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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

AN UNEXPECTED RIDE

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 wife...so 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 forest...one 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


Feel free to give me a FOLLOW on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM
@mountnbiker73



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.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A COMMITMENT TO COMMUTING

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 way...in 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 arrived...so 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
@mountnbiker73

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.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Friday, August 31, 2018

I JUST HAD TO RIDE IT AGAIN

Two weeks ago, Tim, Brent, and I had our best ride of the summer in Michaux State Forest.  We started off on familiar trails...and in the typical fashion...but along the way we ended up finding two "new to us" trails that I have been re-riding in my head ever since.  When I looked at the school calendar, and realized that I didn't have school today, I knew that I just had to head back to Michaux and ride those trails again.

Today's ride...like my ride with Tim and Brent two weeks ago...began with a ride up to the Vista which overlooks Michaux State Forest.  It had rained the whole way up the ridge....but we were seemingly above the rain clouds once we got up to the Vista. -- August 31, 2018

Just a little ways above the Vista the trail comes to a "T."  I've always turned left...simply because, well, that's the way we always went.  Besides that...there literally are pieces of bark wedged into the tree branches at the "T" pointing to the left.  Today, we turned right.  Sure, I set out with the intention to ride those two specific trails Tim and Brent and I rode two weeks ago...but I was also determined to see where Matt and I would end up if we turned right.  What we found was a nearly mile long single track, lined with huge prehistoric boulders, that looped us right back to the "T" in the trail.  On Strava, it is segmented as "Round About" and on Mountain Bike Project is is simple included as part of "Vista" trail...but, regardless of the name, to Matt and I it was just pure fun.

I've always turned left at the "T" in the trail above the Vista because the arrows point that way.  Today...we tried something new and it proved to be pretty amazing. -- August 31, 2018

Matt Linnane and Dave Raymond in Michaux State Forest. Today's ride was all single track and all smiles! -- August 31, 2018

Matt riding a super cool loop (part of Vista Trail) that neither of us had ever been on.  It was littered on all sides with boulders the size of my truck. -- August 31, 2018


Making my way off of the ridge and back down towards the furnace stack, Matt and I came across these recently laid bridges making a usually swampy section of trail extremely easy to ride. -- August 31, 2018


I stopped to take a pic of this sketchy looking ramp that someone had built along the trail...as I snapped the pic, Matt blew past me and rode right over it.  Show off.  -- August 31, 2018

Nearing the end of our ride, Matt and I crossed Tom's Run before making back to the furnace stack in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. -- August 31, 2018

Matt and I were also able to ride the two trails that I rode with Tim and Brent a few weeks ago...one a super cool single track that switchbacks up to the intersection of Ridge Road and Cold Spring Road...and the other a recently logged area on top of the ridge which is impossible to ride without a smile plastered to your face.  From there, everything was familiar...single track that just wound it's way down the ridge, past huge boulders, over rock and log build ups, and through streams until we eventually made it back to the truck.  It really was a perfect ride.
I just shot a text to Tim with my Garmin stats to show him the cool loop that Matt and I added today.  I'm betting he's anxious to check it out.  If so...looks like I might just have to head over and ride it again.


Yep...I just had to come back here again.  Matt and I taking a break at the Vista and above the rain clouds that had settled in over the forest for the first part of our ride today.  It really did turn out to be a perfect ride. -- August 31, 2018



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 31, 2018


No immediate post-ride ice cream today...but I did hear today's lunch special at the Bobcat Creamery calling my name once I got home.  As my Grandma Raymond would have said...It really hit the spot. -- August 31, 2018


Feel free to give me a FOLLOW on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM
@mountnbiker73

Here's the GARMIN map and data from the amazing ride Matt and I had in Michaux today...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.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin

Sunday, August 19, 2018

OUR TUESDAY MOUNTAIN BIKING TRADITION

Traditionally, Tuesdays, in the summer, are set aside for riding with Tim.  It's the only day of the week he has off work...so we maintain a standing date for a weekly ride.  Our rides, this summer, weren't very long...but what we lacked in miles we more than made up for with adventure, mud, rain, rocks, and exploration!  

Posing with my bike at my favorite vista in Michaux State Forest.  Photo by Tim Sindlinger. -- August 14, 2018

Tim and I set out for six Tuesday mountain bike rides over the course of the last few months...five in Michaux State Forest and one trip to the Parkway Trail System in Harrisburg.  Unlike the summer of 2016, we weren't plagued with mechanical issues (we only experienced two flats this summer) and, unlike the summer of 2017, we saw very little wildlife (with the exception of the typical squirrels and deer).  As in years past...the more the merrier!  Tim's buddy, Adam, joined us for our ride on the Parkway Trails. Ben (a former student of mine and now co-worker at Gung Ho Bikes), along with Matt and Brent, each joined us for a ride in Michaux...adding to the dynamics, conversation, adventure, and fun.


TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2018 -- MICHAUX STATE FOREST


For our first Tuesday ride of the summer, Tim and I rode up to the vista in Michaux State Forest. -- June 12, 2018


Riding through Tom's Run creek in Michaux State Forest.  Photo by Tim Sindlinger. -- June 12, 2018


Tim and I paused to ride the rocks while climbing up to the vista in Michaux State Forest.  -- June 12, 2018


TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2018 -- PARKWAY TRAIL SYSTEM


This was the only Tuesday that Tim and I did not go to Michaux.  He had never ridden the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg...so we made that our destination for our second ride of the summer.  Tim took this pic of me coming out of the trees and under the power lines.  Super cool! -- June 26, 2018


Riding the single track that runs near the Harrisburg incinerator...Tim spotted Bambi stuck in the fence.  It took him a while, but Tim was able to get the little guy free. -- June 26, 2018




Adam using his momentum to crest a small hill below the Harrisburg Incinerator. -- June 26, 2018

Riding one of the many log build ups on the Paxtang side of the Parkway Trails. Photo by Tim Sindlinger. -- June 26, 2018

Sometimes it's easy to forget, while riding the Parkway Trails, that you are in the middle of the City of Harrisburg.  Graffiti, like this, is a good reminder! -- June 26, 2018


TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2018 -- MICHAUX STATE FOREST


Pausing along the trail, in Michaux State Forest, to fix Tim's flat tire.  Left to Right:  Ben Kelly, Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond. -- July 10, 2018

Tim Sindlinger riding over some downed white pines. -- July 10, 2018

Ben Kelly making stuff I can't ride look pretty easy!  -- July 10, 2018

On this ride, with Ben and Tim, I took this pic of the rhododendron blooming along Mountain Creek. -- July 10, 2018


TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2018 -- MICHAUX STATE FOREST

Tuesday, July 31, was probably the most tropical ride of the year...and the only ride that Matt was able to join us on. Great to have you with us, Red Beard.  Hope we can connect more next summer.  This pic was taken at the end of my favorite rock  garden  near the top of Slate Road.  Left to right:  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Matt Linnane.  -- July 31, 2018

On July 31, normal stream crossings were as swollen as I've ever seen them.  Not so bad that we couldn't ride it, though! (Maybe this is why I recently needed to put a new bottom bracket in my bike.) Matt Linnane in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2018

Matt showing off proper tire inflation techniques after being the victim of the second of our two flat tires this summer.  -- July 31, 2018

Taking a short break at the Cumberland/Adams County line while riding through the clouds in Michaux State Forest. -- July 31, 2018


TUESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2018 -- MICHAUX STATE FOREST


Tuesday, August 7, was a day that Tim and I had decided to revisit a section of the forest that we hadn't ridden in over 10 years.  The week before, I had, from the corner of my eye, noticed ATV trail #33 which descends off of Slate Road.  I remembered it being pretty difficult...and it was.  The huge pay off was getting to ride off of Bear Knob...a great section of the forest...and one that I just don't visit nearly enough. Dave Raymond and Tim Sindlinger. -- August 7, 2018

Tim riding off of Bear Knob in Michaux State Forest. -- August 7, 2018

Another super cool pic from this summer...I took this photo of Tom's Run as Tim and I were wrapping up our ride. -- August 7, 2018


TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2018 -- MICHAUX STATE FOREST


Super cool to have Brent join us for what would be the last (and best) ride of the summer.   Left to right:  Tim Sindlinger, Dave Raymond, Brent Shirk. -- August 14, 2018

While riding Ridge Road, Tim, Brent, and I spotted a trail leading into an area on top of the ridge that led off into a recently logged area of the forest.  It proved to be one of the coolest trails of the day!  -- August 14, 2018

Tim Sindlinger riding the recently logged section of the forest near the top of Ridge Road. -- August 14, 2018


Brent making his way over a rock shelf as the trail nears route 233 at the top of the mountain. -- August 14, 2018


GoPro footage that Brent took during our ride in Michaux State Forest -- August 14, 2018


Giving Tim and Brent a chance to converse prior to our descent down the ridge towards Tom's Run.  -- August 14, 2018

I mountain biked other places this summer besides my Tuesday rides with Tim...but these weekly excursions are something I really look forward to.  Tim and I have been riding together for almost 20 years now and I love that we've been able to maintain our friendship through this weekly summertime tradition.  With the school year now about to begin, I'm hoping (and pretty positive) that Tim and I (along with everyone else in our mountain biking circle) will be able to connect over the next few months.  Regardless, come next summer, I'm sure the two of us will be out mountain biking the first Tuesday we have off.


Wrapping up the summer the same way it began...taking in the view from the vista in Michaux State Forest.  Amazingly breathtaking! -- August 14, 2018



Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- August 19, 2018


Each ride at Michaux this summer ended with a trip to Mountain Creek Campground for ice cream.  For some reason I was on a sherbet kick all summer long.  My typical order...Two scoops, in a dish, with a sugar cone on top like a hat! -- August 14, 2018

Feel free to  FOLLOW me on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM
@mountnbiker73

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from our Tuesday mountain bike rides over the past few months...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.

"WRITE SOMETHING WORTH READING OR DO SOMETHING WORTH WRITING..." Ben Franklin