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October 24, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

My 50-mile shopping trip, er, bike ride

This past weekend (Oct 20-22) I took part in the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia‘s (BCP) fall weekend, based in Hanover PA. It’s actually billed as the Hanover-Gettysburg weekend since, I guess, Gettysburg is a bigger draw than Hanover; plus, many of the rides go to Gettysburg, some exploring the battlefield.

Gettysburg was not that compelling for me.  It’s relatively easy to get to from Washington DC, and I’ve ridden there many times. So  I decided to head in the other direction, east to Loganville. Conveniently, a ride was scheduled to leave for Loganville at 9 AM on Saturday.  I had gotten up early and was ready to ride by 8 AM. Therefore, I decided to start with a small detour, heading into downtown Hanover, to explore. I had even planned where my route could intersect the ride route and hopefully join up with the group.

Early in the ride, I passed the R H Sheppard Diesel Museum (!!) which wasn’t open. It turns out it is only open by appointment, but it was an intriguing store front.

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My first real stop was the Hanover Market. It’s a farmers-market-plus, with nice produce, other food items (the best selection of rooibos teas I’ve ever seen) and some handcrafts. Purchases: one of those rooiboos teas, some Halloween candy for the group, and some non-pasteurized wildflower honey.  Who knew that most honey was pasteurized? And I was glad I decided to equip my bike with panniers to carry stuff.

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I left the market in time so that, if I hurried, I could make it to the corner where my route would intersect the ride route, just a little bit behind the ride. Alas, another distraction: just before that corner was a factory outlet for Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels. That’s a slight simplification: the factory outlet was for  Snyder’s Lance, a large conglomerate that owns Snyder’s Pretzels as well as lots of other cookies and snacks.  That explains why the building across the street said it was the Snyder’s Lance Research Facility.

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The walls are hung with the trademarks and packaging of sample products. When I questioned one of the sales clerks, “Really? Does Snyder’s of Hanover own Pepperidge Farm?”, I was corrected: Campell’s owns Pepperidge Farm; but it also owns Snyder’s of Hanover.

20181020_3_SnydersI sampled some pretzels-with-peanut-butter and bought some candies.  I had to resist buying a large package of pretzels to give out for trick-or-treat: although I could have carried it on today’s ride, I was also riding partway home from Hanover, with my panniers packed with the weekend’s clothes and sundries, so there would have been no room for the pretzels. Rats.

After that little shopping excursion, there was no way I was going to catch the group ride, so I tootled along enjoying the scenery. The route didn’t actually go on the Heritage Rail Trail, but it paralleled it for a bit.  I happened to glance at the trail as I was passing Hanover Junction, and just had to take a picture of one of the sculptures (?), with my bike added for scale.

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I actually did see a group of cyclists as I was approaching the rest stop; it turns out it was a group of BCP riders that had left half-an-hour after the group I had wanted to join, and was going at a more relaxed pace. Anyhow, I ended up not having lunch at Brown’s Farm Market (too busy), but enjoying the free snacks (apple cider, various samples) and making another purchase: honey crisp apple sauce.

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I don’t know if I can count the next stop as part of my “shopping expedition” since the only thing purchased at Rutter’s was for immediate consumption: a sports drink.  I keep thinking that Rutter’s must somehow be related to Sheetz, since their color schemes are similar, but no; in fact, they are competitors.

The ride back to Hanover was west-by-southwest, which seemed to be exactly the direction the headwind was coming from. So, it was nice to stop at Sonnewald Natural Foods.  Even nicer, they were selling a brand of protein powder I had been wanting to try — Whole Foods stocks it, but only in one flavor in a giant-size package. Sonnewald had multiple flavors in single-serve packs. Into the shopping basket and into the panniers.

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It was good to get back to the hotel, away from the wind. A very enjoyable ride, even using a detailed cue sheet and not 21st century technology. Thanks, BCP, for organizing this weekend.

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June 4, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

Yesterday’s Adventure/Misadventure

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Interesting day Sunday. I was attending a triathlon in Rock Hall MD.  (Not participating because of lack of training due to injuries, but my share in the AirBnB house had already been paid for.) Anyhow, I cheered on my teammates at the start and left for home around 10 AM.

Really bad news: When I got home and unpacked, I realized I had left my pocketbook at the house. I called my housemate, but she didn’t answer. I thought that maybe she had already left for home, since it was a sprint triathlon and the weather was so lousy.  So I started to drive back to the Eastern Shore. (My wallet and driver’s license were in my waist pack, which I was wearing.)

Mini bad news: The entry to the highway was blocked by an accident. I waited five minutes for it to be cleared and then got going.

Great news: About forty minutes later, my housemate called. She was at the house and found my pocketbook. We arranged for me to pick it up at her place when she got back to town.

Good news: Because of the delay caused by the accident, I was five minutes closer to home when I turned around. On the trip back, I stopped at the Wegman’s in Lanham MD, just 2 miles off route 50. So, I got in a trip to my favorite grocery store, which I had skipped on my first drive since it was raining so hard. And because routes 295 and 695 into DC were showing B-A-D traffic, and I was already off US-50, I explored a new, alternate route to get back into town, which worked out very well.

All told, I could have lived without this adventure/misadventure.

November 5, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

This past weekend’s goodies – I worked for them

On Saturday,  November 3, I marshaled WABA’s Apple Cider Ride, the long (“Honey Crisp”) version.  I got to the Dance Place early, signed in to get my marshal vest and first aid kit; had a cup of coffee; picked up a cue sheet; loaded the route into Ride with GPS (a backup never hurts); and hit the road.  It was my first time doing this ride, so I was looking forward to a relaxed ride in autumn weather, a combination of familiar streets and trails and maybe some new ones.

Marshaling is sometimes (ok, rarely) a free ride:  there are no mishaps along the route, no riders to help, either with advice, first aid, or bike repairs. That was not the case on this ride. The weather was lovely, but it had rained the day before and there were wet leaves on the trails. I witnessed the aftermaths of two accidents and was able to help out at the more serious one — a rider went down on a slippery, leaf-covered boardwalk. We called the EMTs and they were walking toward the accident site, carrying a stretcher, as I rode away.  (Other marshals were there helping the injured rider.)

The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Gorgeous scenery in neighborhoods and trails. A new trail (to me) – the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail. I stopped to help twice to help the same (!!) rider repair two flats.  (ATTN PEOPLE: I know that a pump weighs more than CO2 cartridges, but it doesn’t have a limited life span. And if you have deep-dish rims, either carry multiple tubes with long valves, be prepared to patch, or buy and carry a valve extender, so you can use a borrowed tube.)  But I did take time to stop at the two rest stops to enjoy hot apple cider and both the pumpkin and apple pies.  I earned those pies, pedaling into a fierce headwind from the west.

I was running a little behind schedule (had to be in Annapolis between 3 and 5), so I took a short-cut, missing the southern part of the East Anacostia River Trail, that I was fairly familiar with anyhow. But the bridge I took (Benning Bridge) happened to be the route of the 30-mile ride, so I was still doing marshal duty, and was able to reassure riders that, yes, that road would get them to the Dew Drop Inn for the post-ride celebration.  I was sorry to miss that celebration. Maybe next year.  This ride is definitely a keeper.  I didn’t get a T-shirt, but I did end up with two engraved cups — which have carabiners as handles, so people could carry them hooked to their seat post rails.

The reason for the trip to Annapolis was to pick up my packet for the Annapolis Bridge 10k Run, scheduled for the next day, Sunday, November 5. Packet pickup was at the US Navy-Marine Corp Stadium, which gave me a chance to figure out where I needed to be the next morning, to catch a bus to the run’s actual starting point, at the foot of the western side of the bridge.

The run/walk has something like 20,000 participants. Since I was in a late wave (9 AM; the first wave starts at 7), I figured I would bike to the start, since there probably wouldn’t be parking spots left anyhow by the time I got there.  That strategy worked out. What looked like every yellow school bus in Anne Arundel and the adjacent counties must have been hired to shuttle people between the meeting places and the race start. By 8 AM I was on a bus,  and by 8:30 I exiting the start corral and starting to run.  (Going with an earlier wave is evidently ok, not like more tightly controlled triathlons I’ve been in.)

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One span of the bridge is closed to traffic and open for the race. There were police, EMTs, and water supplies stationed along that span and the 1+ mile the race extends to Chesapeake College on the eastern shore.

Once again, I lucked out with the weather. The wind had died down, the sun was bright, I even managed to have just the right combination of clothes. Racers were all considerate of the crowd, and there was very little jostling, just careful passing, stopping to enjoy the views. The bridge is ramped, but the highest point isn’t in the middle of the bridge, but closer to the western shore — that must be where the deepest part of the bay is. So, a level start to get to the bridge is followed by a less-than-2-mile uphill, which is followed by a more-than-2-mile downhill, which is followed by a level 1+-mile run to get to the finish. The run is 6.2 miles, but the width of the bay at that point is “only” 4.4 miles.  (Sigh, which I know because friends with  different sports training regimens have swum across  it.)

Anyhow, I collected my finisher’s medal  and some free food (Dole must have been a sponsor; the peach and mango in coconut water is really good) and walked around the grounds, checking out the food trucks and exhibitors.  The long-sleeved event T-shirts had some of the nicest graphics I’ve seen on event T-shirts.

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I then headed for the bus to get back to Annapolis. A great way to spend an early November Sunday morning.

September 26, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

Bike Maine 2018-née-2016 – Days 3 and 4

Day 3 (Sept 10) – Machias to Eastport (59 miles)

The Bike Maine route makes quite a large loop to the north to avoid busy roads.  I tried to find an alternate route, to cut down the mileage a little, to have a bit more time in Eastport.  That didn’t work — cutting down the mileage any appreciable amount would have meant too much time on US-1.  However, we lucked out: My shortcut happened to be on US Bicycle Route 1,  (also the East Coast Greenway‘s Downeast route), so we followed their markings until the route reconnected with the Bike Maine route.  Sigh. Ended up 2 miles shorter than the original route.

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This was also the first day we encountered the Down East Sunrise Trail.  If you go into Google Maps and ask for a bike route between Machias and Eastport, most of the route will be on this trail. I wouldn’t recommend it for road bikes or it you want to get anywhere reasonably fast — it’s gravel.

The description of the Sunrise Trail says, “The route is very remote and has few road crossings.” The same held true for out route, even though it was on roads.  We carried water and food to last the entire day, stopping to eat on the shores of a lake north of Marion and on the (shaded) steps of the town hall on the corner where our route rejoined the Bike Maine route.

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We saw the first store of the day in Perry, where our route crossed US-1, but that too close to the end of the ride to stop. However, the ride from that point was fascinating — we were the only people on the Sipayik Trail, then passed through the Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point Reservation, where an election is going on. From there, it was onto the main road into Eastport and to our B&B, about 1/2 mile from the historic town center.

We walked into town to see the sculpture, Nature’s Grace, and for dinner. The recommended restaurant Quoddy Bay Lobster was closed, but we had a good dinner at the Happy Crab.

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Day 4 (Sept 11) – Eastport to Lubec (5 miles)

It was raining when we got up, with rain predicted for most of the day. We had previously told our host that we wanted to get an early start and would look for breakfast in town. So, we headed out, in all our rain gear.

The two recommended places, Dastardly Dick’s Wicked Good (Coffee) and  Moose Island Bakery, weren’t serving cooked breakfast. (They may have been recovering from Pirates Weekend, the previous weekend.) So, we went to the WaCo Diner.  I walked in a few minutes before Joan, and immediately asked the counter person two questions: “May I please see a menu?” and “Is there anyone here who could give two bicyclists and their bicycles a ride to Lubec?” I wasn’t hopeful, but as we sat down for breakfast, Vic and Ronnie walked over. Vic said he had a large pickup truck with a rear seat, was retired with nothing to do that day, and would love to give us a ride. Deal! Half an hour later, after a good Maine breakfast, we were on our way.

Vic and Ronnie were two more people who had passed through Arlington VA on their way to Maine. Vic was a retired government employee, having worked for the Park Service. One of his sons was in the Coast Guard, had previously worked at the USCG station in Eastport and retired there. Vic and Ronnie had visited while he was here, liked the place, and also retired there.

It’s a good thing we got that ride, because not only did the rain not let up, but a portion of US-1 that we would have had to ride on was under construction. The road surface was fairly unagreeable in a truck; I’m glad I didn’t have to experience it on a bike.

At 9 in the morning, we didn’t expect to be able to check into our hotel, Cohill’s Inn. However, the owner, Glenn, was working in the adjoining restaurant.  He showed us where to store our bikes (sheltered) and gear, told us where we could get a cup of coffee, and moved our room up on the list of rooms to be cleaned.  We also inspected the other bicycles in evidence — two Moots bikes, owned by Glenn, and the Co-motion tandem with a trailer, ridden by the couple I had met two days before!

After drying off a little we walked along the harbor to Inn on the Wharf for (a second) breakfast. (Ok, coffee.)

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When we got back, we met Ellen, Glenn’s wife.  She got us our room key  and also lent us Patagonia rain gear, which came in very handy for the rest of the day.  After drying off (again) and putting on the additional rain gear, we walked along Water Street  to the hardware store, post office and library; went back to Inn on the Wharf for lunch; then got on our bicycles for a ride to Canada – Campobello Island Roosevelt International Park.

The Roosevelt “cottage” on Campobello Island is magnificent! Our tour was led by a 6th generation resident of the island, very proud of that and of the island’s history. Definitely worth the short ride in the rain and the border crossing.

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On the way back to the hotel, we stopped off at the Lubec sculpture, with a  view of the inlet and the bridge to Campobello Island, and the Hannaford’s market for provisions.

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Dinner was across the street from the hotel at the Water Street Cafe — where everyone hangs out, since it is the only place in town open for dinner on Tuesdays. Another excellent Maine meal.

September 24, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

Bike Maine 2018-née-2016 – Days 1 and 2

Day 1 (Sept 8): Winter Harbor to Addison (51 miles)

We started our tour by going around the Schoodic Peninsula.  This is the peninsula just to the east of Mt Desert Island, but is also part of Acadia National Park.
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Bike Maine 2016 was based at the Schoodic Institute, so this was part of the route. Visiting the Schoodic Institute was also required because it is the on the Maine Sculpture Trail.  The trail, funded by the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium, includes several sculptures made of Maine granite, at sites throughout Downeast Maine.  Our goal was to see all of the sculptures that were in towns our route went through.  (The cue sheets included directions.) The first one, Tribute to Life, was on the grounds on the Institute.
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There were ups and downs on the ride, none extreme. It seems that each time we went to a scenic harbor — Birch Harbor, and an out-and-back to Corea — we went mostly down to get to the coast and most up riding back inland. Lots of the second half of the day was on US route 1; in places  it’s the only road that goes even remotely in the direction we wanted to go.  The shoulders were good, but the fast-moving four lanes of traffic were not exactly ideal. The alternate roads were much more pleasant to ride on — shade, sights, and almost no traffic, but had zero possible food or bathroom stops.
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We stopped to admire three more sculptures and their settings during today’s ride. Hmm, I think I’ll collect all of the photos of sculptures and put them on a separate page…
We ended the day at the Pleasant Bay B&B, on the east side of Pleasant Bay, south of Addison.  Like the Winter Harbor Inn, this is also two businesses-in-one, in this case, a B&B and a farm,  run by Joan & Jerry (who is known by the locals as one of the “Ol’ Professors”). The farm animals include llamas (4), horse (horses?), goats, and guinea fowl — trained to go into a coop at night, so they don’t get picked off by predator birds.
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We relaxed before dinner on a porch overlooking the lake. Since the B&B is several miles outside of town, our hosts drove to a nearby restaurant to pick up some dinner (for all of us).  Not a great dinner (they were out of some of our first choices), but filling. Then early to bed, and early to rise.

Day 2 (Sept 9): Addison to Machias (56 miles)

After a wonderful breakfast, we headed down to the road, retracing our steps along the lake shore, then got back on the original Bike Maine route. (Weird experience of cognitive dissonance at breakfast: We were served some delicious slices of salty, smoked fish. But it’s not “lox”, it’s “salmon” — no cream cheese or bagels in sight.)
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There were two Schoodic Sculptures today, in attractive settings in Jonesport and Machias. We passed through several working, lobstering communities, as attested by the lobster traps piled up by the sides of the road, and multiple boat repair stations and boat shops.
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We were looking for a place for lunch — Bayview restaurant in Jonesport is closed on Sundays! Rather than backtrack to Manaford’s Super Market, we found some convenience stores for snacks and the Swamp Yankee BBQ for lunch (back on route 1), just across the street from the Jonesboro Memorial Park.
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I did cut off an extra loop on the route, so was riding the last 15 or so miles by myself. I was tempted to take a shortcut off-route straight into Machias, but was glad I resisted.  The route went through Machiasport, with working harbors and gorgeous harbor views, before zigging into Machias. I also resisted stopping at Smoke Solutions, visible from where I turned toward Machiasport. It’s a newish store, taking advantage of the fact that cannabis usage and sale has been legal in Maine since early this year.
On this last leg, I met a couple wheeling a very nice Co-Motion tandem with a trailer attached.  They were taking this opportunity to walk the dog who usually rides in the trailer. They lived in New Hampshire (having moved there from Arlington 15 years ago) and were doing a short tour. Joan and I were staying at the Machias River Inn. The tandemers were staying at the other hotel in town (the Bluebird Inn).  We ended up eating at the same restaurant for dinner, the Bluebird Ranch. A wonderful Maine dinner, even though we had been planning to eat at Helen’s (alas, not open for dinner on Sundays.)

 

September 20, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

Bike Maine 2018-née-2016 – Preface

In September, 2016 Joan was planning to do Bike Maine 2016, a bike tour with group camping and community-supported rest stops and points of interest. However, a short time before the tour, she was injured in a bike crash, so couldn’t make it. Since then she’s recovered and is riding as strongly as (more strongly than?) ever. She decided that she really wanted to tour the parts of Downeast Maine featured in the tour.  When she asked me to ride with her, I dilly-dallied for a while, then said, “Yes, yes, absolutely yes”.
So there we were, east of Bar Harbor, on our way to a self-contained bike tour, more or less following the route of Bike Maine 2016, the Bold Coast.  Thank you, Joan, for booking our hotel and B&B stays, investigating places along the route to get food and water, and modifying the Ride with GPS routes to include these stops/waypoints.  And since it’s a looong drive to Maine, she figured we might as well include another bike ride before the tour — the Maine Lighthouse Ride, in South Portland.

Getting to Maine (Sept 5-6)

It took parts of three days to get to the starting point of our tour.  We left Arlington Wednesday early evening. From my days of going back and forth to NJ, I remembered a cluster of hotels just off the highway in Newark DE so we spent the night there.
In honor of the trip I downloaded Waze to my phone, and we used that (a learning experience) to navigate to Portland ME. Waze left us sitting in traffic for a short time at the GW Bridge, but the Tappan Zee looked like it might have been worse. With Waze’s help, we left the highway for lunch, so we got to explore Moe’s Southwest Grill somewhere in CT and get a Starbucks. The rest areas along the Merritt Parkway are cozy affairs, with limited choices, nothing like the behemoths along the NJ Turnpike.
We got to Portland in plenty of time to  explore —  visit a bike shop (me again; my front tire had a slow leak and I figured it was a good excuse to find a bike shop and buy a spare tube); walk around the Old Port, including passing some places mentioned in a recent NY Times article, and have dinner at J’s Oyster, followed by some wonderful soft serve blueberry ice cream from a nearby ice cream parlor. Little did I know (before this trip) that there is maple-syrup-flavored sports nutrition.
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Day 0 (Sept 7) – S Portland Lighthouse Tour (35 miles)

Our ride started from the 185 Pickett Street Cafe in South Portland, just across the street from  Southern Maine Community College.
We then headed to the “official” ride start,  a park overlooking Portland Harbor. The ride then goes several miles on a bike trail through a somewhat suburban S Portland. The highlight of this part is the ride were the Scape Goats, goats hired to eat away noxious plants (Scape goats — they do the landscaping, get it?).
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The ride then continues counter-clockwise around S Portland Island, through several communities. Each seemed to have its own post office and hotel. Some had lighthouses. Riding was mixed suburban to rural but delightful and low traffic. Highlights for me included:
  • The Market near Blue Point where I was able to buy The NY Times; I guess that says something about the socioeconomic status of Blue Point.
  • Meeting a police officer on a motorcycle patrolling in Scarborough. He was planning to do the actual 2018 version of the lighthouse ride, scheduled for the next day. Like many people we talked with, he had passed through the DC area before deciding to settle in Maine.
  • The views of the lighthouses and the coast of Maine, and trying to figure out where, precisely, on the coast of Maine we were looking. Especially striking were the lighthouse and view from Cape Elizabeth.
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After the ride we put the bikes back in the car and headed for Winter Harbor, the starting point of our tour.  The Winter Harbor Inn looks just like the pictures on its web site, except it’s for sale.  I hope the new owners are as gracious as the current owners — we met Arnie, his wife was away. In addition to the hotel, they also run a dog grooming business at the same location. Check-in and unpacking were followed by our second in-Maine dinner, at Chase’s.
August 27, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

This Weekend’s T-Shirts

I volunteered at two bike rides this weekend, both of which went out to Loudoun county, to Leesburg.

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On Saturday was Phoenix Bikes’ Kennan Garvey Memorial Ride. It’s several rides, of 15, 40, 65, 90  or 100 miles out-and-back on the W&OD Trail from Phoenix’s almost-open, brand new location at the Arlington Mill Community Center. I led the 65-miler, with 8 riders, out to Leesburg. Nice group — when I saw them; they were mostly ahead of me.  Great rest stops at bike shops along the way – Bikenetic (Falls Church), Green Lizard (Herndon – business was booming), and Plum Grove Cyclery (Leesburg).  And a check-in procedure, to ensure that everyone was accounted for.

On Sunday  I rode the Reston Bike Club’s century (ok, a shortened version of the metric century), after helping with early morning setup and registration. The route is an excellent exploration of the suburbs in eastern Loudoun county. The ride out to Leesburg was glorious — roads I hadn’t ridden before, because there’s too much traffic any time except 7 AM on a Sunday morning. A bit too much traffic on some roads on the return route. But many of the roads seem to have side bike paths — return trip needed to explore and ride these.

The Phoenix Bikes ride went past the Transition Triathlon shop on its way to and from Plum Grove Cyclery.  Alas, no opportunity on Saturday for shopping. No matter — that shop was the first rest stop on Sunday’s ride. I took some time to explore, had a great conversation with the staff, and found some items I’d actually been looking for. Hmm, another reason for that return trip to Leesburg…? this time with some leisure time and a bicycle that can easily carry shopping bags?

My only (minor) misgiving about doing the Reston ride: There is no way to take public transportation and get to Reston by 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning, so I DROVE! (The first 5A bus gets to Herndon at 6:11.) My car passed 12,000 miles on the way out. Didn’t want to stop on the Dulles Toll Road to document this milestone, so here it is, in the (free!) parking garage in Reston Town Center.

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August 18, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

My Summer Vacation – in New York City (with a stop at the beach on the way)

Say what? Who spends a summer vacation in Manhattan? Well, lots of European and Asian tourists.  And me. I have a resolution to practice my foreign languages, including French. I am also a film buff. And Film Forum was reopening after a renovation, with a festival of films by Jacques Becker, a director whose work I was vaguely familiar with and wanted to learn more about. So: Manhattan in August.

The Beach

As usual, my logistics were complicated. I originally planned to be in Manhattan from Monday through Friday, traveling by train. So, I booked a hotel, not outrageously expensive because credit card points were involved. However, then I heard from Allan, who lives in NY.  He was scheduled to do a bike ride, Bike to the Beach , to benefit autism research and treatment, the Friday before my scheduled NYC trip. He could stay at my house on Thursday night. We would do the ride, from DC to Dewey Beach DE, on Friday, with one of the ride coordinators driving his car. Then, he could give me a lift to NY after the ride. Sold.  It meant I had to ride my folding bike to the beach, for ease in getting it home from NYC, but I’ve ridden that bike on centuries before, so no big deal.  Even if I hadn’t ridden a century in, oh, six years.

Bike to the Beach was delightful. We left DC at 5 AM, riding with a police escort on roads I normally wouldn’t go near on a bicycle (Rhode Island Ave, Bladensburg Rd). We quickly got to PG and Anne Arundel counties, and my familiar route to Annapolis. Just after passing the Naval Academy magic occurs (ok, a lot of well planned logistics): the riders and bikes are loaded onto buses and trucks, respectively, to transport us over the Annapolis Bay Bridge. The ride starts again at Chesapeake Community College in Wye Mills.  Since we were marshals, helping and encouraging riders along the way, and I’m a pretty slow rider anyhow, we were toward the back of the group. This had the advantage that, somehow, we missed the three very localized rain storms that hit faster riders! Anyhow, we got to Dewey Beach some time after 4, put on clean clothes, including our Yes She Can T-shirts (the organization which Allan supports), hung around for the group photo, then hit the road.YesSheCan

The Weekend Hotel

Next logistics adjustment: There were no rooms at my previously booked hotel at a reasonable price for the weekend. So I booked a  room for Friday through Monday at old reliable, the Jane Hotel. Great place — teensy rooms,  the bathroom down the hall. But clean and secure. They provide robes and slippers. And the TV, air conditioning, and wi-fi work.

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Summer Streets and Citi Bike

When I’m in the city, I typically leave my bike in left luggage or in my hotel room and use a Citi Bike. However, on Saturday morning the rain finally caught up to me, so I took a subway to Park Ave and the 20s, where Allan and some other friends from the Five Boro Bike Club were running a bike repair station at Summer Streets.   And just across the street from their booth was a booth for Citi Bike, where I splurged and bought a yearly membership.  Later that morning the rain stopped, so I got in a ride up Park Ave until heading downtown and west for my first movie at Film Forum.

NYC

The  six days I was in NYC consisted of some combination of the following activities:

  • Go for a short, exploratory run and find an interesting place for breakfast. My favorite runs and breakfast spots were downtown, along the Westside Greenway and back uptown through SoHo and Tribeca.  Sure beat the mid-town runs, which crossed over access ramps to both the Lincoln and Midtown Tunnels.
  • See a movie (or two)
  • See friends I normally wouldn’t see in DC (combine with a movie if possible, but usually wasn’t; alas, most friends are not that interested in French movies from the 40s and 50s. So, typically combined with lunch or dinner.)
  • Do a little work (ok, not on the weekend)
  • Explore new neighborhoods and places to eat; revisit old haunts. Sometimes combined with the morning run, but also done on bike or just plain walking.

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The Films

I didn’t quite make my quota. On my schedule, I had listed 8 Jacques Becker films for the 6 days. I only got to 7. However, I did see a bonus (French!) film at the Metrograph, a new (to me) repertory movie house. A great review in the New Yorker  really helped my appreciation of what I was seeing, and its historical context. By far my favorite was Le Trou — The Shawshank Redemption for grown-ups. I also loved Casque d’Or, but I’d seen it already.

8/4/18 Film Forum Edouard and Caroline 1951 historical interest mostly
8/5/18 Metrograph Un Second Souffle 1978 Gerard Blaine; Robert Stack
8/5/18 Film Forum Antoine and Antoinette 1949 Good observations, locations
8/6/18 Film Forum Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves 1954 Fernandel; great locations, interesting story, so-so
8/7/18 Film Forum Arsene Lupin 1957 It would help to be French
8/8/18 Film Forum Le Trou 1960 Excellent prison film
8/8/18 Film Forum Casque d’Or 1952 Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani
8/9/18 Film Forum Goupi Mains Rouges 1943 French peasants; trenchant

Bicycling

All transportation was via Citi Bike. By the middle of the week, I was signed up as a bike angel. By the end of the week, I had earned a free day pass. Purely by accident — I was bicycling between very busy stations, at very busy times of the day.

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The volume of bicycle, car, and pedestrian traffic in midtown Manhattan is astounding. The size of the Citi Bike docking stations, likewise. When I got back to DC, I was in a bit of a shock — it was too quiet. But, alas, some things — transportation-wise — are the same in both cities.

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