Proof it’s Still Summer!

One weird thing we’ve noticed about this summer: the absence of cycle-tourists contacting us via Warm Showers for an overnighter stay. For the uninitiated, “Warm Showers” is an online community of touring cyclists who offer free hospitality to other touring cyclists in the form of a place to stay overnight while touring, as compared to camping, hosteling or paying for a motel. Hosts are free to offer whatever assistance they like but at a minimum, it typically involves tent space, floor space or a bed or guest room to sleep in. Oftentimes, a host will offer showers (the most desirable feature of an overnight – hence the name “Warm Showers”) food, laundry, internet, and even sag support, among others. Here, we offer whatever we can to make our guests comfortable and improve the joy and success of a safe and memorable tour!

The weird part of THIS summer: we just had our FIRST guest of the summer last night when typically by this time of the year, we’ve hosted as many as 4-6 cyclists. We did get a hosting request while out bike touring ourselves in Vermont, and sadly had to refer the cyclist elsewhere.

Perhaps the weather was weird this summer, or perhaps the MANY other Warm Showers hosts around Rochester got contacted first. Perhaps our location in the city, not as close to the canal trail (on ACA’s Northern Tier Route) as many others, makes our place a bit out of reach for a tired cyclist. (I’d happily move to a place right ON the canal if we could afford it!)

But lucky we were last night to host Alvin!

Karen and Alvin
Karen and Alvin

Riding from his home in Los Angeles and now ten weeks into his trip, he’s headed for NYC via Syracuse / Albany / Hudson River on a now gentle schedule after taking the “PCH” up the west coast to Oregon, and across the country from there. He’s a gracious guest, a wonderful personality, and as a native Californian surfer, ┬áhe’s convinced me that a surfer mindset dovetails perfectly with cycle-touring!

Guess I never should have got rid of MY surfboard I had in Hawaii when stationed there in the Coast Guard! I might not have been good at the surfing part, but I’d be a natural camping on the beach NEXT to it!

We had a nice dinner PRE-pared by Karen since she was working late (which I still kinda messed up forgetting all about the salad) but we had no trouble filling up Alvin’s tank with the casserole and pudding. Fun stories of travel and people we’ve met touring were shared and Alvin’s story of the missing iguana reminds me to closely monitor what gets tossed into the kitchen garbage can.

And note to self … Alvin confirmed what I’ve heard from others: don’t ride northbound on the PCH. The north winds will kill ya! But DO ride it. Inexpensive hiker / biker campgrounds are available at frequent intervals along the route … Perfect for bike touring!

So, if you are “downstream” from Rochester on Alvin’s route to NYC, or you ever have the chance to host him wherever he travels, be sure to invite him in for a stay. You’ll meet a happy cyclist who’s a genuine pleasure to chat with and whom you’ll be sad to see leave without you tagging along!

Great meeting you Alvin!
Rubber Side Down!

(Ahem … “shoe glue side” … )

I’ve Been Retired for a Century

So what does a happy biker DO on his 1st day of retirement?

Goes for a bike ride, of course!

My local club had a 56 mile ride scheduled with the start location only 15 miles away, just over in the next county. The weather looked good for the whole day, so rather than pack it in the car, I rode out to the start. Got there in plenty of time to chat with others before we took off.

The ride got warm quickly, and it took only a few miles for a gang of six to coalesce and take off the front. I did take just a moment and made a brief stop to say hello and share encouraging words with a new cyclist.

Biker Chick
Biker Chick

That gang splintered a bit later as Gary and I got wound up just fast enough to miss a predetermind alternate (we were just following the track file on the GPS) with no one quite close enough behind to catch our attention to point out our error. We got to Newark, and waited, and waited, and eventually figured out WHY no one was coming. We took off to find the other gang at a store, but our original four we were riding with was up ahead now.

No big deal. We rode a bit with the other group for a couple miles before the nice roads and nice day inspired us to wind it up again. Gary is a true monster cyclist, burning 20+ mph into a headwind. And he punches a big hole in the air, so I was perfectly happy tucking in behind for several stretches today. And when we turned with the wind in our backs, we REALLY went sailing … until his rear shift cable broke, freezing him into his highest gear. Not a fun way to ride in rolling hills!

We stopped and watched the gang fly by as we tinkered and tested and eventually got it tied off in an easier gear, but now he has a 2-speed bike to finish the ride. But he STILL hauls ass down the road!

We again caught up with the other group and took a break at a store in Sodus. The gals migrated over to an ice cream shop leaving no indication how long they’d be stuck there, so once again, Gary and I took off to wrap up the last 13 miles of the day’s club ride.

After a brief pause at the finish with 71 miles on the ticker, I headed for home. The long way.

Weaving through the back roads, I eventually picked up the Erie Canal Trail and headed for Rochester. Right about the time I stopped to catch a couple photos,

Headed Home on the Canal Trail
Headed Home on the Canal Trail

I could feel that familar sign of “The Bonk” setting in. It seems a couple diet cokes and a pack of peanut butter crackers, for what is now nearly 100 miles, just doesn’t cut it. When I get in town and pass a bank, I see 90 degrees on the clock. That didn’t help.

(Not) soon enough, I pull into the driveway, stumble down to the cool basement and sit on the cold concrete floor for a while. Refreshing.

A Century plus Tax
A Century plus Tax

One hundred (a “century”) and seven miles of gorgeous riding, on a gorgeous day … and if I can’t get my legs to move in the morning, it’s not a problem.

I’m retired.

Turn the Page

“There I Go, On the Road Again … ” – Bob Segar

A short and slow yet heartfelt ride today. In the morning, as I started off to work at 6:01am, I texted Dave:

“LAST day at MCC … on Pug headed 4 12crns”

reply:

“Cu there in a few”

Dave and I meet at “Twelve Corners” on occasion for morning coffee. After coffee, we rode together to the south side trail (dirt) of the Erie Canal, which leads to a trail through the woods and connects to the loop road around Monroe Community College. It’s where I’ve worked for 15 years as a Macintosh Systems Administrator for the Visual and Performing Arts Department, technically, but have in reality been “The Mac Guy” for almost the entire college.

I spent the day wrapping up the last few details, and left via the same trail in the afternoon.

Buh Bye!
Buh Bye!

I took a long and leisurely ride home, and when I checked the mailbox at home, I found a wonderful card from my dear friend Linda.

branchout

 

As of today, I’m “Retired” but only by definition in my contract. In reality, I’m simply branching out in a new direction just as Linda says.

Thank You All at MCC.
It’s been a Great Ride!

Update: Dave sends a link … appropriate!

Yabba Dabba Do!