5 posts

First ride of ’09

I haven’t ridden in Wissahickon for a few years, but my friends Chad and Rob have been hyping these trails for a couple of weeks.

The sections that we rode were chock full of  jumps, drops, long log rides and berms. A playground for peddlers, the “BMX bowl,” has a drop into, and launches out of it, and a bunch of doubles, log jumps and giant tabletop.

I now have some new New Year’s resolutions…

  • Do the drop into the bowl
  • Jump the big gap that Rob did
  • Get in better shape and keep up with PMBA guys who built the trails

Daylight savings

Early sunset – Red Trail, Green Lane

It’s called Fall with good reason.

Less daylight means more night riding. Add leaf-covered, wet, slippery roots and rocks, and you have the increased potential for Falling.

But darkness makes me ride better. Not being able to see as well means that I can’t get picky with lines to take. It forces me to keep my body relaxed and moving forward.

If I ride a trail at night, and then ride that same trail during the day, I feel like I’m  riding faster. Being alone in the woods, with an 8+ year-old light system and hearing Blair Witch noises also makes me ride faster.

There’s no climbing in Blue Marsh

Tent caterpillars. Yiiiccchh.

I wanted to do a nice, relaxing mountain bike ride. Something with more miles, less technical stuff, and no climbing.

I decided to try Blue Marsh Lake, in Leesport, Pa. I haven’t been there for a few years and I seem to remember that there’s no climbing in Blue Marsh.

I was wrong. There ARE hills in Blue Marsh but they were just what I was looking for. Some long, steady grinders on old access roads, and some short steepies – but all were rideable. The trails were dry and not too rocky or rooty. Just sit and spin and avoid the horse poop.

I did a little over 9 miles, then decided to head back for a total of 18 and 1/2 miles. I’ll do the entire 30 mile loop around the lake when I have more time. And energy. And fitness.


It was a good day of riding and I learned a few things that day…

  • September 1st is the first day of dove season – which is why there were guys in full-camo with shotguns on the trail.
  • Entire sections of forest can be eaten bare by tent caterpillars.
  • Tent caterpillars skeeve me out.
  • There are big ‘ol fish with big fat fish lips along the edge of the lake. They don’t seem to like Fig Newtons, but are curious about hockers.
  • I observed some interesting interpersonal dynamics in the parking lot as two separate couples finished up their day’s activities.
    • One couple was a pair of hikers. I heard the man yelling at the woman, “THAT’S IT. I’M DONE. This relationship isn’t going anywhere!” The woman just laughed at him dismissively.
    • The second couple were two mountain bikers. I saw and heard them earlier on the trail whooping and “Yeah!-ing.” As they loaded their bikes on their car’s roof, I again heard the girl let out a “Whew!” and the guy agreeably say “Yea. Awesome ride.”
      • I think this sample population provides statistically significant proof that couples that ride bikes are happy and have good relationships; and people who don’t ride are miserable.

First Mud

I finally got to ride my new Fisher HiFi on some decent trails and drew first mud. It was just like going back to grade school after summer vacation. You know, when you get that new pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars and you swear you can run faster.

HiFi’s first ride – Red Trail, Green Lane PA

I was cleaning obstacles on the first try; climbing as if a magnet was at the crest of the hill, drawing me up. I was zipping through singletrack like Luke Skywalker on a speeder bike in the Happy Grove1 on the Forest Moon of Endor.

1Star Wars reference found on Wookieepedia
I only wish I was nerd-enough to know that off of the top of my head.