I arrived into Raleigh on the train about 8:30 this morning, having slept probably five or six hours in my berth. Despite the extra cost for the sleeper on the overnight train, I think I made the right decision: I had a nice full day here today.
Unfortunately, it got off to a rocky start when I discovered that the baggage handlers on the train had somehow caused my bike’s chain to slip off. (First time I’ve experienced that on this bike.) I tried to ride off the platform and out of the station, but couldn’t do it with the chain off. After an Amtrak staffer helped me to walk a back way through the station, I went out front and tried to reattach the chain, but only succeeded in thoroughly blackening and greasing my hands. I sat in front of the station and watched a YouTube tutorial on putting the chain back into place on a Brompton (the folding mechanism makes it extra tricky) and the woman made it look very simple, but I could not duplicate it.
Fortunately, my Raleigh host (introduced to me by my wonderful Charlotte Warmshowers host Pam) was working in his office in a nearby downtown building, so I was able to simply walk the rig over to his office to pick up the key to his house. I had thought I would then walk the rig over to the certified Brompton dealer in town to have them work on the chain, but Cody was able to fix it himself on the spot, using a bike tool he had on hand at work. I so appreciate when people are able to help me with unexpected mechanical troubles!
Thus fortified, I biked the rig over to his house on the east side of town, and spent a few hours getting my mind settled in my new city, working on logistics and lodging for the coming week, and deciding what to do today.
When I did leave the house in the early afternoon, I ended up taking a beautiful ride about five miles west, to the gorgeous Lake Johnson Park.
Once I arrived at the lake, I was struck by the beauty of the place. The water itself was gorgeous, and there was a paved bike trail loop all around the lake, including a few short scenic spurs. I enjoyed the ride in the forest and the views of the water, and spent probably at least an hour resting on various benches and just taking in the natural scene.
After that nearly perfect afternoon, I cycled back toward town and met up with a Bumble fellow I had just matched with, for a dinner date at a vegan restaurant downtown, Element Gastropub. We enjoyed good food and good conversation, and then took a short walk to the nearby Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, which looked really cool with magenta light in the early darkness.
I’m working out my plans for the next couple of days (another day in Raleigh? Straight to Durham?) but definitely looking forward to spending more time in this area.
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