Saturday, May 19, 2018


Mark has this saying.  Actually, it's a line form an obscure John Mellencamp song... "When it's too tough for everyone's just right for us."  It's a mantra that encapsulates a certain kind of mountain biking that he and I both love.  It's the kind of mountain biking that has no real destination.  It's the ride that possibly requires a GPS, a map, or at the very least...cell reception.  This particular kind of mountain biking demands that there be no real time constraints.  Inevitably, on this ride there will be a ton of backtracking, a climbing to mileage ration that is completely obnoxious, and will include the infamous "hike-a-bike."  The final component of this ride is a friend who knows more about mountain biking than I do and can navigate his way out of just about anything.  A friend who finds craziness just a fun as I do.

Mark Lentz and David Raymond exploring parts of Michaux State Forest that were not familiar with us.  If you look closely, you can see that the downed tree broke an old wooden gate at the entrance of a logging road.  --  April 29, 2018

It's this kind of ride that Mark and I set out on the last weekend of April.  The weather was still a little crisp when we pedaled out of the Big Flat parking area in Michaux.  Our destination was the northwest side of the ridge below Ridge area of the forest that I had not ridden in almost a decade.  Mark's basic plan was to descend 3 Turn Road and then just explore.  Nothing like knowing, that no matter what we run into during the ride, we would have to climb 500 feet in a mile and half on a fireroad to get back to Big Flat! would be one of THOSE rides.  The area around 3 Turn Road skirts the boundary of the State Forest and Mark and I took a lot of caution to make sure that we stayed within those boundaries.  A lot of the trails we found, that at first looked promising, ultimately led to "cul-de-sacs" for logging vehicles.  A few of the trails we tried disappeared into the overgrowth and one, in particular, disappeared in to what looked like acres of downed trees.

Not knowing exactly where we are going and what (or who) we will run into...Mark and I made certain to stay within the confines of the State Forest.  You can see the State Forest boundary markers  nailed to the tree that my bike is leaning on. -- April 29, 2018

This promising looking logging took us more than a mile into the forest before turning into a huge "cul-de-sac." -- April 29, 2018

The ridge, far in the distance, is where Ridge Road is.  We parked a mile on the other side of Ridge Road.  So cool! -- April 29, 2018

Welcome to the neighborhood!  While backtracking out of this "cul-de-sac" in Michaux, I spotted this out of place boxwood shrub.  Apparently someone, who didn't want in their yard anymore but who didn't have the heart to just through it away, trekked back here and planted it in the forest.  Cool. -- April 29, 2018

By the time we finished our ride, Mark and I had explored more that 17 miles (my Garmin data is a little off) of the forest that was "new to us."  Actually, considering that I found zero STRAVA segments on our ride, I'm pretty sure that what we rode would be new to most mountain bikers.  It amazes me that, after 13+ years of mountain biking in Michaux State Forest, that there is so much of the forest that I've never seen (let alone, ridden).  A day of backtracking and bushwhacking and climbing might not sound like fun to a lot of people...but it is for me. The fun lies in the not knowing what we will be riding and what we inevitably will be pushing and carrying our bikes up, down, through, around, and over...but mostly I really just love the time spent exploring and searching and just riding with a good friend.  Ultimately, these exploratory rides are the best way for us to find new trails to ride...and, just as importantly, figure out where NOT to ride.  This certain kind of mountain biking isn't possible each time we ride and might not be for everyone...but like Mark says, "When it's too tough for everyone's just right for us."

Mark Lentz carrying his bike. was one of those kinds of rides. It even included a "hike-a-bike" and a little bushwhacking when the trails seemed to disappear.  What a day!  Thanks, Mark. -- April 29, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- May 19, 2018

Here is the GARMIN map and data from our day of exploring and mountain biking (and bush-whacking) in Michaux State Forest.  

Happy riding!

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

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 YOURTRUENATURE.COM and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Saturday, May 12, 2018


I have this nice little memory of my mother that is uniquely mine.  I don't have any pics of it...just the memory.  I really don't remember the year or exactly how old I was (but I can guess I was around seven or eight years old).  The memory is of my mom waking me up early in the morning so we could take a bike ride together.

My mom, Kathy Raymond.  This pic was taken in Ohiopyle State Park. -- November 1980
My mom, if my memory serves me correctly, rode a super cool 5-speed bike that she and my dad got at the JCPenney's in Altoona, PA.  No gears for first real bike was old school...a single speed with a sparkly blue paint job and a banana seat!  I have no clue how many times mom and I got up early to do this and why my brother and my dad weren't involved...but I know she and I did this more than once.  Here, however, is what I do remember...vividly.  I remember riding down South Juliana Street with the cool morning mist hitting my face. We both had a head lamp, the size of a grape fruit, attached to our handle bars so we could see in the predawn hours.  I can also remember pedaling early in the morning on the quiet streets of the normally busy town of Bedford.  I have no problem recalling the exhilaration of descending the hill past Fort Bedford and down to the river...and then climbing (or possibly pushing my bike) back up the "super steep to a kid" hill that becomes North Thomas Street.  Our ride then took us past the old Bedford County Jail and Saint Thomas Catholic School before making our way to Lafayette Street and back home...just as the sun was coming up.

Yep...that's me in 1980.
It's a neat memory that I think about often...especially today, the eve of Mother's Day and just a few days past the 15th anniversary of my mom's passing.  To this day...I'm not sure why she and I  went on those rides alone...but I know that we did and the memory is always with me.  I'm not sure if my mom knew it but, by going on those bike rides with me, she created a memory that is uniquely mine.  Thank you so much, mom.  I love you.

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- May 12, 2018

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there.  Today, my son, Alex, and I did some Mother's Day mulching for my amazing wife Robin (who I KNOW my mother would have loved)...capped off, of course, with a root beer float from the Bobcat Creamery. -- May 12, 2018

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails that I feature in my posts?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

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 YOURTRUENATURE.COM and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Friday, April 27, 2018


Recently, an article I was reading in a cycling magazine grabbed my attention.  It was all about the "why?"  Why do you ride your bike?  I read on as people from all over the country chimed in and shared their own personal "why."  It really got me thinking about all the reasons why I ride.  Narrowing it down to one overriding reason as to WHY I love to ride my bike...has proven difficult.  Some reasons why, like overall health, have been a constant and others, like training for races, have ceased to be important to me.

Enjoying the view at the top of Baughman Trail from Baughman Rock Overlook in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 13, 2017
I have this internal desire to ride my bike all of the time.  My brain is always trying to find a time slot in the day for me to turn the pedals.  Just this morning, prior to coming to school, I was in the rain putting my bike in the back of my truck, with the optimistic feeling that the weather would clear and the trails at Rocky Ridge would be open at 3PM.  But that "internal desire" doesn't answer the "why" question.  So, I sat down and made a list of all the reasons I ride...hoping to come up with a theme.  The list looks like this...

-Riding my bike makes me happy.
-Riding my bike keeps me focused.
-Riding my bike helps me to explore and enjoy nature.
-Riding my bike keeps me from getting too fat.
-Riding my bike allows me to enjoy time alone.
-Riding my bike allows me to enjoy time with friends.

I know I missed a few...but just creating that small list brings into focus the bigger "WHY."  It's clear that I ride my bike because it positively affects me both mentally and physically.  Cool...but what about my biking friends?  I wondered what their "WHY" was and I asked them to complete this sentence:

"I ride my bike to..."  

Here are their responses in the order in which I received them.  Thanks to all of my friends and family who helped me out with this one.  Enjoy!


Mike Alessandroni riding at the Gettysburg National Military Park. -- August 3, 2016

"...experience freedom." 


Jay Zech at the conclusion of the Cradle of Liberty Adventure Race. -- June 28, 2009.

" more happy."


Matt Linnane in riding in Michaux State Forest. -- August 15, 2017

" push my body and to work out OUTSIDE.  Oh...and I ride to pick up chicks, they love the spandex!"


Hanging out and riding the trails around Camp Tuckahoe with my fellow homo sapien, Mark Lentz. --  February 3, 2018

" have fun, hang out with other homo sapiens, and to be by myself."


Tim Sindlinger doing his best to avoid "cabin fever" by riding at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- October 14, 2016

" escape the indoors!  I catch cabin fever easily and I don't handle it well."


On  a ride with my beautiful wife, Robin, in West Palm Beach, Florida. -- December 1, 2017

"...for the pure joy I experienced in my youth--the freedom, the wind on my face, and the thrill of a downhill ride."


David Raymond and Chris Keller riding in Swatara State Park. -- April 7, 2018

"...exercise, relieve stress, and hang out with cool people."


Mike Alicea in Michaux State Forest. -- June 14, 2014

"...relieve stress.  When riding my mind is clear and the trails are wide.  In that moment, I leave behind the bustle of daily life."


Alex Raymond riding his bike through Point State Park in Pittsburgh, PA. -- October 2017

" get from point A to point's a fun way to do so.  It's a lot more challenging than driving and far more exciting because you have more time to think to yourself and get an awesome workout.  It also gives me the opportunity to sing to myself because I know that no one on the road will hear me."

Why do Mark and I ride?  So we can get back into shape! Mark Lentz and David Raymond at the Lakes. -- April 13, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- April 27, 2018
What is your "WHY?"  Feel free to post it in the comments below.  

One of the biggest reasons I ride is so that I don't feel so guilty going out for a deep-fried PBJ at Todd Conners in Fells Point, Maryland!  Left to right:  David M. Raymond, David A. Raymond, Robin Raymond, & Mary Jane Raymond -- April 21, 2018

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from a few of the rides featured in this post.   Happy riding!

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

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 YOURTRUENATURE.COM and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Monday, April 2, 2018


In 1758, George Washington, commanding the rear guard of British general John Forbes's army en route to capture Fort Duquesne, slept in a field just ten miles west of Bedford, Pennsylvania.  Today, those very fields make up Shawnee State Park.  Named for the Shawnee tribe who, in the 18th century, were forced from the Potomac to Ohio Country, Shawnee State Park (opened in 1951) was a mainstay of my childhood.  When we were kids, my parents, on hot summer days, would drive my brother and me to Shawnee in our old 1975 Pontiac where we would spend countless hours swimming, playing in the sand, picnicking, and hiking (what seemed, to an eight year old, and endless trail) around the lake.

Shawnee Lake as seen from Field Trail on the Northwest side of the lake. -- March 30, 2018

This past weekend was a "homecoming," of sorts, for me.   Please don't get me wrong...I come home to visit often...but I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Shawnee State Park since I graduated high school. Twice to be precise.  On the Fourth of July weekend, in 2014, Robin, Alex, Dad, Mary Jane, and I took a hike along the lake and, in 2015, I took a ride on my road bike through the park.

Hiking around Shawnee Lake.  Dave, Mary Jane, Alex, Robin, and David Raymond. -- July 5, 2014

Road ride through Shawnee State Park. -- July 10, 2015

This past Fall, I entered one of my mountain biking pics in a photo contest sponsored by the good folks at PA Parks and Forests Foundation.  To my excitement (and surprise,) my pic was one of the winners.  I was equally surprised when I found out that the winning photos would be on display this month at Shawnee State Park.  What a super cool coincidence...and how fortunate I was to be able to make the trip to my hometown to be present (along with my wife, Robin, my father, Mary Jane, Jane, and Galen) for the ribbon cutting ceremony opening the PA Parks and Forests photo contest gallery on display at Shawnee's Environmental Education Center.  I was so proud to share this honor with my wife, family, and members of the local community!

Participating in the Ribbon Cutting at Shawnee State Park. -- March 29, 2018

David and Robin Raymond in the Education Center at Shawnee State Park located in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. -- March 29, 2018

Seated:  Galen & Jane Black.
Standing: Robin, David, Mary Jane, & Dave Raymond
Shawnee State Park Education Center -- March 29, 2018
Robin and I planned on staying in Bedford for a couple of days and I knew that I would have a little bit of time to ride on Friday I brought my bike along, too.  In all honesty, I planned on heading back to the trails near the Bedford Springs.  I mountain biked that area for the first time back in January...but the snow and ice and single digit temperatures limited where, and how long, I could explore.  Those plans changed as I mingled around the Education Center on Thursday night and all of the memories of Shawnee State Park began to fill into my head.  I was inspired to come back to Shawnee the next morning for my first ever mountain bike ride in the very same State Park I knew so well as a child.

This sign for FIELD TRAIL is easily seen from the road as you turn off of Route 30 and into Shawnee State Park.  Field trail was the beginning (and ending) point of my ride. -- March 30, 2018

From the outset, I knew that this would be a mud-fest.  With that in mind, (and, even though I spent a lot of time at Shawnee as a kid) I was about to head out for a solo ride on "new to me" trails and I thought it prudent to map my ride ahead of time from a trail map I acquired from a Park Ranger the previous evening.  Mary Jane seemed to be impressed with my pre-ride preparation as I spread the map out on the coffee table in the living room.  I assured her that, no matter how much I may joke around, maps are a GOOD thing!  As for my plan...I decided to park the Cruz on a small pull off located where Field Trail intersects with the paved road in State Park.  The route I chose, in theory, would loop around the eastern section of the lake...and, if I was correct, would eventually end at the exactly where I began.

Field Trail...the first and last trail of my ride.  I knew that things were going to be slow and sloppy as I started off on the north side of the park.  The trail ran parallel to Route 30 and crossed over smaller streams that feed into Shawnee Lake. -- March 30, 2018

My plan had me riding Field Trail until it intersected at the far end of the park with Felton Trail. -- March 30, 2018

The route I had mapped out had me turning off of Felton Trail (which would have eventually looped me back to Field Trail).  Pigeon Hills Trail was a super cool ride that gained a lot of elevation as it made it's way along the ridge above the lake.   Probably the coolest part of Pigeon Hills Trail was when it made a sharp right down towards the dam.  That section of trail was part of the original Forbes Road cut by the British army in 1758!  --  March 30, 2018

Descending off of Pigeon Hills Trail I ended up at the dam on the southern end of the lake.  From there I pedaled Lake Shore Trail and began making my way back Field Trail and, eventually, looping back to my starting point. -- March 30, 2018

Pausing on Lake Shore Trail near the dam on the south end of Shawnee Lake. -- March 30, 2018

No doubt about it...this ride was a complete mud-fest...a sloppy, wet, mucky, amazingly fun, mud-fest.  Through it all,  I was able to rediscover a beautiful State Park in which I had spend so much time years a way that I never had before.  Robin says that Bedford is the only place she ever sees me relax.  I don't know how true that is...but I do love going home to visit.  Not just for the good memories that come rushing back to me...but also because of the new memories that are constantly being created there with the people, and places, I love.

The entrance to Shawnee State Park located on The Lincoln Highway (Route 30) just outside of Schellsburg, Pennsylvania.  The abandoned building on the other side of the street was once the Frosty Bear Ice Cream Drive-In and Gas Station.  It was a favorite place to stop after a summer day at Shawnee State Park. -- March 30, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- April 2, 2018

Summer of 1977!  My dad (holding my brother, Jake) packing the car to take the two of us and our older cousins (Bobby, Andy, and Kristen) to Shawnee State Park for the day.

Here is the GARMIN map and data from my solo mud-fest at Shawnee State Park...along with the maps and data from my 2014 hike and 2015 road ride.  Happy riding!

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

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 YOURTRUENATURE.COM and PA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018


The earliest picture I have of me on a bicycle was taken when I was one year old.  It's of my father holding me steady on a ten speed bike.  I think it's safe to say that neither my mom, nor my dad, would have ever thought I would one day grow up to be an adult who would derive so much joy and inspiration from riding a bike.

As always...thank you to YOUR TRUE NATURE for the super cool bookmarks and magnets.  Your gifts and work continue to inspire me.

Hanging on the refrigerator in my kitchen is a magnet that the good people at Your True Nature sent me a few months ago.  It reads:  ADVICE FROM A BICYCLE.  Just one of a few gifts that they sent me after reading my post, OBSERVATIONS FROM OHIOPYLE.  The folks at YOUR TRUE NATURE also inspired me to write ADVICE FROM A SQUIRREL and, one of my favorite posts, ADVICE FROM A MOUNTAIN.  Decades of bike riding have taught me a lot of lessons. Some of those lessons were taught to me (thank you, Mark)...and some I had to figure out on my own.  Interestingly, many of them can be summed up in the seven phrases printed on the magnet hanging in my kitchen. Again, many thanks to YOUR TRUE NATURE for inspiring me with these your pieces of advice from a bicycle.  I hope you don't mind...but I added one more (and in my opinion...the best) piece of advice to the end of the list.  Enjoy!


To me, the key to biking...and to staying on track.  Figure out what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to be...and go there.  The trails won't always be marked, paths will often diverge, and sometimes you'll have to make your own way.  Just keep your eyes on the trail ahead of you.

Just like mountain biking, in life there are often plenty of signs to help keep you on track.  Taken while mountain biking near the Bedford Springs Hotel -- January 13,  2018

Those signs can be easily missed if you aren't paying attention....sort of like the sign that diverted Baughman Trail (in Ohiopyle State Park) off to the right and away from the mud and muck that I ended up riding in.  --  June 15,  2017

No matter how hard you try to stay on track...ultimately, you'll come to a fork in the road.  Thankfully, All Trails Go Somewhere!  Mark Lentz in Michaux State Forest. -- July 21, 2017

To Glenn's chagrin...staying on track sometimes means inventing a new way enduring a cold stream crossing and an unauthorized trek through a construction site.  Glenn Medice riding at the Lakes. -- May 2, 2017


Trails, like life, don't always lead you where you want to go...but they always go somewhere...and that somewhere is often really beautiful!

I love this trail in Michaux State Forest.  It winds and curves through a freshly logged area of the mountain. -- October 30, 2016

This curve descends down a particularly beautiful area in Michaux State Forest that...for some reason...I've always called Bear Knob.  I think I saw the name on an old ATV map. --  August 1, 2017


My boss calls it, "Keeping Your Triangle Balanced."  Family, Work, Leisure.  We all can be guilty of focusing too much on one of those three things and neglecting the others.  Life, like riding a bicycle, is a balancing act.  Leaning too far in any one direction will knock you too the ground.

Making my way down Trail 7 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  In my opinion, one of the most fun and probably the most difficult trail in the park.  There is a rock garden about 2/3 of the way down the trail that I've never been able to make it through.  Way to go, Mikey Nardelli!  You're the only person I've ever seen ride it! -- November 3, 2017

This stupid log in Swatara State Park throws me off all the time.  The single log is damp enough for me to constantly slip off of it and the two perpendicular logs are annoyingly spaced just right to stop my momentum.  Tim, for some reason, has no issue with it.  Tim Sindlinger and Matt Linnane. -- June 6, 2017

The best rock at Rocky Ridge County Park!  Staying balanced on it is much easier than you would first expect. -- September 15, 2017

Matt Linnane dodging downed trees and staying balanced as he rides above Mountain Creek in Michaux State Forest. -- August 15, 2017


There are times in life, just as on a bike, that we need to put the brakes on and slow down.  Maybe we need to get our bearings...maybe we need to watch out for danger...or maybe we just need to stop and take in the moment.  It's okay to put the brakes on every once in a while.  Don't worry about your STRAVA.

Kristian and I putting the brakes on to admire the beauty of the Patapsco River in Patapsco Valley State Park, MD. -- October 15, 2016

Yeah...I'm that guy.  If the sign says "Walk Your Bike Across The Bridge" that's what I do.  Patapsco Valley State Park. -- July 1, 2016

This is one of Glenn's favorite pictures.  Glenn, Matt, and I took a break  on a well placed bench in Michaux State Forest. -- July 25, 2017

Yes....I will put the brakes on for snakes.  I hate snakes.  Thanks, Mark, for pointing it out.  Michaux State Forest. -- October 30, 2016

I will definitely put the brakes on for a black bear! Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2017


Someone once mentioned to me how surprised they were when they realized that I didn't just mountain bike "downhill."  Life is full of uphill climbs.  Actually, you'll spend exponentially more time and energy climbing up than you will riding down.  When you do get to ride down...go ahead and coast.
You deserve it.

Mark Lentz and  I coasting down a super slick single track that winds underneath the power lines in Michaux State Forest. -- October 10, 2016

Glenn Medice and I coasting down a trail in Michaux State Forest. -- August 15, 2017

Mark and Kristian coasting and chatting on a fire road in Michaux State Forest. -- October 30, 2016


Inevitably, things get tough.  Be the person who looks for solutions...not the person who just sees problems.  S**t happens...don't let it derail you.  There's always a way around, through, or over anything in your way.

Tim navigates this tree build-up in Michaux State Forest with greatest of easy. -- June 28, 2016

This tough spot at on the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, PA didn't derail Chris and just made us backtrack a little bit. -- March 3,  2018

Love, love, love this picture of Glenn navigating Grave Ridge in Michaux State Forest. -- July 25, 2017


The saying goes..."We all have gears we don't use."  Use them.  They'll help you get out of the valleys.

I took this amazing pic of Mark as he started his climb up Trail 8 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  Climbs like this are the reason bikes have so many gears. -- January 26, 2018


My contribution to the list.  I don't think I would enjoy mountain biking even a fraction of the amount that I do if it wasn't for the friends that I share these experiences with.  Just over the past two years, I've had the honor of spending time (doing the things I love) with these people.  They are ALL so special to me and mean the world to me.  Thank you, all!

Mark Lentz and Dave Raymond on an epic ride in Tuscarora State Forest. -- July 6, 2017

Dave Raymond and Chris Keller on one of our many afternoon rides at Rocky Ridge County Park. -- July 13, 2017

Back row:  Tim Sindlinger, Glenn Medice, and Matt Linnane.  We took this pic at the end of Grave Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- August 15, 2017

Mike Alicea, Brent Shirk, and Dave Raymond on the Park Way Trails in Harrisburg, PA. -- December 28, 2017

Riding Patapsco Valley State Park with Kristian Hains. -- October 15, 2016

Dave Raymond and Mike Alessandroni riding near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. -- August 3, 2016

Taking an Easter Sunday ride with my son, Alex.  -- April 16, 2017

Riding with my very best friend of all...Robin!  -- April 9, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- March 21, 2018

I was one year old when this picture of my father and I was taken outside of my parent's apartment in Fishertown, Pennsylvania. -- 1974

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from a few of the rides featured in this post.   Happy riding!

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit YOURTRUENATURE.COM!