Winter Gravel

January in northeast Pennsylvania is getting warmer as the years go by. Maybe it’s global warming, maybe it’s not. Either way, it’s helping facilitate an easy transition to winter cycling. December was freezing, with temperatures in the single digits for more than a week. But January has brought us a fresh start. Mild weather that’s conducive to outdoor activities.

I’ve been riding quite frequently so far this year. Mostly on the road, as the back roads and trails were iced over for a the first week plus. But, I was able to sneak 3 gravel rides in at the Delaware State Forest.

It’s been a real pleasure getting back in the woods. The Hunters keep me out of the forest for about 2 months each year. That said, winter is a great time to get out there. The gravel is super hard, making for a surface that’s speedier than usual. Also, the creeks and rivers are ripping by as the thaw fills up waterways. As you can see in the above photo, I have one water bottle. I dropped my bike taking this shot and my bottle floated away.

I’ve tried to hit most of the northern end of the forest, saving the rest for when I’m doing longer rides, later in the season. I take this time to get some base miles in and snap some shots of the many hunting cabins that are scattered throughout the woods.

Five Mile Meadow Road and Flat Ridge Roads have been in surprisingly good shape for this time of year. The repairs made by the state have held up rather well. Ben Bush Trail and Standing Stone Trails have also held up to the cold. The only deteriorated surface has been Bald Hill. The descent towards the bottom is a bit washed out. I’m excited to be back in the forest and even more excited to discover more new roads and trails this spring.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – Sting – All this Time


Taking Pictures

It’s no secret that I like to take pictures of bikes in nature. Nothing pleases me more that to be out on a ride and come across the perfect place to snap a photo of my bike. Whether it’s in the rain, drenched in sunshine or even in the snow, bikes are the perfect complement to humans traveling across from one side of the forest to the other.

Being a roadie for most of my adult life, I never really paid attention to what’s really out there. Gravel riding the last nine years has opened up a whole new world. It brings me through areas in my hometown that I did not know existed.

I’ve pedaled on hiking trails, fire roads, farm roads, snowmobile and ATV trails as well as logging routes and farms. The possibilities are endless as are the opportunities for scenic photos. When you see that spot that you immediately see as a prime photo spot, all bets are off for a speedy rip through the woods.

What is the best method for snapping pictures from your bike? I’ve taken many shots with various versions of the IPhone and I have to say that the IPhone 13 has an incredible camera. The only thing it lacks is the ability to zoom and really focus in. I’ve also tried a mirror less DSLR camera. These take incredible pictures, but are bulky to carry on the bike, especially if you have multiple lenses.

For now, I’m going to use the winter to take some classes and hone my photographic skills, and save my camera for a time when I can come up with the best method to keep it on the ready while safely storing it on the bike.

I hope you like taking pictures as much as I do, because I really enjoy seeing every bicycle in nature. These pics can make and old beat up bike look special.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – The Cars – It’s All I Can Do

Velo Orange Pass Hunter: Reviewed

Let me start by saying that this is an independent review. While I have reviewed another bike and some Velo Orange components, I am in no way associated with the company. I am simply a happy customer.

That said, lets dive into what turns me on about this bike. First, by now, you know I prefer steel, for comfort, aesthetics, nostalgia and simplicity. Second, I’ve read numerous reviews and have seen every kind of setup you can imagine, so I knew this was going to be a versatile bike. Third, it rides like an absolute dream!

When I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the frameset, I immediately started cultivating the build. I wanted a Grand Cru headset and cockpit, as well as a Grand Cru crankset. So, I purchased the headset and crank as well as the Growtac Equal flat mount brakes with the frame and stripped another bike for the matching silver Nouveau Randonneur handlebar, Grand Cru stem and seatpost. I added some Bontrager carbon wheels and SRAM Force derailleurs paired with SRAM Red shifters and a SRAM 11 speed 11-32 cassette.

The build came together pretty flawlessly. The Growtac brakes are by far, the strongest mechanical disc brake calipers that I have ever used and the easiest to instal. I’ve made some modifications. I swapped the Brooks saddle for a Bontrager Arvada and changed headset spacers to titanium, simply for aesthetics.

I’ve only been able to put just over two hundred miles in so far, but I think I can make a pretty fair assessment. While many people have built this frame up with flat bars, the geometry begs for drop bars. From the first ride, it felt fast. I haven’t made a determination as to whether the bike just has a super smooth ride, allowing you to pick up the pace or the geometry puts you in a position to fly. I think it’s a little bit of both. It climbs exceptionally well, but that may be the sub compact 50.4 46/30 crankset.

Honestly, I wish winter was a long way off. I’ll have to ride my gravel bike for a few months and wait until March to enjoy the Pass Hunter. This will be my go to road bike for years to come.

Winter Workout Fun

When I think of winter, I think of cold weather, snow, wood fires, staying warm and surviving until spring. Like most people, I take advantage of all the delicious foods around the holidays and pack on a few extra pounds for good measure. I also try to stay fit with shorter bike rides and walking outside as well as indoor strength workouts.

This year, I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to train 1-2 times per week outside. This, in addition to bike rides will include running, followed by bodyweight exercises and more running. The purpose is to trick my body into better dealing with the cold as I pursue a full season of riding and to simply change things up a bit.

Sample sessions might look something like this:

Winter Workout #1

Run or Snowshoe 1 Mile

Complete ascending and descending sets of:


TRX Pullups or Inverted Rows

Sumo Air Squats


TRX Wall Slides

Mountain Climbers




5 Rounds of:

Bear Crawls – 1 Minute on/1 Minute Rest

Run or Snowshoe 1 Mile

Winter Workout #2

Run or Snowshoe 1 Mile

50 Jumping Jacks

5 Minutes Leg Raises – 30 Seconds on/30 Seconds Rest

5 Minutes Walking Lunges

50 TRX Incline Chest Press

50 TRX Rows

30 TRX Hip Throws (each side)

50 TRX Squats

Run or Snowshoe 1 Mile

All of the exercises can be scaled to your fitness level. I’ll only be outside if the weather dips below 40 degrees. For now, my plan is Wednesdays and Saturdays, starting December 14th and continuing through Mid March. I plan to workout in the snow and just embrace all that winter is and hopefully get something from it. If the snow is too deep, then, I’ll either clear a spot or snowshoe that day for an extended period of time.

So, if you looking for something to jumpstart your winter, get outside, get in the snow and have fun!

Bontrager XXX WaveCel Road Helmet – Reviewed

Every once in a while, you come across a piece of equipment that changes your experience on the bike. Ill fitting or inadequate apparel can make for a miserable ride. Tights, bib shorts, jerseys , base layers and jackets are an easy fix. If the specific piece of clothing does not fit properly, you swap it out for the correct size. This is not always true for helmets.

Most helmets come in three sizes. Small, medium and large. Some manufacturers include extra padding, but this does not always provide a good fit. The retention systems are usually pretty good, but if the helmet does not fit on your skull, then the chin strap and rear dial, really doesn’t matter.

Now I have not had good luck with proper fitting helmets. Most medium helmets are too small for me and the larger ones are way too big. Even with the chin strap super tight and the Boa dial cranked down, the helmet moved around on my head. That is until I tried the Bontrager XXX WaveCel Road Helmet. I purchased a size large in black. What I immediately noticed was how light it was. Then, the fit was on the money, as the helmet covers my entire head and actually fits as snug as I like. The Boa dial and chin strap are second to none.

From Bontrager:

A major advancement in the protection against cycling-related head injuries

Bontrager XXX WaveCel delivers high-performance protection and the best in aerodynamics and comfort. XXX is the WaveCel helmet of choice for the Trek-Segafredo men’s and women’s teams.

WaveCel is a collapsible cellular structure that lines the inside of the helmet. This Bontrager-exclusive technology disrupts the safety standards the industry has accepted for over 30 years

  1. WaveCel advanced helmet technology
  2. BOA® Fit System lets you easily secure and adjust helmet fit with just one hand
  3. Easy-to-use adjustable strap dividers allow for a fine-tuned fit
  4. An aerodynamic shape helps you outsmart the wind and ride faster
  5. Additional NoSweat pad with silicone channel keeps sweat out of eyes for constant clarity
  6. Team Trek-Segafredo sticker kit included with Viper Red, White, and Radioactive Yellow colorways
  7. Crash Replacement Guarantee provides a free helmet replacement if involved in a crash within the first year of ownership
  8. Complies with U.S. CPSC safety standards for bicycle helmets for persons age 1 and over

One thing to remember is that a good helmet is designed to save your head exactly once. If you took a fall that left you concussed, or left your helmet dented or cracked in any way, then it is pretty safe to assume that its impact absorbing abilities have been compromised and that it should be replaced.

If your in the market for a new helmet, try the best fitting helmet you will ever find.

Maple City Century – 2022

The 7th edition of the Maple City Century went off without a hitch. If you haven’t heard of it, your missing the premiere gravel ride in the northeast. With incredible “B” roads throughout and a good amount of technical, beat up, Jeep trail to challenge you, you’ll leave here tired and satisfied with a burning desire to do it all again next year.

Missing the last two years, due to the pandemic, the Maple City Century was back in full force with Zack, Stacey and the Wentzel family leading an incredible staff of volunteers. This year, the Metric and full century were offered again. The Volunteers absolutely created an oasis at each rest area, offering homemade cookies, pickles, trail mix, energy snacks, fruit, sandwiches, energy drinks and water. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about the Coca Cola at 40/75 mile rest stop. Always a rider favorite.

It seemed like Zack and Stacey were on every road their car could access and at every rest stop, offering support. It really makes for a mom and pop, hometown feel for everyone.

I rode the metric again. It amazes me how I forget about the climbs. Each time I do this event, while walking up that horrendously steep hill, which I believe is Galilee Road at about mile 35, I wonder why I didn’t train harder for this or am I really getting that old. But there is a reward. Not long after, you descend down to River Road along the Delaware River. The views are fantastic, the surface is first rate and zero traffic helps you confidently drop to the river without fear.

Course markers at every turn and gps routes loaded into your computer, make this an easy course to navigate. I came back into Honesdale tired, but ready to eat.

At the finish, Scarfalloto’s Towne House Diner hosted the post race party, with each rider getting a quality meal of their choosing from the menu as well as beer from the Wallenpaupack Brewing Company.

I’ll definitely be back next year. Maybe the full century again, maybe the metric, Either way, I can’t wait!

Riding Milford Filthy 50

Late August usually provides premium weather for longer days in the saddle. At 75 degrees with a slight breeze most of the day, last Sunday did not disappoint, as I followed a pattern from years past and did a long gravel ride, four weeks before the Maple City Century, in an attempt to inject some fitness into this old body.

I met up at 8am with Eric, Jerry, Brian and Austin at the Rt. 739 Parking lot for Five Mile Meadow Road. After a quick meet and greet, we headed directly uphill, over the loose gravel surface. After the descent and a few smaller hills, we made a right on Ben Bush Road. This short tunnel through the woods provided a great place for us to figure out our pace. A left on Standing Stone Trail, allowed a 2 mile gradual drop to Silver Lake Road.

We looped through Little Mud Pond and onto Flat Ridge Road. The 4 mile, through road is about the smoothest gravel surface in the entire Delaware State Forest. We crossed over Bushkill Falls Road and jumped into the Burnt Mills Trail system. Burnt Mills is a rough, technical trail, adding a bit of fun to an otherwise long and grueling day. Crossing over Rt, 402, we hopped on Pine Flats Road and cruised down to Highline Road for the 6 mile roller coaster through thick gravel and over to Hobday Road and eventually to the base of the High Knob.

The High Knob climb is a 2 mile gravel ascent that averages about 7% and tops out at 16%. The steepest sections are near the top. As you cap the summit, the views of Pike County hit you in every direction. After a quick lunch at the top, we enjoyed the descent and button hooked our way back to the parking area. Satisfied with the days effort, I look forward to some longer rides as the weather gets a little cooler.

Crossing our path

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good

Minor Adjustments

For about 18 months, I’ve been dealing with quite a bit of pain in both feet. Until recently, I was not sure what was causing it. I was feeling soreness in the middle of my right foot after several hours on the road bike and occasionally pain in either foot would keep me on the couch for several days to a week. About 6 months ago, pain in my left big toe brought me to the podiatrist. He recognized right away that I was suffering from gout. Then, a recent work trip found me working from my hotel for a few days, with immense pain in my right big toe.

A trip to an urgent care led me to a local Physicians Assistant, who recognized that a certain medication I’ve been taking, was more than likely causing my gout issue. I immediately discarded that medication and accepted the consequence.

With the thought that gout was behind me, I decided to discard my road pedals for mountain pedals. My Speedplay Zero pedals on both road bikes have served me well for many years, but I needed a larger contact point for both feet. I switched the Crank Brothers Candy Pedals from my gravel bikes to the road bikes and purchased 2 pairs of Crank Brothers Double Shot Pedals for the the gravel bikes. The flat side will allow me to ride even if I have an issue with my feet, while the reverse side allows me to clip in while still resting on a larger base.

The final piece of the puzzle was adjusting my cleats. I rode for mamy years with my cleats jammed to the front of my shoes. I decided to set my them all the way back. This allows my feet to move freely. Finally, the allure of having one set of shoes for all my bikes as well as being able to walk while off the road bike is very inviting. Hopefully, most of the pain is in the rear view mirror. We’ll see…..

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head whill riding) – today – Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time

Nantucket Island

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had an occasion to write about my exploits on the bike. Work has found me riding only a couple of times a week. Nothing sexy, just stress relieving jaunts through the forest with some sprinkled in road rides.

However, hard work rewards and this week, reward it did! I was able to spend 4 days on Nantucket Island, a 30 mile ferry ride from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Home to the Uber rich, Nantucket is an island, town and county. Within the town sits numerous small neighborhoods, all with a quaint seaside feel. The island is approximately 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide, with too many picturesque spots for any one place. Wild life is everywhere. Terns, ducks, seals, whales and the occasional shark can be spotted on and off the beaches.

A typical road in town

Now, if you’re on Nantucket and plan to ride, stick to the bike paths. The roads in town are either cobblestones or just 400-500 year old stone and what’s paved is not great. Traffic is another obstacle. If your staying in town, plan on navigating through traffic for about a mile before getting clear. This is a cycling blog, so I do not want to forget to mention that this is as beautiful a place as any on the map.


The ‘Sconset Bike Path, the Polpis Path and Milestone Road are the best routes to get you from Nantucket to Siasconset, the far end of the island. The paths are paved, well maintained and serve as the main transportation link around the island. The bike path network here rivals any place I’ve traveled. If its the only thing you do while your here, you’ll leave fulfilled.

I met a lot of people while riding, walking and paddling. I certainly made the most of my time off from work. I met people that sailed from Long Island, NY, Nyack, NY, Maine, and Boston. While searching for a good cafe, I met Paul Anthony Morello, Chef at the Corner Table. He brought me over to his eatery at the corner of Broad Street and Federal Street. The coffee, eggs and sun dried tomato sandwich as well as the sweet potato hummus were incredible. It felt like I died and went to hummus heaven and reminded me of the Pattisserie on Broad in Milford. Gone, but not forgotten.

I am not a beach person. I would much rather, spend time in the woods or near a lake. A place like this could change my mind. If you have an opportunity to visit this history filled, beautiful, Northern Atlantic spot, do it. You will never forget it!

Velo Orange Piolet – Final Review

A few months ago, I built up a bike that I was so intrigued to ride. My parts selection is a little eclectic, and the complete bike is anything but normal. It really doesn’t fit into any one category. This steel steed is my monstercross, mountain bike, do everything thrill ride. But, I think the ample amount of bosses, for racks, bags and bottle cages really makes this bike the ultimate backroad touring machine.

Almost all parts remain from my original build. The only modification I made was a 17 degree stem. Normally, I like a longer, neutral cockpit, but the super long top tube, left me reaching a bit. The 17 degree rise solved this issue and helps get my bars above the saddle. This is a good thing.

But how does this bike perform? For a steel mountain bike, it is surprisingly compliant. Now steel is definitely the most comfortable material you can ride and this bike does not disappoint. Over countless rock gardens and through the rip rap that covers lots of snow mobile trails in Northeast Pennsylvania, the Piolet exceeded my expectations. It’s not too punchy on flat gravel roads, but it climbs rather well for a 28 pound, steel mountain bike.

The Daja Far Bars keep me in an optimal position when bombing down loose gravel roads. The taller had tube coupled with the Grand Cru headset keep the front end stable while pounding through the rough stuff. The Grand Cru seatpost topped with the WTB Volt saddle is super comfortable. The SRAM Apex shifters and derailleur keep the drivetrain running smoothly. The SRAM GX crankset with the Dub bottom bracket is smooth. Although, I may switch out the 30t chainring for a 34 or 36 as I’m spinning out on some descents.

Whether set up with drop bars, flat bars or any of the many choices on the market today, if your thinking of steel, the Piolet should be your monstercross, gravel, touring or whatever bike. Check them out at

Tow Path

Sometimes you do more than just ride. Sometimes, you devour the scenery. Today was one of those times. It certainly helps when the weather is perfect (68 degrees and sunny) and the views are endless.

I met Mike and Peter this morning in Barryville, N.Y. For a spin up RT. 97 and the Tow Path Road. We parked a stones throw from the water and headed out on Rt. 97 along the Delaware River. 3.5 miles in, we crossed the Roebling Bridge (the oldest wire suspension bridge in the United States} over to the Pennsylvania side and cruised through the tiny berg of Lackawaxen. Once on the Tow Path Road, we crossed over the Lackawaxen River back into New York.

The Tow Path winds up hill at about a 1% clip for quite a long way. The grade and a head wind created just enough resistance to slow it down a bit until we hit the one hill we’d climb all day. At the top, we turned around for a fast, fun descent. The river views of the Lackawaxen and Delaware were stunning. Wildlife was everywhere.

The last 5 rides have been wonderful. I’m finally feeling close to 100% again. The pandemic added a few pounds to my frail frame and work and the weather have made it easy for me to make excuses as I only rode once or twice a week all winter and spring. I realize their will be peaks and valleys, but as long as I stay consistent, I should continue continue to feel good.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) , today – Todd Rundgren – Hello It’s Me

Back Home

Although I frequently travel for work and get to ride in different parts of the country, it’s when I’m home and riding in Northeast Pennsylvania that I’m in my happy place. Until now, I’ve only been able to ride in the Delaware State Forest a hand full of times. The ice kept me out all winter and the thaw made for a messy, muddy spring.

Working from home this week, afforded me the opportunity to get out and play in the woods a few times. One ride was on the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross disc that took me down Standing Stone Trail, up the Burnt Mills Snowmobile trail system and around Little Mud Pond. Burnt Mills was in pretty bad shape. The ATV’s really ripped it up over the winter. The other surfaces seemed to hold up pretty well.

Today, I was able to get a pre-Easter dinner jaunt through some new territory on the Velo Orange Piolet. First, I changed stems to a 70mm, 17 degree bit, in an effort to get my bars up a little. Because the Piolet is a mountain bike, the top tube is a bit long for drop bars.

After pedaling up Five Mile Meadow Road, I hung a left on Bald Hill. At the bottom, I jumped into a trail that I’ve always wanted to explore. I’ve been reluctant as the faded no trespassing signs have kept me out the last few years. The trail was a little grown over, but very rideable. It was less than 2 miles when I passed an abandoned barn and dropped onto Rt. 739 for an easy cruise home.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Ringo Starr – Photograph

Pikesville, Maryland

Being sidelined all winter, I find myself doing shorter rides early on. I’m gradually getting my legs under me and will hopefully be doing much longer rides before the beginning of summer.

This week, I had the opportunity, after a long drive to Maryland, to squeeze in a ride before dark. As soon as I got off the interstate, I saw Pikesville Bicycle Shop. I stopped in to ask about local routes. Bernie and his staff were awesome. They hooked me up with a great route and even gave me a Pikesville Bicycle water bottle (I forgot to pack mine).

I pedaled right out of the hotel onto Reisterstown Road and made a right on Hooks Lane. I rode up to Park Heights Avenue and turned left. After another mile, a right put me onto Greenspring Valley Road. Not a single portion of this route had a shoulder. It mattered not. The driver’s were courteous and the landscape was quite beautiful.

I made the decision to turn around to avoid riding in the dark. The smooth pavement and rolling hills added beauty to an already fantastic route. When the riding is this good, you feel like you can pedal forever.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Them – Gloria

Velo Orange Piolet – First Impressions

I believe that one cannot have too many bikes. That said, I think most people would agree that maintenance, storage and time to ride each, would be a good problem. So, I decided to sell a few bikes to make room in the garage for another do it all steed.

I parted with the Karate Monkey and the Van Dessel WTF in an effort to find that do it all frame that can handle singletrack, gravel roads and snow mobile trails. After careful review, I purchased a Velo Orange Piolet, an easy choice, since I have always fancied their stems, seat posts, handlebars and road brakes.

After finally gathering the drivetrain and components, I was ready for the build. The 4130 double butted chromoly frameset accepts IS disc brakes, 1 1/8” headset, 27.2mm seatpost and quick release hubs, making it super compatible with older or modern parts. I decided to go with: SRAM Apex 11 speed shifters and rear derailleur, SRAM GX 175mm crankset with 30t chainring, Velo Orange Grand Cru headset, Whiskey #7 stem 80mm, Dajia Cycleworks Far Bar handlebar, Velo Orange Grand Cru seatpost topped with a WTB Volt saddle and Crank Brothers Candy pedals. I chose an FSA 700c wheelset with Teravail Rutland 29X2.2 tires and finished it off with Velo Orange Moderniste bottle cages and a Velo Orange by Road Runner Bags Day Tripper saddle bag.

From the Velo Orange website:

The Piolet is our bikepacking and rough-road riding frame. It’s designed for off-road touring, including dirt and gravel roads, double track, and single track. We built it to be sturdy, simple, and very capable. As with our other frames it’s double butted chromoly steel. The fork is triple butted for reduced weight and extra strength. The seatstays come together in a cool mono-stay wishbone and compliment the segmented fork. The frameset is covered in bosses for easily mounting any racks, water-bottles, gear cages, and even fenders. It’s happily set up in bikepacking fashion or as a traditional rack and bag tourer!

The Piolet handles similarly to a XC mountain bike, but slightly more in the touring direction. Feels natural with drop bars or flat bars. Non-suspension corrected fork handles predictably with or without a load.

The final build came in at 28.5lbs, slightly heavy for a gravel bike but very light for a steel mountain bike. After a few miles, I dialed in the fit and headed into the woods for some late winter fun. A few hundred more miles and I’ll be able to make an informed judgement. Stay tuned for the final review.

Alexandria , VA

I wanted this post to be focused on our nation’s capital. However, the demands of work coupled with an early sunset, left me with no other option, but to ride either from my hotel or on the cycle way in historic Old Town.

After arriving on Saturday and accessing the work load, I woke up Sunday morning and drove to Old Town. I hopped on the Mount Vernon trail, an 18 mile, paved, multi-use trail, that’s not too crowded, and pedaled a few miles before turning around and taking a short tour of Old Town in Alexandria.

The next morning, I made it my mission to ride the 15 miles from Old Town to Mount Vernon and back, regardless of what work had in store for me. Of course, I started with a slight drizzle and the rain got a bit harder as the day progressed. The path runs between the George Washington Parkway and the Potomac River and looks as though it could have been used hundreds of years ago as a roadway.

When I arrived at Mount Vernon (the childhood home of George Washington that he transformed into a beautiful 18th century manision), I was met by security and told that I could not walk my bike into the estate. That said, my tour would have to wait for another day.

As I turned around and headed back to Alexandria, the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance. I took advantage and slowly soft pedaled my way along the river and really enjoyed the beautiful landscape thats only a few miles from the District of Columbia. My next mission is to tackle D.C. on a winter ride through the capital.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Split Enz – I Got You

A Late Fall Shuffle

It’s been a while since my last post. Between traveling for work, the Tour de Force and selling Mom’s house, I’ve only been able to ride about once, maybe twice a week. I’m not complaining. I’m happy to get out when I can. However, the last couple of weeks have provided a few extra ride days and with the holidays right around the corner, work should slow down a bit, providing ample ride time.

Yesterday, I had a window of about three hours in the middle of the day. I decided to take advantage and jump right out of the garage for a hilly spin, through a quiet late fall, picturesque loop, that tested my lungs as well as my legs. It felt absolutely fantastic.

As I headed out of my community, I opted for a road ride, as hunting season leaves Sunday’s for gravel until at least mid December. I made a right on Rt. 739 and crossed over to Log Tavern Road. Log Tavern is quite a nice descent, especially along Crescent Lake. Turning left on Aspen Drive, the roller coaster up and down ends at Nelson Road, where I hung a right and dropped down to Raymonskill Road, where a left hand turn had me climbing up to Frenchtown Road. Once on Frenchtown, my pace slowed a bit as I took in the beauty and rural landscape of this lightly travelled three mile stretch of road.

A left on Rt. 6 (the Pennsylvania bicycle route), brought me up and over a few long, gradual hills before another left on Rt. 434 had me climbing a little more. One more left on Rt. 739 and my final seven miles was a nice easy spin home. Fall really is the best time to ride!

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Even the Losers

Rockford Illinois

After my first two rides here, I envisioned this post to be a negative, stay out of Rockford type piece. I could not find suitable roads. The one bike path/sidewalk was a pot holed mess. Then, after some research, I uncovered a few hidden gems.

A short downtown ride proved to be the first of many interesting routes around the screw city (for the numerous fastener factories in and around Rockford). As I cruised past Beyer Stadium (or what’s left of it), I glanced over at the ticket booth to see that it was the home of the Rockford Peaches of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The stadium and team were featured in the classic movie, A League of their Own. I stopped and walked around. The stands have been removed and the field renovated. But, the original ticket booth still stands.

On the weekend, I wanted a bit more. So, a quick search on Ride with GPS brought me to Caledonia, a very small town about 4 miles outside Rockford. This was the highlight of my first week here. Rolling hills, quiet roads and beautiful farmland for as far as the eye could see. For 50 miles, I might have seen 4 cars. But probably 30 cyclists. A good ratio in my opinion.

Looking for something more local, that I could ride from the hotel, I headed down Bell School Road to Harvey Road and found Harlem Road, a rolling thoroughfare that’s winds through corn and farmland for about 8 miles. I turned around and found Rock Cut Park on my way back. This incredible 3,100 acre forest packs singletrack, paved cycle paths, two serene lakes and beautiful roadway all inside a very picturesque setting. I did several rides here, exploring all sides of the park.

What I learned: Do not judge a book by it’s cover. Explore, uncover and find the beauty in all areas of this incredible country.

Walpack and Back (Revisited)

After 3 days of intense (but much needed) rain, I decided to stay out of the woods until things dry up a bit. With loads of holiday traffic heading home after the Memorial Day weekend, I also wanted to stay off the main roads, so I drove into town, hopped on the Kona Honkytonk and pedaled through Milford and over the bridge to New Jersey. The roads in this part of Sussex county can be pretty quiet, even on such a beautiful day.

I headed up Deckertown Turnpike, fully intending to go all the way to High Point, but plan B had me turn right on New Road. It was the right choice. I saw only a handful of cars the entire route. New Road has a slight downward pitch, giving me a little rest after the Deckertown climb. I crossed Rt. 206 and made a left on Layton-Hainsville Road.

Farms and Churches dot the landscape as Layton Hainseville Road runs right into Layton, NJ, a tiny town that’s the gateway to the Walpack Recreation Area. I continued through Jersey farmland and into the Peter’s Valley Craft area. Bearing left, I took the roller coaster road through the Walpack Recreation area to the Walpack Inn.

After a quick photo op in the parking lot, I turned around and pedaled back up The Walpack Road, only this time I decided to go over the Peter’s Valley climb. Although quite steep at the beginning, this is one of the quietest, most enjoyable hills with a fun descent, bringing you all the way down to Tuttles Corner. A left on Dingmans Road put me back over the wooden bridge and back into Pennsylvania. I turned right on Rt. 209. The traffic, chopped up pavement and lack of a shoulder, takes nothing away from the beauty that the next eight miles brings this time of year.

I cruised back into town satisfied but hungry for longer rides in and around the tri-state area.

Worcester, Mass

When I booked my stay in Worcester and the hotel was located on Major Taylor Blvd, I assumed that I was traveling to a cycling Mecca of sorts. Not really. Major Taylor, the first African American cycling champion, nicknamed the Worcester Whirlwind, was actually born and raised in Indianapolis. He trained in Worcester and for a time, he lived there.

Worcester is an old city. Built on a series of steep, sloping hills. It’s centuries old churches, sit high above the city like forts. Worcester is also home to nine colleges and universities. It has a deep patriotic history. A lot of key events took place there during the Revolutionary War.

With only a 3 day stay, I knew it would be tough to squeeze a ride in when day one and day three are travel days. I managed to get out on a short ride around downtown. To say that Worcester is hilly is an understatement. I decided to forget about distance and concentrate on hitting as many hills as I could in an hour.

Riding from the hotel, I pedaled down Major Taylor, up Martin Luther King Blvd., past the courthouse and down Main St. From there, I was able navigate through the busiest part of town to find a grid of streets built on a ridiculously steep hill. One by one, I climbed, descended, climbed and descended. By the time I reached the tenth hill, I felt like I had been riding all day.

During the cool down spin back to the hotel, my legs were toast. The slower pace gave me a chance to check out the 19th century architecture. I only got a small sample size of what Worcester feels like on a cool spring afternoon. I’ll be back in September as the Tour de Force runs along Rt. 12. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to sample some of the quieter more bicycle friendly roads in the area.

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) – Today – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes

Rt. 66

To put an exclamation point on my trip to Springfield, Missouri, I finished up with a ride along the fabled Rt. 66 and a tour of downtown. This town is certainly proud of the fact that it is the birthplace of Rt. 66.

Springfield’s main thoroughfare, Glenstone Avenue cuts right through and was an ideal place to begin. I pedaled south through a really cool scene of old time motels and businesses that are reminiscent of days gone by. Old fashioned food trucks, which are all the rage these days, littered the route for the first few miles.

Once I reached the center of town, which is an old, but trendy city, I stopped for a few photos and pedaled aimlessly around town, taking in the sights and enjoying an easy ride at a pedestrian pace. I even stopped for a coffee break.

The ride back was just as easy with loads of old time landmarks and retro styled eateries just begging you to take that road trip in an old convertible. I will definitely drive a portion of this route some day as I am a sucker for nostalgia.

Test Ride

My Ritchey Breakaway road bike has been sitting in its suitcase for over 6 months now. After my St. Louis trip in September, I opted for my folding bike for a 4 city southern work trip. Then I took my Kona Honky Tonk on a few trips that did not require air travel in late October and early November. Then, my company restricted travel during the holiday season as COVID-19 was seeing spikes all over the country. A few Winter trips to northern cities, blanketed in snow helped keep the Breakaway bike tucked in it’s safe place for a few more months.

“Back the Blue”

With a trip on the horizon, I decided to give the Ritchey a tune up and get better acquainted with my travel companion. By late morning, I was pedaling out to Rt. 739 on a beautiful Easter Sunday ride. At 56 degrees, the sun was out with little wind and traffic was light. I wanted to make sure the bike was dialed in, but I also wanted to add some distance in my feeble attempt to get some fitness.

As I turned right on Rt. 6 (the Pennsylvania State bicycle route), I realized that this was going to be that ride where everything starts to fall into place. My legs felt good, my breathing was there and I felt like I could pedal all day. Another right on Rt. 434 and back to 739 and before I knew it, I was pulling into my driveway. A good time was had by all, well maybe just me. But, I can’t wait to hop on the bike again as days like these are addicting.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Billy Joel – Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

Forging Forward

With the new year upon us, resolutions, promises and hope are all around, encompassing us with the idea that we can do better, we can change. These days, the cool thing to say is, “I don’t do resolutions”. The truth is, this year I’ve sort of made a promise to myself.

While I am happy with my physical body, my nutritional intake, my family, my friends and where I see myself in this bizarro world, I can’t help feeling like something’s missing. So I ask myself: am I a good person? Maybe. Am I a little selfish? Probably. Am I missing the important things because I’m so focused on what I want to accomplish, that I lack the attention span to see the incredible gifts that those around me have to offer? Absolutely!

That said, my focus this year will be to slow down and listen. I’m also going to stop worrying about how many miles I ride and how much elevation I’ve gained. I’m going to ride because I love being on a bike. I’m going to look, listen and hopefully feel everything that Mother Nature has to offer. If I can’t ride because of other commitments or because of inclement weather or illness, so be it.

On Monday, I got out and played in the snow a little. It felt great. I still plan on doing some long rides this year as well as exploring, camping and adventuring on the bike. Hope to see you out there.

What’s Playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – The Best of Bread


On Wednesday, Mother Nature dumped 16 inches of snow on Northeastern Pennsylvania. While the accumulation was significant, it was a bit less than originally forecasted.

Today, the first official day of winter, presented me with a window to go out and play. I grabbed the Karate Monkey and rode from home to the Delaware State Forest. The trail from my community to Five Mile Meadow Road was untouched and impossible to ride. I walked through and was surprised to see that Five Mile was groomed with snow machine tracks.

If you have ever pedaled on snow after a snow machine, you know what I’m talking about. The center of the tracks are similar to the rumble strips on the side of a roadway. This creates enough traction to ride in fairly deep snow. I made a right on Ben Bush Road, and connected over to Standing Stone Trail. Both are old logging roads, now mainly used by ATV’s and snow machines.

By Thursday, it should warm up enough and the thaw will remove most of the snow until the next winter weather event. Each storm brings us a different of snow. The powdery type is the easiest to push through, while the wet, sticky snow is another story. Both are worth layering up and getting outside.

Base camp

What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Harry Chapin – A Better Place To Be

Upper Watershed

Every once and a while, I take the 25 mile drive down to the Port Jervis Watershed Trails, to traverse a bit more rugged landscape. While the entire park is beautiful and challenging, the upper section, near Reservoir three, is quite possibly one of the most picturesque places to ride a bicycle in the tri-state area.

On Friday, I met Mike at the parking lot on Box Baum Road for a late afternoon sampling of the lush green trails that make you feel like you have been magically transported to somewhere in the northwestern part of the country. We had about 90 minutes before sunset, so we wanted to make the most of the time we had.

We pedaled out of the parking lot and right on to Walt’s Keep, an easy trail that sends you west for about a mile before intersecting with Starcrawf, then loops back to the lot. Next, we headed down Box Baum Road and hopped on Holography. This is one of my favorite trails in the Watershed. What it lacks in distance, it makes up for in beauty. The views of the lake and incredible pine needle surface makes me forget any stress I might have carried into the park. I felt weightless as we tranistioned to Lost Bear, Mahackamack, Tufted and Delaware.

Somewhere up on Mahackamack, we ran into TC from Action Bikes and Outdoor. He was test riding a new demo bike. Both shops offer demos that are suitable for the most rugged terrain.

If your in town or looking for a beautiful place to ride, checkout this section of the Port Jervis Watershed, you won’t be dissappointed.

Delaware and Hudson Trail

In an effort to provide more local content while temporarily on travel restriction from work, I decided to check out the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail. There are many sections of old D&H rail lines, converted to rail trails, that run throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

The access to the trails that run along Route 209 in Orange and Ulster Counties in New York, are broken up into many small sections, making it impossible to piece together a longer ride. In Lackawanna County, there is more that 38 miles of D&H Trail that runs from Simpson, PA to the New York State line. About 20 miles is crushed gravel. The rest is a bit rougher and more suitable to mountain bikes and hikers.

Along the way, there are many bridges and gates. You pass through a few towns, giving you the opportunity to pedal off the trail and refuel if your doing an elongated adventure.

On Tuesday, I parked at the trailhead in Simpson, where the D&H connects with the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. I headed north toward NYS. The surface is made up of pea gravel that is well packed along the sides and loose in the center. At first, I was confused at my slower than normal pace, but when I saw that I was gaining a bit of elevation, it made sense.

A few miles past Burnwood, I turned around and realized that the grade was a little steeper that I first thought. I was moving quite quickly until I noticed a few people enjoying their lunches on picnic tables near an old rail car. A quick right up the hill brought me to Cable’s General Store in Uniondale. They’ve been there since 1910, serving up fresh foods made on site. I had and incredible piece of pie that fueled my fast, downhill journey back to Simpson.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Train – Drops of Jupiter

The Alley’s of Milford

I had some time to kill on Saturday morning. So I took advantage of the exceptionally beautiful November day and hopped on the Karate Monkey, for my annual tour of Milford’s alleyway system.

Most days, the alleys are a safe bet, as they get little to no traffic. However, this weekend, Milford was like a ghost town. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it was pretty quiet. Being away so long, I missed the Autumn colors, leaves on the ground and cool crisp air that lets you know that Old Man Winter is right around the corner.

I started on 2nd Street and rode up Pear Alley. Touching Elderberry, Peach, Gooseberry, Blackberry, Plum, Cherry, Cranberry and Apple Alleys.
All have unique older buildings, shacks and sheds. Each alley has modern homes and some even have businesses, like hair salons, diners and specialty shops.

I love this route, as it forces me to slow down and really take notice of all things Milford. I wondered if it were 100 years ago, would this alley system be pedaled for deliveries, transportation or shopping. Was it used by horse and buggy. I’m not sure, but it’s fun to imagine.

If your in town with your bike, or just walking around, make sure you checkout this cool backway through Milford.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today -Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing

New Posts, Old Stories

In the beginning of the year, I decided that I needed a new platform to post stories related to my business travel with my bicycle. However, after 8 short posts, the pandemic hitting, the Pedaling Through a Pandemic series and a mid summer surge, sending me all over the country again with little to no time at home, I have come to the conclusion that two separate sites are just too much to manage.

That said, I have posted all eight of these stories here on and very soon, I will take down and concentrate on this site with a greater emphasis on local riding.

Please enjoy these stories. They are in no particular order.

Ritchey Breakaway Steel Road

In preparation for my upcoming trip, I decided to take the new Ritchey Breakaway Road bike for a spin today. First, let me start by telling you what went into the build. I stole the drivetrain, brakes and wheelset from my Kona Honky Tonk. If you read my other blog,, you know that I love the Tonk and will have it built back up before summer.

I’ve always appreciated a new bike, but really take pride in building up a frame with my chosen parts spec. I built up the chromoly steel frame and full carbon fork in my garage with the following:
SRAM Force 11 Speed Rear Derailleur, Front Derailleur & Crankset. SRAM Red Shifters, SRAM GXP Bottom Bracket, Ritchey WCS Headset, Velo Orange Grand Cru Brakeset, Bontrager Race Lite Wheelset, Bontrager R3 TLR 700X26 tires, Velo Orange Nouveau Randonneur Handlebar, Velo Orange Grand Cru Seatpost, Thomson Elite Stem, Speedplay Zero Pedals and for now, a WTB Pure saddle. The bike came in at just over 18lbs without pedals.

Now for the ride. I did a 26 mile loop from Milford, PA through Northern Sussex County, NJ and back into town. I hit a couple climbs, scampered across the Delaware River on 2 different bridges and got a really good projection of how this bike is going to handle while pedaling through new territory. Well, the ride quality is very good. It climbed like a 15 pound carbon race bike and descended just as well. More miles will ultimately provide for better feedback. I can’t wait to travel with this steed.

Next, we will pack and unpack the bike into it’s own suitcase. Let’s see how much gear we can stuff in without bringing it over the airlines 50lb weight limit for normal size bags.

Traveling with a Bicycle: Stories, Insights & Thoughts

Recently, my work has sent me flying from state to state, living out of a suitcase for weeks on end, sleeping in hotels, eating halfway decent food.
But, as I mentioned on my other blog, Riding Milford, I’ve been going out of my mind sitting idle in my hotel, wishing I was on a bike, hammering through the woods or up and down the hills of my beautiful hometown, Milford, PA.

I attempted to quell my urge, by outfitting a folding bike to fit my needs, getting a suitable carrying case, and coercing the airlines into checking it as regular luggage. While serving it’s purpose for at least 3 trips to Kansas City, Dallas and San Benadino, CA, I grew tired of fighting the bike uphill and crawling at a pedestrian pace

After much research, I purchased a Ritchey Breakaway Road Frame. The chroMoly steel frame with Ritchey WCS carbon fork, comes with the travel case, headset, and 3 cable disconnects. The frame splits in half, allowing it to fit into it’s own unique suitcase. It’s held together at the bottom of the down tube, by a simple locking ring and a double seat post binder completes the task. Ritchey’s innovative clamping system is a lot prettier than other travel bikes that are held together with SS couplers. Those are all pretty nice bikes, but Ritchey has found a way to keep the clamping system virtually invisible.

How does it ride? How well does it pack and unpack? Does it travel well and how easy is assembly and disassembly? These are all questions for future posts.

You can expect to see descriptions of rides from across the country as well as stories of the joys of cycling and the culture of cycling in different locales. There will be posts from guest writers and from time to time, some product reviews.

As I check my work schedule and get ready to roll, I’m researching products that will aid my travels. Stay tuned…..

Ghosts of Gettysburg

Wedged between the Michaux State Forest and the Mason Dixon Line, lies the City of Gettysburg, PA. Famous for the brutal Civil War battle that lasted 3 days and claimed more than 51,000 casualties. As I write this, I can’t help but reflect on my 2+ weeks in this historical placed that means so much to so many.

First of all, the weather in mid January has been terrific. Since I arrived on the 14th, it’s been mid 40’s all but one day, which was a snow storm. My first ride was the day before the storm. I decided that I would explore the battlefields and take a tour of the town. The battlefields have an amazing network of about 27 miles of paved roads. Although hilly, I was able to roller coaster my way through this chilling memorial to each and every battalion, regiment, troop and unit that came from all of the 13 Colonies.

I got caught in a complete whiteout that lasted for about 20 minutes, adding to the surreal scene. On my ride back to the hotel, I had an eerie feeling like I had just visited the dead.

A couple of days later, I got out for a quick spin around town. The roads were still iced over in the battlefield from the previous days storm. Then, as I prepared for my next ride. I discovered a frayed rear derailleur cable. I rode out to Gettysburg Bicycle to see about an on the spot repair. Kate, filled my tires and I shot out for a nice loop around Taneytown Rd and Blacksmith Shop Road, encircling the Gettysburg National Military Park. There’s a bit of a shoulder, allowing even the most novice rider enough room to comfortably ride what is mostly a well paved road system. I dropped my bike off at the shop and Kate fixed it’s up and had it ready for the next day. She made a nice recommendation on a cool little eatery for lunch. The team at Gettysburg Bicycle, Jess, Kate and crew did a wonderful job, making me feel like a regular. They have a nice selection of bikes, accessories and gear. Definitely worth it to stop in if your in the neighborhood!

The following day, I decided to try another route. Pedaling up York Street and turning left on Hanover Road, I followed Hanover through what appeared to be mainly farm country. There were some long gradual climbs with a helpful tail wind going out. I got all the way out to Mcsherrystown before turning around. Once I got going towards town, I got hit with a monsterous headwind, making the trek back a bit slower.

It was so much fun riding here. If you have to travel for work, you could get stuck in a lot worse places. Next time I’ll bring my gravel bike and hit up some dirt roads in Michaux. If you have the chance, get out and explore a hidden gem!
Here’s a few more pics of the battlefield and beyond.

Old Milwaukee

Sent to Milwaukee in February. Wow, I must be real high up on the corporate chain. When I was making my travel arrangements, I honestly thought that it would be much too cold in February to ride a bike. Well, occasionally, I’m wrong. I flew into the Cream City on Saturday, hoping that the Weather Channel was correct in predicting 50 degrees the next day. So as soon as I descended upon my hotel, I unpacked my bike and hoped for the best.

On Sunday, the Mid-West experienced a very unusually warm February 1st. At 52 degrees and sunny, I pedaled out of the Hilton, near Mitchell Airport and headed through Oak Creek to Cudahy and out to Lake Michigan. The 20-30 MPH winds coming off the lake made the trip out to downtown Milwaukee feel like I was in a wind tunnel. I took Lake Drive most of the way, occasionally hoping on the Oak Creek Trail, which runs along the lake. The paved trail was congested with walkers and runners, taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. I went through the city and into White Fish Bay and had to turn around, as the wind had crushed my dreams and stole my soul. Just kidding.

Whenever I start writing, I try to find what moves me about a certain place or subject. Well, I found it as I was forced to a crawl in the relentless head wind that seemed to turn around just when I did.

Milwaukee, isn’t just a cute lake city 100 miles northwest of Chicago, It’s a city of real old beers. You won’t find an apricot IPA in one of the old time taverns scattered throughout the Cream City. Almost every bar displays the neon beer signs of the 1970’s. Actually, you could probably find all the fruity Craft beers and IPA’s in most of the trendy downtown restaurants. And it’s not nicknamed the Cream City because it was the home to more breweries than any other U.S. city or because Wisconsin is the dairy state, but because of the cream colored brick that was produced here in the mid to late 1800’s and was used to build an enormous amount of downtown buildings.

I can imagine a ride here in warmer weather. Maybe I’ll be back this summer, who knows. Maybe I’ll venture into downtown. But until then, I’ll remember how nice it was to ride along the shores of Lake Michigan’s beautiful blue waters.


While sitting home on St. Patrick’s Day, and grounded for now, like most people, I can’t help but wonder where all this is going. The COVID-19 Virus has certainly changed our world. While we should practice social distancing, that does not mean that we cannot get outside. Last week, while in Chicago, I ventured out on a few rides, taking in all that suburban Cook County has to offer. 

ABert, a local rider and good friend, invited me to ride with him from his home on Saturday, over to the Lake Katherine area and onto the Cal-Sag Trail, a paved byway, along the Cal-Sag Canal. It was quite windy, but at 45 degrees, warm for Chicagoland in March. Pedaling through, we saw many walkers, runners and cyclists, predominantly because this was a few days before any social distancing was talked about. 30 miles went by quickly.

On Sunday, we ventured out for a longer, hillier ride. Starting at Bert’s house again, we re-traced our route to the Cal-Sag Trail, rode a good portion of it and made our way over to Lemont. The hilly route culminating with the infamous Timberline Drive climb, really showed off the beauty of Cook County and beyond. We traveled back to the Cal-Sag and finished pretty gassed as 54+ miles was the longest ride this year for either of us. 

I was able to get out a couple more times after work, later in the week. Nothing huge, but got to experience some more of the hills in Lemont and a little more of the trail. 

Bert did promise me a ride from Soldier Field to Wrigley Field along Lake Michigan. It might have happened, however, I was unsure my weekday flight would happen, so I decided to drive home on Saturday night. I’ll take a rain check!

To leave off, a lot is being said about our incredible health care providers, stepping up big in a time of need and it’s well deserved. But I also want to say that our food service workers, pharmacies, supermarket employees, truck drivers, delivery drivers, and gas stations are also staying open as much as possible. First responders, plumbers, electricians and all our service professionals are doing a wonderful job keeping us going and I’m grateful to live in a world where people put others before themselves, thank you!!!

Velo Orange Nouveau Randonneur Handlebar: Reviewed

With improved research, design and craftsmanship going into bicycle components, these days, handlebars are all the rage. With numerous new offerings for road, gravel, touring and mountain, there’s no shortage of social media, depicting the perfect bar for you. Myself, I’m usually comfortable on any drop bars. 

That said, last year, I ordered a Velo Orange Nouveau Randonneur bar to top off my Kona Honky Tonk. The curvy top and shallow drop got me interested and the silver finish fit in with the retro look I was going for. Right out of the box, the 44cm just worked for me. 

Offered in 42, 44 and 46Cm and silver as well as a noir finish for the more modern build, the 12 degree flare gives you more control in the descents over a standard road bar. I put about 1200 miles on the bar and swapped the drivetrain from the Honky Tonk to my Ritchey Breakaway Road to accommodate my work travel.

I liked the bar so much that I ordered one in noir for the Ritchey. Although, it’s a bit taller, the 44cm works just as well on this bike. I’m building the Tonk up with a 9 speed drivetrain, so the silver bar will be back in play. 

From Velo Orange:

With comfortable fit characteristics such as shorter reach, shallow drop, and a mellow backsweep, the Nouveau Randonneur Handlebar is optimally designed for long days and nights for riders using integrated shifters and aero brake levers.

The tops are ovalized and swept back ever so slightly from the stem clamp. This makes for a bigger area upon which your hands can rest. A wider palm base means road vibrations and impacts are distributed better and not centralized into a specific spot effectively reducing hand, wrist, and elbow fatigue. Additionally, the sweep lends itself better (than a straight top) to your hands’ natural resting position.

Widths (measured center-to-center at the hoods): 42, 44, 46cm

Backsweep: 5 degrees

Ramp length: 105mm

Traditional reach: 85mm

Drop: 128mm

Stem clamp diameter: 31.8mm

Brake lever clamp diameter: 23.8mm

Weight (44cm): 301g

If your searching for that comfortable handlebar for all day rides, look no further, the Velo Orange Nouveau Randonneur Handlebar is exactly what your looking for.

Hooray for Houston

After a surprisingly pleasant trip to Milwaukee, I flew to Port Arthur, Texas and subsequently over to Houston. If you read my last post, you can tell I did not love Port Arthur and you know that while I’m usually in town to work, I’m able to squeeze in some riding a few days a week. Well, from the minute I arrived in Houston, I could tell this was going to be a much different story.

In town for only 3 days, I checked in to my hotel in the Galleria area and drove down to Memorial Park. An employee of the park explained that the loop there was only about a mile. She sent me over to the White Oak Bayou Trail. A google search on the way over showed that it is over 65 miles in length, stretching through Houston and into the suburbs. While I did not get her name, she displayed the common theme I witnessed while in this very nice city, everyone is friendly. She took great interest in making sure I experienced cycling in Houston in the best possible way.

I started out near Sawyer Heights Street and made my way onto the trail, heading west through The Heights and Inwood, 2 very nice neighborhoods. I cruised along the narrow Bayou for about 16 miles until it came to an end. Perfect, as time would allow, 30+ miles was all I could squeeze in. I zipped back, enjoying the urban landscape with breathtaking views of downtown and upscale neighborhoods.

The only downside was that I broke my cleat at the start of the ride and rode the entire way with one foot clipped in. A quick stop at the Bike Barn on Wirt Road the following day was all I needed to get back in my pedals. Jeff installed them while I waited and gave me some great tips on where to ride. Awesome shop and a good resource.

Aside of the cleat issue, it was a fantastic ride. 80 degrees in February, I’ll take that anytime. Being from the northeast, I’m happy when it’s above freezing. Today’s rain, kept me off the bike on my final full day before tomorrow’s travel day. I’m finally going home. 36 days on the road. My coveted Pennsylvania gravel awaits. Look for that at

The way I see it, Houston is for cyclists. I’ll have to explore more on my next stop here, but from what I’ve seen, I can’t wait to get back here.

What’s Playing? What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding? Today – Tony Carey – A Fine Fine Day

Port Aurthur, Texas

After Gettysburg, I was home for 2 days, then I shoved off to Milwaukee. After 6 days, I headed to Port Arthur, Texas for 2 weeks. Port Arthur is in the southeast corner of Texas. Although it’s near the Gulf Coast, access to the water is limited, as industry occupies much of the land near the coast. Most people work at the many oil refineries throughout southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana

My Mother always said, “if you have nothing nice say, say nothing at all”. That said, this is not a cycling Mecca! As a matter of fact, there are not many back roads at all. Most of the infrastructure consists of high traffic, commercial highways. The roads that are available are mostly tar and chip or concrete with huge cracks. There are absolutely no hills as most of the area is below sea level. There are a few bridges with sizable shoulders. Most of these bridges are on state highways, so riding may not be legal, but we have to do what we have to do.

I did squeeze in about 7 rides, thinking that I was going to find a few riders, that could point me in the right direction. That didn’t happen. A call to the closest bike shop (16 miles away in Beaumont) only confirmed my suspicion, there’s no safe place to ride in this area. With not much time after work to travel to a suitable location, I had to make the best of the situation, I straddled my steel steed and just pedaled. After over 200 miles, I learned a few things. Generally, the people are hard working and friendly. Like anywhere else, the farther you get from town, the better the riding gets. I started the week with an informal cruise around town to get familiar with the layout. On ride# 2, I headed towards the water rode on Highway 73 and up the Memorial Bridge (20.5% incline). As I began my descent, I hit some glass and flatted. The walk down was not fun.

Memorial Bridge

Did I mention the wind. What this area lacks in hills, it makes up for with wind. No matter which way you travel your getting a strong head wind either coming or going. But, on my final ride, I finally found some respite. I headed out of my hotel onto Rt. 365. The first 2 miles are rough with heavy traffic. Once you cross Port Arthur Road, 2 lanes go down to one on each side as oil rigs, tanks and lines are replaced by cows, farms and trees. Although the roadway is mostly tar and chip, the serene country setting along with little to no traffic, helped make my final Southeast Texas bike ride a bit more pleasurable.

One of the many oil rigs

Bottom line, this is not a place you want to explore on 2 wheels. I leave today for Houston. I’ll be there 4 days. If all goes well, I’ll get at least one ride in. Stay tuned…..

Southern Comfort

Usually, I stay in one place for at least a few weeks. However, this trip has been a long, strange ride through the south. I would normally take the road bike, but this time the ease associated with the folding bike made sense, as I would have to pack it up about every 4 days.

The first stop, Homewood, Alabama, borders Birmingham. An upscale bedroom community. Homewood is extremely hilly. My dawn patrol ride became the McMansion tour of the south. Atop every hill, it seemed that almost every home was incorporated into the landscape. The trees dwarfed the homes, creating a gorgeous setting.

Next, I was lucky enough to stay in Horn Lake, Mississippi. Horn Lake is another bedroom community, just north of Memphis, Tennessee. With very little time in the schedule to ride, I decided that I was going to split one ride between both states. My hotel, on the Mississippi side, was 2 miles from Memphis. I jumped out of the hotel and pedaled into traffic, crossing the state line for a 10 mile ride in Tennessee. On the way back, I passed the hotel, cruised around Horn Lake and avoided the oncoming hurricane by a few minutes.

It poured the entire next day as I drove to Little Rock, Arkansas, creating some down time to plan routes throughout the Rose City. My hotel was in North Little Rock, about 8 miles from downtown. With little time, my lunch ride from the hotel, was rather flat. A windy spin around North Little Rock that was pretty uneventful. A few days later, I hit the jackpot. A tip, sent me over to the Big Dam Bridge.

Originally intended to be called Murray Bridge, the Big Dam Bridge spans the Arkansas River and Murray Lock and Dam between Little Rock and North Little Rock and is open only to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. At 4,226 feet in length it is the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in North America that has never been used by trains or motor vehicles. It rises to 90 feet over the Arkansas River and 30 feet over the dam. The span over the river is 3,463 feet, with the ramps on either side of the river accounting for the rest of the length. The southern end of the bridge is near Little Rock’s Murray Park, while the northern end is at Cook’s Landing Park in North Little Rock.

You exit the bridge on the Arkansas River Trail. A smoothly paved cycleway that runs through beautiful landscape to and through downtown Little Rock. You glide across the Arkansas River and over several bridges before arriving in the downtown section of the city. I can’t wait for my next visit to the area. I’ll bring the Ritchey to explore even more of the Arkansas Trail.

All and all, I was pleasantly surprised at how hilly the south is. Not mountainous, but compared to the Mid West, it was a nice change to be able to climb a little.

Almost Autumn

My return home, however short it may be, is enough to renew my spirits. Being away from family, friends and familiarity is difficult for long stretches at a time. I took a few days off the bike to rest and recover from long work days and travel.

Wanting to get back in the woods, I hopped on the gravel bike and pedaled into the Delaware State Forest to regain some more familiarity. As soon as I crossed through the deer trail that connects my community and the forest, my stress level dropped significantly.
Being away so long, I forgot how beautiful the beginning of fall foliage is. The through roads were littered with fallen leaves and acorn, but not so much that you couldn’t see the gravel surface.

About halfway through my ride, I crossed onto the Burnt Mills Snowmobile Trail system. With the addition of new gravel to cover the rip rap, this trail is becoming one of my favorite routes through the forest. It has some short, steep climbs, as well as loose, twisty descents, dropping narrowly through thick brush and wetland before climbing back up. Most of the trail system sits just below, but parallel to Flat Ridge Road.

My ride back was filled with the sights and sounds of Northeast Pennsylvania, enough to fill my head with happy thoughts as I hit the road again in a few days. Here’s a few more pics:

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Billy Joel – The Stranger

The Spirit of St. Louis

I miss home. I miss my family. I miss my dog. But as long as I have to travel, I will always venture out to check out the local cycling culture. My recent trip to St. Louis, gave me a chance to see the city and county from my steel steed. My impression of St. Louis is two fold. I see an urban area that is struggling. I also see proud people, regardless of race, outside together riding, running and living in a world so filled with all the world’s problems. I see proud sports fans from all walks of life, clinging to their beloved Cardinals and Blues.

I was able to get out a few times on this trip to explore some of the urban landscape from two wheels and venture a little further out to sample one of the gems of the mid-west. Not Mountainous, but by no means is St. Louis flat. At least, not until you hit some of the incredible paved cycleways and gravel trails.

I had an opportunity to pedal out of the city to Creve Coeur Lake. From there, you can experience miles of beautiful roads, paths and even jump on The Katy Trail, a 240 mile crushed limestone rail trail that traverses the state of Missouri. I couldn’t help myself. I jumped on the section from Creve Coeur to St. Charles. The gravel is hard packed. I was not the only one on a road bike, but maybe the only one with 25mm tires. I only rode about 12 miles on the trail, but I would like to go back and spend a weekend across the entire network.

As I capped a hill, on my back to the hotel, I saw the sun, so red (probably from the western forest fires) it looked like it would explode. I’ll be home soon, for maybe a week, but you can bet I’ll squeeze a few miles in and hopefully get to paddle a little before the cold weather comes.

Here’s a few more photos

Tour de Force – Virtual

For the first time in 19 years, the Tour de Force, like many other charity rides, went virtual. Some sporting events and races have been able to push on as originally planned. The formation of a theoretical bubble and strict testing policies have made this possible. We are a charity ride, with not a lot of funds to spare. With 300 riders and more than 50 support staff in hotels for 4 nights, it seemed like an impossible task to keep everyone safe.

My brother Mike had an idea to convert this year’s edition to a virtual ride. Each rider would pedal 70-75 miles on a route of their choice. We would stage a live event to send the riders off from their start lines and finish with another live event complete with raffles and prizes for top fundraisers.

Many smaller group rides were formed. Our New Jersey team rode from Shanksville, PA to Pittsburgh, honoring the victims of flight 93 that perished on 9/11. Team Colorado, the Adirondack Garda, Team East Coasters, Team East Colfax, Team Rockland County Shields along with NYPD Cycling and many others put on amazing rides in their respective regions. We hosted a ride that took us on a 73 mile loop from Goshen, NY around to New Paltz, through Newburgh and back to Goshen.

I’ve never been prouder of everyone involved. We are raising money for the families of Police Officers killed in the line of duty, nationwide. Not an easy task these days. But done in an atmosphere when it’s suddenly ok to kill Police Officers and scream to defund or worse yet, get rid of Police Departments all together. I will not go any further, because I do not want to take away from the amazing efforts by so many. I can’t wait to see everyone in 2021.

Road to Nowhere

On September 12, the Tour de Force, a charity ride that I co founded and have been a board member of since 2002, is hosting its virtual ride. Normally, we ride from New York to Washington, DC or New York to Boston over four days. However, due to the Covid 19 restrictions and a general concern for all involved, we decided a one day, 75 mile ride, done virtually is the way to go. We will connect with riders from around the country, via Facebook live at the start, then we get to go out and actually ride. Normally the logistics do not allow us time on the bike, during the event.

While I have been riding pretty regularly all year, I still wanted to get one long ride in about 2 weeks before. So, last Sunday I departed Milford for a tri-state loop, touching New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
I pedaled over the Milford Bridge, up Deckertown Turnpike, down New Road and back on Rt. 206 to Clove Road for a roller coaster ride into Montague, NJ. I crossed into Port Jervis, NY via Rt. 23 and turned right to climb Neversink Drive. A right hand turn had me follow Rt. 209 to Guymard Turnpike. A mile in and the roughly 2.5 mile climb begins. It’s fairly gradual for about 2 miles before the grade kicks up to just about 12-15%.

After dropping down to Old Mountain Road and hammering over to Rt. 6 for a 3 mile descent, I took River Road back to Deckertown Turnpike and this time went left on New Road, taking it back to Clove Road and over the Milford Bridge for a cruise back into town.

The following day, I went for a mountain bike ride through the Delaware State Forest to enjoy a slower paced ride and give my legs a chance to recover from the previous day. As I crossed onto Irish Swamp Trail, I encountered a medium sized Black Bear. He was as startled as I was. But lumbered off as I pushed through.

Today, I decided a little climbing was in order. My goal was simple. Just pedal uphill. I parked in Port Jervis and after crossing the Tri-States Bridge, I veered up Rt. 6. The 3 mile climb averaged about 7-8%. I turned right on Old Mountain Road and another right to climb the back side of Greenville Turnpike. A series of short steep hills lead to a sweet 3 mile descent which is what I needed to recharge my legs for a turnaround at the bottom. I immediately charged back up Greenville Turnpike for another 3 mile climb and pushed on all the way to Rt. 6. The short steep ascent led to 1 more 3 mile descent.

The mileage was short, but the elevation gained was not. With six days out from the event, I’ll add some easy miles and eat clean.
No music today, just prayers and gratitude for our frontline heroes: EMT’s and Medical Personnel, Police and Fire Departments.

Minnesota Fats

For those of you that did not grow up in the last 30 years, you know what this title refers to. I couldn’t wait to use it here. Minnesota Fats was the quintessential Pool hustler and Billiards player that inspired the character in the 1961 film, “The Hustler”, played by Jackie Gleason. Fats’ career spanned for more than 50 years. 
Now, if your thinking that the title infers that suburban Minneapolis is hilly, think again. I did log a few rides with over 1,000 feet of elevation, but I had to really get creative. After a little over 200 miles in 5 days, I found Bloomington to be a community built around cycling. 

With bike lanes and paved bike paths all around Bloomington and parks littered with trails and paths (called cycleways in Minnesota), there’s a place for anyone to ride. Bloomington is also home to QBP, one of the world’s largest bicycle and parts distributors. 

Now, there are some hills here, not the long, steep hills we see in the northeast or the high elevation, monster ascents in the Rockies, but short punchy climbs, just difficult enough to get your attention. I did find myself doing some repeats up these hills towards the end of my rides. Normandale Mt. Road jets up off Normandale Blvd, through a suburban neighborhood, reminiscent of the start of some of the most iconic European climbs. 

But the real gem here are the bike lanes and sidewalks built for cycling. Both sides of almost every main road has either a bike lane or sidewalk, designed around fitness activities. You would think that with the cold, snowy, long winters, cycling would have a short season. Not so, Minnesotans ride year round. After all, it is the home of the fat bike. Even in summer, Minnesotans pedal these beefy machines on the streets, trails and in the parks. So, there you have it, Minnesota Fats.

Whats Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding). Today – Simon and Garfunkel – Homeward Bound

The Twin Cities – Part 2

I was finally able to get out and explore Minneapolis yesterday. With extremely hot and sticky weather, I left my hotel at 8am and drove into downtown, parking at the bottom of Portland Street at Mill Ruins Park. My goal was to circumvent the city on the Grand Rounds Bike Path. I hopped on and rode along the Mississippi River through the downtown area and out past the University of Minnesota.
There was a lot of construction and the detours made for some nifty adjustments as I fell off the path and ripped through the park and back onto the blacktop trail. This was not going to be a speedy ride, it was more like a tour of Minneapolis. Latte sipping youth, walking 2 and 3 across made for some sudden stops and quick reactions.

The Basilica of St. Mary

I pedaled out through some gorgeous neighborhoods and into the lake regions. Circling Lake Harriet and Lake Bde Maka Ska, I saw an amazing amount of people kayaking, paddleboarding, running, cycling and camping all right inside the city limits.
Minneapolis has a very small downtown, but large suburban type neighborhoods with endless miles of bike trails. It really is a great outdoor city. That said, I got turned around in the lake region and headed back towards the car down Hennepin Avenue to Washington Avenue, back to Portland Street and into Mill Ruins Park.

This week, I’ll explore suburban Bloomington and points north of the city.

Pedaling Through a Pandemic: The Road Less Traveled

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


Pedaling Through a Pandemic: Finding New Trails

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)





Pedaling Through a Pandemic: Tips from the Uninformed

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.

Pedaling through a Pandemic: Week 1

With Social Distancing, Self Quarantine and Shelter in Place becoming the new norm, life as we know it has taken on a whole new meaning. However this shakes out, as a world, we will be forever changed.


If you read my last post at, you’ll know that I had to depart my work trip a few days early and drive back from Chicago.  While grounded for the time being, I’ve been able to get away from my laptop A few hours a day and hit the pavement, gravel and singletrack, that’s abundant in and around Milford. I’ve pedaled with friends (6 feet apart), my son and alone.


I’ve actually stayed quite close to my home, riding through the community, my gravel kingdom and the trails that surround the forest. It’s been weird seeing so many people out there, walking and hiking, especially on the week days. I guess everyone needs to get out of the house and soak in some Vitamin D.


For those that cannot go to work, this forced vacation is a time that can be spent safely with family, in the outdoors and is a great time to get some home projects done. And remember to thank everyone that is putting their health at risk by going to work every day: Supermarket employees, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, truck drivers, delivery services, plumbers, electricians, mechanics and all the great people that keep the world afloat, including all Health Care Workers and First Responders.


I’ll keep this going each week until it comes to some kind of conclusion. Stay safe, be positive and clean everything. We are all in this together, I mean separately.

What an Honor

On Tuesday, I received an email from Feedspot, that Riding Milford was placed on a list of Top 100 Cycling Blogs on the web.

I wasn’t sure what that means, so I did a search to see how many cycling blogs there actually are. There are literally thousands. When I checked out Feedspot, I realized that the other blogs on the top 100 were a lot of what I read. So being placed at number 95 is an honor. Is this why I write Riding Milford? No! But it’s nice to know that someone other than me is reading it.

I like to believe that the readers, who have patiently read my stories, made the difference. So I say thank you!

If you want to read some really cool blogs, geek out a little and gain some cycling culture, check out

And wait another week and check into my new blog

New Blog

Although, Riding Milford has been my favorite outlet, I’ve decided to start a new blog to help guide readers and myself along the path of the frequent traveler.
My work has been sending me around this great big country, and what better way to see each city or town, than from a bicycle.
That being said, Riding Milford will remain active.

When I’m home, I’ll post my local rides here and when I’m on the road, my posts will find their new home at

Stay tuned……

Stillwater Natural Area

On Tuesday, I had a window to go out and get a few miles in. I really wanted to check out some new trails, just off Flat Ridge Road. Jamie, tipped me off last week and I’ve been eager to check them out.


The mid-teen tempts jumped to 25 degrees by noon, so I jumped in the car and parked At the end of Five Mile Meadow, just off Silver Lake. I planned on entering at the Flat Ridge Cabin, across from Little Mud Pond, so I climbed up the back end of Five Mile and hopped on Little Mud Pond Trail (another trail I’ve waited to ride). This is an old snow mobile trail with a 2-3” rip rap surface. The climb was moderate, but the descent to Silver Lake was fun.


I rode across to the Flat Ridge Cabin (one of hundreds of hunting cabins scattered throughout the Delaware State Forest). This is a great place to enter the trails, as this is one of the state owned cabins.


The narrow singletrack, wraps around for a little over a mile, before intersecting with the yellow trail. This trail, which is mostly singletrack, winds through the thick woods and ends at Coon Swamp Trail.


I headed down to Big Bear Swamp. On the way, I noticed an animal carcass. It appeared to be a deer. Who says bears are in hibernation. Coming to a narrow stretch of singletrack, I realized that I better head back. The sun was going down soon, and it’s too cold to get caught out this time of year.

Hidden cabin off Little Mud Pond Trail

What I did notice is that there are a few more trails off Coon Swamp that I will need to investigate. Can’t wait, this seems to be a nice area of the forest. Spinning around, I headed out to Flat Ridge, veered onto Silver Lake and took the Little Mud Pond Trail back to Five Mile.


What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) – today -Men at Work – Be Good Johnny






Monstercross in the Watershed

On Wednesday, I had a few hours to kill and thought a gravel ride through the woods, would be a great way to spend part of All Hallows’ Day. To try something different, I opted for a spin through the Port Jervis Watershed.


Starting from parking lot 2, at the power lines, I headed down Skyline Drive to the campground (an old Girl Scout camp). From there, I sampled a little of Scouts Honor, some flowy singletrack, for a half mile and returned to the campground. I wound my way up to Point Peter, and back around to the gate and down Skyline Path, a beat up old road with more dirt and gravel than what’s left of decades old pavement.


At the bottom of Skyline Drive, I made a left on Reservior Road and cruised over to the bottom of Deejay Downs. On the way back, I climbed Resevior Road to Box Baum Rd. The gravel is very loose on this road, making it difficult to gain any momentum on the way up.


At the top, I took Box Baum to Academy Avenue and button hooked my way over to Peenpack Trail. Turning around again, I found my way onto Moranigan Trail, more singletrack with and few more rocks and roots, but very rideable. A right on Brant Path, an old Jeep trail, led me back to Box Baum and subsequently, back down Resevior Road. After climbing Skyline Path, I finished up by cruising down Skyline Drive to the parking lot.


I see the potential to develop a good mixed ride of gravel, Jeep trail and singletrack. Can’t wait to put it all together.


What’s Playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Hall and Oates – She’s Gone


Gravel, dirt, grass and a little pave

About 6 years ago, I decided that a cyclocross bike was  my alternative fall rig. Not to race, but to get off the beaten path. I know, I sound like every bicycle company’s mantra for their new gravel, all road or adventure bike. Every one of them will have you believe they invented this gravel bike or this incredible genre of riding. Truth is, people have been riding gravel and dirt roads as long as people have been riding bicycles.


Since then, I can’t seem to get enough gravel. As a matter of fact, I can’t seem to get enough of the Delaware State Forest. So much so, you must be sick of reading my posts that include this swath of woods. Anyway, I’m sorry, but today, I rode with Joe and Jason and found an entirely new trail that is as amazing as every road, ATV or snowmobile trail in the forest.


We started at my abode and pedaled about a mile, before entering a deer trail that led us to Five Mile Meadow Road. Heading towards Silver Lake, we made a right on Ben Bush Trail and followed it to Standing Stone Trail. Cruising through the deer management area, we turned left on Silver Lake Road and decided to take the Burnt Mills Trail for about 3 miles and connected it with Flat Ridge Road.


Just as Flat Ridge comes to an end, we moved back over to the Burnt Mills Trail to ride through the section that includes a lot of loose gravel and large pieces of rip rap. This ends in a huge gravel parking lot along Rt. 402. From there, we usually ride on 402 to Pine Flats Road. Today, we hung a left onto the Pine Flats Trail. The first quarter mile was being logged. The rest was like gliding over some kind of magical forest. Lush grass on top of a hard packed surface made for a really cool roller coaster ride that eventually came out at the bottom of Pine Flats Road.


As it was 35-40 degrees most of the day, we decided to head back via Bushkill Falls Road to Flat Ridge Road and took Five Mile Meadow all the way to my community.

No, I don’t walk on water. It just seems that way!

It always seems a little difficult when you encounter the first really cold ride of the new season. But, it gets easier each time you go out.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – anything Marvin Gaye. C7463DA2-71A0-444D-9E6A-19E5F093A457







Dehydration is a deficit of total body water. It occurs when water loss exceeds water intake. It’s usually caused by exercise, illness, or immursion diuresis. For this post, we will concentrate on exercise and dehydration from sweating.


Whenever your in a hot or humid climate and participating in exercise, dehydration is lurking just around the corner. Beware: losing 2% of your weight in fluid equates to a 25% loss in performance. And performance is only important when your health is not at risk.


So, if your busy and forget to drink or just don’t feel thirsty during a long ride or run, you will not be able to replace the water you lose due to excessive sweating and heavy breathing. When your dehydrated, you may feel dizzy or disoriented. You may have muscle cramps or headaches. You could also experience rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, confusion, irritability, dark yellow urine, dry skin or fainting.


What you need to do: First, drink a lot of water, every day! Then, drink 12 ounces of water 1 hour before exercise and 8 ounces, 15 minutes before exercise. During your ride, run, hike, paddle or whatever gets your heart rate up, drink 1 bottle (about 20-24 ounces) for every hour  of effort. In humid conditions, drink 1 & 1/2 bottles an hour. Add sports drink mix to every other bottle for efforts over an hour long.

What makes me such an expert. Experience. I’ve ended up getting carted to a hospital on 3 separate occasions in the last 14 years, due to severe dehydration. Each time, during humid weather, I simply did not drink enough before or during exercise. I felt weak and tried to push on. All big mistakes. The first two times, it took me a couple of weeks to recover. It happened again last weekend, Not because it was hot or humid, but because I did not drink enough and did not listen to my body. So drink, drink drink!





Solstice Campout

On Saturday, Steve, Jason, Darrin and I, ventured out on a bikepacking trip. June 23rd was the worldwide solstice bikepacking event and what better place to camp then the Delaware State Forest.


We met up at the Rt. 739 parking area at 5pm and pedaled up Five Mile Meadow Road. A right on Ben Bush Trail to Standing Stone Trail brought us through the logging area and over to Silver Lake Road. A short climb and we hammered the 4 miles down Flat Ridge Road.


We hooked up on the Burnt Mills snowmobile trail system over to Rt. 402 and dropped down to Pine Flats Road. About 2 miles in, there is a water source. This is convenient, because we were camping only about 2 miles further. We filled our bottles and headed to our campsite.


I reserved the campsite from the PA DCNR. The Delaware State Forest has 29 designated campsites. Ours was perfect. With a stream running nearby, the campsite sat just off the gravel road.


After setting up sleeping quarters and making a fire, it was time to prepare dinner. I opted for a quick dehydrated meal of Louisiana Red Beans and Rice, cooked expertly on a Jetboil stove.


We relaxed with a few beers and enjoyed the incredible night afforded us by Mother Nature. The forecast called for a humid day followed by thunderstorms. What we got was a nice breezy day with perhaps a slight drizzle. Perfect weather for a loaded S24hour adventure.



The next morning brought more beautiful weather. After breakfast, we packed up and retraced our route back to Silver Lake Road, where we turned right to take Five Mile Meadow all the way back.


Sub 24hour adventures get you out in the woods without a big commitment. Give it try. Until then, check out more pics of our adventure.




Snowshoes, Ice & Darkness – 2018 Storms

This has surely been a week to forget. With about 2 feet of snow dumped on the area last Friday, most, including me, have been without power since.

In rural areas, power outages take on a whole different meaning. With the lack of central water and sewers, we rely on Well water and Septic. When there is no power, septic and water pumps do not operate. Internet went out with the power and cell service lasted 12 hours into the blackout.

Today, we were graced with another foot of snow. You simply have to make the best of it. I was lucky enough to get a little exercise, as I donned the snowshoes for a jaunt through the woods with my son.


No pics of the damage (trees and wires down, cars crushed, homes destroyed). That’s for the news outlets. I just want to hammer home the notion that you have to be prepared. If you have the means, get a generator. Keep 20 gallons of gas on hand, safely away from the house. Store bottled water and canned food. Make sure you have matches and a good old fashioned hardwire telephone. Most times when power goes out, phone lines are in tact.


A wood burning stove is a good idea. I was lucky enough to have a generator that powers my entire home and a wood burning stove with plenty of wood. I owe a huge thank you to a wonderful neighbor that trudged through the snow to turn on the generator for my wife while I was stuck on a closed road for 17 hours. What I lacked was gas. I searched every gas station in the area on Saturday and finally found enough to fill my containers.

This storm claimed many lives and many are still without power or running water. Please, if you know someone that is suffering because of this storm, reach out and help.

It’s no secret that weather patterns are changing. With that said, try to make the best of what Mother Nature serves up.

Feeling Spring

A couple of weeks ago, that dreaded groundhog saw his shadow. Whether that means six more weeks of winter or not, I truly do not know. What I do know is that these past few days have been warm, 50’s and 60’s. With a snow storm looming for Saturday night, the pressure was on to get a ride in.

Being sick since late January, has kept me off the bike. Feeling weak, with constant headaches and swollen legs, has kept me on the shelf and not thinking I could ride, until today. I peeled myself off the couch and ventured out for a short spin. I’m glad I did. With a 60 degree day, snow and ice disappeared and water was everywhere.

976F6BC2-F011-4229-A476-6CC207727830Streams and creeks appeared in culverts and roads. It was a lot of fun. The pace was slow, the bike got real dirty and my backside got wet. I hope this is a sign of things to come. I would like to stop talking about how cold it’s been and start detailing new rides and adventures.

Whats playing, (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding), today – Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time


2017 in Review

Year end posts should not be about what a remarkable year you had. Instead, they should celebrate all you’ve learned in the previous 12 months and how you can use that to be a better person and make a more positive impact. Taken from the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”, I like to remind myself and arrogantly others, “be the village”. You see, for years, I have thought of myself as  the village. Someone who is so above help that I pass judgement on those who seek out and accept help. In reality, I’ve just been fortunate in some areas of my life.

That said, Happy New Year!

2017 was a year of fantastic riding. We had our first hill climb challenge, road a lot of dirt and gravel and I really learned to appreciate any time I can be on a bike.

In 2018, we are going to put together Some cool new challenges to keep everyone riding strong. Another hill climb challenge, an off road challenge and maybe a 30 day mileage goal. While a challenge really keeps you motivated and pushes you to reach new heights, just riding your bike on most days is enough!

So, enjoy your day of rest today and get back on your bike soon!

I leave you with a pic of what hopefully your future rides do not look like or maybe they should!


Again, Happy New Year!




Update: Photo Contest Winner

Thank you for submitting your photos. There were some really beautiful shots and I hope the contest got a few people outside with their bikes, when they would have otherwise been in the warmth of their homes. 15032667_10209315403894708_1102839465245136816_n

The winning photo was submitted by Sean of his Masi cyclocross bike by a lake, on November 17th. Congrats, sunglasses will be coming your way shortly.

Tifosi Sunglasses Giveaway/Photo Contest

e91399a9-0ac6-4bd1-9966-4175f85a068dTo commemorate the 1 year anniversary of, we are having a photo contest, with the winner getting a set of brand new Tifosi Optics Lore multi lens sunglasses, in beautiful metallic red. A $70 value. Included are amber, smoked and clear lenses, soft and hard cases.

To enter: reply/comment to this post with a new photo of your bicycle in nature by this Saturday, November 19th, 2016 at 4pm. Winner will be chosen and contacted on Monday, November 21st, 2016.




Mid Fall Classic

As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, I try to make the most out of every ride. Today, I met up with John and Eric and raced the moon around the Walpack loop and back to our starting point in Sandyston, NJ.

It was a crisp, mid fall day. A little cold for short sleeves, but too warm for a jacket. Perfect cycling weather! This being the time in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that hunters are roaming the woods and gunshots can be heard throughout the day, it’s a good time for a road ride. img_0082

Riding through the Walpack Recreation Area has it’s advantages. Besides the incredible scenery, it’s usually traffic free. Pedaling out, it is always cool to see the Walpack Inn packed with cars and smoke coming from the chimney.img_0083

With a few weeks to go before the real cold weather kicks in, I hope to get a few more longer rides in before retiring the road bike for my gravel bike. Who knows, maybe a few more mountain bike rides to get me through the winter.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) today – Styx – Loreleiimg_0084



Morning Gravel

Every now and then, you are presented with some unexpected free time. What you do with that time is totally up to you. You could do some yard work, catch up on sleep or depending on the weather, crank out some extra miles. I took the day off from work today, to accompany my wife to an out of town, late morning doctor’s appointment. When my alarm went off at the usual 6am, because I forgot to reset it for later, I hopped out of bed, grabbed a quick cup of coffee, splashed some cold water on my face and jumped into my cycling clothes. img_0063

I won’t detail my entire ride, just that I pedaled out to Five Mile Meadow Road for a morning gravel spin. I touched Standing Tall Trail and attempted to ride up to Minisink Lake via Flat Ridge Road. That did not happen, as a Road crew was spreading some fresh gravel across the road. The new stuff was too soft, like riding on sand. They said that after Flat Ridge, they were going to hit Five Mile. It will probably be about a week to 10 days before the stone is compacted enough to ride on. I spun around and headed home, satisfied with just over 22 miles. With this week’s Indian Summer still hanging around, any ride is a good ride! Get outside and take advantage!

What’s playing (What am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) Today – The Doobie Brothers – China Grove



Press Release: Erie 80 Mountain Bike Race


The City of Port Jervis Holds Erie 80 Mountain Bike Race in City Park before Halloween

Port Jervis, NY – The city is working hard at showcasing the new trail system in the newly opened Watershed Park which will host the Erie 80 Mountain Bike Race on October 29th.  The race will have three distance options for participants including a 12 mile, 25 mile, and 50 mile course.  Trail crews have been working hard to build a fun, challenging, fast, and technical course attracting mountain bike riders and racers of all abilities.  Racers will face single track terrain with rocks, logs, roots, and water crossings.

The start of the race will take place on Front Street with a police escort to Brewers Reservoir.  From there, racers will give it their personal best and finish the course in the fastest time possible.   Racers will be categorized by age, bicycle type, and ability level.  Prizes will be distributed to all of the top 3 finishers within each category.

The City of Port Jervis has had a tremendous amount of help and support with the organization of the Erie 80 race.  Dejay Birtch is heading off the event and has designed the course.  Other sponsors include Action Bikes and Outdoor, Polar Bottle, Dark Horse Cycles, Fox N Hare Brewing Co, Joe Fix Its, BTI, Honey Stinger, Swift Wick Apparel, Newburgh Brewing, Dumonde Tech Racing Oils, Stan’s No Tubes, Port Jervis Brick Oven Pizza, Advocate Cycles, and Shop Rite of Montague.

Registration is open now on!!   Information and registration is also available at

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!


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!


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!


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!

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.