Sometimes you just have a perfect day even if it doesn’t start out that way. It was cloudy, cool (65 degrees) and although rain wasn’t predicted, it looked like it could rain at any time. Against our better judgment we made the drive down to Madison for the Grand Touring Ride.  We ended up having a great day riding on Saturday Aug 22 in Madison,  IN.

The 45 mile route started from Clifty Fall State Park, went North and East of Madison into the burgs of Canaan, China, Pleasantville and various other little towns. It was a CIBA Grand Touring Ride led by Kerry Knipp.  There were a total of 7 people – 5 single bikes and our tandem. I was the sole female rider. We rode with George and his son Brendan, Tick, Mark, and Kerry (the ride leader). We drove down that morning. Everyone else had camped out at the park the night before.

Fixing flat tiresFlat tires At the Madison Grand Touring Ride in June, we assisted Mark with his flat tire. On this occasion, we were 2 miles from the park when Mark announced he got a flat tire. Mark is prepared – he even carries latex gloves to keep his hands from getting grease on them! His flat tire was fixed and we set off again, commenting that Madison must be a bad place for him to ride a bike. Another 2 miles down the road and Brendan got a flat tire. His dad George assisted while we looked on. 

All were hoping this was not a bad omen – flats had affected 2 out of 6 bikes so  far.  Brendan got his flat in almost the exact location where Mark got his flat last June. While George was fixing Brendan’s flat, we were talking about how, back in June, people had been so helpful and someone driving by even went to their house to get a floor pump. Just as we were talking about that, a woman in bike clothes came up to us from a nearby parking lot.  She was with a group of bicyclists from Floyds Knob riding in the area. They had a floor pump that we could use if we wanted to. Pretty amazing.

We finally got back riding and eventually arrived at the country store for lunch. Over lunch we exchanged stories of our bicycling adventures and some told of their hiking adventures in Denali, Peru (South America) and the Appalachian Trail.
Roads never closed to bicyclists
We ran into a little road construction, but roads are never truly closed to resourceful bicyclists! (we walked our bikes through the dirt to the other side of the construction) The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. There were long gradual climbs (5-8% for 1-2 miles) and long gradual descents and rolling terrain on the ridges. We had some awesome long views on the ridges. We ended the ride along the Ohio River before we had the hardest climb of the day –  the south entrance to Clifty Fall State Park (mostly 10% grade, spiked at 12%).

RibberFest at MadisonAfter the ride, my husband Randy and I went to the Ribberfest. Blues music, BBQ, Balloons. We ate pulled pork dinners while watching boats on the Ohio River and listening to blues music. After we finished eating, we went to watch the musical artists. Then aross the river,  the hot air balloons began to lift off for the balloon race. As we left Madison, we saw an awesome sunset on the way home – a beautiful end to an awesome day.

What’s your bicycle adventure story?

Connie Szabo Schmucker
Advocacy Director
Bicycle Garage Indy / BGI Fitness
Indianapolis & Greenwood, IN
cschmucker@bgindy.com