Tim had an errand to run in Ohio and wanted to ride the Little Miami Trail while he was there. He invited me, but the only bike I have that fits on a bike rack is my single-speed, and it needs a crankset before I can ride it again.
He agreed to loan me his single-speed Rivendell Quickbeam. It’s a beautiful bike, and the only one of his that fits me decently. It’s a drop-bar road bike, so I was a bit worried about my neck – even with the handlebars raised as far as they go.
After a two-hour drive (and sitting in the parking lot known as I-71) we made it. After finding a suitable parking place we headed out.
The Little Miami Trail is a rail-trail. That means there’s no serious hills. I’ve heard the 3% is the maximum grade, but that number seems to vary. For the part of the trail we rode, It was probably no more that 0.5%. That is so flat I never noticed a rise. Tim thought we were going uphill both ways.
The weather was beautiful and the trail traffic was heavy. We saw a ton of bikes, trikes, tandems, runners, walkers, dogs, and “leftovers” from horses (but never the horses).
The problem with completely flat rides is that you don’t shift your position on the saddle much. This leads to discomfort. I was on a low-geared single-speed, so standing and pedaling wasn’t an option. I could sprint for a bit, then stand and coast, but otherwise, I was sitting and spinning.
The first half of the ride (north to Xenia) was pleasant. We kept a fairly consistent 12-13mph pace (consistent with the gearing of the bike I was on). Tim was on a geared bike, but chose a similar gear, and (mostly) stayed in that gear.
Once in Xenia, we wanted food. Local places seemed to not exist. We chose a Wendy’s. I put extra salt on my fries to make up for what was coating my skin. There was a neat little bike shop in Xenia that carried a number of ‘bents. We didn’t stop to check it out unfortunately. I did see a Tour Easy parked outside.
Xenia was the turnaround spot. We headed back south toward Tim’s car. We were both hurting at this point. Tim had saddle issues because his Brooks was sagging. He also had some hand pain. I was having trouble with my neck, hands, ass, and feet. The drop-bar road bike thing isn’t working for me anymore. I wore horrible shoes for cycling. The constant sit and spin was taking it’s toll.
The last 20 miles was pretty bad for me. This wasn’t a hard ride. It was so flat, and leisurely paced that it should have been easy. I was riding a bike that didn’t quite fit. Tim was riding a bike with a saggy saddle. We were both sitting too much. Tim mitigated this toward the end by shifting to a higher gear and standing. He could only do it for a while.
I didn’t take many pictures. I only brought my phone, not a real camera.
We did end up with a 77-mile ride. I learned about what I need in a bike. Drop bars are out. I need a recumbent for most rides or a comfort bike when I can’t use the recumbent. You’ll hear more about that soon.