For year two of sharing Robin’s and my stories as Schwinn Brand Ambassadors, Bike Month was, in a sense, a disappointment (especially weather-wise), but at the same time I had some of the most fun in the two years of working with Schwinn. As I said in my first post of the year, the first weekend of May was booked up so we traveled to Western Maryland and the Great Allegheny Passage the week before.
Here, in the Mid-Atlantic, we were stuck in another Springtime pattern of gray skies and low 60’s temps for the majority of the month and I was really worried we’d end up with the same weather for the DC Bike Ride as last year’s cold, raw, but incredibly fun ride. The day we drove to DC to pick up the Rider Identification Kits was in the low 60’s and rainy so I was pretty darn pessimistic about the whole idea of having to put up with unfavorable weather again. May 14th’s (Mothers’ Day) forecast was for clearing skies and temps in the mid to upper 70’s. On the Baltimore-Washington Parkway the morning of the DC Bike Ride we were greeted by a rainbow, promising us a perfect day! Last year was the inaugural ride, and lessons learned to improve the flow had the starting point of the ride moved to West Potomac Park, along the Potomac River. The new improved course extended the ride an additional three miles for a total of 20, plus a bonus two miles down Independence Ave., riding from our parking garage to the starting corral.
Maybe next year May won’t be so busy and I’ll be able to spend the whole weekend there for the bike ride like I considered a year ago.
At the beginning of the year we were told travel plans for the “Varsity Ambassadors” were in the works for 2017. I was one of four selected to travel to Southern California to spectate at the last legs of the Amgen Tour of California. There, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Ambassadors Fabian and Jaris, and Head Ambassador David, and some of our friends at Pacific Cycle. One of my highlights of the California trip was checking out the prototype Fastback Carbon road bike. Awesome bike, although I didn’t get to test ride it, I did pedal it and shift through the gears on the trainer. One bike I had the chance to test ride was the Schwinn Phocus 1600 road bike there at Big Bear Lake. From talking with people who visited the Schwinn tent at the Tour, I learned that the brand lives in people’s fond memories of when they were kids, but more than I realized didn’t know Schwinn was still around. It made me proud to be an ambassador to make people aware their favorite brand recognizes its legacy and still promotes biking as an affordable family activity to keep healthy and exercising.
Memorial Day weekend we saddled up and headed north on the Torrey C. Brown NCR Trail from Monkton, Maryland for our traditional bike ride to New Freedom, Pa with a refreshment stop at the New Freedom Rail Trail Cafe. No surprise, we had a little rain for the last weekend of Bike Month, but not more than a few sprinkles, and definitely not enough to hamper our 29 mile ride.
I joked with Ambassador Caitlin Russo about how I was postponing Bike Month due to the commitments and lousy weather for the majority of May. (I think the DC Bike Ride was the only weekend day with sunshine all month, and it appears Louisiana’s weather wasn’t much better) The first weekend of June I realized we hadn’t biked around our neighborhoods since November of last year, so we hopped on the hybrids and rode up to the elementary school where we first met in 5th grade, where we also like to take a little rest stop after climbing the killer hills at the swing set. For tracking our workouts, I use the MapMyRide app on my phone, but we also have Sigma bike computers on each bike to keep track of their mileage. I took my phone out of the saddle bag on the Vantage to compare info with the bike’s computer, but I slipped the phone into my pocket. When we departed the school yard and I put the phone back into the saddle bag, I noticed I put two tenths of a mile on the swings! I did leave the phone with the bike when we walked two laps around Bel Air High School’s track to make up for it.
Father’s Day weekend (unfortunately, both kids were on opposite ends of the state) we decided to stay in our part of Maryland and we took the Rocket Mountain Bikes to Susquehanna State Park.
The Lower Susquehanna Trail is short but sweet, and goes from the state park North to the Conowingo Dam.
The Rail Trail follows part of the railroad tracks that brought materials from Havre de Grace, Maryland to the Conowingo Dam’s construction site. Once construction was finished, the tracks were abandoned and erosion took its toll on them. At Stafford Rd where the trail begins, if you turn to the south there are some single track mountain bike trails that follow the tracks through the woods and some more mountain bike trails that weave through Susquehanna State Park. As promised in my last blog post, we took the Rocket Mountain bikes to their element and rode over some rocks and tree roots along the river bank.
Robin kept up pretty well on the path, which is color coded on the trail apps as beginner/intermediate, and we weren’t too sore the next morning. Not bad for us ‘kids’ in our early 50’s!
The weekend of July 8th is our grandson Oliver’s 2nd birthday. Schwinn sent us a Roadster Trike that will be Oli’s birthday present to get him started as a third generation Schwinn fan, and Ambassador in training! We seasoned ambassadors will be cruising the Frostburg to Cumberland leg of the GAP, and maybe some C&O side for a few miles of exploring.
Rob & Robin McLewee
Robin and I are thrilled and flattered to be returning with Schwinn in 2017 as Schwinn Varsity Ambassadors! We’ve been together for three and a half decades, and married 28 years. We’re parents to a daughter and son in their 20’s, and grandparents to our daughter and son-in-law’s son who live in Frostburg, Maryland. He’ll be 2 in July. I have many interests and hobbies, including all forms of mechanized transportation. I’m a tinkerer with my background in our family owned automotive collision repair business who has been riding, maintaining and rehabilitating bicycles since about the age of 8. Robin is the monetary expert of the family. This year, 2017, will be our 6th year of biking adventures around our home state of Maryland, and surrounding states. Maryland has the nickname of “America in Miniature” and we experience the whole state from the rail trails of the Allegheny Mountains out west, to our neighborhoods in the Northeast, to the Atlantic beach resorts.