Sunday, May 19, 2013

Le Cirque du Cyclisme

For the second year in a row we attended "Le Cirque du Cyclisme," in Leesburg, Virginia. "Le Cirque" is a three-day celebration of classic vintage steel bikes and a showcase for "keepers of the flame," artisans who are carrying on the tradition of building lugged or fillet-brazed steel bicycle frames. These contemporary artisans are not only carrying on a tradition but are also developing new and creative techniques and designs. Their vision includes a blend of artistry and function.

We departed on Tuesday for our three-day road trip to the east coast, travelling through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to our first day's destination, Straits State Park just north of the Mackinac Bridge. The next day's stopping point was East Harbor State Park in Port Clinton, Ohio, another 400-mile day. By the time we reached Ohio, the trees were leafed out and the vibrant greens were so refreshing to see.
We took a stroll through the park in the early evening and came upon a trumpeter swan with three cygnets (baby swans).
We arrived in Leesburg by early evening on our third day of travel but stopped to see the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Towpath trail on the outskirts of Leesburg at Point of Rocks before heading to our hotel.
The C&O is a gravel path that parallels the north bank of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. At Cumberland, one can get on the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail that goes another 150 miles to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I would love to do a bicycle touring trip that combines, to the extent possible, trails like this, paved or gravel, into one long passage across the country.

The Cirque agenda includes getting in some rides as well as workshops, seminars and, on the third day, an expo and swap meet. Within a mile from the Cirque headquarters, there is easy access to the 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) rail trail that goes from Arlington to Purcellville, VA.
This paved trail is a delightful haven from the heavily-trafficked roads and is a joy to ride. On Friday afternoon we rode the 20-mile round-trip to Purcellville from our hotel and had a delicious dinner at Magnolia at the Mill, a restaurant conveniently located at the end of and right next to the W&OD trail.
After dinner, we took a short walk to Velo Classique, the bike shop run by one of the Cirque organizers, Wayne Bingham, that specializes in vintage and classically-styled bicycles, parts and accessories.
The Cirque ended today and tomorrow we head to New Jersey. In the next couple of days I will post photos of some of the bicycles we've seen at the Cirque but in the meantime you can see photos and interviews of attendees at Mike's blog:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grooming the Birkie Trail... on May 2

Video of grooming the Birkie Trail after 14" of fresh snow overnight. Watch for the deer on the trail:!

And the snow continues...

After four days of temperatures in the 70s, the weather changed dramatically yesterday and it started snowing again. Ten inches of snow at 7 a.m. this morning and still snowing. By 9:30 a.m., some areas had reported 12 to 15 inches of snow. Winter storm warning in effect through 7 p.m. this evening.
When I got up this morning, the first thing I did was brush snow off the bird feeders and shovel snow away from under them so the birds could get at the seed on the ground. While I was doing this, a Robin alighted on my back for a few seconds and then dropped to the ground. I was wearing a green fleece jacket so perhaps the Robin mistook me for a patch of green grass.