“Wow I can’t believe you’re taking that bike on these trails”. Alec’s shock was reasonable, as I was taking my road bike with no suspension, half inch tires, and a saddle that was far too upright, on Carlisle’s mountain bike trails. I too was very surprised that my bike hadn’t broken yet.
Past Dickinson Park there is a labyrinth of switchbacks and side paths that until lat year I had no clue existed. The terrain varies from well maintained gravel paths, bumpy dirt through cornfields, rocky desert-like plateaus, and winding grass trails through a forest.
Part of the fun of these trails is discovering new directions, and exploring the many different areas. That’s why I didn’t include a map my ride link, but rather my google map. Just look for the spot that says Entrance to Mountain Bike Trails, and start exploring.
There is one section of the trail, that is incredible technical, and requires you to lean to left or else risk falling down a steep cliff onto massive boulders. Naturally any clear headed person would not attempt this on a road bike where your feet are clipped into the pedals. When I bike however, I don’t think very clearly. I like challenges, and any consequences, like a broken bike of leg, is pushed to the back of my mind. Luckily I maneuvered down the hill and so did my friends Alec and Sam.
In retrospect it may have been better if one of the many sharp rocks popped my tire right there, but my bike somehow powered on. About four miles into the trail the three of us were biking single file when Sam yelled out “Max! Stop stop!”. It was too late though as I heard a crunch and my wheels stopped spinning. A stick so thin I could’ve snapped it with two fingers had gotten lodged in my spokes and snapped my rear derailer right off the frame.
This wasn’t the first time I had done this, and thankfully I was with other people when it happened. Alec began biking back to grab his car leaving Sam and I to search for a road and a place to get out of the cold. Did I mention we also chose one of the coldest days to go biking? The wind chill was around twenty degrees and I was not wearing the right clothes.
We eventually found a half vacant shipping facility and huddled in a little alcove waiting for Alec. This was an interesting opportunity to look into what makes Carlisle one of the major shipping cities in the country. The building was absolutely massive, and while the half we were near was empty the other half was filled with pallets and boxes. This was just one of many giant buildings in the area. If you ever are on top of north mountain at night the brightest and biggest thing you see is not Carlisle center, but these buildings…It’s kind of depressing.
Eventually Alec arrived in his car and we could escape the cold. As we put the bike on the car Sam remarked “It’s always an adventure with you guys”. It sure is, but I think I’m done with biking for a while.