Since I started cycling a few years ago, I have never gone on a ride more than 20 miles on my own. Usually I was training with friends for some sort of event, and the rides were about covering as much distance in a day as possible. They were definitely not tours. So today I picked a route from one of my touring books.
I actually drove my bike for a change. I headed down to Auburn and parked at a lot for the Interurban Trail. However, I didn’t take the trail, I headed through downtown Auburn and out toward Black Diamond.
I planned on stopping for a light lunch at the Black Diamond Bakery. I have a memory of stopping here on a ride with friends years ago, but it wasn’t how I remembered. There was a restaurant and a coffee shop. The coffee shop had a lot of baked goods, but they were all heavier than I really wanted for mid-ride snack. I ended up settling on an oatmeal raisin cookie.
I ate on the porch where many other cyclists were stopping for mid- or post-ride breaks. People weren’t necessarily impressed with my distance because we were all doing similar routes, but they were all surprised to hear I was riding solo. I’m still not sure whether I think that is cool or uncool. I was totally ok with being alone except for the fact that I had no way to pump up a flat tire. I had all the tools to change a tire, but no way to inflate it. I was paranoid the whole time about getting a flat, and I was counting on someone stopping to help the woman on the side of the road with a flat tire.
After the bakery I headed to Flaming Geyser State Park. I’ve seen signs for this many times and always wondered why it sounds cool yet I don’t know anything about it. The flaming geyser was once a 20-foot high methane seep that occasionally caught on fire. Looks like it’s out of methane. There was just a weird well there without any explanation of what was once going on there. I met a group of guys who were pissed they paid $10 to get into the park and see this. (I was not in a motor vehicle so there was no fee)
That wasn’t worth hanging around for so I returned to Auburn. It was a nice day, and I had some energy left so I checked out the Interurban Trail that I parked next to. It was ok: flat, wide, not too many roots, but pretty boring. After the second major road crossing, I was over it. Later I looked it up and I should have gone the other direction (north).
What I wish I brought: A pump so I would not obsess over potentially flagging down some stranger. More snacks because my lunch stop was not what I expected. If I had a Clif Bar, I wouldn’t have bothered with the cookie.
What I learned: Riding by myself is something I should have started a long time ago!