To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. -
Chinese Proverb

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Riding to a Quiet Place

Purcell Park, Harrisonburg

Riding to a quiet place is a practice that offers much benefit. Currently I have a list of 12 places within Rockingham County where I often go to read, reflect and write, where I practice the ancient exercise of hupomnemata.* Leaving home, riding a bit and resting at some quiet place, I am able to recollect scattered logoi via the coupling of reading, writing and the placid space of a park or vista where I am all alone. With a lack of distractions disparate logos form choices and the art of living via composing, births thoughts that become part of the body for further integration, consolation and reactivation. 

* For a fuller text on this practice, see Michel Foucault, "Self Writing" translated from Corps écit no 5 (Feb. 1983): 3-23.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Recovering on The Washington & Old Dominion Trail

After three months of physical therapy and healing form sacroiliac joint dysfunction and a new exercise routine, I have overcome an injury and have returned to riding,  slowly hitting the road and trails. This week while in Leesburg, Virginia, I rode the Washington and Old DominionTrail (W&OD) to Herndon, VA (Fairfax County), a 15.5 mile stretch of the asphalt-paved rail trail that runs from Purcellville (west) through densely populated urban and suburban communities as well rural areas to Shirlington (Arlington County) [total length 44.7 mi (71.9 km)]. The W&OD is one of the skinniest parks in the commonwealth of Virginia, and also one of the longest.

While riding I saw numerous cyclist on everything from inexpensive mountain bikes to various commuters and even some carbon-fiber road as well as runner, walkers and parents taking their children on a walk.  I even met an individual cyclist who was touring from DC to San Francisco. An added bonus to the trail is a parallel horse trail that runs along much of the trail, which provided me some time to ride some gravel.

I was grateful for the ease of the paved trail and only slight elevation climbs on what for me was my first day ride in recovery.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Year of Adventure and Solitude

“ . . . I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”   Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard


A life of wandering is what I like. To journey on a bike, unhurried, in the back country and ridges that provide a range of vision, where there are no cars, and to have the opportunity to be quiet and see beauty in the landscapes and inscapes —that suits me well!

A private spot where I frequently ride--a ridge facing west Rockingham County

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Stokesville Virginia, a Symbol of Flux in America Today

One gets a sense of a once small community when you ride through Stokesville VA with its old railroad depot and tracks. In fact it was flourishing wilderness town in the early 20th century comprised of coal mining and saw mills. The town inhabited over 1,500 residents and workers with their own post office, a school, two hotels and an engine house.

Various environmental and economic forces brought an end to Stokesville’s economic enterprise: decreased forest resources, emerging coal industry elsewhere, a pathogenic fungus (Chestnut Blight), the introduction of the automobile, the abandonment of the railroad (1930) and a devastating flood in 1949, all have left it a ghost town.

While Stokesville is a small reminder of the forces that plague our society today, it has remained on the map as an emerging mountain biking, bikepacking destination. Stokesville is evidence of a kind of flux happening in America today—people taking the remains of detrimental, human, industrial impact and creating healthy alternatives that place human kind in a closer relationship with the earth and her/his body. Not only are there  nearby trails, Stokesville is a gateway to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Camping at Stokesville Campground

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Regenerative, Sustainable Landscaping

Part of my weekly riding includes passing and often pausing at the beautiful East Campus Hillside of James Madison University. 

Summer 2018

Once a typical, manicured lawn which slopped toward a degraded stream channel, is now a transformed landscape managed as an ecosystem.  This 1.6 acres is an example of how one can use native plants in landscaping projects, plant streamside buffers with native grasses, trees and shrubs while experiencing the benefits of naturalization.

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Spring 2019 after intentional mowing

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Welcoming Path to an Improved Future

Facing north at Purcell Park

Bluestone Trail has become a welcoming path for daily commuting and brief rides through Harrisonburg. Bluestone Trail is a one mile shared-use path that connects James Madison University at Port Republic Road [north], passes through Purcell Park while crossing Blacks Run twice, and ending [south] at Stone Spring Road (SR 280) that links Harrisonburg’s SR 42 and US 33 and US 11 outside of the city core (complete with bike lanes).

Facing South at 1 of 2 bridges that cross Blacks Run

Bluestone Trail is also a part of Blacks Run Greenway Master Plan which was initiated in 2002 in the City's Comprehensive Plan and is being implemented through projects prioritized in the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, e.g. Bluestone Trail and Northend Greenway.  
SR 280 Between US 11 and SR 42

Rounding Wise Hill, Vectoring Bridgewater Airport

Wise Hill (at center)
Bridgewater Airport

I rounded Wise Hill [38°19'55.5"N 78°58'40.6"W – Elev. 1750] in Augusta County off of Rt. 11 via Rt. 690 to 698 which connects to Airport Road leading to Bridgewater.  This ride provides some moderate hills and good straights for a well-balance ride.  Bridgewater Air Park is a treat for me as my earliest days of riding were from my home town of Hamilton, Ohio to the local airport on weekends and throughout the summer.