Victor and I arrived about 10 minutes early for the Columbus reception and had a little time to get to know one another b4 people recognized our unusual bikes. Several onlookers wanted to know about our machines. As we conversed with those people, the Mayors Chief of Staff and other staff members arrived and we were telling our story of the National Bicycle Greenway movement and answering questions about our Rowbikes to everyone present,
Soon, we were told of the tough time our fellow riders were having getting to Columbus, They said that they weren't expected for hours and so Victor and I were the only NBG attendees for the proclamation ceremony.
Victor wanted to get going to London b4 nightfall. I left later and by the time I reached the newly paved Little Miami Rail Trail at 3 PM out of London, the wind was blowing a steady 20 mph with gusts that had the birds on the trail acting like hummingbirds just hanging in the air .
My new Garmin GPS Etrac Legend said 21 miles, 5.2 mph average to Cederville at about 8:30 PM. Two 32 ounce bottles of Gatorade and one banana helped me cope with the 83 degree sunny ride -- the new trail has no overhanging trees. SPF 30 bug & burn saved the day! The only burn I got was in my muscles which haven't been used this hard in a long time.
I slept just off the trail under a clear star filled evening. After breakfast the next morning at the Bean & Cream coffee shop I had a wonderful ride from Cederville to just outside of a town called Morrow A distance of 44 miles. I slept on the trail again. I had just kept rowing and going like that bunny, averaging around 4.8 mph all day
Thursday. I called my girlfriend Kelly and told her I would be done Friday afternoon and have Priceline.com give us a deal on some rooms for Friday night. I think I did about another 20-25 miles.
And wouldn't you know it? I dropped the GPS unit I'm going to check it out tomorrow.
Note: Victor rowed into Cincinnati on Friday as well and it looks like he and Marshall and Steve will regroup before they meet Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken on Monday!
Here is Steve Shaw's ride from Cincinnati TO Columbus and not the other way around. This is so because Steve lives in Cincinnati and had a friend who was already driving back from there. So he rode TO Columbus. Soon I will get his great pictures on line!!
I woke Friday morning 20 minutes before my alarm went off. Having averaged only five ours of sleep the prior three nights, I tried to get to bed early the night before my ride, but to no avail. I finally fell into bed at 11:30 and set my alarm for a compromise 5:45 AM.
After realizing I had not gathered all that I needed for the ride and I had not readied the sunscreen, I took longer than expected and finally departed at 6:31 AM. It was a glorious, cloudless, cool morning.
All went well. My later than expected departure made me miss the sunrise photo I had anticipated. I took a couple of shots with the sprinklers gushing water at Camargo Country Club in Indian Hill, but the sun was still hiding at the tops of the trees. I was too impatient to wait for it, so I rode ahead, hoping to find a new vantage point. No such luck. I was riding among a wooded area and the trees blocked the best views of the sun. By the time I arrived at my anticipated spot, the sun had lost its red coloring and the scene was all but spectacular.
As I have talked about in email, riding a trail is comfortable, relatively safe, and generally flat. So how can I complain? Yet, the tree lined path became monotonous. Occasional beams of sunlight bore through the dense canopy, rarely highlighted by the mist of the morning. Above Xenia, where the path stretches for miles ahead of you in a tiny ribbon that disappears into the ocean of a mirage, it reminds you constantly of how far you still have to go.
Along the way I passed a few cyclists going the opposite direction. Far fewer than I expected. I found that on a weekday, during working hours, there seem to be a higher percentage of recumbent cyclists than during peak cycling times. Perhaps because more retired folks tend to ride them.
I came across a wonderful guy, just north of Xenia. He was pedaling toward me as I took photos of the remnants of an old telegraph/telephone pole. He stopped to chat. His name was Joe Flory. From Beavercreek.
"Where you going?' I asked.
"Just out for a ride." He checks his odometer and says, "Just hit 38 miles."
My jaw dropped. He looked far too old to bike so far, so I rudely asked, "How old ARE you?"
"84. I ride all the time. I try to get in 3000 miles per year."
He then proudly showed me how he and his son have fit their bikes with water bottle racks on the handle bars.
"Why's that," I asked.
"We ride a lot down by the park where there is a large pond. The geese leave a lot of droppings on the trail and we found that our tires pick up bits of it and fling it onto our legs and water bottles and we couldn't see drinking out of them after that. Besides, the paths in general are none to clean."
I had to agree he had a point. He then showed me how he had two freezer devices in his water bottle that do a better job than ice in keeping it cold. Plus, he fills it with Iced Tea and he doesn't like it getting diluted. He also uses a Polar insulated bottle. He was proud of his biking accessories.
He rode an old Huffy he bought for $10 at a garage sale. It was a woman's bike, but he added a cross bar, "to hang it up." I think he was worried about his image, even at 84. He lacked teeth, but not personality. He was wonderful to talk to and he obviously enjoyed cycling to keep in shape. May God bless me with that ability when I hit 84.
Somehow, I lost the trail in South Charleston. It seems to end where they are installing a new bathroom facility. South Charleston has the nicest entrance of any city I have seen. The path is lined with old fashioned light poles and a welcoming landscaped entrance.
But when I got to the train station and the main street, I didn't see where the trail led off to. I knew that route 42 paralleled the trail, so I just rode up Route 42 a while. It was a wonderful diversion. I honestly didn't mind the cars and trucks breezing by. Most gave me a wide berth and the highway was not very busy. The rolling hills provided some relief from the monotony of the flat trail. I enjoyed the extra effort and changed pace they brought. I knew that I was safer on the path, so about 5 miles out of town, I found a cross road that would take me back to the confines of the trail.
My next venture off the path was not so pleasant. The Prairie Trail, that leads from Xenia, northeast to London, Ohio, ends in London. The sign says, "Bike Trail Ends, Follow Marked Route." I could find no such thing, so I simply rode straight to Route 42 again. As soon as I turned onto Rte 42, I hit something and put a hole in my tube and tire. I patched the tire, replaced the tube and set about pumping it back up. No luck. For some reason, my pump would get it up to about 20 pounds and no more. A kindly local, who obviously used a bicycle for his sole means of transportation (out of necessity, not desire), stopped by to help out. He offered to find his friend who has "that kind of tire." He lectured me on how he doesn't believe in those skinny tires. He has ridden on his for 6,000 miles and had only one flat. I told him that when I first bought the tire, the shop owner told me how he had ridden on these tires for 3000 miles without a flat and I had them on for less than 30 miles when I got my first flat on them.
He set off in search of his friend. I continued to disassemble my pump and soon found a gnarled piece of plastic that was interfering with the valves. Removal fixed my problem. I learned my lesson. Buy a converter that will take a Schraeder valve pump and convert it to a presto pump. (I assume they make such a thing???) [the adapter would screw on to your presto valve stem - ed] I also learned that London does not have a bike shop, so absent the repair of my pump, I was stuck until I could find a pump with a presto valve end. When my friend returned, I thanked him for his kindness. He said he hadn't done anything to help me, and I told him it was enough that he cared enough to stop and offer help. I thanked him for caring and trying to solve my problem.
The rest of my trip was uneventful. . . except for two fall overs born of my fatigue. Twice in the last 25 miles, I came to sudden stop and couldn't get out of my pedals quickly enough. Once I fell onto my left side, the other I fell onto my right side. Neither hurt anything 'cept my ego. Both were in front of lots of cars. I am sure they got a laugh out of that.
I found that approaching Columbus from the west on Route 40, one does not want to get inside the I-270 loop. I gets very busy and very tight. I had a couple of near misses as cars zipped by me, far too close for my comfort. I think Route 142 would have been a better alternative.
I finished at 116.1 miles It was a wonderful day of riding. I was ready to ride more, to my surprise.
Next, we ride the roads from Cincinnati to Columbus. I have to get that mapped out this weekend. Victor leaves Monday after the ceremony with Mayor Luken.