July 9, 2012

PALM Part 3: Paw Paw to Battle Creek

Note from Joe: This is part of a series of posts about the Pedal Across Lower Michigan tour. If you want to start at the beginning, you can find it here.

I said I'd start later, go slow, and take many stops today and I did just that. The day started with a (real) coffee at "That Coffee Place" just before 9am. I bumped into a few PALM goers and one of them, riding alone, said they had to stop at the Verizon store before leaving. I suggested we ride together and off we went. Good thing I was with them because their pedal fell off after a few blocks. This would normally be a very odd thing to have happen, but when you ship your bike with the shuttle service PALM offers, you have to take your pedals off so they can stack a bunch of bikes together in one truck. When they got to camp the person who re-attached the pedals must have cross threaded one of them and it finally worked its way out. I discovered that my multi-tool has a pedal wrench and a few moments later we were off again.


I found a palm!

The hills
Today's ride was a little over 50 miles and there were hills. The super man induced feeling from yesterday's perfect cycling conditions gave way to mere mortal cycling. Good thing I picked today to go slower. A steady and persistent head wind helped make sure we were nice and cool. And tired.

The Places
I discovered that my Lance Armstrong impersonation yesterday caused me to miss quite a lot. Today I stopped at all the SAG (aid) stations, where, along with getting some water, people meet up and chat. Yes, there are people on this tour. I missed them yesterday. I met a fellow who is a professional rider for Kellogg's and gets five cents a mile for wearing his frosted flakes jersey. Another person has a whole pannier dedicated to collecting empty cans he finds on the side of the road. I also met an awesome blind guy who rides back seat on a tandem recumbent. And I met a few people over the age of 90. Amazing. When you stop to look around there are amazing stories everywhere.

Proof that I was there

Many of the SAGs were in a parking lot, like this one.

Some of the stations even had one of these handy portable bike shops.

The markings on the road for PALM would make a cool T-shirt design, I think.

Hey, we found some art!

Lunch was at a real nice park (called Robert Morris) that had a lake (something I would have totally blown by yesterday). Over time our group of two became three and we kept meeting familiar faces at each of the SAG stops.
We finally rolled into camp around 6pm. An entire day's worth of riding. Now that's vacation!

Tomorrow is another 50 miles to Leslie. I think I'll go slow and stop at many of the SAGs again. This time I think I'll just start a bit earlier.

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