Day 7 began in Auburn and took us back to where we started in Cortland, NY! It has been a fun week. We rode 45 miles today and a total of 398 miles this week! Steve easily went over the 400 mark because he frequently rides ahead then circles back to find slow-me. We saw more pretty, pretty farms; many of today’s were dairy farms with all the accompanying smells that we love (seriously!). We rode through the village of Skaneateles, along the shore of Skaneateles Lake, to the banks of Otisco Lake, through the town of Preble, through the village of Homer, to Cortland.
Wow! Day 6 was 59 miles from Geneva, through the village of Cayuga, the village of Union Springs, the village of Aurora, to the city of Auburn. All along the way today, we saw yard sale after yard sale and wished we could stop to look. The route took us along more highways today, which is not quite as fun as back country roads. It requires more vigilance. We saw more farms…. We had lunch in a nice little place, Foster’s Pub, in Aurora that served the very best loaded grilled cheese sandwich.
Day 5 was considered a lay-over day, if we wanted it–meaning that riding was optional. The long ride was 100-miles; the regular route was 48. I’ve done one 100-mile ride (century) in my life and swore never to do another. So far, so good, on that promise! We rode 52 miles to Sampson State Park, a re-purposed WWII training base and also went through the nice little town of Waterloo, then back to Geneva. Waterloo bills itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day. (A nice bit of trivia!) We stopped at one winery, but it was early and they were closed.
Day 4 was probably the very best day of riding. We rode 58 miles from Keuka to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. The weather was as perfect as you can get, cool (for us) and a little breezy…weather that in Georgia would be nice-fall-weather. The ride included hills, but lots of long descents, which are so very fun! What you don’t want to see when cycling and approaching a long downhill is a sign that says “fresh oil, loose stone.” Fresh oil and loose stone are what we refer to in Georgia as “tar and gravel,” or in BRAG-terms “shake and bake,” and it is pretty tricky to ride on with road bike tires. Thankfully, we both made it to the bottom without incident!
Day 3 was a 48 mile circle out into the countryside and back to Keuka College. It was nice being able to leave the tent up and not having to pack up before leaving. Normally, we take down the tent and pack up our belongings that are then transported by baggage truck to the next camping site. Normally, bags are unloaded by the time we arrive, we find our bags and put up our tent before showering and relaxing. Because this was an out-and-back, we got some extra relaxation time!
Day 2, we rode 63 miles from Watkins Glen to Keuka College, near the village of Penn Yan. The riding was great, though there were lots of hills. The farms were beautiful. Many of the farms are Amish or Mennonite, with little girls in long dresses and bonnets and boys in pants with suspenders in the yards. Monday is very obviously wash day because laundry was hung out to dry, darks on one side of the clothes line, whites on the other.
Bon Ton Roulet provides support for two routes, a regular route and a long route. On most days, the long route was only three to ten miles longer than the regular route, so we usually chose to follow the long route to see more countryside. Each day, the tour provided hearty, delicious breakfasts and dinners for the 600+ riders. On most days, two rest stops were provided with restrooms or port-a-potties, water/Gatorade, and an abundance of fruit and snacks–often homemade. Lunch stops were on our own and we usually tried to stop in local restaurants to experience the area a little more fully (pun intended!).
Day 1, we began our 73 mile ride from Cortland, through Ithaca, to Watkins Glen. The day was hot and humid, in the mid-90’s. We didn’t think too much of the hot weather, but apparently it is unheard of in upstate NY; it was the main topic of conversation.
Another bicycle tour! We recently completed the Bon Ton Roulet. Over and over we have heard from other cyclists that the Bon Ton Roulet is great, so we decided to see for ourselves. The Bon Ton Roulet is a cycling tour through the Finger Lakes Region of New York state, organized by and benefiting the YMCAs of Auburn, NY and Cortland, NY. The Finger Lakes are a group of eleven long, narrow, basically north-south lakes in the west-central section of upstate New York. We cycled around and beside six of the lakes, almost always in sight of beautiful farms and wineries. The pastoral beauty is beyond description; pictures do not do it justice.
We cycled from place to place (50-75 miles per day), then camped with most of the other riders on athletic fields, in parks, and in fairgrounds. Some riders choose to stay in area hotels, but we have found that it’s more fun to meet new people (and sometimes old friends) by staying in the campgrounds. We arrived in Cortland on July 18 and camped at the fairgrounds.