Thursday, August 09, 2018 - 6:01 pm

Upper Allen Friendship Park C+ Ride. 30.5miles @ 14.6 mph

David Raup (L), Many of the usual suspects, plus a couple of newcomers who were welcome and are invited to return., Jamie (S).

At the time we all showed up at Friendship Park, nobody was slated to be the Ride Leader for either the C+ or C rides.  I volunteered to serve as the Ride Leader, and nobody else was eager to wrestle the task away from me, so I assumed the role.

The word was that bad traffic plagued the highways, and we waited a couple of minutes for Jamie to arrive because he was known to be en route AND has developed a reputation for being a good Sweep.  (Which is a valuable role, considering that lately we've dropped a few people, which is not supposed to happen during a C+ ride).  So I appointed Jamie as the ride Sweep upon his arrival....  And, as expected, he filled the shoes well.

Because rain had hit my windshield on the way to the ride, we stuck close to base during the first part of the ride.  I noted that at a point around 8 miles into the ride, we were only about a mile or so away from Friendship Park.  This afforded me a prompt bailout alternative; fortunately it wasn't needed.

We took W. Winding Hill to S. York to the front of Mechanicsburg High School, where we twice circled the school bus roundabout by the front doors where the school buses typically make their rounds.  Though here in the U.S. there are few "roundabouts" like we see watching The Tour de France, I like to take them when I see an opportunity.  For one thing, it enables me to easily view the group to ensure folks are present and well....   For another?  It can be just plain fun to "catch up" to the BACK of the ride, on one of those things....

We crossed overtop of the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Eppley.  We combined Strock-Brindle-Clouser-Locust Point into a particularly circumferential path to cross Lisburn to turn right onto Baish.  In crossing Route 74 at the end of Baish to get to Lutztown Road, there were many more cars than desired....  Many times it's possible to carefully transition across there mostly unimpeded.  This time there we perhaps ten cars passing us during that short little stretch.  I stayed to the right shoulder most of the way to Lutztown.  Then, I was able to take the lane, and everyone fell in behind and crossed just fine.

We cruised Leidigh to twice cross the Yellow Breeches.  Then we passed the Texas Longhorns and crossed the railroad tracks and two hump back bridges into Boiling Springs.  Pedaled along the Children's Lake to the clock tower intersection.  We were stopped at that intersection for quite a while due to traffic, which included our C ride brethren (and sistren).  I'd say we waited almost two minutes at that intersection waiting for safe passage....

In retrospect, it would've been preferable to at least offer folks a bathroom stop at the gas station/convenience store.  But my focus was on the safe crossing, and that opportunity didn't register with me at the time.  (Nobody asked to stop, either). 

We took East Springville into The Oaks, and circled around.  Made our way to Shughart.  And.  Along the quiet country stretch on Shughart between South Middlesex Road and the right turn onto Lisburn Road that leads to the Appalachian Trail (AT) crossing, a spontaneous quartet or quintet chorus broke out near the front of the ride, singing the first three verses of Don McLean's "American Pie" as we rolled along.

Headed eastward along Lisburn, I judged that enough daylight remained to cut left onto Boyer behind the gun club.  Along Boyer and before we reached Trindle, we passed though the stretch of road that I call "The Black Forest," because the trees are so dense in there it can make me think of removing my sunglasses when I ride along there due to the darkness.

We took Trindle to Hickery to Ridge Road.  Passed the old log cabin.  Crossed Old Stonehouse onto Biddle. 

About 80% or 90% of the way through the ride, I detected about half the riders missing at the next turn.  So....   I rode back while the front half of the riders continued on their own.  About a mile back I found the other half of the riders.  Apparently someone had taken a nature break, which held them up.  For this reason, the groups arrival back at Friendship was quite staggered.   

It was a really nice ride, though.