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, 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: