Saturday, August 1, 2015

Post Ride Thoughts

Mindset for the trip - Whether a good day or a sucky day ...... you are riding a bicycle! I kept this thought throughout the trip and shared with many fellow riders on great moments and lousy moments. 

Difficulty - Most days were a joy to get up and ride my bicycle. There were some days I would have preferred to lay in the sleeping bag for an extra hour or get off the bike at 2:00 instead of 4:00. Because I elected to maintain a high daily mileage, 89 miles per day for 50 days with no full rest days there were days I had to push on or early starts to beat the heat. I did have several half days in the 50-60 mile range. There were days when turning the pedals over I had to remind myself, you are getting to ride your bike today how difficult can it be.  Okay, the Tour de France riders average per day was 91 miles per day for 23 days buy they had rest days and a massage everyday. 

Timing - I selected the best possible time to leave for the adventure. There is a narrow window to complete the TransAmerica tour for ideal weather. Leave too early and it cold and rainy. Leave too late and the heat will melt you. From reading the journals at churches, restaurants, etc. most riders in front of me both east to west and west to east where getting soaked by days of rain. Apologies for leaving puddles on the floor. My weather was ideal, the rain gear was use mostly to fend off aggressive Mosquitos. Appreciative for ideal weather 

Being away from home - After the initial nervousness and adrenaline leveled out, I began to think about being home with Mona, friends and family. Missing activities and celebrations. Having met lots and riders helped with conversation and sharing the experience. Most fellow rides were also missing home as well. 

People - Really the highlight of the trip was meeting the people, both riders and everyday folks. As I've mentioned the silent majority of middle America. Hard working, religious, generous, trusting, kind, warm hearted people. 

Beauty - One of the goals of the adventure was to see America at 10 mph, which I did. Spectacular beauty that can only be enjoyed through your eyes. I'm hoping the imprinting stays strong in my head. 

Equipment - Pretty much according to plan. Schwable tires, thank you for no flats!! I can't tell the number of times I help or waited for someone to repair a flat. My friends on a tight budget had the 1/2 dozen rule. 6 patches on the tube before pitching. Also thanks to Brooks saddle for a happy bottom. 

Food and drink - I felt like a pregnant women on this trip, permission to eat and drink anything I wanted. Butter on pancakes, 12/15 Cokes a day, several ice cream sandwiches a day, junk food by the armful at the numerous gas station stops. Consuming calories was the  name of the game. One observation is that a cyclist's plate is always clean even if you didn't care for the meal. Consuming calories was of high importance. Fun to watch the kids on limited budgets figure out what to eat. 

Things I would do differently - The bike and equipment were ideal.  Lots of folks commented on how little stuff I carried for a cross country trip. I didn't have a need for anything, except my lost air pillow. I have an APB in Wyoming for the pillow. If I was traveling with Mona and there was no time limit,  more  side trips would have been nice. Doing a cross country trip in 90 days would be ideal. Having completed the Trans America trip, the next adventure I will be more selective on the routing and what I'd like to see. Exploring the Northwest in more detail would be nice. Doing a big northwest loop sounds appealing. 

Next Bicycle Adventure - Not sure yet but exploring my own backyard, the Northeast is likely. This includes, VT, NH, upstate NY, Finger Lakes etc. doing week long or weekend trip has an appeal. Seeking other cyclist with similar goals would be interesting. 

Feels good to be home! Gotta go, Mona has a "to do" that needs attention. 


Thursday, July 30, 2015

New York City to Guilford, CT 98 miles, via Port Jeff Ferry. The urban jungle out of Manhattan.

Wow the last ride of this adventure. I feel like I've experienced every possible form of riding - flat, wind, smooth roads, no roads, mud, 30 plus mile climbs, 20 miles of dead straight roads, curves, switch-backs etc. now the challenge of the urban jungle. I wasn't ready for the traffic lights. Stop and start every hundred yards for traffic lights! Okay, a few California rolls.  

Total New York stuff, bagels and the Brooklyn Bridge. 

My ride to CT. 

My lead out guy to bring it home. Thanks Paul for greeting me and the home turf flag. 

Paul and I stopped at the house I grew up in Bridgeport. 514 Carrol Ave. Not such a good section of town. I don't believe they have ever seen much spandex. A few odd looks. 

Really nice to see everyone at the house tonight .... thank you for everything. 

Home sweet home. 
Stay tuned for my post ride wrap-up. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Washington Crossing, PA to Manhattan, NY - 84 miles. Wow there are a lot of people on the east coast.

Thanks again to my new friends Tom and Jane for the hospitality last night. Very caring, offering me a hot shower, good conversation, fresh brewed coffee in the morning etc. Tom even assisted in finding an nice level area on the lawn to pitch the tent. One small detail was forgotten...... the sprinklers came on at 1:00 AM. With zero chance of rain, I didn't put the fly on the tent. Big mistake. It took 3 passes before I realized what was happening. Below was my solution. Water bottles on the sprinkler heads. MacGyver would have been proud. 

Started off the morning on a rail trail which was real nice. This deposited me into the heart of Trenton. Time for some urban riding. Decided to ride to Asbury Park to do some exploring. Got to see the Stone Pony where music history has been made. 

Took a swim in the ocean at Long Beach to cool off. Lasted 5 minutes. 

Missed my flight home. 

My riding friends Brian and Britney made it to Virginia Beach today. 

Chillin with Mallory in Manhattan. Last week I was in Gallipolis, OH with a pop of 3k now NYC with over 8mm..... I can't breath 😳

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

East Lancaster, PA to Washington Crossing, NJ - 103 miles

Up and out early, could have been the gun shot at 5:00. My guess is a farmer protecting the herd from a predator ..... I hope. 

I did come across other Amish sects that use bicycles. Mostly younger folks. 
There was a funeral today, lots of Buggy's and bikes to the church. No pics from me out of respect. 

I got to enjoy several counties off the beaten path to see the Amish living day to day. Lots of flowers and industrial size clothes lines. The garments are hung with precision. A backyard view. 

I thought I was in Europe. 

The Route S trail just gets better, the Schuylkill trail was shaded and no cars. Perfect mid day.  

George Washington should have picked a day  like today instead of a cold Christmas morning. This would be the location less the bridge .... and cars. 

Did I mention a new state 

Special shout out to Tom and Jane for being kind trusting souls. My last night of camping was going to be stealth. Camping in a state park which offers no camping. There were no options in the area. I met Tom and Jane having dinner and they offered to have me stay at their home. Wanting to keep my sleeping on an air-pad alive, I pitched my tent on the front lawn. A real nice neighborhood so the neighbors will be talking! Jane will enjoy the gossip. I did shower and enjoy a nightcap. Great conversation and special people. Thank you for your generosity and continuing my renewed faith the humanity. 

Sunset over the Delaware River

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fort Loudon To East Lancaster, PA - miles 104

Glad to be out of the mountains. Crossed the Appalachian trail this morning. 

Several odd bike interactions. First my Chinese friend, I've been doing it all wrong. I should be smoking non-filtered, not wimpy filtered on the big climbs. 

You can feel the eeriness when you pedal around Gettysburg. 

Okay, so this is how ethanol is produced and shipped. This is a crazy pic. 

Here's my other buddy using wheels for transportation. Being Amish, no chain and those are hard (non air) wheels!  When you shake a mans hand you get a sent of what they do .... this guy isn't working a keyboard. 

Funny town names, all 3 in a row- Smoketown, Bird-in-hand and Intercourse. 

After traveling a swath of the U.S. The Amish by far have the cleanest and most precise farms by far. 

Some pig pen

A real treat to ride the back roads of the Amish homes. Observation- Spotless,  organized, well kept, lots of flowers, no utility lines to the homes, kids outside playing. Great place to ride, curved roads with corn on both sides. Little car traffic 😜 Being close to home, this would be a great weekend bicycle road trip. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Eagle, PA to Fort Loudon, PA - 98 miles.

Today was a big day of climbing. Up and over the Allegheny mountain range as well the Appalachian mountains. 

The PA DOT did a nice job of routing the S Route. A bit longer but well worth the effort. 

Care for some coffee with the fuel of choice. All cyclists live for Poptarts. 

For you Tom, still stopping to view the flowers. 

Somewhere in the Appalachian mountain. I took a break at this cool barn. A Mad Max device 

I can't believe that I'm starting to think about ETA to Guilford, CT. Looking like Thursday of this week could be the day. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Portsmouth, PA to Somerset, PA - 97 miles.

This is the cheese that I will be chasing in PA. 

Today I spent most the day on the rail trail with no car traffic. Crushed limestone. The C&O trail runs from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. Lots of cyclists both day trippers and through riders. I cut off when it started heading south. 

The rail trail has some really high elevation. Mona, you would not like these sections. Old train tressels with wood planks.  Those are kayaks and rafts running the white water.