Faster Than the Speed of Life

Despite my lop-sided sleeping pad, and a rather chilly night, I woke up after a full night’s sleep, relatively undisturbed save for some irritating warbling that I can only assume came from a wild turkey…

After a slow and relaxing breakfast of rather unusual but delicious oatmeal pancakes with (you guessed it) maple syrup, we headed out on our penultimate day of cycling. I still can’t believe a whole year of cycling has passed, but its true. This last week running up to the end of the trip, the miles have just seemed to take care of themselves. Whether larger distances on flat roads, or mountains to climb, without much effort we’ve found outselves on the edge of the city, and near the end of the trip.

We knew we’d largely be following nice paved rail trails today, firstly along the Dutchess Country trailway, and later along the Putnam Country Trailway which leads much of the way into New York City along beautiful paved asphalt. The downside, was the need to cross the Appalachian mountain range at some point, which although by no means meant the highest of mountain passes, still brought on some rather steep climbs in our ascent, along with a number of infuriatingly badly signed streets (and thus wrong turns). The climbing today also seemed to take my shoes to their neverending limit, tearing the zip ties holding the soles in place. I can only hope that there are no big climbs tomorrow, otherwise it looks like I’ll be doing my last few proud miles in New York City barefoot…

Nevertheless, we eventually got on track and swept down the mountainside onto the rail trail, where we pulled out the tents for the last time to make sure they were fully dried in the midday sun, before packing them away until our arrival back in England. The trail was a welcome sight after the morning’s climb, with gentle grades, and smooth conditions. There were only a minimum of tree-root bumps, and the occasional section of pathway which seemed randomly flooded. But the biggest obstacle on the path seemed to be the plethora of Sunday walkers and riders. Even as my trip reaches its conclusion, I still enjoy the somewhat narcissitic feeling of people staring at us as we cycle by – some in confusion, mouth hanging open and heads turning to follow us, some looking decidedly disgusted at the very idea of people having the audacity to be doing something so stupid. But the main reaction we get are the enormous grins, and occasional waves or thumbs up as we cruise by.
There’s also every now and then the young couple who at a stop sign will weave past us on their carbon fibre road bikes, and shoot off in a flurry of superiority. More often then not though, we end up catching up to them shortly thereafter. I like to save my most casual riding position and carefree singing for them, as we roll past.

So what else is there to say about tomorrow. 

It’s the last day of the trip. 

After setting off over a year ago, the last day’s cycling will be spent battling through the streets of Manhatten – knowing our luck of course, it will be dark, cold raining and rush hour when we arrive.

But for once I don’t care. 
Nothing can stop me now.

Wish us luck,

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  1. I think those violators should be thrown off the bridge!

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