“If you missed it, you missed out” -Dave Hopkins

NOTE: next ramble is Sunday, Dec. 6th. the Point to Point ride. 82 miles along the waterfront from Baltimore to Middle River. Details to come.

Certain Ramble routes just seem to have it all. Every time I ride it, the Pancake Interception is full of adventure, mystery, struggle, beauty, accomplishment, and of course, pancakes. Like reading a favorite book again, you know what happens next, but it’s still so nice to read on.

We had clear, crisp weather for this great Autumn ride. Sam, PJ and myself started from Mt. Washington. Jon, Tom and Moji met us in Sykesville. Dave and Andrew had begun an hour earlier. The long roll on Marriottsville rd early in the morning really sets the mood for this ride. On the steep grind up Henryton rd, I hear squirrels and birds hopping in the dry leaves, and off in the distance, the sound of the Patapsco river rushing. After a quick stop in Sykesville we head off in search of Sam’s Creek rd: a road so pleasant, I’d enjoy riding it in the worst of weather. I follow Moji’s lead through the twists and turns, crunching leaves and bouncing a bit on the unpaved surface. Too much fun. Quickly, we arrive in Union Bridge. Dave, Andrew and a pile of food waiting for us. The Firehouse’s breakfast is always a treat. Also very fun meeting the other groups of cyclists coming from different places.

After breakfast, the long and difficult third part of the ride opens up the distances between riders and becomes, for me, more of a solo experience. The geography opens up to more farmland and less woodland. I always seemed to have Tom or Jon in sight. So nice watching another cyclist far up ahead, parsing the landscape for you. We regrouped quickly at the last rest stop- the ice cream stop, and then made our way back past the historic homes and white fences of Worthington Valley, to Mt. Washington. We were back well before sundown and celebrated with beer and oysters at the the Nickel Taphouse.

Thanks all.

Along Sam's Creek

Along Sam’s Creek

Ready for breakfast

Ready for breakfast

home of the Pancakes.

home of the Pancakes.

So lovely, you barely know you're climbing.

So lovely, you barely know you’re climbing.

Coon Club rd. Look at those colors!

Coon Club rd. Look at those colors!

Tom and Jon in the distance

Tom and Jon in the distance

Horses smell the barn

Horses smelling the barn


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Back on Track with the Pancake Intercept

The ride this Sunday is the Pancake Intercept, a ride up to Union Bridge for an all-you-can-eat breakfast at the firehouse. Rolling through old farms and craggy woods of Carroll county makes this a great Autumn ride. Somehow, it’s gotten more off-schedule than on. This puts it back in it proper season.

If you’re new to this ride, then you need to know a few things: it’s hilly, not crazy, but taxing for sure. There are unpaved sections on this ride- maybe 5-10 miles total. There can be some gravely parts or sections slippery with leaves, but it’s super fun and beautiful on any bike. You need $8 cash for breakfast. There is no ATM and nowhere else to eat in Union Bridge. The beginning of the ride is quick, in order to get to breakfast in time, the 3rd section is a long stretch with a break in Boring, MD. The last stretch will be familiar Balt. county roads home. Also, you will absolutely need strong lighting, front and rear.

The Pancake Interception 97 mi., 5900ft. (hilly)
Date/Time: Sunday November 8th 7:50AM meet-up. 8:05 exit
Start: Mt. Washington Starbucks STARTMAP
Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): ROUTEMAP
Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring an extra): CUESHEET

Just look at that happy guy!

Just look at that happy guy!

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Sometimes luck goes your way, and other times…

NOTE: Next Ramble ride will be on Nov. 8th to Union Bridge. Details to come.

I had a wonderful time riding the recent Olde Roads Ramble ride. Weather was perfect, clear and sunny with temps in the 60’s. We started with 4 riders (Mike, Jeff, Carl and me) in Hampstead. The roads were rough and wandering- just what we were looking for. But, you never know how your equipment will handle the abuse of sharp rocks, gravel, washboard bumps and gritty dust. About 25 miles into the route, Mike suffered a damaged frame when his rear derailleur tore itself loose. He’s been in great physical shape recently and I was sad to hear that he had to abandon the rest of the ride.

Mike and Jeff in the early miles.

Mike, Jeff and Carl in the early miles.

The rest of us pulled into Glen Rock for lunch at Mignano’s. Our beer patron for the day, Andy Hanson was waiting for us with some PBR’s. Another Glen Rock rider, Dave, was ready to finish the last miles with us. Pizza, pasta and subs were delivered to the table and devoured. Yum.

Well sated, we rode north on the NCR trail before heading west into the surrounding hills. I heard a loud bang behind me as Andy’s tire blew out, torn on a sharp rock. Luckily, it was patchable. A mile later another bang, in the same tire. Argh! The tire was not stable at this point and Andy made the right decision to limp home rather than continue. I was sad about this. But the tree-lined, car-free miles just kept coming. Wonderful old barns, stone houses, golden fields and big vistas of Autumn leaves showed off their beauty.


We caught the very beginnings of Fall tree colors

Unfortunately, we were not done with mishaps. Jeff was next with a flat. A few miles later I snapped a chain, Carl had rear brake problems and then Jeff got another flat! Wow, I think we got all of our bad luck out on one ride. Dave peeled off to head back to Glen Rock while Jeff, Carl and I soldiered on to the finish.

It was a demanding day of riding, but 100% worth it. Thank you all for enduring and persevering with me.

Carl, Jeff and I pushed on til the end.

Dave and Jeff on a typical gravel stretch

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An historic, unpaved Ramble for October 11th.

The next Ramble, Olde Roads, is happening next Sunday.

Uncharacteristically, we begin out in the county in Manchester, MD. The route is a rough, hilly, beautiful tour of “unimproved” roadways in York, Adams and Carroll counties. It’s short for us (75mi.), but when I say hilly, I mean it. We’ll climb nearly 100ft. per mile on at times, loose rocky surfaces. The Rambles always have a easy pace, but you’ll still need the stamina to haul yourself up those grades.

Do not be deterred however. This ride is worth the struggle and we’ll wait for you to enjoy it. I mean, look at this pic from Dave’s recent version of the ride:


from Dave’s Olde Roads ride on Bikes n’Coffee (click photo for link to post)

Lunch is in Glen Rock, PA at Mignano Bros. You’ll definitely want a bike with minimum width of 32mm tires and low gearing for climbs. Be sure everything on the bike is tight or it’ll rattle loose on this route. Ask questions if you’ve got ’em.


  • Olde Roads 74 mi., 7400ft.
  • Date/Time: Sunday, October 11th. 8:15AM meet-up. 8:30 exit
  • Start: North Carroll Plaza in Manchester STARTMAP
  • Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): ROUTEMAP
  • Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring an extra): CUESHEET
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Thank You September Monument Riders

We had wonderful weather for the 40-50 who rode installment #2 of this year’s M2M ride. Several riders had been on the ride in May too. Well done! Having not fully recovered from a nasty cold, I exercised my right to slouch and took the MARC back to Baltimore. That was a nice adventure for me as I’d never used the bike cars. Thank you to all who participated.

Our next ride is a bit out of the ordinary, beginning in Manchester and using about 50 miles of unpaved road. A perfect early fall ride. More details in the next post…


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M2M one more time!

The 2nd installment of the Monument to Monument ride this year is Sunday Sept. 6th.

17384496532_bc3826cbf6_oMost of you reading this know the ride well enough: a fun, sociable, roundtrip bike ride between Baltimore’s Washington Monument and DC’s Washington Monument. Lots of friendly riders and lots of scenic miles.

If you don’t know the ride then here’s pics of the 1st installment in May.

  • Date/Time: Sunday, Sept., 6th 2015. Meet at 7:45AM. Leave PROMPTLY at 8:10AM
  • Start Location: Baltimore Washington Monument
  • Map/GPS: M2M Map/GPS  (click “export” in upper right for GPS files)
  • Cue Sheets: M2M CueSheet  (print one for yourself or ask me to print one for you)
  • Cost:  None. Bring $ for lunch and snacks at local businesses
  • Assistance/Sag:  None. (except help from fellow riders)

WHAT’S THE RIDE LIKE? 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. 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. Be prepared.

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The Beach Report

(excuse the multiple posts. I’m catching up on my ride reports)

There were so many nice things about this year’s Chesapeake Beach ride:

I saw new faces (Dan, Gabe, Mike L., and Kathy) and familiar riding buddies (PJ, Isaias, Moji, Mike H., Tom and Janet). Temperatures were at least 10 deg. cooler than last year. The over-all ride pace was very reasonable (unlike previous years). Three new riders rode personal bests, 100+ miles in a day and Dan, finished 135! I was near the tail-end of the group by the end of the day (though I rode a quicker pace than last year), nonetheless the whole group was waiting for me at the 3/4 stop and at the end. That’s ride leader appreciation. Thanks y’all.

Isaias's lead out from BWI

Isaias’s lead out from BWI

First time century rider, Gabe, near the start.

First time century rider, Mike, near the start.

Mike and Dan in the early miles. Dan was also a 1st time century rider.

Mike and Dan in the early miles. Dan was also a 1st time century rider.

Leitch rd

Leitch rd

A first Ramble for a strong (much stronger than me), rider, Catherine.

A first Ramble for a strong (much stronger than me), rider, Kathy.

Nearing North Beach and lunch
Nearing North Beach and lunch

Lotta people playing in the water.

A lot of people playing in the water.

Along Dalrymple rd. I've photographed this barn in previous years.

Along Dalrymple rd. I’ve photographed this barn in previous years.

The final stretch back to BWI.

The final stretch back to BWI.

This is what I found back at the start. Snowballs!

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