Memorial Day Rides

Humidity, Humidity! Memorial Day weekend was hot and sticky! Not exactly ideal weather to ride, but I would rather ride than complain about the weather. The sun was out for most of the weekend, so regardless of the humidity, a lot of people were outdoors to kickoff the summer season.

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I led 2 of the 5 rides that went out this weekend. Both were hot and humid, but a few brave souls pedaled on. Dave’s trail ride had great attendance, as did Becky’s beginner road ride on Sunday. Kyle’s MTB ride in Port Jervis went off without a hitch.

All and all, it was a great weekend of events at Action Bikes and Outdoor.TC Crawford, the owner of the shop, really kicked things up a notch this year. The band, Fantasia Project was fantastic and played to enthusiastic fans all day long. The drive in movie, (The Great Outdoors) under the stars was awesome and also well attended.

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

 

Hopefully, the next ride I post will be the overnight bike packing trip. As long as the rain holds out, one night this week could prove to be my night in the great outdoors!

 

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Group Rides

It’s that time of year. Action Bikes and Outdoor are starting their group rides for the summer season. Officially kicking off this holiday weekend, with their Memorial Day sale and many events:

A 25 mile road ride will depart the shop at 5pm tonight. It will be at a moderate pace (14-16 MPH). No one gets left behind!

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Tomorrow morning, another road ride will depart the shop at 11am. This time, 35 miles, but also at a moderate pace. No one gets left behind!

Tomorrow at 12pm (noon), the shop will be giving a flat tire clinic. Don’t get left out on the road waiting for a ride, because you can’t fix your own flat. This 45 minute clinic will give you the skills and know how to get rolling again.

Tomorrow at 1pm, an 8 mile trail ride will leave the shop and roll through Milford and onto the Mcdade trail and back. All abilities are welcome. No one gets left behind!

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Tomorrow 2-6pm, it’s music time – Fantasia Project will be playing on the patio at Action Bikes and Outdoor.

Tomorrow night, Action Bikes and Outdoor will have a Drive In Movie at sunset. They have secured a radio station for audio and will be showing “The Great Outdoors” (rated PG).

Sunday at 10am – The Frisky Goat Coffeehouse is sponsoring a beginner road ride. This ride will be led by Becky! It will be 12 miles long. All riders and all bikes are welcome. This is the perfect ride to get started this season or try out that new bike! No one gets left behind!

Sunday, also at 10am – There will be a Port Jervis Mountain Bike Ride. Come  check out what all the excitement is about.  If you are a mountain bike rider, you must attend this ride! Meeting at the end of Reservoir Avenue in Port Jervis at 10am. The address is 71 Reservoir Ave. Port Jervis, NY 12771. Once you arrive, bear left on the dirt road for a 1/4 mile. Park in the small parking area on the right hand side.

No excuses, get out and ride!

 

Bashakill Vinyards – Almost

Sunday was the day, the day we were to ride to the Bashakill Vinyards. We almost made it. Well, there was an incident or should I say, an accident. The ride did start out fairly well. At 31 miles in, things went sour quickly.

First, let me say that we had near perfect weather. 60 degrees and cloudy. Eric, Steve, Deb, TC and myself,  headed out of Action Bikes and Outdoor in the heart of Milford, at just after 10am. We cruised at a moderate pace through Milford Borough, down past the Metz Ice House and over the Milford/Montague Bridge.

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We turned right onto Old Mine Road and rolled through the trafficless, quiet landscape for just about 7 miles. Reaching Dingmans Turnpike, we hung a left and rode up Tuttles Corner Hill. After climbing over to Layton, NJ, we turned left onto Layton Hainsville Road and zipped through the farms and quaint homes to Degroat and across Rt. 206 to Cemetary Road. Cemetary Road becomes New Road and winds through a residental neighborhoood while we save for the impending climb.

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A right on Deckertown Turnpike and we begin climbing. As soon as you turn, the grade of the road immediately steepens. Up we went for 4 miles until descending sharply to Saw Mill Road. A left and we are pedaling through High point State Park. Saw Mill is a cool roller coaster road that swoops you up and down for 4 miles to the end at Rt. 23. After a left hand turn, we bombed down Rt. 23 for a few miles and into Montague, NJ.  That’s where things went awry.

As we rolled straight through the commercial area of Montague, NJ, where traffic for Rt. 84 was backed up about a half mile, a car made a left, right in front of Deb, causing her to crash into the side of it.

Deb showed incredible bike handling skills to stay upright. She simply ran out of road, before colliding with the vehicle. The NYS State Police, NJ State Police, Montague Fire Department and Blue Ridge Ambulance company all responded to the scene. After a short ride to the hospital and a battery of tests, Deb is home recovering.

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Our ride ended at the accident scene and although we did make it to the winery, we missed Deb and Eric and do not consider the ride complete. A 2nd Bashakill ride is planned for early August and we hope Deb will be fully recovered and ready to ride!

 

Coffee, Rain & Poison Ivy

On a rather chilly Sunday morning, I met up with Steve and Eric at Dingmans Falls for a 7am ride up and down the Delaware River. We parked right on Rt. 209 at the base of the falls, just passed Rt. 739. From the falls, we headed out north on Rt.209 through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

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Dingman Falls

For eight and a half miles, we roller coastered up Rt. 209, past Adams Creek and the Zimmerman Farm. For most of the way, we rode alongside the McDade Trail, just up the hill from the river. We pulled into Milford and hit the Frisky Goat Coffee House (where we should have started) for a chance to warm up, sip a delicious cup of java and take a bathroom brake away from one of Mother Nature’s annoying phenomenoms (more on this later).

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We left town and shot down Rt.209/Rt. 6, a fast, slightly downhill stretch that takes you from Milford, through the box store littered Westfall Township and Matamoras, with little to no traffic at this hour. Over the Bridge, we dropped under the trestle and navigated the city of Port Jervis, NY until we rode over the Neversink River and turned right on River Road and pedaled up past Silver Canoes and up the first hill. River Road has a few short hills but is relatively flat.  About 4 miles in, we noticed an abandoned house in the woods. This seemed like a good time for a photo.

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What I didn’t know was that I leaned my bike, right in the middle of what appeared to be a load of poison ivy. Eric and Steve both pointed out that the recent rain, probably brought about a good share of the dreaded plant. I really had no idea how to spot poison ivy. So, I did a little research to hopefully keep you and me clear of it.

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Poison Ivy

You’ll notice three pointed leaves that change colors with the seasons:

Reddish in the spring, Green in the summer, Yellow, orange, or red in the fall. On some plants, the leaves have notched edges. On others, the leaves’ edges are smooth. Poison ivy can grow as a bush or vine. You may see the vines climbing up the sides of trees or buildings(Look to the left of my bike, growing up the tree). The plants sometimes have white berries, which help it spread. Birds eat the berries and transplant the seeds on new areas along with their droppings. This may be why poison ivy is so common. Steer clear of this and spend less time itching and more time riding!

From River Road, we turned right on Old Mine Road for a quiet 7 mile roll through the woods, when it started raining. I thought great, no yard work today, but by time we hit the Dingmans Bridge and got back to our cars, the rain stopped and the sun was shining.

With about 32 miles and little to no climbing, this is an intermediate ride that can be done on just about any type of bike.

What’s Playing: (What am I’m listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – ELO – Mr. Blue Sky

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Morning Gravel AM

After a couple of beautiful days, the rain is headed back. While doing some early morning road rides this week, Eric thought we should get a gravel ride in this morning before Mother Nature exercised her right to spring. With only 2 hours before I had to be at work, we settled on Five Mile Meadow Road and the surrounding trails. As I’ve previously stated, Five Mile Meadow Road, which connects Rt. 739 and Silver Lake Road, is hard packed gravel for about 6.4 miles. We started out on Five Mile, and found our way onto Standing Tall Trail, a snow mobile trail deep in the Delaware State Forest.

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I didn’t have to ride through, but it was fun!

There is a creek crossing about a mile into the trail, that’s maybe crossable at best. The trail is lined with wire fencing in conjunction with Pennsylvania’s Deer Management Program. Ending at Silver Lake Road, we turned left, followed the broken pavement for a mile, and did the Little Mud Pond gravel horseshoe. Little Mud Pond is a gravel road that’s a little more than a mile through a beautiful lake community that reminds you of an old fishing village.

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Once out on Silver Lake road again, we pedaled down and hung a left back onto Five Mile Meadow. We went up the first hill, and right onto Bald Hill Road. Bald Hill is a well groomed combination of smooth crushed gravel and dirt. Hunting cabins litter both sides of the road for 2 1/2 miles until it comes to an abrupt end in a dirt circle. Private Property separates Bald Hill from the back of the Dingman Delaware School campus.

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We zipped back up Bald Hill, right on Five Mile Meadow, and grinded our way back to the deer trail that takes us back around to my house. We were both very content to get a ride in this morning as the rain started to come down, just as we exited the woods. A quick shower and off to work, daydreaming about where to ride this weekend.

What’s Playing: (What am I’m listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – Joe Cocker – When the Night Comes

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Bashakill Ride – Update

Just a reminder:

The Bashakill Vinyards and Winery ride is still on for Sunday, May 22nd. The time has been changed to 10:00am. We will Depart Action Bikes and Outdoor at 611 Broad St. Milford, PA 18337 and ride a scenic route through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, a total of 50 miles, at a moderate pace.

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Example of how to properly ride in a group

Transportation back to the start will be provided. There are a limited number of spots for bikes going back, so please call the shop and confirm that you are riding. There is no cost for the ride, however, Bashakill’s wine tasting is $4 if they have more than 4 wines available to taste. You do get a cool souvenir wine glass with your tasting. There will be food available for purchase at the winery or your welcome to bring your own.

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Local musician, Keith Newman will be playing from 2-6pm.

Keith Newman has been playing the Catskills rock circuit since his teenage years, as part of various bands and in collaboration with other local musicians. As a solo vocalist who accompanies himself on six and twelve string guitar and harmonica, he continues to play a wide variety of acoustic music. His repertoire includes covers by artists including the Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Simon & Garfunkel, Jackson Brown, Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, The Eagles and more.

Hope to see you there!

 

24 Hour Solo Bikepacking Trip: part 1

I’ve recently been bitten by the backpacking/bike camping bug. First, I would like to get out, and do a solo 24 hour bike camping trip. I’m thinking that this would be a good reset after a stressful week. Also, flying solo would be a great way to find my strengths and weaknesses on the trail and in the woods. I plan on preparing for as much as possible and packing whatever I think I will need, then adjusting my packing for later trips accordingly.

Living in the Milford area gives me more than a few options. Since I do not intend on making a campfire, my choice of campsites are many. I’ll just pick an area, do a recon ride to scout out a camp site, and map out the route later at home. Now, what to bring?

Fly Creek UL 2 Tent

 

A list of what to Pack:

Cooking Equipment/Food: Alcohol stove, denatured alcohol, matches, kettle, fork, folding knife, spoon, stainless steel cup, coffee filter, and pour over bracket. As this is only a 1 night trip, I will try to get by with some homemade soup, energy bars, water, coffee, and a PB&J

Clothes/Shoes: 1 set of bib shorts and jersey, 2 pairs of socks, 1 sweatshirt and long tights, gloves, beanie, t-shirt, extra pair of underwear, sneakers, riding shoes, helmet, and sunglasses

Tools: Multi tool, tire lever, mini pump, 2 tubes, patch kit, camera, cell phone

Shelter/Sleeping: 2 man tent, footprint, sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping pad, inflatable pillow, candle lantern

First Aid: Rollup first aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray

I’ll probably ride my Van Dessel WTF. It’s a steel bike that should hold everything fairly well. I will probably pack everything in my Revelate Designs Viscacha seat bag, my Revelate Tangle frame bag, and my Bushwhacker Cody handlebar bag. I’ll carry 2 large water bottles and a 70oz blatter in a backpack.

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Riding directly out of my house and into the Delaware State Forest would be ideal for my 1st solo. However, I think the best way to get it in is to just get it in.

Part 2 will be my assessment of the trip. I’ll post some photos, thoughts, and details. Until then, get outside, ride your bike, paddle your kyack, and read my blog!

 

 

A New Discovery – Maybe not that New

Finally, a semi dry day. This morning, the weather forecast called for 42 degrees and cloudy skies, but no rain! After near drought conditions and 3 forest fires nearby, the rain was certainly welcomed, but not 8 straight days of it. Well, with a temporary break in the pattern, an early morning ride was beckoning.

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I hooked up with Eric, and departed Action Bikes and Outdoor at 7:30am. It was a little chilly, but some climbing early on would heat things up a bit. We crossed the Milford Bridge, and darted up Deckertown Turnpike. It was immediately apparent that the past weeks rain turned the brown, dreary landscape into the green, mountainous beauty that makes the tri-state area so desirable. We turned right on New Road before Deckertown really got steep. New Road is slightly downhill for 3 miles. Just before we would have crossed over Rt. 206, we hung a left on Degroat Road for what turned out to be a cool detour.

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We came upon Luna Parc, an artistic wonderland, hidden in the woods. Luna Parc is the home of madcap artist Ricky Boscarino. His largest work in progress is his home and the atelier Luna Parc, which began in 1989. While not open to the public, 3 day open house tours are known to occour.

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Luna Parc

Just up the road, we made a right on Meyers Road. For another mile and a half, we cruised through a quiet, serene setting, before coming to Rt. 206. Turning right, we made 2 quick lefts, and dropped onto Layton Hainsville Road. Making our way into Layton, we passed a few runners and walkers, probably itching to get outside. Another right hander, and we went right through Layton and onto Bevans Road.

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We snaked our way to Peter’s Valley, and took respite at the Peter’s Valley store and gallery. IMG_2888

Up the famed Peter’s Valley climb, we plateaued, and descended down across Rt. 560 and onto Old Mine Road. Apparently, it’s turkey season for the local hunters, as cars were parked all along the roadway. Although pot holed for the last 3 miles, Old Mine Road is fast, and dumps you right at the base of the aforementioned Milford Bridge. Once across, we dropped down passed the Metz Ice house and back up into Milford for a recovery spin back to the shop.

What’s Playing: (What am I’m listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty in Pink (I don’t know why, but probably because of Luna Parc)

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Rain, Rain go away!

No riding today, it’s raining again. I’m not up for another rain ride. Thursday afternoon, I rode from Dingmans Falls to Bushkill on the McDade Trail. I was not totally prepared for the rain and got soaked. Although wet, it was very meditative as I did not see a soul on the trail. I think my 50 year old body is still drying out.

Green woods on a rainy day

I’m not complaining, as we need the water. With a milder than normal winter, and not much rain so far in the early spring, multipe day forest fires have been popping up all over the Poconos and Catskills. So, with an end to the fires, the below photo is how I’m feeling right now!

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Gene Kelly making the most of the rain!

A quick check of the weather and it’s supposed to rain for the next few days. Ok, enough! Tuesday morning road ride from Action Bikes and Outdoor in Milford 7am, rain or shine.