The Confident City Cycling class will be held on Saturday, May 20 at Westover park. It will be led by League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructors. I took this class last year and it was an awesome experience. I had just bought my bike and I was still nervous about riding it around town.
This class gave me the confidence I needed to get out of my shell and to make good use of my beautiful bike. I was a beginner, but the amount of experience each student had varied. The instructors were very helpful and answered all my questions.
Among other things, we learned about the importance of checking our bikes over before each ride to make sure everything is ready to go. We did exercises that prepared us for situations we may face while driving in traffic and in trails (such as roadkill, angry drivers, and rocks). I was also taught how to change a flat which helped me feel less anxious about riding long distances.
Take this class! It’s freaking awesome. Here’s a link with more info!
Don’t let the couch eat you this time of year
With the days being shorter this time of year, sneaking in a post-work ride can be tricky. Luckily, bike lights have drastically improved over the past decade. With the bursts of spring-like weather we’ve been having this week, night riding is a very viable option to prevent the beer belly from growing too much. Here are a few more reasons you should consider snagging a light and heading out under the stars this year.
The ability to ride year round here is a major bonus to living in Harrisonburg. It’s not uncommon to find yourself getting burned out at some point though. Take a trail you’ve ridden hundreds of times during the day and it will completely change at night. The same features are there, but it’s incredible how different the trail appears when the only light you have is much more focused. If you find yourself getting tired of the same rides, grab a light.
There’s no better vantage point for a sunset than on top of one of the many ridge lines west or east of town. It’s hard to beat cruising up a mountain as the sky changes colors without feeling rushed for time. Sunsets around here worth watching and some of the best places to enjoy them aren’t accessible by car. Grab a light for the descent back down the mountain.
On a clear night the sky puts on an incredible show of stars. I guarantee it’s much better than the latest Netflix drama. Hone Quarry was my destination of choice last Wednesday night with a great wide open view above the reservoir. At some point in your ride turn your light off and look up.
A Few Tips
If you’ve never ventured out onto the trails at night, here are a few tips:
- Get a reliable light. There are many cheap lights out there that are very bright; however, the batteries are generally unreliable. I use Light and Motion’s Imjin 800 on my helmet and have been more than happy. It’s super light-weight and relatively inexpensive compared to other lights out there.
- Depending on what type of trail you’re riding, it doesn’t hurt to have two lights…One on the helmet, one on the bars. Your helmet light is crucial for scanning ahead into upcoming turns. I typically put my brightest light on my helmet, but that’s something to play around with. The bar light is helpful with depth perception because you can direct it downward more to fill the gap where you’re helmet light doesn’t hit.
This time of year especially, bring extra layers. As the sun sets, the temperature drops a good bit.
- Find some friends to ride with. Motivation is much easier to find with a group of people. Thomas leads a night ride from the SBC parking lot every Monday night around 8:30. If you don’t have any night-riding experience this ride would be a great intro. Massanutten is another great place to start. Don’t let the lack of sun get you down.
Our good friends Paul and Owen Johnston spent part of their summer vacation riding bikes together. We always love hear our customer stories of their riding adventures, this is the first, but not last, of Owen’s bike riding tours.
My Dad and I started our journey on the Cumberland Gap trail on 7/26/2016. The Cumberland Gap trail is a 150 mile rails to trail from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a great ride for the family. The trail is well maintained with great places to eat and camp. On the way up the mountain to the eastern continental divide, I was surprised at the gradual grade going up. Although it’s not a big grade, you can still feel the downhill after you get to the top. When you’re on the trail you can see some of the best sites I have ever seen.
There are many beautiful bridges and big tunnels. Big Savage tunnel was one of my favorites, it is the longest tunnel along the trail, over 3,000 feet long! This particular tunnel was in built in 1911. Each day my Dad and I rode about 45 miles. Except for the last day, because we didn’t have to set up camp, we road about 60 miles. On this trip we decided to camp with a tent but we now realize it’s easier to camp with hammocks. We decided to camp the two nights in Adelaide and Husky Haven campground in Rockwood, PA. When biking through neighborhoods, I was surprised about the generosity of the people who live along the trail. Although there were lots of them, two families stood out to me. In Rockwood, one family turned his dog’s play space into a camp ground and provided showers, water, and bathrooms along with fun games like pool and darts. He even had a phone charging station. The other family who lived along the trail in Van Meter, PA offered us home grown vegetables, cold beverages, and made us bacon and eggs for a good price.
The first two days were nice, sunny, and cool. However, on the last day there was a terrible rain and trust me, when the rain stops, you will feel so much better if you change your clothes. It may seem like a waste of time, I was skeptical too, but do it. It is worth it. We finished the ride on 7/28/2016 at Point State Park in Pittsburgh where we were met by my mom, my brother Peter, and my Grandmother and Dave. We had a great experience on the Cumberland Gap trail and would love to do it again.