It wasn’t a great ride…. It was an OUTSTANDING ride today. But before we went… it was time to clean the bike. I took my bike into the shop on Thursday because the back wheel was out of true. Now, this shop is and they treat me great so in return I treat them very well. Bring food and cookies to the bike sales people and the mechanics all the time so when I brought the bike in, there was no charge for the true and the mechanic took everything off my bike and cleaned it. The little perks in life…..it’s true….. people love food and it makes them happy!
So we met at IKEA in Conshohocken, PA at 10 AM and of course, we were early which gave us time to visit, bathroom breaks and get the bikes ready. Looks like it was going to be me, Jim, and Nadja. Some people would say that is a small group but it was PERFECT plus most people dislike riding in the cold weather…we don’t!
Yea, that’s another thing… the cold. It was cold for sure. Not freezing but cold. Luckily I had my Under Armer (UA) Base layer but I still haven’t gotten full gloves, no UA base for my legs and no hat the fits inside my helmet but I knew I would get warm and my legs would be ok. I did have a pair of wool gloves and I used them for about 5 miles and then they became uncomfortable because there was not enough padding. Anyway, it was cold which meant only one thing….GET ON THE BIKE AND START RIDING. (so we did).
What made this ride outstanding were many things like the change in scenery. For a few miles you are kinda out there and then more in a urban area and then full blown city.
We took the bike path (more like a multiple use path…MUP for short) to start which was nice but one thing about MUP’s are that they are dangerous. Runners wearing head phones and not paying attention, riders weaving in and out, dogs, cats, weird people… oh my! But luckily it was only a few miles both ways that we were on the path.
As we were riding, we went down the Manyunk hill and Jim politely reminds us that we will be going UP that hill on the way back. Great. Nadja and I agreed that we wanted to do it NOW and get it over with but Jim kept riding on and we followed…. like good sheep!
We rode into center city and all around. We were all feeling sorta sassy and decided to ride down South Street. That street is awesome. Restaurants, cool shops (like a Rowing Class shop where you just have rowing classes sorta like spin classes…. amazing idea). South Street was so cool and busy with cars. Jim was leading, followed by Nadja and then myself sweeping. We came up on some art work and I suddenly stopped to take a picture while Nadja and Jim rode away. The picture doesn’t really justify how pretty it was but it was stain glass, more glass, art, bike parts, wheels and such and it was neat. But I lost Jim and Nadja. Great. In a city I don’t know. Did I mention it was great!?! So I rode and rode down South Street until I got to the end and as I was looking around, a little panic in the back of my brain happened. Got off the bike, grabbed the cell phone to call Jim and then Nadja and Jim pulled up thankfully. They were going to Little Italy to grab something to eat when they noticed I wasn’t there. I missed the food? Me? No way. Have you LOOKED at me lately? I love to eat. Darn.
As we talked, I asked Jim and Nadja where Reading Terminal was so they just decided to show me. We rode there…. At least as close as we could until the crowds got too thick and then we walked our bikes. I have never been but we have something like it in Seattle called Pikes Place but after Jim showed me around Reading Terminal, I am convinced that it is better than Pikes Place. I bought FRESH squeezed orange juice and warm chocolate chip cookies for everyone. Delightful they were. Forgot how much I loved orange juice especially when it is freshly squeezed. I am a big fan of Reading Terminal. It’s like a kid in a candy shop for a chef. Meats, seafood, breads, chocolates, vegetables, fruit…good food. Wow.
Back on the bikes we went and rode down Spruce Street which was neat too. Had to jump on another MUP to avoid a dangerous stretch of roads and then it started. Yup… the hills. Now we had some short climbs coming to Center City Philly but nothing like this. We turned right and the two hills of Umbria started. I was leading at that point…. cranked it into granny gear and slowly made my way up, focusing on breathing. Got both those out of the way but I was feeling it for sure. Was riding down the road and saw another big hill….. Manyunk. Short but very steep. Jim blew by me and then Nadja and that’s ok. Kicked it in granny gear again, focused on breathing and made it all the way to the top. Out of breath, ready to collapse but we did it. No walking needed thank you very much!
The ride back was splendid. But then Jim had an issue with his back tire. I think it was out of true but we loosed his breaks so he could make it back. I hope it’s ok.
So, to another ride… a wonderful ride with great people, great conversation, a little food, a lot of accomplishment and hey…. It was cold and we were riding. Most people would stay in bed (I don’t blame them) but what a gorgeous day to be out riding!
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