Tag Archive | biking

Memorial Day Biking

This weekend, people take time to reflect on what Memorial day means to them. Or they sit by a pool, or maybe plunge their hands into dirt and plants. This weekend we did a bike trip. Like any outdoor activity, it’s a bit dodgy because you never know who the weather will turn out. This year was great for the northeast. WP_20140525_001
It was a great ride, from Washington Crossing PA to a town called Upper Black Eddy on the Delaware, about 30 miles north. Our plan was to bike up to the Inn, rest up a bit and then look around a bit. The weather was beautiful. We didn’t bank on hitting what seemed like a few thousand miles of gravel and a fairly untamed towpath. That put the brakes on, literally. The trip took much longer and was more grueling than I would have preferred. I don’t really like gruel or grueling things so the gravel was a bit of a nuisance. The views were still amazing, even through sweat smeared glasses.

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We finally arrived at the Inn, a wonderful historic place on the edge of town called the Indian Rock Inn. It was going on five o’clock and we were sweaty, hungry and tired. More than tired I think. WP_20140526_004
After stumbling in, mumbling my name and receiving a real actual key which opened the door. We took showers, had a nice dinner which probably was not appreciated, and were asleep by 9.30.
The next day after a good breakfast and about 11 hours of sleep we were ready to head back. Oh, and don’t forget the Motrin. That was a key ingredient at both dinner and breakfast.
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The trip back, thanks to some good planning and riding mostly on the much better maintained NJ side, went quickly. In no time, After lots of sweating and huffing and puffing, I was back in my own house on my couch with my kitties.
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I wonder sometimes what possesses me to do these things, when I could be sitting in my swinging bench under my pear tree with a book. I guess we all have to have a bit of insanity in our decision making.

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Technology and Padded Pants

You might think this title doesn’t make sense. It does. Really. This past weekend, well starting Thursday actually, my boyfriend and I took a four-day biking trip in Pennsylvania. It sounded good. We drove to Pittsburgh, a five hour trip, and then parked and started biking to our first destination for that evening. It wasn’t a far ride. It would have been even shorter had we not gone the wrong way at first. This is where the technology part came in. You see, when we arrived in Pittsburgh, it was going on 4:30 PM. The sun was getting low by the time we started off on the trail (The great Allegheny Passage… more on that in my next post) When the sun goes down, it sets in the west. We all learned that in elementary school. Did I remember that? No. We started off enthusiastically with the sun right in our eyes. So we were headed west correct? That’s not the way to get to Maryland though. Did I remember that the sun set in the west? Nope. We spent several long minutes with the GPS on my boyfriend’s phone before I asked a nearby pedestrian, once we realized that something was wrong with our route. Okay, once my boyfriend realized something was wrong. I think technology is definitely addling my brain.

I bet you are wondering about the padded pants now. Simple. After realizing how many miles we were going to be biking (145 or so) and then realizing how even a 20 mile bike ride feels, I got these padded pants for cyclists. Yeah, they definitely work, but after 56 miles, even padded pants, and 3 other layers don’t cut it in the comfort department. (Biking is never very comfortable anyway)

So just keep in mind, when attempting a long bike ride, the sun sets in the west, and several pairs of pants should be worn at once.

Summer vacation

Summer?  When was that?  It’s been a busy summer around my house.  Not a terrible summer with no fun at all.  No, we have had out share of fun.  It’s just been too busy for words.  Literally I haven’t had much time to write.  Not only that, but I haven’t felt much like writing.  I haven’t been able to get that quietness in the brain which I find necessary for writing.  It’ll come back soon enough.  Sort of like that stray cat you feed.  It leaves for a month or so hoping to get tastier food or mice in another yard and you miss it.  Once it comes back it’s kind of nice.  (that comparison was for my parents, who seem to have an endless line of strays wander through their yard most likely befriended by their own cat Shadow.)  So I have stretched my brain today and decided to do a wee bit of writing. 

Its been a summer of little vacation time.  Since we are going to Florida in the fall though, that was acceptable.  I did manage to take the kids on some day trips, and get away for a weekend without them.  (They are enjoying the beach for a week.  Lovely)

Since we haven’t really done any travelling since March, my boyfriend started his usual muttering about needing to get away.  We share the same love of travel but I have less time.  So we decided on a quick weekend to Northern Pennsylvania.  Some friends of ours had told us about a wonderful place up north with a big gorge and beautiful scenery, so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

After 5 and a half hours of driving, we got to the cleanest town I have ever been to.  It was like a set out of a show from the 60’s or actually reminded me a little of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ without the snow, because of the wide main street.  It was littered with bed and breakfasts in quaint old houses, little shops and a really amazing diner with the best hamburger I have had in a long time. 

We did a bike ‘n’ hike.  We biked a few miles, then hiked about a mile (no that’s not much) up a huge hill..maybe it was considered a mountain, it certainly seemed like it to me.  It gave us an amazing view of the valley and an understanding of why it was called the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. 

After resting for a while, and regaining the feeling in my legs, we started back down the slope.  I think gravity had quite an effect on us.  We felt quite proud of ourselves for climbing this enormous rocky mound. We did our best to ignore the kids scampering up the paths like little mountain goats.  At the bottom, after realizing I had lost my feet somewhere along the way, we hopped back on our bikes, went back down the trail and were in bed that night by 8 o’clock. 

The next day was another drive home.  Even though the weekend was physically exerting, sweat inducing and dirty, it left us invigorated and relaxed.  I think I can feel like at least we did something for the summer.  Although it is not ended, and I still plan on going to the beach at least one more time, before September 21st, I am ready for school.  Are the kids??

 

 

The joy of biking

At about the midpoint of summer last year I had gotten myself a bike.  Nothing fancy, just your ordinary basic bike, with shiny red paint and nice silvery chrome.  It had been a spur of the moment purchase.  I bought a bike for my boyfriend for his birthday and had the vague notion that we would go for meandering rides around the neighborhood together.  I pictured myself riding down to the park with my daughters, something which actually proved more difficult than I thought, having to stop every 20 feet and wait for my youngest.  My boyfriend planned to do some long distance riding; using it as an exercise tool.  Not me though, my definition of long distance was a mile.  I was content to run around the house with my dust cloth and count that as exercise.  And if you have ever had to run up and down the stairs five times before seven o’clock in the morning, that is definitely exercise.   Needless to say my daughters were also very excited I had gotten a bike.  I think they found it amusing to watch a grown woman making a fool of herself by wobbling around on a bike.  My boyfriend took to biking enthusiastically.  He would ride before work or with a friend, going for miles and coming back drenched and muddy.  I accompanied him on a sedate four mile ride one afternoon feeling like I had run a marathon.  But it was exhilarating.  Plus I didn’t have to stop every 20 feet for a little kid to catch up which was an added plus.  We decided to go on a particularly picturesque ride along the Delaware River, after all I had made it four miles without keeling over, what was another ten.  After much pouring over websites of different paths and looking at videos of biking, we decided on a path and made out way toward the river, decked out in appropriate gear and equipped with water and snacks.  The day was a beautiful one, less humid than usual for August and sunny.  We started off, along the canal that borders the river.  I felt wonderful for at least the first two miles.  There was something so freeing about riding a bike where no car could get to.  Fellow bicyclists passed by or pulled over and let us pass, we all gave each other cheery waves and felt very  superior to those poor saps driving cars on highways.  The views of the river and canal, as well as the old houses along the way, were incredible and I was feeling very lucky to experience them.  The sun shone down on fields and the marshy bit of land by the river and made swaths of light on the water  All in all it as breathtaking and I felt like an intrepid explorer discovering amazing views right in my own state.   After that it started getting difficult, but I doggedly kept up.  Some parts of the path were quite muddy, and I found a childlike joy at riding through the mud puddles and not caring if my socks got dirty.  It was very un-mom like.  We passed stone bridges which were so low we had to bend over out handlebars when we passed underneath.  I needed to stop several times to catch my breath but still insisted that we slog on.  Finally we neared the halfway point of the fourteen mile round trip.  A quaint town on the river would be perfect for a long rest.  Which I needed.  By that time I was staggering under the weight of my own body and could barely feel my wrists and hands.  Sweat plastered my hair to my head and dripped into my eyes.  My boyfriend looked cool and composed of course.  We found a place to eat, had some lunch and revived.  After that I started to feel almost human again and felt ready for the return trip.  I anticipated that he would have to carry my unconscious body half way back to the car.  I was in for a surprise however.  Once on my bike, I felt great.  Energy coursed through me and I pounded the pedals like never before.  The wind blew in my face, and a group of little yellow butterflies  even flew with me for a while.  This was definitely not something you could experience in a car or even on a walk.  I only needed one break on the 7 mile return journey even.  True, as I slowed to a stop by an old stone bridge overlooking a green meadow, I fell over.  I hadn’t exactly mastered the art of getting the bike to stop and getting off yet.  But that was OK.  Still feeling great, we rested for a few minutes and then rode back to the car.  The rest of the day was spent on the couch since I found that my legs had mysteriously disappeared after driving home.  The incredibly virtuous feeling held however, and now, as I look toward spring with great anticipation and grab another handful of chocolate chips, I know that this year will hold even more fantastic rides in it.