1997 Flashback: Four friends decide to do a multiday bike tour - their first - Throwback Tour 1997: Our First "Old Men's Bicycling Tour" When We Thought 40 Was Old - CycleBlaze

1997 Flashback: Four friends decide to do a multiday bike tour - their first

Three Engineers and A Motive Electrical Power Expert Hit the Road

The Manly Men: Rick, Chris, John, Mike (l-r) high and dry on the first day of riding
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Back in 1996, at the wedding  of one of my friends in Columbus OH, four of us (including the groom, Rick) decided to do a week-long self-supported bike tour in the summer of 1997. We were all about 40, had known each other for 20 years, and all flew desks for a living. We were all fairly active cyclists, doing things like the TOSRV ride in Ohio and the Seagull Century in Maryland but we are generally weekend warriors - outside of one Cycle Across Maryland week long supported large group tour that I had done, we had no multi-day bike touring experience.

The original plan was to cycle from Columbus to Baltimore, but stories of riding the hills of West Virginia or Western PA caused us to wimp out - and this was back before the Great Allegheny Passage trail was fully connected. We then decided on riding to Williamsburg VA to coincide with the League of American Wheelmen (now Bicyclist)'s Great Eastern Area Rally (GEAR) South. Rather than ride directly from the Washington DC area, where three of the four live, our routemeister scouted out a route across Virginia, ending in Williamsburg on Friday 6 June, the start of GEAR. The ride began in Waynesboro VA, near where Skyline Drive turns into the Blue Ridge Parkway, and passed through Charlottesville, Lake Anna, and Richmond on the way to Williamsburg.

The Riders:

Chris: from Silver Spring MD, the routemeister, rode a Cannondale T600 with front panniers. He was also becoming follicly challenged and sported a precious pink sweat band peeking out from under his helmet.

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Rick:  out of Columbus OH, rode a 12 speed Fuji with rear panniers, Rick was the thighmaster of the trip. Climbing hills he would be doing 30 rpm while the rest were spinning 90.

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Mike: hailing from Annapolis MD, the official photographer and original webmaster of the tour, rode a Trek 730 hybrid with rear panniers. Mike's previous hill climbing maxed out on the Route 100 overpass on the Baltimore & Annapolis Rail Trail in Maryland.

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John:  in charge of whining and pedaling out of Upper Ashton Heights Mews MD, rode a Trek 520 with front panniers. He made up for his lack of speed on climbs with his willingness to rest often.

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Our cycling adventure is described on the following pages.  Note: this was back in the day before bike computers with GPS - we actually used paper cue sheets and maps, so no route maps in this write-up. Also, camera technology has really improved since then, too...

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