Perspective Shift

A quick afternoon ride on a  gorgeous late summer afternoon –  good for the spirit.  It shifted me from feeling like I’m sinking in a sea of work to feeling on top of it all. Maybe it was the extra oxygen circulating or just the sheer beauty of the outdoors. Whatever. It made me feel a lot better!

Howard Chapel Cemetary

During a recent weekend ride, John and I stopped at Howard Chapel Cemetery. Curious about the African American community the sign referred to, I looked up Howard Chapel on the interwebs this a.m. The property is now a part of Patuxent State Park and there’s a detailed written and photographic record of it’s history [here]( George Enoch Howard, a former slave who bought his freedom in 1857, purchased the 289.5 acre property for himself and his family. He purchased it from the heirs of his former master. I am trying to imagine this. First he bought his freedom. Then he bought the property from his former owner.

He later built a church and a school on it for the community. Burials began in the cemetery in 1901. Now all that remains is the cemetery.

Up, Down and All Around

Yesterday’s 38-mile loop through Montgomery and Howard counties started out at the Laytonsville Shopping Center.   Just Riding a Bike , an area bike store, is located right next door.

It developed into a hot and humid day. The route  was beautiful (not counting the first mile on Route 108 – traffic-y and not much shoulder). Pretty much the entire route is hills and by the second half I for one was feeling it. We were not surprised that John’s Garmin recorded 2000′ of elevation.

Along the way

Along the way

Burial Ground - Ancestors of Original African-American Community of Howard Chapel

Burial Ground – Ancestors of Original African American Community of Howard Chapel

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Some of the gravestones were very simple rectangular pillars with just an initial engraved.

Soma taking a break

Soma  – taking a break

On the way home we made an unplanned stop at the famous Olney Ale House.  Perfect finish to a good workout!

Enjoying the deck at Olney Ale House. (One of the beers was mine!).

Enjoying the deck at Olney Ale House. (One of the beers was mine!).

Pictures from the Shorefire Century

Lots of this kind of scenery

Lots of this kind of scenery

First and Third Rest Stop

First and Third Rest Stop, Clayton DE

John and I rode the 65 mile metric  route with the Shorefire Century today. The weather was ideal, or close to it. The high reached 81 and the only challenge were occasional vigorous headwinds.  Of course the strongest came at the final 10 miles of the ride. It was a great day to be out riding. Riding along the sound of the wind was surprisingly  loud. Accompanying it was the cicadas’ late summer song.

This was my longest ride on new Soma. This bike has made me faster. I noticed that the first time I rode it; it’s changing my idea of my capacities as a cyclist.

Riding the ANT, much heavier and, I now realize, perhaps needing to be better fitted to me,   I am hard pressed to reach 10 mph and fall below that on hilly terrain. Today even with wind, fatigue and a bit of muscle soreness that closed in on me for the final 8-10 miles, I averaged a little better than 13 mph. Not super fast by any means but a decent pace. This makes the century we’ll be doing in October seem much more possible.

Now That Was Fun!

I wanted to fit in a quick ride this morning, as I have a 2.5-day business trip, leaving this afternoon and returning late Thursday. This will be a busy couple of days with no time for cycling, so the Brompton isn’t coming along.

I started out on Rolling Rd to Selford, a trafficky route at rush hour.  On impulse I turned right on Francis, a 4-way stop where I usually turn left. I found myself in a beautiful neighborhood.

Historic Relay

Historic Relay

I’ve seen mention of Relay but until this morning didn’t know where it was. At this sign I had the choice of turning right or left.  I chose left, riding along Rolling Rd S, a narrow 2-lane road, which (happily) had very light traffic.  After a mile or so I saw a sign for “State Park” and soon came to the Avalon entrance to Patapsco State Park, just as  Rolling was about to intersect Rte 1. I didn’t quite know where I was, and I have zero sense of direction. Even so, I was pretty sure that I’d soon find myself in a familiar location. If not, plan B was to turn around and retrace my route.

Indeed I soon came to a sign pointing toward Glen Artney Rd/Grist Mill path and took that well-known route out of the park and to River Rd.  Along the way I saw just few other people jogging or cycling. Nice way to start the day!




Practice Run

Saturday we loaded up our panniers and headed out for a 30 mile ride. We wanted to see how tour-ready we and our gear are. My new Swift Short Stacks performed well. I did pretty well myself, even hauling the extra weight. In fact, I realized my ANT bike, built for fully self-supported touring, seems to handle best, even a little faster, when loaded. At least it did with the light load I had that day.

The year I got the ANT we went on a self-guided credit card tour. I was so worried about my ability to do the trip, I don’t think I noticed much about the bike’s handling. Since then, I’ve ridden the bike a lot. I’ve commuted on it, ridden for fun, and done two supported tours. It took until this weekend’s ride to appreciate how it’s optimized for touring. Good to know!

The Swift panniers were easy to attach and detach, stayed in place, and in appearance are fun, jaunty and visible. They’re a great design, with one large open pocket with a drawstring closure, a detachable pocket lid and a small zippered side pocket. They hold a lot. There is also an elasticized pouch on each pannier, perfect for carrying a water bottle. That’s an excellent feature if like me you are small and so is your bike. My bike frame can only hold 1 water bottle cage and I am always fussing with ways to carry a second bottle. These panniers take care of that hassle I have yet to find out how the panniers perform in the rain. This test ride was on such a beautiful day. I have a feeling that by the end of the tour I’ll be able to comment on that. Stay tuned.