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Happy birthday, Dennis

Faithful followers of my blog are well aware of my feats — and the occasional flops — on a bicycle. It's all been documented on Pedal2Page for the last three-plus years. However, when the opportunity arises to showcase the exploits of another cyclist, I'm more than thrilled to jump off of my two-wheeled machine and allow them to pace the peloton.

And that is the purpose of today's posting.

Dennis, a friend who lives in Pennsylvania and whom I'd met by way of Lubec, Maine, had told me of his ambitious plan to mark his 75th birthday. He figured what better way to celebrate than to go for a bike ride, covering a distance of 75 miles. Something he'd never done before ... ever.

My good friend, Dennis.

Originally, the idea was to attempt his cycling goal on February 28, his actual birthday. But crummy weather had turned the trail to mush — like riding on wet sand, as he described it — plus it was too cold. Anyway, undeterred and determined, Dennis informed me the other day that he had, indeed, accomplished his mileage milestone on May 5.

It goes without saying, I was pleased as punch for my good buddy.

Here are a couple of details he passed along to me concerning his one-day achievement:

— His birthday performance was completed on the Schuylkill River Trail. It's a multi-use path that, once finished, will extend 120 miles from Frackville in Schuylkill County, through Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties to Philadelphia. It travels through the historically rich region of southeastern Pennsylvania. The trail passes through rural, agricultural, suburban, urban, and industrial landscapes. The word Schuylkill (pronounced SKOO-kill) is Dutch for "hidden river." Most of the trail is built over abandoned railroad lines and, as of today, more than 75 miles of the paved and crushed stone trail are open to the public.

— Dennis used his Trek Dual Sport 1, his one and only bike, which is nearly four years old. It's a hybrid bike that excels on a variety of surfaces, and can take a rider from smooth pavement to light off-road trails with no problem.

Reflecting on his successful spin, Dennis said, "It was an enjoyable ride. I had friends that had offered to ride with me, but I decided to ride alone. I always ride by myself and get into a rhythm, and I felt they would be a distraction. The ride was easier than I thought it would be. My usual ride is 30 miles and lately I've been doing that two or three times a week, so it was just (a matter of finding) the amount of time necessary to do the 75 miles in one day."

He added, "The weather was perfect. I started at six in the morning when it was cool, so I wore tights and a long-sleeve shirt. Then I switched to shorts and a short-sleeve shirt for the rest of the ride (when it warmed up)." He crossed the finish line at 2:30 p.m.

Dennis, a loyal reader of my blog right from the beginning, thanked me for providing inspiration. Well, truth be told, he has inspired me to get going on some 100-mile rides, which I have yet to do this season. So, thank you, my friend. And, by the way, happy belated birthday. Stay safe out there on the roads and trails!

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