Saturday passed uneventfully and the rapture billboard on Rte 40 came down. Gas prices came down a little, too. Coincidence? Since the world as we know it was still here, we figured a bike ride would be just the thing. Two rides, in fact. The first, to the local farmers’ market was short but sweet. It was nice to be able to cycle to the market, joke and chat with the vendors then stop at Atwaters on the way home for bread. My son’s girlfriend works there, and we had a chance to talk with her for a bit. This ride was probably less than a mile each way.
It was a friendly (and eco friendly) experience. Going to the Baltimore market is a whole other thing. We take the car and often there’s no small hassle parking it. The Bmore market is an event, and a crowded one. There’s more of everything: vendors, variety, shoppers. I like it but the local market is a nice alternative.
Then we headed out for a longer ride, my longest since last fall: twenty-five miles with a combination of rolling and killer hills. I got to try out my new VO touring pedals, which we put on Sweetpea, my ANT, just before heading out. Since John will soon sell the Surly, this will be one of just a few more rides for Sweetpea and the Surly together.
I measure my fitness level by how well I can manage Ellicott Mills, a heartbreak of a hill that comes up after about 2 miles of gentler uphill through Old Town. It is steep for about half a mile, sort of levels off, and then ends with a super aerobic though short final peak. The first time I tackled it this spring, I had to stop and rest 3/4 of the way up. Last time, I made it to the top but was winded and needed a long break. This time the rest at the top was shorter. So the additional riding I am doing is clearly making me stronger. John pointed out I still could have gone 2 gears lower! I had thought was in granny gear. So that was pretty cool!
It was rather humid, but overcast and much cooler than predicted. We stopped about 3/4 of the way through the ride at a coffee/ice cream stand for a bit of refreshment, and met a couple of other cyclists there while we rested. None that were actually riding at the time though. A few minutes after taking off, John realized he had left his helmet. He headed back for it and so with that extra bit, his ride was a little over 25 miles in all. The ride back ends with 3 tough hills though none as challenging as Ellicott Mills. It was a nice ride, complete with a sense of accomplishment. I can see myself feeling more than ready for our end of July tour.
Oh, and the pedals? They were fine. They are maybe a little lighter than the MKS’s that I had, and I think a bit grippier, but that’s not really why I got them. The Nishiki had dismally bad pedals, so I got new ones for Sweetpea and gave the MKS’s to the Nishiki. So a bit of an upgrade for Sweetpea and a major upgrade for the Nishiki.