Wednesday, September 19, 2018


For the first time in a long time, the sun was shining over south-central Pennsylvania on Sunday as I headed to Michaux State Forest to meet my buddy, Chris Keller.  I rarely go mountain biking on the weekends...(which might seem odd to some). The fact of the matter is that I really enjoy hanging out with my weekends are usually set aside for the two of us.  Besides, I have plenty of time after school and in the summer to satisfy my mountain biking fix.  Nevertheless, with my wonderful wife headed to North Dakota for a business trip, I found myself, with the Stumpjumper on top of the Cruz, headed towards Michaux for an unexpected ride.

Enjoying an unexpected weekend ride in Michaux State Forest. -- September 16, 2018

This was the first time Chris had ever ridden up to the Vista in Michaux State Forest.  The view is well worth the climb! -- September 16, 2018

Chris Keller and I enjoying the view from the Vista looking northeast over Michaux State Forest. -- September 16, 2018

Chris Keller taking on some of the rocks on top of the ridge near Route 233. -- September 16, 2018

Spending some quality time at one of my favorite spots on Earth. -- September 16, 2018

It's been a few years since Chris has been able to make the trip to Michaux with me and I was eager to show him some of the trails that have become standard for Tim and I over the past few years.  We pedaled past Fuller and Laurel Lakes and then headed straight up towards the vista.  The cool forest air in the valley near the lakes gave way to the heat and humidity of the day as we climbed nearly 600 feet up to the Vista overlooking the of my favorite spots.  I promised Chris that the view from the vista was well worth the effort of the climb...and, as I figured, he wasn't disappointed.  Chris and I lingered there for a few moments before continuing our loop.  For the next ten miles the two of us rode nothing but single track...some that were technical, some that were swampy, and some that included rocks the size of my truck. Chris received a pretty good tour of some of the trails I've been riding the past few years.  It was typical Michaux magic on a day that I normally wouldn't be riding. I hate when my wife travels...but I'm glad I got to spend the day doing something I love with a friend.  

Chris Keller and I, all smiles and thumbs up, after wrapping up our ride. -- September 16, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination

David A. Raymond -- September 19, 2018

No post-ride ice cream today...instead I drove the hundred miles from Michaux to Kutztown, PA to have dinner with my son, Alex.  It was an unexpected, but really nice, surprise. -- September 16, 2018

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Here's the GARMIN map and data from the ride Chris and I went on in Michaux last Sunday...Happy riding!

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Sunday, September 9, 2018


Back in 2008, when gas first shot up to over $4 a gallon, I made the the decision to start riding my bike to school.  At the time, some people thought I was crazy...after all, I'd be commuting approximately 11 miles each the predawn hours...with morning traffic.  Regardless of what some people thought...I decided to park my truck and commit to riding my bike to school as much as  could.  As far as I was concerned it would be one less vehicle on the road and, hopefully, a lot more gas money left in my pocket.

My Roubaix near Northeastern Middle School in Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania. -- June 2, 2016

The first thing I needed to commute to school was a bike.  Sure, I had a mountain bike...but I had no real desire to ride a mountain bike 22 miles a day on the road.  Afraid of committing to a traditional road bike, I took a page from my friend, Glenn's, playbook and purchased a 2008 Specialized Tricross.  I figured I'd be more comfortable with the "knobbier" tires and that it would be significantly faster than my mountain bike.  I practiced a few times...experimenting with routes and figuring out exactly how long the average commute would take me.  I would, obviously, need to shower and change when I arrangements were made to use the coaches room early in the morning.  Strict ground rules regarding the weather...the temperature had to be above 35 degrees and the local weather men had to guarantee me a dry ride.

My 2008 Specialized Tricross.  I wasn't sure if I really wanted a "road bike."   Ultimately, because I only used it on the road, my Tricross ended up on Ebay after owning it for just under a year. -- 2008

After selling my Tricross, I purchased my first real road bike...a 2009 Specialized Allez.  On days that I road my Allez to school, I would proudly display my NMS parking permit on it in my classroom!  -- 2011

My Roubaix replaced my Allez in 2012.  It's been my transportation to school many times.  -- September 6, 2018

The shortened commute to school allows me, if I so desire, to ride my Stumpjumper to school every once in a while. -- October 4, 2017

For three years, I made this journey as many times a week as I could.  I figured that riding all five days a week was the equivalent of not putting half a tank of gas in my Silverado.  It was well worth it and it became part of my daily routine...until I abruptly stopped riding to school in the Fall of 2012.  That summer I moved to Manchester...a mere two and a half miles from my classroom.  I began to use that, and other things, as an excuse for not riding.  I would tell myself that it "wasn't worth it" to spend all that time getting things ready for such a quick ride....or that "it wasn't a good enough work out."  These weren't reasons...they were just, as I said, excuses.

I've recently repurposed my 2009 Allez and brought it out of retirement for commuting.  It's nice to ride the old bike again...even if it is just a short distance. -- August 28, 2018

With the beginning of a new school year, I decided to recommit to riding to school again.  My commute may be short...but it's fun.  I found that it takes me just as long to ride my bike to school as it does to drive the short distance.  My ride home can be detoured through the local developments and neighborhoods...on a few occasions, turning my 2 mile ride into a 12 mile ride!  When  students in my class ask about my bikes, I'm given the opportunity to be an advocate for cycling and the importance of fresh air and exercises...which is super cool.  Ultimately, (and most importantly) I begin, and end, my day happier than I would have if I drove the same distance...which makes the little bit of extra effort all the more worthwhile. 

One of the biggest perks of cycling to school is seeing the sunrise over Mount Wolf.  It can be quite beautiful. -- 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond --  September 9, 2018
I'd like to give a shout out to two of my friends, Mark Lentz and Clark Evanitus, who have been commuting to work and...well...just about everywhere they can...for years.  Thank you, gentlemen, for your example.

With my short commute, I can ride on days that I work at GUNG HO BIKES after school and still make it to the bike shop in plenty of time.  No excuses.  Also no reason why I can't run across the street and pick up some Italian Ice, too! -- September 8, 2018

Feel free to give me a FOLLOW on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM

Here's the GARMIN map and data from quick commute to school and a few of my extended rides home...Happy commuting!

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATUREGUNG HO BIKESPENNSYLVANIA DCNR, and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.