On Sunday I went for a 40 mile ride. Not really unusual, except that I left from my parents' house. It's the same house I grew up in from 1974 to 1988, and I haven't ridden a bike there in over 20 years.
I left the house at 7am, and the first part of my ride took me along some back roads that I selected because they helped me avoid a dangerous section of farm-to-market road. When I was a kid, we rode on this same stretch of dangerous road, but we road AGAINST traffic, moving into the proper lane whenever a vehicle approached. Luckily, they didn't approach often. My dad caught us doing this one day on his way home from work and about lost his mind. As a parent, I would too.
Within a mile of starting, I was chased by no less than 6 dogs. That was the only negative thing about the ride. I had expected close calls and roads unfriendly to cyclists, but it was a solid, smooth ride. The road conditions were great, with smooth, clean pavement. Additionally, there were signs posted asking motorists to "share the road". My Mom said that she has seen groups of cyclists on this section of road, and I know that TexBiker has ridden it before too.
I had decided to log 40 miles on the ride, so I simply rode until the odometer hit 20 mph, and then turned for home. I turned around in the parking lot of a local volunteer fire department facility. I ate a gel, drank some water, and took a snapshot of the bright blue doors and faded sign.
I turned for home, and realized that I had been riding with a tailwind, and would be facing a headwind on the ride home. Luckily, it wasn't too much wind (<10 mph), so I just put it out of my mind and rode. As I rode past stands of pines, I was startled several times by the sound of squirrel claws as they chased each other up and down the tree trunks. I saw Fall colors, falling leaves, and muddy roads filled with ruts from the offroading enthusiasts. All the same stuff was there from when I was a kid, except now I was seeing it from a road bike and not from my pick up.
The dogs chased me again as I neared my parents' house, but even that couldn't shake me from my positive ride. I finished wanting more miles. It was a great ride, and now that I know how friendly the local roads are to cyclists, I'll be riding more when we visit my parents.
STATS SUMMARY (Details including map can be found HERE)
Distance: 40.2 miles
Avg Speed: 18.0 mph
Max Speed: 23.3 mph
Elevation Gain: 189 ft (seriously!)