For nearly as long as I’ve been riding with Mike and Saul, they have been telling me about Bill Cotton, and commenting on how much they think I would have liked knowing him.
Earlier this month, a group of us gathered for a BCP ride in Bill’s memory. Bill was an avid bicyclist, a machinist by trade, a clever engineer and tinkerer, and is remembered with the kind of affection few people can hope to inspire.
We met at the Pottstown trailhead and rode to West Reading, to the Queen City Diner, where Bill famously liked to stop.
Along the way, we encountered a small memorial (“Winston Here Lies Jim’s Dog”) beside the trail.
Saul paid his respects (rather dramatically!), but it was heart-warming to be reminded, particularly on this ride, that those who are loved are not forgotten.
The 35 mile/56.3 km route took us over a wide variety of surfaces, including:
asphalt (that’s a Catrike recumbent in the rear there; it can really go — and did!);
what we used to call “two-tracks”;
and into the woods (I don’t know why we never called these “one-tracks”).
Along the way we went past rivers
and past battered old boxcars, apparently still in service.
We could hear moving trains all along the ride, and sometimes see them, just barely, through the trees.
Dr. Diarist took most of these pictures — he was speedy enough to catch up once he’d dawdled — and also captured this adorable (or is it fierce?) fire hydrant:
This housing development has a very odd roofline of a type we’d never seen before.
We saw evidence of some old technologies, now defunct
and new technologies, only recently installed.
Along with grittier sights
we encountered some classically pretty ones: country homes with cultivated flora;
and a converted barn with unusual, small scale, stone work (unusual for this area, at least).
At the diner, we had a convivial meal.
Ride leader Steve enthusiastically consumed a symbolic dessert in Bill’s honor. (I gather Bill was not opposed to the occasional sweet!)
After a leisurely meal, well-fortified, we prepared to get back on the road.
On our return trip, Saul made sure that everyone admired Basil’s new chain guard.
And then we were off, zipping our way back. The variety of scenes that can be encountered on a 35 mile/56.3 km ride, mostly on trails, in this area, is amazing and thrilling: Could there be a more appropriate way to remember Bill Cotton, his love of bicycling, and his creative mind? On this perfect day, it was impossible to imagine anything better.