24 Hours in The Arch City (USA Day 23)
Between us existed a grand total of zero appetites for sightseeing today, but we still cycled through Columbus’ downtown in search of a particular bike co-op that we’d been told about. A pattern has definitely emerged in the strata of American cities: wealthy outskirts with golf courses and white picket fences, then exciting, gritty, grubby suburbs followed by a monolithic and faceless downtown. Columbus fit this perfectly, and while we didn’t see much evidence of its famous arches or newly-emerging coffee culture, we felt the layers of the city pass through us like cold snaps.
We found the co-op just as it opened, and enjoyed the coming and going of tinkerers and hopeful adopters, all surrounded by the heavy, greasy smell that only comes from decades of accrued bike parts. Amy’s rear gear shifter’s been doing some odd slipping, but we didn’t have enough time to get it seen to before we needed to do some slipping of our own, north out of town to Worthington to meet our host for tonight at midday, so we couldn’t wait around to get a service.
The path (that we’ll reverse back down tomorrow) wound along the brown and swollen Olentangy river, so furious with its latest addition of millions of gallons of rainwater that a couple of ‘dams’ we passed had been completely submerged, as had much of the scrubland around the riverbanks. Despite all this, however much the water had tried to block our path today, it had been unable. Maybe it’ll try again tomorrow.
We spent a warm (in many senses) afternoon with our host, hiding from the humid heat in his cool (in many senses) house, drinking tea, editing a video which is available NOW on my YouTube channel and website, driving out to a surprisingly brilliant microbrewery and sharing touring stories. We also did a proper 800-mile service on the bikes. Now the chains are gleaming, the brakes are perfectly balanced and Amy’s gear shifter won’t try slipping again if it knows what’s good for it. Fed, rested and not altogether familiar with Columbus, really, we’re ready for the longest day of our ride tomorrow, the longest of our tour so far, but pan flat, and the beginning of our week-long jaunt to Chicago.