Unlike 2020, when I went bonkers about big miles (11,111) for the year, and about lots of centuries (25), I feel no compulsion to reach any particular goal for 2022. BUT … I have no plan to “take a year off” either.
So Tuesday’s wonderful weather presented me with an opportunity to knock out a big ride in a “strategic” way. I had earlier plotted a route to the hills south of the city, but a last minute check of weather implied I’d have a nicer day by capitalizing on the increasing northwest winds in the afternoon. A westerly start in the morning promises a fast return, but “fast” means the right bike. Given how flat the terrain is to the west and north of the City, I decided to give Old Blue the honors.
Dear Old Blue. So many miles, so many adventures, so many changes over the years, but still a sweetheart of a bike it has been and always will be. Smooth, silent and simple, Old Blue is my “2-speed”. It got me across the country twice in it’s current configuration, so it’s plenty good enough for a day out in the sun.
Unlike Monday - Total Sunshine all day long Tuesday! Out the door at 7:15am and it’s already in the 50’s (F) with only gentle breezes. I pass through downtown and Genesee Valley Park on my way to the Erie Canalway Trail, and I pause on the Wally Bridge to watch the rowing teams.
“The Plan” for the day was to take the trail all the way out to Albion but when the pavement ended at Long Pond Road, the softening of last night’s rain on the stone dust surface made for tough riding. I recalibrated my expectations for the day and took paved alternates to get to Albion.
I chose not to stop in town, rather, I continued north on Route 98 to Route 104 when I scored a slice of Buffalo Chicken pizza and a chocolate milk. Yes, the “routine”. Grab food, take a leak, sit in the sun on the curb out front of the convenience store. I’m making a habit of determining the day’s ride based on a turn-around point at a Crosby’s c-store. I’m 47 miles in at this point. The food will be required.
From Albion, it’s a straight fast shot to Oak Orchard, Point Breeze and Lake Ontario when I make the turn east toward the Parkway and the free ride begins. The afternoon tailwinds were picking up and I quickly started an internal debate about taking the time to flip-flop the rear wheel. This bike has a single cog on both sides of the symmetric rear wheel, so if I need a bigger or smaller gear, I can stop, pull the rear wheel, flip and re-chain it up into the dropouts and away we go. Right now I have a 22 tooth cog chained up, but I could use the 17 tooth for a higher faster gear. Would be GREAT not spinning out half the way home. Alas, I chose to work on my spin as best I could and accept that the return can only be “so fast” and not a bit faster.
Fast enough though. Even with taking a pit stop and fuel break at Hamlin Beach State Park, I still pulled into the driveway earlier than planned. It never quite got warm enough to pull off the tights and wooly shirt, but with tailwinds and sunshine and miles of quiet and smooth Parkway to bring Old Blue back home, I think I’ll classify today as “Extra Special”.
To date, I've knocked off TWO centuries and covered over 2000 miles for 2022. Looking like a great year.