Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Rides We Like: A Thanksgiving Pre-feast Outing

Rides We Like: A Thanksgiving Pre-feast Outing

(2017) In the United States several November traditions commence from Thanksgiving, the holiday positioned on the last Thursday of the month. From the obvious gathering of family and friends around a table to celebrate harvest, friendship, and honoring the Virginia and Massachusetts establishment, there are other events that springboard from this holiday. Several sports are in action for families to gawk at during meal preparation. Other sports offer local events to get people out of the house while a single person stays back to continue cooking. Curiously the bottle of table wine, full when everyone departed for the 5k, is on its side and uncle Bruce is asleep at the foot of a beeping oven. While there are official events, there are unofficial gatherings on this day, too.

 

While families prepare their early evening meal, it gives the cyclist in the house just enough time to get in a decent effort. That’s where we found ourselves on Thanksgiving morning, meeting up at an elementary school parking lot and sending our thoughts in several different directions. The route itself embodied our thoughts as it constantly changed its course. Naturally our thane, Mike, perpetuated the ride to meet up, and he also led us around the Delaware River region of Bucks County. We also had Brian with us. The group rolled out to meet up with Jim. We all used to race together. It had been ages since I had ridden with them.

 

You would be forgiven for finding the morning of Thanksgiving eerie in its lack of people. We know people are going places, but where are they? The roads are peaceful and relatively traffic-free. Driveways that will be potentially filled later sit apathetic to the holiday. No one is out doing yard work yet equipment sits idling in front yards. Leaf piles smolder, giving off their earthy smell though no tender was to be seen. It’s hard not to feel like we have the roads to ourselves. We passed the Carversville General Store where people were gathered in the grotto out back. I half-thought about stopping to see what it was all about. Perhaps on our return they would still be there.

 

We continued our descent to the Delaware River and ultimately New Jersey via our favorite standby, Fleecydale Road. This was a route I took with these guys hundreds of times over our cycling forged friendship. It was seasonally appropriate with the smells of freshly lighted fireplaces along the hollow residents. Turkey smells were coming up, too, as those houses were commencing cooking time. Perhaps uncle Bruce was just getting warmed up, too.

 

We crossed the pedestrian bridge into New Jersey where we went up one of the numerous climbs. Here I frustratingly got dropped. I tried to put a brave face on but I was annoyed. The pace had been casual; how could this have happened? I chumped back up to the leading three. We had seen random trucks parked in fields around Hunterdon County, NJ. Even hunters were getting in their hobbies today. I jokingly stated I brought firearms for an authentic turkey dinner. Even the animals were few and far between.

 

Here our ride began its return. I had to get back to depart for Thanksgiving elsewhere. Here, too, is where we began to see people. Maybe our area has late risers. Upon our return to the pedestrian bridge we were greeted by a horseman. This is still considered rural, you know. He and his horse clop-clopped over the wooden canal bridge and thanked us for slowing down. He was getting in his hobby for the day. And then we started seeing people. Loads of them. People were geared up and going for a walk. At the entrance to the pedestrian bridge we shimmied to let a whole family by. They were most likely getting a few miles in on the New Jersey side of the Delaware trail system. Following them was another group. They looked happy to be out as well. How often can one say he walked to another state prior to dinner?

 

We sorted ourselves back and then broke off to go our separate ways. I have always been fascinated by this moment of a ride. It’s a moment that most likely confuses eyewitnesses. One moment a group of cyclists are pedaling along in a common direction, the next they all separate. How odd.

 

In my final miles – which are naturally all uphill but I can’t drop myself – I thought about how much I enjoy riding with these guys in the morning before people sit down to dinner and reflect. Dare I even say I’m thankful? Perhaps I’ll turn the ride photo into a Thanksgiving meme. Getting outside is nice, but getting out with friends and having them drop you is even better. The same can’t be said for uncle Bruce. Someone wake him up. 

Rides We Like: Continuing REI’s #optoutside Project 2017

Rides We Like: Continuing REI’s #optoutside Project 2017

Review: The #creakybottombracket 2017 Holiday Gift List

Review: The #creakybottombracket 2017 Holiday Gift List