Every year (or at least the last few), Bicycle Club of Philadelphia ride leader Tim C. offers a progressive series of rides on Saturdays. The first Saturday we ride 25 miles/40 km; then we add 10 mi/16 km until the last ride, when we go for 65 mi/104.6 km. It’s a great way to build strength and endurance for spring!
This year there was something new:
Tim bought a Brompton, and brought it to the first progressive . . . how thrilled was I!?! So thrilled, as it turned out, that I messed up this shot of Tim, his B, Basil and Argyll. You can hardly see Argyll behind Tim! Three beautiful Brompton bicycles, and I manage to nearly obscure one. Sheesh.
We got to talking Bromptons, and I got completely distracted, though I did get this one of Tim with his B, solo. Tim’s Brompton is a red/black H6R beauty.
We met at the Azalea Garden’s entrance, next to the Italian Fountain, behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This week’s ride was to Conshohocken, with just four of us: Tim C. George Y. (another fine ride leader for BCP), Dr. Diarist and me.
The newly-refurbished fountain is looking good; it’s not working, of course. It was 16 F/ -8.8 C when Dr. Diarist and I left the house, and 22 F/-5.5 C when we started the ride 2.5 hours later. Like us, the waters wait for spring.
I think this is called “ice-fording”. That’s our fearless leader, scoping out the first episode of this particular adventure. As sports go, it may not catch on; it was slow slogging, and I think all of us, generally speaking, find riding a lot more satisfactory! But needs must . . .
By contrast, the banks of the Schuylkill looked barely dusted. Looking back on the ground we’d covered doesn’t really capture the reality of all that lumpy ice.
It’s just a nice winter scene, right? You know, with a tiny bit of asphalt. You’d never know that was an actual ice field back there. (In truth, it was beautiful.)
We regrouped at the old Shawmont train station and then made our way to the 401 Diner in Conshohocken, where a hearty breakfast was enjoyed by all. Good food, and good company!
I didn’t take photos on the way back. We took streets, since, as Tim pointed out, trails were not going to serve us well. “Streets”, in this case, meant climbing — Tim pointed out that using the trail allowed us to skip the hills around Conshohocken. However, we survived it all, made it back to 30th Street Station, and caught a train home.
Well, “survived” with a caveat: After my initial two rides of the season, I was feeling pretty confident about the shape I was in, but this return trip disabused me of that conceit . . . I walked up sections of two hills. Walked! I haven’t done that since I accidentally rode an event with only two Brompton gears. This time, though, the walks were on me; there was nothing wrong with Basil’s gears at all. I was a bit crushed.
Not to worry, though. Tim’s progressives will get me back into shape quickly, though I might need to find some practice climbs closer to home. Will. Not. Be. Defeated.
The truth is, this was a pretty exciting start to the cycling season. Tim is an intrepid leader, and we felt pretty intrepid ourselves. Cold? Ice? Hills? Bring it on! Not that anyone will mind if it’s 40 F/ 4.4 C next week, with clear (mostly level) trails . . .