Birthdays, bicycles and waterfalls

A good bit has happened since Rochester.

We dipped into Canada and saw Niagara Falls, and I’m really ambivalent about the area. The falls themselves are remarkable, but the actual city of Niagara Falls was pretty forgettable. Maybe we went to the wrong part, but it was super touristy, loaded with Applebees’ and other chains, and it just didn’t have a distinct culture. I could be off on this, but I was content to see the falls and take off.

That same day we dipped through Buffalo. Again, we’re often in places for so short it’s hard to do all there is to do, but Buffalo felt like a city trying to trend upward. A lot of parts felt old and industrial, and other blocks were modern and really beautiful. The only thing I know for sure about Buffalo is the food there is great. We all went out to Anchor Bar, the self-proclaimed home of the original Buffalo wing. I washed down a Buffalo-style chicken sandwich with a Labatt Blue before taking off the next morning.

Best shot I could get of both the major falls. If you stand any closer than this, you get soaked.
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I wish I could tell you where/when this was, but the days just blur together. Anyway, this is a good shot of a typical tent village/hanging out after a long day of riding.
First glimpses of Lake Erie on my birthday
First glimpses of Lake Erie on my birthday.

A few days later I had the joy of celebrating my 23rd birthday by biking 100 miles out of New York, through Pennsylvania, and into Ohio! There were thunderstorms, sunny skies, cheesecakes, flat tires and more. As bizarre a day it was, I had a great time and am thankful for everyone who helped make it special!

The real celebrations came the next day as we rode into Cleveland for a day off. Forget everything you’ve heard about Cleveland, because it’s awesome. At least 25th Street is awesome. Everyone is super friendly, the weather was perfect, there are tons of local bars and restaurants, and the city certainly had it’s own unique flavor. Had I been in Cleveland in January instead of June I might be arguing a different point, but Cleveland in the summer is definitely worth visiting. After riding along Lake Erie, past the Browns’ stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we stayed a brand new hostel just a stone’s throw from downtown.

In Cleveland, we hung out with some hilarious and admirable MS patients, ate a ton of ice cream, hung out in a newfangled hostel, drank peanut butter stouts and chocolate porters, and really let our legs rest up.

A shot of the whole Northern Tier team at our event where we ate lunch with MS patients and also dropped off a $10,000 check to Cleveland's MS Society.
A shot of the whole Northern Tier team at our event where we ate lunch with MS patients and also dropped off a $10,000 check to Cleveland’s MS Society.
Mitchell's Ice Cream in Cleveland. Their shop looks like if a craft brewery and Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory got tossed in a blender
Mitchell’s Ice Cream in Cleveland. Their shop looks like if a craft brewery and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory got tossed in a blender.
More intimate look at where the ice cream gets made. It was absolutely dynamite.
More intimate look at where the ice cream gets made. It was absolutely dynamite.
Stopping to admire Lake Erie just before riding into Cleveland.
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Rooftop pizza!
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Breakfast in the hostel’s kitchen with some of the team.

We have four 80+ mile days ahead of us, so it’s time for me to go now!

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