Next up on the schedule for the day was a nice easy mountain bike ride. We (I) decided to go and ride some stuff that we used to ride all the time back in the day (code for a wicked long time ago) but have not ridden in years. That would be the Middlesex Fells. The Fells was where I actually got hooked on mountain biking, shortly after I moved to MA back in the very early 90's. Later in the decade the Fells was where I first introduced Cathy to mountain biking and was in fact, the site of the very first social activity that we took part in separately, together; an group XC ski outing.
Lots of good memories of riding and maintaining the Fells through trail maintenance days. There was a point where I was super involved in the maintenance activity there for the local advocacy group. Alas, the controversy and user conflict coupled with moving further away sealed the fate on the relationship and I almost never return.
With that, I figured it would be good to head over for a change of scenery. And so we ventured from the house into the PR for a quick loop and then through various Lexington conservation lands to make the trip there. It is about 10 miles if you take a direct route which isn't too bad. On the way we took in the Whipple Hill conservation land and the rocky climb to the summit. Because the trees were full the views were muted. From there we pressed directly through Winchester and entered the Fells at the mid point of the western border. Our time in the Fells was not super long or involved. We poked around the west side and did a loop, taking in the tower at opposing ends and basically just enjoying the day, the nice weather and the time together.
From the Fells a little late lunch seemed a good idea and so we headed toward Somerville and the only place I know of that has secure valet parking for your bicycle, Redbones BBQ. It had been some time since we'd been in to Redbones; years in fact. We used to ride tandems with the Rob and Darcy, owners but hadn't caught up with them in quite some time. The trip over was fine save my taking a wrong turn and us having to backtrack. An order of fritters to start followed by a sliced brisket sandwich for me and fried catfish sandwich for Cathy along with a side of hand cut fries and a fresh PBR draft was perfect. One more PBR and we headed north on the bikeway for home. Did I mention that it is all (very slightly) uphill back home?
Amazing how a .25% grade and mild headwind can seem so very brutal with a belly full of beer and BBQ. Regardless, we made it the final dozen or so miles home, a little sleepy maybe and with acute cases of monkey butt going down. Damn you fashion sense but baggy shorts really are the devil.
The evening was finished off with the traditional birthday cake from Concord Teacakes in West Concord and black raspberry ice cream from Bedford Farms.
Great stuff and a very, very good day indeed. Thank you so much Cathy for allowing me to share your birthday with you.