Category Archives: Bike

Biking the Greenbrier River Trail Day Two and Three

Day Two Marlinton and Cass

sign to marlinton

I was so happy to wake up alive in the morning. I was happy to roll into Marlinton, and have breakfast at the Dirt Bean Cafe. Dirt Bean Cafe MarlintonThe Cafe is both a coffee shop and a bike shop!

Cass

I made it up to Cass! It was a very hot day.  I got to see the Cass Train. It was small. I guess I was remembering the Silverton/Durango Train. I felt sorry for the engineers shoveling the coal into that engine on this hot hot day.  I didn’t stick around Cass very long, I was too eager to ride some miles back down the trail and get camp set up for the night.

Campsite Mile 70

Mile 70 campsite greenbrier trail

How far can I bike today. I biked 40 miles to Cass, how much farther can I go? The further I go south, the less I will have to bike on Saturday. But I don’t want to kill myself either. I decided to stop at Mile 70, at 615 pm. I biked about 50 miles. Again I am exhausted!

Saturday Day Three

I wake up kind of refreshed. That’s a lie. I was sore and tired. Ugh. Maybe I’m not cut out for a Tour Divide ride when I can’t even handle a flat little rail trail.  Shut up Kimba, and drink some coffee, you got 70 miles to go.

early morning greenbrier trail

 

My breakfast this day is a Mountainhouse spicy mac and cheese. This isn’t exactly my first choice, but I surprise myself by eating it all down. I get on the trail about 730am and resolve to not make any extended stops.

I am a 1/2 mile out of Marlinton when I feel it becoming harder and harder to bike. Guh!! A flat! BUT I am a 1/2 mile to Marlinton-and the Dirt Bean Cafe, which is also a BIKE SHOP. I resolve to just add air to the tire and let the bike shop fix my flat. I can fix my flat, but I know a bike shop pro can do it quicker.

Back to the Bean

The proprietor of the coffee/bike shop is able to fix my tire. She shows me the tiny brad that I managed to pick up on the tire. Yes, I said SHE. I regret not getting her name. Thanks Dirt Bean Cafe for the yummy scones and my tire fixed!!!

More Food for the Road

I got more food for the trip south. 3 scones, a chocolate chip cookie. I know I am going to stop again at Seebert, at mile 45, for more drinks and food.

Seebert

 

A hot day. I buy Payday bars, Sour Kids, potato chips. I’m debating buying a beer but then I see the Code Red Mountain Dew-yes, that has the caffeine and calories that I need!  The last 30 miles were a bit of a slog. All I wanted to do was finish. Ugh. And bathe. And get a hotel room.

The Finish

I did it! I coasted back into the parking lot at 615 pm Saturday. I felt much better!!

Conclusions

The Greenbrier is a great little trail. It is not as secluded or remote as I thought. You do have to plan your water and food supplies. But the trail is *only* 78 miles long, you could bike it all in one day. Or you could meander up and down the trail, stop to swim or fish. There are nice locations to stop and camp out on the trail. I did notice there are now cabins and Airbnb’s available. I’m sure there are rentals in Marlinton. Cass has lodging available in case you don’t feel like camping in a tent.

Fall would be a great time to bike the Greenbrier River Trail!

 

Biking the Greenbrier River Trail

Biking the Greenbrier River Trail

The Greenbrier River Trail Day One

My Loose Plan

I had a very loose plan for my trip. Start at North Caldwell, bike north for some miles and camp overnight. I knew it would take me four hours to drive to the trailhead. I didn’t know how fast I would be able to bike, weighed down with all my gear.

My Ride

This was my experiment with tent camping and hauling.

Thursday Day One

I got on the trail about 11 am.  The southern end of the trail was hard hit by the 2016 floods. The trail has been repaired and in great shape.

I was a bit surprised by all the summer cabins along the trail. In all my reading about the trail, people mentioned the remoteness of the trail.  There are cabins up and down the length of the Greenbrier River. There are probably cabins about 70 miles of the 78 mile trail.

cabin along the Greenbrier Trail

Campsites

I felt fine cruising by mile 13, then 26.  There was water around mile 28, and I was evaluating where I wanted to stop for the night.   Should I stop at mile 38? I decided to go on to Mile 40 campsite.

Prisonprison sign

I was surprised to see a sign for a prison, then I saw the gleaning of the barbed wire.  view of the prison from Greenbrier River Trail

Tired

Just a short distance, later I found my home for the night. It was a bit damp, as there was a nice babbling brook that fed into the river.

I was exhausted! It was a hot day out there, I wasn’t in prime biking shape, and I had been awake since 5am.  I was in the tent by 7 pm, and pretty much asleep soon afterwards.

Night Time Wake Up Call

I woke up at 115 am to the sound of a scream. Not one scream, but numerous screams. WTF is going on?? The screams are very much like the enraged zombie-like soldiers in the movie 28 Days Later.  Is there a convict loose from the prison? Is there a meth addict going crazy in the woods?

I am terrified. I know that sounds dramatic. But I was. I have no idea what is happening outside my tent. I glance at the phone and instantly make it dark. I do not want to attract attention to my green little tent…in the middle of nowhere…where there is a crazed individual SCREAMING in the woods outside.

What to do? I briefly think of jumping on my bike and riding down the trail. But I don’t know where “THEY” are. Are there guards hunting for this crazed individual? Is that voices I am hearing, or is that the babbling brook near by?

This is kind of what it sounded like:

It may have sounded again. Then it stopped. I am still sitting upright in my tent. I can’t sustain this until daybreak, so I lay down again. Now that my heart rate is dropping a bit (I hope) I think, well, maybe that was a screech owl. What do screech owls sound like? Maybe it was a bird. I’m right on a river, there are probably owls, eagles, loons all sorts of birds around that scream.

I fall asleep.

I live to face another day. It was a bit chilly at 6 am, so I donned my rain poncho just to keep the body heat in while I drank some coffee and savored being alive. Then it was time to saddle up Myka, and head on down the trail!

Shake Down Ride

Today I rode the shake out bike ride. I’m bike camping at the end of the month. Being as I will be out of town on business the six days prior to my ride, I thought it best to figure out all the moving parts.

Biggest Moving Part

Myka wins the slot for the bike trip! It became evident that I was not prepared to haul my camping gear on Maya. Or had anything adequate for bikecamping on Maya. Or had done any sort of testing out hauling gear on Maya.

But Myka was ready for the call! Out comes the classic Ortleib panniers. Myka has done this haul before.

Off the Trainer

Myka has been my steady companion on the trainer all winter long. In fact, I just lifted her off, changed the back tire back to a road tire, and took her out into daylight.

Shake  Out Ride

I needed to feel how Myka would handle with a load. The biggest load I’ve ridden, in fact, since I will be tent camping and hauling everything. What a difference after riding Maya along!

It was a pretty chill ride. I basically stuffed my tent, bivy, binky, Jetboil, tool kit, water bottle into the panniners and took off riding. Originally, I  was not going to visit the eagle nest, as it is a hilly ride, but I thought, why not.

Eagle Update

I have an eagle’s nest about six  miles from my house. I have enjoyed watching mom and dad on the nest, and then the baby eaglets being hatched and hanging out. In April I started riding my bike over to the nest.

April view of the nest with Maya

It was always a good “destination” spot.  It looks like there is just one eaglet left (there were two originally.) None of the birders were hanging out, although some locals jumped out of their car to snap a pic with their cell phone.

The one eaglet left on nes

 

A Late Summer Bike Tour of Northern Ohio

Late Summer Bike Tour Northeastern Ohio
I wanted to get in a bike tour on the last hurrah of summer. (It’s still summer people!!!)

My friend Jim lives about one mile from the Western Reserve Greenway. Since I was going to be at his house after volunteering at the YUTC, it made sense to travel up this Rails to Trails to visit a part of Ohio that I haven’t really experienced.

Out and Backs

I don’t like out and backs. That is where you run/bike out a route, then turn around and retrace your steps. Boooring.

Created a Loop

I created a loop. I looked for the most bike trails I could find in the north eastern Ohio area.

How to Map a Route

I used a few resources for this. Rails to Trails Conservancy website will show you all the trails in the area you wish to bike. The State of Ohio has created an interactive trail map. Ohio Bikeways  was another source of trail intel to consult. Once I found all the off-road trail segments, it was time to consult “Ride with GPS” to make a route.
Ride with GPS is a good resource. It can show you elevation, print a cue sheet, print out your route, send your route to your phone, etc. You can look up other people’s routes and “pin them” to your account and ride their route.

The Route as Planned

The route is bike the Western Reserve Greenway almost to Ashtabula. Hop off the trail and ride roads over to Geneva-on-the-Lake. Spend the night with my Warmshowers hosts,  Carol and Pat.  Ride my made up route over to Painesville, where I will pickup the Maple Highlands Trail. This trail, albeit in about three segments, totals about 18 miles. After that, it will be road riding back over to the Western Reserve Greenway, back to my friend’s home.

Mileage

Day One About 50 miles. Originally I was going to ride the road portion first, but I want to get to my Warmshowers home at a decent hour. That will leave 72 miles for Day Two.

Considerations

Weather-will the remnants of  Florence hit Ohio by then? The forecast looks like warm weather, what about first thing in the morning? Will it be colder up by Lake Erie, what about wind? I don’t want to carry anything extra. Can I make it to this donut shop before it closes at noon on Monday?

Tune in for my next episode when I recap my ride!

First Bike Ride on the Montour Trail

Biking the Montour Trail

 

I traveled over to Pennsylvania  to scope out parts of the Montour Trail. Soon I am going to ride the “Steel City Loop” as I call it. I was curious to find the trail, and see about a tricky section over the Ohio River.

Quick Silver Parking

It was a loose plan. Park at Quick Silver, bike to mile zero, then see about the road section which would lead me over the Ohio River. The preferred route, over Neville Island, was closed due to bridge work.

I was a bit surprised to see the Montour Trail was crushed limestone. For some reason, I thought it would be paved. The trail was in very good shape despite the heavy thunderstorms that hit the night before.

Overcast days don’t make the greatest pictures but it keeps the bikers happy!

A tunnel! I didn’t know about! It’s called the Enlow Tunnel, short and very well lit.

The traffic noises increase and sure enough I’m biking by the Mall. No time to go shopping, there is mile zero to find.

This is Montour Run, which parallels the trail.

Mile Zero

Short Attempt at the Connector

The recommended ACA crossing I loaded onto my phone with Ride with GPS. I turned onto Hassam Road from the Montour Trail-and immediately started a climb up a steep hill-there was a U-Turn switchback for pete’s sake. There was no berm. I made it maybe a 1/2 mile up before I hopped off and started pushing the bike-that was safer than me wobbling along in my granny gear.

A glance  up the hill. It still went UP! I gave up. It was going to be about 7 miles to the McKees Bridge, then I would have to turn around, and still have the bike back to my vehicle. Another day. At least I now know there are hills standing in my way!

Boggs

At Boggs Trailhead, there is a primitive camping set up. A hut, and  two established tent sites. There are picnic tables, fire rings, and Port-o-potties.

Now Heading South

Back to my vehicle, and decided to bike a bit farther south to the McDonald Trestle Bridge,

Panhandle Connector

I bike by the Panhandle Connector, it links up to the Panhandle Trail in one mile. I biked the Panhandle Trail in April. It’s 29 miles long and ends in Weirton, West Virginia.

McDonald Viaduct

Almost a 1000 feet long, the McDonald Viaduct is the longest bridge on the Montour Trail.

After a few scenic pics snapped, I biked back to Quick Silver, startling three large turkeys standing in the trail! Of course I wasn’t prepared to take their picture!

I biked about 38 miles on the west side of the Montour Trail. I’m still debating about how to go about my “Steel City Loop” with the detour over the Ohio River. I will figure this out!

Successful First Time Use of Slime

Successful Use of Slime

Oh No! Flat Tire

I was biking in the valley on my usual route. As I turned onto a side road, I felt then noticed my front tire going flat on me! Oh no!

First I just tried to add air back into the tire. LUCKILY I was carrying my tire repair kit with me. I was not having any success into just pumping air. I was inspecting the tire-as you should-to see if I could spot what caused the flat-nail, sharp object. Sure enough, there was a small piece of glass or quartz sticking up out of the tire. Okay! Maybe after removal, it will hold air. Nope!

Slime Easy Flat Fixing

I was only a few miles from home. I could have called the husband for extraction. (Or I could have swapped out the inner tube.)  Then I remembered the Slime.  Hey, this is a good opportunity to try Slime for the first time!

What is Slime?

Slime is a sealant that you import into the bike tube which will “seal up” punctures to 1/8 inch (per their website).

How to Use Slime

Using Slime to Fix a Flat

It was extremely easy to use! I followed the instructions on the bottle. The lid of the Slime Container has a core valve remover. That is step one, remove the core valve. My husband had given me one for the bike. I had no idea WHY I needed it. Now I do!

Core Valve Remover

Core Valve Remover

Slime comes with a tube that you fit over your valve and the container. You simply squeeze the tube and green slime flows into the tire tube. It’s kind of neat to watch.

Using Slime to Fix a Flat

My bike tire only needed a 1/2  bottle (4 oz, it’s stated on the bottle). You can then replace the tube back on the bottle and cap it up, no Slime all over the place. I then added some air, and rotated the tire around as instructed, to coat the whole inner tube.

Using Slime to Fix a Flat

I added the Slime, replaced the core valve, and added air back to the tire. Success! I pumped up the tire and completed my bike ride.

Bike Tire Kit

These are the components you need for a bike tire repair kit. Okay, you really only need the tire pump, new inner tube, and bike levers. This is what I carry in my bike repair kit. If you have a new inner tube, you don’t need the patch kit. Simply swap out that failed tube for the new one and repair later at home.

Bike Tire Repair Kit

Know how to change a Flat Tire!

I have said this before and it’s so true! Know how to change a flat tire! Take the tire off and put it back on! Yes, it’s not a fun job.  If you practice this at home, in the comfort of air conditioning,  changing a flat in the middle of a hot afternoon on a busy road can go much faster.

Success with Slime

Disclosure: This is my independent review of the product Slime. I was not compensated for this product. I just had my Slime encounter and wanted to pass on the knowledge on how it worked for me.

My First Gravel Grinder Ride

My first Gravel Grinder Ride

This is my “Almost Week off Work” Vacation. Today I decided to travel over to the Woodbury Wildlife Area in Coshocton County and follow a “gravel grinder” route that I found on Ride with GPS.

Woodbury Wildlife Area

Woodbury Wildlife Area in Coshocton County is the largest public hunting and fishing area in Ohio. Their 19,000 acres is operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources specifically for wildlife recreation. This area was strip mined back in the 70’s.

What’s a Gravel Grinder?

Gravel grinders are gravel road races and rides that combine riding on surfaces such as asphalt, gravel, dirt, some singletrack trails and maintenance or B roads. Like county roads or township roads in the country.

Ride with GPS

I stumbled upon a FB Group called Ohio Gravel Grinders, who had recently completed a ride at Woodbury. I had never thought to go ride there! It’s all deserted country roads, not as hilly as my neighborhood-that’s a good place to ride! I downloaded their Ride with GPS route and set out for a bike ride.

Issue One

My turn sheet mentions turn on Township Road 70. This definitely says 

Township Road 62. My map is not detailed enough to discern (later, this road does become Township Road 70, as 62 branches off, clear as mud..)

Down the road I go. It’s quiet, except for the critters chirping, no noise in my headspace. I am pleasantly surprised to find woodland here in Woodbury! I thought it was going to be all open space due to the strip mining.

 

The ride is going okay. I’m breaking HARD on the downhills-the loose gravel makes me nervous, I don’t want to crash my bike. Maybe I need to look at disc brakes instead of the more traditional caliper or V brakes that I have.

I Lose the Phone

I am still following my planned route when I stop to double check on the phone. Doh! The phone has disappeared! Luckily, I remember where I last checked it. Back UP the hill I just coasted down.

dropped phone

Now I’ve doubled back a mile or so. I decide to make the turn instead of continuing my planned route. I don’t feel up to a 32 mile ride on gravel today.

I am keeping on eye on my phone battery power. Since I’m now relying on the Google Map, I don’t want it to die on me. It is amazing that I have cell phone coverage in Woodbury. This is a desolate area. Cell phone reception has come a long way.

My route goes well, the road turns appear as they should. My last road is County Road 17, which is asphalt-YAY! Asphalt makes for a nice change of pace from gravel.

I don’t like the two little (BIG) hills that I have to bike up in my littlest gear to get up. At least I didn’t have to walk it. Note: I did walk up a few hills on gravel. A few were too steep for me, and one had gravel that was loose and I wasn’t getting traction, the rear wheel was sliding around. Not safe enough for me.

It was a good ride. I will ride over at Woodbury more often.