Piss & Vinegar

Feeling a lot of pressure from other Double Nickel leaders, Gretchen and I headed to Pennsylvania to scout out next year's venture; possibly a ride on the Schuylkill River Trail which will eventually run from Pottsville, through our home town of Schuylkill Haven to Philadelphia following the old canal path(98.5 miles). The canal was built to transport coal south from the mining region north of Pottsville.

Yesterday, Priscilla, Phil, Juan, Gretchen and I got an early start (8:30 a.m.) and headed to Valley Forge to ride the trail from there to the Art Museum in Philly (20.5 miles). We began the ride by following the sketchy directions from bike rental folks at the NP and getting lost. Many questions and two miles later, we reached the trailhead. The path is paved until Manayunk where you can ride on roads through town or follow a dirt canal tow path through the city which has a cool downtown with lots of shops and restaurants. We ate a fine lunch and got back on the trail. It is a neat ride along the Schuylkill from this point to Philly as you pedal through several towns, Fairmont Park, past Boathouse Row and finish at the Art Museum.

After Phil got his flavored ice from a vendor at the museum, we headed back to the car. Alas, in Manayunk, things fell apart. Because of traffic and lights, Phil and Gretchen got ahead of the group. I thought I saw Gretchen's yellow jersey and took off up Main Street to catch up with her. By the time I knew it was not her, Juan disappeared and Priscilla was nowhere to be found! Priscilla found Gretchen and Phil on Main Street and a phone call brought me back into the fold, but we could not contact Juan since no one had his cell number! A plan was hatched, Gretchen and Pris would wait at a rendezvous point north of town and Phil and I would backtrack along the canal path and bike route to see if we could find Juan. This was Phil's favorite part of the day, since he got to climb some formidable hills! Seven miles later, we were back at the rendezvous but Juan was nowhere to be found. We concluded he must be riding back at the car, so we headed back as well. Unbelievably, it was 6:00 p.m.

Prisicilla set a fast pace to get out the "Piss and Vinegar" and we found Juan who had been waiting for us at the car for over an hour! So, the ride was an adventure. Phil and I rode 53 miles and everyone else 45 so it was a great workout on a beautiful day with a great riding group!

Will this be the Double Nickles ride next year? Yes indeed, as you can see from the picture below, the Schuylkill River Trail meets all of the criteria!


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