The sun goddess was not smiling on the hard-working folks sponsoring the ride to raise funds to save the iron Hotel Bridge in Leeds, MA, but I had a great time on a rainy Sunday.
I wasn’t in a rush to get going as the early morning rain had me moving slowly and being very disorganized (very elusive helmet!).
But when I arrived at Chartpak in Leeds, the starting point for the rides, everything was clicking. The folks at registration were quite happy to see another rider show up, offering water and snacks for the start of the bike ride. I had my choice of rides of 10, 25, or 50 miles. Since the sky was kind of iffy, I settled on the 10 mile loop. The bonus part of the 10 mile loop was that it included a section of road which was new to me.
I was not very optimistic about the weather when I left home and overdressed terribly, so I was glad that the ride organizers were giving out this nifty bag with reflective stripes. I took the visor off my helmet and removed my long-sleeved shirt. I had been using the visor to hold the helmet cover in place so as to provide protection from the rain for my glasses. But the rain had slacked off, so I removed it and stuffed everything in the bag.
The ride began by going back to the bridge and crossing it, then heading up past the Musante Beach area where the restrooms were open for cyclists.
As I got going, I caught up to another rider doing the 10 mile ride. Heather and I rode together for the remainder of the ride.
A regular morning ride for me is past the Musante Beach then out towards the Straw Bale Cafe in Westhampton. At the Cafe, I usually turn left towards Route 66, choosing to go either further out towards Outlook Farm or towards Easthampton. But the route for this ride had us turn right to loop back around to Chesterfield Road. Turns out Heather had not been this way before either, so getting to the top of the road and finding a dairy and beef farm there was a revelation for both of us.
Unfortunately, just as the road connected back to head back to Northampton, the rain began. what had been a light drizzle became a downpour. Both Heather and I were wearing glasses and it got really hard to see. As we turned down Reservoir Road in Leeds, the chewed up road bed made us slow to a crawl so as to not get bounced off the bike by an unseen pothole.
We made it back and got a hearty welcome by the ride organizers. I enjoyed myself and am glad I went. Until the downpour, the rain felt good and cooling. I often find rainy rides are fun, rather than the misery I imagine while looking out of the living room window. Today was just like that. I had a grin on my face most of the way.
Before heading home, I put the visor back on the helmet and the helmet cover over everything. This helped keep most of the rain off of my glasses so I could speed down the bike path to home before I got too cold.
The ride organizers had to be disappointed in the weather and turnout for their event, but they told me they were considering trying again in a few weeks. I’ll post any information they send along on a new date.
I encourage you to go the next time the event happens, this year or next. As I’ve said before, from the location of the Hotel Bridge there is beautiful riding on quiet roads. Support this great cause, and you might just discover a favorite new road.