A Worldwide Cycling Snapshot

Note: This photo was not submitted by a reader

On this weekend, December 3rd and 4th, the Earth hurled through space at a speed estimated at over 400,000 mph while rotating on its axis at a speed of 1,042 mph (again estimated).  On Earth’s surface, approximately 6.978 billion people went about their daily business.

Some of them were riding bicycles.

This is their story.

Some people rode alone.  In France, Gerry enjoyed a solo pedal on his Bianchi out of the Gordon Gorge, which is situated on the north side of a little mountain range behind Nîmes, near his home.  The grade was “only” 5-6%, which is precisely how someone who regularly climbs Mount Ventoux and has logged 10,000 kms this year would describe it.  Since the RVs have departed with the summer weather, the road is reportedly quite enjoyable.  It takes a certain kind of person to scale hills on roads like this and describe it as enjoyable, and Gerry is that kind of guy.

Others rode in groups, like Brian and Team MK, who held their weekly club ride near Milton Keynes, about 50 miles Northwest of London.  You can see many of the club riders wearing the team kit of blue, white, and orange.  Brian climbed Ventoux on holiday this summer and laments the lack of an Alpine range in England.  This sort of attitude probably explains why he regularly drops riders 30 years his junior.

Others rode with family, as Clive did with his son near Birmingham, England.  Although he owns a road bike, Clive can most often be found zipping to/from work and elsewhere on his mountain bike.  His son is quickly following in his footsteps, or should I say pedal strokes?  Apart from getting his son hooked on cycling, Clive has made great strides losing weight while pedaling about the West Midlands.  We (and by “we” I mean “I”) could do well to follow his example.

Keeping with the family theme, Lloyd set out to circle the inexplicably named California-in-England in Berkshire.  Originally part of the Royal Estate of Windsor Castle, the property has been subdivided and sold several times.  No one seems to know what the connection is to a western U.S. state.  Lloyd taught his son how to cycle on this route and has a pedal with him here on most weekends.

Others explored the elements, like Tom, who lives near the border of Scotland and England.  Tom took time from his excellent bird photography to enjoy a quick pedal to Wauchope after a sleet storm to take in the scenery.  I highly encourage you to visit his blog for some excellent photography of this part of the world.

Not everyone was recreating and not everyone was experiencing winter.  Valentine used his bike to ride into town to buy a chicken.  Since he lives in the Southern Hemisphere (Brazil, specifically), he ran his errand on one of the longest days of summer.  Valentine did not mention how he secures his chickens to his bike, so that shall remain left to our imaginations.

In North America, things were chillier than in Brazil.  Chris made a regular trek to Gathland State Park in western Maryland to enjoy one of his favorite views.  The park is named after a Civil War correspondent who owned this land and wrote under the pseudonym, “Gath.”  His name was George Alfred Townsend (care to guess how he picked his nom-de-guerre?) and he erected the monument in the picture’s background to war correspondents.  Chris will soon make this journey on new wheels for his 1999 Marin San Rafael hybrid bike.  The wheels are due to arrive on Monday.

In New Jersey, it was very chilly (25 degrees, in fact) as Iron Rider headed out with the Pennsylvania Randonneurs on a 200 km brevet up the Delaware River.  The group started just after sunrise and pulled into their final stop with their lights on as the sun was setting.  This was hardly a novel event as Mr. Rider has already earned the coveted R12 Award, meaning he has ridden a 200 km event every month for 12 consecutive months.  He is also a Super Randonneur, with rides of 200k, 300k, 40ok, and 600k in one season.  Yikes.

Back in Maryland but closer to DC, Justin travelled the Anacostia River’s Northwest and Northeast branches up to College Park (so named after the University of Maryland, which is located there).  DC has many miles of pathways and this pic is a fine example of this type of riding.

In DC itself, John took the group project to another level by documenting his entire journey throughout DC.  John is a recent transplant from New England and seems to have taken nicely to the urban cycling environment in his new city.  For several excellent photos of his day, I commend to you his blog.

In Northern Virginia, another person named John was using his bike for yet another purpose – an investigation.  He has been searching for a gold Cadillac which seriously injured some cyclists in October.  He has cycled over 50 miles through the neighborhoods of his home in Mount Vernon without finding the car.  He continues his search and I wish him well.  In the meanwhile, he stopped and posed his bike for a pic in front of this interesting home.

30 miles south of John, Yours Truly was circumnavigating Prince William Forest.  I left at midmorning and the 45 degree temperature made it the coldest ride of the winter for me so far.  I checked in on the US Marine Corps Museum and took a picture.  I finished my ride at 2,923 miles – still short of my 3,000 mile goal for the year.

In central Ohio, Roger found time to squeeze in a quick ride.  His work currently has him in Jacksonville, Florida, and he had flown home on Friday to be with his family.  Sunday night, he was back at the airport to continue his work in Florida.  In the meanwhile, he hopped on his Raleigh and pedaled with friends through some covered bridges with temps in the low 50s.

While the riders in the Mid-Atlantic tended to ride on asphalt, the cyclists of Illinois seemed to prefer dirt.  David certainly did and he took his Gary Fisher Big Sur on a trail near Lake Michigan on a rainy day in the Northeastern corner of his state.  This ride put him over 6,400 miles this year.

Illinoisans were not only riding on dirt, but they were tinkering as well.  Matt had traveled from his home in southern Illinois to Land Between The Lakes, Kentucky, and was bringing his new Gopro camera.  Here we see him before his group ride, making sure he knows how his camera works.  If you’re the sort that is curious about how to make your own modifications to your bike, check out Matt’s blog.

It was raining at Ron’s house as well.  He decided discretion was the better part of valor and opted against cycling in the elements.  His bike remains in his garage, ready for the next adventure.  If Ron’s blog reports are any indication, I do not believe it will have to wait very long.

The rain in America’s Midwest fell in Canada the previous day in the form of snow.  Keith enjoyed a snow-covered trail ride on the way to the Strathcona Farmer’s Market in Edmonton.  That’s right, Keith rides his Iron Horse Commuter bike through the snow to the market.  It takes a special kind of attitude to cycle through a Canadian winter and Keith has more than enough of it!  If Matt’s blog doesn’t satisfy your craving for DIY cycling modifications, then Keith’s certainly will.

Still in Canada, but much further East, James took some time off work (please do not tell his boss) for a quick 30-minute pedal.  His single speed Konia is pictured in front of Lac St. Louis (that’s LAKE SAINT LOUIS for those who don’t speak French) near Montreal.  The Union Flag on the seat post belies his status as a British expatriate.

So there it is – my attempt at capturing cycling around the world on a single weekend.  To everyone who submitted a picture, thank you very much!  Obviously, there were a few areas on the planet that were not properly covered but it is evident from the submissions that cycling around the world can be quite varied yet quite similar regardless of the weather, surface, or type of bike.  I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together and hope you enjoyed perusing it as well.  We may do this again next summer.  Until that time, I suggest we all follow the below example of James and continue to get on our our bikes and pedal!

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19 thoughts on “A Worldwide Cycling Snapshot

  1. Great job Steve! Some really nice pictures here.
    A quick update–my new wheels did come this evening. Which is a good thing, since I broke *another* spoke on my ride yesterday…fortunately it was on the last climb before home.
    Thanks! Nice job!

  2. Excellent post Steve and brilliant to meet some of your other readers….all of us with one thing in common at least, and that’s the ‘love of the ride’! Good to see folk getting out whatever the weather and just having a good time on their bikes!

  3. This was a delightful read. I enjoyed seeing what was going on with fellow bloggers/readers. You did excellent work on the ‘bios’, also. I look forward to the next one. -Ron

  4. Great post! Liked seeing what all the weekend riders were up to. Sorry I did not have one of my own to submit, but it was a sans bike weekend :(. I’ll have to suffice with living vicariously.

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  6. Thanks for all the positive feedback! This one truly “wrote itself.” More specifically, the contributors wrote it. I just grabbed the pics and put them in some sort of logical order. I really enjoyed doing it and I do think it is a fascinating tapestry.

  7. Aw man, my email must not have gotten through to you! I sent a picture and a story!. Still I’m glad to see my friend Val contributed. Great idea. Hope to make it in next time.

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