“My kingdom for some wider tires…”
The old logging road was rutted and full of rocks—putting the “adventure” in Adventure Fest—and the 33c tires on my cyclocross bike were feeling slightly too narrow for the job.
Also not feeling up for the job were my legs. Fresh from Colorado—where I live and ride at nearly 6,000 feet—I arrogantly expected that Central Pennsylvania’s climbs at barely a third of the elevation would be a breeze. Instead, the steep pitches on the 18 or 38-mile mixed-surface route were kicking my butt.
But this meandering dirt road on the edge of Raystown Lake was leading me along one of the most beautiful and peaceful cycling routes I’d experienced in recent memory.
The first part of the ride followed the lake and was ensconced in a canopy of trees in alternating colors of emerald, gold and red. Autumn was in full swing; the air was crisp, the rest stops were stocked with fresh apples and the joy of taking time to appreciate the season was shared and palpable.
Every steep hill crested offered a sweeping view of the Allegheny Mountains more stunning than the previous one. The low-traffic roads meandered past quaint farmhouses, red barns and groups of miniature donkeys. Despite the challenge of the climbs (and the fact that I was technically working), I was lulled into the peaceful sense of being on vacation. The ripping, twisting descents helped, too.
As the new kid on the block and a non-Pennsylvania resident, Bicycle Times Adventure Fest was as much a delightful surprise and unique experience for me as it was for the 400 participants who attended last weekend for three days of riding and testing bikes from Trek, Bianchi, Yuba and Salsa.
What stood out was simply how happy almost everyone was to be there—just riding with friends old and new—with no other responsibility than to return to the campground in time for live music, free beer and food trucks or, if you’re looking for something different, kayaking, fishing and stand-up paddle boarding.
If you have never purposefully taken a few days to just ride your bicycle and stand by a campfire at night, pencil that into your life’s schedule. Whether you join us next year for Adventure Fest or do it on your own, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
A huge thanks to everyone who came out to ride and volunteer! It was nice to meet “yinz” and I hope to see many of you next year.
Photos by Emily Walley, Justin Steiner, Adam Newman and Katherine Fuller. For an even bigger photo dump from the event, visit the Bicycle Times Facebook page.Tweet Print