Julia Phillips, of North Carolina, has been visiting for a week. She brought her bike along, and after outfitting her with a couple of necessary items, she was ready to receive her initiation bandanna, and join me for her first pack ride.
We didn't take any trails that gave us even a tiny bit of technical challenge, but at least the scenery was new for both of us. It was educationally interesting because of where the trails are located, which is the backside of New Harmony, Indiana, along some gravelled paths. The paths are wide enough for side-by-side riding in most areas, and they make nearly straight shots through the woods before breaking out and going in two directions along the Wabash River bank.
This part of the village extension is new to me because it was put in after I moved away from the area several years ago.
The most exciting part of the whole ride was the massive snake I nearly ran over. It was at least 16 inches long, and as big around as my finger. I'd provide a picture for you, but I was too busy trying to get out of its way, and clear the area. However, I did manage to get some great shots of Julia to share with you.
I don't know the brand of her little bike, but I can promise you, her new helmet is "growable" and it's a Schwinn.
There's ample parking space, it's well shaded and it's an excellent place to rest a while and cool off before loading up your bikes. Also, if you have little ones along, Murphy Park has some very cool, large-scale playground equipment for them to enjoy. Just in case they still need to burn off some excess energy before you head home.
The weather was wonderful for riding. Not too warm, not too cool, and the clear skies made for easy photography.
Julia's on the Indiana side of the Wabash River. Behind her, a white sandbar extends into the blue water from the Illinois side of the Wabash. The Wabash had fairly calm waters while were there, but the current was swift, and we saw lots of big wood-debris floating downstream towards Mt. Vernon, Indiana.
This area doesn't have trails that I would recommend for serious riders. They'd be great for a stroll though, or as part of a village tour, on foot, or on touring bikes. If you're touring New Harmony on skinny-tires, I'd suggest parking your bike before getting on these trails. They may not have technical challenge, but they definitely have enough teeth to give you a couple of quick flats.
I mentioned to Nee that the woods here may be small, but they've got plenty of room for building some fun, fast-track runs. At least two good-sized sets would fit, and possibly three. But, she said that during warmer months, the adjacent clearings are popular spots for people to do group yoga sessions, and they'd probably not appreciate mountain bikers whizzing through the woods while they're doing their workouts. By the way, the rumors about mountain bikers being noisy and rowdy aren't true. At least for the most part. The only thing you hear from us as we zip along a trail is the clicking of our gear-changes.
For serious off road cycling, not far from the village of New Harmony is the New Harmony State Park, which has magnificent trails. No kidding. They really are magnificent, and that's an understatement.
But, for a shorter, relaxing ride with some popping scenery, the village trails are cute. (Wink!) And, they're a good place to take a young rider for a skill evaluation.
The bridge marks the end of the trail. By this time, she was refusing to climb any more hills. Her saddle is set too low, but she wanted to keep it that way. By the time she got here, she was feeling the fatigue from too little leg-stretch on the down-stroke. New riders. (Sigh ... ) They gotta learn the hard way. (Wink!)
She's considering starting a new branch of our pack in North Carolina, and titling it after the state's natives' nickname, calling it, the Tarheel Pack. She says the first person she'll attempt to recruit is her dad, Tim Phillips. Later today, she and I will be doing some research to find some great trails in her area for them to get acquainted with and break themselves in on. I told her if she wins her dad over as a recruit, she'll have to find a bandanna to present to him, to make him official. (Wink!)
Anyone in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area that's got a suggestion as to where they can find some beginner to intermediate single-tracks to ride on, your input will be appreciated. You can leave a comment, or drop me an email and I'll be sure Julie gets it. Never know, Julia might invite you to ride with the Tarheel pack as well.
With her first pack ride being an impressive success, The Trinity Pack and the Wabash Pack welcomes Julia Phillips as it's newest pack mate!
Thanks for the read gang! God bless you, ride safe, and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
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