Leader: Debby Bowman
Members: Harry Kidd, Jim Hudnall, Jane Hudnall, Ellen Goodwin, Janell Saunders
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30410482 - 39 miles, 2000 feet of climbing. The goal for the day was to do a ride that would offer rest stops with air conditioning, ice and cold drinks that were highly likely to be open on the holiday. I consulted with Steve Palincsar and Joan Oppel regarding rest stop locations that met the criteria, and along with their suggestions Steve devised a route that went north through Marlton to William Beanes Rd and passed Moore's Country Store on the way to Merkle on the return. In addition to offering rest stop options for a hot day, the route also offered numerous shady stretches, an easy shortcut for anyone who might need it and a perfect tie-in to the July 4th holiday. Concerned that Moore's Store might be closed for the holiday, I tweaked it a bit so that it stopped at the grocery store on S Osborn later in the ride, when we were more likely to be feeling the heat and humidity. So we began with a trip to Nottingham, riding down Martin, Molly Berry and Candy Hill Rds, then taking Fenno past Merkle and heading up St Thomas Church to Croom. Then we took Duley Station and Old Indian Head to 301, where we had our first rest stop at the McDonald's. For the second stint we took Trumps Hill to Croom, Croom Station and Old Crain Hwy, then enjoyed the rollers on William Beanes and headed down S Osborn for a stop at the Safeway. After crossing 301 onto Heathermore, we meandered around the Marlton neighborhood, then took Wallace Ln back to Duley Station. From there we finished the ride on Old Indian Head, Van Brady, Molly Berry and N Keys Rd.
Weather: For a hot and humid July day, we were lucky. A pop-up rain storm just before the ride start remained to our south, there were enough clouds during the early part of the ride to keep the sun from making things too unpleasant, and the thunderstorms that formed in the early afternoon stayed to our north. The thermometer in the car read 95 when we returned to N Keys Park.
Mishaps and mechanicals: A dropped chain, a missed turn, a few places on the cue sheet that needed clarification.
History: The northernmost part of the ride was along William Beanes Rd in Upper Marlboro. William Beanes was a doctor who was born in the Croom area in 1749. During the Revolutionary War he volunteered his services at a hospital in Philadelphia, caring for casualties from the battles of Lexington and Concord, Brandywine, Long Island and Valley Forge. In 1779 he bought land just outside of Upper Marlboro, where he had a farm and grist mill in addition to practicing medicine.
During the War of 1812, the British fleet were active in the Chesapeake Bay and sailed up the Patuxent River. In the summer of 1814, they landed at Benedict and marched to Upper Marlboro, where Beanes offered the British general and vice admiral the use of his house for two days, causing them to believe that he sympathized with their cause. The British then marched into Washington, fighting at Bladensburg along the way to burning the capital city. On their return through Upper Marlboro, some deserters plundered several farms in the area and were captured by a group of locals that included Dr. Beanes. Upon learning of Beanes's involvement in the imprisonment of the deserters, the British general felt betrayed, arrested Beanes and held him prisoner on a ship in the Chesapeake. Friends of Beanes asked a Georgetown lawyer named Francis Scott Key to help negotiate for Beanes's release. Accompanied by a US Prisoner Exchange Agent named John Stuart Skinner, Key sailed from Baltimore to the British admiral's flagship, where they convinced the general to release Beanes. The three men were then allowed to return to their ship but were held eight miles off shore from Fort McHenry, where they watched as the Battle of Baltimore raged overnight. The British lost the battle, released Key, Skinner and Beanes, and retreated. Upon the Americans' return to Baltimore, Key wrote a poem about the battle called "The Defence of Fort McHenry." The poem was then set to the tune of a popular British song called "To Anacreon in Heaven" and renamed "The Star Spangled Banner."
Report: All in all, we had a nice bike ride on the July 4th holiday. After seeing reports from previous Best of Brandywine rides showing many participants from different ride categories, I had hoped that a faster ride leader would join us and I'd have a rare chance to say hello to many folks that I don't see often. Unfortunately this was not the case. But we had a nice group of CC riders consisting of a few BoB regulars and several folks who were enjoying a rare weekday ride on a holiday. At the ride start, we noted the rain to our south and discussed the possibility that we might need to take advantage of the short cut after the first rest stop. Then we headed out to enjoy the ride down to the Merkle area. Although there was no sign of rain when we reached the McDonald's, one rider decided that the three H's (heat, humidity and hills) were reason enough to take the short cut, thus ending up with a 27-mile ride. The rest of us continued north, appreciating the shady trees and clouds obscuring the sun as we rode. After the second rest stop, the sun came out and stayed out. We slowed our pace a bit but were able to complete the ride without any problems.
Thanks to everyone who joined me for a holiday bike ride!