The temperature climbed into the 50’s today. I knew it was going to, so I planned a 3 speed ride. I left the Phillips in stock condition, and didn’t even add a rack. My plan was to ride to Kennett if all went well. Not everything went well, but after-the-fact I’m looking back on it as a good ride. “At least I went outside.”
If you’re going further than 10 miles, riding with a backpack kinda sucks. Your back and armpits get sweaty and your shoulders get tired.
I put my gps unit on my handlebars and set out just after 11am. I packed a couple sandwiches and had water bottles tucked into mesh pockets on the side of my backpack. Not an ideal setup, but it’s under 45 miles, so in theory “no biggie.”
I used my Garmin gps to make a “track” to follow. I plotted a route through the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge which runs along I-95. I worked my way out of the city and into the Refuge. The going was slow and difficult. It might have been warm today, but the winds were strong and steady in the wrong direction. The path through the refuge isn’t paved. It was covered in weeks-old snow for most of the way, and the rest was mud or water. I walked for a little more than an hour and stopped to eat a sandwich.
The JHNWR is a nice place. When the weather is warmer and drier, I’d like to go back. I wouldn’t exactly call the nature in this refuge “unadulterated.” What’s the opposite? Molested. It’s fairly well molested through there. There was an oil spill in 2000, and there’s a sign to let you know that the most effected section has been re-planted with native plants by Sunoco. It reminded me of someone kicking a puppy and then running over to pet it – and somehow we’re supposed to be impressed with the show of affection. There were some gross aspects back there in the quasi-woods.
The going was tough enough to make me cuss. Fuck fuck fuck. It’s not hard to do.
I got out of that area, and popped out right near the airport. Hours had passed, and the headwind was blowing with a ferocity. I decided to eat at Denny’s and go home.
I had three cups of coffee with my bacon eggs and pancakes. Sometimes I think that I don’t really like bicycle rides. I just like stopping at diners while I’m in the middle of them. I romanticize the rides, but I’m really in it for the coffee stops and contemplation.
I asked my gps what the best way to get home by bicycle was, and I followed it. A mere 15 miles by road this time.
I need to do something about what’s left of the 40-year-old grease in my bottom bracket. The closer I got to home, the louder it squealed. It sounded just like a little wooden bird call that I had when I was a little kid. I need to put some fresh grease in there and maybe change the bearings while I’m at it.
I’m looking forward to attempt number two at this little adventure. Here’s what I would change:
1) “tracks” are not as good as “routes” for on-road gps navigation. A “route” has more information and gives street names and arrows.
2) Fuck riding with a backpack on. I already knew that, though.
3) Warmer day; less headwind. That would be nice.
4) Lower gearing if using a three speed. Put a bigger cog on the back. (3 minute job).
5) Don’t attempt impassible territory on a bicycle. If it’s February, best to stick to the pavement.
6) Be less of an irate wuss.
Mr. Phillips cousin, a 1961 Humber Sports. Seen on 33rd Street in West Philly.