Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saga Of The Climb



A fine Sunday morning and since I haven't had a day off in two weeks, I'm taking this one. Therefore I'm up a bit later than usual and on the road at 8 AM, the temperature is 52 degrees with partly sunny skies and plenty of humidity to warm things up.

The opening picture is from this morning's New York Times. Great inspirational reading before a ride: a great article about fixies (fixed gear bicycles) and the accompanying bike culture. check it out

Even better than the article is the video accompanying it. Actually, three short videos, one at a fixie shop, the other on the track and the other from the street. worth watching

With that I set off. Just riding up Lombard Street toward the trail, I noticed friend Mindy with her group of riders down from Mt Airy. They ride every Sunday at 7AM toward a different brunch destination. Today they were in Center city so I pulled off and said hello (damn I didn't take a picture!) And after some chit chat was on my way. My plan was to finally find the road route to the Schuylkill path, having failed to find it twice before. this time I was armed with a hand drawn map from friend George (who I passed quickly going in the opposite direction as I started up the West River Drive.) Indeed, with no trouble this time I found the Umbria Street route and negotiated it despite the traffic and the hill. But when I came to the end of Umbria Street and should have turned sharp left down the hill to Nixon, I went right up the hill on Shawmount. And I mean up the hill! It was my own personal Alp d'Huez It was the steepest and longest climb of my short career and I almost thought I wouldn't make it. Especially as I sort of realized that I must be going the wrong way. I passed Ridge Avenue and managed to turn around and head back down the hill (almost as much work as going up and twice as scary) and found Nixon Street and familiarity. From there to just past the Norristown transportation center was old hat. When I reached that point, after about 21 miles, I needed a break and some nourishment. However, I had forgotten to pack my cliff bars. So I got off the path and wandered into Norristown looking for a place to eat. Not much presented itself, to say the least. I settled for a Dunkin Donuts (tried for a picture and the damn camera didn't work, for a change) feeling bad that I'd have no choice but to eat a sugary confection. As it turned out, I was able to get a bagel and coffee (better than I donut I think,) and had a nice break during which I called Annie, waiting at the airport in Utah to say hi and confirm her return flight information. Then it was back to Philadelphia. A very pleasant an uneventful ride home. Stayed on the West River Drive again figuring there would be fewer walkers, and Sunday folks. And more room to get around them in any case. This was true. There were plenty of people out enjoying the beautiful Sunday, but on the drive you can zip past them pretty safely. Of course, I came around the Museum and back down the trail to Locust and that was packed and slow. Total trip: 42.2 miles and one really big hill.

2 comments:

Mindy Shapiro said...

Since I am a fair weather biker, Sunday was my first serious ride of the season. What a treat to see Rabbi Stone with my biking buddies. We have been riding on Sunday mornings for at least 13 years, probably longer. Rabbi Stone, sorry you did not find the 401 Diner in Norristown or is it in Conshohocken? From time to time our group has also had no choice but to go to DD. That happened the time we biked to the Heinz Bird Observatory near the airport.

Mindy

Ira F. Stone said...

Thanks for the comment, Mindy. You'll have to tell me the route to the Heinz bird Observatory, sounds lovely.

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