The following story was written completely by Pete about a solo ride he
did recently. Thanks Pete, I always enjoy posting a story written by
It was about 7:45pm on July 20th, 2006 and as usual, there was nothing to
do. I decided that in honor of Michael Collins, I should do a solo ride.
For those of you who are wondering what Michael Collins has to do with
this bike ride, you should read to the end of the story and I will explain
I intended this to just be a short ride. My plan was to
ride down the Dutton hill to the Paint Creek Trail and just go to Tienken,
then ride back home along Tienken and back up through the Fairview area
and back home. I figured it would be about a 45 minute ride.
As I was blasting down Dutton Hill, the weather was perfect
and the road was very smooth (for Dutton). I let loose and reached a peak
speed of 37.1 MPH. I think this is a Dutton record. If I had went down,
I am sure I would have gained 10 pounds or so from rocks being embedded in
my skin. But of course being an experienced rider, I rarely go down and
tonight the hill was no problem. I picked up the Paint Creek Trail and
kept up a good pace to Tienken. I was feeling pretty good, so I decided
to keep going. As I passed under the bridge at Rochester Road, I nearly
hit a couple of idiots who wouldn't move over. Little did I know at this
point, that this would not be my only close call of the night. I gave
them a light blast of the air horn and kept on going. I think the people
eating coneys outside of Lapumas were a bit startled. I am pretty sure
one guy shot a chunk of hot dog out of his nose right into his wife's
coke. Fortunately she did not notice.
As I went behind the library, I was still feeling pretty
good and I decided it would be a good night to take in a baseball game. I
didn't want to get tired by riding up the big hill on Rochester so I
decided to get on the Clinton River trail over to Livernois. This is one
of our favorite rides and it is very scenic. Tonight was no exception. I
saw one deer on the road and lucky for him, he moved because I was still
setting a blistering pace. For some reason, I noticed that I had lots of
energy this evening so I figured I might as well use it up on a bike
ride. I saw a couple more deer by the side of the trail before I came up
to Livernois and Avon road. I crossed Avon and rode along Avon past the
Home Depot .
It was about this time that I figured I would just go for
20 miles. That would be appropriate given that it was July 20th. I
headed South on Rochester and headed to the Belle Tire. They usually have
a good air pump with a built in gauge. Since Dave wasn't along with his
Burrito Basket full of equipment, I would have to improvise.
Unfortunately, the Belle Tire guys had a crappy nozzle with no gauge.
Rather than risk blowing up my tires, I decided to keep going. I got a
major break when the traffic parted for me so I could cross Rochester
without going to a light. I felt like the Red Sea was parting for me.
Driving through the Target Parking lot is usually a harrowing adventure.
Tonight was no exception. I was nearly hit a couple of times and I got a
little mad. I know I shouldn't have done it, but I nearly ran over some
smart a$$ teenagers crossing to the gag gift store. They wouldn't move
and I decided I wasn't moving either. I'm happy to report that I won this
game of chicken. I went around back past the courthouse and decided to
ride through past the Hampton golf course over to John R and then watch a
ball game at Borden Park. I followed this plan and arrived at the park.
I did notice one thing that may prove useful for readers of
this website. I know some people are like fellow Biker Steve Thomas.
These kind of people like hot food. At the risk of being politically
incorrect, when you ride your bike around the Hampton Circle, you will see
lots and lots of Indian couples walking together. I would guess if you
were an outgoing person, you could walk around over here, strike up a
conversation, and get some pretty good recipes.
When I arrived at Borden Park, there were 3 games going
on. I watched a kids fastpitch game first. They were just little kids
and I don't think either team was very good. I think it is safe to say
that none of them will ever play in the majors. I am sure most of them
are very good at Playstation or Nintendo baseball, but they sure couldn't
play real baseball. Then I decided to watch the two softball games. I
picked a high seat in the bleachers so I could watch both of them. I'm
sorry to report that none of these teams were very good either. There
were actually a couple of players who threw like girls - wrong foot
forward. I must have seen 4 or 5 fielding errors in about 10 minutes. I
was getting disgusted with the poor play, so I decided it would be best to
leave. I knew if I laughed out loud any more, the girlfriends of the
players who were surrounding me would probably sick their dogs on me. Oh,
did I forget to mention all the dogs? I never realized that dogs like
baseball. There were sure a lot of them at the game. Maybe the girls
with the dogs would rather pay attention to the dogs than watch the
pitiful play on the field. That's only a guess. I didn't ask.
Anyway, since it was getting dark, I figured I better get
started home. My first order of business was to relieve a little
pressure and make a pit stop. Fortunately, Borden Park has excellent
facilities. Once this objective was complete, I rode around past the
Soccer fields, got back on Hamlin, and headed home. I was about half-way
to Rochester Road and I decided I should get back on the Hampton Circle
and see if my earlier thought regarding recipes was correct. This would
also get me a little more mileage. Again, at the risk of being
politically incorrect, I should report that what I noticed earlier was
absolutely correct. It was a pretty hot night and at the risk of being
even more politically incorrect, I can't understand why anyone would want
to take a walk with all those clothes on.
I exited the Hampton Circle and headed North on Rochester.
It is funny that when you are riding, your plans sometimes change when you
get a brilliant thought. Since I had rode about 12 miles, I thought it
may be a good time to stop for a beer. Maybe this thought came up because
our favorite establishment, The Hamlin Pub was within sight. As I was
approaching, I realized that I didn't have a bike lock with me. The
coldest beer in the world is not worth losing your Trek 7300 with the air
horn, 2 bells, one duck horn, one radio, one headlight, and a trip
computer mounted on the handlebars. (Not to mention the water bottle and
Chili Carrier). Fortunately, I remembered that there was a Dollar Store
in the same shopping center. Against all odds, I decided I would run in
quickly and see if they had any bike locks. Believe it or not, they did
have some. Unfortunately, the quality was pitiful. I think I would have
been better off tieing it up with a piece of kite cord. What a huge
disappointment. I was crestfallen as I exited the parking lot and headed
for home. I took our new route across Sandalwood and up to Drexelgate. I
kept up a great pace down Drexelgate and nearly wiped out as I cut through
the condominium complex. I followed Livernois up to Walton, past the
Greek Island and the cut through by the school.
When I exited the school parking lot, there were 3 kids on
bikes and skateboards. I could see they were admiring my air horn. As I
passed them, one of them yelled "Hey Mister, honk your air horn". Since I
am a friendly person and I like kids, I gave them a friendly honk. I
could hear them laughing and one of the yelled at me to do it again and I
gave them another short blast. Since I was almost home, I thought about
emptying the horn with a real loud, long blast but I decided that reason,
sanity and above all SAFETY should prevail. You never know when you will
need that air horn. Little did I know what a good decision I had made.
I crossed Tienken and headed up Tiverton trail on our usual
route and checked my speedometer. I could tell I was not going to make 20
miles if I didn't do a little something extra. Instead of heading up
Grandview, I went over to Brewster and I took the bike path to Dutton and
then blasted home on the path. When I reached Grayslake, I hit the hill
at a pretty good pace. I was actually going too fast to stop and besides
that, Paul and his friends were standing in the driveway. I decided not
embarrass Paul and his cool friends. Since they all drive cars, I am sure
Paul would have been embarrassed to have his Dad cruise up in a bike. It
was also at this point that I noticed I was really thirsty. I decided to
go get a big bottle of water at the Shell station on Walton and Adams.
Besides, I still had lots of energy, so I figured why waste it? May as
will ride some more.
I stopped at the corner of Grandview and Tienken to turn on
my lights. By now, it was pitch dark - about 9:30 or so I had to get
batteries out of my radio for my headlight. I also turned on my dog bone
flasher light that Dave hooked to my Chili Carrier. I rode over to
Brewster and headed south. My mental calculator told me that just going
to the Shell station and back would not get me the 10 miles I needed for
the 30 mile total. I decided I would ride past Madonna's house. This was
an easy decision. I knew she would not be home, but I also knew that it
was a long downhill stretch. Even though I had lots of energy, it is
always fun to coast and get up a good head of steam. As I rounded the
bend by Madonna's house, I was flying and I was heading straight for
Walton. I noticed a car coming the other way. I knew I had my light on,
so I figured I was pretty safe. Then I noticed the car slow down, so I
was confident the driver could see me. I figured he was stopping or
turning right into his driveway. The next thing I knew, he turned right
in front of me. It happened so fast, I did not even have time to blow my
air horn at him. I stopped just a couple of inches from hitting his
passenger door. I was furious. At this point, I emptied my air horn
right and let fly with every word I have ever learned at the golf courses,
bowling alleys and racquetball courts. I am pretty sure that my voice was
even louder than the air horn. It turns out the guy was driving a Ford
Escape and I could see that he was smoking. He was also a big chicken,
because he would not get out of his car as long as I was stopped at the
end of his driveway swearing at him. I waited a minute, then rode a house
or two down the street. When he finally got out of his Escape, I started
over again and let him have it. Once I had gathered my wits, I continued
on my way. About 6 houses down, someone was outside on their lawn and
when I rode by he asked me what happened. I told him his #%^&^^ neighbor
in the Escape had nearly killed me.
I arrived at the Shell station a few minutes later and
bought the biggest water bottle they had. I was as dry as a sponge. I
slammed down half of it and tried to put it in one of my bottle holders.
It was too big so I took the lid off my regular water bottle, filled it up
with the rest of the water I bought and proceeded to throw the empty
bottle and my water bottle cap in the garbage can. That was a real bright
move. I had to reach in the filth and pull it out. Of course I couldn't
use the lid until I washed it so I had to throw it in my pocket until I
got home. Fortunately, my water bottle was big enough where the water
didn't slosh out on the rest of the ride.
I headed up Adams and then crossed the street and took
Raintree drive over to Falcon and when up through Dave's neighborhood. It
was so dark that I ended up getting lost. I came out on Adams after
passing a small lake that I never knew existed. I crossed Adams, cut
through Brewster school and headed home.
Well, to make a long story short . . . I knew I might need
a little extra riding to hit the 30 mile mark, so when I reached our
neighborhood, I took a small detour and finally stopped at the corner of
Blue Grass and Dutton. I parked under a light so I could see my trip
computer. When I was riding, I couldn't see it because it was too dark.
Believe it or not, I was at 30.02 miles. I hopped back on the bike and
coasted down the hill into my driveway.
As I was riding, it occurred to me that this would be a
good test for our 2006 Century ride which will be a night ride. I would
learn if we could see well enough with our lights and I would also be able
to tell if the cooler temperatures would help. I can tell you right now,
that our 100 mile night ride is going to be much easier than the ride Dave
and I did last year. Seeing well enough was not a problem. I do know
that we will have to be careful of the idiots in Escapes - I will make
sure my air horn is pumped up to full capacity. The cooler temperatures
will make it much easier. The only problem that I could come up with is
the number of bugs. Once I took off my sunglasses, I kept getting hit in
the eyes with bugs. I will make a note put safety glasses in my Chili
Carrier for our 100 mile night ride. I may also wear some type of bandana
to cover my mouth so I don't have to eat so many bugs either. I will
also wear the strap-on headlight on my helmet. This will help people to
see me, but it will also help me to see my trip computer. I will be able
to look down and shine the light right on it.
The more I thought about this historical ride, the more it
has become linked with Michael Collins. I'm sure most of you have now
remembered that Collins was the 3rd Astronaut on Apollo 11. He did not
walk on the moon, but he orbited the moon, solo in the Command Module,
while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. The total number of
orbits of the moon for Collins and the Command Module was 30. The same as
the number of miles I rode on this solo ride. What a coincidence. If you
doubt my knowledge of history, check out this site and scroll down a bit
to the Departure section:
By the way, July 20th, 1960 was the date of the first landing on the
moon. My bike ride was on the exact date of the 27th Anniversary of the
Here is a link showing my route. Check it out.