May 7, 2011/ Maria Parker
It’s been a little over a week since I crossed the Memorial Bridge into Washington DC and pulled my yellow Silvio up the Lincoln Memorial capping an 8 day 1200 mile bicycle ride that started in St. Augustine Florida. I’ve spent the days since doing laundry, sleeping in, getting caught up on e-mails and Cruzbike work and processing my thoughts and memories about the trip.
I’ve done lots of traveling, but this was one of the most memorable and downright fun adventures I’ve had. My Silvio served me well; comfortably carrying me through the gorgeous countryside of eastern Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. My traveling companion and I averaged 150 miles per day, but traveled slowly, taking frequent breaks to enjoy scenery and delicious meals at restaurants recommended by the friendly people we came in contact with. We carried two day’s clothing and supplies and had fresh things shipped to hotels we planned to stay in along the way.
Jim was able to join us for the first two days of the ride and the last 30 miles on the Mt. Vernon Trail along the Potomac River and into Washington DC. Using the Adventure Cycling maps Atlantic Coast route to guide us (http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/atlanticcoast.cfm) was one of the best decisions we made. We discovered that the adventure cycling people really know what they are doing and when we decided not to follow the route, or occasionally wandered off, we generally regretted it. The route took us through some of the most beautiful back roads imaginable. We often started pedaling just before sunrise and enjoyed just incredible early morning vistas as we pedaled over bridges, or through corn, cotton or wheat fields that just filled us with joy. It’s difficult for me to put into words the pleasure and gratitude I felt each day.
We did have a couple of beastly hot afternoons, but we learned to fill our cycling clothes with ice which cooled us as it melted. Jim also taught us to stop to fill our water bottles and spray ourselves down at country churches when it was a long way between gas stations or stores. Our cell phone GPS feature came in handy when we occasionally ran into construction or roads that were too busy for our comfort. Unfortunately, we also learned that roads that showed up on our GPS were sometimes not paved.
One afternoon, while trying to avoid construction on highway 17 in South Carolina, we cycled 6 or7 miles on a packed dirt road in deep, refreshing shade under live oaks covered with sphagnum moss. We felt we’d gone back in time. The only civilization we passed was a driveway to what we imagined was a great plantation home.
The Cruzbike was the perfect ergonomic machine for the trip. I was never bothered by back, neck, shoulder or other biomechanical aches and pains. My friend who travelled on a conventional bike suffered a great deal (though she is very tough and rarely complained). She promises the next trip we take together we’ll both be on Cruzbikes.