Sunday, April 7, 2013

New England Virtual Cycling. 2013 Week 1: Manchester, Lowell, LDT, Massabesic, Assabet

Started getting a lot of hits on the virtual cycling videos over the winter. Naturally this calls for overkill. In the past week and a half I've uploaded 7 hours of new riding footage. I have a couple of vague ideas of what people are looking for (constant speeds, decent scenery, steady shots, at least a 45 minute ride).

I think people are also looking for foliage. Not much you can do about that in April. A way around it is focusing more on cityscapes. That was one of the reasons I shot the downtown Lowell ride (the other reason was I got a late start after working that day). This was also the ride that wasn't a ride. Since I'm used to shooting longer rail trails I don't usually have the luxury of thinking in a non-linear style. The trail is the trail, you follow it. To make clip a proper length I reused some of the clips, but put them in a different order. As an editor this was one of those simple things that made it fun.

I also double-played clips on today's ride in Manchester, NH (top). Difference is there is a noticeable  continuity to the ride so for the sake of variation I put the second run-through at a slightly higher speed.

I got off the rail trails two other times this week to shoot Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest and the Massabesic Lake area just east of Manchester. In both cases my initial intent of simply staying on carriage roads was thwarted by looking at thinner trails and thinking "how bad can it be?"

Here's LDT:

That question starts to be answered around the 43 minute mark. Again, it isn't the quality of the trails that was the issue (New England Mountain Bike Association did a great job designing them). The issue was my complete lack of ability in riding this style.

Massabesic  also has some nice mountain bike trails, though generally flatter. Another thing they still have is large snow banks. Those should be gone by May.

There was also a little bit of snow still on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. I'm sure that's melted by now. Had a good ride and for the first time was able to upload a round-trip version. Due to it's proximity to home I've shot this one a few times with different cameras and different styles. Nice evening shadows on the clip.

On Wednesday work cancelled my shift so I decided to check out part of the East Coast Greenway. The long-range goal for this is to create sort of an Appalachian Trail for cyclists. I covered an eight-mile section combining trails in Topsfield and Danvers. This was a fun ride. For YouTube viewers it might not be the most exciting thing to watch (pretty much nobody else out there, lots of woods), but still a good ride. Not too many intersections until you get near the Danvers-Peabody line.

Absolute favorite ride though was the Assabet Rail Trail in Marlborough and Hudson, MA. 10 miles round-trip, well maintained, great variety of scenery, not too many intersections, and easy parking at both ends. I parked at the Marlborough end for the sake of starting with the sun behind me (makes for bluer skies in the shot), but if I were just riding I would've have started at the Hudson end to get more downhill on the return trip.

So that was a much more productive week than planned.

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