Posts Categorized in 'People'
Contributed by Nate Evans
Continuing in the vocation vacation, my latest trip included a stop in Moab, Utah. When my mountain biking friends learned I was in Moab, there was a common response: Jealous! Aside from being the jumping off point for Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, rafting the Colorado River and unlimited canyoneering, ORVing adventures, Moab is one of THE mountain biking meccas in the world. Famous for the Slickrock Trail, Porcupine Rim and The Whole Enchilada, I was determined to spend some time in the saddle while in the area.
My two-wheeled adventure started at the Chile Pepper Bike Shop, next to the Moab Brewery. Here I picked up a full suspension Giant to take out into the desert. While it would have been great to take my own ride out west, renting a bike is a good way to get the feel for a bike that is completely outta my price range without the long term commitment. The crew at the Chile Pepper couldn’t have been more helpful & friendly. At the counter, Ashley was very personable and made some good recommendations for trail access and conditions.
When not urban riding for work, the majority of my riding is eastern North American woodland single track; generally hardpack natural surface with heavy doses of rock garden. Eastern Utah is completely different. The Slickrock Trail has been on my trail bucket list for decades. This world famous trail is classic Utah desert riding: undulating petrified sandstone dunes above the Colorado River. This is an advanced level trail that I felt confident to ride. I had 4 hours to do the ride, which was enough to ride it with plenty of stops, or wreck early and call in the reinforcements.
Starting off at the trailhead just after 8 am, the forecast was clear with temperatures around 100 degrees. I love Utah! There were only other riders starting out, so I tagged along a couple riders on the Practice Loop. The Practice Loop is a good 2 mile loop that is a fairly good representation of the remaining trail. So those that want to try it out but get spooked won’t wind up in the middle of the desert all dejected. The trail only took 100 feet to quickly transition from crushed desert stone to sandstone boulders with a rolling flow over the rocks. The white blazes on the rocks (since there are no trees) delineated the trail path.
The trail was a continuous series of vistas. With the sun only up for a couple hours, the lower light angles accentuated the dips and bowls of the rock. Twisting through juniper scrub and cactus, this trail was a full body workout. There was little time in the saddle as the climbs demanded power and the many steep descents required a shift in gravity center with mahbutt over the back wheel. Between the boulders, the trail crossed thick, red sand. These sandtraps, while flat, bogged me down no matter how much momentum going in. I was surprised that such a famous trail had so little riders (Perhaps it was the temperature). During the whole ride, I passed 4 other riders. A few jeeps were out on the 4×4 tours and another group was flying on the zipline course overhead. Good thing there were plenty of lizards and desert rabbits to keep me company.
I stopped to enjoy the views from Shrimp Rock and Negro Bill Canyon below. As the sun rose, my energy level waned. The climbs were a little tougher now and my paced had greatly slowed. Thanks to Strava I knew where I was in the maze of rocks. I completed the main loop trail with only a couple miles til the trailhead. Coming back through this section I was aware of the only place I bought it on the whole ride: a section where the trail wound up a tight wash with 3 potholes. Coming down, I navigated the potholes successfully with an air of confidence. I needed that…and a Clif bar. Approaching the trailhead, a fleet of riders passed me heading out under the unforgiving sun. I hit the asphalt and turned off the Strava. I wasn’t looking for kudos or rewards on this ride. Just the experience of riding the Slickrock and scratching this trail off my bucket list.
The ride back to town was easy – all downhill! As Moab is a mountain bike mecca, its also very bike-friendly. In the years since I’ve been here, there are more bike lanes, (even on the side streets), more bike racks line the streets. Even in parking lots, old school racks are plopped down in car spaces without any bollards or car stops. The Moab Bike Patrol is stationed on the road to Slickrock; there’s a BMX course on 500 W and the Mill Creek Parkway winds quietly through town. A multiuse path connects the town with Arches National Park and another is under construction along the Colorado upstream from town. If you’re into biking, whether on or off-road, take a trip to Moab.
“WallyGPX” rides around Baltimore with his GPS and draws cool stuff like this:
This past weekend some of his work was featured on CSNBaltimore.com in this video.
Join Baltimore’s women’s cycling group Crank Mavens for an international day of empowerment and celebration on May 12th! This ride will leave from the Washington Monument in Mt. Vernon and run about 8 miles, ending in Mother’s Garden at Clifton Park. Women of all ages, abilities and experience are welcome– no one will be left behind!
Gather at the Monument on the North side at 6:00, leaving at 6:30. Bring an extra tube, snacks and drinks for a twilight picnic.
Contributed by Nate Evans
The new trails at Fairland Regional Park is another gem in Maryland’s single track system. A short drive down 95, Fairland is a relatively slender, stream valley park surrounded by suburbs, quarries and a golf course. To develop a series of sustainable trails on this former quarry site, MORE first established a good working relationship with Montgomery County and the Maryland National Capital Parks & Planning Commission. With a grant from REI, MORE, led by trail boss Austin Steo, put in over a thousand hours of volunteer work to create the system. MORE held a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday to officially open 8 miles of new trail. These new trails represent just another phase in the developing system at Fairland. Several new trails provide more challenging features like boardwalk skinnies, up and overs and log lines. One section of trail features a series of rollers which allows riders to pump their way along a hillside as if riding a rollercoaster! Don’t let these features discourage you from riding here. All the trails are well-graded with no real challenging climbs and easy alternatives around the more challenging obstacles.
Future plans for Fairland include a mountain bike skills park; like Rockburn but more for mountain bikes. The old slag piles from the quarry will be the basis for future gravity lines. One of the new trails connects to a residential area allowing the immediate communities to take advantage of the park. These connector trails can also be extended north into adjacent parklands. If you have an mtb trip planned to Rockburn or Patapsco, add some time and hit Fairland while you’re at it.
Cargo bikes have long been known around the world for making seemingly impossible trips more bikeable. Whether carrying groceries, children or furniture, extended frames provide more versatility and balance in transporting heavier loads. At Lake Montebello, the use of cargo bikes broadened to include adults. With the level terrain and reduced vehicular traffic, the lake loop was the perfect setting to test one’s balance with bikesurfing. The Kona Ute comes standard with a ‘surfboard’ on the back perfect for carrying…well, people! (above)
Yesterday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake kicked off National Drinking Water Week and Bike Month with a bike ride around Lake Montebello. Part of Recreation & Parks’ “Laps Around the Lake” anyone can rent a bike for a leisure pedal every Thursday evening through the summer. Adult and children’s bikes and helmets are available. You must have photo ID to borrow equipment. This program is perfect for first-time bikers, those that are out of practice, or those who just don’t feel like lugging that old dusty bike out of the basement.
With the recent asset liquidation at ‘da Point’, several trikes made their way to Velocipede and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks. The ‘trunk’ on the trike was also perfect carrying passengers. Mark Dennis (left) uses a trike to photograph Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake leading a group of cyclists around Lake Montebello.
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Baltimore Velo. Velo covered everything in Baltimore’s bike scene. Everything! From new Bishop frames, Alleycat races, Keith catching air, ride reports, crashes, attacks, you name it. Covering everything in Baltimore’s booming bike culture has become increasing difficult in the past year. (Correlation with the Bike Party? Who’s to say?) Being the one website that covered it all, Seth got a little swamped. Baltimore is better off for what Baltimore Velo has contributed!
Head over to Baltimore Velo and post a “thanks”
“What? Me? Bike To work? Nah, I don’t think that’s happening”
This is usually the reaction offered when people talk about Bike To Work Day, and for good reason. Bike commuting is not a simple pedal on a quiet trail but an serious form of on-road cycling. It happens when we’re pressed for time with more traffic on the road, often our minds are ON work with the day’s “to do” list developed in our heads. So why add the extra stress of arriving to work sweatier and slightly shaken?
The short answer: Because you just might like it! (Seriously) Aside from all the other reasons like getting exercise, feeling healthier, losing weight, being more alert & ready to tackle the day, and one less car on the road, bike commuting is pretty fun once you get the hang of it. Not a serious commitment like a meaningful relationship or a long term high interest loan, Bike To Work Day is one day out of the year where you can get a chance to see what it’s like to combine your daily workout with your commute and meet some new friends along the way.
This year, Bike To Work Day is on Friday, May 17th! With warmer weather now here, there’s plenty of time to get ready. Here are a few tips on how to do Bike To Work Day, Baltimore style.
1. Register! Register online for one of the many Bike To Work Day stations around the region. B2WD stations offer a lite breakfast, free hats, quick bike tune-ups and other giveaways.
2. Get a bike or a tune-up. If you don’t have a bike, don’t worry. All local bike shops are ready to assist with getting the right bike for you. Most bike shops RENT bikes so if bike commuting is not for you, there’s no major loss. If you already have a bike, get you a tune-up and make sure it’s ready for May 17th. Tune-ups typically include:
- checking the tires, tubes and air pressure
- checking brakes
- noting any rust or structural problems
3. Get out for a bike ride! You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to bike to work, but you don’t want to be surprised on that Friday morning. There are several low-stress bike events around Baltimore to help get your biking confidence up:
- The Baltimore Bike Party – Friday, April 26th is a slow ride around town with (probably) 800 or so other riders. Bike mechanics, ride leaders and sweepers make sure no one is left behind.
- Ride Around The Reservoir & Laps Around the Lake – sponsored by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, pick up a bike at either lake on a weekday evening for a leisure pedal.
- Kinetic Sculpture Race on Saturday, May 4th is a very low speed bike race starting from the American Visionary Arts Museum on Key Highway at 10 am. Roads are closed for the race but anyone on a bike is welcome to pedal along with these sculptures between AVAM, Canton Waterfront Park, Patterson Park and back.
4. Plan Your Route! With the Baltimore Bike Map and biking directions on Google Maps, you can plan your route to work. Keep in mind that most major roads are filled with motorists so an alternative route may be needed. The Bike Map is full of information you’ll need to bike around the city. The map is available online (as is the Bicycle Commuter Guide) and at all local bike shops. If you need help with a bike route, comment below.
5. Test Your Route on the Weekend! With traffic volumes lower on the weekends, test your route on a Saturday or Sunday. This will give you an idea of how long it will take you to get to work and get a feel for pavement conditions and tricky intersections. Keep in mind that traffic might be a little heavier on a weekday. While not mandatory, helmets are a good idea.
6. Plan ahead by taking a change of work clothes in earlier in the week. That way you don’t have to spend the rest of the day feeling like you just came from the gym. Also, check with your building management for available bike parking options. Some buildings will allow bikes indoors, but many will not. If you must leave your bike outside, make sure you have a reliable lock. If you’ve never biked to work before, have a friend (with a car) ready to assist you if you or your bike can’t make it.
7. Take Your Time! This is not a time trial for an exclusive bike race. You’re just going to work. So give yourself a little extra time and have fun along the way.
8. Join a B2WD convoy! If you don’t want to ride by yourself, join one of the many Bike to Work Day convoys around Baltimore. Most convoys will stop by one of the stations to take a break. Convoys are now available online. Get some of your co-workers on board and start your own convoy.
9. Cheat! Yes, cheat if you need to. This is Bike To Work Day, not Bike From Home Day. If you have to drop the kids off or live a little too far to bike to work, don’t feel bad. Consider biking from daycare, school or carpool part way. Plus, all local MTA transit routes provide bike access whether on the metro, light rail or bus. All MTA buses have bike racks for easy access to get you a little closer to work.
10. Enjoy The Ride! Take it easy, pace yourself and arrive safely! Once you get to work, you will have an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! This one day out the year may just help you to modify your regular commute from driving to biking or even walking or taking transit. Hope to see you out there on Friday, May 17th!
The Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department has relied on the Ranger Program to staff bike programs like Ride Around the Reservoir. Unfortunately, rangers do not report until the 2nd week in May. Until then, volunteers are needed to help out. Tasks include loading and transporting bikes to program site, setting up once on site, adjusting bike seats and fitting helmets for riders, riding the area to help out new riders, and in some cases teaching new riders.
Events volunteers are needed include:
Saturday, April 27th ECO FEST in Druid Hill Start time of 9:30 am and riding around the reservoir until 4 PM .
Wed, May 1st Rides Around the Reservoir in Druid Hill Park from 4PM until 8:30 PM
Thursday, May 2nd Rides Around Lake Kick Off at Lake Montebello from 4-:8:30 PM
Monday May 6th Rides Around the Reservoir in Druid Hill Park from 4PM until 8:30
If interested, please contact Molly Gallant at 443-984-4058 or molly.gallant (at) baltimorecity.gov
Worried about doing Bike to Work Day by yourself? Don’t worry, several ‘convoys’ are forming all over the Baltimore area. Join a group of riders on their way to work! The Baltimore Metropolitan Council has started a Convoys page online for anyone interested in making B2WD even more social.
- Meeting Point
- Departure Time
- Tentative Route
- Any intermediate meeting points along the route (with approximate time)
- Evening Departure Location and Time
New East Coast Greenway signs delineate the route through Baltimore on its way from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. The ECG Convention takes place in Baltimore on April 26th and 27th at the World Trade Center. Special thanks to Andy Hamilton (Mid-Atlantic coordinator) and Greg Hinchliffe (ECG Maryland Committee) for posting the signs!