IF THIS KIND of thing keeps up, the folks who run the annual Cycle Across Maryland may have to add a subtitle: . . . and Find Love and Romance.
That's what happened, at least, to Susie Haigh and Dave Jones on last summer's second annual CAM tour. The two Cockeysville cyclists met while pedaling a scenic country road in Frederick County last August. Tomorrow they will wed in an evening ceremony at the Wicomico Shores Golf Course on the Eastern Shore.
The wedding cake ornament will be a tiny bicycle built for two, and their gifts to each other are new bike saddles. What's more, on a two-week honeymoon to Hawaii, they plan to mountain bike down a 40-mile volcanic crater.
Yet Susie, 30, says that when CAM Tour concluded last year in St. Mary's City, "we never were really sure that we'd see each other again."
"I definitely could not have foreseen this," agrees Dave, 26.
Here is the sweet, two-wheel tale in brief:
Susie joined CAM Tour, a 350-mile weeklong bicycling trip, as part of a group representing the Patuxent Area Cycling Enthusiasts. Having become serious about biking while attending Indiana University -- courtesy of a gift second-hand bike from a boyfriend -- she was a past president and newsletter editor of the club. She had worked as a youth activities director at the Patuxent Naval Air Station and later moved to the Charles County recreation department.
Dave, who went to the University of Delaware and is a civil engineer involved in airport planning for Greiner Inc., in Cockeysville, began riding seriously in 1987 and was on CAM Tour with three male friends.
After a rest stop on the road between Frederick and Columbia, CAM Tour '90's middle day, Susie had outpaced her group with another woman she had met the night before.
"Shortly after we left the rest stop, these four guys rode past and I said, 'Let's try to hang in with them,' " recalls Susie.
So mile after mile, the six riders stayed together in what cyclists call a "pace line," swapping riding positions and chatting together. At a Pizza Hut in Howard County, they stopped for lunch to get better acquainted. By the end of the tour, the six had become one of a number of informal teams on the ride, calling themselves Team On Your Left.
"See, whenever we passed anyone we were very, very polite," says Susie. Each rider in the phalanx would call out the traditional "on your left" to alert the rider being passed.
"One day one guy just said, 'What are you guys, team on your left or something?' and it just kind of stuck," says Susie.
On the final night of the tour at Waldorf's Thomas Stone High School, in fact, Team On Your Left did a dancing skit in the talent show.
"The funny thing is, Dave and I discovered that we actually grew up about an hour apart from each other in southern Delaware," says Susie. She is from Milford and he is from Laurel.
Obviously, Susie and Dave did find each other again following CAM Tour, meeting often at weekly bicycle races in Greenbelt. Both train and compete in triathlons, says Susie, who recently moved to the Baltimore area and is seeking work.
They also talked a lot on the phone and, in the fall, says Dave, did a romantic covered-bridges bicycle tour together in Lancaster County, Pa. In November, he proposed.
There is also numerology at work here. The day they met on the road was Aug. 8, the proposal was on Nov. 8 and their wedding day, of course, is June 8. "Eight has become our number," says Susie.
And come Aug. 8 this summer, if all goes as planned, the couple will celebrate a first-acquaintance anniversary just a few days after riding together in CAM Tour '91, which is scheduled July 28-Aug. 3.
In fact, says Dave, they had considered getting married during this year's tour, but decided managing wedding details on the road was too complicated. They also decided against pedaling away from the wedding reception together, largely because it will be dark.
But bikes will obviously be part of their future together.
"I don't think we'll give it up any time soon," says Dave.