Another rain-free, cool summer day – perfect cycling weather. We stopped several times to rest along the way on this century bicycle ride. There were several well needed breaks along the way including a wonderful home cooked meal. Tony, an alumni of The Big Ride Across America packed up his garden’s bounty and prepared a gourmet meal including grilled burgers and chicken. He carried in his own barbecue grill and delivered fresh salads, flowers and an abundance of deliciousness from his garden. We met his son Ryan who will be attending Penn State in the Fall. Thanks Tony!
This ride was very hilly and mountainous, and it was a hard day for everyone — even me. I could not have done the riding on this day without the Pedego electric assist. The hills were long and hard and my old legs needed the support. The first e-bike battery lasted about 29 miles — the fastest discharge of the entire trip. The second battery lasted about 30 miles. I was getting a little nervous when I was on my third battery thinking I might run out. The land started to flatten out as we made progress and the third battery got me to the 80-mile mark.
The day we started to ride through my home state of Pennsylvania it was cloudy and cool but no rain. We started out in a moist fog which was cold for cycling – about 45 degrees. It warmed up to the 70’s but the day never really got warm. It was a wet and cold summer day. The Polar Vortex is still with us.
On this day of cycling across America, day 42, we woke up to rain. The tents were soaking wet when we packed them away. The day started out wet as we left the Terrace Lakes campground and headed out to our next destination which is very close to home for us. Riding into Pennsylvania was exciting as we get closer and closer to our final destination – Washington, D.C.
Lots of rolling hills as we get close to Pennsylvania. We saw several Amish buggies traveling the countryside as we rolled through Ohio back roads near the border of Pennsylvania. Home is just 45 minutes from this point. The air was crisp, the sky was clear and the day went smooth as silk as we pedaled our way through some narrow country roads and brief urban traffic. We had dinner in the campground and were lucky enough to enjoy the company of avid cyclist friends Terry and Kevin from Pittsburgh, Pa. They drove in from the city to check out the riders and see what it is like to ride a bicycle across the country with an organized group.
MapMyRide Stats: 66.26 Miles | 4:36 Time | 14.4 mph
Sandusky, Ohio is a resort town located between Toledo to the west and Cleveland to the east. It is on lake Erie and has a big park called Cedar Point which attracts lots of families to this city of 25,000. As we rode our bikes out of town we headed towards downtown Cleveland. The ride was as smooth as it could be. The sky was blue, the land was flat and our group of cyclists stayed together to get through the city traffic. It was really exciting to ride the bicycle trail that follows along lake Erie.
This ride was made exciting by a ride through downtown Cleveland, Ohio. We went past the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and several Cleveland neighborhoods. There was an unplanned stop along the way through a little Italian community with authentic pastry and gelato. We rode in small groups for safety as we traveled the city streets.
The day started with thunder and lightning. We woke up to a boisterous thunderstorm that slowly phased itself out as we left our campsite at the Bayshore campground and headed out in the dark with wet roads and dark clouds ahead.
The weather turned on us as it cleared up by mid-day — a high of 74 degrees with a crystal blue sky. The cool summer day was complemented with a tailwind and then a blue sky. We have got to be the luckiest cyclists ever on the Big Ride Across America!
Once we got to Sandusky, we found these amazing insects — the Mayfly. There is a website called the Mayflies of Lake Erie which gives all the background on this localized insect. Mayflies usually live for 24-72 hours. They spend 1-2 years on the bottom of lake Erie as a nymph living burrowed in the mud. They hatch around June and can be found everywhere around the lake. They fly around lights at night and then latch on once they get tired of flying.
This bike ride between Indiana and Ohio was fantastically flat with more corn and soybeans. You can imagine how thrilled we were to see a field of oats to give a sense of variety.
The roads are now becoming more populous as we head East. There are more cars on the roads, more potholes, ruts and objects that take a high degree of focus as we ride. Our ride leader, Charlton DuRant from VeloSante,tries to start each day out with a gentle reminder about how important it is that we keep our guard up and use best rider practices. As we ride in the same lane as the car traffic, it is important to know when to “take the lane” and when to keep to the side. Safety is an important part of our coast-to-coast bicycle ride, so we have the highest regard for our rider safety — every day!
MapMyRide Stats: 114 Miles | Time: 6:27 | 17.6 Mph
This was an excellent day for cycling. The temperature was in the high 70’s with a slight tailwind. The sky was blue all day and there was a zero percent chance of rain. The cycling through Indiana was flat with lots of soybeans and corn.
Kendallville is a warm town who welcomed us with a dinner with the Mayor, W. SuzAnne Handshoe. The Parks Department and their board of directors made us dinner and breakfast in Bixler Lake Park. Their hospitality was gracious and generous. They made us feel like family.
Battery report: For those of you who want to know about how the electric bicycle handles this high mileage, here are some details from today’s ride:
Battery 1-35 miles
Battery 2-30 miles
Battery 3-40 miles
Battery 4 just started when we reached our destination — the county park.
At this point in the trip, we have accumulated about 2500 miles and the battery life is hovering around 35-40 miles per battery. Each day, I try to completely discharge the battery before changing it. Each night, I run three chargers with three batteries. I carry three on the bike and keep one in the mechanic’s truck in case it is needed in an emergency. The extra battery on the truck is available every day if I think I am running low on power. I am riding the electric bike with the power assist at levels 2 and 3 most of the time. After 36 days on the road, I have only used four batteries twice, and both days were over 100 miles.
We cycled through tidy farms owned by Amish and Mennonite farmers.
The roads in the state of Indiana are rough — lots of broken pavement — but they were tolerable because the traffic was fairly light and the terrain was flat. We made the trek to Valparaiso University, where we were thrilled to stay in dorm rooms with laundry facilities and air conditioning. The school is nicknamed Valpo.
We were very happy to join Ben and Chris as they made their way through the state of Indiana on their way home from the RAGBRAI expo in Iowa. We got to eat with them at a local brewpub and enjoy company from home. Thanks Ben and Chris for the visit, that was really special!