to feel some windburn as we sped down the hill, but didn't.

Through Harvard center and up to the top of Prospect Hill, near the Fruitlands Museum where we were treated to this view, looking west:



This was about the point when I realized that I had my Canon G10's ISO set to 800. Oops. You'll notice the excessive noise on Ian's jersey (now fullly visible with his wind vest off).

We wound our way up Poor Farm Road which turns into Pinnacle and keeps going up. How nice it was to enjoy the climb as we went up instead of gasping for breath like I usually do on long climbs.

At the summit, Smudger was calling his dad to arrange a rendezvous for coffee in West Acton as Ian led me down a side street to a decommissioned observatory owned by Harvard University. I'd rode past this place dozens of times and had no idea it was there.

The Oak Ridge Observatory, in Harvard, Massachusetts, formerly operated the largest optical telescope east of Texas in the U.S. Owned by Harvard University, it was operated by Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) until August 19, 2005.

There used to be a radio telescope there as well, used in Project Beta, to search for extraterrestrial intelligence. It's a shame it's not still in use, Ian said due to excessive light polluition. Cool location nonetheless.


We ambled down the north east side of Harvard into Littleton and then turned east towards Acton.





When we got to West Acton, John's dad had rode out to meet us at a nice little café called Little Sweet Bites, where he treated us to coffee and croissants. Such a nice man, courteous and kind, easy to get to know. I hope I am still able to get on a bike and pedal around when I am his age!


I made it back home before 10 a.m., just in time to pull two air conditioners out of their windows and mothball them for the winter.

View the whole set of photos from this morning here.

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