Ride Report: Bethany

We’re back!  I’m going to sum this up real quick by saying that every cyclist should take at least a week to vacation in the Rehobeth/Bethany/Ocean City region once a year.  The area is so accessible for biking that it’s a real joy.  There are bike lanes and wide berms almost everywhere, and most of the locals are accustomed to having a fair amount of bikers about that they give them a wide berth.  Even on the back roads further inland, I just found it a lot of fun to ride.

I say a week because I think sooner or later you’d run out of routes to try and probably get bored, however if I were in better shape and had more time, I might have attempted to go further south.  I also think that eventually the flat terrain would also get stale.  I remember someone telling me about a bike trip in New Hampshire that they took with some riders from the mid-west.  Even though they logged a lot of miles, they had trouble with moderate hills – because they weren’t used to it.  The Delmarva area has few if any real hills.

As for our week, the weather started out nice, but turned to rain in the middle, then finally cleared off by the end for some serious beach time.  I managed to get in four morning rides, and I probably could have gone further had I not wanted to get back for some family time (or if I’d have gotten my arse on the road earlier each day).  Because of the level terrain and smooth roads, its real easy to push it harder without realizing it.  I found myself averaging around 16-17 mph, including cruising through towns with stops and all.

As for bikes; they were everywhere.  Mostly it was a mix of roadies and beach cruising folk, with a splattering of comfort bikers out for some exercise.  There were both serious roadies and roadie wannabes, but even the wannabes looked to be giving it the old college try.  I figure at least they’re getting some exercise.  As for the serious ilk, there were a lot of what I would describe as time trial bikes, which were perfect for blasting down Route 1. 

Some of the beach bikes made me cringe.  I guess the salt air takes its toll, but some of these bikes were complete rust buckets that hadn’t seen a drop of oil in years.  Still, kids were riding them everywhere.  What really hurt were seeing some old Raliegh 3 speeds and Schwinn Varsitys, several with non-functioning Sturmey dynos, that were being toodled about by owners who had no idea what they had.  I have to balance that against just how cool it was to see so many people who were using they’re bikes for primary transportation.  Speaking of which, I saw a lot of guys riding and carrying surfboards at the same time… think Extracycle.

Now a mini-rant:  It’s obvious some folks should be required to take a test before being allowed to ride.  Even with well marked bike lanes they still found it necessary to ride against the traffic or on the sidewalks, and just intent on doing stupid stuff.  I guess this proves that the biking population is not much different than the driving population as well, but these yahoos make it tough for the rest of us that are trying to get along.

Here’s a summary of my rides:  (not much in the way of pictures… I just got into riding and didn’t think to stop and take many).

Tuesday:  18.2 miles.  Went up Route 1 with the goal of going into Rehobeth and turning around.  Due to intermittant downpours I only made it halfway.  Still, it was warm and kind of fun.  Here’s a shot taken from the bridge that connects Indian Bay.  Those small dots in the water are surfers:


I also snapped this shot of a tank style switching engine (another of my interests is trains).


Wednesday:  28.1 miles.  I took several back roads to do a loop from Bethany to Selbyville to Millville and back.  Route 17 is straight and level, but was against a very strong headwind.  I was reminded of the passage in Greg Lemond’s book where he talked of training on the coast of Brittany in order to get used to the wind.

Thursday: 23.1 miles.  Took Route One down to Fenwick to see the sights and then back to Millville.

Friday: 30.7 miles.  Easily the best day weather-wise.  I rode down Route One again into Ocean City to the point where the highway narrowed to car traffic only, then turned around and came back.  Playing leapfrog with the car traffic while in the bike lane was fun, and I cruised along with some roadies here and there.  OC probably had the worst offenders with bikers doing stoopid stuff.

Last night I cleaned up the LHT and did a little work.  I put the original stem back on it to lower the bars back down.  I think my back has stretched out so that riding in a more aero position should be fine – I can always switch it back.  There was sand everywhere, so a clean and lube made quite a difference.  I’m still not happy with the drive-train and shifting issues – I’m wondering if my original Shimano 600/Deore derailleur might not be compatible with the 9 speed components.  I also managed to completely screw up my front derailleur adjustments, so I’m going to visit the Park Tool site and see if I can’t make it right tonight.  Either way a visit to Pedal Pushers is in order since I have close 1000 miles on the bike anyway.

In other news: first day of school today.  Tonight should present me with sleepy kids and a weepy wife.

Total Distance: 100.1 miles, 2007: 951.3


2 responses to “Ride Report: Bethany

  1. We were just down in DE the week before, and the B&B we stayed at had a copy of a Delaware map which had all the roads mapped out based on suitability for bicycle touring and cycling. It even had color coding for traffic volume. (1999 statistics, but still mostly relevant) Here’s a link to the online version I found. You can get a copy for free by mail or download. http://www.deldot.gov/information/community_programs_and_services/bike/bike_in_delaware/maps/maps.shtml
    Now I wonder if other states have done this 🙂

  2. Great link. I’ll save that one. thx.

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