Thoreau, Harvard, M.I.T. and ME - America's Most Naive Bike Tourist Rides From MN to MA - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2014

Thoreau, Harvard, M.I.T. and ME

Cambridge, MA

On the last day of riding, I really took things slowly.  It was my way of making my Quest for Fun last a little longer.  I pedaled through the suburbs along with fairly heavy traffic.  For my last side trip I rode to Concord and then south to Walden Pond.  I was looking forward to relaxing for a while in the same wilderness setting the Henry David Thoreau wrote about in his classic book, Walden.

Sure, I knew in advance that it wouldn't be a wilderness anymore, but I was not prepared for the huge parking lot, the beach house, the snack bar, and the wide, buoyed swimming beach that stretched about 1/4 of the way around the pond.  Not only that, but the huge parking lot was absolutely filled with cars and the beach was busy with swimmers and sunbathers.  And this was a weekday.  I couldn't imagine what kind of zoo it would be on a Saturday afternoon.

Even in Thoreau's day it wasn't quite the wilderness he made it out to be.  There had already been logging in the area and I learned from my friend Steve a little later that Thoreau's cabin was only about a mile walk from his mom's house.

Looking beyond the beach, the pond was quite pretty.  In contrast with the green trees around it, the water seemed to have a very deep blue hue.

I think I saw Thoreau sunning himself on the beach.
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Next came a ride through the Minuteman National Historical Parkway which honors the first battle of the Revolutionary War.  The traffic was very heavy.  In Lexington, I picked up the Minuteman Bike Trail--a paved commuter route into Cambridge where the aforementioned Steve and his wife Mary live.  They generously offered to put me up for three nights until my flight on Saturday.  They provided me with a room, a great meal, beer and wine, and a walking tour of Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Harvard University, and the wonderfully vibrant and diverse neighborhood surrounding their home.

Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 1,736 miles (2,794 km)

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