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Hudson Valley Rail Trail Riders – March 20 meetup report


“blessed are those with triple gearing … for they shall have more time to enjoy God’s creation”
K.E.N. 2010

  I had,during the week,went for my first ride on the Walkway for a short shopping sojurn in Highland. I had discovered that the Hudson Valley rail trail was being extended eastward to meet with the WOTH.The “phase 2” construction of this rail trail had begun.I wanted more info and did a search for the website. (oddly I had not gotten the website URL for this rail trail before – I have the URL’s for the websites of the other RT’s in the area) I had seen a link on their site for the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Riders. I followed the link and was taken to their home page of website has a number of groups throught the country that meet in the “meat space” real world to do various activities. A most unusual concept in today’s virtual cyber world.The HVRTR group is a Dutchess county based cycling group dedicated primarily to riding the area trailways.I had seen that the group would be having a “meetup” on Saturday,the first day of Spring,for a ride on the phase II (northern) section of the Dutchess Rail Trail and the Walkway Over The Hudson state park. The start location would be the Overocker Rd. parking lot of the DRT. The start time would be 2:15 PM.I signed up as a member of the group,uploaded a picture of myself with my Giant Rincon bicycle at the Wappinger’s Greenway Trail,and RSVP’d for the “meetup” 

  I arrived at the start location via bike a bit more than 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.As I was waiting I had seen a familiar bicycle in the parking lot. It was that 1960’s Sears “Free Spirit” “Sting Ray”-type bike of that fellow I had met last year on the Walkway.This is his childhood bicycle his parents,now deceased,had kept all these many years.While I was talking to him,a female voice interupted and asked if this is the “meetup”. I replied “yes … but our leader Dave is not here” (Dave?… Dave’s not here man) The mature woman who had spoke was wearing an older helmet, of a name brand I did not recognize,that harkened back to the early years of my cycling “career” The days of “woolen shorts (and real Chamois) and Iron men” I did not see them arrive,but a pair of female cyclists appeared.This was Laurie and her “+ one” friend. At first glance from their Velogear “boutique” cycling attire,matching Giro ladies helmets,and cleated shoes they were a pair of “turbo divas”,but they were riding decidedly non “turbo” bicycles.They were “D ride divas”. I had realized latter that this group is a “D ride” group. (my clue that this is a social – “D” class type ride should have been the third part of today’s meetup – a restaurant – the Bonefish Grill)
It has been a long time since I had been on a club ride,and even longer since I had been on a “D ride”. The D ride classification of most clubs is typicaly a short,flat ride for novices (or in today’s cyber lingo “newbies”) or a family oriented ride.These rides are more social and a lot slower than the higher classification rides like the B or A which are the rides for the”turbo jocks” (or “turbo divas”) “+ one” had a Giant “hybrid” bicycle with 700c wheels and ATB style bars.Laurie had an old Trek “ladies” bike with a top tube that sloped down halfway to the bottom bracket.This reminded me of the French Peugot “mixte” frame bicycles.As a matter of fact,this Trek had Simplex deraileurs, with old pre-index friction shifters, as would be on the aforementioned Peugot. The bicycle also had triple gearing and many,many miles of grunge and grime.This led me to wonder  if the owner had done any touring.I asked Laurie if she had done any multi-day trips or tours. She had told me no.I then broke one of the ten comandments of cycling – “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s gearing” – when I openly admired the small chainring and large cog on the freewheel her bicycle had.Laurie had admited she did not use the inner chainring and had indicated she did not know how to shift into that chainring “Has she been riding all these years using only the middle chainring on the hills?” I had wondered. I pictured her strugling up a grade with that relatively big middle chainring when she could be in that wonderfuly small inner chainring spinning her way up the grade. Ahhh yes … teach a person how to shift, and they will not suffer (well.. at least the suffering will be greatly reduced)

It was almost 2:30 when our group organizer-leader,Dave,arrived .It had seemed Dave had forgotten to take into acount the beautiful sunshine 70 degree first day of spring (and the mid afternoon start) and that the small Overrocker Rd. parking lot would fill quickly. He had to park in an auxilary parking lot down the hill. Dave was wearing a floral print shirt and cargo pants and looked like he was riding to a nature  walk/bird watchers group meet,not a cycling group.Dave was riding a pristine new Kona hybrid/trail bicycle equiped with semi-knobby 700c tires. I took note of these tires.These tires would be and excelent choice if one were to do an extended ride on an un paved trail such as the 150 mile long Great Allegheny Passage trail in PA and the adjoining C&O towpath trail in MD and Washington DC (335 miles total for the 2 trails) We saddled up and began our northward ride.The group got split crossing Overocker Rd.After crossing,I easily caught up to Dave. I had just started to ride alongside him when he said something like “I have to go back” It had seemed someone in the group may have had a problem. I continued
to the next intersection,No. Grand Ave.This would provide me with some time for a “photo op” to take pictures of the group riding the DRT,and to fortify myself with some mini chocolate chip cookies I had in my front bag. After some time I saw a flash of yellow emerged from behind a roller bladder. Laurie had taken the lead. It had seemed Marcy had a flat and replaced the tube.This may have ocured after the pre-ride pumping-of-the-tires “ritual” With half of the group re-grouped,we continued to the northern terminus,Morgan Lake.With the lack of thick vegitation this first day of spring, one is able to see a lot more than during the summer when the vegitation is lot thicker. And there it was,clearly seen from the rail trail,the WW I monument in St. Peter’s Cemetery.This section to Morgan lake from No. Grand Ave. is shorter than the previous section from Overocker Rd. And so,all of a sudden there was the Creek Rd. overpass at the end of what will be someday?? the 12 mile Dutchess Rail Trail. (4.2 miles total open as of 2010)
We had had arrived at Morgan Lake.We would take an extended break to re-group.”+ one” offered me a healthy Apple slice.I declined her offer,I had chocolate chip cookies. As the undeveloped ROW between here and the Walkway is not a RT yet (and most likely will be many many years before it is – if ever), we would have to exit the car free,billiard table smooth RT to ride city of Poughkeepsie roads and streets to the east entrance of the WOTH state park on Parker Ave. Dave took us on the “riders in ‘tha hood” Smith Street route as oposed to the “colegiate” route past Dutchess Community College. I said a silent prayer to the “holy muthaphukah” to guide us safely – YO! Smith St. goes through an industrial section of the city. On this day the road was rife with spring potholes,broken glass and other debris,and of course the traffic. Dave unexpectedly turned right off Smith St. onto a side street past an old Army base. I had turned my head to look back to see if the other riders were behind us and saw us make the turn.There was a small grade and all of a sudden  I was on this grade and could not shift into my small chainring. I had done,what I will now refer to as,a “Laurie”. At some point before this, someone had noticed the Sky-Mounti inclinometer on my bicycle. Laurie then expected me to let her know what percent the grades were. In a fasion similar to the ‘bosuns of the old sailing ships calling out depth soundings,I called out the percent of the grades … THREE PERCENT! FIVE PERCENT! SEVEN PERCENT!

We arrived safely at the WOTH state park.The Walkway has had 450,000 visitors so far,since opening,before this weekend. After this weekend I am sure the Walkway will have had a half million visitors,and counting (and counting). I made my way through the mass of humanity. As I was stoped to take a picture,someone with a 3 wheeled B.O.B. stroller,his wife and children,asked me if I had a pump and if he could borrow it to pump up the tires on the sroller. I extracted the mini pump I had, from the front bag on my bicycle,and handed it to him. I told him I did’nt know that B.O.B. made strollers.They of course make those trailers for bicycles.With half his family in the stroller,he pumped up the tires.He returned the pump to me and thankedme for it’s use. I continued to the west end.I put my bicycle in a bike rack that I am sure was not there last year. I apparently had ridden past Dave without seeing him. I told him I would be riding a bit past the west end to take some pictures of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail extension construction progress, or lack thereof. (see below seperate blog entry) I said goodby,and presumeably,Dave and some others would back to the cars and do the third and final part of today’s meetup – the Bonefish Grill

SKY-MOUNTI inclinometer and other stuff

B.O.B. trailers and strollers

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