Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It turns out there's at least one cyclist who doesn't suck!

In the cycling world there's something called the Velominati rules. This set of rules for cyclists started out tongue-in-cheek but over time has been taken way too literally by cyclists. I previously slipped in a quick bitch about these rules here. Kudos to Peter Flax for writing an article-length rebuttal.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Covered Bridges Ride in Thurmont

Desdemona* is the reason my job exists. Well, not Des in particular, but people of her ilk. She's a super-smart, highly accomplished Ph.D. who directs millions of dollars in medical research, but clearly, sometimes organizing isn't her strong suit.** I emailed her shortly after I started working in Frederick (where she lives) last November, and apparently she wrote a response at the time but somehow it never got sent and it took her until February to realize that something was amiss.

When we finally did get in touch we decided to go for a bike ride after work. She arrived slightly late and we set off. She's done a lot of riding in the area and I assumed she had a particular route mapped out in her mind, but it turned out we were doing some degree of wandering.

It was quite a nice ride. We first headed south, hit our first covered bridge and the "bike barn", then made a major northward trek though farms on Old Frederick Road. There are a lot of cyclists in this area and so most motorists were very considerate - just an occasional few honked or gunned their engines at us (mostly when we were riding 2 abreast, taking up some of the road). It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm February day (borderline shorts weather) and I had a great time cruising along taking in the scenery. We took a quick stop at a second covered bridge, then headed on. As we turned west onto Rocky Ridge Road I mentioned that our daylight was fading and that we should probably think of heading back.
First Covered Bridge

Well, first we missed a turn Des had wanted to make, and apparently she's vehemently opposed to ever backtracking, so we continued onward. The good news is that we wound up intersecting with the road we had started out on and we started to head back south on that road. It was dusk at this point. Fortunately I had front and rear light with me. Des, who is, again, a highly intelligent scientist, apparently hadn't thought about the fact that this might be one of those days when the sun sets and so hadn't brought any lights.

When had about four miles to go Des decided to turn right at an intersection to avoid having to climb the big hill up Hessong Bridge Road. This added another 2-3 miles to the ride. It did take us over to Cunnigham Falls Park and Catoctin Furnace, but really these were the only unpleasurable miles of the trip, seeing as how we were riding in the dark down a commercial street alongside a major highway. I'm not sure that this was a better choice than the hill would have been.

We finally escaped exurban sprawl with our eastward turn onto Blacks Mill Road. The rest of the ride was exhilarating if a little unnerving. Quite dark, few cars, no illumination but my headlight. Fun riding, but (since I can always think of the worst) the whole way back I was picturing hitting some unseen pothole and pitching out over the handlebars.

Fortunately we made it back without incident. This was a really nice ride, and I smiled all the way back to Arlington.

total Miles: 20
Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/876363738

*Not her real name. She's one of those people who is prickly about Internet privacy.

**I will say in her defense that she does manage to organize a rather large and complex annual kayaking event.