Norma with black snake on C&O Towpath between Cumberland and Oldtown

  

Saki

Bicycling Adventures 2016


Last updated January 6, 2018

 

 

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Bucket List
Here are some bicycling trips I'd like to do before I die.


North Bend Rail Trail
I learned about this West Virginia rail trail from kayaker Greg W. Sounds like a great place for an easy bicycle camping trip.
Highlights of the trail - lots of deer, nice scenery, nicely maintained camping spots, and something like 13 tunnels, the longest at around a half mile.
- Greg W.'s Facebook page

From Savage, it is 3 hours and 41 minutes to the Wolf Summit trailhead or 4 hours and 42 minutes to the Parkersburg trailhead.

Summer or fall sound like the best time to bike it.
Spring makes for a slightly more difficult ride since the surface hasn't hardened up yet, especially from equestrian use. But as with all trails, the NBRT's work crew is busy repairing winter damage to insure good summer and fall riding.
- from TrailLink - North Bend Rail Trail

For more information, see
  • Six Great Things You'll See on the North Bend Rail Trail
  • Trail brochure: Downloads slowly.


  • Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
    I read about this in my September/October 2016 issue of "AAA World" magazine. This article says there are plenty of tour destinations and resorts along the way for lodging and dining. I don't know if camping would be an option.

    There are no shortages of information resources for this trip.
  • Florida State Parks - Welcome to Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
  • Chicago Tribune - Biking the Keys - Florida's island-to-island path isn't perfect, but the view can be
  • Visit Florida - Cycling the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
  • Escapades - Florida Bike Tour - Everglades and Keys Winter Escape: If you don't mind spending $3000, you can hire an outfitter to plan your trip for you.


  • Indiana County, Pennsylvania
    I also read about this place in my "AAA World" magazine. It was in an advertisement for North Pittsburgh Countryside. Four counties were described but it was Indiana County that caught my eye.
    Indiana County offers 64 miles of Rails-to-Trails...

    It is only 3.5 hours from Savage so it would make for a great 3 day weekend destination. I don't know if there is one major outstanding trip out there but there are certainly a lot of little trips. Sometimes I find those to be the most memorable and least crowded.
  • Indiana County Parks and Trails
  • Indiana County Rails-to-Trails: Lots of short trails.
  • Ghost Town Trail: 36 miles.
  • Hoodlebug Trail: 10 miles.
  • Trans Allegheny Trails: A system of rail trails in Indiana County and neighboring regions.


  • Others worth considering that folks have recommended
  • Katy Trail
  • Erie Canalway Trail: There might still be a few unfinished sections. Also see Cycle the Erie Canal.
  • George S. Mickelson Trail
  • Harrison Rail Trails
  • Lackawanna Heritage Valley: 70 mile trail in Pennsylvania
  • Ghost Town Rail Trail: This 36 mile rail trail is 3 hours from Savage or 1 hour and 46 minutes from Deer Park, Maryland
  • Virginia Creeper Trail: 5 hours and 43 minutes from Savage and only 34 miles long. May get to it but only if we just happen to be in the area.








  • Indian Head Rail Trail
    On August 20, 2016, Norma and I did a last minute trip where we set out to explore Charles County. I found several things that might be of interest and then prioritized them. The rail trail was top priority. We got off to a late start because once we hit the road, my car wasn't doing so good so we had to return home and then transfer everything to her car. Fortunately, we hadn't left town when this occurred.

    Our first stop was the town of Indian Head where we biked the 13 mile Indian Head Rail Trail out and back for a total trip of 26 miles. See first photo. We started at the western terminus where there was a moderately sized parking lot and porta-john.

    Folks on the trail were pretty friendly although when you have someone like Norma greeting you with a big smile saying "Good morning," is it pretty hard to not be friendly. A lot of people were out getting their exercise.

    We rode alongside Mattawoman Creek which I'd seen plenty of times via kayak. This waterway spread out over a long distance, providing valuable marsh land to a variety of flora and fauna. In one such wetland area, I spotted a great egret (second photo). In another marsh (third photo), we viewed several hundred water lilies (fourth photo).

    Along the way, we saw a five inch long five-lined skink, swamp hibiscus flowers, joe pye weed flowers, a bald eagle, and numerous eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies (fifth photo) and black swallowtail butterflies.

    The trail is well maintained and very flat. I expect I will return with roller skates. It was a nice ride but by the time we were done in the early afternoon, it was quite hot.

    Driving through town, we noticed that many of the businesses were closed and boarded up. Things looked rather depressed.

    We stopped at a Chinese and American restaurant for fish sandwiches and then continued our adventure of exploring Charles County.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.







    Amish 100
    When Carmen and I finished our four day, 194.87 mile bicycle camping ride on the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath on October 9-12, 2015, I suggested she join me for the Amish 100 century ride. She said she was up for it so we threw out a few possible dates and made plans.

    This is a one day, 104 mile ride in Saint Mary's County and Charles County of southern Maryland.

    We ended up going with April 24, 2016. We left my house at 0630. On the drive down, I saw a red fox just off highway 295.

    Carmen and I arrived at our destination and started riding at 0830. It would have been difficult to have a better day. It started out cool enough so I needed a cotton long sleeve shirt over an Under Armour shirt though I could have easily just sucked it up and done without the cotton shirt since I took it off after the first hour.

    The wind was low and the sun was shining brightly. The high temperature was 67 degrees so we didn't sweat much. Still, I consumed 4.5 quarts of fluid, almost all of which was tea or Gatorade.

    There wasn't much wildlife out though we did see a lot of roadkill: deer, possums, and a fox. I saw crayfish mounds. One was a foot tall! They live in there. I have them in my backyard because we have a spring. I also saw a swan.

    The ride was fairly scenic. The people that put it together did a good job in picking mostly routes without heavy traffic although that also meant there often was no bike lane. But overall, the drivers out there seemed courteous and gave us plenty of room to ride.

    With the presidential primaries getting close in Maryland, there were a lot of Donald Trump signs in people's yards. There were also a few supporting Cruz. I saw one for Bernie Sanders and none for Hillary Clinton.

    We took a break at one area (first photo) where a truck pulled over and asked if we were o.k.

    I started out fairly fast and got slower as the day went on. I think Carmen was more consistent.

    Having a GPS really helped with navigation. The cue sheet was very accurate in terms of mileage though not all the roads were marked with street signs.

    I rode a hybrid bike with toe clips. Carmen had a mountain bike with duct tape on the tires and no toe clips. Even though some of the hills were a little tough, she never switched gears. I think she was afraid her chain would fall off. I switched gears with my right hand but not my left. I'm not sure I would have done as well as her given the same conditions.

    We had enough stops but we couldn't rest too long. Otherwise, we'd be biking in the dark.

    Around mile 65, I started cramping up on one hill but it was never bad enough that I couldn't make it up a hill. After this point, the ride was much flatter.

    My favorite rest stop was the Saint Clement's Island Museum. See second photo.

    The coolest thing I saw on the ride was an Amish horse and buggy pulling two kayaks.

    We completed the ride 10 hours and 47 minutes later, having completed 103.87 miles! We were stopped for 2 hours and 7 minutes. Our moving average was 12 mph. Our max speed was 31.2 mph.

    Carmen and I were very fortunate not to have any mechanical problems.

    The two of us did some light stretching (third photo) and then started heading home. We stopped at a diner on route 5. This place was a little unusual in that they didn't serve breakfast all the time, which is what Carmen was looking forward to.

    I would say this ride was more difficult than the ViewTrail 100 which is flatter and has less traffic. But it is easier than the Garrett County Loop that I last rode on May 16, 2015. It is almost 60 miles but it is extremely hilly.

    We finished the ride without injury. Our biggest complaint was that our butts were sore. For me, after that, it was my inner thighs. My knee felt some strain the next day but not much.

    I'm glad Carmen joined me to this ride. It made it all the more enjoyable though we usually didn't ride together. She helped me drive to and from the starting location, kept me from making a wrong turn once on the bike, and provided me with an extra quart of water after I ran out.
    Click thumbnails to enlarge.