Just dropping a line, before dropping to sleep, to let everyone know that Jason
and I arrived about 8:pm, safely home after completing our ride from Knoxville
to Cincinnati. Certainly, our side if the triangle was the shortcut -- long as
it was. We pounded out the climbs which in actuality became more and more
challenging as we approached Cincinnati in time for Mother's Day.
We'll write with more details about the recent legs soon.
Gettin' 'er done
Backtracking a little, I'd like to express that the park at Cumberland Gap is a wonderful opportunity to re-open the old road over the mountain as a bicycle greenway and multi-use trail, rather than the highway department shuttling cyclists through the tunnel in a pickup. I hope someone will forward this suggestion to the proper authorities. Our northerly ride has been so sweet that we would recommend it to all cyclists to try. Having that pass open for self-propelled vehicles and foot traffic would be the ultimate!
Also, our ride from Girdler to Manchester on Route 11 North was too nice! It is an excellent passage through the mountains, mostly following a creek where there were two great signs in our favor: First, on the other side of the creek was a railroad track, so we assumed there might not be too much climbing. Secondly, the creek was flowing in our direction, so it was a gradual downhill ride the whole way! Traffic along this small road was light and the motorists were courteous.
Locals who would spot us in this beautiful, secluded valley quite often cheered us with fists raise to the air shouting, "Get 'er done!". Someone in a group driving past in a rusty old Toyota shouted the same. It must be an expression from country music culture. Even upon arriving at various towns, the kind folks we encountered, of any generation, were curious about our ride. They asked where we started and when. Then they would respond to our reply, "Dang! Gettin' 'er done, aren't you?" Some would just look at us in quite disbelief as they looked at our bicycle loads and calculated the distance/time ratio in their heads.
By the way, I weighed my fully-loaded bike at the Irvine, KY True Value store, where they allowed us to borrow wrenches to tighten my rear hub. It tipped the scale at 63 pounds without water bottles. I don't even want to think of how Jason's rig might weigh in with his Bob trailer loaded with all those water bottles and gear.
Bye for now. (j.
Hold on to your handlebars as this is Jason and today I have been elected to narrate your journey with us.
After waking from our late night ride into Tazewell, Jeff and I made our way toward Cumberland Gap. We weren't sure if we would be passing through the tunnel at the gap or riding over Daniel Boone's original trail. Upon arriving at the last downhill before the tunnel, Jeff spotted a highway sign prohibiting bicycles and the like. We scanned the area looking for a secondary road or the original trail over the mountain, but nothing really stood out so we rode to the closest business to inquire how we might pass. The gas station owner was outside and told us there were no alternatives and we should tell the tunnel attendant that "we are riding cross-country and we need to get though that tunnel, so give us a ride or we're gonna have to ride through it."
We rode down the haz-mat lane to the entrance to the tunnel where we were greeted by the attendant who checked our identification and then loaded our bikes onto the escort truck. His co-worker then drove us through the tunnel under the gap into Kentucky. When we asked about the original gap trail, man who drive us said the road had been filled in years ago, and that there is a walking trail but it has some large steps along the way making it impassable by bikes.
After a few more miles up the highway, we arrived in Pineville, pronounced "pine-vull", were we were able to get off of highway, 25E, and onto the old side road which proved to be more scenic and more level, possibly because the road did not have to accommodate four divided lanes. Later, we rode 11 north from Girdler to Garrard. 56 miles from our start in Tazewell, we made it to our destination city Manchester.
Tomorrow we hope to get an earlier start and ride a longer trip deep, deep into the heart of the Bluegrass State...
New Tazwell, Tennessee May 6
Hello readers. This is Jeffrey Reser joining the 2005 NBG Mayors Ride to help report on my brother, Jason and his leg from Knoxville to Newport, KY / Cincinnati.
Yesterday, we had a pleasant welcome in Knoxville and even got to meet their Mayor! Even though it had been raining steadily since mid-morning, there was still a rather large crowd of interested individuals.
Jason and I met Concetta who has a sticker on her bicycle's rear fender that reads "Mile 0 Key West". That is just too inspiring! We wish her well in her amazing ride aspirations and more immediately on her continuance on to Washington DC. She planned not to leave Knoxville in the rain but to await better weather in the morning.
We all were presented with new water bottles and long-sleeved pullovers from Smart Trips who promote alternatives to driving cars and commuting alone. That is an effort very dear to us and we salute all those involved with Smart Trips.
Jason and I began our ride at about 2:pm in the rain, had lunch north of the city with our parents who were going to Lake Cumberland to work on their boat. After tasty sandwiches at Lenny's, we rode norhteastward on 331, a two lane highway lined with nice country homes in a rolling landscape. The drivers were cautious and often preferred to wait patiently at a slow pace behind us rather than to pass with oncoming traffic.
We turned up in Blaine which was in a place in a void between our two maps. A nice pharmacis, with the help of a detailed map, showed us the shortest way to New Tazwell through the mountains.
From Blaine we took 61 north to Luttrell. This was a terrific road with new surface and a ten foot shoulder to ride. Then we took an immediate but not too unpleasant wrong turn (straight actually) onto east 131. This was a rural valley road which did not add too many more miles if you like arriving at night in the rain while bonking. Otherwise, it was scenic.
Well, its about checkout time and the ride leader is prompting me to ready my gear for the next leg through Cumberland Gap.
Will report again soon. Today looks to be a sunny one!