It was kind of cold today (temps mostly above freezing, but with quite a wind), but I decided to try to make it a bit of a spring day, nonetheless. I had just on Friday got my tuned up (and beloved!) touring/road bike out of the local bike shop (the pic to the left is not my actual bike; it's REI's latest version of my model; mine is three year's old and has taken me from Boston to Vermont and from here in Reading to Long Island, NY).
Today, I took the bike on the longest ride I've been on in quite some time (about 28 miles in the sunshine over beautiful, hilly Berks and Lancaster country terrain; see map, below). I'm really hoping to build some strength so I'm able to build up to doing 60 miles pretty regularly on my Sundays when the weather gets warm.
I feel like I'm off to a great start in making that possible. This winter I've managed to keep riding throughout the winter (albeit mostly very short rides after work on weekdays) and I really felt the benefit of that today -- I don't at all feel physically wasted from the ride, today. Now, of course, I think I did benefit from the cold weather (ie, I didn't sweat that much). But the last time I did this same ride I found it much more of a strain.
I really feel like I could not have managed to motivate myself to ride through the winter if it was not for my purchase of my Xtracyle along with the excellent (although, admittedly, pricey) rechargeable light I bought so that riding after work (dark in the winter!!) was not quite so intimidating.
My satisfaction with the Xtracyle has continued to grow. I have long shopped for groceries by bicycle (as I did tonight, in fact, with the touring bike). But before the Xtracycle I used to 'edit' my purchases so the bike could handle them -- always buying the small bottle of bleach, for example. With the Xtracycle I just shop for whatever I want. I have yet to buy more groceries than it can easily handle (although, admittedly, I am not shopping for a family of four!!! (I live alone)).
Below is the route me and my touring bike took, today. It's a great route that takes you out of the Delaware River Valley into the Susquehanna. The border between the two great river valleys is also pretty much the border between Berks and Lancaster counties. There's quite a difference between the two counties geographically. Berks along this border is largely wooded with some farms mixed in. Lancaster is almost all farms. Today, that also meant that it was windier (without trees to break the wind). But it's beautiful farm country and the kind of place you can still (as I did, today) see people using a horse and buggy to get around or a middle-aged, bonnet-wearing (I'm not sure if she was Amish or Mennonite) woman riding a bicycle as transportation through the winter cold. I love it!
Here's the route map:
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