Today was one of those incredibly rare days in Ohio where it was an almost perfect day to ride a bicycle.  Warm.  (High 70s / low 80s).  Half the day was filled with overcast skies, keeping the direct sun from frying you.  The wind was an issue, as it was rather stiff, but it was going across my path and neither pushing nor being a headwind. Plus, the section of the trail I rode, the Miami Valley Rails to Trails, from London to Xenia, has a lot of over growth alongside the path, blocking a lot of the wind.

The trail head starts in London.  For years they’ve been talking about connecting the different bicycle paths in Ohio.  Eventually it’ll be so you can ride from Cleveland to Cincinnati all on bicycle trails.  For all my complaints about Ohio — and they are legion — I gotta tell you that this trail is the best I’ve ever ridden.  I’ve ridden nearly every mile of it.  (Just one last leg through Dayton that I’ve not yet reached the end.)  I’ve ridden hundreds, if not thousands, of miles on this trail.  I remember one very early morning ride on the trail about a year ago.  This was the sunrise from the trail:

Leaving from London it’s almost dead-on 10 miles to South Charleston.  From there it’s almost dead-on 10 miles to Cedarville.  And then an almost spot-on 10 miles to Xenia.  I’ve got nothing to back this up, but I’d bet you it’s not a coincidence.  I’d say back in the day that the train companies established those stops and the little towns grew up around those stops. In any case, it makes for a handy measuring stick.

I got to a park in Xenia.  Sat down at a bench where there was no one else around.  Have you ever arrived first at a movie theater, found the absolute perfect seats, and then have the second person arrive and sit right in front of you? That’s what happened today.  A hundred other places to sit, and this noisy, “never-stopped-talking-on-her-cell-phone-for-a-single-second” woman, with a snot-nosed 2 year old boy in diapers, her drug dealer “baby daddy” in tow, a sack of Taco Bell, and a loaf of bread sat down at the picnic table right next to me.  Are you kidding me?

She then took out pieces of bread and started throwing them at the ducks and geese.  Which attracted more ducks and geese.  Pretty soon the place was overrun by them.  The picture below was within the first five minutes of the feeding.  Before 10 minutes had passed I bet nearly every waterfowl in a 100 yard radius had swarmed around hoping to get their little piece of Wonder Bread Duck Chow.

It’s not that I mind the ducks / geese.  I like ’em, myself.  If I’d had a loaf of bread I would have fed ’em myself.  It’s just that this woman was hollering at the fowl when they’d approach her son, hollering at him for approaching the birds, and continued to bellow into her cell phone (which she had on speaker.) 

At a couple of points, she actually picked up the birds.  It was obvious the animals were terrified — literally scared shitless in two occasions.  Which for some unfathomable reason surprised Noisy Woman.  “They shit on me!”  Well, dumbass, why did you pick them up in the first place?

The ride back was uneventful.  At least until I got to South Charleston.

In all the years I’ve ridden this rails to trails trail, this is the very first time I’ve ever been stopped by a train.  The train was moving at quite a nice clip, so I could hardly complain.  I know, I know, stupid picture to post.  But it just struck me as an odd thing.  I didn’t think the railroad tracks were ever used.

I’d listened to all of the podcasts I had on file.  So I switched over to music.  I found a couple of songs that really got my legs pumping as I sang along to them:



and



What an eclectic taste, huh?  Actually, there’s another song that always gets my heart racing and legs pumping like the pistons they are:

Along the way back, I snapped a picture of this guy.  He seems to follow me around on sunny days:

He’s a lot fatter than I am (which is saying a lot), but he manages to keep up with me pretty well, I’ll give him that.

A few years ago, some “Friends of the Miami Trail” got together to really spruce up the London trail head.  They increased the parking spaces by a factor of 2, put a nice little shelter by the lot, stocked it with brochures and the like, and put up some nice art work there by the trail:

All in all, a very nice day to be on a bike.

Finished Cycle: Jul 13, 2012 5:42:07 PM
Route: Daily Ride
Google Maps URL: http://maps.google.com/?q=http://share.abvio.com/fc28/825e/4e37/b4c1/Cyclemeter-Cycle-20120713-1211.kml

Ride Time: 4:26:31
Distance: 61.01 miles
Average: 13.73 mph
Fastest Speed: 18.62 mph
Ascent: 437 feet
Descent: 525 feet
Calories: 4726