Aftermath of the Storm

Aftermath of the Storm

This Memorial Day weekend Old Town Ellicott City suffered it’s second devastating flood in two years. Each time a “freak” rainstorm destroyed business, damaged homes and local roads, and parklands in a horrific reply of the flood of 2016.  That one, we were assured was  a “1000 year” storm — an event that we’d never see again in our lifetimes.

That prediction turned out to be way off.

Trolley Trail #9

Our 1.5  Trolley Trail #9 is a favorite among hikers and bikers. This paved, 1.5 mile trail  connects Catonsville to Old Town Ellicott City.  Along it is a local bakery (perfect place for a break on a leisurely day), Benjamin Banneker Park (a local gem), and what is normally a small, burbling creek.

A few weeks after the flood, it. was passable but with the flood’s ravages evident. A wooden bridge, replaced after the 2016 storm, is tilted, as if giant hands grabbed  it and twisted hard.

Exiting the bridge (if you’ve been riding uphill from Westchester Road) there’s a pothole that’s eaten most of the trail, requiring cyclists to dismount and walk around it.

Mud, uprooted trees, and an intense, sunglass-fogging humidity bear witness to what happened a few weeks ago.

It will take a time and help for it to recover – and it may never be quite what it was.

My Personal Storm

I felt a kinship with this damaged-but-still-vital path as I rode along. I endured my own, personal storm during the past year and a half. It’s an experience I’m still recovering from.  It began in the fall of 2016 with an ultrasound and mammogram that established I had breast cancer.  A 3-phase treatment process that came next left me, too,  damaged-but-still-vital.

“We’re resilient, the trail silently told me as I rode along. We might look different, and feel different. But we’re still here. The birds still sing, the flowers still scent the air.

We have been through a lot, you and I. Even so, we continue on. We persist; our energy renews.  We quietly thrive and celebrate what is.”

 

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Sweet Soma Buena Vista For Sale

If you’ve read John’s most recent post, you know we’re the very pleased owners of new Bilenky bikes, and we’ve been logging some miles on them in preparation for plans to do the Civil War Century  metric in September and the Seagull Century in October.

Acquiring a new bike has over-filled our bike storage space. Options are a) build a new shed, b) sell a bike, or build one of these:

 

We’re going with (b). I’m selling the Soma. It’s quite a beauty, a 42 cm Soma Buena Vista mixte. It fits me (5″1″) well. Great for local rides, road rides long and short, light touring and general fun. Here’s the Craig’s List ad. This price listed doesn’t include shipping. Contact me here or via Craig’s List. It’s going for $1200 (plus shipping) – a big savings over the cost of the build and a perfect bike for your upcoming adventures!

 

 

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A Bit of the Hair of the Dog

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On John’s recommendation I took my aching body out for a short, easy ride this afternoon.  The idea being that would help work out some of the pain discomfort induced by yesterday’s longer ride.

And a what a gorgeous spring day it was. To my surprise, I had fun. And it only hurt a little. I got to see this flourishing tree (above). And (below) one of my favorite houses.

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Getting Back in the Spring of Things

Some intrepid bicyclists continue riding through the entire winter no matter what the weather brings. Me? Some years yes, but not this year. Being self-employed and working at home most days now, biking is a thing I do purely for fun, renewal of the spirit and fitness. It was a long and brutal winter and getting on my bike didn’t strike me as fun, spiritually renewing or a great way to exercise. That’s over for now – finally – and we’ve had some terrific spring weather.

Providing further motivation, we’re signed up for the Tour de Cure on May 2, starting from Cookesville MD. (donate here to support my ride in this fundraiser for diabetes research). The terrain for that ride is very hilly so it’s time to get serious about getting in shape. We’ve been out there and enjoying the spring that’s finally here. Today was a little tough, we took a great leap forward and did our longest ride so far of 2015. Yes, I’m  a little sore. Well, maybe a lot sore. But that’s biking. Sometimes it’s fun and carefree, sometimes it’s a struggle that leaves you stronger once you recover. Today’s ride was both.

So it’s spring and it’s beautiful.  I’ll stop complaining about achey legs. Or maybe I’ll complain some,  but keep it in perspective.  Yesterday as we neared home we met a guy who had been a cyclist for 50 years, and had to quit due to vertigo that has never gone away. He’s got it tough. I’m so very lucky to be healthy and strong enough to keep doing what I love so much.

Back to Blogging

It’s been a while since I’ve posted because

1. Work projects involving lots of writing; just didn’t feel like writing more
2. Getting ready for a wedding – mine and John’s!

I’m down to one writing project now and have some time and brainpower for writing about biking.

The wedding took place on September 14th and what a wonderful day it was! We’re honeymooning, with bikes, in Vermont and upstate New York. Our first stop is the lovely Three Mountain Inn, in Jamaica VT.

Yesterday’s ride was just short of 50 miles. The route was beautiful, with 3700 challenging feet of climbing, starting with the first 2 miles out of town. Just under 20 miles were on dirt roads. These were packed firmly enough to ride on but a little bit scary with little potholes and some loose gravel. I should have brought the ANT! My Soma was a little nervous on the rougher terrain, though it’s tires were fine.

The route took us through Londonderry, Grafton, and Townshend. It was one of the toughest – and one of the loveliest- rides I’ve ever done. None of the climbs were particularly steep. Instead, they were long and there were a lot of them. Let’s just say, when John realized we were just .4 miles short of 50, my reaction was “That’s close enough!”

Beforehand we agreed either of us could call a photo-op stop at any time, that we’d stop for lunch and walk around a little. Good decisions. We worked hard on the ride and had a great time. Leaves are just starting to turn, the weather is sunny and cool – perfect for cycling.

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It’s The Worst Thing In The World…

“It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine.” So opines Washington Post editorial writer Courtland Milloy. And the Post, fine newspaper that it is, prints this hate-mongering crap and calls it journalism.

Check out Chasing Mailbox’s to-the-point comments in response. Also scroll through the comments for a link to Bike Snob NY’s well-written thoughts.

To be a driver behind a cyclist.

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Today is a bike tour rest day for Felkerino and me, and it coincided perfectly with an op-ed blowup in the Washington Post, which I am disappointed to admit is also my local paper.

Sadly, I’m sort of used to anti-cyclist, get off my road articles. However, my heart jumped when the writer of this particular piece stated that he could see why drivers would be willing to pay a fine of $500 to hit cyclists. Thanks, Washington Post. Thanks a lot.

It is terrifying to read a writer– in the Post, no less– who suggests that deliberately striking a cyclist in an act of vigilante justice or whatever reason is understandable, if not okay. It is not. This is people’s lives we are talking about here. My life. I am crying in anger and fear as I write this.

I am not…

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