Day 9 of our bicycle tour that began in Bar Harbor Maine has ended in Ronks PA. A few miles shy of our goal to reach the Maryland state line.. but who’s counting? Our touring travels, beginning each day putting gear on our bikes, inhaling nutrients, navigating unknown roads and discovering nuggets of magic along the way – was coming to a close.
Today’s ride began at 5:30AM with the addition of a third rider (Tamar) who brought fresh legs, fresh conversation and a fast road bike. We would ride the Amish Country just east of Lancaster. Amish Country from a bicyclist perspective is comprised of rolling hills, farmland, churches, small towns and quiet people who embrace a simple life from simpler times. Horses pulling buggies can be seen along less traveled farm roads as well as more populated and busy routes. Drivers who are in a hurry, are forced to slow down for the horse drawn buggies, and wait.
We began the ride excited by the lack of steep hills, and quickly knocked out 20 miles by 7AM. By 8AM the sun was making it’s presence known and it was the first real ‘heat’ we have felt on this tour. Gone are the days of misty fog to keep your skin cool, 60 degree temps without humidity and crisp northern air. The temperatures today represent ‘south’ – with heat emanating from the roadways, high humidity and 85 degree temps to get the day started. Despite the rising heat, and bike legs that may have been more fatigued than we let on – it was
easy to become distracted by Amish farm life. There were no ‘mega farms’ – all farms appeared to be small and family operated. Cows, horses and chickens roamed freely – and the corn stalks stood over 8′ high. Navigating the roads took on a special twist. Avoiding the horse poo.
With a twinge of sadness that our Northeast bike tour has ended, we concluded our ride with grins from ear to ear, surrounded by friends and family who made this amazing tour possible (including those who have joined us virtually) and memories to carry us — at least until we tackle our next adventure bike tour.
Most difficult riding: Pocono Mountains, PA
Most scenic ride: Bar Harbor Maine and the views along the coastline
Most memorable greeting: “M’ love” — by an Irishman in Rockland ME
Most satisfying ride: Rolling hills and quiet roads of Rockland Maine and being joined by our SAG team at the final miles
Busiest roadways: Tie between Saco ME and Newport RI
Ride with the most horse poo in the road: Amish Country, PA
# of times we had a flat tire: 0
Most consumed food while biking: cashews and peanuts, Cliff bars
Most unusual breakfast choice: soggy tuna sub
# of times bike toppling by failing to get out of the clips: 1
# of times the grade was more than 18%: 8
# of times we were rained out: 0
# of miles completed: 497
# of photographs taken: 858
hours of video taken from iVue sunglasses: 4.5 hours
# of times a bear or rattlesnake was seen: 0 (whew!)
A special shout out to my bike partner Jill – who rode all miles with me (despite knee issues), tolerated my food choices and endless stops for pictures – and shares a craving for endorphins and laughter — making this tour amazing. Huge huge nod to Paddy who pushed to ride a portion of this tour daily – including starts and finishes, be available as our bike mechanic, and find the best coffee shops for the apres rides. And a nod to Chuck who teamed up as SAG support and managed to inspire us to find a little extra in our tanks.