Bike Blog 2016.6: ARRIVED!

IMG_89711The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Jon Brockopp.

WE MADE IT! We arrived in Washington, D.C. on time, dry, safe, and in great spirits. As you know, this is my fifth time organizing this trip and there is still nothing like the thrill of coming in to our nation’s capitol on a bicycle. It is a beautiful city and we happily joined the throngs of tourists in the Lincoln Memorial… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our day started with a gourmet breakfast of poached eggs, bacon, asparagus, and potatoes, all prepared by Joyce and Dave as the cyclists all arrived from their host homes. We all slept in beds – actual beds – and felt well-rested and ready for the final leg of our journey.

IMG_89391Before hitting the road, however, we had a meeting scheduled with Pastor Bill Maisch at Memorial United Methodist Church in Poolesville. Pastor Maisch is actually a retired Air Force pilot who saw action in the Persian Gulf wars – it was in part his military experience that caused him to be more concerned about the environment and seek a second career as a minister. He and Joyce Breiner (a retired air traffic controller) bonded over the wonders of B-52s while we discussed ways to motivate our congregations to become more involved in issues of social justice.

Our conversation was wide-ranging and deeply meaningful to all of us, and we left feeling that Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.5: Mud, a couple of flats, caffeine and friends.

IMG_89021 The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Jon Brockopp.

“This is the day that the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it!” These were the words with which Pastor Gregg Meserole sent us off from Hagerstown this morning, urging us to enjoy our fellowship with one another and with God’s Creation. This we certainly did, as it was a gorgeous day.IMG_88631

We began with an early breakfast, prepared by members of Christ’s Reformed United Church of Christ: eggs, sausage, biscuits and fruit – just what hard-peddling cyclists need to begin the day. This is an amazing congregation that does so much for inner-city Hagerstown – several years ago, they acquired the dilapidated shoe factory next to the church and they have transformed that into a vital social services center. After a tour of the sanctuary and a blessing from Pastor Gregg, we were on our way. Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.4: Lake? What lake?

IMG_88361The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Spencer Carran.

Going into our second full day of riding, we were anxiously refreshing the weather forecasts for fear of cycling through thunderstorms. By morning, the main storm cell had moved far enough past us that we could look forward to a clear route to Maryland. After spending the night at Orbisonia, we rose early to find Pastor Ed’s hospitality continuing with a breakfast of French toast and quiche. Afterwards we joined the worship service at Orbisonia United Methodist Church. This is a small, rural congregation that opened their doors to eight strangers passing through. The contemporary worship style was blended with a more traditional communion, and towards the end of the service Pastor Ed invited us to the front of the sanctuary to receive an anointment and blessing for safe travels.IMG_0391

After a quick stop at the grocery store to stock up on peanut butter and jelly, we began the 55-mile trek to Hagerstown. The first leg of our trip included many steep climbs, which made us all grateful for the relatively cool temperatures. As we continued to climb towards Cowan’s Gap State Park the mist grew thicker and thicker, until at the top we could hardly see ahead of us. Jon claims we stopped to eat lunch next to a lake, but I saw no such thing. Newly filled with our PB&J’s, we resumed our journey – much easier now that we were coasting downhill for the next portion.IMG_88531

Though there were rumors of a coffeeshop break in Mercersburg, we settled instead for beers at Flannery’s Tavern. Freshly hydrated, we continued to make excellent time and crossed the border into Maryland around 4:00PM.

Another hour or so saw Continue reading

Bike Blog 2016.3: Eat, Weed, Ride, Eat, Visit, Eat, Ride, Eat

IMG_88151The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.   Today’s guest blogger: Dorothy Blair

Our first full day on the road!  PA IPL bikers heaved themselves out of their sleeping bags at 6:30AM and started their day with Micah’s French Press coffee and Cricket’s baked oatmeal with fruit, leftover dal, chocolate cake, and berry pie. Quiet eclectic. Meanwhile, young Ben and Daniel were being rambunctious boys and lots of fun.IMG_88091

To help pay back the Spicher-Schonbergs for their hospitality, we split into two groups to weed carrots and plant seeds in their new greenhouse.  New lambs fresh from the fields where they were born last night were grazing near where we picked weeds. Finally, we were off toward Huntingdon at about ten.IMG_88181

Beautiful redbuds in full bloom were growing along the roadsides and everything was green, green, green. We spent about an hour and a half on the road. Our destination in Huntingdon was the Original Pizza Restaurant where we were greeted by “Welcome PA IPL” signs and former mayor Ethan Lashlee and his wife Jeannie from the Stone Church of the Brethren. We had a great conversation and sharing of ideas, and the sustainability circle of the church generously paid for our lunch.

After a rather substantial meal we detoured Continue reading

Bike blog 2016.2: Ride with love!

The 2016 bike trip blogs are written by riders and posted daily as Internet access allows.  Follow here, on Facebook (and a bit of Twitter and possibly Instagram) with #paiplonbikes.  Learn more about the ride and the riders.

So, here we are once again at Plowshare Produce, more specifically at the home of Micah and Bethany Spicher Schonberg. Micah had the woodstove on when we arrived and Scott fairly merged with it when he got in the house. It was a cold ride here, but also oddly beautiful.IMG_8792[1]

Our afternoon began with a wonderful send-off from so many friends and supporters – probably thirty altogether – WTAJ news was even there. Rev. Dean Lindsey, Pastor of State College Presbyterian Church sent us off with wishes for a successful and safe ride and an embrace of the beauty of God’s creation: “Ride with love!” he urged us….IMG_8802[1]

…and then he got on his bike and rode along with us. In fact,
four cyclists joined us for the first leg to McAlevy’s Fort: Rev. Lindsey, Susan Continue reading