Take It easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy….………………………..The Eagles
The constant jangling of the metal handlebar basket as I bounce along on my bike on the towpath is something that I have gotten used to. The sound is fading into the background as if I were wearing some noise cancelling headphones, but it is only what is left of my middle-aged rattled brain doing its thing! With regular six to seven hours of steady biking all by myself day after day, starting in the relative cool of the early mornings, and continuing through the middle of these hot and humid summer days; with the legs beating a regular rhythm on the pedals without end; with the steady concentration of the ride and your thoughts only broken up the occasional scenic stops, the snack breaks, and the infrequent interaction with folks you come across on the trail; it is all something that is becoming second-nature to me.
It has gotten to the point where I can recover from my long rides and do the same thing the next day without feeling the ill-effects of the previous days’ efforts. It does not matter if I had been riding on a flat surface on the towpath or if I have overcome some challenging slopes on the Virginia side of the river or on the Capital Crescent Trail the previous day. So I think I am about as ready as I can be for the long ride at the end of August.
I have biked all the way to Reston, VA, near Dulles airport, on the W&OD trail. This picture was taken at the place where I stopped for lunch and turned back to return home.
I would eventually like to bike to the end of the W&OD trail. It is 45 miles long.
The picture below shows the scene at Lock 7 in the morning during a different ride. It is still cool in the morning at this point and I am riding towards DC. I eventually crossed the Potomac on the Key Bridge and took the Arlington loop.
This is Swain’s Lock later the same day as I was returning to Riley’s Lock. The heat had built up by this time.
The picture below was taken at the end of the same ride. The kids are on Seneca Creek near Riley’s lock. As I mentioned in another blog, there are kids everywhere!
This picture was taken early in the morning the next day at the start of another ride. The location is north of Taylor’s Landing near Sharpsburg, MD.
As I was getting my bike out of the car, a few vans full of kids and equipment drove into the parking area. When I inquired if I could help by moving my car out of the way, one of the adults told me not to bother. They were simply dropping the kids and their bikes off so that they could ride the trail, and the vehicles were going to pick them up at the other end of the ride. I like kids, but I did make sure to start my ride going in the opposite direction of where they were headed.
I passed the Dam 4 cave, and then Dam 4 itself, a couple of miles north of Taylors Landing.
During this ride I biked all the way to Williamsport, MD, before turning back. There is a lot of work going on in the park in Williamsport and I had to navigate my way past a dump truck that was blocking the trail. The National Park Service is trying to get the canal in that section set up so that they can give rides to visitors in replica canal boats. On my way back, at Taylor’s Landing, I did come across a group of four older women who were riding from Cumberland to Washington, DC, over five days. They had actually roughed it out the previous night by staying in one of the lock houses. It was unusual to see such a group on the trail.
Here is a recording to the song mentioned in this blog.