TRIP 2001

Update #8 - May 20th
Mt. Gilead, Ohio - 2191 miles (3506 KM)

The ride from Orchard Park, New York to Mt. Gilead, Ohio went okay but the weather went from one extreme to the next. One day, it was hot in the seventies and the next it was in the fifties with rain. I'm just glad that I didn't get sick like last year. For the last month of last year's trip, I had to recover from walking pneumonia on the road and it wasn't fun.

From Orchard Park, I traveled along U.S. 20 that was a few miles south of Lake Erie. It was a little busier traffic wise but it was in much flatter territory than what NY 5 would have been. In Pennsylvania, I did have to get on PA 5 for the ride through Erie but I was able to get on U.S. 20 again. Along the way, I rode passed many grape vineyards for wine or Concord Grape Juice.

Once in Ohio, I traveled along U.S. 20 till about 40 miles east of Cleveland and then I headed south. This ride south was probably one of the hardest sections cycled since I rode over one long hill to the next. I've pretty well had to deal with hilly territory from Lake Erie to Mt. Gilead but I hope to be in flatter territory on the way to Michigan.

I'm surprised that T-bolt (my new nickname for the recumbent) has held up so far. I did have to get off and walk up some of the steeper hills because of the damage to the chain idler pulleys but Lightning Cycle Dynamics has sent me some replacement idler pulleys for free and I'll be replacing them really soon. One thing that I can surely say is that the recumbent is really fast on the straightaways and down hills. It doesn't take long for the recumbent to speed up over 25 miles per hour and I really have to keep my balance while I try to apply the brakes. At least, I've only had two minor spills along the way so far and just 2 flats.

I've encountered good and bad people along the way. In Canal Fulton, Ohio, I've had the neatest encounter of meeting a guy who went out of the way to help me as he provided me with some meals and the use of his restroom. He was also able to help me connect with the deacons of the local Methodist church so that I could camp out in the church's picnic shelter to get out of the rain. I had a long and wet ride from Akron to Canal Fulton.

In Hudson, Ohio, I met just the opposite. After a long day's ride, I stopped at the local police station to see if somebody there could connect me with one of the local ministers. In a neat twist, they connected me with the ministerial alliance and they were able to get me a room at one of the local motels. Well, this motel turned out to be half motel and efficiency apartments (motel rooms on first floor, apartments on the second floor). There was another section with just motel rooms but it wasn't open for the season. The room that I got was okay but I didn't get much sleep.
Around 3 a.m., the people above me decided to play their stereo really loud. The bass sound was really turned up loud and there was really no way for me to drown out the noise. The loud music went on through the rest of the early morning hours and finally died down after 5 a.m. The worse thing about this was that the same three pieces of music were played over and over again with just a short pause while the tape was rewound. There was no way that I could complain to the manager since there wasn't any phone in the room and I didn't feel safe enough to leave the room that had two chains and a big lock on it that I used. Even though I didn't get much sleep, I was able to get on the bike and navigate my way through Akron to Canal Fulton.

I'll be taking a few days off for R&R with some friends in Mt. Gilead. This will also give me a chance to work on T-bolt and get it ready for the next leg up to and around Michigan. There is a good chance of rain the next four days so I'll be staying put in Mt. Gilead until Friday. I've found out that it is not fun riding on a recumbent in the rain especially when you are just sitting two feet off the pavement.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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