I'm getting to be a wimp, only riding for 6 hours a day and covering less than 80 miles. I have an excuse, other than simple laziness, in that I spent time in two bike shops today. That is a record for me.
The day started rainy and lumpy. My back tire, on which I had replaced the tube yesterday, wasn't seated properly and every revolution had a whomp which was unpleasant to my posterior. I decided I wasn't going to put up with the lump any more, so I asked about a bike shop in Westminster. The motel directed me to White's Bicycles on Main Street at the corner of Main and MD 27. I had planned to ride out of town north east on 27, so the shop was well located. I spent about an hour there, getting my tire seated properly and getting the rear wheel spokes, some of which were quite loose, tightened. For this, the owner charged me $4! We also spent time discussing routes, and I followed his suggestions on my ride today. A very nice guy with a well equipped shop. Stop by if you are in Westminister.
I headed out, in light rain, on 27 at about 10:45 AM. The rain stopped in an hour or two and most of the day was simply cloudy and very muggy. This afternoon and tonight there are big storms moving through the area, but none hit my local today.
I rode 27 to Manchester, where I bought a Pennsylvania map, cookies, a replacement Snickers bar (part of my emergency supplies), and coffee. Then I headed north on 30 for a mile or so before turning north east on 86. 27 and 30 are rather busy, but have good shoulders. 86, which becomes 516 in Penn, is great riding with light traffic through beautiful farming country. It ends at Penn 116 near Spring Grove. From there through Lancaster the riding is OK, but there is moderate to heavy traffic including quite a few trucks. Mostly the shoulder is rideable and, by urban standards, the drivers are quite polite. Not bad riding, but not great riding like 86 and 516.
I stopped for lunch (it was 1 PM) in Spring Grove, also know as Paper City because of the large paper mill there. Then I rode on into the increasingly urban area of West York and York. In York I almost had my second accident when my rear wheel got caught by a damp railroad track. I managed to muscle it out rather than crashing, but it was a bit exciting as the back wheel slid along the track while the front wheel headed down the road.
After York I started riding on 462 (old US 30). After Columbia, which is across the (large!) Susquehanna River, my rear derailleur cable broke. I had a spare, but it turned out to be slightly short. I improvised by connecting a piece of the old cable to the new cable using a square knot. My biggest problem was that my Radio Shack pliers wouldn't cut the cable. I ended up using the pliers to hold the cable while I cut it with the file blade on my Swiss Army knife.
I had seen two bike shops in the 10 miles before I broke the cable, but I didn't see any others on the route today. I stopped to ask one of the bicyclists I saw in Lancaster where a bike shop was. He not only told me, he led me (which was good since I would probably have gotten lost!) to Cycle Circle on Queen Street. Another good shop where I got a replacement cable (for when the square knot goes..) and some more good route advice. I also bought the right replacement tube for my tires.
At Cycle Circle I called ahead to New Holland and made a reservation at the Comfort Inn. Then I rode on to Penn 23 which leads into Amish Country. I had pictured this as a nice, rural, road like Penn 516, and I think it was 10 years ago. Now it is another one of those damned bedroom community roads. It does have a shoulder, but it is pretty poor in most places. I did 'white line' riding for the first part of the 12 miles out to New Holland. After that I was in Amish country and there were generally good shoulders for their buggies. You just have to steer around the horse droppings. I only passed one buggy on the way, but there was evidence of many more and I've seen half a dozen or so in New Holland.
Reaching New Holland I checked in at the motel (nice, fairly reasonable) and had an excellent supper at the restaurant next door. Good food and lots of it! Tomorrow I'm going to head easy and north, but mostly north towards the Appalachian Trail and then east towards the Delaware River Gap. I may stop at or near Trexlertown where there are bicycle races (an olympic velodrome!) tomorrow night, or I may go for points north and east of there. I see from my window that the storms are arriving in New Holland. Maybe I can get a net connection before they get too bad.