Trip Log – Day 13 – Cobleskill, NY to New Hartford, NY

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.09.53 PMMiles Today: 72

Miles to Date: 803

May 18, 2015 – Sunny, 80 degrees


I made several trips to my hotel breakfast bar and floated out of Cobleskill on a beautiful Catskills morning. Thunderstorms were in the forecast for afternoon, but I had detailed directions and plenty of time to log the 67 miles to New Hartford. I rode through glorious farm country, past graceful churches, Mennonites in buggies, past millions of dandelions, and odd roadside attractions.


IMG_1892Route 20 is a huge road with wide shoulders and absolutely no traffic. I was making good time.

At Richfield Springs I turned off U.S 20 to NY 28 then County Road 150. The turns didn’t lay quite right, but I was confident of my sense of direction and kept on. It was one o’clock now, the sun was straight overhead, and I lost my cardinal sense. When I came upon an intersection that included roads I had already left, I stopped to study my GPS. A couple sitting on their porch offered guidance. I took off on a new tack.

Less than a mile along an empty road my chain skipped on my rear sprocket three, four times and then – snap – my chain broke and strung out behind me. I’ve never had a broken chain, or ever knew anyone who did. I took out my cycling tools and inspected the break. I couldn’t repair it. So, I took a deep breath, devoured a Power Bar and an apple, and repacked my stuff. I laughed that is was my thirteenth day out, so bad luck should have been expected. I figured I’d walk uphill and roll down until I got to the highway three or four miles away, and then hitch a ride to a town.

Just as I was about to move, a car drove up, the couple from the corner. They stopped. We figured out how to take my bike apart to fit in their car.

imgresThey drove me to Dick’s Wheel Shop in Herkimer, stayed with me until Dick found the right part, and wouldn’t take a dime for their trouble. I lingered at the bike shop for an hour or so while they replaced the chain, checked everything else, and directed me to a beautiful road that ran along the Mohawk River all the way to Utica.

The afternoon rains came. Not as dark thunderstorms, but as gentle showers that took the stinging heat out of the air. I rode along, thankful for the cool wet breeze, the generosity of humans, and the strange coincidences of my day. The couple that picked me up were named Frank and Lou, same as my grandparents. They delivered me to Herkimer, where my parents spent their first Honeymoon night. And Dick, the bike guy, was definitely my own father’s soul brother. Speculating upon the mysteries of life while pedaling through a soft rain is satisfying, but ultimately life delivers wonders that we must simply accept.

I didn’t arrive in New Hartford until six. My warmshowers hosts, Linda and Mike, fed me salad and grilled steak, baked potatoes and foil-warped onions swaddled in bacon. So good after a long day of riding and no lunch. Yet we still finished in time to watch The Voice.


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
This entry was posted in Bicycle Trip Log and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Trip Log – Day 13 – Cobleskill, NY to New Hartford, NY

  1. latovich says:

    everything about this post is lovely


  2. paulefallon says:

    Thanks Chuck. Glad to hear that you are spending time with Paul. He says the house feels big on his own.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s