After missing the BCP Progressive III, I nearly missed Progressive IV. At 5:45 AM, when my alarm went off, I’d had fewer than four hours sleep, thanks to having traveled the previous week, and some consequent major sleep disruptions. I went back to sleep.
Mr. Diarist, a man who believes all things are possible, suggested, when I woke up for the second time, that he drive me to a point along the expected route, in the hope that I’d meet up with the progressive cyclists. Failing that, I’d at least get a good long ride in. He dropped me off just outside of Phoenixville, and I rode toward Philadelphia.
It was a beautiful day, but, in my inimitable style, I got lost, missed a turn, and ended up on the Perkiomen Trail. Mr. Diarist got me straightened out, and within a quarter-mile or so, the gang and I spotted each other. I was delighted to see those familiar faces, and quickly turned Basil around so that we could join the group.
We stopped at the Steel City coffeehouse, and went in for some well-earned (in all cases but mine) nourishment. (Dark hot cocoa — yes!) Everyone else had ridden roughly 25 miles/40.2 km at this point; the distance Basil and I had gone was considerably less, of course.
There were seven of us at the coffeehouse, most of us veterans of at least one other of these March progressives.
Our leader, Tim, proved himself utterly fearless when he leaped upon the stage and declaimed humorously, earning a nice round of applause and some appreciative catcalls. Naturally, I captured the moment for posterity; if Tim goes pro, though, I’m afraid he’s going to need a better photographer.
I’ve noticed that the rides tend to follow a much looser formation after the refreshment break. I was grateful that three of us (one of whom knows the area well) agreed to stay with each other until we were back in the city, even when our pace didn’t match that of the others, who were variously faster or slower at times.
On the return trip, another latecomer joined the group, having had the same thought as Mr. Diarist, and rode back to Philadelphia with us. As is usual, several of us split off as we got to the the city, and Tim said good-bye to the rest of us near the original meeting point.
Basil and I cycled to 30th Street Station, where I grabbed a bite to eat, and Basil tucked nicely in beneath a tiny table. Then we caught a train home. The view through the window featured the late afternoon light I love best.
This was an approximately 55 mile/88.5 ride for the others; Basil and I rode approximately 43 miles/69 km.
Oh, and Progressive III, the one I missed last week? Tim, his eyes twinkling too mischievously, refused to tell me how it had gone. The route, it turns out, had been switched on account of weather to IKEA (where there was food and shelter) from Betzwood in Valley Forge (where there was neither).
Tim insisted that I ask Nan, who shuddered visibly as she recalled the ride. Her report: a genuine snowstorm, hours ahead of the final prediction, when they entered IKEA, and actual sleet when they left. That shudder spoke volumes. Nan’s done more serious cycling than I’ve dreamed of; she’s no powderpuff. If I had to miss a March progressive, apparently I picked the right one!