Springville, NY to Avon, NY
67 miles – 6 hours 38 minutes
I pull out of the Microtel parking lot at 5:30, determined to get to Avon before the heat becomes unbearable. The road is quiet and peaceful - the truck drivers must be having their morning coffee. I hear a clicking sound. I look around hoping it is not my bike, because my wife was sort of right about my repair skills, which are pretty much limited to changing a tire, and I am not very good at that. The sound is coming from the bike. I dismount and stare at the tire – sort of like I do when there’s a problem with my car and I lift the hood and stare at the engine, hoping it will tell me what’s wrong.
I remount and ride slowly through the parking lot of McDonalds looking down at the tire. The sun has not risen, so there’s not much light. Click……click……click. I see something. I dismount. The magnet that is attached to one of the spokes, which is how the speedometer works (every revolution it engages another magnet on the wheel frame) has twisted slightly so it’s hitting the frame on each revolution. I twist it back into place. The clicking goes away.
One mile before Geneseo, as I start down a long hill that leads into the town, I hear, “pffft”, which sounds sort of like air escaping from a tire. I dismount and sure enough my rear tire is flat. There’s a convenient triangle of grass about twenty yards ahead of me where three roads intersect. I wheel my bike to the grass patch and unpack.
I actually thought to buy a spare tire before I left. It’s not quite eleven A.M. and I’m only eight miles from Avon. I take my time and an hour later I’ve successfully replaced the tire, repacked my gear and gotten back on the road.
At noon I arrive at US 20, a major highway that runs through New York State parallel to the New York State Thruway, from Buffalo to Albany. New York must be using some of those high taxes my dad is always complaining about on their highways, because it seems like every road I have been on since entering the state has been recently resurfaced.
The room has a window air conditioner which is not turned on. The room temperature is about eighty degrees. The room is huge, with a large four poster bed. The carpeting was probably new in the seventies – a royal blue shag, like we had in our college dorm rooms. In fact the room looks a lot like a fraternity room, but it doesn’t smell of a beer. There is a small portable television with rabbit ears antennae. I half expect it to be black and white, but it has color on all three channels.
After a short nap, I call my sister Kendra. I’m worried about getting through Auburn tomorrow. If I leave early I’m still going to end up hitting Auburn at the noon rush hour. The downtown section is not bike-friendly, so I want to see if there is a route I can take around the city. After conferring with her husband, we conclude there’s no easy way to avoid the city.
“Be careful,” she says, “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
At six P.M. I head back out looking for a restaurant. There are three bordering the park, but they are all out of business. Downtown Avon is struggling. I go into a bar, but they don’t sell food. The bartender recommends an Irish sports bar at the bottom of the hill.
I walk down the hill and sit at the bar. I order a bottle of Genesee Cream Ale, the beer I drank in college at Rochester, and the burger basket with Irish fries - very similar to french fries, but with vinegar. I’m back at the room by eight. I pack my bike and go to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be home.