Rainy Day Bike Ride with Friends

Over Memorial Day weekend, Tom and I took a rainy day bike ride with friends Sherrilyn Wilson and Pat Prosser.  Sherrilyn has been a friend since high school and she was in Ohio visiting her mom.  She and Pat live in Flagstaff, Arizona, so we have to get together when we can.  They were both training for a ride to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research, and Tom and I were happy to ride with them.

Tom and I haven’t been riding the tandem together too much lately.  He likes to ride his trike to get exercise and I prefer my early morning walks.  It is also tricky to get the tandem to a trail.  We can fit it in the Prius, but we have to take lots of parts off.  It isn’t difficult, but it is just trouble that we don’t bother to take unless we have a good reason.  We have a ride scheduled with friends Chris and Bill in July, and we will take the tandem for that.

Sherrilyn and Pat came to us for our recent ride together.  Rain was forecast for the afternoon, so we agreed we would ride in the morning and be done before the rain hit.  We headed north from our house on the Ohio to Erie Trail.  We can now ride all the way to Mt. Vernon on the trail with less than three miles on the road.  We decided to ride to Centerburg which is about 15 miles from our house.

The ride in the morning was absolutely beautiful.  There were big, fluffy, white clouds overhead and the temperature was perfect.  We enjoyed the scenery and the company, riding two abreast most of the time because no one else was on the trail.  The trail is mostly shaded with some open stretches along farmland or housing developments.  It is a paved asphalt trail which makes for a wonderful ride.

When we got to Centerburg, we stopped at the Heart of Ohio sign for a picture.  Tom suggested going on another 1.5 miles to see the stone marker that is supposed to be the geographic center of Ohio.  Sherrilyn and Pat agreed and we went on the Centerburg Park.  We stopped there to get a picture with the stone marker and had a snack and potty break.  At this point, it was close to noon and the clouds were building up in the south.  I wanted to head back to our house, but Tom suggested continuing on to the highest point on the Ohio to Erie Trail.  It was another 1.5 miles ahead.

Sherrilyn and Pat agreed and we rode another 1.5 miles on the trail.  After another photo op we finally turned around and headed toward home.  As we headed south, the sky got darker and the wind started to pick up.  A light rain started but the trees blocked most of it from hitting us.

North of Sunbury, however, the heavens opened and it started pouring down rain.  We were soon soaking wet and pedaling faster to keep warm.  The temperature dropped to 59 and the rain felt really cold as it poured off my helmet and onto my neck.  Fortunately the rain kept everyone else off the trail so we didn’t have to worry about running into other riders or walkers.

The last five miles of the ride were miserable.  I was cold, wet, and blind.  My glasses were completely fogged up between the cold air and the heat of my body.  I kept my head down and pedaled, eager to get home to warm shower.

When we finally got home, we were all wet and cold.  I was too cold to even take a picture commemorating the end of our ride.  I got towels for Pat and Sherrilyn and we offered to let them use the showers, but they thought they would be good with drying off and changing clothes.  Fortunately they each brought a change of clothes, down to the socks and underwear.

Once we were all dry again, we headed to Big Walnut Grill for a late lunch.  We enjoyed the food and the company, and appreciated being warm and dry.  The deep dish Coopie was an especially sweet ending.

We enjoyed our ride very much, although I wish we had turned around a little earlier and avoided most of the rain.  But the company was good, the scenery was lovely – even in the rain – and we felt energized by our good ride.  The ending of the ride was one of those miserable experiences that quickly turns to laughter in the retelling.  Another good memory to share in the years ahead.