I spent most of the day yesterday riding to Downtown Indy and back with Mike McDowell of Valley Bikes, my genial host in this fine city, Jim Muellner, the chairman of the NBG riding cadre, several of Mike's riding buddies, his son Drew, and Holly, Drew's girlfriend. As the only representative of the upright riding community, I felt like Gulliver among his literary acquaintances of less vertical stature.
On our way back from the ceremony to recognize the miles that Jim and I, and, by extension, all the other NBG riders put in for the cause we passed two young racers on their very sleek machines. One fellow was sporting his Lance-jersey-replica and the other guy looked like a setting sun with loads of yellows and oranges. I had just given them the polite nod I offer to all passing riders, when one of the fellows told Mike to "get a horse!"
This kind of bias has no place in the bicycling world. It seems counter productive to the whole point of biking. Aren't we all out there together, equally vulnerable to cars, trucks, and other vehicular traffic? Isn't the point of cycling to enjoy the rush of the passing air, the kiss of the sun, the community of riders, and the blessing of a life in which we are healthy enough to be able to ride a bike?
(Anyway, I did try to race briefly--albeit unsuccessfully--with Mike's son Drew on his sleek, laid back Harmon recumbent. There aren't many racers who could stay with him when he puts the hammer down!)
Racing wasn't the point of this ride, however. Celebrating our purpose and thinking about the relationships between cycling, a cleaner world, safer communities, and alternatives to snarled rush hours was! And Indianapolis, on the eve of the 500, turned out to be the perfect place to show this! Our little crew of decked out recumbents turned quite a few heads as we circled the bricks
surrounding the magnificent statue at the heart of the city.
The downtown was full of preparations for today's parade for the cars and riders. There were sculptures throughout the city center of Indy race cars painted in various themes: A Mondrian inspired primary geometric pattern, a landscape of the track and the surrounding city, and many, many more!
I noticed an interesting artistic counterpoint on the Monon trail heading home from the small reception the NBG crew was given by the representatives of the
mayor's office. Along the trail north from downtown, there was a series of murals painted by various artists on the theme of Nature in Indy.
One of the panels still fills my head with its message. Clustered around a tranquil pool, at the heart of an intimate, shaded glade, crouched a large frog, a boy, and a woman. The woman, wearing a garland of leaves, was in the center of the trio. She clearly represented the spirit of the natural world--what we call Mother Nature. The boy was to her left; and the frog, to her right. All three beings were viewing their own reflections in the pool. The spirit/dryad/Mother Nature figure saw only herself. The boy's reflection was the frog; the frog's double, the boy!
Just as we are linked to the world of fauna, the world of animals is also linked to
us. Our identity is reflected in the care we take of this world with which we have been entrusted. This link that we share with other species passes straight through the spirit of the Earth. Without conscious contemplation of the societal manifestations of this sacred relationship, the link, the spirit, and the Earth itself, will eventually perish. And once the Earth perishes...you and I and everyone that ever was will pass into oblivion as well.
One way for cities to evidence respect and consideration of this is to provide funding for resources like Indianapolis' Monon Trail. This trail journeys north from the downtown and covers at least 15 miles of changing neighborhoods, busy streets, shopping districts, and the yards of many families. Many stores and businesses support themselves and their employees on the happy stream of citizens that travel this Greenway. Supporting development like this is the reason why I chose to ride 230 miles from Columbus to Indy as part of the National Bicycle Greenway Mayor's Ride!
This slow, leisurely ride with new friends on their really cool recumbents symbolized all that we are trying to do on the NBG. The location was stunning. We rode 34 miles through Indy, nearly all of it on scenic bikeways! We passed mural after mural, a 15 ft. tall angel formed from natural fibre, gardens, rivers, canal paths, turtles, herons, canoe rental stores, pubs, restaurants, and excited children on field trips. Many of the homeowners whose yards abut the trail have erected patios, gazebos, or other structures that make this trail truly a collective work of art, urban planning, and--more importantly--a vision on which other cities can build. (I heard that one friendly homeowner put an airhose in his backyard for passers by!) It was a humbling, liberating, moving and supremely powerful ride. Throughout nearly all of the trail, there was a tangible spirit of community, as Indy's populace exercised and traveled together.
Mike summed it all up when he kept telling me: "It's only a matter of time!"
While he was teasing me about eventually choosing a recumbent over an upright, his statement can be applied to the whole point of life. The Earth cannot wait forever for us, her stewards, to learn how to take better care of her. We must each do what we feel able to, what moves our hearts, what races our pulses, what fills our time here with meaning, purpose, and vision. For me, it was riding to Indianapolis as part of the NBG!
Hi Everyone: The group rode 20 miles from Valley Bikes (http://valleybikes.com), led by shop owner, Mike McDonald. There were several dedicated customers, his son Drew and his girl friend, Holly. Of course Fred Kirchner and I tried to keep up. We started out on the Monan rail-to-trail route, then switched to the Central Canal Towpath along a canal that had been dug to move goods, similar to the C&O Tow path out of DC. There were ducks, especially colorful wood ducks, gophers, geese and the other trail users were a joy to see and talk to.
Along the Monon trail the neighbors have become very innovative. One set up an air hose, water and a little shelter to fix bikes. Another has made an angel out of vines and branches -- they even light it up at night. It is about 15 feet tall, beautiful and I got a picture.
The trail does not go directly into downtown yet, so we wound through a variety of traffic, barricades and bleachers. The city was getting ready for the Indy 500 parade on Saturday. This is a very big event here.
At City Hall, we were honored to have been greeted by a charming young woman who is in charge of PR for the Parks and Rec Dept. They even have a whole department for Indy Greenways ( http://indygreenways.com ed). I do believe that of all the cities I have been in that this is the most impressive. Mainly due to the business that have developed along the trails and are demonstrating what an asset biking can be to a community. Communities that are resisting or just not developing are missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. People will be spending their money in communities that are user friendly and Indy sure is.
Mike treated us all to a lunch downtown, we took a few rides around Monument circle and headed back to Carmel where his shop is located.
Having earlier retrieved my truck from Columbus while I laid over in Indy, I agreed to give Fred a ride with his bike to Richmond to look for his lost wallet. He loaded his bike and we were off. It renewed our faith in mankind again as we drove up to the shop where he thought he had left it and the woman greeted him with a smile and his billfold.
It was late so we decided to eat dinner before he started biking the last 100 miles. We had fun talking to the waitress about our crazy ride. Fred checked over his bike and looked for his helmet. No helmet, he had forgotten it back in Carmel. As we were standing next to his bike a customer who had been listening to us inside walked up. "I am a biker too", he said with a smile. We explained our dilemma when he proclaimed, "I am driving that big truck over there and have my helmet with me. You can use it and just send it back when you get home". Robin Sansom runs Conundrum Cycling, Inc. out of Gainesville, Fl. He proved to me again that their is a bond between all bikers around the world.
Fred was off to Columbus and I was off to Indy. Could not believe how many times I had been between Columbus along Hwy 40 this week.
Tomorrow I am off to try and catch part of the huge Indy 500 parade.
Love to all, Jim
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Fred Kirchner, our graduate student who is going for a second masters, made it into Indianapolis late last nite. He'll be with Jim Muellner, who also rode from Columbus (in four days instead of two), at Indianapolis city hall today with a bunch of riders from Valley Bikes http://valleybikes.com for National Bicycle Greenway Day there. In the great writing below, you will see what it took him to get there. He closes with an awesome poem:
After spending two days quoting Frost, I thought I'd start today with the much
maligned words of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a Victorian novelist. (If you do a
google search under his name, I bet you'll find some hilarious entries to the
Edward Bulwer Lytton contest, which challenges writers to come up with the
worst opening sentences to the worst imaginary novels of all time!).
Anyway...Am writing this message from paradise. I spent last night sleeping
in a bike shop! As I wandered the back rooms, stock shelves, and product
displays of Valley Bikes in Carmel IN, I felt like I had found the Golden
Ticket in a Wonka Bar. Mike the owner, had gone home leaving me with the
keys. My intrepid companion Jim Muellner was crashed in his van. It was just
me, the shop cat, and thousands of dollars of gleaming bicycle merchandise!
Mike even hooked me up with a cot! Look ma, no tent...
After hearing about my seat breaking in Richmond, IN yesterday, Mike even--get
this--hooked me up with a new seat! Now, I can't promise that he'll give you
free bike parts, but this man is the most friendly business owner I've ever
run across. And, I was also the thankful beneficiary of his wife Dianne's
culinary expertise. They had saved me a warm bowl of chicken soup with rice,
black beans, corn and noodles! I feel coddled in the lap of extreme luxury!
I got into Carmel IN around 9 pm last night. Even the switch in time zones
didn't help me overcome a late start.
INTERESTING ASTRONOMICAL FACT: Time difference aside, it gets darker sooner
in INDY than it did last night in Ohio! Okay, maybe it's not that
interesting, but it sure mattered to me yesterday.
My mileage total for the day was 102 miles, which balances nicely with
yesterday's 123. I averaged 14.3 for the day, after beginning the day with 10
miles at 11 miles an hour. The last 25 miles were rather challenging. I had
drained my light's rechargable battery on purpose yesterday morning so I could
recharge it before heading home. Consequently, I was running through a new
town, over heavily traveled (and under construction) roads, extremely late,
very hungry, toting all my gear, trying not to get lost, and battling my
allergies. My nose is now a salty mucus drip fountain. Every time I walk into
or out of air conditioning I sneeze like 5 or 6 times, and my eyes itch. And,
I lost Mike's cell number! Apparently, Mike and Dianne and Jim had also
alerted the bike path police that I was way overdue...
It was wonderful, although I hated worrying them! Surviving adverse
conditions like this is why I ride. Triumphing over these challenges only
makes a person feel stronger and more ready to handle the really difficult
things about life. I'll leave it to each of you to determine for him or
herself exactly what those are.
COOL THINGS I PASSED:
abandoned, rusty horse track gates sitting in the middle of a field
a homestead of an artist including a huge studio which was called COWBOY METAL
ART. The massive ornamental gates were cut into the profile of a group of
dusty rodeo riders standing around for a group photo.
a hotel called "the Hoosier Poet" motel, which seemed straight out of the
Twilight Zone, until I reached Greenfield, IN and ran across
the birthplace of James Whitcomb Riley, called, of course: the Hoosier Poet!
the town of Knightsbridge, IN, which advertised that they have the gym in
which the games in the movie Hoosiers were filmed.
A woman running a produce stand on US 40 who sold me some oranges that she
claimed "tasted like a glass of juice." She was right!
A woman who gave me directions in Fortville, IN and said during her very
accurate directions: "Oh but that road has that hill--you shouldn't ride down
that." I assured her that after 230 miles in two days, I'd probably be okay!
I'll close today with the rough draft of a poem I began yesterday at the
produce stand after finishing the orange:
Alone, on my bike,
halfway between Richmond and Indy
on US 40--the National Road--
a grasshopper tried
to tell me
defensive, paranoid human that I am,
I assumed myself under attack
and frantically brushed it away
once I heard
the insect's wings and legs
near my ear, beating at my road-crinkled, helmet-sore,
sweat-crusty hair. I could have killed it.
Later, when I began to wonder
what it might have been trying to tell me,
it was too late...
Perhaps he had been perched on a blade of grass
next to the highway for hours
waiting for someone like me to come by...
Perhaps he wanted me to know
that all I could see here--
the small towns that the Interstate forgot,
the boarded up bed and breakfasts,
the strange museums chronicling obscure pioneer history,
the business called Croplan Genetics
(the one with the huge white tanks that looked like missiles)
and the flat, brown fields, bound by neat green rows of new corn, that bend,
shimmer, vanish and reform before me--
used to be a pristine forest that spanned entire states.
Love to all,
Full of fire and rolling the big miles, Fred Kirchner, our double masters graduate student, describes the road to Indy, on this, his 2nd day, in a way I know you will enjoy. He'll be with Jim Muellner at Indianapolis city hall tomorrow with a bunch of riders from Valley Bikes
If you want to contact him, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Fred, Jim and our other NBG relay riders as they move forward in the National Mayors' Ride at http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide, point to their blog at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php. All of this excitement will al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Festival:
Thanks for this opportunity. I'm having the time of my life...
Well, there is life after coffee! Up until a more than pleasant respite at
Taffy's coffeehouse in Eaton, OH, I had gotten in 8 rather grumpy miles at
around 11 mph. I pulled into the warm friendly confines of Taffy's and was
immediately refreshed by the heady aroma of just ground coffee beans. Taffy's
east wall soothes the tired traveler with a photo mural of a waterfall from a
Finger Lakes stream cascading over verdant layers of shale. The west wall--a
warm yellow--features the stage area, and photos of all the recent performers they have had here.
The mocha was rich; the newspapers, informative. The back room--full of
couches, easy chairs, and a very-well selected browsing bookcase--was
dangerously cozy. I stayed out of there--knowing that I would be asleep in
moments. The locals were friendly. If you're ever in Preble Co Ohio, check
out Taffy's. It's down the street from the courthouse.
I left there determined to better my day's mileage and the pedestrian pace.
Once I hit US 40, I put the hammer down --I've been doing nearly 20 plus for
the last 25 miles. Had to stop for some lunch! As soon as I began to put
down the hammer, I flashed back to my adolescent rock and roll fantasies. I'm
ashamed to admit that Ted Nugent's Hammerdown began to run through my head,
emerging from the distant past of my junior year. (I must state here that I
do not support his pro-NRA stance!)
the other effect of hammering: My allergies have finally kicked in -- hence the
hanky reference in the title. I'm going to have to break down and buy some
Nasalcrom when I get home...
Tackling a solo ride like this puts one in touch with the past, the present
and the future all at the same time. Yesterday, I passed a street in
Germantown, OH called Chautauqua. An old Indian word, Chautauqua Lake in New
York state has been famous for years as an alternative education center. The
word's Native American meaning has to do with a kind of long, instructive
discourse. Robert Pirsig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
called his book a "chautauqua." Someone should have bought that guy a bicycle.
You get all the metaphysical benefits from a long motorcycle ride, without the
noise, the fossil fuel usage, and the pollution. (Plus, I prefer lycra to
Passing the time on one's bike, the mind is free to ramble and wonder while
the body is busy churning out the miles. Seeing a stone wall in a distant
field can remind one of Frost's Mending Wall -- where the poet says: Good
fences make good neighbors. I'm not sure I agree with him, venerable, wise
genius that he is. If we're going to save our planet, we need--it seems to
me--to work on ways to bring down the fences that keep us from learning from
I also passed Gemini Farms. Guess how many barns they have?...
2... Sometimes the associations aren't as profound, only silly.
BIKE LESSON No. 1:
No matter how convenient it is, don't lift your heavily loaded touring bike by
the seat, even if the ergonomic cutout makes the perfect handle! Here's what
Eventually--after about 140 miles and two days of riding--one of the metal
support bars under the seat will snap, and fall to the ground when you park
your bike at a county courthouse to get a map. The map won't even be that
good, and then you'll have to fix the seat.
Here's how: Loosen the tension bolt. Slide the clamping bolt forward. Fit it in
the broken half of the support bar. Slide the clamp over the break. Tighten!
Not sure what's worse here, the dogs or the cats. The dogs chase you, bark,
and then they're done. These tough-lookin', spit-in-your-face,
what-are-you-doin' on-my-land? farm cats, however, are the real scary ones. The way they stare as you pass, laying in the tall grass with their ears back,
and then dart into the woods, makes me think that they have set up some
nefarious trap down the road...
URBAN RENEWAL AWARD:
Goes to downtown Richmond, IN. They've done a wonderful job revitalizing
their city. The stores were so interesting looking that I lost the path US 40
takes through town. Had to spin around the blocks until I found it again.
SIGN OF GRACE:
While I'm not about to profess any secure knowledge regarding the nature of
God, I do believe that there is one...or two...or 97,324. Here's how I know. Last night, after 123 miles, amidst the quickly diminishing twilight, when I
was aiming for a hopefully deserted Boy Scout Reservation (to camp for free
and probably illegally), I ran across a campground that advertised "HOT
SHOWERS." I ponied up the 15 bucks. The shower was very hot. I was the only
tent among the RV parking lot, but once I climbed inside my down sleeping bag,
clean, tired, and sore, I didn't care a bit.
I could have been in the middle of nowhere, all by myself, sleeping in my own
sweat, trying not to relive the misspent couple of hours I spent watching
Deliverance all those years ago.
Gotta hit the road again...
Love to all,
Fred Kirchner set sail for Indianapolis today, almost literally! As you will see from the words below, the wind that blew both Fred and Jim Muellner across most of Ohio and Indiana today, is the reward the long haul cyclist knows he has earned after, in Jim's case, days and days of rain, headwinds and cold. Full of fire and rolling the big miles, Fred, our double masters graduate student, describes the world around him on this, his first day, in a way I know you will enjoy..
If you want to contact him, you can reach him on his Pocket Mailer, a handheld device donated by NBG sponsor Pocket Mail http://pocketmail.com that sends and receives email, at email@example.com. If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Fred, Jim and our other NBG relay riders as they move forward in the National Mayors' Ride at http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide, point to their blog at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php. All of this excitement will al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Festival:
In case you haven't heard, I'm riding from Columbus to Indianapolis as part of
the National Bicycle Greenway Mayor's Ride. (See www.bikeroute.com for
I left home this morning at 6:45 or so. It's now 1 and I just finished lunch
here in Yellow Springs, OH--after 65 miles this morning. Once I left home, I
discovered that there was a very strong tailwind blowing the same direction
I'm traveling--generally Southwest. I sailed across Madison and Greene
counties at near 20 mph most of the way--even though I'm carrying all my
clothes, food, tent, sleeping bag, bike gear, maps, a copy of Whitman's poem
"Song of Myself," my bike journal, and other assorted stuff. My bike weighs a
ton; I can barely lift it! But once I get rolling, there's no stopping me!
here's one of the things I learned so far: Don't get into staring contests
with cows while riding fully loaded! even if you win the contest, you may
lose because you'll probably hit a pothole while competing against the stoic
nature of bovine vision!
I can't recommend Old Xenia Rd. enough! What a great country road! Lots of
new corn has just emerged from the moist soil of Madison county's huge farms.
This thin ribbon of asphalt rambles across the rich heart of America's
agricultural wonderland. I know that there are mega-industrial-agricomplexes
elsewhere, but here in Central Ohio, many families still run their own farm.
I was reminded of Frost's "The Road Not Taken" a few miles back. I passed a
very safe looking bikepath, but chose instead to stay on the country
roads--which have been very safe as well. (Don't worry anyone!) Not more
than a few homesteads later, I looked to my left and saw a deer languidly
running parallel to me through someone's yard. As the deer neared the
driveway--and the fence separating it from the yard--it took the four foot
fence in perfect stride, then continued without balking across the driveway,
easily clearing the other side's fence as well. The grace and majesty of its
sweeping pace left me full of wonder. What was most interesting, though, was
the expression on the face of the deer. the calm and surety of its
countenance was somehow even more amazing than its prodigious run through the
tall grass! I feel that I am somehow like that deer. The power, serenity,
and energy that I derive from riding through the countryside feels like it is
what I was made for!
I stopped to check out the water coursing through Clifton Gorge. The recent
rains have filled the Little Miami River with tons of water pounding
through the rocks in a frothy blast of energy. You can almost hear the
Better hit the road....need to cover another 70 miles or so this afternoon
before I pitch my tent tonight in Preble Co. a few miles from the state line.
Animal whose coloring most inspired me to want to repaint my bike:
The Red-winged Blackbird! There must have been 50 of them flying around the
fields this morning.
Favor I'd like to ask:
Could someone email the lyrics to "City of New Orleans?" I couldn't remember
all the words when I was singing it...
Love to all,
Here is Jim Muellner's Day 3 from Columbus to Indianapolis. He has been on the road since May 2 from Washington DC. 67 year old Jim, last year's Indy to Chicago relay rider
Hi All you wonderful people!
Life is good, the sun is shining, but I will not have to worry about sweating. The temp is about 50 so today I even have to wear a jacket for warmth. However, it was nice this morning to wake up to all dry conditions.
Here I am 80 miles from Indianapolis and everything is built around the Indy race on May 25. I may be lucky to get a room when I get there. Martin do the ride perks include a ticket to the race? Not to worry, been there once, no urge to repeat. However I plan to see if they will let me do one loop around the track. Mike, over at Valley Bikes, said it would be tough, but he said he might try for next year. We need to connect some way as this is the second year we are in Indy on race weekend.
Change of time so here it is 7AM, yes 7AM and I am packed and ready to roll. Exercise does strange things to a body. It is possible starting this early to get to Indy today or I could stop and read every road sign. Heck, I could even stop at every ice cream shop and have a cone with its resident senior as I listen to the local lore.
So I am off.
12 Noon and I just had the biggest tenderloin sandwich I have ever seen. Since I have already biked 40 miles I thought I deserved what the menu said was a jumbo. The tenderloin was as big as a dinner plate. I had to fold it in half to fit it between the buns. It did not take long for it to disappear.
Knightstown is a quaint little community with friendly folks.
The flowers were out this morning waving to me in the breeze. The crops are just starting to come up, mainly corn. Sure wish they would put up some signs so this farm boy could see what is growing in the other fields.
I pedaled on to downtown and took another picture of the circle monument and my cycle. I am sure when you see the picture you will have a hard time finding my bike as the monument is very large.
Called Mike, my host from Valley Bikes http://valleybikes.com and he offered to come and pick me up downtown, but I wanted to ride to Carmel along the Monon Trail, as it is a really nice leg of the ride.
Mike met me half way to town and wasted me on the way back on his Greenspeed. Well, not that bad. By the time we got to his place I had gone 90 miles. Not bad considering.
Mother nature is so powerful, yesterday she washed me from stem to stern and today she blew me halfway to Indy. Just to let me know she was doing it, every once in a while the wind would stop and you could tell the difference. I sang to her all day, trying to use the words my personal musician sent to me. Maybe that is why the wind blew so hard. Mother nature was trying to get rid of me.
Well here I am in Carmel and ready for a beer to celebrate. My friend OraSue has assured me that beer is a qualified recovery liquid after a bike ride.
Love you all, Jim
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David Huggins Daines and Denise Hill's final reports for their Columbus 5/16 Friday are in. As an added bonus, David H-D also describes his return ride to Pittsburgh!! All here at the NBG Rider Report Blog
btw: If you want to become a rider, we N E E D you!! Go to http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/getstarted.php, to find out how!!
btw2: We have pictures from the Pittsburgh to Columbus leg on line at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/gallery/2003Mayors
btw3: If you want to see who these cyclists are, go to http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios.
Here is Jim Muellner's Day 2 from Columbus to Indianapolis. He has been on the road since May 2 from Washington DC. 67 year old Jim, last year's Indy to Chicago relay rider http://www.bikeroute.com/SCNBGFest/ChicRecep.html, is the inventor of the Smart Carte shopping cart system that passengers rent to shuttle their baggage around at airports. He is riding the trike, made by his company, Just Two Bikes http://justtwobikes.com, that folds to fit in a suitcase.
If you want to contact him, you can reach him on his Pocket Mailer, a handheld device donated by NBG sponsor Pocket Mail http://pocketmail.com that sends and receives email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Jim and our other NBG relay riders (Fred Kirchner leaves for Indy tomorrow for example) as they move forward in the National Mayors' Ride at http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide, point to their blog at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php. All of this excitement will al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Festival:
Hi All you wonderful people!
Somehow I must be grasping the meaning of biking better. Yesterday as we started I had a valve problem and had to change the tube. I did it so fast that I even forgot to mention it. It is no longer a big deal, you just deal with it and move on.
Step two in my conditioning. I followed David's advice about setting up my tent and even though it rained quite hard last night I did not get wet inside of it -- thanks David. When I first heard the rain my emotions did not get my heart pumping, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
The route along US 40, the National Hwy, is a very quiet road and its drivers are mainly courteous. One driver blew his horn at me in a section that only had two lanes, as if he expected me to disappear. Such drivers thankfully are rare.
There are lots of very, very quiet little communities along this route, big houses for sale or being auctioned off. Some driveways to these over built mansions have signs like, no exit, dead end or no turn about. Some others, even older, seem deserted and run down. It seems unfortunate that these parties could not get together and create a more vibrant community. Lots of signs say private property keep off, no trespassing. These are such negative words that they make me want to hold a class on salesmanship. Who would want to buy such an unfriendly property?
The sun is beginning to break through and so I may have a chance to dry out a few things here in Vandalia, Ohio. The center of town has a sign that says Original Cross Roads, one road runs east and west, while the other runs north and south. I can just see the wagons greeting each other at this juncture in the early pioneer days.
As I mentioned earlier, I feel like a bike pioneer and this morning that was reinforced. After I packed up I was hoping to find a coffee shop within a few miles. Twenty miles later I am still looking, so I stopped and ate my last grapefruit from John and Ruthie in DC -- thanks. I also had the cookie Eve and Greg gave me in Columbus. Imagine being in a covered wagon going at best 10 miles a day and hoping to see someone or some civilization after a period of time on the trail. We will never really appreciate the hardship these pioneers faced. I know I am spoiled, even with the meager conditions I am traveling under. In comparison to a covered wagon I am traveling at the speed of sound.
Left my camp site this morning with 646.7 miles on the old computer. It seems so little in compared to the days on the road, but I am able to smell a few more roses along the way.
By the way the sun did not come out, it rained like you can't imagine and my new raingear was a failure. Any suggestions anyone? I wanted to get to the Indiana border today and here I am in Richmond. Tonight I opted for a motel, the rain is just too hard for me to set up a tent.
The new fenders Paul at my company sent are working well. I can see a little water flying up, but none is hitting my arms as was the case every time it rained or we went through mud back on the C&O trail. Thank you Paul. Cannot report on any flowers or many birds, they were all in hiding.
There were however several huge tree farms and sod farms. They must be great salesmen as I continue to see huge lawns and everyone cutting grass. I tried counting, but I gave up after I saw 30 plus. I cannot imagine being tied down to lawns as big as the ones I am seeing.
Today at a small ice cream shop, a customer was telling me about Clair, a 95 year old biker from Chicago. He has a tough time walking, but he is a real terror on a bike. He comes to Ohio for the bike events and does 30 miles with the group. Wish I could have gotten his last name, but no one knew it. That's all folks, Jim
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Here is Jim Muellner's Day 1 from Columbus to Indianapolis. He has been on the road since May 2 from Washington DC. 67 year old Jim, last year's Indy to Chicago relay rider http://www.bikeroute.com/SCNBGFest/ChicRecep.html is the inventor of the Smart Carte shopping cart system that passengers rent to shuttle their baggage around at airports. He is riding the trike, made by his new company, Just Two Bikes http://justtwobikes.com, that folds to fit in a suitcase.
If you want to contact him, you can reach him on his Pocket Mailer at
Hi Everyone: Well I survived the weekend. Thanks to Eve and Greg. All my clothes were dry and clean at the same time, it was wonderful.
This morning I went to see my best friend, William Brown, Head of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Services. When I walked into his office I felt very honored. Here was a guy who has received very special medals for saving downed US pilots in Vietnam. There were pictures to attest to this and in the same room was a picture of he and I on our ride across the US. I actually have the same picture in my office in MN. It just gave me a warm feeling for Bill and the whole world. He had someone take this picture of us in front of a unique southern mansion, then had it blown up to 2 by 3 feet and sent it to me. What a wonderful friend.
Picked up the care package my office had sent to Bill, rear fenders and a new rear bag that had broken early in the ride. It took a while to mount everything and was on the rode to Indy by 12:30 PM. Eve guided me out of town on some safe roads. It was fun to see some really nice parts of town, especially the corn field. It is a series of eight foot high cobs of corn, all different and in rows. There must be a hundred. The city of Dublin, a suburb of Columbus actually had them commissioned. They were a little controversial initially, but now they seem special, as I thought they were. Unfortunately I did not have another camera, but I will buy another disposable one tomorrow for the next item that justifies a picture.
Eve and I parted company near Hwy 40 and I pedaled west on 40 for about 50 miles, somewhere past Springfield. Found a little bar, Quillen's Bar and Grill. They had excellent food and a fenced patio. I ask if I could camp there and they said of course. So here I am sitting on the patio, cushioned seats, glass tables and they said that they would let other bikers camp there if they came through the area. What a deal. It is just past Springfield on Hwy 40.
It was nice to see all the corn fields and open space after all the trees over the past couple of weeks. I tried sing as I was by myself, but could not remember all the words. Need some help as it is different being alone after all the company of the past weeks. I am sure Fred will delay his leaving once he hears my singing.
My tent beacons and so to bed. Jim
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btw: If you want to become a rider, we need you!! Go to http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/getstarted.php, to find out how!!
btw2: We have pictures from the DC to Pittsburgh leg on line at http://nbg.bikeroute.com/gallery/2003Mayors
btw3: If you want to see who these cyclists are, go to http://nbg.bikeroute.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios .
Here are words from the famous Rosemaire Rosetti about the Columbus reception http://www.bikeroute.com/NationalMayorsRide/Columbus that took place on Friday 5/16:
It was great to be a part of a national effort to build additional bicycle trails throughout the United States.This is especially important for me since I utilize these trails more than I did before my spinal cord injury. My life changed in an instant on June 13, 1998 on a bicycle trail in Granville, Ohio when a 3 1/2 ton tree collapsed on me. Now I ride a three wheeled recumbent trike. I utilize the trails since I cannot be seen well by cars on the road.
At the Columbus rally, I was asked to address the crowd gathered at City Hall. I stressed the need to build safe bicycle trails, ones that are wide enough for rescue vehicles to navigate and ones with emergency telephones. During my rescue, these amenities would have brought the rescue squad to me sooner.
I also stressed the absolute importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, or rollerblading. I believe my helmet saved me from death or head injury. I recommended that bicyclists ride with others and carry their cell phones for emergencies.
I also spoke about how the trails are shared by people with disabilities who use handcycles as well as trikes..
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
Rossetti Enterprises Inc.
Speaker - Trainer - Consultant - Writer
1008 Eastchester Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43230-6230
North America: 1-866-471-6110 (toll free)
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