While riding in the woods most of the last few months, I’ve gotten out on the road a few times. I’ve told you of the precautions I’m taking, but like most people, the longer we endure this pandemic, the more comfortable I feel riding amid the traffic or what little traffic there currently is.
That being said, it’s kind of eerie pedaling from Rt. 739 into Milford on Rt. 6 and only seeing a handful of cars. With schools closed and most people out of work or working from home, the roads are more bicycle friendly than they’ve been in years.
With less cars to worry about, you begin to take notice of your surroundings. Seeing so many stores closed, I started to wonder which businesses will endure this economic crisis and how many people will be affected by the ones that have to close their doors now or in the near future. These are sad times.
Getting back to cycling. Spring is almost over, but summer is all but here. The trees are green, the air is warm and the flowers are blooming everywhere. There’s a lot to see out there. Get out and ride.
Don’ forget to thank our local front line heroes: any employees in the medical field, first responders, delivery men, supermarket and pharmacy employees, restaurant employees, utility workers, plumbers, electricians and anyone that keeps showing up for work, so the rest of the world can self isolate. Do your part. Wear your mask and gloves when you must leave the house.
What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Tony Carey – I Won’t Be Home Tonight
My last post summarized my ride through a section of Irish Swamp Trail. Part 2 could and should bring the navigation of this byway to some sort of a conclusion. It does not. My routes have all but eliminated that area for now. Fortunately, I decided that I would ride to the beginning of Five Mile Meadow Road and across Rt. 739. This gravel roadway goes another mile past the State Route, all the way to I84.
About a half mile from the end, a new road appeared. On the left hand side, I noticed a road cut out along the power lines. It was extremely hilly, chopped up and looked like it went for miles. I took the left and made my way up the heavily traveled roadway. Most of the road was large, 4-6 inch stone. This makes it difficult to glide over. Both sides of the road appeared to be recently logged.
That section of Five Mile Meadow Road has been off limits to bikes for a couple of years now. I’ve stayed off the road since, but Friday was different. I looked but did not see the sign, so I guess I took advantage and pedaled down to check out an old haunt. This is also accessible from the mountain bike trails that sit between Sunrise Lakes and I84, near Rattlesnake Creek. A mtb would be a little more suitable as there is some technical singletrack that connects these two gems.
After riding back into the center of the forest, I ventured up Silver Lake Road and to my surprise, a white horse stood where 2 dogs normally alert the entire county that I’m climbing up that hill. It was a malnourished looking beast, appearing like it was content being nursed back to health. A quick rip up Standing Stone Trail and back through the deer path to my community, left me satisfied that I hit a good portion of this magical natural beauty without touching the Northeast section or Irish Swamp. More fun to be had….
What’s Playing, (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding). Today – Ike and Tina Turner- Proud Mary
Discovering new trails opens you up to new adventures. When you find a new road or trail that’s close to one of your normal routes, you wonder why you haven’t opted for this detour and where will it lead. Often, these detours are old Jeep tracks that wind through the woods connecting logging roads and snow mobile trails.
Over the last few years, while in the Delaware State Forest, I’ve passed a trail marker for Elbow Swamp Rd and Irishman Swamp Trail. Today, I needed to get deeper into the woods, a little further from civilization than I normally go. Although I’ve been riding solo, I needed to pedal aimlessly through the unknown.
Just south of Standing Stone Trail, off Silver Lake Road, Irishman Swamp is a long double track trail that sits extremely low, taking on more than its share of water. I rode a couple of miles in to an area called Bald Barren, a thick patch of land that sits between Flat Ridge Road and Silver Lake Road. I did not have time to investigate how I could connect to the Burnt Mills Trail system or Flat Ridge Road. Further exploration is imminent.
Being there brought back memories of the places I’ve rode in the last year. Traveling for work has brought me ample opportunity to ride in virgin territory. These thoughts are not good. They’re making me want to explore, like nothing is going on in the world. Like everything is normal, “the old normal”. But, as the sun goes down, I glide out of the forest and back into my community, face mask on, bottles covered, happy I could venture out once more and hopeful I can do it again.
What’s Playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Frida – I Know There’s Something Going On (1982)
Although I have been riding both on the road and in the woods, I am still trying to figure out what the best course of action is to keep myself safe and to set a good example. While I have been wearing a face covering on all rides and riding alone 100% of the time, I still wonder, is it safe to ride along side the car going in the same direction as you or past the car going in the opposite direction, with the windows open.
If 6 feet is the safe distance when 2 people are standing still, then what’s the safe distance of a car flying by in either direction with the windows open as the driver sneezes, coughs or spits? I haven’t found any found any material suggesting what that distance would be. What I have found is some information regarding groups of cyclists riding together. While I know this is a sore point for many, I have been preaching that you should be riding alone. Recent research backs this up. I pulled a chart from a well read cycling blog, showing what the safe distances are for various activities. It shows that while slower activities require less of a distance, cycling at high speeds requires about 40 feet.
On my recent rides, I have placed a strip of packing tape over the nipple of my water bottles. This may be a bit extreme, but it seems as the weather gets warmer, most driver’s have the windows open. I ordered a couple of water bottles with flip off lids to keep any flying fluids off the top of my bottles.
None of this is backed by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) or WHO (World Health Organization), just an uninformed cyclist, navigating these crazy times.
We have not done a contest in quite some time. With a lot of people sheltering in place and working from home, Riding Milford has been getting plenty of views and a lot more followers. I think we have people who are putting in an enormous amount of miles and on the opposite side of the spectrum, people who used to ride regularly, but during this new environment, are getting outside to pedal for a little exercise and vitamin D.
This has been a crazy time in history and it’s far from over. To keep everyone interested, I thought it would be a good idea to get more people out there with a distance or climbing challenge. On second thought, if anyone gets hurt, this is not a time you want to end up in the emergency room. So, I think a photo contest is in order. The weather is starting to get warm and the days are getting longer, providing ample riding opportunities.
The winner gets a pair of Tifosi Optics Crit sunglasses in Matte Gunmetal with Polarized Fototec Light Changing Lenses. A $100 value.
Made of Grilamid TR-90, a homopolyamide nylon characterized by an extremely high alternative bending strength, low density, and high resistance to chemical and UV damage. Hydrophilic rubber ear and nose pieces for a no-slip fit. Adjustable ear and nose pieces for a customizable, comfortable fit. Vented lenses improve air circulation, prevent fogging.
So, all I need from you are some fabulous pics of your bike in nature. The only twist that makes this different from previous photo contests is you. The pic has to be a selfie with your bike and you wearing a face covering or mask. Have fun with it. I’d like to see what everyone is wearing. You can send me your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your first name and where your photo was taken. We will run this through May.
I will then post the photos and ask you, the readers, to vote by leaving a comment. I can’t wait to see your pics!
What’s Playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), Today – Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now