Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Halftime 2020

With a very strong month of June my cycling statistics look good here on the last day of the first half of 2020. I rode a personal best 843 miles this month, bringing my year-to-date total to 2,096. I was at 1,909 on this date last year. I’ve done 77 rides in 2020 versus 67 by this date in 2019. More is better.

Beyond the numbers, there have been some really nice moments on the bike in the last week. I’m in Pennsylvania right now, traveling with my son and staying at my mother’s house. En route to suburban Philadelphia, my son and I stopped in my hometown of West Newton—a tiny community 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh—and did a little ride around my old neighborhood. I had not seen West Newton from the saddle of a bike since … 1976, maybe? Anyway, that was Saturday evening. Early Sunday morning I left my son at the hotel and rode into West Newton on the Great Allegheny Passage, a massive rail trail that connects Pittsburgh and Washington DC. It was my first time on the trail; that corridor was an active rail line when I lived in West Newton. Riding it had long been an objective, but I got only a brief taste on this trip. I’ll be back for more someday.

So, now I’m in eastern Pennsylvania, gradually finding bikeable seams in a road network almost completely choked by East Coast traffic. There are still a few country roads that wouldn’t look out of place in Washington County WI, but I’m really impressed with the new biking infrastructure that has popped up since I last visited in 2014. There are wonderful little pieces of paved trail all over suburban Bucks County. Unfortunately many of them just end abruptly and you have to take your chances on the road until you find another one. But someday the gaps in the network will fill in and this will be a real paradise for riders. Bring your climbing legs though, because these are not rail trails! Midwesterners would be shocked by the big rolling hills on some of these recreation trails.

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