Bike Virginia 2004
Shenandoah Odyssey

Harrisonburg | June 18, 2004 Next

This is our 9th Bike Virginia, the annual cycling tour through various parts of the Old Dominion. This year we decided to try riding our recumbent bikes. We drove down from Reston on Friday afternoon with the Kerie's Tour Easy and my V-Rex on the rooftop carrier. Unfortunately we waited until rush hour, which starts as early as 2:00 p.m. on Friday. We saw a few other bikes on cars along the way as we drove down I-81 accompanied by too many 18 wheelers. This was to be the largest group at Bike VA, with over 2,000 riders expected.

Once again we chose the motel option. After having camped the first several years we've decided that cycling 50+ miles is enough torture for one day. This trip we would stay in Harrisonburg the first 3 nights, and Woodstock the next two. Unfortunately it meant taking long shuttle bus rides to the ride start each day, since the small towns where the campgrounds are located do no have enough motel room capacity.

Before checking into the motel, we stopped by Tent City, to register and listen to Mary Turnbull, of Bike Virginia, give part of her annual orientation talk. We also checked out some of the bike goods that are always available at these rides.

We stayed in the Hampton Inn, a poor choice due to their layout, which requires everyone to enter through the lobby and to use the elevator. Luckily the bikes fit into the first elevator that arrived. Our room overlooks James Madison University in the distance, where Tent City will be located on Sunday.

We had struggled to get the recumbents into the elevator, one at a time, later learning that the adjacent second elevator was much bigger and could easily accommodate both bikes. Dinner was at Taste of Thai, recommended by our friend the local bike mechanic. I had an OK Pad Thai. We had an interesting conversation with Nancy and Bruce from Smithfield, VA. Because the place was crowded, we asked if they wanted to share our table with us. The said they are now on a bike tour kick, having gone through kayaking and canoeing tours in years before. While waiting for our table we discussed the life of a Mennonite farmer with a local farm wife picking up her take-out order.

Bike VA arranged for us to attend a Valley League ball game, located nearby. We sat through a couple of innings of the Harrisonburg Turks game, absorbing some local color. The ball field is a great place for kids to hang out and strut their stuff without getting into too much trouble.

We planned to attend a dance on Saturday night here in Harrisonburg, but I forgot to pack my boots. I spent some time that night searching for some inexpensive shoes in which I could dance. Bowling shoes work well, as they have a suede sole that slides well on a good dance floor, and I found a cheap pair at K-Mart.