Here it is the 11th of November, 2014, and along comes Guest Bloggist Edition #3. Riding the Trail
One of my favorite activities, for enjoyment and exercise, is riding my bicycle. I am more of a recreational rider as oppose to serious riding. I do not go for long rides, on the road, as some people may. When riding, I wear comfortable shorts, my shoes of choice (New Balance), and a bright-colored shirt of some type. That gives the drivers that I encounter an easier target. I have on a bike helmet, bike gloves, sunglasses, and a generous helping of sun block. Water is a must, so it comes along. My bike has 21 speeds, of which I use about six of them. It is a hybrid, rather a cross between off-road and road bikes.
When I ride around my neighborhood, it is usually for an hour. I take a few laps around the neighborhood circle (just under two-mile per lap) and then finish the hour riding around the various paths. My neighborhood connects with two others to form a ?village.? Each of the three neighborhoods has its own path system, so I will ride around all three to complete my hour.
But my favorite location to pedal is the Indian Head Rail Trail. An old federal government railroad line was given to the county and, lo and behold, it became a hiker/biker trail! I don?t agree with a lot of things this county government does, but this trail is absolutely wonderful! The county done good!!!!
The trail is 13 mile long, running from the town from whence came its name, to White Plains. The trail, asphalt all the way, eight feet wide, crosses seven county and state roads, and four town roads in Indian Head. It is basically level, but there are some grades one must bike. At least it is not uphill in both directions!
The trail passes through some swampy areas, some woods, some countryside, some housing, and passes by a private shooting range. I have seen boy deer, girl deer, baby deer, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, hawks, turtles, snakes, and even a Bald Eagle or two. I have also seen other bikers, joggers, walkers, men, women, boys, girls, and children. I try to always say hello to them when I pass. Most people reply back, but some don?t. I usually see the county employees that maintain the trail. They do a great job!! I will say something to them, given the chance, because of the job they do. (I hope that other people do also.)
When the weather breaks, in April or May, I start my summer-riding-on-the-trail program. I try to ride twice a week, usually Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday. No way could I ride every day! I like to start early, to avoid the heat of the day. So I start my ride between 7:30 and 8:00 am. Two and a half hours later, I am done. My first rides of the season are tough, but I get use to it. Good workout, it is. I avoid the trail like the plague on weekends and holidays, due to the human congestion. I usually finish my summer-riding-on-the-trail program in September.
I live closer to the White Plains end, so I load my bike up on the bike rack, mounted on my truck, and off I go. Five minutes later, I park in a small lot at the 11 mile marker. I unload my bike, put two partially frozen water bottles in the frozen water bottle holders on the bike, place my fanny pack on my lower back (containing ID, keys, snack, wireless cellular communication device, and other stuff). My helmet is placed upon my head, along with sunglasses (if not sunny, I would wear some clear safety glasses), gloves on my hands, lock the truck and off I go!
I first head toward the trail?s end at the thirteen mile marker. On the way there, I pass a farm, some houses, and two swampy areas. On occasion, I may see some wildlife. They don?t hang around if spooked! There is a very large parking lot at the trail?s end, as well as restrooms, water fountains, benches, and an old train caboose, sitting on a short length of railroad tracks. This is also the most congested area (humans, that is) of the entire trail. I make a u-turn and head for Indian Head, 13 mile away.
I usually make pretty good time (the grades are mostly downhill) and the human traffic is sparse. Sometime you may see some wildlife or not. But the ride is enjoyable. I make it to the Trail Head in about an hour and 15-20 minutes. The last ½ mile is the steepest of the entire trail. But I manage to do it without stopping. At the end, I take a break, usually in the nearby tree-shaded parking lot of the Indian Head United Methodist Church. I have a snack from my fanny pack, and finish the water from the first partially frozen water bottle. After a few minutes of standing or walking around, eating and drinking, I get ready to head back.
I have only eleven miles riding back, so it only takes about an hour. I get to see the other side of the sites I saw riding to Indian Head. It usually looks the same. Around the two-mile marker, there is a great view of Mattawoman Creek. If the tide is in, the creek is wide, covering the lily pads. If no high tide, the creek is still big enough for boaters to sail or to fish. Sometimes, a fisherman is along the bank, which was re-enforced for the railroad track. Along the trail, the county has placed benches, which have been donated by various groups and usually dedicated to someone.
My ride gets kind of tough from Mile Markers 8 to 11. The grade, although slight, is basically uphill! And there are two long straight stretches, which seem to take forever to ride. (Not really, but it seems that way.) So, after 26 mile, I finish my ride. I stop at my truck, dismount, get the water bottle, and walk around a couple of minutes. I will load my bike, open my truck, and store the gear I had used, and head home. For some reason that escapes me, and even though the drive back is the same distance, it takes a little longer to drive home. But I know that waiting for me back in my refrigerator, is a Mountain Dew!
Next Week … Something Interesting or something current …