Reflection, Reparation, Repentation, Rejuvination, and Recreation

Reflection, Reparation, Repentation, Rejuvination, and Recreation
My 2013 Transition TransAm 29

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Oh, Deeer!!

Now I don't give two shites about whether they want to hunt or not, but the 'surveying' is flawed.
I do know that most of the 'surveying' was done by local DCR rangers with little to no experience in counting deer populations. Yes DFW signed off on it and were there.  But three nights of approx 4-6 hours per night, to cover 7000 acres? No way. 
As many know, I've traveled the Blue Hills end-to-end many days and nights and I'm lucky to see one deer  each time. Once in awhile Ill see a pack of 8-10 but thats it. 
AND, I've only EVER seen ONE deer on BUCK Hill, and yes, it was a BUCK!
Like I said, I don't really care either way, but I'm SURE there are not 850 deer in the reservation.
I just don't appreciate being told that this is going on without full comment from and consideration of the public and THEIR NEEDS. What THE PUBLIC needs are COMMUNITY ACCESS TRAILS from Braintree and Quincy so people of those towns can ride mountainbikes through the no-no section over to the trails on the west of rte 28. The rules why the east side is prohibited are vague--anything from scared horse riders to endangered snakes to hikers who may want an experience untainted by an occasional friendly bike rider. OK thats it for now. Welcome back to MountainBikeChurch! :-)
Read on ( and please, read the whole plan when if you have time):

The following is an excerpt from

1.3 Deer Abundance Surveying in the Blue Hills
In early May of 2013, DCR worked collaboratively with DFW to conduct a white-tailed deer abundance survey in the Blue Hills Reservation at the request of the Friends of the Blue Hills. The goal of the survey was to estimate (using quantitative methods) the density of deer per square mile within the Reservation. Using distance sampling as a survey method, two crews of DFW and DCR staff gathered observations and data over the course of three nights for approximately four to six hours each night. The survey was conducted along a representative sample of available roads and trails within and around the Blue Hills Reservation and 14 survey routes (or transects) of similar lengths were identified. Both paved roads and dirt trails in areas considered deer habitat were used. As such, about 80 percent of the study area was forested and/or shrubland and considered to be deer habitat.
Following the physical collection of data, DFW staff performed statistical analyses of the information using several models and methods. Based upon the results of this analysis, DFW estimated (conservatively) that there are about 85 deer per square mile of deer habitat in the Blue Hills. It is important to reiterate that this density estimate is believed to be conservative and that the actual deer population density is likely higher.7 For additional details regarding the population survey and data analysis, readers are strongly encouraged to review DFW's technical report developed and published by David P. Stainbrook, DFW Deer and Moose Project Leader .8
Given the results of the population survey and the density estimates produced, it is very clear that deer densities in the Blue Hills are well above DFW's statewide deer management range of 6 to 18 deer per square mile of forest. In addition, DFW’s technical report also noted (citing Tilghman 1989,9 and Horsley, et al., 200310) that this density estimate for the Blue Hills exceeds the threshold density of 18 to 20 deer per square mile of forest where negative impacts become evident in northeastern forests. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Skinny Sunday morning

So I defected once again to the road bike. I know I know....BUT I did it to honor my friends doing the PMC this weekend, AND I needed to clear my head and lungs from the congestion, AND Chickatawbut was closed as it has been on summer sundays.....
I had a bit of fun chasing the few other road bikers I could find on what I call the Unquity Loop a few times  before going back up and over Chicky and back home.
Just kinda perplexed. I had three guys get by me, mainly when I had lost my focus for a few minutes. NONE of them gave any notice, nor did they respond when I said "Good Morning".....I did catch  two of them and proceeded to school them on riding the bumpy roads that they seemed to be afraid of...
The third got about 10 yards in front of me and decided to clear his nostrils. Mind you this was on a stretch of Chicky that was completely clear of anyone else including cars. He didn't get me but I just thought this was weird. Or is this behavior some kind of superiority thing. If so, I don't really care. I'm never going to defect, really.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The trail  lives up to it's name. So much FUN you'll be crying with JOY. Me and the motley crew one fine spring morning in April.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Just a morning thought.
As I walked up Buck yesterday, I met an older woman, walking down, not much older than me and we talked trail for a few minutes. She asked me about the trail and why we lost the old straight up trail to the top. I explained the reasons for the new and about the DCR's no-net gain trail policy. And that we designed the new trail for EVERYBODY, and that EVERYBODY is using it. I said yeah there were some riders who also lamented the loss, including myself, as much as I hated it, it was on that trail that I fell in love with mountain biking. She explained that it wasn't that she loved that trail, but that she has lung disease and that it was a quicker way from her neighborhood to walk to the top. She likes the new trail too. She was of a smaller stature but carrying a pack and I never would have known that she was weak.
So, I woke up thinking, if I came flying down around that big rock upon her walking up, she may not just be able to jump out of the way.
Just a morning thought.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

You got what stuck in where?

don't let this happen...
Some of you may remember my saga of last winter involving my seatpost getting stuck inside of the seattube of my cherished Redline D460. Not just any seatpost but my Cane Creek Thudbuster. It seems that maybe in my lust for my newfound love, my Transition TransAm 29er, I  was neglecting simple maintenance on the Redline ( I guess I should come up with pet names for my bikes, that would make typing easier, but I'd have to think too hard about that... Ok how about Tranny and RL...?)  Maybe I'll insert a link to that story but I'm sure you could find it to the right abit*.
Anyways, it must be that time of year again. The Thudbuster that I bought for the Tranny was stuck when I went to check it. Now, you understand, I do check my seatposts for this problem every 3-4 weeks. Yep, seatposts.. All of them. My prized Ted Wojcik ( ok, Teddy), my Gary Fisher HKll, Panasonic Mountain Cat from 1988, the wife's Miyata of the same vintage, and the Schwinn 3speed Speedster from my paperboy days. And various other bikes that may be lying around. I even encourage Stephen to check his Stolen Cherry ( yep thats the brand name ) BMX 'whip'....
NONE of them has EVER had an issue with a stuck seatpost.
So, imagine my horror when this happened again to the Tranny. Last year, I pulled and pulled and twisted and it finally broke free. This time, it wouldn't budge. Initially, that is. So I wrapped a cloth towel around the seattube just below the collar and gave the 'post some penetrating oil, and let it sit for a few hours.
Tried pulling, twisting, banging with a mallet, swearing at it. Nothing.

So I laid my Tranny down ( perverts! My bike! ) first with the drive side up, on the rubber mat surface that I have in my cave. Pedal and handlebar firmly planted, I stood up half-naked on the seattube and downtube in my bare feet, swearing abit, and twisted. Flipped my Tranny over and tried the drive side down, taking care not to have the derailleur touching the ground. Same position, twisting, hoping not to damage the seatpost or the rails, FINALLY!! Abit of a twist! Other side again, again, until I could twist it all around in there. Then I stood my Tranny up and got behind and PULLED and PULLED and PULLED and TWISTED  again, with enough back and forth motion, until finally it popped out.
After a quick cigarette and some quiet reflection, I began to wonder-- WHY, WHY, WHY?? ( just kidding--cigs are nasty, kids )
Examining the shaft and wiping off some brown stuff (rust, kids) I rubbed it until it was clean and dry. I flipped the Tranny upside down to make sure there wasnt any water in there....I then inserted a towel into the seattube and twisted it all the way in and about until it was dry.
Then, after lusting again over the beautiful Transition Bikes paint job, and really looking at WHY the seatpost got stuck a second time, I began to look at the lines of the seattube. It occurred to me that, unlike my older bikes, the tube wasn't exactly straight, but  designed to be slightly bent, in order to make the tire fit and stuff. I checked with a straightedge, Viola! It makes that turn just at the bottom of the weld with the top tube......Very slight, but bent just enough....there's even abit of corrosion-like scaling on the 'post where the seattube, not being snug with the 'post, allowed air and moisture to start doing its thing with the unpainted interior of the 'tube
So, the first thing that comes to mind is to simply hack off the last 3 inches of post that I will NEVER use. I say hack, but I will carefully slice with my steertube jig, and then file/sand the rough edges until buttery. Then lube it up nicely and slide it in.
Ask me in about 3 weeks how easy my 'post comes out. Or didn't.

( *note: since I wrote this I looked for an article I may have written about the Redline post removal. I guess I never actually wrote that story but referred to it in Stuck Again? )

Friday, November 7, 2014

Le Buzz de Winter

(This is an older article that I had published in the FoBH rag--just stumbled across it and thought it was time, again...)

Winter Buzz

When the temps go low and the ground gets slippery and/or snow-covered, I put my mountain bike away….generally this means I while away  January and February on my indoor windtrainer trying not to be bored… The windtrainer is a contraption that allows me to turn my bike into a stationary bike. If I keep up the regimen a few days a week, I’m feeling pretty good come spring and ready to bust out of the cabin full speed ahead….

But it IS boring. And many of those days are glorious sun-shining winter days, bringing back memories of when I used to try to ride all year-round, when  I was younger. Ironically, and finally(!)the new Blue Hills  Resource Management Plan in place now allows mountain biking year-round in the Blue Hills, with the exception of the March ‘mud season’.

The past few winters I’ve discovered snowshoeing. I would say re-discovered, as I did start a collection of old-school wooden rawhide-laced snowshoes back in my early 20’s while living in Vermont. But those old-school ‘shoes needed lots of care and the leather straps generally didn’t last more than a couple of years, before crumbling away…. The last time I used my old Canadian ‘shoes, I used old bicycle tubes as bindings, to hold them on to my boots. They worked, but were cumbersome, and in most situations, the 42” length was way overkill.

As the snowshoe companies moved into the modern age, some of my friends were bragging about their new, lightweight designs that were easy to put on and didn’t fall off after every 100 feet down the trail…So I went shopping. I found the selections at my local ‘outdoors’ store varied enough—and all seemed well-made….

That was 3 years ago. Now, I own two pairs of modern snowshoes that will take me just about anywhere I want to go. Trail or no trail, the built-in crampons bite into the slippery stuff. They are light enough to strap onto my hydration pak if I find I don’t need them.

As I began to enjoy the slower pace of winter-hiking, I fine-tuned what I needed for clothing layers. Most of my bike stuff works fine for moisture-management, and an on colder days, extra outside layer gives me a place for the camera, cell phone, GPS, and snacks.

I also discovered Micro-Spikes, an ingenious invention that stretches over any boot and gives instant traction on ice with ½” stainless-steel spikes. These also pack small and light, I now consider a necessity on almost every winter hike, when snowshoes aren’t needed. Good insurance against falling on cold hard ground….

Oh yeah, and the most important thing to take care of is my feet. I wear a pair of insulated winter boots, with toe warmers. You need to keep your feet happy!

Now that I’m prepared for winter actually I look forward to it. As much as I love my mountain bike, I find that I can create a similar workout in about the same time, hiking with snowshoes or Micros.

 On a typical winter day, I can hike any of the Skyline Trail. Climbing is the most fun, and the Blue Hills vistas are always worth the effort. Rattlesnake Hill is challenging on a dry day, even more so in the snow… Deeper snow even better, to cover up the rocks and roots and allow for some ‘flotation’.

One of my favorite snow-hiking areas is Tucker Hill. Athol Path, and/or the Green Loop, mixed up with following deer tracks, it’s a good workout and gets me out there for at least 1.5 hours.

Another of my favorites is to try to follow old heritage trails such as the Great Dome Trail, which was officially taken off the DCR map a few years ago. Some un-named sections still exist, but you really need an old map to find it in its entirety. I usually don’t promote off-trail use, but when there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground,  it can’t hurt….

When there’s less snow down here, Gunstock or Cranmore areas have some great climbs…

I found myself so enthralled with winter trail use that I started a facebook page, Winter Buzz. Look it up and catch the Buzz!


By the time you read this, with luck we’ll be knee-deep in the white stuff. If not, it’s back to the mountain bike(yippee!) or windtrainer….

Steve Cobble