Why, Where, and When I Ride My Bicycle

by Tom Marlowe

When and where did you first start riding? In my hometown on a new-to-me 24-inch single speed that I painted red. I rode all over the place. It was great.

How often do you ride now? I ride most days, even if it is a short trip. I use my bike to run errands around town. I will not go out into the rain, because it makes it hard for me to see and for drivers to see me. I ride year-round. I ride all winter, except when it is icy or slushy. Ice is too dangerous, and slush makes a mess. Plus, all that salt is not good for the bike.

Where do you like to ride? I ride around Gettysburg and in the Michaux Forest. I have ridden some on the C&O Canal and a lot on the York Heritage Rail Trail. A few years ago, I rode part of the Greater Allegheny Passage with my brother and his wife. That is an amazing ride along the river.

What bikes do you ride? I have all the bikes I need, but not all the bikes I want. The bike I ride depends on where I ride. For the roads and most rail trails, I ride a Linear Roadster recumbent bike. For short hops around town or more challenging terrain I ride a specialized Epic Comp. The good folks at Gettysburg Bicycle are great at keeping my stable fit.

How long have you been riding and how has your riding changed over time? I have been riding for a long time, probably since elementary school. I started with a single speed, coaster brake bike and had a great time with it. In the late 70s, I refurbished and rode an old “English racer” type bicycle. Next, I bought an early mountain bike and rode it until it fell apart. I found an upright “road-bike” at a yard sale and rode it until carpal-tunnel syndrome made it painful to ride. I started riding recumbent bicycles about 20 years ago. I used to view biking as recreation only. Now, I see it as a viable (and fun) mode of transportation.

How can we make it safer to ride the roads in Adams County? Put more signs on the roads telling motorists that Pennsylvania state law requires them to give bicycle riders at least four feet of space when passing. We get a lot of visitors from Maryland and their law is only three feet. I see some four-foot signs along Black Horse Tavern Road and a couple in the borough, but more are needed. Publicity in the newspapers is also good. Adams County is a great place to live and ride. However, there are some roads such as state Routes 116 and 234 that I avoid and don’t recommend because they have narrow shoulders with drop offs, blind hills and curves. I encourage riders to be polite and acknowledge drivers who give them space.

Tom Marlowe started riding bikes when he was growing up in West Virginia. He has lived in Adams County since 1989. Biking plays a major and enjoyable role in his efforts to stay healthy and fit.