We had a lovely day for a pretty ride in the country, just hot enough to look for shade while waiting to regroup, but just lovely with the wind in your face. And it was a nice intimate crowd that made it a easy to keep together. Wayne Bingham was first to arrive, with John Barry coming soon after. Wayne brought his green Baylis, always a stunner. John had the oldest bike, the 1952 JA Holland he'd brought to Cirque this year, lot's of patina, but it sure was pretty! My biking buddy Gary Gentry came next riding his Litespeed (his vintage fixed Motebecane inappropriate for this terrain). Peter Kohler and Ken Sanford were next, Ken on his Gillot, and Peter riding his 1969 PX-10 with full Peugeot racing kit in honor of Bastille Day and Tommy Simpson. Larry Osborn was next, coming the farthest distance with a really sweet Eisentraut Limited that he'd owned for years. Finally arriving were two local friends, James Sheridan, and Al Barrett. Jim's been doing these rides here for a few years on fixed gear, alternating between his DiBernardi track bike and an Ibis Scorcher, finally last year using a front brake. This year he'd brought a mountain bike converted to city riding for our hills. And Al, a retired bicycle sales rep for the Baltimore/Washington area, had his old tourer w/ biopace rings.
The group climbed out of our valley, and we started to level off a bit after the first half mile with folks pairing off to chat. John Barry with the highest low gear and James were leading the pack attacking every grade. About three miles in, Gary heard a bit of metal tinking on the paving and searched and found the pedal dust cap from John's Holland. Finger tightened we continue'd the ride on quiet roads. We rolled through a small lake community having a neighborhood yard sale, commenting on the bikes for sale. And then along Strawberry Road, through the neighborhood of Beatle's fans, Abbey Rd., Penny La., etc. We stopped at a local bike shop in New Freedom to tighten John's pedal cap, and cruised the back room with the owner showing us his vintage stuff, trade ins with virtually no mileage, a silver Alan, perfect Raleigh 3 speeds, and an interesting belt drive unusual suspension hybrid. The folks waiting outside had a longer rest stop than they expected while we disappeared into the shops bowels.
Back on the bikes we rolled out of town, down a lovely roller through the corn fields and back up a slow grinder to the ridge. We were to turn onto a really pretty road Peter once compared to the English countryside, a somewhat blind turn in the middle of the hill. Wayne was getting into his stride at that point and rolled into the lead and was out of sight before the ride leader as always, leading from behind, could get his attention. He and James were gone.
I waited a minute or so, but they weren't coming back, so I tried to catch the peloton. We regrouped at the next intersection and climbed the last short, steep climb, and were soon heading homeward along the ridge with only a few miles to go. The last four miles are mostly downhill with the last two and a half an absolute roller coaster with some hairpins thrown in. And fresh smooth paving that replaced one of the crappiest, badly patched road surfaces in the county. I know the road so well I was off spinning as fast as I could and soon was by myself. But everyone was enjoying that finish. Jim was there within a minute or so of the rest and Wayne showed up a few minutes later. Wayne was remembering the ride of two years ago finishing in the rain and having to ride the brakes all the way down. This was what biking's about!
Barb had the grill fired up within minutes and a big spread for the hungry riders. The dogs were soon ready, and the drinks were cold! John helped me pull out a couple of bikes from the basement to line the railing and we brought up a few of our riders bikes. The tour was on TV, and people started to get comfortable. My bike shop had the best cleaning it's had in almost two years and everyone got a look. Life is good! I hardly felt that I'd talked to everyone enough when folks started to be off! Can't wait for the next ride. Who's is next?
In the excitment John Barry left his camera here, he was the only one taking photos. I'd carried my camera along the whole ride without pulling it out once, too much fun. He's honored me with allowing the downloading of those photos, so here they are posted for all to see. http://sports.webshots.com/album/559886921ygXJin He's really taken some nice shots. Thanks John and all who came for the ride. I sure had a good time.
Dan Artley in Parkton, Maryland