The bike rides of the past few days have shown that we need to make a few more adjustments to my bike. This to improve my posture and with that the effect that I can get out of every pedal stroke.
I also noticed in the past that I had started squeezing my shoulder blades together while riding my bike. This posture not only caused back pain but headaches; Solo suggests for me to try if I can ride with a longer stem. The stem is the part of the bike that connects the handlebar to the frame. We are not going for a permanent solution yet. The idea is for me to borrow a longer stem from one of his bikes and give it a try. If this improves my posture on the bike without leading to other problems, we will make a permanent change in a few days. However, I need to test this before we go on our ride on the Music City Bikeway tomorrow. If it does not work, we can revert the change before leaving for Nashville, instead of being stuck with a bike that is not perfect for me. So while Solo takes care of some farm work, I am going on the loop road toward Difficult and back home for a test ride. This loop is the same I have been on yesterday as part of the figure 8 ride, and so I really should not get lost this time. After not making my way home as planned two times in a row, I can see that Solo is worried that I end up somewhere else again. This time, however, I make it all by myself 🙂
Music City Bikeway
We got up early, and instead of enjoying a slow awakening with newspapers and tea we are getting ready for our ride on the Music City Bikeway right away. After breakfast, we have to drive all the way to Nashville, where our ride begins at J. Percy Priest Dam. The Music City Bikeway–Nashville is the capital of country music–connects J. Percy Priest Dam with Percy Warner Park through a network of 41.6 km of bike paths. Not all the roads of this network are designated bike parts, in some areas of Downtown Nashville one has to share the road with the cars. We “only” want to cycle from J Percy Priest Dam to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in Downtown Nashville. Both Solo and I would prefer it if we could ride our bikes to Nashville instead of taking the 1.5-hour long drive in his car. There is, however, no safe road to cycle on for the entire route.
From J. Percy Priest Dam we are following the Stones River toward Downtown Nashville. At the first sign for the bikeway Solo points it out for me, so that I should be able to make my way, even if we lose sight of each other. Neither of us wants me to get lost a third time, not to mention this time even my GPS might not be able to help me out. Due to the leaves covering parts of our path it is sometimes hard to see what is the path and what is not. So hard indeed that I almost missed going around a curve. If I had not had Solo in front of me, I might as good have gone straight and crashed into a tree…The bikeway leads through a wooded area, and if I did not know better, I would not believe that this is Nashville and not somewhere in the countryside. This bike path has enough room to pass pedestrians, the area is beautiful, and there is no surprising end to it. Cyclists little heaven. I wished there would be such a bike path back in Norway…
There are some hills included in this bike ride, but they are worth the effort. Of course every hill I am climbing I am rewarded for with a downhill. I am going rather slow to appreciate the landscape. It is such a beautiful place, and after all, I am on a bike ride and not a race. I do not want this to be over with, but I also don’t want to wear myself completely out now. So I am pacing myself.
Since I have arrived in Nashville, we have not had a day that has not beaten–or was at least close–temperature records. Today is no difference. It is the perfect day for a bike ride, hot for the season but not too warm for us right now. It would be so nice to live closer to this place so that I could do this ride more often…
Upon arrival on John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, we are wondering if there is any Downtown café or pub nearby. One with outside seating where we can have lunch and watch our bikes. However, we both don’t know. Solo asks me if we should ride down there and see if we can find something. However, I am afraid that we will not find anything and will have to return disappointed and even hungrier.
Instead, we go back to J Percy Priest Dam on the same bike paths. Riding down from the bridge has its challenges. Once more I am clicked in my pedals when the chain rides on top of the cranks. This is a nerve-wracking moment for me. I am never 100% sure that I can get out of the clicks fast enough to not fall over. Moreover, I cannot adjust the position of my pedals as that might cause even more mess-up with the chain. So it is all about being on the brakes but not too hard, so I do not stop up completely before I am ready to dismount. I am hoping that I will not crash with some pedestrian now. Finally, I am dismounted and can fix the chain’s position before I jump back on my bike. Solo explains that we need to do some more rides before we change any more settings on the derailleurs. The new cables will stretch over time, and this might be enough to fix the problem. Anyway, we are back on our bikes making our way back to the car. Every once in a while I ask Solo to stop so I can take a photo of the beautiful landscape. On one of these occasions, I kneel down to get a better viewpoint.
Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper
When I come back up and am ready to jump back on my bike Solo asks me if I just kneeled down in some Poison Ivy. Once again I completely forgot about Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper. Plants you do not want to kneel in or touch as they cause pretty heavy allergic reactions. Did I take a break in Poison Ivy? Damn. Solo taught me to look out for the five-pointed leaves of Virginia Creeper. He taught me to be aware of the hairy vines of Poison Ivy. However, once I am in photo mode, I shut up that part of my brain completely. So I may have rested my legs in Poison Ivy…Argh. However, if not all the sun cream and DEET has washed off, it might be protecting me from the effects of the Poison Ivy. I sure hope that it does. Still…
After returning to the car, I figured to use some of the remaining water from our bottles to wash up my legs. Maybe this will clean off whatever Poison Ivy might still be on them? I do not need to figure out how my reaction to these plants is now.
On our way back home the question arises where to have lunch. Except for a granola bar, we have not had anything since breakfast this morning, and we are both getting a little hungry. There are of course Fast Food chains along the way, but Solo decides to spoil me with a lunch at the Timberloft in Gordonsville, where I am having a Nashville Hot Chicken. El yummy. I could not wish for anything else…well except maybe for getting cleaned up and out of my sweaty clothes. We are not far from home now, so a warm shower is in sight and after that, we will relax for the evening before new adventures are waiting for us tomorrow.