Photo of the group at the lunch stop
Who knew Berks County was full of bountiful corn fields? None of us, if you only ride there with the CSBA in December...
For the month of August, the PA CSBA postponed the annual Shamokin Screamer route because the much beloved Rt. 125 was recently covered in gravel, making it unsafe for motorcycles. We are hoping to be able to revisit the ride next month. As a result, the much neglected December ride was brought in as a substitute. The Berks County Blitz is a beautiful ride, provided you like green rolling hills, green grass, green trees, flowing streams, cornfield canyons, and some challenging back roads.
The August ride for the PA CSBA was also the first ride of the year to be run on its scheduled date! However, we did have to start an hour later, in order to allow the tail end of a storm front to move through. After some lingering clouds and drizzle made their way out, what was left was a beautifully sunny and breezy day that felt more like mid- to late-September than the beginning of August.
So, after a brief pre-ride meeting, our 17 gathered riders (and one passenger) were divided into 2 groups and we were on our way to dodge the occasional puddle and damp spots in the shaded areas. This route passes through a lot of farm fields (and their associated risks) and most of the roads are both scenic and challenging, and they are in relatively good condition this year. It mostly stays away from major highways and we experience a lot of STOP signs, while largely avoiding stoplights. It truly is the most "back road" route of the year.
The Lead group was led by Rick Johnson and his GPS. The GPS issued a few faulty instructions, so while the they were running in a bit of a circle, the Chase group managed to catch up with them. Sadly, about a half hour later, the gap was closed again, as a rider from the leading group suffered a technical DNF and was sidelined just about in the middle of Nowhere.
Broken down bike getting loaded on a flat bed tow truck
From there, everything went well and the rest of us arrived at the lunch stop only slightly behind schedule. After lunch, Rick shared his testimony; how his relationship with God began from having no interest at all to a lifelong commitment, thanks in large part, to the generous availability of a helpful friend. Rick realized, among other things, that the partying life he had been living was probably not going to be the best long-term plan for the husband and father he had become. He also emphasized the point that, at the CSBA, we are committed to being available for spiritual help and support in any way we can.
After that, about half of the group made their way home, and so 9 of us continued on for the afternoon. Because this route is normally scheduled for shorter, colder days, it is relatively short and quick. Since it was a beautiful day, we took the opportunity to climb the hill up to the Pagoda in Reading and ride along Skyline Dr. (well, part of it... it is also being repaved) before blasting down through the Oley valley. We took a couple of extra "detours" through a particularly scenic and hilly part of the area on our way to the final stop at a local dairy.
Scenic view overlooking Reading, PA from the Pagoda parking lot
All in all, it was a terrific day. Having a short route available to substitute in on short notice came in handy when the weather tried to make things difficult, yet again. We had a few new riders join us and we truly hope they enjoyed their day with us and hope to see them again. Thank you to everyone who came out!