Reporting on: Friday, June 19, 2009
Riding Route: From Erie, PA to Hamburg, NY
Temp: 60's - 70's/Wind: 5-10 mph - Yep...in our faces again!
Elevation Climb: 2600 feet
Miles Ridden: 78 miles
Today we made the trek from Erie, PA to Hamburg, NY. Another state line crossing (our 11th state) as you can see from the picture above. I know you're wondering where Hamburg is! No it's not Germany! (Altho did you know that Hamburg, Germany is the second-largest city in Germany (after Berlin) and the sixth-largest city in the European Union?) Hamburg, NY is on the western edge of Buffalo, NY! We are only 8 miles from Niagra Falls! Some of our riders went there today and had some facts to give me for the blog. You know that the Falls straddle the Canadian-United States International Border and is in both the Province of Ontario and the State of New York. It attracts some 12 Million tourists to her majestic beauty each year. It's a fairly young river, only 12,000 years old, a microsecond in geological time. (Think of the time you and I spend on this earth - we hardly exist in the time frame). It's the second largest falls on the globe next to Victoria Falls in southern Africa. Okay, enough!
The weather prediction for the ride today was of course rain, rain, rain! BUT...we had only drizzles the first hour and then outbiked the rain for the remainder of the day! What a joy! I would put today in the top three days of our trip: it was beautiful scenery, a fun ride and relatively easy! We followed Route 5E. Lake Erie was on our left - and miles and miles of grape vineyards were on the right. These vineyards produce grapes for Welch's...which began in 1869 in Vineland, New Jersey. (A physician and dentist named Thomas Bramwell Welch and his son Charles processed the first bottles of "unfermented wine" to use during their church's communion service). Welch's is the world's leading marketer of Concord and Niagara-based grape products! Most of us grew up on their grape juice!
Our group gave PA four stars for their bike lanes! But I have to tell you that NY gets 5 stars - at least so far! They have 6-8 foot wide shoulders - and have recently enacted a law that says all roads will have these wide lanes - basically for "breakdowns" - but it sure makes bike riding much easier too! We loved the sign as we rode into New York that is pictured above. It's a "Share the Road" sign that really makes sense. A good reminder to all of us - no matter where we live!
Bob and Gayle, if you're reading this blog I rode by your home in Forest Park today! We also went to see Gail at The Sugar Shack! We all agreed that it was one of the best stops we've made on the trip. The Sugar Shack (Gail - pictured above) has a cute gift shop, sells syrups, grows grapes, strawberries, cherries etc. She was so kind to our group - having expresso coffee and tea + ice cream with her delicious homemade syrups available for all of us. If you would like to buy the best syrups available then email Gail at http://www.sugarshack1.com/. Several of the riders ordered things to be sent home! Or, if you're in the area of Westfield, NY - go by and see her!
I had shifting problems at Mile 11 today. My bike got stuck in the "granny gears"! (Lowest gears). Rick, our mechanic, met me and got it into the middle gears - which I rode in all day. He promised to have it fixed tonight. Tomorrow will be another tough ride of 94 miles and 5100 feet of elevation climb! I'll need all my gears. We'll hit the 3000 mile mark tomorrow!