The Bicyclist’s Protection Program Rides around Sugarloaf

Yesterday it rained and rained and rained. It flooded and flooded and flooded.

Today the weather was nearly perfect for bike riding so I went for a ride in Montgomery County MD with Science Mom. This is not her real name. She is keeping a low social media profile these days. If I told you why, I’d have to kill you. She is in the Bicyclist Protection Program.

We started our ride in Poolesvill and rode clockewise around Sugarloaf which is about ten miles to the north. The roads are really splendid for bike riding. Today, however, they were littered with stones, tree debris, and mud from yesterday’s floods. We chatted as we rolled along, Science Mom on her commuter hybrid, me on Little Nellie, my Bike Friday New World Tourist.

Science Mom hasn’t done any riding except for her five mile commute so the plan was to take it easy and tweak our route based on how she was feeling.

We arrived at the entrance to Sugarloaf, assessed our comfort level, and decided to ride around the mountain on Comus Rd. As it turns out, Comus Road is unpaved to the west of Sugarloaf and paved to the east. We headed west.

The storms of yesterday made for some sketchy riding. The road had a pronounced crown on it. Little Nellie’s wee wheels were making a go of it. Until we came to a ditch across the road. This looked like a drainage channel that had been enlarged by run off from the storm. I had to come to a fast stop else Little Nellie’s front wheel would have been eaten by the ditch and I’d have been launched over the handlebars.

Then I heard Science Mom, “Whoa. Whoa. Oh no!” I turned expecting her to rear end me. She had come to a stop about ten feet behind me but her clipless pedals would not disengage from her feet. Over she went to her right. The crown of the road added to the distance she fell. The huge mud puddle on the road’s edge made for a rather comical splashdown.

“Should I take a picture?” I asked tongue firmly in cheek.

After I had my laugh I took off her left sandal which allowed her to stand up. Neither foot unclipped which may have been a good thing. She had a boo boo on her right knee and a wet jersey but otherwise she had survived the crash swimmingly (sorry).

DSCN4021 IMG_0703

She wrapped her knee in a bandana and got her shoes back on. A silver minivan approached from the far side of the trench. I warned them to slow down. They made it across the trench and stopped. In the shotgun seat sat Mathilde, a friend from Friday Coffee Club, on her way to a hiking outing on Sugarloaf. We had a nice chat and gave her directions to the parking areas on the mountain.

Ou est Sugarloaf, si vous plait?

Back underway we took it easy but the road didn’t. Hill after hill. None of them particularly brutal but not the kind of thing you want to be dealing with after whacking your knee on the ground.

Science Mom plugged along. We finally found a paved road and headed north. We were expecting sunny skies which would have really enhanced the already splendid views. The overcast kept the temperatures down. This was a blessing as the roads back south were hillier. We especially liked the aptly named Peach Tree Road, a windy, shaded, hilly, rural masterpiece.

I think I messed up a couple of turns but it didn’t matter. All the roads in this area are bike heaven, which explains why we saw dozens of bike riders enjoying the day.

I had raised my seat about a quarter of an inch before the ride. This caused my quads to burn for the first ten miles. They calmed down but later in the ride my lower back was not happy. (I’ll give it a few more days.)

Even with a sore back, riding today was effortless. I was in cruise control for all but a few of the hills.

On the drive back we took the scenic route along River Road. Or we tried to. The rains had so soaked the ground that we saw trees toppled over all over the place. The last one was right across River Road. Good thing nobody was under it.

Despite her crash, Science Mom was pretty happy with how the day turned out. She doesn’t get to do this sort of thing very often.

Little Nellie was happy too. She turned 15 during the ride.


4 thoughts on “The Bicyclist’s Protection Program Rides around Sugarloaf

  1. 2 questions: Can one get to Sugarloaf via bike, and how did Science Mom like the clipless Keens? I toured with the standard version of them and love them for summer riding.

    1. Depends on your range, but it’s doable from DC. Also, about 23 miles by bike from Shady Grove metro. Really nice riding out there. She likes the clipless (she has half and half pedals, but unclipping has been a problem in the past. Keen makes noncycling sandals that are very similar.

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