This is a blog for a group of outdoor-oriented NYC-area residents to post thoughts and pictures on the latest weekend mountain bike outings. As a group, we've discovered that we're lucky not only live in or near an amazing city, but also to have access to an amazing variety of natural scenery. Biking happens to be the way our group accesses our natural surroundings. Hope this inspires the reader to 'get out there'! - Carl Kulo (blog creator)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mianus State Park before the snowstorm

Carl, Gerald and I were able to get in a couple of hours cycling Mianus State Park before the big snowstorm. Temperatures ranged all the way from 26 F to 29! The ground was frozen and a few patches of ice were about. Conditions were great. Not as well maintained as Huber and Hartshorn, rocks and roots offered challenges but no real dangers emerged under the blanket of fallen leaves.

Easy access from Stamford Metro North granted Gerald and me a warm-up as we met Carl in the parking lot of the Merribrook Lane access.

Dog walkers and runners far out-numbered cyclists.

This venue is a fine option for city dwellers who rely on public transit.

What a great resource this is.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Huber/Hartshorne Woods

Friday, the temperatures in NYC did not rise above freezing and the winds did blow. Saturday, the winds calmed and the thermometer slowly climbed thru the mid 30s up to the low 40s. The sky was blue and Carl, Gerald, Scott and I drove down to the Atlantic Highlands of New Jersey's coast to ride the trails of Huber and Hartshorne Woods Parks. Except for a few spots of surface mud, the ground stayed frozen. The trails were well-maintained and thoughtfully laid out. I had one of my best days on a mountain bike. Unlike the trails we ride in the Hudson Highlands, there were no unexpected hazards to fear under the carpet of fallen leaves.

Come warmer weather, we will return via train and leave on the high-speed ferry. Public transportation is the way to go. But cold winter logistics require wiggle room to allow waiting for mass transit. Cars permit personal schedules and places to stow extra gear but driving in traffic is less than ideal.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Manitou/ Chimney Rock Trail/ Stillwater Trail/ Cold Spring

Carl got hung up at work, Scott had worked late the evening before, John didn't have his mtn bike so he accompanied Gerald and I on connecting roads as we cycled some hardpack and Chimney Rock and Stillwater Trails in sunny, dry air with temperatures in the low 50s.

I made a navigational error and took the first left off the Chimney Rock Trail going north onto the Moneyhole Mtn Trail to nowhere. Gerald and I forded the stream that feeds Catfish Pond and, after contacting John, decided it was best to back out and take the Chimney Rock down to South Highland to the east of where we entered. We all ascended Dennytown, then John called it a day and Gerald and I went east on Sunken Mine Road to pick up the Stillwater Pond Trail at Wiccopee Road. Trails had a cover of fallen leaves, making steep downhill pitches dicey.

We finished at Cold Spring Depot with a couple of pints of Doghead IPA after a fast descent on 301.

What a pleasure to be back off road in the Highlands on a mtn bike. Looking forward to cycling these and other trails with the group.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blue Mtn: 06/14/09

What a great weekend - two mtn bike adventures in row. Just finished the Blue Mtn "Fat Tire" Festival in Peekskill, NY. Talk about slick rock!! Joined a colleague, Seth Reichlin, and explored some great new trails, including the Depew (can't wait to go back) and El Capitan trails (wow! - I'll wait to clean this one when it's dry). The rocks and trails were saturated, which made for lots of slipouts. Seth made it through some real tough courses. Did a lot of the other trails (like SIS) in reverse from what I'm used to. You would never think there was a big mtn bike festival in the park, as there seemed to be no one on those trails that we rode. Festival itself was cool: lots of demo bikes, et,. but just the cameraderie around loads of people enjoying this unique activity.

couple more pics from Saturday...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Great June day in the Hudson Highlands. Hank Schiffman, Scott Blau and I rode a robust 32 miles, with 3540' gain, 4:15 riding time. Probably 8+ mph average. From Manitou rail stop, we rode up South Mtn Pass to old Redoubt Road (double and singletrack through forest and open fields). Then an ascent to the White Rock outlook (above left) with views south to Greymoor, Hook Mtn, Hudson River. We then had a long and descent through the Osborne Loop trail network, with a great view of West Point along the way (the banner above). After a brief stop, we climbed up to hills of Fahnestock SP and rode the Chimney Hill and Stillwater trails.

Long Gap Between Posts

What outdoor rides have I been up to? Since the warm weather started in March through early June, riding has been generally every other weekend and usually on the road.

Here are some of my longer road rides during this period:

3/22/2009: NYC to Rockland County/South Mtn, Calls Hollow/Gate Hill/7 Lakes Drive/Rte 17/US 202 in Oakland/Return to City via Co 512. (90 miles)

3/28/2009: NYC-brewster via US 9/Rte 100/US 202 (55 miles)

4/5/2009: NYC-Danbury-Westport (90 miles)

4/11/2009 NYC to Bear Mtn (via Bradley/Tweed/Hook Mtn/South Mtn/Calls Hollow/Gate Hill/7 Lakes/Perkins/Peekskill (75 miles)

4/25/2009 NYC to Beacon via Harriman/Storm King/Newburgh (85 miles)

5/2/2009: Westport to Poughkeepsie via Easton/Botsford/Sandy Hook/Roxbury/New Preston/Cornwall/Sharon/Amenia/Shunpike Rd/Salt Pt Tpk (109 miles)

5/3/2009 a rainy 5boro bike tour (45 miles)

5/16/2009 Westport/Poughkeepsie Same route as 5/2/09

5/23/2009: Catskill Mtn climbs: Phoenecia, Slide Mt Pass, Blue Hill, Denham Mtn/Red Hill (74 miles)

5/24/2009 Mountain Bike: Stillwell Woods (Long Island) with NYC-Mtn Bike Group (see pics here:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A road ride and mtn bike ride

The first warm day of riding.......

Once again, our rides diverged. Hank and Scott opted for a mtn bike ride; their pictures are above. I went with a road ride. Given recent snowmelt, I was fearful of very muddy dirt roads and trails, and damaging both trails and bike in the process. Plus a road ride on the first warm day of the year was enticing.
Four riding buddies invited me to go with them (Seb, Neil, Shari, Terri) but I (rightly it turns out from Seb's comment to me on Facebook) thought they would hammer and I'd be unable to hold on.

I did a one-way 78-mile road ride to Cold Spring via 9W, Tweed/Bradley ridgeline, Hook Mtn, South Mtn, the nearly 1'000 vertical Gate Hill climb and the highlight of the day: Bear Mtn summit via Perkins. This is a special time for riding up Perkins, given that it's closed to auto and motorcycle traffic till April 1. Just a few hikers up there, and I had the spectacular view to myself.
One interesting note on the train back - the conductor/announcer had a rhyme for every station stop like "there's no comparison to bein' in Garrison', 'ring-a-ding-ding, it's Ossining', and 'don't go bonkers, it's only Yonkers'.

Scott and Hank made me feel jealous, though, since their ride was great as well. Here's Hank's comment:
One fine ride: Manitou, S Mtn Pass trail to Garrison /w stop at White Rock, Snake Hill Rd, Philpse Brook Rd, S Highland Rd, Chimney Rock Trail /w stop at Chimney Rock, Dennytown Rd, 301 to Stillwater Pond via Lower & Upper Pasture Loop, 301 to Cold Spring.
Maybe I'll do a mtn bike ride tomorrow, depending on what I hear about the trails.....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Graham Hills Mtn. Bike.

I needed to pay a visit to family in CT, but decided to leave early and take my mtn bike. I rode the trails of Graham Hills near Pleasantville, NY for a couple of hours. Actually the trails were fantastic - generally snow, ice, and mud-free. The trails were hard and fast.

But on one descent while turning at a switchback, I hit a small ice patch and the bike skidded under me and I went down. Just a minor elbow scrape. It was not worth bringing studs, though. No camera, so no pics.

Hank and John's Adventure -2/28/09

Pictures above are from Hank and John's exploration of the Schagticoke and Skiff Mountain areas near Kent, CT. A lot more ice than expected.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just a road ride.

Like many today, took advantage of the 'calm-before-the-storm'. John and Hank took off on the 7:46 train to Pawling for another hard-pack adventure in Dutchess/Litchefield County. Too early for me and needed to be back by 3 to meet up with relatives who came into the city for the day.

Thought about a mtn bike ride at Blue Mtn, but some on the WMBA forum noted the trails could be muddy. So I opted for a road ride. Did an 80 mile loop via Saddle River, Spook Rock, South Mtn, Nyack and back - biggest mileage of the year so far. That gives me 382 miles for February and 642 year-to-date. I'll post pics of Hank/John's ride if they took any.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cross-Putnam Off-Road Ride 2/21/09

It was a good route on a beautiful day, but the offroad sections and lots of Sunken Mine road required studs. There was lots of ice around. The downhill section on Nimham had a modicum of mud, but it was just the surface getting a little warm.

From Southeast MNRR Station, Hank, John, and Scott took combination of hardpack and county roads to Nichols Street to enter Ninham Mtn State Forest to ride single-tracks. Climbed the towerRichardsville, Dicktown, Sunk Mine, Indian Brook, to Cold Spring.

36 miles
4200' climbing
Probably 5 hours of cycling

Monday, February 16, 2009

A few "Pre-Blog" Trips...

Plans to bike the trails of Blue Mtn were dashed by a stomach virus that hit hard last night. Would have been a perfect day to ride the hard frozen trails. Started to feel better by 11am, so headed out for a 50 mile ride to Nyack and back.

I thought I'd round up a few photos and commentary from some outings earlier this winter.....

Ninham & Fahnestock Mtn Bike Ride: 12/6/08

(Original Post by Hank)
Croton Falls, Ninham Mtn, Richardsville Rd, Dicktown Rd, Stillwater Trail, Niese's, Sunken Mine Rd, Chimney Rock Trail, Indian Brook Rd, Cold Spring.

We planned a one-way largely off-road or hard-pack route from the Croton Falls Station on the Harlem Line to Cold Spring on the Hudson Line. After riding pleasant hard pack roads along reservoirs, Carl and I rode some of the single tracks on the east side of Gipsy Trail Road at Ninham State Forest. The we cycled the steep road to the top of Ninham Mtn then walked the stairs to the top of the tower. The panorama stretches from the Hudson Highlands to the east, the Catskills to the northwest, the Taconics/Berkshires, to the northeast, and south to Manhattan.

Unfortunately, the panorama shots were a bust. We took a well designed mtn bike downhill trail from the top to an abandoned rocky road which dropped us onto Rt 301 south of Peekskill Hollow Rd then up Richardsville Rd and Dicktown Rd to cross the Taconic and then the Stillwater Trail south:

After going to Sunken Mine Rd via paved roads we took the Stillwater Trail and ended in Cold Spring via Indian Brook Rd/ 9D. 39 miles & 4000'. Not too cold and not windy. This is a good route but should have taken the earlier train so we could take Carl's trail to the summit of Chimney Rock, a left off the trail, with its beautiful view.

Depression Pond, Dutchess Cty, NY: (1/24/09)

In one of the more "out there" treks one can do from NYC, John, Hank, and Scott headed out on Metro-North to ride hard-pack back roads in eastern Dutchess County, NY and adjacent Litchfield County, CT. Their route from DogTail Corners on old woods roads tooks them to remote Depression Pond and an old log cabin. Here are some pictures:

Meanwhile, I had missed the train for this trek, so instead did 4 laps in Central Park. Talk about contrasting experiences!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's day Off-road ride to Bear Mt Bridge

Hank Schiffman, Scott Blau and I met at the GWB for a less-than-typical ride to the Bear Mtn Bridge. Our objective was to ride as many off-road routes as possible from NYC to Bear Mtn. We started the ride on River Road through Palidades Park. We had heard that there was a slide, so this was a chance to check it out. (photos above). The slide was substantial and was challenging to cross. The rest of River Road involved steering clear of boulders. The feeling of remoteness so close to Manhattan was palpable.

Just past the Police Station, we crossed the Palisades Parkway to the remnants of the old US 9W route along the cliff top (pictured above, right, at State Line Lookout, with videoclip below). Hank led us through Lamont-Doherty campus down to the quaint and surprisingly isolated community of Sneden's Landing at the River's edge.

Next up were the muddy trails of Tallman Mtn S.P and then the Nyack trail above Piermont. We stopped at the Runcible in Nyack and met up with dozens of road riders.
After this break, was the best part of the ride - the Nyack-Haverstraw Trail - a great combination of top-notch scenery (the cliffs of Hook Mtn on the left, the Hudson on the right) and a fun, rolling unpaved trail.

After this trail, we rode the "Bike 9" route through Haverstraw and Stony Point, and rode our last stretch of off-road near Dunderberg Mtn. (the only stretch where studs would have been worthwhile). We briefly debated whether to climb Bear Mtn via the "off-road" route up, but the 2:12 train in Peekskill beckoned us instead.

Old Croton Aqueduct Ride: 2/7/09

Posting by Scott Blau:

Carl and I met at the friendly confines of the 242nd St. Burger King. We rode up through Van Cortland Park on the South County Trail to Yonkers Ave. There was enough snow and ice to make us feel wise for investing in otherwise expensive and dangerous looking tires with spikes in them. We slipped (figuratively) from there over to Prescott St. and picked up the Old Croton Aqueduct. The conditions were varied, but generally fast, as there was a trail made from walkers and, in some places, skiers. The day got warmer, but slowly, which was good, as the snow conditions all the way up to the dam were excellent. The trail was still bumpy from the frozen ice from a week and a half ago, but the ice was mostly covered with the new snow. It took us 3 hours from 242nd to the dam, with no stops of consequence.

From the dam we rode on the south side of the reservoir as far as the intake station to the east of the Taconic, where Arkady goes up. Arkady was impassable, so we crossed and got on 129. The entire reservoir was frozen over with a covering of snow like Depression Pond, only much bigger. I think there were some ice fishermen out on it. I definitely saw tracks of someone skating on x-country skis on the reservoir.

At the South County Trail, Carl headed off to Brewster and I headed south to Tarrytown. I was not able to stay on the trail the whole way as there were chunks, like around 117 that had not been travelled on much. Nearly 5 hours to Tarrytown, plus another hour later back from Tarrytown. By then, the snow and ice were really melting and it was slushy, but still with enough grab to keep moving.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Greenbelt/Stillwell Woods Mtn Bike Ride: 2/1/09

Too much snow pack on mtn bike trails north of the city, so John, Hank and I headed east to Long Island for some "ice-biking".
We started in snow-less Massapequa near Long Islands south shore. We worked our way northward on the increasingly icy Nassau Greenbelt Trail. At Bethpage State Park, the trail changes from paved to unpaved, as we rode along pure ice. The big fear was having to stop, since there was no traction.

From Hank:
Epic conditions! Firm snow with lots of frozen standing water; read bullet proof ice. The snow deepened as we traveled north, gaining altitude as well. These photos don't show how snowy Stillwell was. The trickiest thing was rutted glaze ice. I fell over a few times when I turned too abruptly on smooth ice.

Video clip of Carl descending a trail at Stillwell Woods: