Covered Bridge Ride
Every year I have the fortune of riding the Central Bucks Bicycle Club’s Covered Bridge RIde. The ride is 63 hilly miles of beautiful Bucks County countryside. The promoters pick the date so that the Fall foliage is in full swing. Since it’s nestled in the hills of rural PA, it tends to be the first “brisk” ride of my winter season. When I hit those shaded roads at eight o’clock in the morning, I know the times of racing, serious training, tanned knees and short sleeves is over. It’s time to bicycle for bicycling’s sake.
I think ever bicycle racer needs to have a covered bridge ride in his/her life. It’s a chance to ride with folks who aren’t racers. You see bikes of all sorts (counterintuitively, most are nicer than yours because they belong to doctors and lawyers who are, shall we say, unable to take advantage of their bike’s racy pedigree). You get to see people riding purely for the experience. There are woefully unprepared cyclists. There are weather-worn old men riding down-tube shifters, cutoff jean shorts, and t-shirts with political agendas. On Sunday I saw a guy on a mountain bike with aerobars and bar ends.
Let me say that one more time for those who can appreciate it: mountain bike with aerobars and bar ends. I think his handlebar assembly outweighed my entire bike.
The atmosphere on the covered bridges ride just relaxes me. The people are friendly and wont try to attack me in their big ring on a hill. The volunteers from the Central Bucks Bicycle Club stock the rest stops with all matter of baked goods and fresh fruit. The cold air gives that crisp sensation to my lungs. The quiet roads are pleasing reminders that there remains preserved, undeveloped land in this world. I relax and have a chuckle at the $5000 bike next to me with the reflectors still attached.
The nature of training and racing often keeps me from appreciating these aspects of riding. It’s refreshing to have an annual ritual to put all those pedal circles into perspective. It’s just like I yell to a promising breakaway in a race, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.”