eMission control – Focus: Bikeways

320px-MUTCD_R3-17.svg[1]In the “eMission control – Focus:” series, covered so far have been: roadways, railways, the past, present and future, airways, seaways and transitways, though, maybe not in that order. So far, the journey has been interesting.

On tap today is “eMission control – Focus: Bikeways” and what I thought I’d do is chronicle one bike trip in particular because it was indeed a memorable one. The ride was completed while I was living in Baltimore, Maryland sometime after I graduated from college in 1976 and before I relocated to Mountain View in California in 1978.

So, picture a late spring trip from the unassuming origination point of my parents’ home located in north-northwest Baltimore. Destination: my parents’ home in north-northwest Baltimore, after, of course, having peddled my way to historic Gettysburg in South Central Pennsylvania. The trip was to be completed in a single day.

I was joined by another bicyclist whom I earlier met only it was on a different bicycle outing and, apparently, one of us got up enough gumption to ask the other if they were up to the challenge. Once committing, all that was left to do were pick a date, decide on a route and then venture forth.

The day of the trek and outfitted with tire patch kits, plenty of water, some non-perishable foodstuffs and, of course, the proper riding attire, we were off. For Ron and I, it was all systems go and clear cycling ahead.

For those familiar, our trip essentially began where 695 (the Baltimore Beltway) and Greenspring Ave. intersected. Rolling hills and winding back roads defined the ride. Biking through some heavily wooded countryside provided plenty of shade which was welcome indeed.

Heading due north took us to Maryland 130 (Greenspring Valley Rd.) where a right turn meant traveling east till we happened upon route 25 (Falls Rd.) if for but a short jog north to 131 (Seminary Ave.) where once again we ventured east to 45 (York Rd.). Biking the back roads in my opinion made the ride that much more enjoyable and interesting compared to what highway travel affords the motor vehicle driver and passenger, not to mention biking being non-polluting.

North on 45 to 145, the exact route taken from there is a blur. However, if there is any one thing that really stands out in my memory it is none other than the Maryland town of Monkton, for it was in this neck of the woods so to speak that we literally got a run for our monies.

You see, there was this steep hill climb and if there was ever a case where a monkey wrench had been thrown into the mix, this would be it.

It wasn’t enough that the hill climb was tough. Topping it all off (pun intended) was this dog. Not just any ordinary run-of-the-mill mutt, but an angry one. Did it really matter the canine type at this point? No. What did matter though was getting away unbitten. And believe me, it was all the both of us could do to avoid being attacked. Somehow able to thwart a muzzle/leg clampdown, we rode on undeterred, albeit with the likely prospect that it would be more of the same upon our return.

After a close encounter like that, it is probably no wonder I have drawn a blank when it comes to recalling the exact route taken to at least Hanover in the Keystone State (Pennsylvania). So, this leaves me to just guess how we went. No matter. The good and no doubt less exciting news was that the rest of the ride to Gettysburg was a relatively uneventful one.

Ron and I agreeing to return using the exact same routing we knew what there would be to look forward to.

Okay, so how to deal with the same angry dog? I’m almost positive we were banking on humans being victorious as there were two of us and one, maybe, slightly overzealous dog, that and in passing that same house, this time we’d be on a downhill trajectory which, in this case, should give us a leg up. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Willing to take our chances, it just so happened a ditch separated road and residence and fortunately, hot-tempered, short-fused Fido who had literally hit the ditch running lost his footing and two gambling and free- and fast-wheeling bicyclists managed a completely unscathed escape. Talk about luck, this would be it.

In the last light of day, upon our arrival somewhere around the intersection of 130 and 25 at Brooklandville, Maryland, we were just too tired to go on.

Hitting the spot was a 15-minute catnap the doctor had ordered and quite remarkably, and as if having a second wind, somewhere inside us was the wherewithal to continue.

Those last few miles must have been a breeze for I can vaguely recall them.

Thinking back, this was one bike adventure Ron and I had so looked forward to. That we completed the ride and in one piece, is what else?! The icing on the cake.

Oh, and about that chase of an unforgiving dog bent on causing harm, well, not that day. Any other day, maybe. What can I say?!

– Alan Kandel

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