Escaping the valley

In my previous blog posting, I brought attention to my hometown river — the Kennebec. While it may be majestic, February's warming temperatures have turned it into a magnet. The surrounding area's snow and ice are melting at a rapid pace, and running downhill. The roads and trails are literally awash. I needed to escape the valley.

The go-to alternative has always been to head south and utilize Route 201, with its wide breakdown lanes. The only real drawback is the need to throw a bicycle rack on the car and drive the nearly nine miles to a "Park & Ride" lot. I've never been a fan of motoring a short distance to go for a pedal.

Anyway, the pavement — while a little dusty and sporadically covered with rock salt — was dry and inviting. I was able to pile up some serious miles, including the season's first 30-plus-mile rides. The bike of choice was my Specialized Crux, equipped with 38mm tires. The latter detail was done with safety in mind, just in case I encountered ice, road cracks, or slippery sand.

The biggest challenge this time of year — besides locating suitable road conditions — is the constant conundrum of getting the clothing details just right. As a cyclist, you are basically transitioning from one season to another. After dressing like the Michelin Man to get through the winter, I'm beginning to get the opportunity to occasionally peel off a few layers of kit. But determining how much or how little to unclothe can be tricky, as one strives for a comfortable — as in body temperature — cruise.

This topic brings up thoughts concerning my cycling friend Scott. We are always making fun of him, because he is notorious for having too much on — no matter the time of year. He's constantly stuffing extra clothes behind my front-yard fence to pick back up following our rides. Just one of his foibles that we love about him.

So, if you're not riding your bicycle yet, get it ready. And stay safe. And don't forget the lights — front and rear!

Frost heave warning ... a sure sign that spring is coming!

'Thought for the day'

"Bike riding as little as three miles a day will improve your sex life." — Dr. Franco Antonini

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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