The cyclocross bike, is my go to bike, through out the year. My treads wear down a bit fast, rolling so many miles on the road. The more dirt I can put into the ride the better. I'm a dot in the greater Philadelphia area of 6 million or so people. Still I find new places and trails. Along rivers, railways, under highways.
When I'm a passenger in the car, driving somewhere here or there around these bits, I have that dog eyed stare, and drool. I see little places, off the road, full of trees, land lock by development and infrastructure. My nose runs. I log it away into a niche in my brain, along with all the other places of ideas to explore.
Sometimes these spurs, they make sense, and much like mountain biking a flow. The loop needs to have not too much road, and not too much meandering cul-de-sac trails. Nor too much bushwhacking, a problem of being out on the cross bike in the summer on the seldom used quiet trails. Overgrowth. Stinging nettle.
My scientific method consists of, a good breakfast, large coffee, hovering the landscape on my computer, flying over the land courtesies of Google maps.
Sunday morning is a good time to get out, less chance of someone being upset that you've road into their trespassing zones. The work site tend to be idle. If by chance there is human contact, I look like I belong, in a real I don't belong way. "why is that dude out here on a bike, in that gear" thoughts must go through their heads. I try to make eye contact, or a quiet respectful slinking away. "oops, I'm sorry, this isn't the way to 7-ll shortcut", or "just headed down to the river".
A real useful tool in this linking spurs together is Strava, I can study where I was, its hard riding a dirt path in dense brush, no way to know that a road or connector is just, lurking close.
I've found this is better ride to do solo, no one to ask if we "keep going" when you hit down trees, briars, or urban blight zone. I'm not allergic to poison ivy. I do get a bit scared, nervous at times. These foot paths, trails, close to it all, but so isolated can sometimes be used by the un-savory, mentally unstable, homeless, punks, delinquents. also... If I have my camera with me, then there are some long stops for picture taking.
Its an interesting feeling to have, to feel that I'm an responsible for myself, getting lost, hurt, in an area that is remote and seldom used.
I feeling pretty positive that with a couple of more rides that a link, flow of road and trail can be made from Conshohocken to Valley Forge. Then the task of finding a line off of the SRTrail back into Phila., maybe up in the power lines to make it back to Manayunk. My goal, a 100 mile loop. My loop stands now at 70, with too much road/bike path.
a bit of info on how I rolled. I ride a Cannondale caad9 cyclocross bike, RevolutionWheelworks wheels, the treads today were Clement's Lax clinchers, (time for some new treads) I carried my Canon t3i camera, with a 50mm, 10-24mm, 28mm tilt/shift, 50mm tilt/shift, holga pinhole, and holga-C lens. I used a Lowepro slingshot 102allweather bag. Garmin 500 gps/cyclocomputer. Google maps, and Strava. One water bottle, one cliff bar. aprx. 50 miles of pedaling. $40 cash. Phone,....a couple of tubes, patch kit, pump, mini multi tool.