Day 1: Conshohocken, PA, to Elverson

Today I got up around 9 AM. After moving my bed in the basement and cleaned my room in the morning, I was able to fit my bike in the trunk of my car with my girlfriend Diem’s help. At 11 or so, I drove for about 25 minutes to Riverbend Cycles bicycle shop in Conshohocken, just northwest of where I live.

I checked out the shop briefly. It has a nice cafe attached to it. There I talked to two bicycling ladies about cycling. I noticed one of them has the exact bicycle mirror as me. I saw she had attached it to her glasses, not on the helmet. That gave me the idea to do the same since I know the mirror would fall off the helmet for sure.

Diem’s friend, Hoang, took an Uber to meet us at the bike shop. He will be the one driving my car back. We grabbed lunch at Cafe Zoe and Pizza nearby. I had a lamb gyro and some fries, along with soda. It was pretty filling.

We walked back to the bike shop and I got my bike out of the trunk. Before attaching everything, just for fun, I let Diem sit on the bike rack and took her for a short ride in the parking lot. After I loaded everything, Hoang said the back tire is a little flat. I think it’s because of the weight of the panniers.

The starting point with me, Diem, and Hoang

At 1 PM, I was at the front door of the bike shop when another bicyclist came out. I asked him if he’s going on the trail. He said yes and allowed me join him. We biked and talked for about ten miles. The trail is nicely paved and ran along side the train tracks for awhile. It took an hour to get to our destination, Valley Forge. I learned his name is George and he is a retired computer salesman. Now he just bike for fun and fitness.

Once I we arrived at the rest stop, I realized I had forgotten my water bottles in the car. For a good ten miles or so, I didn’t have any water to drink. Luckily, a car passed me and parked in the driveway. A lady got out of the passenger side and I kindly asked her for a cup of water. She went inside the house and gave me two bottled waters. No doubt, she was my life saver!

I passed by a lot of farms, sometimes seeing horses or cows. The roads didn’t have big shoulders to ride on until I turned on to Route 23. But the road was up and down, full of hills. I had to text my Warmshowers host, Sue, a few times to tell her that I’ll be late.
The hilly Route 23

Finally at 6:30 PM, I arrived at Sue’s house, Her husband, Mark, was already at the driveway to greet me.

Mark and I talked for awhile. He did the TranAmerica Trail in 1987 from Oregon to Virginia. Once Sue came home, we ate a vegetarian pasta dinner with salad, sweet potatoes, and bread. It was a lot of food. I helped them with the dishes afterwards. Sue also gave me some tips about how to request stays on Warmshowers. I really appreciated that.

I took a much needed shower. And I realized that I had the keys to the garage and the mailbox of the house where I was living. Mark gave me an envelop so I can send them back. So I have to stop by a post office tomorrow.

It’s past 11 PM now. I’ll be getting up at around 7 AM tomorrow so I can leave at 8 for Lancaster. Today was challenging, I hope tomorrow will be a little easier with the hills.