So, in my inimitable way, I not only failed to find the meeting point for a Saturday club ride, but I also failed to find the one for a different group ride on the same weekend. The second time around I was lucky, though, because Terri was also waiting in the same spot where Basil and I were patiently waiting for the rest of the group.
We were, as it turned out, on the wrong side of the tracks at the Spring Mill train station, but we didn’t know that until later. When the group didn’t materialize, Terri said “Do you want to go to Phoenixville?” Well, yes, I did! (But first I asked Terri if she could navigate . . . at least I’m beginning to understand my weaknesses!)
Terri was a great ride leader, and promised me that, if she got ahead of me, she’d wait along the trail until I turned up, so I wouldn’t get lost. Given my proclivities, that was very reassuring.
Terri started off at a robust 15 mph/24 kmh which had me worried. I could keep that pace for a while, but I’d be dead as soon as we got to anything resembling an incline. Fortunately, we settled into a pace that worked well for both of us.
It was another stunningly beautiful day. I was thrilled that Terri and I didn’t have to miss the ride. Terri confessed that she’d never gone this route before, except as a member of a cycling group. Neither had I, and we were quite proud of ourselves for having been intrepid enough to give it a go. Terri kept saying that all we had to do was keep to the trail, but I knew better . . . at the end of the trail there’s always some other navigation involved, and that’s where my troubles begin.
Thanks to Terri, though, we made it to Steel City, and Basil took up his customary spot.
We ate lunch (Steel City has a nice way with food!) and then set off on the return trip, but not before I took a picture of the mural on the side of the coffeehouse. (I had hoped to get a photo of the last cocoa of the season, but unfortunately forgot to ask for a mug; a styrofoam cup just doesn’t cut it as a memorial shot, I’m afraid. The mural will have to suffice.)
Steel City, indeed. I like this mural; it reminds me of those of the 1930s WPA. Workers, unite! Or, if they’re not united these days, it’s a vivid reminder that making steel is not for wimps, and that our buildings, cars, and even bikes, come at a cost.
Terri and I had just left the main road on our way out of town when we spied our cycling group heading into town. (The ride’s organizers are incredibly reliable people, so at this point we’d figured out that Terri and I had gone amiss, but we’d been a little concerned that something untoward had happened to the leaders.)
We stopped to chat for a minute, and considered finishing the ride with the gang, but Terri was pressed for time, and I wasn’t going to let her ride back alone — especially not after we’d just made it halfway through our first independent effort!
It’s people like this terrific group of riders, and inspiring leaders like Saul and Mike, who gave Terri and me the gumption to fly on our own. Thanks, guys! (And thanks, too, to Terri, without whose company I’d never have attempted to ride all the way to Phoenixville.) And thanks to the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia, which is where I met all these great people, and learned to ride ensemble!