On the outskirts of town, Jack H found an apartment patio on the river and gestured me to follow him so that I could get pictures. We might have been trespassing.
At Bulls Island we crossed the river.
There's a bike repair station on Bulls Island. It's stocked with screwdrivers, wrenches, levers, a pump, and a bike stand. There's one like this in Cranbury's Village Park now, too, thanks to the efforts of the Princeton Free Wheelers.
When we reached the northern end of Lambertville, Martin and Pete wanted to ride on the Lambertville Station side of the path. Tom took the rest of the group on the more well-groomed side.
I knew this old rail car was here. I'd seen pictures of it, and had seen it through the trees from the other side of the path. Now we were right up against it, and we stopped to get a better look.
I noticed a giant leaf by Martin's foot.
"Looks like an Adam and Eve fig leaf," he said.
While Pete was enjoying the burn, I picked up a tiny maple leaf and handed it to Martin. "This might be more appropriate."
"Hey, it was just lying there," I said.
Martin, who has no shame, had picked up the big leaf and was posing, waiting for me to turn my camera his way.
We met up with Tom's half of the ride and continued south.
The next day was Cranksgiving, held at the new, gold-plated gym in Plainsboro, where membership starts at $120 per month. No, thanks. I pay less than half of that now and get everything I need ten minutes from home.
Stripped of her commuting lights, Beaker was fun to ride again.
Anyway, Jim had a good group of Free Wheelers. It was cold, but warm enough that we didn't freeze after the first grocery pickup stop in East Windsor or the second one at Trader Joe's in West Windsor.
It was only when one of our riders snapped her chain that we cooled down. I took a picture of the sky while we were waiting. Jim fixed it in good time and we hurried back to Plainsboro.
Later, Anna, the event organizer, told us that we'd filled three SUVs with food, and more was still coming from donations at the gym. This was the most food she's collected since she started the Princeton Cranksgiving event a handful of years ago. It's not too late to donate to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. You can do it here.
This past week was crazy busy and also just plain crazy. Neither Tom nor Jim nor I got our acts together in time to list any rides. I registered for Prem's fast B at the last minute, only to get an email from Tom several hours later. He was planning to go on Tru's C+ ride at 10:00, an hour later (and an hour warmer) than Prem's ride. Ricky said he'd be there. Jim said he'd be there.
Well, amicitia quam celeritate. I canceled my registration and drove to Tom's house instead.
"It's a Slug invasion!" I called out to Tru as Tom and I rode in, Ricky behind us. A few minutes later, Winter Larry arrived. It was a regular party out there in the parking lot.
Tru warned us to be extra careful at the start and end of the ride. He'd had bad luck lately, with people losing attention at the end and winding up on the blacktop. "The past three rides, something has happened."
Well, one of our number decided to make it four. We'd just turned onto Main Street when the rider hit the side mirror of a parked SUV. He took the whole mirror down with him. His front wheel inexplicably popped off too. He and his bike fared better than the mirror. After dusting himself off and putting his wheel back on, he went to talk with the driver, who was completely calm about the whole thing, maybe because she'd just come out of the church she was parked in front of. The rider decided he was done for the day.
"Be careful crossing the street!" Tru called out after him.
Jim was grinning. "This is gonna be good," he said.
"Composing the first line of your blog?" I asked.
I told Tru that our ride was now pre-disastered.
As an afterthought, I wondered what would have happened if the rider's front wheel, which must not have been properly seated if it came off so easily, had come off at speed instead. In a way, he got lucky when he hit the mirror.
We weren't without incident after that. Jim got a flat within a mile of our rest stop, and after the break, Tom's pump, not fully in place after Jim had used it, fell out and hit Tom's rear wheel. He didn't fall, fortunately.
Tru's route would be a good one for a day that might threaten rain. We never got far from Cranbury, zig-zagging through the Windsors and Princeton Junction. We went 40 miles without going anywhere.
Tom and I got ahead of the group towards the end, which was fine, because they knew we'd be leaving for Tom's house soon anyway. I followed him home, because following Tom is what I do.