Partly at the urging of a number of his friends, Ed C agreed to lead some rides, and put two in the book for this month. He had every intention of leading a hilly ride with a stop at Peacock's... but, as we now know, that's not gonna happen. Ed was beside himself, having set a goal not to use a chain convenience store with only commercial-and-wrapped food as a stop, and a after a flurry of emails (to which I was a party), Ed set a route that would have a stop about 2/3 the way through.
He was alternately afraid that he'd be alone, or that he'd have a tribe of thirty. We were all relieved when seven showed up, all fairly strong riders: in addition to me, Laura OLPH came to give him some pointers on leading (and then swore she'd never go on a ride he led because of the pace). Also accompanying were Eoghan (say "Owen"), John and Rick (Ed knows them from work, but I did not), and Alexei, whose name I'm probably mangling and who I've seen tearing up the pavement out of Cranbury (Ed had provided latitude/longitude coordinates for the start which baffled some of us; Alexei was a bit late, having been waiting in the wrong parking lot). Eoghan and Alexei did some pavement-tearing again today. I swept.
We wound up doing this route, which was more or less what Ed had planned, with a few last minute changes along the way. I was delighted to have a starting point less than fifteen minutes from home (which never happens!). Ed had a good idea: since the stop was going to be so far into the ride, he did a "sugar stop" along Harlingen Road, where we could eat some of the stuff we'd brought.
It was a great day to be out. While the roads were sloppy, there wasn't any dangerous ice, although there were still some places where the ice narrows the road. Many of the road surfaces have not wintered well; potholes and ruts abound. Still, everyone seemed to feel good and ride well; Eoghan and Alexei gave me a lesson on how to go up Dutchtown-Zion (I take solace in the fact that I'm almost old enough to be Eoghan's father). The ride went faster than I expected, and before I new it, we were at the stop at Bagel Bistro in Hillsborough.
And shortly after leaving, I hit a pothole too hard and got a flat. I find flats disheartening, and this one was doubly so, because the first tube I pulled out wouldn't hold air; Rick gave me one of his (I checked the other tube and the new one I put in my bag; these seem to be OK). I spent the next several miles staring at my tire and worrying that this one was going to flat, too. (How many Freewheelers does it take to fix a flat?...)
And then back to Johnson Park. As we came into the lot, a guy on an elliptical-bike (you'll see in the pictures) rode up; he runs with John and has suffered an injury, and the elliptical-bike allows him to use the running motion, but saves him the impact on his joints. It's a neat thing. You wouldn't want to take it up Dutchtown-Zion, but it's a neat thing.
Pics. At the start:
At the "sugar stop":
Back on the road:
Bikes outside the Bagel Bistro:
Below, Eoghan's Rivendell. I have a serious case of lug-envy.
That elliptical-bike and rider/runner: