Planning a bike tour is sometimes as much fun as doing the tour itself. I have long wanted to ride from my hometown of Albany NY to my house in Mount Vernon VA just south of DC. I finally have a chance to pull this tour off with minimal hassle.
In mid-May, my son will be finishing his freshman year at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. This just happens to be about 35 miles from Albany so I am going to drive a car up with my bike stuff, load his stuff in the car, and send him back to Virginia. I will ride back.
The planning for this trip is actually pretty simple. New York State has a growing network of official bike routes with road signs much like regular highway routes. NYS Bike Route 9 runs from New York City to the Canadian border along the east side of the Hudson River. The Adventure Cycling Association produces bike touring maps. The ACA Atlantic Coast route intersects NYS Bike Route 9 just south of Albany. So my route planning couldn’t be easier.
I need to decide which bike to take. I could take Bike Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent. It is great on my back, but lately riding it causes sharp nerve pain in my left foot. I could take Little Nellie, my Bike Friday folding bike, but riding it has been causing discomfort in my left knee. Or I could take my Specialized Sequoia. This bike is great for 20 mile rides but I fear that it would really mess up my surgically repaired back on longer rides.
I decided to try each bike at a long distance and see if I could resolve one of these issues. Today, I rode the Sequoia 51-miles from my house to Bethesda and back. The trip took me along the Mount Vernon Trail, into Georgetown, up the Capital Crescent Trail, and along the Georgetown Branch Trail, before returning via Rock Creek Park.
Other than some interesting debris along the Mount Vernon Trail, the ride to Bethesda was uneventful. I felt fine the whole way to Bethesda. As I started making my way back, however, my back gave me a twinge. As is usually the case, this pain came without a warning,. I also happened to be exactly half way into the ride.
I took some deep breaths and stopped and stretched a few times. Long story short, I made it back with no more pain and in pretty good shape. So this trial run was a mixed bag,
Even with the back incident this ride was a pleasure. It has been way too long since we had a nice day when I didn’t have a conflict with family, housework, or failure to rise from my slumber.
Tomorrow it’s back to bike commuting. Little Nellie will get the call as I have to drop my car at the dealer in Arlington. So, I’ll toss her into the trunk and bike commute from there. . Cheers.