I knew there would be a time that I needed more biking clothes other then the short sleeve jersey and the cycling bibs I wear on rides. I mean we can’t have summer all year can we? That’s the funny thing about living in Western Washington. We have mild temperatures there, rain is a given, cold sometimes and if we are lucky, two months of summer (which is what we would call a mild summer in New Jersey). But since I moved out here, summer was hot as heck…. Nothing like I am used to in Washington. But as of lately, it is getting colder and colder out and it was about time I started dressing for it.
I just got back from Washington DC on business and I Was itching…..and I mean ITCHING to get back on the bike. I was only a few miles away from a new personal record for myself and I wanted it and could taste it. And did I mention I was itching to get back on the saddle? I did end up riding on Tuesday but it wasn’t enough. Something about this time of year, with the leaves changing, the brisk air and the scenery…something I am in love with.
Left the house a little before 7 am and when I stepped out of the apartment, I knew I was in for it. Cold…really cold. But luckily I just got an Under Armer base layer which is for riding below 55 degrees so I was set. I don’t really like to plug things (except for Giant bikes and Brook Saddles) but if you are looking for warmer clothing, try Under Armer. Solid!
And did you know that if you leave your panniers on the top of your vehicle, they won’t be there when you stop at the store a half mile away from where you live? So back I went in a panic to hunt them down just to stop where I started at the apartment to find them in the back of my truck. Yikes. Getting older and forgetting more (but my wife said I forget everything…. She could be right!)
A quick stop at WaWa for bananas and off I went. Easy drive on Sunday morning and going into Delaware over the bridge looked so peaceful with the heavy fog in patches of the area. I love fog… something mystical about it especially in the month of October with Halloween around the corner.
Got to the high school in Middletown and had a hard time finding a parking space. There must have been an event going on because normally the high school parking lot is dead. Caught up with Jim and also a new rider, Dennis. Great guy by the way. Very dedicated and on the same journey as many of us. Jim B pulled up, we loaded up and off we went.
Less than a quarter mile out, we all tried to make it through a stop light. Jim was accounted for (he was in front of me) and I looked back to see if we all made it. Dennis was right there too but we lost Jim B. We stopped and saw that Jim B stopped at the light and was off his bike. Never a good sign. We rode back to see what was up and his right pedal came right off. New pedals too. You could see Jim B was a little frustrated (I would be too) especially since they were brand new. We tried to trouble shoot it but there was nothing that could be done. The bearing fell out and the bike shop didn’t open up for another two hours. We had to say goodbye to Jim B. That was sad because he is great to ride with.
As we rode away, all I could feel was pain for having to leave Jim B behind. I knew the feeling since a month or so ago, on the same ride, my chain had issues and I couldn’t go anymore and had to call SAG support. I knew what Jim B was feeling. GRRRRRR.
The ride was excellent. Briskness in the air, a little cold at times and then you started warming up. Jim took us up some hills which warmed our legs and core. We stopped and talked for a bit, took some pictures and rode more. We didn’t stop to eat but yet stopped for photos. We did stop at a produce stand that had a loose gravel driveway. Dennis, on a mountain bike, was rolling down the gravel with no problem. Jim and I….. it was a little harder with skinnier tires. Felt like we were back on the bumpy Baltimore ride!
I just love produce stands. They are still growing and selling tomatoes, peppers, and pumpkins so I had to get some tomatoes and a green pepper for a salad. Also picked up some sun dried tomatoes and avocados. Jim got lemons and honey crisp apples, his favorite. He loves apples, I love bananas.
We rode by the bay, through the woods, on back roads and streets. Today was the big White Clay Bike Club appreciation brunch across the river and I thought we would see a lot of riders but I only recount seeing one rider. Funny thing: when I got home, we got an email from White Clay Bike Club saying that this was the mark of the last ride for many for the year. Last ride? For the year? No way. This is one of the best times of the year to ride, especially after the hot summer. Yes, it takes some determination and some winter clothes but once you are out there, you are getting warm plus burning all those calories, all the great pictures and the company too!
Note to self: need to get Under Armer leg warmers, full fingered riding cloves, a wind breaker, and a head warmer that fits under the helmet.
This ride was very special for two reasons. First, this was Dennis’s new personal best of 28.5 miles. We are so proud of him and to meet him. Thank you for going, Dennis, and we hope you enjoyed yourself and you continue to come out and ride with us.
Secondly: This was my 1000 mile ride so far this year. I started riding on July 2nd, 2011 and today marked the 1000 mile mark. I am very happy because, if you told me 5 months ago that I was going to hit 1000 miles on cycling, I would laugh at you and shoo you away. But I did it, 1000 miles.
Next miles stones: ride more in the winter, drop weight, tackle the Manyunk hill in PA (next Saturday maybe), ride a century (next year), help get my wife riding and loving it so we can share the cool things I am experiencing, and have a lot of fun (ongoing!)!
I hope you all enjoy the pictures.
Remember: I am leading a ride on Sunday in Medford, NJ, leaving at 9 am sharp for a 32 mile ride. Would love to invite anyone out who would like to come!