If You Do a Group Ride but There is No Group, the Rest Stops Make No Noise

The normally full of treats (and cyclists) gazebo at the Trappe MD rest stop

There are four or five large group club or charity rides I do each year that have all been cancelled this year. Through the magic of RideWithGPS storage of their route files, I’ve been able to ride most of them on my own. This past Saturday we had temps in high 60s with bright sunshine, and I drove out to Easton on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and rode the route of the Talbot Special Riders/Positive Strides metric century ride.

Like most rides on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this ride is tabletop flat – less than 400 feet of climbing over 62 miles! Mostly very low traffic rural roads and many views of the Choptank River. These days most of the traffic seemed to be FedEx and Amazon delivery vans!

Windy Hill (not sure where the hill actually is) view of the Choptank River

The start is an a middle school which luckily did have port-a-potties available. The first snack stop is usually at the “Windy Hill” launch ramp on the Choptank River, which is the Eastern-most point of the ride. The group ride is normally in April and typical weather then is windy, with the winds coming from the west, meaning this turn around is the start of head winds. As you can see from the mirror-like surface of the Choptank, wind was not an issue on this ride.

The town park in Trappe MD usually a really well stocked rest stop at the 31 mile mark – I emptied my first water bottle and ate the snacks I carried and enjoyed the sunshine and the view of the church next to the park.

From there the route loops between Island Creek and La Trappe Creek through woods and past long tree-lined driveways leading to large estates on the rivers. I had to dodge three deer that decided to run alongside me in the woods and take turns cutting in front of me to cross the road.

The route then heads north and east to the scenic small town of Oxford on the Tred Avon River. The reduction in tourism has slowed things down but the Robert Morris Inn was still open with a number of folks lunching on the porch.

You can extend this ride by taking the Oxford-Bellevue ferry across the Tred Avon and then looping through St. Michaels to get back to Easton, but this year the ferry closed in mid-October and will reopen in April.

A scenic loop through the residential side of Oxford and then 8 miles of wide shoulder riding back to my car. There were many cyclists out on the route by then, but no Maryland crab soup and homemade cookies at the finish! I doubt the curse of 2020 will be fully over by April 2021, but I hope sometime next year this is back as a group ride.

8 response to "If You Do a Group Ride but There is No Group, the Rest Stops Make No Noise"

  1. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: November 23, 2020

    Solo cycling has its benefits, you can go at your own pace and have a photo stop whenever you like. I enjoy the conversation with my mates at the coffee stop though.

    • By: jpescatore Posted: November 24, 2020

      Probably 80% of my riding is solo, so the occasional group ride is a nice change – for the food at the rest stops, if nothing else! My natural riding pace always seems to be a tweener, so even if I do a club group ride it usually ends up a solo ride for me. The bigger charity fund raiser events are the same way but just kinda nice being on roads with lots of cyclists on them!

  2. By: NancyG Posted: November 23, 2020

    I sure enjoyed some nostalgic memories through your post. I have not cycled to all those places when I was a Marylander, as I was not a cyclist back then, but I visited many by boat or car. Looks like a great ride.

  3. By: gregblood Posted: November 23, 2020

    Joe, you seem to have fallen into the spell of Cycle-365 picture taking. They’re great. For the longest time I resisted too, but eventually I came around to thinking a few pictures enhance the words. Now I can’t even help myself from taking them.

    • By: jpescatore Posted: November 24, 2020

      Well, when I replicate these group rides they are long enough to have rest stops and I tend to replicate the rest stops, too – all of the pictures are from those rest stops. There were a number of times where I said “I should stop and take a shot of that” between the rest stops, but I kept pedaling! I really am a crappy tourist…

  4. By: BobinVT Posted: November 23, 2020

    I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post comment about how much I liked cycling in this area a few years ago. I’d love to get down there again next year.

    • By: jpescatore Posted: November 24, 2020

      Other the lack of hills, the Eastern Shore of Maryland is a great place to ride and tour. It can be monotonous when on roads away from the Bay or the many rivers – flats roads through scrubby trees or farmlands – and the winds can howl. But, any route that does get near water will take you past some amazing old estates and working fisherman areas.

  5. By: The Navigator Posted: November 27, 2020

    Very nice ride. It’s too bad they couldn’t do virtual rides where people could upload their stravas or something and still raise funds. Crossing my fingers for you that 2021 is better for events, but I think April is probably not looking good.

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