Yesterday was Clif’s birthday, and as I noted in my previous post, our plan was to ride the loop around Maranacook Lake, a trip of about 17 miles. The day turned out to be sunny and astonishingly warm for late September—perfect for a bike ride—and in the afternoon, off we went.
On the way, we stopped in Winthrop to do a couple of errands—to buy stamps from the post office and to drop off books at the library. I love to combine things, and the “green bean” in me thinks that it’s good for people to see Clif and me not only ride our bikes for pleasure and exercise but also to use the bikes for in-town errands. (I actually have my eye on a bike trailer so that we can do more ambitious errands like, say, going to Hannaford for groceries.)
When the errands were done, we started our loop, which began at the public beach in Winthrop. On our way down Memorial Drive, we heard the tremolo call of a loon, such a soulful sound and so much a part of the lakes region we live in. Maranacook flashed and glimmered to our right, and then disappeared from view for quite a few miles.
Down hill and up hill we rode, and one hill in particular—on Beaver Dam Road—did quite a bit for my cardiovascular health. I was certainly breathing hard by the time I reached the top, where in Maine fashion, the road suddenly changed names, even though it seemed like the same road. Now we were on South Road, a lovely lane of a road that goes through woods and by fields with grazing cows.
The next leg of our journey was on Route 17, where the cars are fast and plentiful. There are two saving features to this part of the ride. The first is that there is a bike lane—glory be!—so there is a bit of space between bikers and cars. The second is that sparkling Marancook again comes into view, and it is always welcome to see the water.
As we rode into Readfield proper, I admired the old houses, mostly white, but some yellow and red, with the large front porches. They looked so serene and solid, as though the changes through the years have buffed them but have not worn them down.
Granola bar, granola bar, I thought as we approached the center of town and the corner market that conveniently has a little outside table. Clif and I shared an iced tea, contentedly munched our granola bars, and quite literally watched the traffic go by, as we were sitting right by the road.
Now we were ready for the last leg of our journey, down Route 41, where we would get another flashing view of Maranacook Lake. It is also the hilliest part of ride, and although none were as steep as the one on Beaver Dam Road, it was a steady grind as we pedaled up, up, up.
But then it was down, down, down, and we were back by the public beach in Winthrop, where we could rest and admire this large lake before heading home.
“A good way to spend a birthday,” Clif said.
Yes, it was. And between the two rides on Monday and Tuesday, we have gone 30 miles—half-way to our goal of riding 60 miles this week in honor of Clif’s 60th birthday.
We’re getting there.