Even though it was cut short, I had a blast on my bike(s) in 2022! This is the year that I retired my 2016 Stumpjumper and fell in love with my new Epic Evo. In 2022, I continued to rack up the miles on my Specialized Diverge...my go anywhere bike...and hands down my favorite bike that I've ever owned.
|Having a blast on my new Epic Evo in Michaux State Forest -- June 21, 2022|
|Checking out the old settler walls near the Great Allegheny Passage with my Diverge -- June 17, 2022|
On August 31 of this year I rode my bike for the last time in 2022. It was a super cool ride on the BWI Trail which circles the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. With my most recent surgery scheduled for next day, September 1, I made it a point to squeeze out as much riding as I could before I would have to hang my bike up in the garage. In that final week, I sought out and rode some really cool bike paths: the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail, the Enola Low Grade Trail, the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, the Baltimore-Annapolis Rail Trail, the aforementioned BWI Trail, and a few fun mountain bike rides in Michaux State Forest.
|BWI Trail in Maryland -- August 31, 2022|
|Hanging out on the Enola Low Grade -- August 24, 2022|
|Experiencing the Baltimore/Annapolis Trail -- August 29, 2022|
2022 was a good year in the saddle. I revisited places that I haven’t been to in many years, experienced other places for the first time, participated in a relay mountain bike race, and had the opportunity to ride with so many people…Robin, Tim, Matt, Ben, Clark, Jay, Brent, Chris, Mia, Kevin, and even my grandkids!
|My first ride on my brand new 2022 Epic Evo --February 26, 2022|
|Marysville Relay Race (Ben Kelly, Jay Zech, and Dave Raymond) -- April 10, 2022|
|Riding the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg, PA with Chris Keller -- March 26, 2022|
|Patapsco Valley State Park -- May 21, 2022|
|Super fun bike ride with my wife, Robin, and my grandkids, Freya and Milo! -- July 30, 2022|
What follows are my twelve favorite bike rides of 2022. I've listed them chronologically because I had a hard time ranking them...each ride was extra fun in their own different ways. So, come along with me and backtrack my year behind bars. I’m looking forward to April of 2023 when I can get back in the saddle. Until then, Enjoy!
D & L HALF CENTURY RIDE -- APRIL 30, 2022
Jim Thorpe is one of the coolest towns in Pennsylvania and it is where I chose to start my adventure on the D&L Trail. The trail follows the Lehigh River and the train tracks north (and up) to the town of White Haven. This is one of those trails that offer train rides from Jim Thorpe up to White Haven for you and your bike so that you can experience a fun 25 mile "downhill" ride. I just chose to ride up to White Haven and then back down for a super cool 50-miler. Along the way I was able to explore waterfalls, remnants of canal locks, wave at passing trains, and experience the natural beauty of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.
|All smiles on the D & L Trail -- April 30, 2022|
|Riding towards Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania on the D & L Trail -- April 30, 2022|
|Riding past an oncoming train on the D & L Trail -- April 30, 2022|
|Exploring old canal locks on the D & L Trail -- April 30, 2022|
ABANDONED TUNNELS and CCC CAMP -- JUNE 6, 2022
On my first full day of summer vacation, I headed towards my hometown of Bedford, Pennsylvania and took a short detour through Breezewood, Pennsylvania to ride the abandoned turnpike tunnels and explore an old CCC Camp that is located right next to the old road.
Creepy and Post-Apocalyptic are two adjectives that could be used to describe the stretch of Pennsylvania's Abandoned Turnpike in Bedford and Fulton Counties. I just think it is freaking cool. The forgotten stretch of highway stretches from Breezewood to Waterfall, Pennsylvania. The Turnpike Commission chose to reroute the road in 1968 in order to increase traffic flow and increase usage of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Since that time, this old stretch of America's first "superhighway" has been left to the elements and seemingly millions of teenagers armed with spray paint. Over the years, it has been used for military training and was even featured in the 2009 movie, THE ROAD.
Some caution needs to be taken before embarking on this unique adventure. The tunnels are dark. I mean really dark. The ambient light at each end of both tunnels (yes, you get to ride through two abandoned tunnels) will end within 100 feet of the entrance. Make sure that you are equipped with proper lights. The road itself has not been maintained in over 60 years and the old paved surface is cracked and very uneven. Finally, if you are easily offended by phallic graffiti, this is not the ride for you. You can expect to see spray painted dick and balls about every few feet. With all that being said, this is one of my favorite rides. And if you aren't into cycling, this is easily hiked and the first tunnel is only 1.5 miles from the trailhead in Breezewood.
|Entering the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike near Breezewood, Pennsylvania -- June 6, 2022|
|Abandoned Turnpike -- June 6, 2022|
|Entering one of the two tunnels on the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike -- June 6, 2022|
|Exploring an old CCC Camp alongside of the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike -- June 6, 2022|
|A lot of middle school graffiti on the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike -- June 6, 2022|
MOUNT CARMEL -- JUNE 24, 2022 // AUGUST 16, 2022
Matt made the comment that he had read about a super cool trail system in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. Within a week he and I were riding those trails and a few weeks later he and I returned, with Ben Kelly, to ride them again and explore further. The trails traversed an old coal mining area and slate dump making for a unique terrain and extremely fun ride!
|Ben Kelly, Matt Linnane, Dave Raymond, and some random abandoned mining equipment -- August 16, 2022|
|Such an unique terrain. So fun! -- August 16, 2022|
|Ben Kelly doing what he does best -- August 16, 2022|
|Matt Linnane taking flight on the Mount Carmel trails -- June 24, 2022|
|Riding the Mount Carmel trails -- June 24, 2022|
|Having a blast in Mount Carmel -- August 16, 2022|
STONY VALLEY -- JUNE 5 // JULY 5, 2022
It is scenic, rustic, visually stimulating, and completely off the grid. Don't expect any cell service and don't expect to see many people on the Stony Valley Railroad Trail. It's also not the easiest place to find. Located in State Game Lands northeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania...the dirt road that leads to the trailhead is barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other.
What you will find here is dense forests, endless beauty, and a lot of peace and quiet. If you know where to look, you can explore the remains of a 19th century resort, Cold Springs, which was once a destination for the elites of Harrisburg. The Appalachian Trail also passes through the area and uses a small section of the Stony Valley Rail Trail. About 15 miles into the trail you will see a sign indicating the history of the town of Rauch Gap...a coal mining town that existed from 1828 to 1910.
I had the opportunity to visit Stony Valley twice this summer...once with my wife, Robin, and then a month later on my own. Both rides were exceptionally fun.
|Robin and David Raymond riding the Stony Valley Trail -- June 5, 2022|
|The rustic beauty of Stony Valley -- July 5, 2022|
|The village of Rausch Gap stood here! -- July 5, 2022|
LANCASTER COUNTY NORTHWEST RIVER TRAIL -- JULY 16, 2022
The River Trail in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is a really nice bike trail. This particular ride was extra special because I was joined by my wife, Robin, my daughter, Mia, my soon-to-be-son-in-law, Kevin, and my granddaughter, Scarlett! This rain soaked bike ride was short, but so memorable…and so much fun!
|Dodging raindrops on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail with Robin, Mia, Kevin, and Scarlett! -- July 16, 2022|
|Scarlett had some extra post-ride fun with Grandma! -- July 16, 2022|
EAST BAY BIKE PATH in PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- JUNE 19, 2022
I had always wanted to visit Rhode Island...and this past summer, for our anniversary, my wife and I did just that. While there, Robin and I took what is, to date, Robin's longest bike ride on Rhode Island's East Bay Bike Path. The path stretches 15 miles from Providence to Bristol, Rhode Island. The trail traces the shoreline of Narragansett Bay offering amazing views of the lighthouses and natural formations in the area. We rode the path from Providence to Bristol (and back). It was so much fun and I was so glad to share the experience with my wife.
|The East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island -- July 19, 2022|
|Robin and David Raymond on the East Bay Bike Path -- July 19, 2022|
|Lighthouses visible from the East Bay Bike Path -- July 19, 2022|
VALLEY FORGE TO INDEPENDENCE HALL on the SCHUYLKILL RIVER TRAIL -- AUGUST 1, 2022
The Schuylkill River Trail is pretty amazing. It stretches 120 miles from Frackville to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It passes through rural, urban, agricultural, and industrial landscapes. And there is history, too. A ton of it. I chose to ride the section between Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. I thought it would be a super cool (and nerdy) ride from the birthplace of the American Army to the birthplace of our democracy. The trail didn't disappoint and led directly to the steps of the Art Museum in Philadelphia. From there, I was only a few miles from Old Philadelphia and Independence Hall...so I followed the incredibly well marked bike paths on the streets of Philadelphia to get there. It was an incredibly fun and rewarding bike ride.
|Starting (and ending) my nerdy bike ride at Valley Forge National Historical Park -- August 1, 2022|
|Headed towards Philadelphia on the Schuylkill River Trail -- August 1, 2022|
|Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania -- August 1, 2022|
|On the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- August 1, 2022|
|Mandatory photograph with the Rocky Balboa statue in Philly! -- August 1, 2022|
CAPITAL AREA GREENBELT WITH BEN AND CLARK -- AUGUST 5, 2022
The Capital Area Greenbelt, a designated bike path that circles Pennsylvania's capital city, is a really fun option for me. Only 20 minutes up the road from my house, this is a really fun (and not very flat) 24ish mile bike ride. The trail moves through Harrisburg's River Front Park, over the hills of Wildwood Park, past sections of the old Pennsylvania Canal, near the Capitol Building, and, if you choose, around City Island. What made this particular ride on the Greenbelt so fun was that Ben and Clark accompanied me. A good ride with good friends.
|Riding past the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building with Ben Kelly and Clark Evanitus -- August 5, 2022|
FRIENDS, FUN, AND SNAKES -- AUGUST 9, 2022
Friends, fun, and snakes. That sums it up. This Tuesday Michaux mountain bike ride was my favorite Tuesday ride of the summer. I mapped out a ride made up of trails that none of us had ever ridden. This could have been a disaster…but turned out to be amazing. On two separate instances we stopped to take photos…and just happened to stop right next to a rattlesnake each time. Nonetheless, the ride was amazing and no snakes or mountain bikers were hurt!
|Michaux State Forest with Tim Sindlinger and Matt Linnane -- August 9, 2022|
|Fun on my Epic Evo -- August 9, 2022|
|Holy hell...this "nope rope" was big! -- August 9, 2022|
|A second timber rattler! -- August 9, 2022|
|Matt Linnane in Michaux State Forest -- August 9, 2022|
|Tim Sindlinger in Michaux State Forest -- August 9, 2022|
|Dave Raymond in Michaux State Forest -- August 9, 2022|
BIG SAVAGE MOUNTAIN on the GREAT ALLEGHENY PASSAGE -- AUGUST 12, 2022
The Great Allegheny Passage stretches approximately 150 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland. Ridden in that direction, the first 120 miles are an uphill grade to the Eastern Continental Divide. The last 25 miles descend into Cumberland, Maryland. This is the section I rode on this day. Starting in Cumberland I rode up Big Savage Mountain across the Mason/Dixon Line and to the Eastern Continental Divide. Coasting back down into Cumberland was really fun!
|A spectacular view from the Eastern Continental Divide -- August 9, 2022|
|The Eastern Continental Divide -- August 9, 2022|
|Crossing the Mason/Dixon Line on the Great Allegheny Passage -- August 9, 2022|
GETTYSBURG with BEN -- AUGUST 18, 2022
Years ago, when Ben was in 8th grade, I took his class on a field trip to Gettysburg National Military Park. This ride basically mirrored the path we took on that field trip…but instead of using big “cheese wagons” we were on our bikes. We also veered off the normal course for a little extra nerdiness. The ride ended with a post-ride meal at the Dobbin House in downtown Gettysburg. Amazing.
|Exploring the railroad cut on the west side of Gettysburg with Ben Kelly. Intense fighting happened here on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July1, 1863 --August 18, 2022|
|Ben's 8th grade field trip to Gettysburg National Military Park -- May 29, 2014|
CUMBERLAND VALLEY RAIL TRAIL -- AUGUST 25, 2022
Traversing the valley between two huge mountain ranges in south-central Pennsylvania, and stretching from Newville to Shippensburg, the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail was a surprisingly fun ride. Along the way, you have spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains, vast farm fields, and plenty of newly placed historical signs promoting the history of the Cumberland Valley. As I approached the college town of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, the trail was lined with bicycle and industrial themed art. Very unexpected, very cool, and very fun.
|Cumberland Valley Rail Trail -- August 25, 2022|
|Artwork near Shippensburg University -- August 25, 2022|
|Cumberland Valley Rail Trail -- August 25, 2022|
LIFE IS A JOURNEY...NOT A DESTINATION
David A. Raymond – December 28, 2022
|And into the forest I go...to lose my mind and find my soul! -- June 24, 2022|
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