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  • Timothy Bruce

Nashville, through Kentucky towards Cincinnati

So here is the summary of the week which took us through some undulating landscapes and on towards north-west Kentucky and within touching distance of Cincinnati in Ohio.

The weekend in Nashville was a chance to rest and catch breath before another set of days in searing heat on the bicycles. We managed to find a bar within walking distance of the church where we were staying and this was a chance to relax and get to know each other a bit more. A guy, Keith, who had previous experience of riding with the Fuller Center turned up with enough fruit to see us through the remaining weeks of the tour, including pineapples, cantaloupe melons, watermelons, bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, etc. Given that Nashville was chock-a-block with country and western music fans, we decided to steer clear of the melee of the National Country & Western awards, besides, I’d left my cowboy hat back in England and I don’t have any cowboy boots! (Yeehaw!!)

The first ride of the day was from Nashville to Bowling Green was disrupted again by the heat and I only did the first and last sections resulting in only 45 miles out of a possible 71. Then on the following day I missed a section again due to the heat with me doing 55 miles out of a possible 81. Wednesday, hallelujah, I made it the full distance of 58 miles whilst I swept the ride and helped fix a couple of flats for one of the riders so that we reached Louisville.

Muhammad Ali‘s home in Louisville and the centre named after him

Louisville is also the home of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Someone had left their baseball bat in the street!

Thursday was to be a build day in Louisville but due to issues with our trailer, we had had to abandon the trailer in Bowling green and hire a replacement whilst it was repaired. This meant that two of us needed to drive back to Bowling Green to collect our now repaired trailer and return the one we had hired to bridge the gap. Mark Murphy drove the van whilst I kept him entertained whilst he found out more about this British guy on the ride and the comparisons between Britain and the US. Plenty of laughs later and a rather long wait in a McDonalds meant we returned to Louisville with our trailer but missed the build day.

Then Friday was to be a day of frustration for me as this time my ride was cut short by rain and mechanical issues! Just as I was cycling through Bedford, Kentucky my rear tyre blew and when I went to change my tyre I found my new bike had been fitted with tubeless tyres. It was raining quite hard and despite trying to fit a tube to the tyre, it did not inflate correctly and I had to abandon the rest of the ride. Just in time to miss a well deserved long downhill section, that I then endured in the van!! - Only 46 miles of a 79 miles day. aagh!! But readers, you will be relieved to know that I was able to make the entire Saturday ride from Warsaw to Erlanger, a massive journey of 31 miles.

Due to ride being short, all of us arrived in time to take a team trip into Cincinnati to go to the Underground Railroad Museum where we discovered some of the awful, disturbing facts and figures about the horrendous slave trade and the people who fought for the abolition of slavery in America. I was slightly disappointed to see no reference to the abolition of slavery in the UK and, particularly, William Wilberforce but nevertheless a challenging history of human abuse, with the sobering thought that this is still taking place around the world.

Sunday was a day off and it was lovely to be so warmly welcomed at the church service on the Sunday morning by the host church before making my way back to Cincinnati to celebrate Father’s Day with a game of baseball!! - Well, my kids were not in town at the time!! Ray Haas and I enjoyed the spectacle of another loss for the Cincinnati Reds as they were beaten 6-3 by the Milwaukee Brewers.

From here we have only one week left of the ride so join me again to see how many miles I might not do - sorry, too pessimistic……. How many miles I will complete!!

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