Allow me to set the scene; I show up at The Bicycle Tour Company decked out in my best cycling gear, ready for a day of riding. Lora’s already there (she’s the most punctual person you’ll ever meet) and she’s gone for a different look – a cheeseburger t-shirt…and then there’s Tim, our videographer, who pulls a slice of cold pizza out of his trunk – breakfast of champions. Sal Lilienthal (owner) greets us and welcomes us into his headquarters.
Sal has a long history with cycling. Once a bicycle mechanic working on elite teams on the top races, such as with Lance Armstrong on the Motorola team for the Tour de France, he’s traveled the world doing what he loves. After losing friend and team member Fabio Casartelli in a crash in the 1995 Tour de France, Sal decided soon after to come back to the States and start the Bicycle Tour Company.
Sal’s other passion is history. He’s written a book, “Revolutionary Battles” – Experience America’s road to independence. He’s also designed a website which is interactive and gives driving or cycling maps and historical points for 9 tours all around Connecticut!
On our bicycle tour in and around the Kent/Cornwall/Washington area, we were going to hit some points on Route 1, the Ethan Allen tour. Really fascinating to get off your bike, go through a wooded area on the side of the road, and come upon Joseph Allen’s gravesite (Ethan Allen’s father), and further up the road, see where Ethan Allen’s boyhood home once stood.
But first; we had to warm up a little, and for one of us, remember how to ride a bike! Lora confessed to me the day before that she hadn’t been on a bike since junior high. We took the most beautiful and flat ride along the west side of the Housatonic River… Lora did great, funny how it comes back to you…it’s like riding a…sorry. We carried on through the covered bridge at Bulls Bridge and congratulated ourselves on remembering some of the Bicycle Rules of the Road.
The plan was to do portions of a few different rides Sal selected from the Kent Bike Routes Map, given to us at the beginning of the day. We rode a little, and then caught a lift with Sal in the tour van to the next spot, which suited us perfectly. The van’s well stocked with sport drinks and granola bars. We fueled up after our first long two-mile stretch (maybe it was a mile), carb-loading for the next leg. We must keep our energy up…
It really is such a perfect way to see the countryside. The bikes are easy to get used to and comfortable – and you don’t have to think of a thing. Show up and Sal’s company will have the bikes and helmets ready for you. And feel free to choose one of the 5 routes on the map (mostly starting from the center of Kent) or do your own thing! Just have the bike back at the end of the day. Simple as that!
Riding around Litchfield County is every bit as beautiful as riding around Tuscany, but if you wanted to check that out for yourself, Sal does European tours as well.
Sal – we can be swayed to write a post about your European Tours, you just have to ask 😉
Lora’s Favorite Thing: I got on a bike. And it was good. I didn’t fall off. But seriously, it was great to enjoy the scenery and get some exercise with my friend!
Bev’s Favorite Thing: I loved being out on the open roads on a sunny day, the wind in my hair. I also loved hearing Lora nerd out historically with Sal!
Address: 9 Bridge Street, Kent, CT 06757
Photos by Lora Warnick except for photos of Lora and Bev, done by Tim Lenz.