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Sunday, March 19, 2017

SOUTH JULIANA STREET

I had a good childhood.  A really good childhood.  My mom (God rest her soul) stayed at home with my brother, Jake, and I.  Dad says she did a great job raising us.  Dad was a high school teacher and also worked evenings at the Gateway Restaurant in Breezewood, Pennsylvania to make sure that my mom, brother, and I had everything we needed.  He's happily retired now (and recommends retirement for everyone).

Riding my bike behind Harry's barn.  Just beyond me is the Henderson's yard.  The tall bushes belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Brown.  Love the "All Kids 12 and Under free Pirates Hat" I got at Hat Night at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.  I still have it and it is still my hat of choice. Let's Go Bucs! -- 1980

I grew up in Bedford, Pennsylvania.  South Juliana Street to be exact.  We rented a house on the south corner of South Juliana Street from Mrs. Witt.  Harry Keller lived next door to us.  His house (which my parents would buy in the  early 1980s) was the original farmhouse in the area.  He had a barn in the back yard with a large driveway behind it.  Harry worked for Bedford  Borough and, based upon how he treated my mom and dad, was a really good man.  Going down the street...the Henderson's lived next to Harry...Mr. and Mrs. Brown lived next to the Henderson's...Mrs. Witt lived next to Mr. and Mrs. Brown...the Showalter's lived next to Mrs. Witt...the Heming's lived next to the Showalter's...the Clark's lived next to the Heming's...and the Corle family lived on the north end of the block.

Harry and Francis Keller -- 1977

David Raymond standing in front of Harry Keller's house on South Juliana Street.  The sidewalk on South Juliana Street would be the place all the neighborhood kids rode bikes on long, hot, summer days -- June 1976

Jake and I weren't the only kids on the street.  Beau and Lacey Henderson lived two doors down and Robbie Clark, Chris Corle, and Heidi Corle lived at the end of the street.  Robbie, Heidi, and I were the same age.  Rob and I played high school football together.  Two years behind us were my brother Jake and Heidi's brother Chris. Beau was one year behind Chris and Jake in school...and Lacey was two years behind Beau.  There were other kids in the area, too.  Charles and John Koontz lived near Jake and I.  Shannon Rogish lived near Robbie, Heidi, and Chris at the other end of the block.

Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson (sporting IRON MAN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- Summer 1979

Jacob Raymond (yes...ROBIN Underoos), Robbie Clark, David Raymond -- 1979

Mom would allow us to sell the cucumbers she grew in the garden to people driving by on South Juliana Street.  10 cents each.  What a bargain!  Lacey Henderson, David Raymond (wearing ultra-kool AQUA-MAN Underoos), Jacob Raymond, Beau Henderson -- August 1980

Top Row:  Beau Henderson, Jacob Raymond, Sheila Rogish, Lacey Henderson, Heidi Corle, Shannon Rogish
Bottom Row:  Chris Corle, Robbie Clark, David Raymond

My first real bike was  sparkly blue and had a red banana seat.  I loved that bike. We kids would spend our summer days riding bikes "down the hill" from my parent's house to the Clark's house.  We had a Big Wheel, too!  The kind that had a side hand break...which allowed us to spin in circles as we careened down the side walk!  To this day, I still remember how uneven and bumpy the sidewalk was in front of the Showalter's and Heming's house.  We'd ride the sidewalk...our own little piece of South Juliana Street...all day long.  Over and over and over again.


My father, Dave Raymond, resting  behind Harry's barn -- Summer 1977

Thanks, to Harry, we weren't just regulated to the sidewalk.  Harry gave us permission to ride our bikes "behind the barn" on his big driveway.  Sometimes mom and dad would come back to supervise...but not always.  Hell, it was the 70s and 80s...we drank out of garden hoses, let our feet dangle from the back of pick up trucks, and used Big Wheels with side brakes...none of which killed us.  Yeah...I had a really good childhood.  Parents who loved me...friends to hang out with...neighbors who were good to us...bikes to ride...ice cream cones...push up popcycles...and a street that connected all of it together.  Growing up in Bedford was really good.  Growing up on South Juliana Street made it extra special.

David Raymond in the Henderson's back yard.  You can see part of Harry Keller's driveway on the left.  Loving my authentic YODA t-shirt -- 1981


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- March 19, 2017

David Raymond (age 3).  Riding my tricycle on South Juliana Street -- September 1976

Where did you ride as a kid?  Tell me about it in the comments...I would love to hear your story.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

OUTSIDE IS FREE

A couple of years ago, Mark and I were mountain biking near State College, Pennsylvania.  We began our ride from a parking area in Penn Roosevelt State Park.  I'm not sure if Mark's car was the only car there when we began our ride...but for some reason, as we wrapped up our day on the trails, I took notice that it was.
  
Mark Lentz and David Raymond riding near State College, Pennsylvania.  We began this amazing ride in Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

With the bikes on top of the car and with less sweaty clothes on, Mark and I walked down below the parking are to explore the near empty lake and the dam that contained it.  I remember Mark walking towards the lake and I headed out to the dam.  All around me I saw empty picnic tables and signs put up by the DCNR which were meant to educate the  public on the plant life and wildlife which is native to the area.  My mind raced back to my childhood and the amount of time my family spent at Shawnee State Park in Bedford County and Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County.  Memories of picnics, charcoal grills, hiking, exploring, and family time.  Again...the realization that our car was the only one there came to the front of my head...and I asked, out loud, if people still made use of the state parks like we did 20-30-40 years ago.  Was this park always this empty now...or is it possible that we just happened to be there late in the afternoon on a Tuesday?

My bike and Mark's bike in the parking area of Penn Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

Mark's Mini is the only car there -- June 28, 2014

An empty Penn-Roosevelt State Park -- June 28, 2014

 If you live in Pennsylvania then there's a pretty good chance that you are currently within 50 miles of one of the Commonwealth's 121 State Parks.  I'm not sure if that is most in the nation...but it's got to be near the top.  Combined, Pennsylvania's State Parks offer over 200,000 acres for hiking, camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, wildlife watching, and yes....mountain biking!  From my house in Manchester, PA, I'm only 18 miles from Sam S. Lewis State Park, 22 miles from Gifford Pinchot State Park, 24 miles from Codorus State Park, 52 miles from Swatara State Park, and 57 miles from Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  That's pretty cool!

This map shows you the 4 regions in which Pennsylvania is divided and the locations of Pennsylvania's State Parks.  Click HERE to access the DCNR website that will help you locate a State Park near you!

Valley Forge State Park (now Valley Forge National Historical Park) was the first state park in Pennsylvania.  In 1893, Pennsylvania's governor, Robert E. Pattison, signed Act 130 "for the acquisition of ground at Valley Forge for a public park."  This act also created a commission that would work to acquire more land for public use.  In the early 20th century, Joseph T. Rothrock headed the Commission of Forestry.  As a medical doctor and a forester, Rothrock set up camps in the parks for people suffering from respiratory illnesses.  Following the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps established 113 CCC camps in Pennsylvana (2nd only to California) and, along with helping to fight fires and build roads, helped to create many of of Pennsylvania's State Parks.  

So...back to the question I had while exploring Penn Roosevelt with Mark on that June day in 2014...do people still use the parks like they use to?  The answer, in my opinion, is a resounding YES...and here's the proof:  
  • I have no trouble remembering the first time Mark took Timmy and I to Michaux...Memorial Day weekend 2006.  After a hard mountain bike ride we passed through an extremely crowded Pine Grove Furnace State Park (I can still remember salivating when we pedaled through the smell of the hotdogs cooking over charcoal grills).  
  • I dare you to try to find a parking spot near the Natural Water Slide in Ohiopyle State Park on a Saturday or Sunday!
  • Go ahead, just try to find an empty camp site anywhere in Pennsylvania on Memorial Day weekend.  Good luck with that.
Over the past 40+ years I've been to a bunch of State Parks for a variety of reasons with a variety of people.  Here are (in no particular order) all the Pennsylvania State Parks I've been to (so far)...with a few of my memories attached.  Hope you enjoy!

PENN ROOSEVELT STATE PARK


Penn Roosevelt State Park is a small, 41 acre park, located in the Seven Mountain Region near State College, PA.  All of the pictures are from a ride Mark Lentz and I took in Rothrock State Forest which surrounds the park -- June 28, 2014


PINE GROVE FURNACE STATE PARK

For me, Pine Grove Furnace and mountain biking go hand-in-hand.  Since 2006, we've used the parking lot and picnic area of the park, as a launching point for 99% of our mountain bike excursions in Michaux State Forest.  This 696 acre park is located in an area known as South Mountain (the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains).

Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Our mountain biking gear after one of our first rides in Michaux (2006); Bill Graves and Mark Lentz washing up after a day of riding (2006); packing up the vehicles after our last summer ride (August 2016); Dave Raymond & Mark Lentz on a ridge overlooking Pine Grove Furnace (July 14, 2014); Post ride grilling (July 24, 2014)

Check out this photosphere which shows the Furnace Stack Area of the park.

OHIOPYLE STATE PARK

I'm not sure where to begin!  Ohiopyle has been a family tradition for more than 70 years!  My parents began bringing my brother and I to Ohiopyle when we were very young.  I've made a point to continue the tradition and it's become a favorite place for both my wife, and my son.  Located on the Laurel Ridge in southwestern Pennsylvania, Ohiopyle State Park is 20,500 acres of pure awesomeness!  Hiking, camping, mountain biking, white water rafting...if you want it...it's probably there!

Top to Bottom//Left To Right:  Me mountain biking Sugarloaf Trail (2006); Taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014); My son, Alex, and I near Cucumber Falls (July 14, 2015); Cooling off in the Yough! (2006); Hiking with my wife, Robin (May 24, 2015); Amazing pic of me near Cucumber Falls (July 14, 2015); Robin and I (July 20, 2014); A visit from Mary Jane and my Dad while camping (June 17, 2016); "Hiking" with my daughter, Emma, near Cucumber Falls (July 18, 2014); My son, Alex, taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014); and Alex skipping rocks (July 14, 2015)

Videos Below:  Taking on the Natural Water Slide (July 18, 2014) and the main falls at Ohiopyle (July 19 & 20, 2014)
To see how much of a family tradition Ohiopyle has been be sure to read:  PASSING ON OHIOPYLE





SHAWNEE STATE PARK

Shawnee State Park is the park of my "growing up in Bedford" childhood.  I remember summer mornings, boarding a school bus, and heading out for swimming lessons at Shawnee Lake...the focal point of the the 3,983 acre park.  As an adult, I've ridden my road bike out there from my dad's house in Bedford and taken hikes with my wife, son, dad, and step-mom.

Left to Right:  My bike near Shawnee Lake (July 10, 2015); Fourth of July hike with dad, Mary Jane, Alex, and Robin (July 4, 2014)

POE VALLEY STATE PARK

Poe Valley State Park is a 620 acre park located near Bald Eagle State Forest in Centre County, Pennsylvania.  Mark and I were just a couple of "poe" boys mountain biking there on our last day of riding in the forests around State College, PA -- June 29, 2014

POINT PARK STATE PARK

Point Park State Park is located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, PA.  Known as the "Forks of the Ohio" this ground was the site of France's Fort Duquesne and then Great Britain's Fort Pitt.  This strategic piece of North America was key to the control of the fur trade in North America and was fought over by the French and the British in what we know as the French and Indian War (globally known as the Seven Years War) -- July 2014

GIFFORD PINCHOT STATE PARK

Encompassing 2,338 acres of land in York County, Gifford Pinchot State Park is ideal for boating, fishing, and camping.  I've ridden my road bike through the area numerous times.  I've been part of quite a few summer time "teacher debriefings" at Pinchot with colleagues.  My wife, Robin, and I also took my nieces Jackie & Sophie there on their first camping trip!

Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mike Ritts & Pedro Mena winding down after a long school year (June 2013); Preparing dinner (June 2013); Mike Ritts & David Raymond (June 2013); Sophie, Aunt Robin, Jackie, and Uncle Dave enjoying the campfire (July 2014); Sophie & Jackie Raymond (July 2104); Robin and David Raymond (July 2014)

 SWATARA STATE PARK

Swatara State Park is a favorite mountain biking destination for the guys in our group.  Miles and miles of twisty, turny, fun single track!  The 3,520 acres that make up Swatara State Park are nestled in the Swatara Valley north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Top to Bottom:  David Raymond & Tim Sindlinger (July 1, 2014); David Raymond, Tim Sindlinger, Matt Linnane, and Brent Shirk (September 5, 2015)

Below:  Video of David Raymond & Tim Sindlinger mountain biking in Swatara State Park (2015)



GREENWOOD FURNACE STATE PARK

Greenwood Furnace State Park is on the western edge of the Seven Mountains in northeastern Huntingdon County.  The park covers 423 acres, including a six-acre lake, campground, hiking trails, and a historic district. The park provides access to backpacking, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and fishing in the surrounding 80,000-acre Rothrock State Forest.  Mark and I passed through the park on multi-day mountain biking trip in the area around State College, Pennsylvania -- June 28, 2014.

CALEDONIA STATE PARK

Caledonia State Park straddles Adams and Franklin Counties.  The 1,125 acre park is surrounded by Michaux State Forest.  Just west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Caledonia is a favorite destination for hiking, camping, and picnicking.  Mark Lentz and I explored the area on our mountain bikes on Columbus Day 2015.

Left to Right:  Robin & David Raymond (Memorial Day Weekend 2012); My 2011 Stumpjumper resting on the Thaddeus Stevens Iron Furnace (October 2015)

 TROUGH CREEK STATE PARK

I first experienced Trough Creek State Park as a kid.  My mom and dad took my brother and I there for a picnic after a day of riding the water slides near Raystown Lake.  The 541 acre park, which cuts through Terrace Mountain, includes some super kool attractions such as a balancing rock, water falls, an ice cave, and a swinging bridge.  I've revisited the park twice as an adult.  First with Mark and Mikey after mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails near Raystown Lake and then on a brief hiking trip with my wife, Robin.

Top to Bottom//Left to Right: David Raymond on the swinging bridge (August 8, 2015);  Robin and I hiking in Trough Creek State Park (August 8, 2015); David Raymond, Mark Lentz, & Mikey Nardelli next to the balancing rock (October 14, 2013)

 PROMISED LAND STATE PARK

Promised Land State Park includes approximately 3,000 acres and is located on the Pocono Plateau (about 1,800 feet above sea level).  I was only there once...and I don't remember much.  In June of 2009, Kristian Hains, Jay Zech, and I participated in the Cradle of Liberty 24-hour Adventure Race.  It began in Promised Land State Park and was one of the toughest events I've ever participated in!

 FRENCH CREEK STATE PARK

French Creek State Park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington, D.C. and New York City.  Located in the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is perfect for hiking, fishing, camping, and biking.  The mountain biking in French Creek is some of the toughest around and it was the sight of the French Creek Fling 2-man adventure race.

Top Right:  Dave Raymond mountain biking the trails in French Creek (2009); Remainder of the pics:  Bill Graves and David Raymond in the 2010 French Creek Fling Adventure Race (October 10, 2010); 

 RAYMOND B. WINTER STATE PARK

Mark Lentz, Mikey Nardelli, and I spent 3 fun days mountain biking and camping in Raymond B. Winter State Park in July of 2011.  This 695 acre park is located within the extreme eastern edge of Bald Eagle State Forest.

Below:  Mikey taking on a wooden bridge near Raymond B. Winter State Park



BUCHANAN'S BIRTHPLACE STATE PARK

Okay...this one brings out the complete NERD within me!  Buchanan’s Birthplace State Park is an 18.5-acre park nestled in a gap of Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County. It is the site of the the birthplace of our nation's 15th president, James Buchanan.  I visited the park just last week with my wife, Robin, on our way home from my dad's house in Bedford.  No mountain biking... this small State Park offers picnic areas, trout fishing in Buck Run, and a chance for history teachers, like me, to completely get their NERD on!

Check out this ultra kool photosphere I took while I was there!

Pennsylvania's state parks have been such a big part of my life.  Ohiopyle has been, and continues to be, a family tradition.  Shawnee brings back so many childhood memories.  Pine Grove Furnace has become, for me, synonymous with mountain biking.  The parks are beautiful...they are convenient...and, best of all, they are free to the public (even for all of you out-of-staters)!  Today, they are run through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  Improvements are constantly being made (yep...no more smelly green bathroom at Pine Grove Furnace).  So...whether your thing is camping, or hunting, or hiking, or mountain biking...whether it's with your family, with your friends, or on your own...check out a state park near you.  The only money you'll need is for the ice cream on the way home because, in Pennsylvania, the OUTSIDE IS FREE!

Just me and Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park -- July 14, 2015 

Life is a journey...not a destination!



David A. Raymond -- March 11, 2017


My mom, Kathy Raymond, helped PASS ON OHIOPYLE to my brother and I -- 1980

If you enjoyed this post, then by all means, feel free to TWEET IT.

Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

(JUNE 28, 2014) Riding Penn Roosevelt State Park and Greenwood Furnace State Park with Mark Lentz

(JUNE 29, 2014) Riding in Poe Valley State Park with Mark Lentz

(SEPTEMBER 5, 2015) Riding Swatara State Park with Tim, Matt, and Brent

Saturday, February 25, 2017

THE LINKS OF A CHAIN

It's no secret that I love mountain biking.  It's also not a secret that like to ride in Michaux State Forest and that ultimately, no matter where I ride, all trails will lead me to ice cream.  Not just me though.  SOLO RIDES are few and far between...I love riding with friends. They are the ones that make every ride special...and over the years, their friendship, their personalities, their love of the outdoors, and their love for mountain biking have helped turned a hobby into a passion.  I'm so fortunate and privileged to have them in my life and out on the trails with me.

All the links of the chain:  Mark Lentz, Kristian Hains, Glenn Medice, Timmy  Sindlinger, Mikey Nardelli, Kevin Hardy, Bill Graves, Mike Alicea, Matt Linnane, Brent Shirk, & Chris Keller

Without my friends I'm not sure I would mountain bike nearly as much as I do...I'd be just one link of the chain. All of us, together, keep this thing moving.  I love Michaux, I love my Stumpjumpers, and I love going for ice cream afterwards...but I thought I'd get their input on a few questions and see what it is that they love.  Here are their responses in the order in which I received them.  Thanks for the assist on this one, guys!


BILL GRAVES

I've known Bill for over 15 years.  He and I started mountain biking together in 2006.  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Riding in Michaux State Forest (2009); Bill's "Frankenbike" at the M.A.S.S. Relay (April 3, 2010); Bill relaxing at the M.A.S.S. Relay (April 3, 2010); Riding Rocky Ridge County Park (August 10, 2011)

CURRENT BIKE:  Frankenbike built on a Sette frame. 29inch Cross Max wheels and a host of used/donated parts.

FAVORITE BIKE: The one I own.

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL: Crested Butte, CO. Hard, fast single track, beautiful mountain scenery, high altitude lung burn.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT: Ice cream, of course.


GLENN MEDICE

Glenn was introduced to our group by Mikey Nardelli.  Glenn, the eldest statesman of the group, was the first in the group to switch to 29 inch wheels loves to set mountain bike fashion trends!  Left to Right//Top to Bottom:  Glenn in Marysville, PA (April 4, 2009); Glenn on top of some God forsaken fire road in Rothrock State Forest (August 2007); Glenn in Michaux State Forest (June 2016); Glenn in French Creek State Park (March 14, 2009)

CURRENT BIKE:  Specialized Epic Hard Tail

FAVORITE BIKE:  Surly Karate Monkey 29er

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL: Rattling Creek, north of Harrisburg.  It's a challenging ride with a mix of rocks, rock gardens, and more.  An occasional fast, mossy single track provides a smile and some relief, but by the end of the ride I'm spent!  Great ride, though, and one of my favs.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Ice cream, duh.


MATT LINNANE

Tim and I  met Matt while riding in Swatara State Park back in 2015.  He fits right in with the group!  Left to Right:  Matt in Michaux State Forest (August 4, 2015); Matt riding in Swatara State Park (September 5, 2015)

CURRENT BIKE:  Cannondale F29

FAVORITE BIKE:  Specialized Fuse plus size (don't tell my Cannondale)

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Mt. Gretna/Governor Dick because it's an amalgam of adventure from rail trail to technical hard rock gardens.  I can take anything from an easy recovery ride with my daughter to a kick butt challenging technical ride that I feel the need to pad up for.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Tie betwen sticky buns and BBQ.  Tough to choose because I really like to eat.


MIKE ALICEA

Mike is my next door neighbor and loves to ride when he can.  He and I have been riding together for about three years.  Top to Bottom: Mike in Michaux State Forest (January 2, 2016); Mike in Rocky Ridge County Park (September 18, 2014); Mike in Michaux State Forest (June 14, 2014)

CURRENT BIKE:  2014 Excaliber 6

FAVORITE BIKE:  My 1991 Gary Fisher Tassajara was my all-time favorite bike.  I had it for 18 years and it never let me down.  I put that bike through hell!  Haha!

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  I love riding at Rocky Ridge County Park due to the close proximity to my home and the vast number of trails that really test one's riding ability.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  I usually eat a banana topped with natural peanut butter.


MARK LENTZ

Mark has been one of my best friends for a long time.  He and I both teach in the same school district and he and I share a brain about a long list of topics.  Mark's also been quite the mentor to me...I've learned a lot about mountain biking and the outdoors from Mark.  Thanks, bud!  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mark in Swatara State Park (January 16, 2012); Mark riding in Michaux State Forest (October 30, 2016); Mark and his "dirty" bike in Michaux State Forest (October 12, 2015); Mark on one of his all-time favorite trails: Ridgeline in Dupont State Forest, N.C. (August 2008)

CURRENT BIKE:  Niner Carbon Air 9 & Steel Sir 9

FAVORITE BIKE:  A dirty bike

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Any gnarly single track. Rothrock State Forest or western North Carolina or Wharton State Forest, NJ.  My favorite trail is Ridgeline in Dupont State Forest, NC because if flows like no other trail.  It is sex on two wheels.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Duh.  Ice cream.


BRENT SHIRK

Brent lives across the street from me.  He's an awesome guy and a great family man.  Brent get's out whenever he can and as long as it doesn't interfere his two boy's sports schedules.  Brent and I have been riding together for almost seven years now!  Left to Right:  Brent in Rocky Ridge County Park (September 23, 2016); Brent in Patapsco Valley State Park (December 30, 2013)

CURRENT BIKE:  Specialized Stumpjumper

FAVORITE BIKE:  My current one.

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Rocky Ridge County Park.  With my busy schedule it is where I usually ride.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Nothing in particular.


TIMMY SINDLINGER

Tim's my original riding partner and one of my very best friends.  He and I have been riding together since the year 2000!  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Tim riding Rocky Ridge County Park (November 26, 2011); Tim riding GRAVE RIDGE in Michaux State Forest (August 9, 2016); Tim in Michaux State Forest (August 9, 2016); Tim showing off in Michaux State Forest (June 21, 2016)

CURRENT BIKE:  Niner

FAVORITE BIKE:  Niner

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Michaux--the terrain makes you feel like you are down South with the foliage and creek crossings to the Midwest with the sandy soil and pine trees...all within just a few miles!

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:   Ice cream never tasted so good! (pretty much the only time I eat it)


MIKEY NARDELLI

Both of my children had Mikey as their second grade teacher.  He's a great teacher, great mountain biker, and great friend!  Mikey began riding with me in 2005.  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Mikey at the M.A.S.S. relay (April 3, 2010); Mikey in West Virginia (June 2007); Mikey in Patapsco Valley State Park (August 9, 2011); Mikey with his new bike in Michaux State Forest (July 5, 2016)

CURRENT BIKE:  State Pulsar SS 29er

FAVORITE BIKE:  Misfit Dissent

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  American Standard in Jim Thorpe, PA.  A good day ride and a variety of trails.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Roburrito's


KEVIN HARDY

Kevin and I have known each other since 2003.  Kevin's a super good guy.  Left to Right: Kevin riding at the Lakes in York County (November 7, 2009); Kevin taking on a see-saw in the Lehigh Valley (August 7, 2010)

CURRENT BIKE:  Trek Fuel EX6

FAVORITE BIKE:  Trek Fuel EX6 (only my second bike--but it's been heavily modified over the years)

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  Lehigh Mountain south of Bethlehem, incredible amount of climbing rewarded with a lot of gnarly downhill.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  Roadside pulled pork and potatoes.


CHRIS KELLER

Chris and I have been riding together since 2010.  He's also been a great partner and  a vital member of team WHITE SQUIRREL!  Top to Bottom//Left to Right:  Chris in Rocky Ridge County Park (August 9, 2015); Chris in Rocky Ridge (August 10, 2011); Chris riding the Lakes (November 26, 2011); Chris riding through one of the tunnels that travels under interstate 83 at the Lakes (June 4, 2011)

CURRENT BIKE:  Old.

FAVORITE BIKE:  One newer than mine.

FAVORITE PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE or FAVORITE TRAIL:  I will take any dirt trail at this point.  My ride time is so minimal.  I'll take what I can get.

FAVORITE POST RIDE MEAL or TREAT:  As much as I enjoy eating ice cream with you...my preference, by far, is a craft brew beer.


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- February 25, 2017


I cannot leave out Kristian!  Arguably the best rider of the group and a super good friend!  Left:  Kristian riding Ridgeline Trail in Dupont State Forest, NC (August 2008).  Right:  Kristian likes ice cream...but he LOVES Roburrito's (September 23, 2016)

If you enjoyed reading this...by all means, please feel free to tweet it!  

Here's a list of GARMIN maps and stats from a few of the rides featured in this post:

August 9, 2016 -- Mountain biking in Michaux and Grave Ridge Trail with Timmy.

October 12, 2015 -- Columbus Day exploring in Michaux with Mark.

September 5, 2015 -- Mountain biking Swatara State Park

Friday, February 17, 2017

RIDING SOMEONE ELSE'S BIKE

The moment you get on your bicycle it becomes an extension of your body.  It becomes a natural part of you...and you a part of it.  A connection and a bond is formed.  Your bike personifies your personality and becomes part of your identity.  Heck, most of us even  name our bikes.  Which is why it feels so incredibly weird, awkward, and foreign when you, for one reason or another, ride someone else's bike.  I accidentally rode Mark's bike once.  We had matching 2006 Stumpjumpers.  His was a small frame and mine a large.  We didn't make it more than ten feet down the trail before realizing the switch...and sharing a laugh.

Dave Raymond, Mark Lentz, and our matching Stumpjumpers after the Terror At Teaberry Race -- September 2006

There have been times when I've been "between bikes" and needed to borrow someone else's bike for an event (thank you, Billy & Kevin!).  Once I even rode my son's bike in an adventure race because a teammate needed to ride mine.  Working at GUNG HO BIKES I rode a myriad of bikes...some were significantly "nicer" than mine...but none of them ever felt quite right to me.  Riding someone else's bike could ultimately have financial implications...just ask Glenn!  Kristian allowed Glenn to ride his bike on a section of the Allegrippis Trails.  Glenn ended up with a significant case of "bike envy."  Glenn's currently in between bikes!

Thank you, Kevin, for allowing me to muddy up your bike during the 2009 Wildlands Adventure Race! -- September 27, 2009

Thank you, Billy, for loaning me your bike for the 2009 French Creek Fling Adventure Race....and thank you, Butch Ulrich, for making me carry it half of the race! It was my first ever taste of a 29er! -- October 11, 2009

I needed to borrow my son's Rockhopper for a five mile section of the 2012 Wildlands Adventure Race.  Thanks, Alex! -- September 30, 2012

The look on Glenn's face is one of "bike envy" after he rode Kristian's bike for a short stint on the Allegrippis Trails -- August 2, 2016

There are some things that I DO like about getting the chance to ride someone else's bike...Tim and I rode our first recumbent cycle while fixing a mechanical in Patapsco Valley State Park...we met a nice gentleman, struck up a conversation, and he allowed us to test out his bike.  I rode my first tandem bike with Mikey after the two of us tuned it up on an evening that we were both working at the shop.  I was the last in my group to make the switch from a 26 inch bike to a 29er...borrowing Billy's bike for an adventure race played a big part of that.  
So yeah...I guess I could say riding someone else's bike ultimately put me on the bike that I'm on now...the very bike that's become an extension of me.

While Mikey and I fixed the brakes on my bike...Timmy and Mark took turns riding a kind stranger's recumbent bike.  Super cool! -- August 16, 2011


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- February 17, 2017

Mikey and I had a great test riding a tandem bike we fixed while we were working at Gung Ho Bikes -- August 2013
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Here's the GARMIN stats and map from a ride featured in this post:

August 2, 2016 -- Mountain biking the Allegrippis Trails with Kristian and Glenn