Thursday, April 10, 2014

Remington and the C & O by Bike

Saturday was a bright and breezy day with plenty of blues skies and sunshine, so I drove down to Remington for a bike ride. There are a few rides in that locale mapped out and I planned on doing two of the smaller ones, totaling about 20 miles. I unloaded my bike and started pedaling out in the country lanes, enjoying the peace and quiet.
That was until I came close to a gun club. I'd heard the shots and was a little nervous about stray bullets putting an end to my ride. But the club seemed to be focusing on clay shooting and with the guns pointing upwards my worries passed.
I kept going, noticing that whatever direction I traveled in the wind seemed to be against me but it wasn't cold and it was heaven to have the roads to myself. I came to some traffic lights and dismounted, checking my map and seeing that I'd need to cross the busy Rte 29 to continue on quieter roads. But as I climbed back on my bike I noticed immediately that I had a flat rear tire. I then realized that I hadn't checked the air in my tires before I'd set out and assumed the tire had just run down. There was an ice cream parlor across the road and so I pushed my bike over there asking folks if anyone had a bicycle pump. No one did, I guess ice cream and cycling don't go hand in hand. But very fortunately for me, although I'd cycled about 5 miles, it was only 2 miles back to the car so I walked. I carry a tiny pump with an air canister in my emergency bag attached to my bike seat but didn't want to use that unnecessarily. Back at the car I pumped up the tire but it went down again, this was a puncture.
So goodbye Remington, until another day. I loaded the bike back on the car and headed to my bike shop in Warrenton where they found a huge piece of glass in the tire. With a new inner tube in place I drove home, not really too upset as I had another bike ride arranged the next day.
On Sunday, I met with friends at Brunswick. Today I was riding my other bike with hybrid tires as we were cycling along the C & O canal path to Shepherdstown, WV. We met at Beans in the Belfry, a wonderful cafe that offered a fabulous breakfast and coffee. The cafe is a restored 100 year old church full of comfy chairs and sofas and interesting antiques, as well as a superb selection of teas and coffees.
The crew gearing up for our ride. With bellies full of tea, coffee and breakfast sandwiches, we started on the trail, immediately pedaling through beautiful woodlands along the Potomac River.
After a few miles we came to Harpers Ferry and I had to take a photo of poor Ed's seat. Absolutely rigid and unforgiving, compared with Margie's pad of comfort in the background.. The poor guy was already complaining and we had a ways to go.
A quick drink stop and a chance to fiddle with seat posts, gloves, remove jackets, etc. We were amazed at how empty the trail was, we had it to ourselves for most of the ride. Rob, above, chose to ride down a hill while Jason in the background took the flat route!
The white sycamores looked beautiful in the bright sunshine and buds of bushes were popping out in the hedgerows. We arrived at Shepherdstown, instantly recognizable by the Bavarian Inn on the river bank. We rode into town and stopped at the Blue Moon Cafe.
A quaint little restaurant with a place to park our bikes and a gorgeous collection of blue glass.
Emily trying to get a photo of Jason's trendy wrap around sunglasses.
The food here was amazing and they also had a great beer menu. I was very cautious and chose just a taco salad with 1 beer, envying Richard's choice of a beef and brie sandwich with fries and 2 beers. There was no way I could have continued the ride having consumed all that but I was envious. Ed, above, looked pretty content with his large burger too.
After our meal we hopped on the bikes and started our ride back. I was grateful that I'd chosen wisely at lunch and kept sneaking looks at Richard but he showed no signs of discomfort.
Jason was just in front of me when his rear wheel went flat with a loud explosion. Completely undaunted he flipped the bike over and had the inner tube replaced, tire pumped up and the bike ready to ride in under 10 minutes. No wonder he's known as a Bike Master.
We all stopped for this deer. Two of her friends had crossed the path in front of us so we halted to let her join them.
Completely unfazed she trotted across the trail and into the undergrowth.
The shadows were getting longer as we neared the end. Richard and I rode along together for a while. This had been a great day. We'd all kept up with each other and it had been so nice to ride with one person to chat and then another, or even to push on alone for a bit. We all got back to the car park at the same time and heeding Jason's advice of doing some stretching exercises, Emily and I laid on the ground and wiggled our arms and legs. We'd done about 38 miles in all, which wasn't bad for a first proper ride of the year. Stopping at Beans in the Belfry again, we had more coffee with a delicious blueberry and lemon meringue, having well earned the right to consume some extra calories. After goodbyes I managed to get home before dark and was grateful at having done those stretches. I didn't have a single aching muscle the next morning!

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