Westerville, OH to Marion,OH: - Mackinac Island after abandoning the USBRS (US Bicycle Route System) - CycleBlaze

May 5, 2019

Westerville, OH to Marion,OH:

Perhaps human ear lobes are not optimally designed for cycling

We woke to cold windy weather this morning so for once Rhona thought we should aim for a later start. She put on all her cold weather gear including some kind of chemical foot warmer packs. I went with bare legs and cycling sandals again. Winds were predicted for 10-15 mph from the north and of course today’s route is due north. One effect of a headwind is that it feels like you are always pedaling uphill without ever getting the compensating downhill coast. The constant sound of the wind can be demoralizing. Years ago while cycling cross country we encountered cyclists who were heading east to west. They had encountered many days of headwinds and started wearing earplugs just to avoid the discouragement of hearing the wind. One advantage tandem riders usually take advantage of is having the Stoker (the rider in the rear) navigate and also monitor traffic overtaking from the rear. Wind noise interferes with communication to the Captain. Under the best of sound conditions inside our home Rhona and I almost comically have to repeat ourselves before we have any chance of understanding each other. On the tandem when facing a headwind all I seem to hear is the wind roaring, and this is in spite of buying state of the art Hearing aids. I’m wondering if the human male’s ear grows larger, droopier and more cavernous with age.

I don’t seem to remember my ears looking like this when I was younger. They don’t seem to gather sound as well as before but they sure do catch the wind (kind of like a sail) and sun burn.
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After missing several of Rhona’s prompts about overtaking cars and turn instructions we came up with a nonverbal system. She now pokes me on the left or right side to tell me to turn and hits me in the center to warn about cars. She’s a little too enthusiastic for my taste and I had a sore spot on the spine at the end of the day.

The only route into Marion for bicycles according to the cycling setting on Google maps was divided highway Rt 23 with 65 mph speed limits and Sunday afternoon heavy traffic. It actually wasn’t too bad, because we were able to ride on the shoulder to the right of the rumble strips so we were semi-protected from traffic. Unfortunately there was construction at a bridge and they narrowed all the traffic into one lane and the shoulder also disappeared. Traffic was pretty patient except for one car who we delayed five seconds.

Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 253 miles (407 km)

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