They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
On Saturday we left early and drove out to Amherst, MA to ride on the Norrwottuck and Northampton Rail Trails. The day was predicted to be 90°F, too toasty to spend the middle of the day riding, so we got to the trailhead at 9:00, where a nice guy took our picture:
I wanted to stop and take the above picture, but the instant we stopped, mosquitoes swarmed us. Ian was not happy, but I told him to smile for me anyway. He dutifully did, while being sucked dry. We hurried up and left fairly quickly after I finished taking my pictures.
The trail had these sparkly little bits in it that we first noticed when the fog started burning off. On the way back I noticed a sign that said the bits, which I had thought were large bits of mica, were actually ground-up recycled glass included in the asphalt. I don’t know how they avoided having people get flat tires from the glass, but it seemed to work well. I took a picture of a piece with still-distinguishable writing on it.
We rode along enjoying the cool morning and the shady trees all along the way and the very light traffic on the trail. It was very pleasant, especially since we rode faster than mosquitoes can fly. Eventually we came upon a train trestle that had been converted into a bike bridge. I had fun riding over the noisy wooden bridge. I like making noise.
Not long after the bridge, we came to the abrupt end of the trail. It just hit a street and didn’t resume again on the other side. We decided to ride the Northampton Rail Trail, which started less than a mile from the end of the Norrwottuck Rail Trail. Ian didn’t know the exact road to ride on, so we had to stop and get un-lost briefly (see picture below of Ian expertly doing some cell phone jockeying). As we ate a snack and waited for the Internet to load, an old lady came by and told us we must be hot, and that when she was younger she rode in the fall when it was cool. OK, then.
Thanks to the handy Google maps feature, we quickly found the correct road to turn onto, found the new trail — mainly by following other bicyclists — and rode on that. That was very pleasant, too, and also extremely well-shaded. We saw an old guy on a motorized chair scooter thing that was completely decked out with brightly-colored whirligigs and other wind-driven kite-like objects all hung on a canopy structure around the scooter. The old guy also had music (it was playing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”) and a cooler strapped to the back. He had a pipe in his mouth. I wanted to take a picture, but the old guy turned onto a normal road before I could get my camera out. We also saw a guy riding with a golden retriever puppy in a basket in the front of his bike. I nearly fell off my Xtracycle it was so cute.
Here is a place we rested on the way back. It was at the far end of the Norrwottuck Rail Trail, so we had about 11 miles left to ride at that point. There we talked (involuntarily) with a gregarious guy who informed us that he had ridden from Amherst center to Northampton center in 47 minutes — hardly a land speed record, even for a guy on a really crappy old mountain bike all decked out with weird hippie dangly things. I imagine riding stoned would make it more difficult to motivate yourself to ride fast, though.
He left at the same time we did, but our smokin’ 11.5-mph pace left him behind in no time. We finished, feeling very grateful for the wonderful tree cover on the entire trail, and actually felt pretty darn happy at the end, in no small part due to the fact that the mosquitoes seemed to have retired until dusk by that time.
You will notice that we are standing nowhere near one another in the picture. That’s because by the time we finished the 28-mile ride, we were both so drenched in sweat that we would have avoided touching our own bodies if humanly possible. Touching another person would have been unbearable. The humidity, particularly around the marshier parts of the trail (of which there was an abundance), was atrocious, and only the deep shade on most of the trail made it tolerable.
Fortunately, we had the happy opportunity to cool off in the homey, air-conditioned environment of our favorite restaurant in Massachusetts: The Roadhouse Cafe.
Ian didn’t have to fake looking happy once his 6-oz steak arrived. I enjoyed cinnamon raisin French toast, made with their own homemade bread. We both had their truly excellent home fries, and I finished off a couple of overeasy eggs, too. It was the most satisfying end to a good bike path ride we’ve had yet, one that we’ll be hard-pressed to top. In all, we deemed it another truly enjoyable, successful r
ail trail ride.