Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Ride on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

This past weekend, Helen, Nina, and I went up to New Paltz, New York, to attend the wedding of our dear friends Jon and Amity. I also took the opportunity to take a ride on the Walkill Valley Rail Trail. The folks at Bicycle Depot pointed me several steps from their door, which is the junction of town and trail.

I got up early the next day and was at the door of the Main Street Bistro at the opening time of 7AM on weekends. They made me a wonderful omlette on eggs, sausage, broccoli, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese which was served it the skillet. Nothing like a great breakfast on a brisk morning to start a rail trail ride!

The Walkill Rail Trail runs from the hamlet og Gardiner north through New Paltz, and at least up to the town of Rosendale. The Southern section is mostly gravel and a bit rough, but the Northern portion is mostly smooth dirt with some gravel and is much more scenic and hospitible terrain. My Jamis cyclocross bike was shod with its usual Ritchey Speedmax 700x32c tires, inflated ti 55psi front and 60psi rear. This inflation/tire combination was perfect for the conditions encountered.

I met several walkers/runners/cyclists along the trail, but it was mostly wide open with no sense of crowding. It was peak apple season in the Hudson Valley region, and lots of orchards were encountered along the way. I was VERY tempted to do some unauthorized picking, but my sense of honesty prevailed. By the way, apples have a low glycemic index of 38, and are an excellent snack anytime.

In the southern part of the trail,there were some open scenic spaces, although the route is mostly wooded. There are no hills to speak of, and the trail is basically flat and easy to ride. One must be cognizant of the deer population, and awareness is important, but paranoia is not.

All in all, my 33 mile ride was an excellent morning jaunt. The trail, bike and myself were in synchronization. Although this ride is not difficult or overly long, it is extremely pleasurable and scenic. As the days bcome colder and mud season is upon us, more trail riding will replace speed on the road. I enjoy the physical transformations that the seasons dictate, and am ready to take on the challenges and pleasures of the colder parts of the year.

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