Thursday, June 6, 2013

Short Ride on a Fast Machine: Cumberland Valley Rail Trail

My last outdoor activity for Memorial Day weekend was a bike ride on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail. I considered riding the loop created using the bike path and Route 233 in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, but I recalled I'd never ridden the CVRT to the end. Also, I'd never been to Shippensburg, and as a small college town drivers must be used to seeing people on bikes. That settled it, and once I was done with my hike at Tumbling Run I turned the car north to the Newville trailhead.

The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail runs a fine gravel course of ten miles from Newville into the historic district in Shippensburg. The trail passes through farm country, and has some beautiful views of South Mountain. Along the way it passes some parallel low traffic roads and a couple of parks, both of which are benefits for a person riding the trail - I enjoy adding some road riding to my trail rides to give a different perspective to the ground I'd just covered. One oddity about the CVRT is that its the only rail trail I can think of that doesn't follow or is near a body of water. But despite the absence of lake or stream views, I enjoyed the trail when I rode it in 2009, and I looked forward to riding it again.

I arrived at the Newville trailhead, which consists of bathrooms housed in the restored train station, changed,  put air in the tires, and set out. Aside from a downed tree across the trail which required me to dismount and duck under it, progress was smooth and fast. My bike, Notung, rode well. Soon we were out of the tunnel of trees and brush and facing South Mountain across a stretch of farmland.

And riding a few feet from where I took these photos I heard a gunshot report. I dismounted and saw that the rear tube had blown up. Of course I left my spares and pump back at the car. So I had little choice but walk the two and a half miles back, rolling my now disabled bike.

While I was annoyed I'd blown the tube, and that my ride ended, I tried to remain cheerful. Walking is exercise too. It was a beautiful trail. It wasn't raining. And I'd had knee replacement to allow me to do such things - I'd have had to beg a ride if this had happened in 2011. I ended Memorial Day with seven miles of hiking and walking, and two and a half of riding.  Not bad stats at all.

I'll be returning to the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail sometime soon. But I'll bring spare tubes next time.



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A Taste For The Woods: Short Ride on a Fast Machine: Cumberland Valley Rail Trail

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Short Ride on a Fast Machine: Cumberland Valley Rail Trail