The second in Tim C.’s progressive series was a ride to Bridgeport — otherwise known at “The Donut Run”.
Basil and Argyll posed at the entrance of the Azalea Garden, where the ride meets. The day was clear, and far, far warmer than the previous Saturday — in the low 60s F/15.5 C or so by the time we’d finished, in fact.
However, the Schuylkill River Trail was still frozen in critical areas, so we travelled on roads (and hills!) once again. Once again, I walked a couple of portions of those hills. Sigh.
The guys took a short break in Conshocken: Here are Steve, Tim and George with bikes (and Basil!). Dr. Diarist is across the street with Argyll. (Gotta grab these pictures when I can on group rides!)
Both Steve and George have also led rides for The Bicycle Club of Philadelphia. I’m not sure how BCP does it, but these guys (and others like fearless leaders Saul and Mike, who I met through BCP) exemplify a spirit that I never expected to find in a cycling group.
When I walked up one hill and climbed back onto Basil for yet another climb, Steve was waiting for me. “Go at the pace that’s right for you,” he said. “Use your lowest gear”, he advised, and “breathe”. (I’m paraphrasing: I was going slowly, gearing down, and breathing!) He also told me something interesting: He said that he never looks at the top of a hill. I can see why — the focus is so much better placed on the road directly ahead. It’s not necessary to see how far away the top is in order to arrive there!
Tim is a well-known for being a doughnut fiend, and this ride a significant one in the series, as Suzy Jo sells Tim-approved, authentic Philadelphia doughnuts. Tim is holding one aloft above. I am completely unclear on how Tim manages the thousands of cycling miles he rides when fuelled by doughnuts, but there you have it.
Doughnuts acquired, we rode down the street to buy more substantial items at the Palm Tree Market.
Well-fed and hydrated, we headed back to Philadelphia. We encountered swarms (literally!) of road racers here and there on our travels, and packs of joggers, too, near Philadelphia. Good moods abounded, with lots of greetings and friendly nods back and forth. This winter has been uncharacteristically cold, snowy and icy; the slightest hint of spring is bringing out the best in everyone.
We stopped here to re-group on the return ride. Philadelphia is lurking out there, on the horizon. Some humorist said “No more hills now!” but he was prevaricating. The thought of coasting back was a pretty enticing one, though, I have to admit . . ..
I feel so fortunate to have found a group which offers these kinds of cycling experiences for a recreational rider like me — someone who is slower, inexperienced, more interested in the ride than speed or detailed fitness metrics. These guys are kind, nice, and encouraging.
Inclines are difficult for me; I’ll get stronger as I get back into cycling — and I’ll be doing far better on these runs once the trail — which doesn’t have quite these elevations — opens. In the meantime, I feel so fortunate to be able to ride with people who love cycling, and love to share the experience.
If you happen to be a recreational rider in the Philadelphia area, do take a look at BCP’s website, and see how joining might expand your cycling world. It’s made a huge difference in mine.