Friday, March 20, 2009


On wednesday I managed to pedal to my little heart's content all the way from Doylestown, PA to Frenchtown, NJ. The ride turned out to be about 35 miles. Okay, it was 34.8 miles (damn you bicycle odometers and your exactness). Nonetheless, it was a gorgeous day with no reason to complain. On the sunday before, my dad brought me on a shorter ride through the backgrounds around our town. However, along River Road, we hit a detour due to some unknown circumstances down the road. Without knowing what my dad was getting me into, I followed him bindly up the detour route. I don't remember the name road. I do remember, however, the hill that legitimately kicked my amateur cycling butt. Fortunately, my dad gave me some good advice in order to power up those nasty hills; he told me to grasp the bars directly in front of me in order to open up my chest and allow for more oxygen as I got in a rhythm going up. Believe it or not, it worked.

I'm slowly learning the technique that's involved. Strength is definitely an important aspect of this sport, but technique and experience is just as crucial. For instance, riding a bike doesn't afford you the time to prepare for anything like running does. When you're running (at least when I'm running) you're going at a slow enough pace to see well ahead of you when the car is pulling out of the driveway. As I found out on wednesday, this is not so while you're whizzing along on two wheels. Luckily, my dad was in front of me and his rapid swirve caught my eye to be alert.

I'll have to make another trip up to Frenchtown and take some pictures before I leave to go back to Baltimore. There are some of the most scenic views along River Road as you ride next to the Delaware Raritan Canal. There's even a covered bridge that is one of only a few left in the entire state! The town itself is very historic looking, with old clapboard row houses that are now inhabited by little boutiques and coffee shops (one of which we popped into and had a pretty good cup of coffee). While we were stopped, we ran into a petite woman in the coffee shop who was also mid-ride. She looked pretty legit in her cycling gear, and I figured she herself was an avid cyclist. After she left, we stayed around and sipped our coffee for another 10 or 15 minutes. When I came out of the shop, this other guy with his bike was talking with my dad. My dad seemed slightly uncomfortable with the scenario, so I wanted to figure out what they were talking about. Apparently, the gentlemen (couldn't have been over 30 or 35 years old) was having issues with his seat. Yes, the seat was giving him problems and not boding well for his...well...yeah. I could tell my dad didn't know quite what to say to the man. He was trying to be very professional about it, but in the end enough awkward silences led us to finally get back on our bikes and head home.

As we rode up a long stretch of road, I noticed another cyclist in the was the woman from the coffee shop. We were gaining on her. It felt kind of good. I'm not a very competitive person, but when we passed her, I felt a little jolt in my cadence.

Now that I've completed my first outdoor 35 mile ride (rounding up is allowed in this case) I'm feeling a confidence boost. To top it off, I got an email from one of my high school classmates the other day. After sending out mass emails to my high school class, friends, family, etc. (apologies for spamming) about the 4K, she emailed me to let me know that her sister had taken a cycling trip from San Francisco to Philly a couple years back! She has her own web should definitely check it out. It's slightly addicting. There are some pretty wild pictures and people that she documents, as well.

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