We declared this weekend a long weekend and took Monday off.
Between Saturday and Monday, I rode about 62 miles. John did at least ten more miles during the same 3 days. First, on Saturday a short ride in Taneytown. I drove out there with my Brompton in the trunk to get a hitch installed on my car. The purpose of the hitch is to hold a bike rack. I realize there was some irony in this errand. I also know I could have gotten it done at the Uhaul nearby but somehow they could not manage to get my order submitted. I gave up on them and went with the much more efficient Taneytown Hitch Man.
Bringing the bike along was John’s idea. He said it was really pretty there, and he was right. I left my car off and unfolded the Brompton, to much admiration from guys at the Hitch Man. They advised me to ride away from town on York Road, which I did. After a couple of miles, I turned off onto a side road and found myself away from traffic on narrow, 2-lane country roads. This ride was pure fun. It made me wonder how far you could go on a Brompton and enjoy the experience. I got to practice bike handling the Brompton (I always feel like I am oversteering it when leaning into turns) and further break in the saddle. I took some photos of the countryside but, alas, something seems to be wrong with my not-very-smart-phone and they did not get stored. I saw a few other cyclists, including some who were on a group ride. I turned back after half an hour and somehow the return trip was much faster than the ride out. My guess is I rode about 7-8 miles but that’s just an estimate.
In the meantime, John picked up a hitch-mounted bike rack. We were looking for a bike-carrying solution that was more sturdy and easier to use than our previous (now sold) roof racks. We used it on Monday. Here’s a picture of the new rack in use:
On Sunday (a beautiful,warm sunny day), John and I rode 24 mile loop through Ellicott City, into Howard County and back. This is our typical weekend ride, this time with the cruelly steep and long Ellicott Mills Drive aka Heartbreak Hill included. In the past, this hill has thoroughly kicked my butt until I got fit enough to make it to the top. This time, I made it on the first try, no stopping, no walking. There was however a lot of panting after I got to the top, along with a 2-3 minute rest. Though time was tight, we did the entire loop. Once we got home, showered quickly and headed out for dinner at Salt with my sons and their girlfriends. Of course we were ravenous by the time we got to the restaurant. We had a great ride on Sunday, a terrific meal, and a great evening with the Gen X and Y-ers. How lucky am I to have my sons so nearby? I know this may not last, so I am making a point of appreciating my good luck.
Sunday stayed chilly and overcast all day. We headed out to Thurmont to try the Bridges to the Past ride described in the 20-year-old Chuck and Gail’s Favorite Bike Rides. Remarkably, the cue sheet was still accurate even after so much time. The only real change was that some previously unmarked roads are now marked. Even with the somewhat challenging ride the day before, I made it through this one in pretty good shape, though I was feeling those last 5 or so miles. The authors rated it as a 4 in difficulty on a scale of 1-5. It was just about 30 miles of mostly rolling hills with one tough, long and steep climb about midway through. Here are some of the things we saw along the way: