Up & Over, Around, Across and back Home

July’s ride is a big one: The Northern Chesapeake Circumnavigation, 180 miles.

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Did you ride Lunch in Leesburg last year? This route will be 25 miles longer, but have half as much climbing. Like Leesburg this route has two river crossings: the Hatem RT40 bridge and a car shuttle. And, like Leesburg I don’t know what to expect.

This is what I do know: The route is good– I’ve given it lots of ride check out. Early on there will be a lot of miles on busy roads with wide shoulders (safe but annoying). The Hatem bridge should be a fun crossing, BUT they’re charging $8/bike to cross (sheesh!). The car shuttle across to Annapolis will also cost you and add some complication.

Like all the Ramble rides, you need to understand the risk and be self supported. If you are thinking of riding, PLEASE contact me.

Northern Chesapeake Circumnavigation: 180 mi., 4900ft.
Date/Time: Sunday July 3rd, 5:00AM start (yes, that says 5AM)
Start: TBD (in Baltimore)
Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): ROUTEMAP (preliminary)
Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring an extra): Coming Soon

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Storm dodging in Taneytown

The weather hasn’t been very cooperative with our rides this year. However, what we’ve lost in comfort, we’ve made up in adventure.

The June ride up to Taneytown was threatened by terrible weather forecasts– severe thunderstorms. The forecasters kindly added the word “scattered” the day before. That was good enough for Dave, Ken and myself. It was cloudy and mildly threatening when we headed out of town from Druid Park at 8AM. It has been a while since we’ve begun a ride on Franklintown and Dogwood roads. The two of them make for a lovely exit out of Baltimore.


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believe it or not, we’re still in the city. 

I’m not sure who was driving where, but the traffic began picking up as we got out into the county. And, for a Sunday morning, some of the drivers were surprisingly aggressive. That can weigh on your nerves. However, there were some really peaceful stretches as we made our way to Sykesville. Loved Marriottsville #2 and Arrington roads– thickly wooded and deep green. Our first rest stop was quick, and off we went into Carroll county hitting some wonderful remote gravel road stretches. The clouds were still warning us of nearby storms, but up to this point we were comfortably dry and cool.

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gravel stretches of Roop rd were delightful on Hetre tires.

There was talk of pancakes as we rolled through Union Bridge, MD. home of the famous Pancake Interception Ramble, but we didn’t stop there. At this point we were finished with the worst of the climbing. I loved stretches of Hapes Mill and more fun gravel sections on Stover road.
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A few miles further and I was rolling through Main st. in Taneytown. Tonys Cafe was in a strip mall near the east side of town. I tucked my head in the door to see what the interior was like and the woman at the bar surprised me by inviting us in with our bikes! Very cool. We had great service, great food and a well-needed rest and refill. Thanks.
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After lunch on Trevanion rd, we hit a little more traffic. The temps were going up and I was thankful for the occasional shade. I was also wondering where those severe thundershowers were. At the top of unpaved Jasontown rd we re-grouped and took some pics of the corn and sky. This 3rd section of the ride was the longest, but we weren’t in a hurry. There was a lot of sunlight left in the day. On we rolled towards Reisterstown.

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I was noticing the clear skies ahead of me all the way to Deer Park rd, but at some point I looked in my rear view mirror and saw black. Uh-oh. I was ahead of Dave and Ken at this point and didn’t feel like the courtesy of waiting up would do them any good, so I pushed ahead as hard as I could. I felt like I was trying to out ride a scary monster. And I thought I might out ride it, but it was too big and too fast for me. I felt cold drafts and the first few drops as I rolled down towards the Lake Liberty crossing. I didn’t even make it to the bridge when the sky opened up. I was soaked in 30 seconds. Alas. There was nothing else to do, but squish the pedals down the last few miles into Reisterstown. I got an ice cream and waited for Dave and Ken.

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Safety first in the rain. 

When they arrived, I realized how lucky I was to have gotten hit by the storm at the mostly traffic-free end of Deer Park rd. Ken and Dave got an ice cream and rested their frayed nerves. The rain cooled everything off and I started shivering even with a jacket on. Time to get moving! Coming back into town with wet roads was not comfortable and again we encountered a few super discourteous drivers, but we managed. Soon enough we were back in Hampden and ready for a congratulatory…  (you guessed it) BEER!
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Huge thanks to my riding buddies for the day, Dave and Ken. More of my pics below.
Dave’s got great pics and a short write-up HERE

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To Taneytown

How ’bout that rain? I’m getting vicarious pleasure checking out the dry roads in these pics of 2013’s Taneytown ride. Well, rain or not, the calendar tells me it’s time to start pushing for bigger rides. To Taneytown it is.

I changed a few things about this route since WE LAST RODE IT. It’s a pretty ride through woods and farms, over hill and dale– a classic Carroll county route. We’ll be on a few unpaved roads (~5mi) and there will be a lot more climbing than M2M.

I’ll hope for dry weather, but I’m not holding my breath.

To Taneytown: 109 mi., 6100ft.
Date/Time: Sunday June 5th, 7:50AM meet-up. 8:05 exit
Start: Rawlings Conservatory Druid Park STARTMAP
Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): ROUTEMAP
Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring an extra): CUESHEET


Old Frederick rd bridge in 2013



Summit of unpaved Jasontown rd.


Stone Chapel rd? Warfieldsburg rd?

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The 2016 Monument to Monument ride

It was about what I expected: cold riding and a steady light rain as I rode from Hampden down to the start of this year’s M2M. Not comfortable, but it could’ve been colder… and, wetter. When I got to the start no one was there. I envisioned riding to DC alone. Through the rain, John and Marcia rode up. Then Tom, Che, and Dan. PJ and Dave finally swung around the corner. Everyone looked well-prepared for the weather and the ride. As we rolled out down Cathedral st, Dan and Rod joined us. And, that was it: a small and dedicated group of ten. We would ride the entire 97 miles, staying almost entirely within sight of one another.

All of us rode strong and steady. I didn’t hear a single complaint about the weather. The roads were slick and we had two slips that were thankfully not serious. I wound up being the unlucky one to get a flat (through a kevlar belted tire no less). Every one waited patiently while I wrestled with a tire which hadn’t been off it’s rim in ages. The group calmly negotiated a closed section of Metropolitan Branch Trail due to a train derailment on Sunday. We quipped, we told stories, we rode quietly and we enjoyed each other’s company. Thanks all.


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Would I be riding alone?

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Marcia, Che and John at the start.

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Dave, riding strong on River rd.

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The group on beautiful Race rd.

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The distinctive mud stripe.

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Dan, along the Anacostia trail

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train derailment along the Met Branch Trail

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PJ, Dan, Rod and Marcia on 3rd st. approaching the DC monument.

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Smiles all around. Dan, Dan, PJ, Marcia, Che and Rod.

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Rod northbound on the NW Branch Trail

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After ride beers taste so good.

More pics of mine (click to enlarge):


Check out Dave’s blog post and pics here: Bikes n’Coffee
Couple of nice #bikem2m shots I found HERE


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the Rain Game

M2M is no different than any of the other Rambles: it is a day-long adventure. Tomorrow’s ride will be approximately equal parts: rainy road riding, easy trail riding, standing around talking to your friends. Not too bad. I’ve been happy in the rain and miserable in nice weather. Which you want is up to you.

Bob’s brief thoughts on rain and tomorrow’s ride:

  • You WILL get wet, don’t worry about it. Dress warm esp. wool.
  • Put your cue in a ziplock bag and don’t use it. (unless you’re lost)
  • Lights, lights, lights. And, good batteries and bright clothes.
  • Flat-proof tires are VERY nice. You don’t want to fix a flat in the rain.
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Brock Bridge rd on the 2008 Monument ride


Barry C. and Josh (?) watching a car ford Brock Bridge


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M2M starts HERE


Check out those pics of the M2M bike pile in 2009 and then the one in 2015. I bet the number of M2M riders has increased ten-fold in 6 years. That wouldn’t have been possible without us challenging our friends and riding buddies to come on out and ride it. I love that.  It also wouldn’t have been possible without this blog.
  1. This blog links M2M to the numerous other super-awesome Ramble rides:
    Check them out. Ever ridden Frederick road all the way to Frederick? Ever ridden to Chesapeake BeachGettysburgHavre de Grace? How about a different route to DC?
  2. This blog gives you info for completing those other rides: Most of the other Rambles are more adventurous than M2M and you’ll appreciate the advice.
  3. This blog archives our ride reports: These are the stories that inspired most of us to start riding self-supported century rides in the first place.
So, tell your buddies about the Ramble blog. Stay in touch by signing up for email updates here, or liking RambleFB. Then scroll through the posts to find another route you’d ride this year.
Share your experience riding M2M 2016 using #bikem2m or send me pics or links to your blog.
Details on the ride HERE.  See ya on Sunday, May 1st!      -Bob

Bikes at 2009 lunch stop.



Bikes at 2015 lunch stop. (with a lot more around the corner)



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It’s Monument Time


Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again: Monument to Monument time.
This year’s ride will be on Sunday May 1st.


Full of smiles: riders on River rd from May 2015

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 1st 2016. 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)
  • Cue Sheets: M2M CueSheet
  • 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.  IMPORTANT! READ THIS BEFORE RIDING M2M

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