Sunday, May 11, 2014

Just Riding Along ...

So right now, I am kinda injured. Last Monday morning, I got out for a ride in Wissahickon. It was a typical morning ride, except with all the rain the area had last weekend, there had been some flooding in the park. The park was dried out more or less, but some of the residual effects of flooding remained - and one of those impacted the log-over near the rock garden off the Bells Mill Road parking lot. A while ago, a large tree had fallen across the trail heading toward Chestnut Hill College, and some resourceful riders or trail builders had taken some of the surrounding debris and built up an approach side and exit side to get over the tree. The the storms had washed away the exit side, so there's about a 2 1/2 foot drop there now. The only problem was the the approach side was still there and you can't see the other side. So I was just riding along, popped up on the log and wasn't expecting to drop off the other side. And over the bars I went. That alone no big deal - I've gone over the bars a bunch of times. But this time was different -- I landed chest first on a four inch wide tree stump just off the trail. It knocked the wind out of me pretty bad, and it really hasn't felt right since. I was worried that maybe I broke some ribs or something like that, but now I think I just tore up a lot of soft tissue. I guess I'll just have to wait it out. Hurts like hell though all the way through to my back. I tried to ride off-road a few times later in the week, but they were pretty much a bust -- I just can't pull up on the bars right now when I climb.

But with a weekend as beautiful as this one, I was really hoping I could still find a way to ride. I figured maybe I could get out on the road, since I wouldn't need the same effort to climb that I do on the single speed. It was worth a shot, and I knew just what ride I wanted to do.

For a long while, I've wanted to link a few separate rides I've done into one big loop. I've ridden the Perkiomen Trail from Green Lane to it's terminus near Valley Forge, and I've ridden the Schuylkill Trail from Philly to Phoenixville. I've also ridden from my home in Lansdale to Valley Green to ride. Today, I linked all three with one ride. It was awesome -- about 90 miles in all, with most (practically all) of the climbing in the first 20 miles. I took the Hakk because my road bike has been having wheel issues again. I wasn't concerned with pace and took it really easy in the first few hours to protect my chest. But it was such a fun ride. My exact route was Lansdale to Green Lane through Souderton, including the climb up to Ridge Road and going over the Dietz Mill KOM on the old Univest Grand Prix course. From there, I rode along the Perkiomen Creek to Green Lane and took the Perk Trail to it's intersection with the SRT. Then I took the SRT through Valley Forge, Norristown, and Conshohocken into Manayunk. I then cross Fells Bridge and headed into Center City along West River Drive, since it's closed to traffic on Sunday. After reaching Center City, it was time to head back, so I took Kelly Drive back to Manayunk, where I picked up the Lincoln Drive trail to Forbidden Drive Wissahickon. From there, I took my usual route back to Lansdale through Blue Bell and West Point.

I highly recommend a ride like this to anyone who lives in the region. It can be tricky to put together some of the road sections with all the construction going on in the region, but it's worth the effort. If you do, don't forget to plan your route with a few stores along the way to refresh your bottles!

I won't try to describe it more … I'll just let  a few photos tell the story of a great day of just riding along.

Early in the day, heading toward the first big climb
A farm near Allentown Road

At the base of the Dietz Mill climb

The Perk Creek near Green Lane

Before heading over Spring Mountain on the Perk Trail
(They paved the damn climb - boo!)

A bridge on the Perk Trail

Tiny, broken basketball anyone?

Near the intersection of the SRT

SRT at the Norristown Train Station

SRT near Manayunk

Entering Manayunk

West River Drive on a spring Sunday - a cyclist's dream! 

Center City on the approach

Swann Fountain

Turning around on the boulevard

The Art Museum

Forbidden Drive

A horse farm off Stenton Ave

The private airport near Blue Bell

Almost home!

One last obstacle on Church Road in Lansdale

Finally home … tired, hungry and happy!


  1. Nice job! Love the pictures!

  2. I know the Dietz Mill climb... I ride that occasionally on my lunch rides. There are a lot of solid roads in that area.