Catching up.

I’ve missed writing reports on my last several permanents so this is my attempt to sum up some of them.  Stretched out on the sofa in my “cottage” in Adelaide, I finally feel as if I have a little time to breathe and think.  Soon I’ll be heading out for a ride on the Torrens River trail (access to it across the street here), but a few sentences first.

The month after I rode the Schuykill to Delaware with Rick, I rode it again with Laurent.  This ride is easy for me to get to as it’s only about 40 minutes from home, but for Laurent it was a long drive, and he looked a little worn out when he arrived.  We had breakfast at the diner before heading out.  It was good to do the route with someone totally unfamiliar with it; right away I saw that there was a problem with the directions as Laurent started to leave the diner in the wrong direction.  Mental note number one for cue sheet adjustment.  I wasn’t any more lucky this time in terms of conquering Eichele, but neither was Laurent so I didn’t feel too bad.  At this point I’m not sure what it will take to make it up that hill but I sure haven’t found the solution yet.  And we weren’t any more ahead of the clock in Quakertown than I usually am, so I felt kind of reassured that I haven’t been doing too badly on this route.  Laurent is faster than I, but our times are often at least comparable.

So we left Yum Yum Donuts in Quakertown with about 5 minutes on the clock and headed for Rt 212 and the long descent to the Delaware River and Riegelsville.  By the time we reached the river, we had built up a small time cushion and the next section along the river to Lambertsville and New Hope is almost all flat.  The challenge of this stretch is to keep up speed even though I’m starting to get hungry, tired and ready for a break.  We made good enough time that we were able to stop for a leisurely lunch at Guiseppe’s in New Hope.  We would have been happy to have a slightly less leisurely lunch but the staff was in no hurry to serve us.  Friendly but slow.  Fortunately, it was a nice day so we sat out on the patio while we waited and then ate.  The longest stretch, between New Hope and Phoenixville is navigationally challenging–and Laurent pointed out a few places where the cue sheet could be clearer.  I think I’ve taken care of most of them now.  Doylestown is almost as busy as the Lambertsville/New Hope area so you also have to carefully watch the cars there.

The guys who run the Dunkin’ Donuts in Phoenixville recognize me now and greeted us warmly.  One of them is also quite an accomplished cyclist and had a long conversation last time with Rick about his cycling adventures.  This time, we ate our donuts and muffins–pumpkin-flavored goodies to be seasonally in synch–and headed out for the last ten miles.  It was just going dark when we returned to the Limerick Diner.  A good dinner together and then we said goodbye and headed for home.

I’ve also recently done Paul Shapiro’s Millstone River Ramble twice, once with Katie and Chris, and the second time on my own.  This is a flat route that follows the D & R Canal for most of the ride and probably half of it travels relatively quiet roads.  I enjoyed the route quite a lot both times.  The first and last 10 miles are through Princeton Junction, Princeton, past the Kingston Bakery, and the place where George Washington slept (well, one of the places) and across to Canal Rd.  It’s not a smooth ride but it is relatively easy and with some fall color still on the trees, it was quite lovely both times.  Along the way to Dunkin’ Donuts in Martinsville, you pass through a couple of small towns, but they are pretty easily navigated.

Maybe the highlight, well, one of two highlights of the first time doing this route was stopping to take a photo next to the monument dedicated to Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds.  Even if a reluctant participant in this little sidetrack escapade (I tend to feel like I must keep riding from beginning to end or I’m not going to make it on time), it worked out fine and we got a corny photo out of it.  The second highlight of this ride was eating Indian food at a new restaurant at the finishing point of the ride.  It was strange to be staring at a menu and not recognize anything on it.  We tried new kinds of curries and breads, ate some excellent spicy soup and irritated the owner because we didn’t want to order expensive fruit drinks.  Now, if she had offered us beer….

When I did the Millstone Ramble for a second time, I had the benefit of having done the route once already and much of it looked familiar so I didn’t have to worry too much about getting lost.  And not having my companions to spend time with at the Dunkin’ Donuts controle or to make me stop and pose for pictures along the way, I actually finished in a slightly faster time.  Jayne and I went back to the same Indian restaurant and were as mystified by the menu a second time.  However, we managed to order the sampler plate that Katie and Chris ordered the first time.  The manager again got disgusted by our not wanting to order expensive fruit drinks–where’s the beer??–and then “forgot” to bring the tea that Jayne did order.

Randonneuring…it’s all about the food, right?

I’m two 100km rides away from a P-12, so I hope to finish this series.  And who knows what adventures these two rides could entail.

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