We left Terry and Lousie’s around 8:30am with the intent to cover about 40 miles to a Warm Showers host near Jarretsville, MD. We had a wonderful breakfast of eggs and bagels and bacon (for those of us that eat meat) packed our bags, gave hugs and hopped on the bikes and headed down the road. A few miles into the ride Hannah’s knee was giving her a good amount of pain while riding uphill. She has an old injury in that knee and wasn’t sure if the injury was acting up or if the knee was just tired from excessive use…or both. She didn’t have pain while walking so for a while we would pedal the flats and downhills and walk up the climbs. This made for slow going, especially since I discovered that pushing a loaded touring bike is much harder than riding one, but eventually we made it to MD Route 27 which is a designated cycling route with wide shoulders at a nice grade and we were able to move along at a good pace.
Most of the day’s ride took us through small towns and along country roads with very little traffic. About three miles of our route included the NCR rail trail which was beautiful!
There were many walkers and bikers on rail trail and quite a few folks were interested in where we were going and where we had come from. I think you could easily get tired of having this conversation with people you meet on a trip but it’s so nice to know people are interested in bicycle travel that I don’t think I will ever mind answering the same questions over and over.
“How much does your bike weigh?
“Where are you going”
“Where do you sleep?”
All valid questions for folks who have not been introduced to bicycle touring. I hope the short bit of talk we share with them increases their awareness about what you can do do and where you can go on a bicycle. It’s also nice to run into people who have toured before. For example, we ran into a fellow at small grocery store who talked about a cross country ride he had done in the 90’s. He let us know our legs would start to feel warmed up after about 10 days and it was nice to hear his advice with a positive outlook!
Around 5pm we arrived at Elaine and Tom’s home, our Warm Showers hosts for the night, which was a beautiful house nestled back in the edge of a wood. If you have not heard of Warm Showers you can check out the website here warmshowers.org and see what this community of bicycle travelers is all about. Basically, it’s a site that allows traveling bicyclists/hosts to register on the site and offer a place to stay for those currently touring. It is international and there is no push to offer more than you can. Some folks offer a lawn to camp in and others full bedrooms, showers and meals. Tom and Elaine fall into the later category. They opened up their home to us and made us feel most welcome! We showered and chatted with them over salad and pasta and then hopped into a comfortable bed for the night. The next morning they cooked us eggs with toast and fruit and filled our panniers with extra fruit and hard boiled eggs for the road! At that point, Tom took a look at the route we were planning on that day and noted that the Conowingo bridge over the Susquehanna River as not safe for cyclists, although they are allowed to ride on it. There are very few places for a bicyclist to cross the Susquehanna safely and without traveling many miles north or south of their intended route. Tom then offered to put our bikes and bags in the back of his truck and drive us over the river. Of course we took him up on the offer and soon we were on the east side of the river and ready to head towards Delaware. Elaine and Tom were extremely generous and their kindness will most certainly be passed along.