Our adventure started on Thursday in Washington, NC, a small town on the Inner Banks about one hour East of Raleigh. There are about 10,000 people who live in this quaint town. There was 3 days of riding scheduled (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The participants were divided between campers in the local park and people who stayed on hotels.
Note: If you are planning on doing this next year and want to stay in a hotel then you should book next years town very, very early. Like 2017 early.
The rides were great. Most of the rides had less than 500 feet of elevation in the whole ride. There was 3-4 rides a day ranging from 5 miles to 60-100. There was some washboard roads but probably less than 5 miles of the entire weekend. Though we only did 100 miles total so your mileage may vary. The rides are what you make of them. They can very challenging if you are looking to rack up a buttload of miles. One guy did 260 in the three days. We were looking to get some miles in but also relax. It has been a pretty hectic year so we were looking for some chill time.
Food stops were well stocked with plenty of cold water/Gatorade. The towns had interesting other foods like baked goods, etc.
We camped (I had mistakenly waited until January to book a hotel…) in the park.
They had laid out a grid so tents were not cramped together. They had regular facilities and porta potties and a decent but not great shower truck. They had great coffee served every morning and one pretty good food truck.
The restaurants were typical for a small town. One was dreadful (Ribeyes) but the Bank Bistro was by far the best.
We would highly recommend the coastal ride. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
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.
Daffodils are about exuberance and on a good day that’s what biking is about too. My Brompton after exuberantly taking the longer way home after a quick errand, agrees.
Spring has tiptoed into Baltimore. Daffodils and crocuses are beginning to show themselves and temperatures this week have stayed in the 40’s and above. After a combination of health and weather challenges all winter I needed a little extra oomph to make sure I schedule in regular bike time now.
I found motivation in the 30 Days of Biking pledge. If I keep the pledge of biking every day in April (no matter what!) I help a child who otherwise would not have one to get a bike. And of course once you start riding regularly you it quickly becomes self-reinforcing. So far this week they’ve been short rides. But a short ride is better than no ride!
Here’s some photos from the first four days. Haven’t gotten out there yet today, but I will.
Brompton a la Biblioteque
The End of A Short Chilly but Springtime Ride
A Tree Blooms in Catonsville
John found a new route to try for our second 30+ mile ride of the weekend. It was a great ride with much of it so rural it was hard to believe we were so close to home. The most challenging part of Monday’s 36 mile ride was Bonnie Branch Road. It’s a long and scenic uphill that comes in the final stretch of the route. Perhaps 3/4 of the way up, we encountered this:
Washed Out Road
We portaged through the construction site and continued on our way. Would that all barriers and obstacles in life were so easily navigated!
With thunderstorms in the forecast, the sky heavy with clouds and the air thick with humidity, I bravely headed out yesterday for a mid-day ride. Until I was in the saddle I wasn’t sure of my route. I decided on this one:
Under 11 miles, it includes a short and steep hill that’s a fitness marker. If I can make it up without stopping, I’m in pretty good shape. I made it. So, yay me. The reward was a fast roll down Rogers, not as steep but longer. Which left me to go through Old Town and climb out the 3 hills between Ellicott City and Catonsville. Never easy, but not bad when the ride is short and you’re feeling good.
Midway through the ride I stopped to check out the tiny Ellicott City Colored School, built in 1880 as Howard County‘s first school for African American children. Though of course that wouldn’t have been the term used then. Looking at this building makes you wonder about many things.
Once out of Old Town, wonderfully uncrowded in the middle of a workday, and climbing the first of the Three Sisters I pondered that I’ve named all four of the bigger hills found on this route. Not something I normally do. I’ve developed a very personal relationship with them. I was lucky with the weather, no rain until much later.
Mostly John and I don’t get flats. For a couple of years I had Schwalbe Marathons, which were bulletproof. Other than when I picked up a giant nail midway into our 2009 Eastern Shore tour. No tire could have withstood that. John hasn’t had a flat in 5 years.
Last year we both switched to Compass tires. Compass Bicycles website says of them: ” … Compass tires roll faster, absorb shocks much better, and offer greatly improved cornering grip. Warning: You may never want to go back to your old tires after riding these.” I agree. The Schwalbes were great. These are greater. Paired with Schwalbe tubes, they have been trouble free. That is until today. What John hoped was a slow leak in his rear tire turned out to require changing the tube. The culprit turned out to be a tiny sharp piece of metal embedded in the tire. As a result our 16 mile ride took a bit longer than usual. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry!
- Fixing a Flat Tire (whybike3.wordpress.com)