Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Of Trains and Bicycles

Although I may not ride 5000 miles and more a year as I once did, bicycles are still in my blood and in the title of these notes.  I live walking distance from work, but whenever the weather is decent -- and sometimes even when it isn't -- I ride my Rivendell Atlantis to work in the morning and then take a longer 15-20 mile ride around Bucharest in the evening.  Over the course of my months here I have worked out three intersecting loops that give me some variety, not the sameness of my daily Laurel to Silver Spring, MD, commute of so many years.

Last weekend, however, I finally broke out of Bucharest on a group ride.  On Saturday morning I rode over to Gara de Nord, the main train station, and met up with several other riders.  To my delight, I found that most trains in Romania have special bicycle cars.  (Take that, Amtrak!)  It was just over an hour's ride from Bucharest to the country town of Floriesti and a day of riding.  My only miscalculation was in not reading the fine print that this ride would be mainly on muddy tracks through forests and fields.  My touring bike with its fenders got fouled with mud again and again, but that was nothing if not a good excuse to do a cleanup and maintenance the next day.  The ride was followed by a barbecue and a quick road ride back to the train station for the return to Bucharest.

Now, will I have the discipline to get myself out of Bucharest on more rides like this one?

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