Category: blog

A recap of a ride we all should think about doing!

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.

Owen Johnston

New Ride With Old Friends

Even though I have had my Salsa Horsethief for over a month I finally have it set up and riding perfectly. With the addition of my new Industry Nine wheels and Shimano brakes the Thief is dialed! No better place to test the updated Horsethief then Lookout Mountain and Timber Ridge. No better crew to ride these trails with then your buddies who you first explored this forest with over 20 years ago.

The Thief taking a break after the might Sand-springs climb

It is always a treat to showcase the work on Lookout, the reroute of 6 years ago has now blended perfectly with the old ridge line sections. I remember riding this trail the first time with Adam Krop in 93′, except we did it “backwards” in the rain. Lookout is usually enough to satisfy most folks but yesterday’s crew wanted to hit some old school trails so we ascended up Sandsprings to Timber Ridge in the hottest of conditions. The down hill on Wolfe Ridge was rolling fast even with the summer growth that is coming in from every side.

A bear was hungry.

This might be the last time riding Wolfe in it’s current state, the next phase of improvements is about to start next week. More to follow soon!

Enjoy the summer heat with good friends!

-Thomas

A year of a improvements to the George Washington National Forest

Almost 2 miles of this on the Lower Hankey Project

This year is going to be an exciting year for trail projects in the George Washington National Forest (GWNF). Our friends with the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) have been working hard for years to line up funding which is all going to fall to the ground in 2016. The first and probably the largest project for 2016 is in the books, the Upper & Lower Hankey project. If you have not been able to get out and experience all the work done by our friends at Elevated Trail Design we encourage to you grab your mountain bike and head to the GWNF.

We have been talking about the Upper Hankey Project for the past two months, and a lot of folks have experienced this new mile of trail that replaces the “death shot” on The Wild Oak Trail (TWOT) near the upper portions of the Dowells Draft Trail.

Map of the Upper Hankey Project. Red = New, Blue = Old
The Lower Hankey Project will open people up to a whole new trail experience, as most folks in the mountain bike community have not ridden this portion of the Wild Oak Trail . This portion of the TWOT had numerous steep sections which kept most mountain bikers away from this area of the National Forest. The improvements to the lower slopes of Hankey Mountain has created a great trail loop that will allow folks to enjoy the Dowells Draft Trail with less road!

Lower Hankey Project
A unique thing about these the Upper and Lower Hankey builds is that they are connected by a hidden gem of the trail called the “Besty Trail”, AKS “Magic Moss”. The Betsy Trail is a short 1/2 mile trail but is what I commonly refer to as “half track”. Half track this is when the tread is so narrow that you can’t quite call it single track.

The thin trail of the Betsy Trail….with moss everywhere.

So what are the other projects in store for the National Forest this year?

  • Carr Mountain (30 North/West of Harrisonburg): six miles of new trail in a very remote part of the GWNF. The Carr Mountain Trail will be part of the larger Great Eastern Trail.
  • Wolfe Ridge Trail: Over the years this trail has seen numerous improvements, this time expect another mile of tasty trail to be built. Work will also include small improvements on the ridge section of the Wolfe Ridge Trail.
  • Chestnut Ridge (TWOT): This trail descending from Little Bald Knob is always a highlight for the SM100 event, these improvements will keep the trail in top shape.
  • Camp Todd (TWOT): Probably one of the longest continuous sections of single track on the TWOT is between Camp Todd and Little Bald. This beautiful section of trail will see much needed maintenance.
  • Southern Traverse: This 17 mile section of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail will see much needed love. The trail became popular after is was designated an IMBA Epic Ride.

See you out on the new improved trails.
-Thomas