50 Mile Bike Challenge

Good Morning,

This bike adventure happened in the summer of 2015 before I got my new bike. So I was still riding my old iron horse as I call it. It’s a 25 or maybe 30 year old steel mountain bike, diamond back I believe, and its not in the greatest shape. I still use this bike though in the winter and when the weather is bad, rain etc. I had been biking to the club and back or probably 2 years when I had the idea it would be fun to try a little longer distance. Riding to the club is 4.5 miles each way and although I had done many other 12-18 mile rides when the weather was nice I figured I was do for some fun. So there was a get together planned at a relatives that just happened to be about 50 miles away and I figured that would be perfect.

Iron Horse

My plan was to leave about 7:00-7:30 and get there close to noon. It’s about 50 miles and I figured this would leave plenty of time for the usual little mishaps that I hadn’t planned for. This was to be a learning experience and that’s the way it turned out. I packed 3 bottles of water and some clothes to change into when I got there in my back pack and took off. The early going was good even though the traffic in one area was a little heavy. As it turns out one stretch of road about 4 miles long does not have any kind of a shoulder so with 2 lanes of fast traffic in both directions it made it a little uncomfortable. Up until then I had typically been riding more on the paths with my day to day rides and had not gotten used to riding on the road. Now that I’ve ridden on the road exclusively for over a year I feel quite comfortable with it and know how to handle most situations. After the high traffic area I got onto some roads with paths beside and also onto some nice roads with wide shoulders. Wide shoulders are your best bet because it gives you freedom and safety and also a very smooth ride. Paths and sidewalks can be quite bumpy and the intersections can be dangerous. So after making it about 15-20 miles the wind did start picking up and although I checked the weather first, they can’t always predict with any precision the exact wind speed and direction. As it turned out is was in the 10-15 mph headwind, which isn’t too bad on my new bike but on this old one it created quite the resistance along with a fairly hilly countryside. You never realize the hills are there until you ride a bike through the area.

The remainder of the ride was through this beautiful rolling hills countryside which I thoroughly enjoyed but it was all I could handle with the wind. I found gears in that old bike that I had never used before that were absolutely necessary with the hills unless you wanted to walk. I didn’t walk. When I made it to the last town before the final destination I rode by a brewery and though it would be fun to do this with a couple of friends and just stop at a few breweries in the towns we passed through. I definitely need to try that some day if I can talk someone into it. Most people want to stop at the breweries but aren’t as excited about the bike ride. After the last town either the wind picked up more or I was just getting tired because the last 6-7 miles seamed to take forever. I had slowed down quite a bit but just kept going and new the finish was near. I should have wrote my time down because I can’t remember for sure but I believe it was 4 1/2 hours there and a little less that 50 miles. When I finally got there I felt like I had just run a marathon, I guess it was about the same amount of time exercising. I grabbed a bottle of water and a beer and had a great time with family and friends. I would definitely do it again and probably a longer distance if the chance presents itself.