By the time I got done with work and pedalled myself home the sun was pretty low in west but I figured I had a couple hours of daylight left. I was really in the mood to ride but didn't feel like sharing the road with cars so I hurried up and loaded the recumbent, grabbed my helmet and gloves and a bottle of water. I sipped a bottle of energy drink on the drive over to the B & O Trail where I planned to start about in the middle of the trail's length and ride the lower portion.
Since I was in a hurry to get out the door and on the bike I didn't bother with the Spandex bike clothes I just wore my jeans and the light nylon jacket that I already had on. The nice thing about riding a recumbent is street clothes are nearly perfect attire. When the temperature drops I actually like wearing jeans. I cuff the bottoms shut with some bungee to keep out the wind and down the road I go.
It has been a few weeks since I last rode on the bike trail and I was pleasantly surprised to find the trail freshly repaved. It was nice and smooth but covered in fresh leaves and sticks in places. This railroad right of way was converted to rail trail back in the mid 1990's and I can remember riding on it during the construction when it was just crushed limestone before the pavement was laid. The original surface has held up fairly well for the 16 or so years except for a few pressure ridges and cracks caused by the ground heaving under many freezing and thawing cycles. It has been interesting to witness just how long a paved road surface remains smooth and intact without automobile and truck traffic to quickly degrade it.
There was a little breeze out of the north but it was weak enough to have little effect on my laid back position on the bike. The air was cool and crisp in the upper 50's. These are my ideal conditions for going fast or trying to anyway. After about five miles I was feeling great so I decided to press on for time and see what I could do for a late season effort.
The scenery along the way was gorgeous. I imagine the trees are now at there peak of color. Some species are completely bare and a few like the silver maples are still green and not begun to yellow. Autumn and cycling go together so well. While I love blasting down country roads on the motorcycle at this time of year it can get downright bone chilling but on a bicycle creating your own heat it is an experience hard to beat.
B & O Trail Richland County
Bike: HP Velotechnik Street Machine gte
Distance: 20.00 miles
Ride Time: 1:16:05
Average Speed: 15.7 mph
Max Speed: 21.00 mph
I was working hard to push into the 16 mph average range but I just couldn't tough it out on the return leg. I was holding 16.5 - 17.5 mph for long stretches but it seems to take about 3 or 4 mph hour faster than the current moving speed to drag up the average. Still a satisfying run and a great start to the weekend.