Spring Fever: On the Bike, Off the Clock

This weekend’s spectacular weather made for an invitation to ride that Felkerino and I could not refuse. We ditched the indoors for a weekend of riding with friends.

Barry and Ed at Harpers Ferry
Barry and Ed at Harpers Ferry

Saturday, we oiled the chain on the Co-Motion tandem and met up with Barry B. and Lane G. for a meander from Poolesville, Maryland, to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and back.

Having all ridden the flèche last weekend (though not all on the same team), we delighted in riding free of any time table.

The lush green of spring has arrived all around us. Trees are filling in, the cherry trees still have pink petals, and the redbud and forsythia are out. Oh spring, I waited a long time for you this year.

Harpers Ferry

Temperatures have warmed, too. I wore knickers both days, and even shed my arm warmers for much of Saturday and Sunday’s rides.

Every 15-20 miles or so we  seemed to stop, especially as the ride continued. It was just too great a day to hurry. We rode 25 miles and stopped for coffee at Beans in the Belfry, a church that has been converted into a coffee shop (see what I did there?).

Coffe stop at Beans in the Belfry
Coffee stop at Beans in the Belfry (c) Felkerino

Five miles later we made another stop in Harpers Ferry to take a few photos. Mile 43 and we paused at the Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown for a lovely lunch.

This was followed by a post-lunch espresso stop, a quick visit to the bike shop, and my brief entry into a children’s clothing store where I purchased a t-shirt for my little nephew. This was no flèche.

Gathland

After reaching Gathland State Park, fifteen miles outside of Shepherdstown, we took another break and snapped more pictures. And then another break outside of Burkittsville, Maryland, to bask in the sun and discuss the Blair Witch Project.

While Saturday’s ride pace was leisurely and the stops plentiful, the route still offered a good challenge for the legs, with plenty of rollers and climbs up to Gathland and MarLu Ridge.

Co-Motion descends the dirt on Sugarloaf
Co-Motion descends the dirt on Sugarloaf

We also crossed Sugarloaf Mountain via dirt roads. I thoroughly enjoyed traversing the dirt, but it was somewhat rocky and Barry ended up flatting along that section.

Fortunately, his tire chose a scenic spot for a flat so I was able to take more photos of our ride while Barry and Felkerino worked on the tire.

Felkerino "helps" Barry with his flat
Felkerino “helps” Barry with his flat

Ultimately we ended up riding eighty-eight miles on Saturday. Our riding time probably came close to matching our time stopped, but we still managed to finish well before dark.

On Sunday morning, we grabbed our Rawland dSogns and joined Pete B. and Chris for a foray down the C&O Canal. We started early enough in the day to avoid crowds and even to ride two abreast in many spots. That was exciting.

Riding the C&O
Riding the C&O (c) Felkerino

The C&O had also greened up for spring and the morning light made the Potomac look so blue and beautiful. I made a feeble attempt to capture the area’s beauty with my camera, but it did not come close. It’s almost impossible to communicate a perfect morning in a ride-by photo. Trust me, the day was gorgeous.

Pete and the Potomac

After around 25 miles our group divided– not before taking a group photo, though– with Pete continuing on for a high-mileage day in preparation for the Dirty Kanza 200 that he will be riding this June. And also because he just likes to ride a lot.

Pete B.'s group shot on the C&O  (c) PedroGringo
Pete B.’s group shot on the C&O (c) PedroGringo

Chris, Felkerino, and I turned our bikes onto the pavement and made our way toward home via River Road, one of the main arteries for D.C.-area cyclists looking to pedal their way to open roads. Fifty-plus miles later and we were off our bikes, ready for a nap.

Lane's Bilenky

I love mixing up our riding adventures. Tandem is such a different feel from riding single. Dirt roads offer a distinct experience to pavement. Riding from home is fun, but remote starts allow me to explore new places more easily. Brevets are that much sweeter when balanced out with free-range riding.

Cycling is also that much better when you have good friends to share the ride. Thanks, guys. It was a good weekend.

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