Weekends in the country are a chance to recharge my soul. It’s a peaceful less hurried existence upstate- (mostly) unplugged, the birds and the sun are my alarm clock and the sunset is my evening “TV”. My friends Anne and Lenny joined me this weekend for a chance to recharge their batteries and just enjoy life at a different pace.
Discussing what to do on Sunday, Anne mentioned she might like to go for a bike ride. Not one to miss an opportunity to encourage my ‘non-bike’ friends to choose bikes, I jumped at the notion of getting her on a bike again and told her that we’d rent her a bike and ride the back roads. No backpedaling allowed.
Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, but eventually Anne & Lenny made it down the mountain to Millerton. We deposited Lenny at Irving Farm coffee house so he could get some work done and ambled over to the Rail Trail Supply Co to rent a bike for Anne.
I always love stopping by the Rail Trail Supply Co- Torey and Ronnie are just lovely. We all helped Anne select a bike. Ronnie adjusted the seat height a little lower for Anne in case she got nervous and felt the need to put her feet down. Torey asked Anne if she wanted a helmet. I told Anne she didn’t need one (she knows my stance, and I am educating her well on these matters). I was elated that Anne chose to go helmet free.
I secured Anne’s bag to my back rack and we were ready to roll. But not before I left a little message for other riders on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.
Riding the Rail Trail would have been the safest and easiest option for a ride, but I wanted Anne to really experience the full beauty of the Harlem Valley. I told her we were going to ride County Road 62 for as long as she was willing. My initial intention was to ride to friends who live near the start of the second leg of the Rail Trail (about 8 miles north of Millerton one way) but respected that between the heat (we were dealing with full sun on a hot afternoon) and the fact that Anne’s just getting ‘back in the saddle’ – that my aspirations might be a little grander than hers.
We pedaled up Main Street (yes, it really is the Main Street in Millerton) and over towards Route 62. Anne even tackled her first ‘hill’.
As we pedaled out of Millerton, the landscape starts to open up and well, it’s just gorgeous. I’ve pedaled this road many times. It was great to finally have company.
County Road 62 sees almost no car traffic, the speed limit is 40mph (in comparison to Rt 22 which has a speed limit of 55mph and runs parallel to Rt 62), has gently rolling hills that aren’t too onerous and of course…the scenery. A perfect fit for Anne’s first ride in the country.
There are always pleasant surprises along the way. This is a farming community, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to encounter some kind of livestock.
Even some delights are new to me…such as this artwork banner on the side of a barn.
It was getting late in the day for Anne (they were planning to head back to the city) and her stamina was starting to flag, so we agreed to turn back. I just had one last vista I wanted to share with her.
On the way back, we ran into a little ‘traffic’.
We took a detour on Merwin Road so I could share a few more of my favorite valley views with Anne.
We had planned to stop at a farm stand, but due to the long winter we had this year- it’s still early in the growing season it was closed.
As we got closer to Millerton, Anne mentioned how she was thinking of getting a bike for the city. Be still my heart! Getting one step closer to conversion. I told her when she’s ready that I’ll help her pick one out.
As we discussed ‘bike culture’ upstate versus the city, I indulged Anne by demonstrating my favorite VTL law to break – riding hands free.
As we reminisced about our childhood (Anne and I go back a long way) – we talked about how riding hands free was practically a requirement back then. If you couldn’t do it- you lost a notch in the cool factor. Anne decided to test the waters…
…I’m happy to report I have some rebel company now.
Patiently and gently coaxing Anne along to that full conversion. Congrats Anne on getting this far. It’s lovely to have you along for the ride.