On a tour your day follows the sunrise and sunset. I realized that the sunsets are about 40 minutes earlier than what I am used to because I am hundreds of miles further east in the eastern time zone. By 9:00 PM I will be in my tent.
Before I go to bed there are several tasks to take care of in order to get going faster in the morning. I will get my clothes out: top, shorts, socks. I will have a long sleeve out for any morning chill. My bags will be set to close up. Medicine is out for the morning. Check the weather to have an idea of what to expect tomorrow.
In the morning I will take the medicine, pack the sleeping bag and take the backpack to the luggage truck; remember the truck number. The roll duffel I will do after breakfast. I will take a cup of coffee for me to enjoy later. Top off the tire pressure; look over the bike.
Biking through urban areas is stressful. With this part we were traveling early Sunday morning. I felt the safety of numbers. Cars would see us. They gave a lenient pass through any changing street lights. Our route was marked with paint along the way. I also had downloaded the route on Ride GPS, which would announce turns.
The Niagara River connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. It reminded me of the St. Clair River and the Detroit River near me in Michigan. These are rivers which come off a Great Lake. All of these places have a lot of wind. I felt at home and I was happy when we turned inland.
I knew that many of the towns near me had corresponding names to New York cities. I lived in Rochester, Michigan and we had Troy and Utica right next door. This was exciting for me to be here knowing how this canal impacted my state.
This stop also had an ice cream shop. I must've waited 20 minutes to get my chocolate shake. These stops were well stocked. The Hertz truck carried all of our nourishment.
When I arrived in camp I would find the area to recharge my bike battery. Attendants would monitor the batteries while we did other things. That was nice. The school had showers , but there was also a shower truck. After a dusty trail our bikes needed a shower. I also cleaned the chain to be ready for the next day.
Day 1 is done and I was tired.
From Sunday, July 9 through the next eight days I took part in the bike tour traveling along the Erie Canal.
I have been looking forward to this for a complete year. When I returned from the MUP tour I had an email that mentioned that they had just completed the tour. Tour registration did not open for months and this provided me time to read the information from the website. https;//www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal/itinerary
In 8 days of cycling they say you will cover 400 miles. Our days ranged 40-60 miles. The website accurately described the trip. I found no surprises.
On my earlier tours I will bring my own tent. This year I decided to try the tent service. This tour uses Comfy Camper. They were responsible for the set up and tear down of the tent. An aero bed mattress, towel and chair were provided. I am now spoiled and will look to use a tent service again. My advice, set your reservation early. Only so many spots are available.
This arrangement allowed me to have a good night's sleep. That is so important on a tour. Each day you would need to tear down your tent and move on. I also did not have the worry about dealing with set up and tear down in the rain. If you get rid of some worries that is a big help.
The tour provided options for long-term parking at both ends. A shuttle for the rider and bike were also available.
My wheeled duffel from REI was new. My roll bag last year broke a wheel. The terrain can be rough and they are being handled by others. The ebag in the chair held all my riding clothes and as the week went on the dirty ride clothes. Backpack straps made it easy to carry. Last year I used a shoulder strap duffel. I am sticking with this set up.
This ride has been on my list of places to ride this summer. This an attractive town in southwest Michigan along Interstate 94. I can drive there in less than a half hour. I decided to park in a town park. I had the convenience of a porta-john before and after the ride. Since I was right in town I had the choice of many food options and services.
I was not sure where I would ride I just took off. I was just looking for quiet streets and roads to ride to take in the sights.
The city park where I started was connected to the local hospital. The complex is nicely nestled into the woods and it is not visible from the main roads. Three medical buildings are near by and the woodland roads provide a nice settling. I passed several walkers getting some exercise during their break time. The road led me into a senior residential development within walking distance to the doctor offices. I crossed the main road and took the photo above.
Michigan has many lakes and they are very attractive for development. I moved into the subdivision and toured the residential streets. It is very easy for me to pedal my touring pace.
This led me to a dirt road (gravel) that I would like to look at for a later ride. Today I wanted to stay on pavement.
Just past the overpass of the Interstate was a local road that paralleled the freeway. This was a quiet road which serviced small commercial buildings.
As I went through several residential subs I happened upon the Border to Border trail of Washtenaw County. I had never been on this section. It does not reach Dexter and I just went to the end. I did not feel like riding on the highway.
Funny, I never heard they were missing. I am glad that I found them, but not as big as I expected. These were the foundational base for the water tower for the steam railroad engine.
I followed the track all the way to the station in Chelsea, just off main street.
Chelsea is the home of the Jiffy baking mix company. These track are used by the Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Detroit. The clock tower is impressive.
I continue to use tubes on all my bikes. I do not have trouble with flat tires. I can count my flats on two fingers.
If it is not broken don't fix it, the saying goes. My reading about tires has given me a better standing about air pressure and ride comfort. As I have gotten older, I realize the bumps more. A rough ride makes me tired. I remember a tour a couple of years ago that really taught me this lesson. The surface of the trail was bigger stones which was constantly jarring the handlebars and rattling me on the seat. I was tired much earlier in the day and multiple days had a compounding impact on several levels.
I now use a seat with springs. There is also a nice foam cushion. I tried it on my day rides and it made a big difference and I did not feel as beat up. The front shocks are also helpful because it softens the jarring handlebar.
This is the bike I now will use on tours. I used the Brooks Flyer seat for my day rides, but I find the other seat better for multi-day tours. Many love the Brooks saddles for tour comfort. Brooks has models that do not have springs.
My tires state the range of 30-70 pounds. In the US most people will prefer this value. Bike pumps will show you both values like your car speedometer will tell you MPH or km/hour.
I was advised to "top off "the tire pressure before each ride. I took this to mean fill this tire to 70 pounds. I think that is why I avoided many flats because I never got a pinch flat from hitting a hole when the pressure was too low. I found that the disadvantage of this practice is that the ride is rough or hard. I rattled at each bump and seam in the road.
Search for "bicycle tire pressure calculator." These guides, you have the choice of several, will work you through a series of questions (bike type, tube type or tubeless, total weight, tire size, tire width, road surface, etc.) Once you fill in the blanks you will get a value for the front tire and the rear tire. The guide will suggest a little more air in the rear tire. Instead of 70 pounds it calculated 31 pounds in the front tire and 33 pounds in the rear.
I have found this new tire pressure to be much more comfortable whether I am on cement, blacktop, chip seal, crushed limestone or dirt. I would put more pressure in when I would be hitting more potholes and larger rocker or roots.
I will continue to play with the air pressure and write down these values so I remember. What is your experience? What do you suggest?
Thanks for checking back into my virtual tour. When the weather warms, I ride more and I do not sit down at my desk as much. This busy metro stretch of Washington and Baltimore was overwhelming.
These were the Native American in this part of Maryland and Pennsylvania. They were an Iroquoian speaking people.
As I get to the border I reach the Mason Dixon Line. This was surveyed 1763-1767 by Mr. Mason and Mr. Dixon in response to a border dispute between Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. Later it was used as an informal North and South line in the 1800s.
As I turn east to head to Lancaster I see a sign for US 30. I used to live off of US 30 in Valparaiso, IN. My research of the area reminded me that the Lincoln Highway went through this town. This was on of the first coast to coast highways established during the early years of the motor car.
The Susquehanna is 444 miles long and has two branches that feed this stretch and it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. It is longer than any other rive along the East Coast. Geologists consider this to one of the oldest existing rivers in the world.
Lancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in the country. It is located in the flat lands before the Appalachian Mountains. It is the center of the Dutch area. During the Revolutionary War it was the capital for a day. From 1799-1812 it was the capital of the state. There is a rich history here.
I am writing this to benefit me and think things through. It may help others in this same situation.
I am using the "granny gear" more to help me when I pedal into the wind or head up the hills. This is a term that some may not know. In the photo below, the smallest gear is given this name. Just by the name, granny gear, it is meant to depict a negative. I am a grandparent and I know great grannies that do a lot. I think you know what I mean.
The 3 front gears were on many bikes sold in the last four decades. I feel embarrassed that I have to use the easier gears now after many years of only using them minimally. I know that I should not feel this way, but I do; at least until now. The fact is that as you get older you slow down. The fact that I am still riding is a point to be proud of and celebrate. If there is any competition for me it is against myself. Yesterday I jumped on my bike and I set a new personal record for one of my regular sections to ride.
I ride for my enjoyment. I enjoy my rides. I will do what I am capable of doing. I now enjoy the ebike rides a couple of days a week.
I love my riding days and look to find interesting and informative items to share.
Pacific Coast Highway