Note:  This post is an excerpt from a forthcoming novel by Dave Bone.

“Toward The Unknown”

Chapter 1:   Crash

Sitting on the curb in a daze, Lemmy noticed something shimmering on the other side of Willow Street and realized it was his dollar store sunglasses, or at least one of the lenses that used to be press fit into the black plastic frame.  Leaning against the curb off to the side was the helmet that had been hanging from the rear rack.  “Shit,” he thought, “the one time I don’t wear the damn thing…”

He raised the back of his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow and the knuckles came down streaked red with blood.  He could also feel a drip from his bottom lip, but neither added up to much, so Lemmy wasn’t alarmed, but the driver of the SUV had a worried look in his eyes.  Lemmy chuckled to himself and wondered if maybe the guy had no insurance.  Nah, it was a late model Subaru, and he was dressed pretty well.  He leaned his head back and tried to remember whether the whole thing had been his fault, anyway, or if the driver had done something wrong.

Continue reading ““Toward the Unknown” – Chapter 1: Crash”

Great Trails within 90 Miles of the City

I’m just going to go ahead and say it:  the Philadelphia metro area has the best cycling trails in the United States.  Within an hour’s drive, there are hundreds of miles of safe, car-free paved and gravel trails with beautiful scenery and interesting towns to explore.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey were industrial powerhouses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when coal was king and manufacturing flourished, facilitating the development of riverside canals and train lines.  Now those tow paths and rail beds have been converted to recreational trails, and modern cyclists are the lucky beneficiaries.


Continue reading “Day Rides Around Philadelphia”

Jim Thorpe trail connection completed

Mansion House BridgeThe D&L Trail is one of the gems of the Pennsylvania cycling network.  It follows the route that anthracite traveled during the heyday of coal mining.  Currently the D&L runs 140 miles, from Bristol in the south to Mountaintop in the north.

Until this summer, there was a virtually impassable point at Jim Thorpe where the trail jumps from the east to the west side of the Lehigh River.  There was no bridge and the only possible road route to bypass the gap was along the steep, busy, narrow-shouldered US-209.

In mid-August, a multi-year, multi-million dollar project was completed and the Mansion House Bridge was finally opened to the connect the trail across the river.


Continue reading “Mansion House Bridge Opens”

Trauma On The Trail

Gosling CroppedAlong the trails where I ride around Philadelphia, there is a surprising amount of wildlife.  One evening last week, I saw groundhogs, big snapping turtles, and a racoon.  Then, nearing home on the canal trail in the neighborhood of Manayunk, I turned a corner to find a doe with a pair of fawns.  It feels good to know they’re there, doing OK, right on the outskirts of this big metropolis.

Spring, though, brings a whole new level of human-animal interaction.  Geese arrive in droves and stay near the water to begin raising their young.  There are ducks as well, but the geese really take control of the place.    They have few, if any, predators, especially in the parks along the trail.  There is some interest in reducing their numbers, but it seems unlikely, especially considering the legal protections afforded to the migratory members of the species.

Continue reading “The Gosling Incident”


eBay MirrorI rode for decades without a mirror and survived without any major incidents, but last year I started thinking about how it might be safer to have one.  It would allow me to be more aware of cyclists passing on crowded trails and cars passing on crowded roads. 

I considered the various styles, including helmet-mount, eyeglass mount, and lens mount but decided that handlebar mount made the most sense for me. 

When I started researching, there were a lot of options available, but they could be fairly pricey and you never know if they’ll really work for you until you take them on a ride.  I hate spending $20-30 on things, only to realize they don’t do what I want, finally tossing them in the box of parts in my closet, never to be used again. 

Continue reading “Review – $2 eBay Mirror”

Off-Road exploration of the Laurentides


Trail and Signs“P’tit Train du Nord” means “little train of the north” in English.  When it was constructed around 1900, this rail line was key to the development of industry and tourism in the Laurentian Mountains (“Laurentides” in French).  The trains stopped running and the rail bed was abandoned in the 1980’s, but now it’s been converted to an off-road trail that transports cyclists from the outskirts of Montreal about 200km (124 miles) northwest to Mont-Laurier.

The trail runs along a collection of rivers and lakes that keep the grades moderate and the scenery pleasant.  More than half of the trail is paved, including the entire northern half and about 8 miles around Mont-Tremblant.  The southern section is gravel.

This is one of the most popular trails in Quebec, with gentle (but steady) climbs and lots of nice towns along the way. 

It is also designated as part of Le Route Vert 2 and Le Grand Sentier.

Official Sites: P’tit Train du Nord,

Difficulty:  Easy-to-Moderate

Ride Type:  One-Way or Out-and-Back

Surface:  Paved and Gravel


Continue reading “P’tit Train du Nord Rail Trail”

Triangular Tour of Southern Quebec

Trail and SignsQuebec has a great collection of cycling routes, ranging from rail trails to well-marked roads and urban bike lanes.  A few years ago, I read about a loop ride from Montreal up into the Laurentian Mountains, down to Ottawa, and back to Montreal. This summer, I finally mapped it out, packed my gear, and hit the road for a solo adventure.  It was a great 8-day, 360-mile ride.

It’s easiest to think of this tour as a triangle:

  • The first leg heads out of the suburbs northwest of Montreal along the P’tit Train du Nord rail trail and ends in Mt. Laurier.
  • The second leg follows roads west out of Mt. Laurier to Maniwaki, where it connects with the Veloroute du Draveurs heading south to Lows.  From there roads and/or trails lead the way into Ottawa.
  • The final leg follows the Ottawa River back to the outskirts of Montreal.

There are lots of options:  camping or hotels/BnB’s, trails or roads, short days or long rides.  You can customize your agenda to suit your goals.  Hopefully my descriptions will help you plan an enjoyable ride.

Feel free to jump ahead to a specific segment:

Continue reading “Montreal-Laurentians-Ottawa Loop”

Lessons from the Saddle

Pedaling for hours and days and miles give you a chance to contemplate the details of life.  Sometimes they’re important.  Sometimes they’re not.

Enjoying the Tour:

You Are a Curiosity

Someone pedaling a bike loaded with panniers full of travel gear gets people’s attention and piques their interest.  Don’t be shy.  Take advantage.  They want to hear your stories, tell you theirs, and offer advice.  Pedal up and say hello.  It will make the ride a lot more interesting.

Water-Proof Matters

Wet gear is useless.  Get waterproof bags and test them before the tour, just to make sure…even if the forecast is for sunny skies.  Rain happens.

Continue reading “Words of Wisdom”

Preparing for a Self-Supported Adventure

Touring Rig Getting ready for an extended tour can be both exciting and stressful.  You’re about to embark on a big, challenging adventure and don’t want to load your bike down with too much weight, but you also don’t want to be left stranded on the side of the road or suffer at a camp site because you forgot to pack something important. 

I just finished an 8-day, 400-mile trek around Quebec and took the opportunity to document my current touring gear collection, which has been refined over a decade of trips.

Continue reading “Bike Touring Gear”

Gravel, Dunes, and Boardwalks

Beach PathThe Delaware shore has a cluster of popular beach towns that are great for cycling.  Moderate traffic, flat terrain, interesting scenery, and a few nice trails make it well worth loading your bike on the car for some exploration.

I recently spent a long afternoon pedaling through three towns, past suburban developments, marshlands, forests, dunes, boardwalks, tourist-filled beaches, and the captivating Cape Henlopen State Park.

Official Sites:    Delaware Greenways,  Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware Seashore State Park

Difficulty:  Easy

Ride Type:  Lollipop (out-and-back, with a loop)

Surface:  Paved and Gravel