Saturday, May 29, 2010
Since we may be doing some camping during our two and a half month ride, we decided to give it a test run by packing up some gear and cycling to Southwick Beach on the shores on Lake Ontario. To give ourselves a little break, we drove up to Joel's office in Camden and headed out from there at 6:30 am on Thursday. What a beautiful day and what a terrific ride! Google Maps now provides directions for bicycles so our 47 mile route took us through many back roads and neat little communities. Joel saved a baby turtle from certain death by moving him out of the road and Holly befriended a spider who rode on her handlebar for several miles! We arrived at the campsite by late morning and met up with our friends, Ron and Fran, who were already set up. As Joel put up our tent we got quite a chuckle because although it says it is for two people, next to Fron's, it looked puny! After a long walk on the nearly deserted beach, Fran provided us with a spectacular, gourmet picnic complete with spiedies, fresh fruit, and other cold salads...again the reward at the end of a long ride is a great meal! We had the traditional campfire then a somewhat fit full sleep...got to get this camping part down!
Anyway, morning always comes and with it a good cup of coffee. After breaking down what little we brought, it was back on the bikes and homeward bound. For variety, and as it turns out, a challenge, we decided on a different route home. Let's just say two words; ROLLING HILLS! After joyfully screaming down several then cursing and groaning up some more it became apparent that they just weren't going to go away. We stopped counting at twenty five or so...not kidding! As is always the case, however, there were high points to the day. We came across a slightly off tune guitar player who serenaded us with Jimmy Buffett and Tom Petty songs at the beach at Selkirk Shores. We ate amazingly delicious oatmeal raisin cookies at a General Store on Route 3 in Mexico, and we thought we caught a glimpse of Joel Rhein shadowing us as we saw two yellow Bajas,(with the rack lights!)one in Lacoma and one in Amboy. Speaking of shadowing, Holly's parents have jumped on board for the trip and will be our official SAG wagon providing us with support and good times along the way! Today's ride racked up another 58 or so miles and both of us felt it in our quads. It is all good, though, and we plan to ride again over the Memorial Day weekend.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Since the weather has been chilly, rainy, and even snowy we haven't been biking too much (well, alright, Joel has but Holly has been going to the gym instead!) so I thought I would educate you all on the ECG and why we have chosen to ride in support and awareness of their efforts. The Greenway Alliance is a not for profit organization that was founded in 1991 with the intention of creating an urban path for non motorized human transportation linking major cities along the Atlantic Coast from Maine all the way down to Florida. As of late 2009, 24% of the nearly 3,000 miles has been completed off road. The rest of the Greenway is a network of roads that connect cities to cities, cities to suburbs, and suburbs to rural areas. In essence the Greenway is much like an urbanized Appalachian Trail.
The Greenway relies a lot on volunteers to maintain trails, report any condition changes to Greenway users, monitor signage, and update cue sheets. This is where Joel and I come in. As we make our way south on the roads and trails we will take notes on any problems we encounter and suggestions we may have to improve the Greenway for future cyclists. In addition we can heighten awareness of the Greenway by sharing our story with people we meet along the way so they can begin to take advantage of the trails in their communities. You all can help as well by checking out the Greenway website at www.greenway.org and possibly become a member, donor, or volunteer! The benefits of the Greenway are especially significant these days because it reduces roadway congestion and provides a safe transportation option for cyclists, walkers, and the wheelchair bound. It also enhances local economic development and curbs the demand for fossil fuel while improving the air quality!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
It all started on Friday night when we bumped into Tom and Patti Bates at the Delta Lake Inn and had a celebratory toast to her 39th(!!) birthday. We then went home and packed up our panniers and tuned our bikes for our first official training ride which began at 10 am on Saturday morning. Our destination...an overnight at The Canalside Inn in Little Falls, about 40 miles. It was sunny and surprisingly warm; a perfect day for a cycle! We took the canal trail from "Pic and Pay" in Oriskany all the way to Utica. Along the way we raced a train...we lost... and a motorized inflatable boat in the canal...we won! Holly had a flat tire and while Joel was fixing it a terrific cyclist named Donna stopped by to see if she could help. In fact she did by giving us accurate directions through Utica and onto old route 5S. She rode with us for awhile then branched off on her own. We encountered another biker in Herkimer, a Brit, who rode with us as well as we all searched for the trail again. We never found it but we did come across the neatest old cemetery and church! We finally arrived at the Inn by late afternoon and were welcomed by James the chef/owner. Needless to say it was time for some Cupcake (by the way, Happy Anniversary to Adam and Maria!) and some cheese and crackers! Dinner was delightful; I had duck and Joel had veal and we shared a coconut creme brulee. 6 am came early on Sunday but alas we had to get back in the saddle (ouch!) After breakfast at the cafe next door to the Inn we headed home. The ride home, for whatever reason, took alot less time but was just as enjoyable, however not without mishaps. On route 5 approaching Utica one of our panniers literally flew off the back of Joel's bike and on the Oriskany Trail Joel had two, count em, two flats! Since we were clean out of extra inner tubes Holly rode the rest of the way home to get the Flex while Joel tried to patch the hole...no luck. So I guess these training rides are teachable moments but they are also a ton of fun!! Thanks to Tom and Erv for taking care of the dogs while we adventured:) One last thing; Paige, you would have loved the wildlife we saw: several red winged blackbirds, a plethora of sunbathing turtles, geese galore, a trail trotting turkey, a kamikaze chipmunk which Holly almost ran over, a live snake, several dead snakes and tons of other road kill:(