Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ride from Lee to North Adams

Yesterday, we had a perfect plan. Kim would take the girls to an set class in North Adams, and I would bike 36 miles or so to meet them.

Everything went to plan until about 30 miles. My trusty Rubel Western Mass bike map helped mestick to a good route which, my now, is reasonably familiar to me. Ran into a bit of bother around aptly-named Pittsfield when I couldn't find a good quiet route and ended up on big roads - I knew there we alternatives, but I was trying to make it to Mass MoCA by 1130...

A highlight was the wonderful Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. We'd discovered it on Sunday - it's very well marked along busy Route 8. It starts at a big-box mall north of Pittsfield and goes 11 miles to Adams, through wetlands and forest, and along Cheshire Reservoir, with gorgeous views of the water and mountains beyond. The quality and state of the path surface and infrastructure were almost equally impressive.

I was maintaining a good pace until about mile 30, about 2 miles before the end of the bike path, when my rear tire started to feel low. On inspection, there wasn't a noticeable puncture, but I was losing air for sure. So I pumped and rode, pumped and rode, all the way to Adams, where the trail ends. I had a close look at my tires and discovered that they were in pretty sorry shape and definitely needed replacing. (I knew this to be the case, but didn't know the urgency.)

I had no phone service at the Adams Visitor Center where I was waiting, but a very friendly guy I met let me use his phone, and I left Kim a message to come and get me. This guy was 82, snd he rode the path almost every day. He worked his whole career at Crane Paper - he told me that the company was wonderful to work for, and is still the major employer in the area. Then another couple arrived, it was Ozzie and Irene, on holiday from Ontario. Ygr four of us chatted about cycling, travel, the Your, etc....

And 90 minutes went by. By this time, it was clear that Kim also didn't have service, so I changed my tire in a flash and sped off to North Adams, where I met the girls, who were just getting in the car to head back and look for me! Whew.

On the way to Tanglewood after that, we stopped at Plaine's bike shop, where I got a set of Kenda Kwest tires to replace my threadbare Paselas.

I'm going to put them on this morning and do a short ride on the unpronounceable bike path with Kim.
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