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  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    'Little' Darwin and The Historian

    I had the pleasure of riding with the 50+ forum's Little Darwin this morning and afternoon on the Schuylkill River Trail. We rode from Audubon to Conshohocken and back, a distance of a bit more than 20 miles, followed by another two or so miles off the trail to the Perkiomen Cafe for lunch. The threatened rain held off, despite an at times forbidding sky, and the temperature reached 70 degrees.

    I feel a bit guilty this evening for dragging Darwin down from his home to ride today. I'm so used to pushing myself hard I didn't realize that I was leading a demanding ride for my guest. We had scheduled 50 miles, from Audubon to Philadelphia and back, but this only Darwin's second ride in six months. Add in the fact that he's 80 pounds heavier than me, and we both saw it as a good decision to turn around early.

    Darwin has a good sense of humor, and he seemed to spark me to wit as well. Since the return leg from Conshohocken to Audubon is on a slight upgrade, and today into a headwind, I pulled and Darwin drafted. This led to a lot of good natured kidding about pacelines. "We are a new entry in the Guinness Book of World Records - World's Widest Paceline" I said.

    My new friend has big goals for 2008, including riding his first century. With determination and saddle time, I'm sure he'll get there.

    Speaking of goals, to turn this ride into training for me, I rode from my home to the trailhead, 14 miles one way. Aside from someone in a red SUV screaming at me "Get on the sidewalk", it was an uneventful ride in.

    Going home after seeing Little Darwin off was another matter. I rode strongly along the new extension to the SRT, and reached Phoenixville with energy to spare. However, the big lunch I ate at the Perkiomen Cafe - turkey hoagie with lots of onions, french fries, Diet Coke - soon enough made me queasy, and all the miles began to tell on me. I did poorly on the local hills on my way home, and the energy tank hit empty as I reached my driveway. Seven more miles and a fraction would have made the ride a metric century. Had it been two or three miles, I would have gotten back on the bike and secured the metric mark. But I thought about seven more miles as I sat in my easy chair, and didn't move.

    54.48 miles total.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a great day. I think it's only a little over 100 miles to our house. We'll drive you home.

  3. #3
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    I just read in our newspaper last week they are extending the trail to Hamburg. Eventually to Pottsville. The trail will be 120 miles. I will be able to ride down along the river and meet you guys.

    RonL

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonL View Post
    I just read in our newspaper last week they are extending the trail to Hamburg. Eventually to Pottsville. The trail will be 120 miles. I will be able to ride down along the river and meet you guys.

    RonL
    One day, perhaps. Don't expect it anytime soon.

  5. #5
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I had a great time on the ride. My second this year (the only other was 1.14 miles on Thursday that was shortened by road rash).

    I was OK with the road rash, no issues there, but as soon as I got on the saddle I felt a little tenderness, and then it went away as the first couple of miles went by. Probably also aided by good conversation.

    By the time we got back, I was needing to take far too frequent breaks due to saddle related tenderness, and just flat running out of gas. Neil was very accomodating with my lack of conditioning (both fitness and saddle toughening) and was a great joy to ride with.

    I was so exhausted that I was using my lowest gear on a virtually flat road against a very mild heqad wind for the last several miles...

    Now, after some healing time, I will be back on the road, and building up my mileage... Next time I meet with The Historian (or anyone else) I will be able to go farther... and with less fatigue.

    We did get someone to take our picture at the end of the ride, and I will post it tomorrow...

    Thanks for the fun ride Neil! You didn't push me too hard, but you did push me hard enough!

    I think I now have more miles in 2008 than I had in all of 2007... A good start!
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonL View Post
    I just read in our newspaper last week they are extending the trail to Hamburg. Eventually to Pottsville. The trail will be 120 miles. I will be able to ride down along the river and meet you guys.

    RonL
    It sounds like we need to make a 50+ BF summer get together along this route. As the Historian knows, I live just a few blocks from one of the entrance points to the trail. Hmmmm, a bunch of us riding together at just about the time the Pro teams arrive in Philadelphia this summer. I wonder if we'd be mistaken for one of the teams if we all wore 50+ jerseys?
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    It sounds like we need to make a 50+ BF summer get together along this route. As the Historian knows, I live just a few blocks from one of the entrance points to the trail. Hmmmm, a bunch of us riding together at just about the time the Pro teams arrive in Philadelphia this summer. I wonder if we'd be mistaken for one of the teams if we all wore 50+ jerseys?
    Little Darwin and I are members of Team Clydesdale, a team in the MS City to Shore September 27-28. Currently the team is entirely composed of Bike Forums members. We might have jerseys by then. Look for the thundering herd!

  8. #8
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    It sounds like we need to make a 50+ BF summer get together along this route. As the Historian knows, I live just a few blocks from one of the entrance points to the trail. Hmmmm, a bunch of us riding together at just about the time the Pro teams arrive in Philadelphia this summer. I wonder if we'd be mistaken for one of the teams if we all wore 50+ jerseys?
    Don't forget us out-of-towners when you schedule these rides. Who knows....we just might be in the area when one occurs. I've missed the Historian on two trips to Philly.....maybe the 3rd time is the charm.
    =============================================================

    Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
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  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    Don't forget us out-of-towners when you schedule these rides. Who knows....we just might be in the area when one occurs. I've missed the Historian on two trips to Philly.....maybe the 3rd time is the charm.
    Bev is such a tease!

  10. #10
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Bev is such a tease!
    I won't ride if you include that D*MN bridge.....I never want to see that thing again
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    Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
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  11. #11
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    I won't ride if you include that D*MN bridge.....I never want to see that thing again
    Ah, the "Betzwood Boardwalk", the pedestrian/bike bridge over the Schuylkill River between Betzwood and Valley Forge National Historic Park. Rt. 422 on one side, and a 100 foot drop to the river on the other. I led a friend across it one morning. I didn't know he had a fear of heights. He refused to cross it again and we spent two hours working our way back to our cars via the local and hilly roads.

  12. #12
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    Little Darwin, congrats to the great start of the 08 riding season. The more you ride, and the more often you ride, the easier it will become.
    REI carries Some good butt creams that will help you if the tenderness in the buttockal region developes into something more serious.
    Hat's off to you both for riding yesterday as it wasn't the nicest of days in the Philly area. I went out in the morning after hearing the forcast poor conditions for afternoon and that the wind was only 6 mph out of the west. 6 MPH my butt!!! More like 26 mph! Anyway I cut my own ride short because of the wind and did only a fraction of what you two did, 14 miles. Of course yeasterday was easier than last Sunday's ride, 40 dgrees, 30 mph winds ,and stinging rain. When the schedule says ride, I ride.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jay68442's Avatar
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    Hey Guys,
    I’m not sure if you know about a group ride every Saturday morning that leaves from downtown Wilkes-Barre. Since Little Darwin is from Wilkes-Barre I thought he might be interested. The group leaves from Around Town Bicycles on North main St. I rode with the group for the first time this past Saturday. The ride was 22 miles with some climbing but not too much. I wasn’t able to keep up with the group for the most part but they never let me get too far behind. It’s a great group of people and I look forward to next week’s ride. Here is their website http://www.atownbikes.com
    If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away. ~ Tung-Shan

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay68442 View Post
    Hey Guys,
    Iím not sure if you know about a group ride every Saturday morning that leaves from downtown Wilkes-Barre. Since Little Darwin is from Wilkes-Barre I thought he might be interested. The group leaves from Around Town Bicycles on North main St. I rode with the group for the first time this past Saturday. The ride was 22 miles with some climbing but not too much. I wasnít able to keep up with the group for the most part but they never let me get too far behind. Itís a great group of people and I look forward to next weekís ride. Here is their website http://www.atownbikes.com
    It's up to Darwin. If he wants to invite me up, I'm willing to come. I'd probably need a place to crash, since I work second shift and I live three hours away.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    I was so exhausted that I was using my lowest gear on a virtually flat road against a very mild heqad wind for the last several miles...
    I'm looking forward to the picture.

    It's early in the season and those headwinds can be tough. I rode Saturday morning with 15-20 mph headwinds for the last 7 miles and they were the longest miles I've encountered recently
    =============================================================

    Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
    -- Antonio Smith

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverly View Post
    I'm looking forward to the picture.
    So am I. Hurry, Darwin, hurry!

  17. #17
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    So am I. Hurry, Darwin, hurry!
    OK.... here it is...

    In spite of the sour look on my face, I wasn't eating lemons, and alos was happy to be there.

    It was a worthwhile trip and ride!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

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  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    OK.... here it is...

    In spite of the sour look on my face, I wasn't eating lemons, and alos was happy to be there.

    It was a worthwhile trip and ride!
    I almost look like a 'normal' person. And my shoulders are level! YES!YES!YES!

    Little things make me happy, folks.

  19. #19
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay68442 View Post
    Hey Guys,
    Iím not sure if you know about a group ride every Saturday morning that leaves from downtown Wilkes-Barre. Since Little Darwin is from Wilkes-Barre I thought he might be interested. The group leaves from Around Town Bicycles on North main St. I rode with the group for the first time this past Saturday. The ride was 22 miles with some climbing but not too much. I wasnít able to keep up with the group for the most part but they never let me get too far behind. Itís a great group of people and I look forward to next weekís ride. Here is their website http://www.atownbikes.com
    Hey Jay,

    I spend enough time over with Tom and Rich that when I don't come in for a couple of months they ask me where I have been... Rich has my mountain bike frame now to install the headset and BB.

    I have never been on their rides because I am never sure I can deal with it, even though I know I could find my way home anyway.

    I do plan on riding this year. I missed the initial ride because I hadn't been out on a bike yet, and the second week I was riding with Neil.

    I may try it this weekend... I haven't looked at their site yet to see what this ride will be, but I know they get progressively harder.

    On this past week's ride, when you crossed the river from Nanticoke to West Nanticoke, did you stay on route 11, or take the left "turn" that bypasses the on ramps and off ramps? I suspect that for a group ride you avoided the turn, since it might be difficult to maneuver as a group.

    The reason I ask is that if you took the left fork, you passed right along my back yard. If you stayed on Route 11, you missed my place by 100 yards or so. I live right off where Southbound 11 comes for the triangle formed by the junction of 11 and 29.

    I am thinking of putting a sign in my backyard to encourage sharing the road... so if you ride in the area much, you will hopefully see it (if I ever get one).

    Have you gone in the shop and seen any of Rich's work? The last time I looked he had one of his frames on the wall... I'm not sure if it is a tourer or cyclocross (he was busy, so I didn't ask) but it was set up with cantilever bosses.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  20. #20
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I almost look like a 'normal' person. And my shoulders are level! YES!YES!YES!
    Neil,

    You are almost like a normal person!
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
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  21. #21
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    It's up to Darwin. If he wants to invite me up, I'm willing to come. I'd probably need a place to crash, since I work second shift and I live three hours away.
    We'll have to work something out Neil... Once I get my place in order, you can crash at my place.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
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  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    Neil,

    You are almost like a normal person!
    Not quite. Sadly, I am still a chess historian.....

  23. #23
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    You can ride the trail from Pottstown into Reading. Then up the Union Canal Towpath Trail to Blue Marsh Dam. They are working on the extension of that trail from its present end to the stilling basin below Blue Marsh Dam breast.

    There is no trail from Reading to Hamburg. That is still in the thinking stage.

    The Bartram Trail starts at the desilting basin on the Schuylkill just North of Hamburg. It runs about 9 miles up through the state game lands and state forest land to the old railroad bridge just below Auburn. The trail is wide and paved with stone dust. They ran out of funds so they could not finish the old railroad bridge into Auburn. To get a road into Auburn from the end of the trail you have to cross land owned by the Auburn Fish And Game Club. The land is posted but some cross the land anyway. There is about 1.5 miles of trail done near Landingville. They need about two miles of trail to connect Auburn with Landingville.

    But In Berks and Schuylkill counties the trail has some real rough spots that require wide tires.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Jay68442's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    On this past week's ride, when you crossed the river from Nanticoke to West Nanticoke, did you stay on route 11, or take the left "turn" that bypasses the on ramps and off ramps? I suspect that for a group ride you avoided the turn, since it might be difficult to maneuver as a group.
    To be honest I have no idea what roads we took. I am pretty new to the area and most of what we rode was new to me.
    If you look for the truth outside yourself, it gets farther and farther away. ~ Tung-Shan

  25. #25
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay68442 View Post
    To be honest I have no idea what roads we took. I am pretty new to the area and most of what we rode was new to me.
    If you plan to be there this week, I will probably be hanging off the back of the pack with you... or maybe even further back, especial;ly if you stay up this week.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
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