Riding around town

When I am staying with my folks I usually get out for some solo rides where I will stop and visit friends and family, but I don’t really know any other cyclists that still live up in those parts. I love an early morning shop ride but never knew there was one till I started talking to the guys at Around Town bikes in Wilkes Barre.
I stopped by to see Rich and Tom of around town.

They are Wyoming valley natives that have returned to run what I see as the finest shop in the area. A custom frame builder and world class bike nuts running a shop in Wilkes Barre is pretty sweet. They invited me along for their Saturday morning ride. I agreed hoping I could stay on to whatever type of group showed up. After my experience at the Philly classic, group rides with unknowns are a little scary.

Since I know that at least one person that follows this loves to hear of my mechanical follies I will let you know that while adjusting my front derailleur on Friday night the cable more or less split apart and I was a good 150 miles from my toolbox without any cables. Using my manic mechanic skills and a bit of juju I had stored away, I made the front derailleur shiftable. The Wyoming Valley is known for some unrelenting hills and the last thing you wanna do on a group ride is walk.
The group was a great blend of folks and it seems to be a friendly group to ride with, which is way different than other group rides I have been on. There was a wide range of bikes as well. From the classic 80s Richard Sachs

to a few rich Adams builds

a landshark

and the smattering of some really great bikes from specialized, cannondale, and the other big players, the variety of bikes matched the variety of folks out for a Saturday morning spin.

We started out through Wilkes Barre and went all along the back roads of the East side of the Susquehanna River then over to the West side via Nanticoke. The roads had some hills and a few nice down hills through the neighborhoods of Nanticoke. On one particular hill, I saw that everyone went down the hill and into the left hand sweeper of a turn and just pedaled along like we were not going anywhere. Whenever I can get an extra burst of speed, I gotta take it, so I….have not said this in a while….attacked from the back of the fast group and caught everyone by surprise. I guess they were surprised because no one was trying to go fast at all, but they all came along and tried to jump on my wheel. I was cooking along and they were more or less standing still, so my little attack made it pretty far until I turned a corner and saw a half mile hill ahead of us. Oops….who is the idiot? This guy. New guy on a group ride redlining to stay on the back of the fast group goes and attacks then blows up….good job….rookie.

The rest of the ride I tried to make up for my explosion of idiocy by making nice with the locals and shooting the breeze with others along for the ride and giving one of the women on the ride a literal push to the top of one of the neighborhood hills. The group kind of split apart somewhere in Nanticoke and I rode with the casual conversation peleton back to the shop.

I got to teach some bunny hopping skills to a few folks off the back that were afraid of bridge joints and small potholes. I hope their riding is improved by that little skill. Plus who does not love a bunny hop? Look at how happy they are.

The ride along the river dike at the bottom end of our loop was nice, but it can pull you into a lull of soft pedaling and deep conversation.

Along the route, you really get to see all sorts of industrial waste that has been left in the valley. I think cooling towers are so neat….mostly because they scare the crap outta me. We made it back to the shop to see some of the faster guys I was previously riding with already cleaned up, dressed in their civilian clothes, and munching on the goodies that he guys at the shop had laid out for the group.

It was a great ride, and I am glad I have something to look forward to on my next trip up North besides just hanging around with the family. I am mostly excited for seeing some new roads and meeting a few new riding buddies.

If you find yourself in Wilkes Barre, check out the shop and go on one of their rides. You will not find one as chill as this anywhere.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Riding around town”
  1. epicmoonflower says:

    I can’t tell if you’re not the world’s greatest bike mechanic because your bikes are always breaking, or if you’re a great bike mechanic because you’re always fixing your always broken bikes in new and inventive ways.

    hmm…it’s a toss up

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