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Local Rider's Journal 7-24-98


Hi s-steamed friends and family -

Hello from cycling Nirvana. Days 34 through 39 of the Big Ride from Madison, Wisconsin to our present location of Sandusky, Ohio, have been near total cycling bliss. During these six days we headed south from Madison, Wisconsin and sling-shot around the bottom of Lake Michigan across Illinois and Indiana (barn field barn field barn field barn field...) into Sandusky, Ohio on Lake Erie. Now with only a little over a week left I'm really starting to love the ride. There has been a fair amount of hardship during the past weeks, but cycling these past few days across hundreds of miles of flat cornfields in the brilliant sun with the wind (FINALLY!!) at our backs has transformed the experience into sky blue bliss. I averaged 18 miles per hour during yesterday's 83.3 miles - a record for me. I should quickly add that on the board-flat road with a strong tailwind, simply making the pedals go 'round yielded 15 MPH. Even during the hour I sustained 25 MPH I was still passed by the hammerheads like I was standing still - they must have been doing 30+ - but no matter, I was having a ball. The speed allowed me to take all the time I needed to stop and take pictures and in particular, have a two hour lunch at Serwin's Restaurant in the town of Fremont, Ohio (recommended by a local woman at a stoplight), pigging out on just-baked 8" high coconut cream and lemon meringue pies. (See pix.) And yes, I'm still LOSING weight!! Does it get any better than this?

I'm sending more pix than usual in this batch 'cause I think I got some good ones. I'm sending 7 of the 8 as individual full-screen-size pix (at 1/4 of the original full rez size of 1500 x 1134) because they need this size to show detail. Picture 8 of 8 is a composite of nine pix.

The attached file gte7-241.jpg (Napoleon, Ohio morning) shows the scene around our bike tech tent at approx. 6:30 am at the campsight in the Henry County (Ohio) fairgrounds. Note the rainforest-like humidity blanketing the area. Even as the upper haze started to burn off a steamy blanket remained on the ground for several hours. The bike tech tent is always a very busy place in the morning as people get wheels trued and derailleurs tweaked. (My trusty Greenspeed trike has remained absolutely trouble-free throughout the whole ride so far - not needing even so much as a tweak.)

Hi all -

This letter is the carrier for picture 2 of 8. The attached file gte7-242.jpg (#2, on the road to Sandusky) shows riders on the road in Plain Township, Ohio on 7/23/98 somewhere between the camp in Napoleon and the city of Bowling Green. The terrain shown is typical of the blissful nearly totally flat ride all the way from Madison, WI to Sandusky, Ohio. Note the saturation- level humidity hovering near the ground.


Image gte7-243.jpg copyright 1998, Robert C. Bradford, III. All rights reserved.

Hi -

Cristo eat your heart out.

The attached file gte7-244.jpg(#4, wrapped stack of hay) was taken 7/23/98 somewhere on the road between Portage and Fremont, Ohio.


Image gte7-244 copyright 1998, Robert C. Bradford, III. All Rights reserved.

Hi -

The attached file gte7-245.jpg (#5, on the road to Sandusky) was taken 7/23/98 somewhere on the road between Portage and Sandusky, Ohio. The picture was taken from my trike while pedaling. Please note the implications of this. Do you see that I am close behind a group of athletic looking riders pedaling at their normal pace? Aha. Yes folks - you are seeing proof of yours truly keeping pace with the pack at approx. 23 MPH . Flat road and tailwind - pedaling bliss.


Image gte7-245.jpg copyright 1998, Robert C. Bradford, III. All Rights reserved.

Hi -

The attached file gte7-246.jpg (#6, lemonade) was taken 7/23/98 Shortly after arriving at the town of Fremont, Ohio. This neighborhood was filled with gorgeous huge historic houses. I wish space permitted me to send pix of some of them along. Look for them on the CD!


Image gte7-246.jpg copyright 1998, Robert C. Bradford, III. All rights reserved.

Hi -

The attached file gte7-247.jpg (#7, lemonade) was taken 7/23/98 shortly after arriving at the town of Fremont, Ohio.


Image gte7-247.jpg copyright 1998, Robert C. Bradford, III. All rights reserved.

Hi -

The attached file gte7-248.jpg (#8, Ohio composite) was assembled just now on 7/23/98 in my hotel room in the Four Points Hotel on our rest day in Sandusky, Ohio. Only one more rest day until we reach DC!!

From upper left to lower right -

1) Group stretch after a stop at Cycle Werks bike shop on Main Street in Bowling Green, OH. Many (including yours truly) had previously stopped at "Grounds For Thought" coffee shop just a few doors down the street for one of the rare good lattes found on this trip. Most good coffee shops have been in college towns such as this.

2) The spectacular straight-from-the-oven pies at Serwin's Restaurant on N. 5th Street in Fremont. Upon arriving at Fremont at lunchtime and seeing on the usual dismal range of chain restaurants me and my riding companion asked a local lady at a stoplight for a restaurant recommendation. Serwin's was a great experience and typical of local Ohio and Pennsylvania restaurants and bars. The best part was the 8" high meringue pies. Snort snort slurp gulp. The restaurant owners wisely set aside the large room of their establishment exclusively for us Martians in spandex who cheerfully hobbled to the booths in our kloppy cycling shoes. They catered to our feeding frenzy by pumping out the pies as fast as we could gulp them down.

3) Exterior of Serwin's.

4) House directly across the street from Serwin's, typical of the fine old brick houses in these Ohio villages.

5 & 6) Road scenes typical of idyllic countryside between Napoleon and Sandusky, Ohio.

7) DeKalb agricultural sign showing lab ID info for new strain of corn. (The variety of vegetable, not humor.)

8) Camp at Erie County Fairground, Sandusky.

9) Chris the bike tech dying his hair green. I documented the entire process from long brown hair to chopping it all off to bleaching it blond to dying it green - all done in the bike tech tent while repairing and tuning bikes and done using only the outside mirror on the rental Ryder truck, a pair of latex gloves from the medical triage tent and a gallon of water from Camp Services. Many bikes were repaired during the green goo phase of the process. Chris's hair successfully emerged the desired color of bright green. MANY riders have shaved and/or bleached. I am content to observe and document the metamorphoses.


Image gte7-248.jpg and component images copyright 1998, Robert C. Bradford, III. All rights reserved

(Updated 07/29/98)

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