Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Second April Progressive

We are determined to make every one of BCP leader Tim’s progressive rides this month, so we were ready to go for the second, 35 mile/56.3 km ride.

sapThirtieth Street Station has wonderful wooden benches that, counter-intuitively, are actually quite nice to sit upon.  Also, two Bromptons fit nicely on the end.

sap-bnAs we left the station, much to our surprise, we spied two other Bromptons, racing green, with Brooks saddles:


I instantly realized that I probably had met the cyclists who had (shudder!) so wantonly cast aside their Bs  whilst they went elsewhere.  On several different occasions, distant from Philadelphia, I’d met two fellows who had admired Basil (and, more recently, both Basil and Argyll), and who told me about collecting their own Bromptons in Scotland, early in the previous decade.

This was the clincher:


Two identical, earlier Bromptons, labelled by an Edinburgh dealer.  What are the chances?!?  I was thrilled, of course, and snapped a whole bunch of photos.  These little guys are so identical to Basil and Argyll, and yet so not.  (Comparisons to come.)

sap-4bNaturally, I took a picture with all four Bs, and rode on beaming.  What a fine start to the day! (Meeting the cyclists was all well and good, but seeing their Bromptons — that’s the best!)

Not that the day needed any help:  The art museum was all gussied up in pink and greenery, and early morning shadows.

sap-amWe’ve got a good crowd for these rides now that the weather is behaving more reasonably.  It’s fun to see the new riders return, and to consider what a difference these rides may make to them as they gain cycling experience.


Tim’s progressives changed my life, and I know I can’t be the only one who feels that way!

We headed out, passing, as usual, an example of one of the best features of the Philadelphia landscape: stone arches.

sap-arThey’re everywhere, but group riding does not necessarily favor snapping photos of them.  I was glad to get this shot today.

sap-smtWe often regroup at the old abandoned Shawmont Station.  This time, a train ran through, so we got the whole crossroads experience with flashing lights and gates descending.

Saul and Mike joined the group this time, and Saul suggested that I should get some shots of this cemetery.


Saul waited patiently while I took photos.  I can’t find my way out of an open paper bag, so it was very kind of him to stay with me to make sure I didn’t end up in Connecticut’s Bridgeport instead of Pennsylvania’s.

He made sure I got the right shot of Basil, too:

sp-entThis area is commercial now (manufacturing, utilities, warehouses, etc.) with busy roads going past and above the graveyard; it’s no longer a quiet “resting place”,  just an almost-forgotten one.  But it is as full of character as it is of antique graves, and completely unlike the modern models, with their sterile level plates and unnaturally manicured lawns.


Nostalgia was not the point of this run, though:  Doughnuts were!  Mike, Saul, and Tim illustrate the point (though Saul is somehow missing one of those sweet treats — perhaps saving it for later?)

Down the street at the Palm Tree Market we bought beverages, and more substantial fare.  There’s an indentation in the store-front that is perfect for parking big bikes

sp-bkbut the weather was so good that even the Bromptons stayed outside.

sp-baBack on the road, Saul pointed out a field of boom lifts he’d spotted on a previous ride.  He suspected that I’d be thrilled by the sight, and, of course, I was:

sp-crThe photo doesn’t do them justice.  They must be stored elongated as a matter of physics and balance, but that lofty reach is somehow so  graceful.   And why is the set on the left bent?   It looks like choreography to me, or perhaps some exotic form of communication between the groups.


Back on the trail, I set off in hot pursuit of this recumbent, a beautiful, brand-new, vehicle.  It’s a tadpole trike, with two wheels in front, one in back.  The rider was zipping down the path in excess of 15 mph/24.1 kmh and faster; he soon disappeared, but not before I managed to get this shot.

sp-cormBack next to the Schuylkill River, Dr. Diarist spotted this Double-Crested Cormorant, the first I can remember seeing, although they are apparently a common bird.


Sailing birds were not the only signs of renewed spring activity along the river.  It’s possible to rent quadricycle surreys to ride along the trail.   This cheery model was only one of three we spotted as we got closer to the city.


Back at the train station, our own small eccentric vehicles waited to board for the journey home. Today’s ride was 36 miles/57.9 km, well done in fine weather, with great companions!

(Basil and I are out of town this week, so response to comments and email will be slow — well, to be frank, non-existent — until our return.)

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