What better way to spend a fall weekend than to go for a ride Saturday, and then again on Sunday? We decided to make time to do just that. Saturday started out sunny, windy and cool. I wore an almost all-Ibex wool cycling outfit. This included a new long sleeve T-shirt (they were on sale for 50% off!), cycling knickers (a great birthday gift from John) and a half-zip sweater I got last season. Non-Ibex items included lightweight sports gloves (REI), socks (Darn Tough) and a neck gaiter/ear band (Rivendell). All components of this outfit worked well. In fact as the morning warmed (and the exertion warmed me) I removed the gloves and ear band. Everything was comfortable, save for a bit of chamois-area chafing. That was helped by an application of chamois butter at a mid-ride rest stop. The ear band certainly is warm enough and is large enough to serve as a cap, but it’s bulkier than my synthetic fabric Buff gaiter/earband and didn’t fit well under my helmet. Along the way I stopped to photograph what might be the only bike lane in Howard County. At least it’s the only one I’ve seen. It goes for maybe 200 yards in front of Mt Hebron High School. Howard County, could this be the start of creating some real bike infrastructure?
At times there was a headwind, just to add a little challenge to our 18 mile ride. About a mile out of Ellicott City, while I was climbing the first of 3 hills in the last stretch of the ride, a passenger in a Toyota Corolla thoughtfully advised me that I should “Get a fucking car!” Despite my lack of car I enjoyed the ride and managed to make my way home just fine.
Sunday morning we had to move a little faster than usual to make the 8:30 start of the Catonsville Rails to Trails‘ 18 mile fall ride. I recently joined CRTT and was curious to try out a local group ride. It was quite chilly, so I layered similarly to the previous day, but wore shorts instead of my no longer clean knickers. That was not the best choice as it turned out and my legs were cold the entire ride! About 30 people gathered at the local elementary school and headed out on a loop that included the #8 and #9 Trolley trails and a ride through Patapsco State Park.
The pace was easy and the route included some pleasant discoveries. I had seen signs for the #9 Trolley Trail but had never ridden it. It was longer than I’d expected, and very pretty. It was carpeted with leaves, which obscured some major bumps along the paved trail. It was longer than I’d expected, and mostly downhill (which became mostly uphill for the return portion of the ride, of course). By the end of that first stretch many of us had cold fingers, even with full gloves on! As we got into the park and started climbing we warmed up, though. We rode alongside the river, enjoying the view. There were some hills, though none that were overly difficult. I did have some trouble crossing a swaying suspension bridge. Just don’t look down! The last leg of the ride (perhaps 3 miles) was all uphill though less steep than our typical ride along Frederick.
The group’s riders were on every variety of bike; a tandem, loop frames, racing bikes and us with our touring bikes. Riding kit was equally diverse, ranging from jeans and sweatshirts to wool to all-lycra. Age ranged from teens to sixties and there was a roughly equal number of men and women. They were a friendly group, and I chatted a little with one of the women and one of the ride organizers, who commutes every day to his job at the old Montgomery Ward building. The ride ended up at the Sunday farmers market, but we peeled off before that and headed home. A great, if slightly chilly, morning ride.