Monday, July 27, 2015

50 Miles of Philly Fun

With our 2nd 100 Mile Bike Ride coming up in October, long bike rides have become a priority for us on the weekends.  Obviously thing's don't always work out that way, but this particular weekend, even though we had 2 social commitments, we were able to plan and execute a decent 50 mile ride.  

Normally we'd have to tow the kids with us (which is SO MUCH EFFORT) but when we travel to PA we also get babysitters (aka Grandparents)!  This is a mutual benefit!!

So with that all in mind, our friend Lynne and us decided to bike from Valley Forge Park to Philly and back, for what we hoped to be a 50 mile-ish ride. 

And so began our journey to the "City of Brotherly Love."

The ride started out really nice.  A bit warm, but nothing we weren't prepared for.  Lynne told me she was trying out her camelback for the ride, so I decided to dig mine out of the garage and gave it a go as well.  Verdict?  I loved it!  Way easier than a water bottle and I drank way more during the ride than I have in the past.  

The bike path was really great until we hit.....

Even though Manayunk is a "biker" town, it was extremely scary biking on these roads.  Dennis nearly got hit by a car, Lynne got stuck in car traffic, all while we were weaving in and out of lanes in order to follow the trail into Philly.  We all made it through ok, but we were not looking forward to that return part of the ride. 

Once we got out of Manayunk, things definitely start to improve bike path wise and we all felt much more comfortable. 

The 1st stop on the list was the Rocky Stairs.  This is a "must do" with your bike.  A few years ago I climbed the steps with my bike and took a killer pic with my bike over my head (Click Me and Scroll Down) and now being a Crossfitter, I wanted to OHS my bike on the stairs.  Mission Accomplished:

Jeeze Dennis, Could you Zoom out Any More?
 From there, we really didn't know where to go to get in a few miles so we decided to bike around aimlessly which proved to be way more frustrating than it was worth.  After the Rocky Stairs we went to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall for some quality photo opps.  

Biking the streets of Philly is WAY more fun than it sounds.  Highlights included seeing a grown / older man in an orange shirt trip on the side walk and fall (I wanted to stop to help but Dennis and Lynne assured me he was ok and his wife would take care of him), watched the slowest woman on the planet with 10,000 grocery bags get into a cab that was in front of us, using the "bike" lane that was also the "bus" lane, and getting passed by a horse and carriage because of all the traffic / red lights.  I thought DRIVING in the city was stressful, this took stressful to a whole new level.  

Once we got out of the city and back on the trail, we had one goal in mind, to get to the Manayunk Brewery.  Once there we were promptly greeted with dirty looks (because of our athletic attire) and the slowest waitress ever.  Besides those two things, the food and drinks were pretty delicious.

With only about 20 miles left to hit our 50 mile goal, we returned to the bike path and on we went back to Valley Forge Park.  We knew once there, we'd have to go about 2 miles down the path and then back 2 miles to our cars to get the full 50, and holy hell did those last 4 miles feel like eternity!  

During those "bonus" miles Lynne and I got up close and personal with nature as I ran over a dead chipmunk and almost came face to face with a deer hovering along side the trail.  Pretty sure that is one of my worst bike fears and I was glad not to see that deer on the path on the way back. 

We did hit our 50 miles, and it was a good time!  If this was any indication of how the 100 miles was going to be, boy are we in for a treat.  Also, we were very thirsty at the end of the ride.

All the liquiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiids

Lynne - Thanks again for joining us on our wild ride into Philly!  You were a good sport and we hope you had as much fun as we did.  Looking forward to the 100er and any other rides we do in between.  :)