Monument to Monument, the little big ride.

On Sunday May 4th we’ll be riding the historic Baltimore to Washington, DC Ramble, the Monument to Monument ride.

from M2M 2012

Lotta smiles from M2M 2012


M2M is a 97 mile round-trip single day ride from Baltimore to Washington on lightly trafficked roads. We keep it slow and steady, enjoying the company of fellow riders and the excitement of arriving in another city by bike.

  • Date/Time: Sunday, May 4th, 2014. Meet at 7:45AM. Leave PROMPTLY at 8:10AM
  • Start Location: Baltimore Washington Monument
  • Map/GPS: M2M2014map click Export in upper right corner
  • Cue Sheets: M2Mcue print a copy for yourself. I will bring some to the start
  • Cost:  None. Bring $ for lunch and snacks at local businesses
  • Assistance/Sag:  None. (except help from fellow riders)
  • Awards/Medals:  None. (well, bragging rights)
  • You ride this at your own risk


  1. Riding a dependable, familiar bike
  2. Flat resistant tires
  3. Using lights w/fully charged batteries
  4. Having ridden a 50+ mile ride in the last 6 mos.
  5. Riding at your own steady, even pace
  6. Concentrating on the road around you as you ride
  7. Helping out other riders in need
  8. Having your bike, clothing and supplies ready the night before
  9. Having a cue sheet and a cell phone
  10. Respecting drivers, pedestrians and road laws
  11. Assessing all intersections for yourself
  12. Pointing out hazards to other cyclists
  13. Keeping your break time (off the bike) as short as possible
  14. Having a way of getting home if a problem forces you to not finish

PLEASE Don’t worry about:
• The type of bike you ride • How you look • Riding fast • Finishing in a certain amount of time • Thinking you’ll get left behind • Blowing thru intersections to keep up • Pace lines


Ride your bike 50 miles. Then take the bike to your favorite bike shop and have them fix and adjust all the things that annoyed you during that ride. Check the weather the night before the ride and bring appropriate clothing. Be aware of the road around you as you ride. The main reasons why riders are unable to finish M2M are: crashes due to inattention, not having the fitness and experience for riding a century, and bike mechanical breakdowns. 


M2M is a little of everything. There will be fast and slow riders, skinny and fat tire bikes, racers and bike party people. Last year there were over 75 riders. We ride a steady average pace of about 13MPH. There are some hills, but none more strenuous than a long ride through Baltimore. The roads to DC are as safe as riding in Baltimore. Most of the route is surprisingly scenic and the DC trail system is very relaxing. We’ll stop 3 times: a break at the 25 mile point, a lunch at Union Station in DC and a break at the 75 mile point. I will bring cue sheets, but mostly you will be following ride leaders.

meanwhile, here’s an iconic picture of Bosun to inspire you:


Posted in Monument to Monument | 2 Comments

On Again/Off Again wrap

… or, “I forgot how damn hard this ride is”

biker gang on their way to York, PA

biker gang on their way to York, PA

Many years ago, when I designed the early version of On Again Off Again, the mapping software I used made a poor calculation of 5,000 feet of climbing. Easy, right? Except that half of the miles (those on the trail) have very few feet of climb AND the more accurate calculations are closer to 7,000 feet overall. Ugh is right.

I’m glad I forgot how damn hard this route is. It’s a great ride and definitely worth the struggle. Many of our starters finished the route as cued and many didn’t, but it seemed that everyone made it into a ride they could enjoy. There are so many crossover points that allow one to decide whether to put in 10 more miles of incredible climbing or 10 more miles of bouncy trail. Slower riders can leapfrog ahead of those faster. Halfway through the day, I couldn’t tell who was in front of me and who was behind.

The stunningly beautiful landscape, the thankfully comfortable weather and all the friendly camaraderie will be kept tightly in my memory. And, like I did last year, I’m hoping I’ll forget all about the pain.

Lots of pics from the day:
Great write-up from Dave at bikesNcoffee

Posted in On Again Off Again | Tagged | 2 Comments

On Again, Off Again to York, PA

Hoss and Hops, April 2012

Hoss and Hops, April 2012

Our next outing is another city to city journey. It is one of my favorite routes; ride short segments of the Rail Trail up to York, PA alternating with short stretches of surrounding roads. You get the peace and quiet of the trail for a few miles and we switch over to road. We roll up and down road in the Little Gunpowder valley for a few miles and switch over to trail.

Sounds great. And it is, but it’s tricky managing these two extremes. The trail is bumpy, so you’ll want a comfortable bike with wider tires. The road segments are hilly, so you’ll want a stiffer bike with narrow tires. Finding the right compromise is up to you. Generally, a road bike with 28-35mm tires and a wide range of gears works well. One nice thing about this ride is that you can easily stay on the trail if the road climbs are too strenuous. Bring a bike bell if you have one- it helps on the trail sections.

Route: On Again/Off Again. 98mi, 7300ft. of climbing
Date/Time: Sunday, April 13th. 7:50AM meet up, 8:00AM push off.
Start: Hunt Valley STARTMAP
Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): On/Off Route
Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring you one): On/Off Cue

Start getting in shape now. Monument to Monument is Sunday, May 4th 2012

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Playing with hills

This ride seemed to begin long before we started.

In the days before To Frederick, On Frederick the weather forecasts were all over the place. By the time they settled down we were to expect rain and rapidly dropping temps beginning promptly at 3PM. There are many riders who can easily cover a hilly century ride in less than seven hours, but not me. And for some reason those who could didn’t show up to ride the Ramble. Perhaps they were home in bed avoiding the bad weather. Anyway, I thought it best to move our start time up to 7AM and to consider a quick lunch instead of our traditional boozy ones.

I met Sam near his home in Woodberry. The pre-dawn sky was cloudy and slightly glowing. Sam looked a little cold and eager to get riding and soon we were off and climbing up Greenspring ave. towards Carroll Park about 6 miles away. The climb up Greenspring is a half mile at maybe 5%- enough to get your breathing up. As I climbed, I recalled the many similar climbs that come with riding To Frederick, On Frederick. I imagined spending a whole day just going up and down Greenspring avenue.

Sam and I were first to the start and then Mike, PJ and Jim a few minutes later. I took pictures of the group and climbed aboard the Soma Smoothie happy about a long day of riding. Baltimore’s early risers were peeking from their stoops as we rolled up Monroe towards Frederick ave. Down the road to great us was Tom, who was here to give us an escort out of town just like he had last month. (thanks and good to see you, Tom) After zooming down the long descent into Ellicott City, we began the equally long climb up and out of the valley. Soon enough the suburban developments faded and with farmland on both sides of us the group began picking up speed.

Sam and Mike on a big descent

Sam and Mike in rolling farmland

The hills are unrelenting on this ride. The big rolling landscape between these two cities never lets you relax. Crest the hill, then up-shift, tuck, transition and slowing, down-shift, down-shift, down-shift, stand, push, crest again. Do that… a lot. The Soma Smoothie felt great at handling all these changes. I found myself watching PJ, Sam, Mike and Jim and wondering about individual riding styles. PJ and Sam pulled ahead and intersected with another cyclist. It was Dave who’d left Baltimore before us. Dave’s been waging a war with calories recently and the climbing was taking a toll on him. I suspect he’s working harder than we are. Nearing Mt. Airy, Dave and I rolled under the left arch of Two Arch road and met up with the others at Starbucks. We sipped coffee and chatted about upcoming Rambles. Dave decided he’d turn around and head back from here. The rest of us suited up knowing the rain was coming. Soon enough, we were westbound sans Dave.

Dave and yours truly nearing Mt. Airy

Dave and yours truly nearing Mt. Airy

There’s a slight downhill on the way to Frederick, and nicer scenery. I was feeling strong and set a quick pace all the way to lunch. Usually I didn’t notice the speed, but occasionally I’d hear Mike’s breathing behind me and I knew I must be pushing. Very fun though. Sam thanked me saying that his feet had finally warmed up. On the way into town I spied the old Monocacy bridge running beside us, enticing me to explore its vintage crumbliness. I rode past.

We opted for a quick lunch at Beans and Bagels. (great food BTW) All (except one of us) were using smart phones to check the exact timing of the rain front coming our way. 3PM? 3:30? The latest info about the storm got us up and headed out to the bikes. Nicely, Dave had emailed PJ pictures of the Trolley bike trail covered in ice and snow. We would need a detour upon our return to Ellicott City. Frederick, MD does have a nice charm, but we barely saw it. From our lunch stop we rode one block up Market st. and then back out of town to the east.

Lunch in Frederick. Jim, PJ and Sam.

Lunch in Frederick. Jim, PJ and Sam.

As soon as we were out of town, Mike asked if I was thinking of exploring the old Monocacy bridge. I smiled. As we came near to the little dead end road down to the bridge, I asked Mike if he was coming. He smiled and said he’d see me in Mt. Airy. Jim pulled up behind me. I don’t think Jim knew what silliness I was getting him into. I didn’t either, but with total confidence I rolled down the road toward the barriers blocking access to the bridge. It was easy enough to go around them. And the chain link fence was mostly pushed over so we continued on to the bridge itself. There was graffiti, broken glass and empty beer cans. It seemed like a good place to get stoned with friends from high school. It was actually not a great way to see the bridge itself (I bet from the river below it looks cool). It was also not the best place for biking, what with all the glass. Jim and I weaved a safe path to the other side, climbed over the guard rail and were back on Frederick rd. A nice diversion from the cue. We weren’t arrested and we didn’t get stoned.

Vintage crumbliness of the old Monocacy bridge

Vintage crumbliness of the old Monocacy bridge

The two of us kept a steady strong pace all the way back to Mt. Airy where we re-grouped with Mike, Sam and PJ. Sam’s feet were warm again, this time from PJ’s pace. I had a quick ice cream and waited outside ready to get going again. Soon we were. Back through the arch on Twin Arch rd and east on Old Frederick rd. PJ slowly pulled ahead. Mike, not to be outdone stayed on his wheel. Sam, Jim and I took a quick, but more reasonable pace over the myriad hills back to Ellicott city. The rain had begun. It was gentle at this point. We took the trail detour up a steeply winding old road through the historic town of Oella.  Up Edmondson ave. and back to Frederick rd. as the rain was picking up I noticed grit in my drive train, and on my back, and face. Jim said goodbye as we passed near our starting point. Sam and I continued into trafficky Baltimore, stopping at traffic lights, getting wetter and dirtier, watching people prepare for the incoming storm. Near Park st. the Baltimore Arena let out with streams of pedestrians to dodge. Slowly, but surely we made our way back to our own neck of the city. Sam announced that we’d just passed 100 miles for the day. I thanked him for a fine day’s ride, turning right as he stayed straight. A nice long way to get home.

Thanks Sam, PJ, Mike and Jim.

Dave’s ride report over at BikesN’Coffee
More pics of the day: 2Fred.OnFred

Posted in To Frederick, On Frederick | Tagged | 8 Comments

START TIME CHANGE for tomorrow’s Frederick ride is 7AM

The latest forecasts have the rain and dropping temps reaching us earlier in the afternoon.


I will be at Carroll Park a little before 7AM and we can leave a little after. Sorry for the late changes, but I think this will make us safer and more comfortable. The early part of the day should be good riding weather. Hope to see you tomorrow. Best.  -Bob

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Ride 46 miles west. Turn around & back to the start. March 2nd.

To Frederick, On Frederick is a classic winter ride for the Ramble. Nice and simple is good when you’re distracted by cold temps and poor road conditions. I’m hoping our weather will be better than what last year’s riders faced:

A snowy start to the 2013 2Fred/OnFred

A snowy start to the 2013 2Fred/OnFred

From Carroll Park we simply ride west on Frederick rd. We take a quick break in Mt. Airy and on to Frederick, MD. In the past I’ve stopped at a nice sandwich shop on Patrick st just inside the city. Last year the group went to a brew pub. I guess we’ll have to see where we wind up this time.

The return to Baltimore is nearly the same in reverse. Big rolling hills through historic Howard county farmland. There’s a lot of climbing on this ride- nothing too sharp or long, but enough to keep you warm throughout the whole route. As usual, the group takes it nice and steady, keeping the pace at 13-15mph. There’s 11hrs of daylight now, so I’m switching back to an 8AM start. Ask questions if you got em.

Date/Time: Sunday, March 2nd. 7:50AM meet up, 8:00AM push off.
Start: MAP
Route Map and GPS files: RWGPSFrederick
Cue Sheet: To Fred Cue

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Deep into Harford County

How nice was that, being able to sneak in a long ride in the middle of a tough weather. Very cool.

PJ, Daniel and I had a reset for the ride northeast to Pylesville on Sunday. Not perfect weather. Gray skies and wet roads with temps about what they were when we started last month. Thankfully, no rain. And the temps slowly rose as the day went on. We even got a little peek of the sun towards the end of the day.

the start at Lake Montebello

the start at Lake Montebello

I was excited to take my new Soma Smoothie for it’s first century. On my ride over to the start at Lake Montebello, I met another local rider, Tom, who was familiar with my rides, but who wasn’t planning on riding with us. Tom and I chatted as the Ramble crew rolled in. Jon and Bill had ridden up from south of Baltimore, Mike H. and Tom F. drove in from outside of town and PJ, Jack and Brian rode from their homes. Tom decided to ride with us a few miles and became an escort as the group rolled up Harford and then Old Harford roads. I had a twinge as I passed the section of Satyr Hill where I’d fallen last month.

There were spots of ice along the road edges as we moved through Loch Raven, making it important to keep speeds low. Daniel joined us on this stretch and Brian and Tom peeled off for shorter rides. As we churned our way up Morgan Mill, Jack voiced his interest in qualifying for an entry to Paris Brest Paris 2015. Be great to read his blog posts about that. We kept a pretty steady 15-16mph pace down Manor and Long Green roads. After the bridge on Bottom road we slowed for the unpaved section. It is so beautiful back here that I wouldn’t want to ride fast if I could. West of Bel Air we stopped briefly for a snack. PJ texted Ken F. and Dave Hops and told them where we were. Hops was ahead of the group and Ken had left late and was about 20 minutes behind. We caught up with both of them at the lunch stop.

Rugged farm country

Rugged farm country

Once past Bel Air, we were deep in rural Harford county, not to see commercial development for another 50 miles. Beautiful wandering stretches of old roads like Walter Mill and Macton brought us within a couple miles of the Susquehanna (east of us) and the PA line to the north. As the group rolled into the parking lot of Amorosos restaurant, we noticed Dave’s new bike locked out front. He was digesting lunch inside.

We ordered and compared route experiences with Dave. The restaurant TV played a show about alligator hunting. Ken F showed up and we nearly filled the front room. Great catching up while enjoying the hot meal. Daniel and Jack had schedules to keep and left sooner than the rest of us. We watched their wet tire markings on the second half of the ride. By now, the temperatures had risen enough that ice was less of a concern, making the riding a little more relaxing and a little quicker too. We’d trade places in front and back as our moods and energy levels dictated. PJ must’ve had a good lunch since he took the lead, not to be seen again until Hunt Valley. Some beautiful scenic sections along Jerrys and Harford Creamery roads with rugged rolling farmland slathered with snow. There was still some tough climbing, but the pitch was beginning to be more downhill. A big flying descent on Carroll road and through the tidy historic town of Phoenix eventually brought us to our third rest stop in Hunt Valley.

Rolling, after lunch

Rolling, after lunch

This is where the “On Again, Off Again” ride begins and I mentioned wanting to schedule that as soon as the trail is clear. I ate an ice cream. The weather was improving. Bill and Jon hopped back on their bikes to finish the trip all the way back to Ellicott City. Mike, PJ, Tom and I finished up the remaining miles without any problems through the city and back to the Lake. The sun was shining. It was time for a beer.

Thanks for the ride, Soma Smoothie.

Thanks for the ride, Soma Smoothie.

Thanks all for a great day on the bikes.
More of my photos here:

Ride Report on Bikes n Coffee:

PJ’s pics from the day:

Posted in Pylesville Winter Warmer | Tagged | 3 Comments