Bicycle Touring in Pennsylvania : Monday May 26


Heading west on U.S. Route 30 about 10-15 miles east of Bedford, Pennsylvania, which lies on the other side of thhat mountain range you see in the background. Doesn't look big in this photo, but... It is in those mountains that I crashed.Average Speed: 7.0 mph
Max Speed: 35.9 mph
Total Riding Time: 1:51:10
Trip Mileage: 13.01
Total Mileage to Date: 319
Wake Up Time: 6:15am
Leave Time: Sometime around 10:00am
Wrote 7:30am...
Still at the motel here in Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania. Sure glad I stopped here both to rest and to dry/reorganize my things. The most important items: cycling shoes, socks and tent are dry.
It's still overcast and drizzling, but that should give way to sun by mid-morning, which is when I should hit the road.
This motel wasn't busy when I first checked in, but that sure changed. It seemed to always be buzzing with activity. Another thing is that everyone around here speaks with a southern accent. It's crazy the way things change and ways of life change so rapidly once one leaves the city.
I'm ready to leave this little room ASAP. I've been inside without leaving it since I checked in yesterday. Last night I had a can of tuna with four slices of bread-tuna sandwiches. Will look for breakfast and food supplies when I leave.
Wrote 1:47pm...
Have just gotten to a point on US Route 30 west (past Route 15) where I have biked, but mostly walked and pushed my loaded bike up a 3 1/2 mile 9 percent grade. Ride, stop, walk, stop, ride... I believe I have reached the top because for drivers going east there is a huge sign informing them of the 3 1/2 mile 9 percent downhill grade that I just walked up. Well, hopefully I'll just coast down the other end. My destination is a hostel off Route 30 by Route 96.
Wrote 2:16pm...
Remember I told you there should be a nice downhill run? Well, there was and I crashed. I'm alright, but the bicycle's front wheel looks like a potato chip. The wheel appears to be beyond repair. Let me see what I can do. I still have a long descent and now I can't even roll the bike down or carry it because it is too heavy.
Wrote 5:21pm...
Just as I sat on the side of the winding road an older couple in a white minivan on their way to Chicago stopped. I believe their names were Paul and Sue. In the midst of all the excitement/confusion I didn't get their address. They helped me put everything inside and on top of their minivan. They were lifesavers. They drove me to Bedford, Pennsylvania, which was the small town at the bottom of the mountain in hopes of finding a bike shop-none. We then continued by way of the Pennsylvania Tunrpike to Somerset, which is a larger town and they dropped me off at a Motel 8 where I have checked in for the night. Tomorrow I will go visit a local bike shop. Today is Memorial Day so everything is closed.
The crash was wild. Besides my stupidity in allowing the speed to go to almost 40 miles per hour going down such a steep and winding mountainside, the uneven weight distribution in the front and rear panniers caused the bicycle to become very unstable. Earlier in the motel in Saint Thomas I was in such a rush to pack and set off that I wasn't paying careful attention to balancing out the load.
As I went down the mountain a left was approaching, but as I tried to steer left the bike kept going or pulling straight. The turn said 9 o'clock, but my bike insisted on only 11! I went right up against the rocks and flipped. That's when the front wheel gave. In other words I skid or slid against the rocks and dirt mounds on my right and then flipped when the front wheel hit one of the rocks.
<<< Add crash graphic here >>>>
Wrote 8:24pm...
It appears as if I will be in Somerset, Pennsylvania for at least another day. The bicycle shop and other businesses here were all closed for the holiday. Besides trying the local bike shop tomorrow, I will also call Adventure Cycling to see if they can Fed-Ex a built wheel to my motel room. The rear wheel also needs to be trued a bit as well.
The driver of the minivan who picked me up, Paul, who appeared to be in his late 50s is an avid bicyclist. During our little journey his wife told me that's why they stopped to picked me up. They knew how if felt to ride and be stranded. Besides they were heading west anyway. They had originally passed me as I was trying to fix my wheel on the side of the road and made a u-turn to go back and get me. Strange fact: Paul told me he had also biked cross country when he was younger!
There was an embarrassing episode when Paul and Sue stopped at a gas station to let me get out to find info on a bike shop. They recommended that I go and get a phone book. I had never mentioned to them my low vision disability so they couldn't figure out why I couldn't read the phone numbers in the book. I just pretended to act stupid so that they would look it up for me. I had a small magnifying glass, but didn't want them to see me using it. Very embarrassing.
It truly is amazing. By that I mean that I am not upset about what has happened. I didn't want it to happen, but I have to deal with it. Another thing is that it seems as if there is always a way of getting out of situations.
I took a shower a while back and when I undressed it turns out that I have road rash on my right upper back and some bruises on my butt. Thankfully, it doesn't really hurt. It's also a good thing I was wearing my helmet because my head definitely made contact. I was even taking rocks and dirt from my hair and the air vents in the helmet. Also it's a good thing I didn't crash out in the road and that no cars where present. Noticing my right hand hurts a little when I make a fist.
Don't know what makes me continue. Even with this little diversion I still want to continue. I do think about just calling it quits, but when I do it seems that it would take more effort than to continue.
The miles that Paul and Sue drove to bring me to Somerset, Pennsylvania would have taken me two days to ride by bicycle. While we were driving on US Route 30 west I saw the huge hills I would have had to cycle through. Hmm, maybe the crash was worth it. Just kidding!


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