Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sunday, July 9th

I got to Nichols school at 6:30 AM. Since I live in Buffalo, I did not camp out in the field, but instead went home for the night. I put my two small duffels on the luggage truck and had breakfast.

As a SAG, I had to attach a "fish" windsock to my bike, so I would be easily identifiable as such. I left shortly before the "official" start, because I was unsure how to ride in a group and felt it might be easier if leaving with a smaller group than the mass. After only about one mile, I experienced my first duty as a SAG. A rider had a tire blowout and this had caused him to lose control of the bike. His rim was badly bent and I had to call a vehicle SAG to pick him up. He would be driven to the first rest stop, where a professional bike repairman fixed him up and sent him on his way.

The route follows the Riverwalk, which I have experienced many times, then winds its way along Tonawanda Creek, which is integrated with the Erie Canal. We went to Lockport, where there is a big downhill, followed by a right turn at the bottom. Good brakes are a necessity. Here I met a gentleman riding a single speed bike. These bikes are all the rage in Buffalo, and apparently around the country. They have no freewheel, and thus can't coast. Asked about how he copes with the downhills, he replied he "pedals like a madman". Many of these bikes have no brakes, though his did. One slows by resisting the forward movement of the pedals.

There were tickets available to ride a boat in the canal at Lockport, but since I live here, I have done that before. The journey to Medina was moderate and without mishap. At Medina schools there was a pool and showers. I think I arrived about 12:30. My average speed was probably 12 mph. I set my tent up in what would be shade and talked with those camped around me. Most evenings there are one or more speakers, who talk about the history of the canal in the area through which we will be traveling.

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