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Ramapo State Park Ride

The Van Slyke Castle Water TowerRamapo State Park.

This weekend was my first attempt at trail riding since I broke my leg back in March. My intention was to ride the path around the lake from the top of Skyline down to, and around the lake and then back up to Skyline Drive. I went with a friend who was a bit of a newbie.  I figured he would keep me from trying anything too stupid. But while riding we decided to try some  singletrack. Our first foray off-road was a section of the cannonball near Skyline Drive.

It felt good to be riding single-track again, but my ankle gave me a reminder that I was not fully healed every time my back wheel hit a rock or root.

So we got back on a paved road and pedaled down to and around the lake. About half way around we spotted the trail head to the lower section of the Cannonball. This part of the Trail takes you to the 287 overpass.
About 1/2 way down, we decided to turn around and get back to the fire-road. This part of the trail was a bit much for my first trail ride after 6 months. And worse yet my friends first mountain bike ride ever.
After a loop around the lake, we were back at the cannonball trail head. Not wanting to do the same loop again, we turned around and started up the Green trail which led us out to the pipeline. The pipeline trail is a rolling section of single-track that goes on for miles. It has some steep rocky loose sections which can be difficult to climb. The pipeline intersects with the Green, Blue, Orange and White trails.
We rode the pipeline trail for about a mile, not really sure where we were going (or where we were for that matter). But with a sense of adventure we continued on. We rode the rolling trail (trudging up the climbs and smiling down the descents) Past the Blue trail finally turning back into the woods at the White Trail (Castle Point)
As soon as we got on the trail we had to dismount. The incline was steep and made up of slabs of rock and boulders. The Castle point Trail is not open to bikes and is only open to foot traffic. This was difficult hike-a-bike terrain and with every step my ankle was letting me know that this was not my finest idea, but we continued on.
About a 1/2 mile in, we came upon the Van Slyke Castle ruins. (Built in the early 1900’s it was abandoned in the 1950 and later burned by vandals in 1959) The ruins and the views of the area 350 feet below made the effort well worth it.
The hike from the ruins back to Ramapo Lake was difficult at times we had to hand our bikes down to one another. There were a few ride-able sections, which provided some relief for my ankle and soon we were back at the fire road that encircles the lake.
We rode the Cannonball back up to Skyline this is a challenging trail with plenty of obstacles and switchbacks definitely more fun to ride down.
(If you can ride up this trail clean without dabbing pat yourself on the back)
All in all I would say my 1st mountain bike ride was a success.

Map of the Ride

Pictures From the Ride

Castle Point Trail Ramapo State Park

View from Castle Point Trail Looking at the Wanaque Reservoir

Castle Point Ramapo Lake View

Castle Point Ramapo Lake View

Trail back to Ramapo Lake from the top of Castle Point Trail

Trail back to Ramapo Lake from the top of Castle Point Trail

The Van Slyke Castle Ruins

The Van Slyke Castle Ruins

The Van Slyke Castle Water Tower

The Van Slyke Castle Water Tower

The Pipeline trail

The Pipeline trail


Want to do this ride Start here:
Trailhead GPS Coordinates 41.047479, -74.251313

Driving Directions
Take Interstate Route 287 to Exit 57 (Skyline Drive) and proceed north on Skyline Drive for about one mile to the upper parking area for Ramapo Mountain State Forest on the left side of the road

Miles of New MTB Trails found in New Jersey

View from the TopThere is a New Place to ride in New Jersey with a mix of Twisty Climbs, Sweet Flowing downhills, lots of singletrack. Where is this Mountain Biking Paradise you might ask. Well it is in a spot familiar to most Mountain Bikers in NJ. Ringwood State Park. Due to the efforts of Art and Ellen White, The RVCC, and Jorba along with Landowners the group was able to add a section of singletrack starting right in the middle of the race course switchbacks. Today was my 1st time riding these newly cut trails but I am stoked. The new trails have much in common with some of the best features from other MTB Locales. For example there are alternate routes that run along the singletrack. These Provide some drops and other technical features similar to Blue Mountain. The Single track is twisty and makes good use of the space this was reminiscent of Jungle Habitat. There are some sections with offshoots to other trails reminding me of Kittatiney, and of course there are rock gardens which is a hallmark of the Skyline, Ringwood, Waywayanda trails. I have heard that the intent is to connect these trails with the Cannonball Trail off of Skyline (Which was reworked last year) This would create a trail network that would provide riders with some epic rides of 3-5 hours. We were out for almost 3 hours connecting the new trail with the “Secret” and Sections of the Red and Blue.
Below is a GPS Listing of the Ride and Some video of Stefan Koncz

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Online GPS Content Management Systems – A Head2Head Comparision

I received my Garmin Forerunner 305 as a gift a few years back and used it on most of my rides. I would then post those rides on motionbased to share with my friends, until I reached the dreaded limit of 10 viewable rides that motion based imposes on it’s free subscription customers. I combined some rides and deleted others. I even found a URL hack that motionbased soon fixed.
I had the motion base client on my PC and was familiar and happy with the service so I decided to plunk down the $95 for a year of premium service which included view of unlimited rides and their analyzer tool.
Shortly after that I came across and around the same time read about (previously All-Sport) in Bicycling magazine.

I decided to compare the three services against one another to see if I was getting my monies worth from motion based.
I measured them against a set of metrics including: Cost, Storage, Reporting, Ease of use, product performance and response time (Screen refresh, upload of files and from device)
and Formats supported (Import/Export).

After review of the services I found the motion based product to be an okay choice with a clear GUI, intuitive menu, and a quick but sometimes fickle upload from device. Motionbased uses a client for communication between the device and your computer that you need to install on your PC or Mac. The other two services use the Garmin communicator plug-in to provide support for upload from the device directly from the web application.
With all of these services performance for upload from device is greatly improved if you purge the history from your device (after backing it up of course) I am currently keeping the past 30 days on the device. If you need to you can upload events back to the device from Garmin’s Training Center.
I could not upload from the device to Mapmyride but was able to upload a GPX file. I exported the GPX file from export function.

One of the features I liked best about the (TO) site was the ability to add pictures, movies, and narratives about the ride. This enables you to bring others right into your ride and provides a great way to share your favorite trails. The performance of TO was also the most consistent and learning curve was extremely short thanks to an intuitive interfaces.

The winner of the GPS Head-to-Head Showdown was which was free had good performance, a clean intuitive interface and provided a method of incorporating other media into your GPS map.

Motionbased came in second for providing good analytical data

MapMyRide came in 3rd mainly due to the performance of service which made it frustrating to use MapmyRide provides the ability to print quality maps something that the other sites are lacking.

For Complete Test results goto: GPS Head2Head
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Another Ride at Ringwood on the New Trail

Last week we did another ride on the new trail at Ringwood this time after some rain. The rocks were sweaty and slippery but the Dirt was tacky and hooked up great. This trail is challenging but great fun. (You can read a previous review with GPS here) Here are some pictures from the ride and a few pics of the bridges section.

Foutunately we didn’t see any Snakes but this sign was a bit alarming. If you are out in the woods you are sharing the space with wildlife Snakes and Bears have been seen in Ringwood.

Doug and Ian at the end of the Bridges Trail before a Rocky Acent

Some Pictures from the Bridges Trail. This a fun section with a lot of twisty singletrack. The dirt was great and my tires hooked up great ,There are some rock drops the 1st and 3rd are the biggest the 2nd is not too bad especially if you stay to the right of the rock.

Of course there are some wooded bridges which is how the trail got its name

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Ramapo Rally 2008

The Ramapo Rally hosted by the Bicycle Touring Club of NJ was held this past Sunday.

I have a mixed review of it In fairness I should point out that a friend and I got there a little past 8:00 AM so we missed the last 100 mile group to roll out. The staff at registration was nice and efficient It took about 5 min to register and get out rolling. The route was really enjoyable with mix of mostly rolling terrain, some hillier sections, and some newly paved downhills. We rode with some other riders along the way everyone seemed to be in pretty good spirits and enjoying themselves. The rest stops were 25 miles apart which worked out fine for yesterday but I would be concerned if the day was hotter or more humid 25 miles might be a stretch. The stops were well stocked and the people running them were accommodating and friendly. The main issue that I had with the ride was the discrepancy between the painted arrows and the cue sheets. For the most part the cue sheets were correct but there were a few times were we had to stop and ask for directions and pull out my friends i-phone to check Google maps. As far as ride support goes I do not have a personal experience (Fortunately no mechanicals) but I did run into another rider who had an issue with his tire and as a result had 3 flats. After running through two of his own tubes he called for support. The response he got was that he was too far out and would need to get to the next rest stop. He was able to get a ride from someone (not with the ride) when he got to the rest stop they did not have a tube so fortunately the guy who picked him up drove him to the bike shop and then back to the rest stop. I took my time about 8 hours for the 105 miles when we got back to the stop most things were coming down. I was able to get a sandwich and a soda but it was pretty slim pickins (Guess if we went out with main group we would have been back in time for a better experience)

I would do the ride again but show up earlier. If I am feeling more fit next year and a little faster 6hr 100 mile. I may even shoot for the 125 option
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Hartshorne Woods – Middletown NJ

Hartshorne Woods – Middletown NJ

Pretty big group today about 9 riders we had a few stops for pictures but after Thanksgiving celebrations I needed a few stops.

Hartshorne is a great place to ride with some really fun down hill sections, rollers, banked turns, and lots of things to jump. There are a few steep climbs but none are too long. You can really rip at this place. There were quite a bit of leaves on the ground which made some sections a little sketchy but if you threw out a leg you could get a great 2 wheel drift (YeeHaw)

GPS Link: Hartshorne Woods

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Annual WayWayanda – Thanksgiving Day Ride

Annual WayWayanda – Thanksgiving Day Ride
What a great day for a ride last weekend we had snow today the temps got up to 60.
The warmer temps made for a great turnout I would say about 40+ riders. As Usual the rides split into different skill levels so that everyone has fun. Found a new trail today as I have on previous rides (one of the things I like so much about this ride) It was a rocky ridgeline that was made a little more difficult by the rain that we had overnight.
Our route started out on the race course going backwards (riding past the dam) then going up a climb (on the GPS you will see that we went up a bit then turned around there was a little confusion over which route we were going to take) There was plenty of climbs and rocky sections, some technical crossings made up of rock bridges and logs. Some really fun descents and a few Oh S#@* ones that got my adrenaline up. Overall a great ride.
Cant remember everyone that I rode with today on the last part of the ride but you guys are alright in my book hope we can get together again.
Thats all for now the tryptophan is starting to kick in.
GPS Link:
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Mahlon Dickerson

Location: Mahlon Dickerson
Date: 11/18/2007
We got a bit of a Surprise today – The first Snow Ride of the season. A good turnout with 8 riders The ride was made up some really technical sections around Saffon Pond with Rock Gardens, Bridges, and limited lines. There Is a Long singletrack Climb a little way past the pond that has some big rock sections and some small log jumps. There are some decent downhill sections with a few surprises.
Post Ride:Afterwards we grabbed lunch at the Thirsty Moose Thanks to everbody who showed to celebrate my Birthday

Directions: From Interstate 80
Exit for Route 15 -NORTH. Proceed on Route 15 NORTH 5 Miles to Weldon Road Exit – Take Weldon Road and travel approximately 4 miles – EAST – the Reservation is on both sides of the road.
From Interstate 287
Take exit for Interstate 80 WEST, follow until you reach exit for Route 15 NORTH – proceed as instructed above.


GPS Link:

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H2H #8 Tymor Woods 9/30/2007

The Course was comprised of sections of singletrack that was twisty and rolling, Steep long Climbs, Steep Decents, and some grassy field crossings.
This gave equal play to riders of all differents strengths.

The race was well organized with riders going off close to their start times Bikeway who hosted the race had an expo area setup and provided prizes 10 deep.
There was a DJ and food available making this a great place for spectators as well

Pictures and Video from the race

GPS Link

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High Mountain (Wayne NJ) – Blue Trail

High Mountain – Blue Trail
This is a good somewhat unknown Local trail in Passic County right off of Valley Road the trail head is accessable off of Valley Road By Turning Right onto Point View Pkwy off Valley Road North then Make the 1st right on Chicopee Drive Follow to End Blue Trail Blaze is on the right.
The Trail is Comprised of rocky sections with some good climbs and technical rock Gardens there is also some Smooth Flowing Double and Singletrack. The main issue with this trail is that it is not ridden enough so at times you can loose the trail but there are an abundant amount of Blazes to keep you on track. This is a great Local trail and should be checked out.

I will Post another High Mountain trail Later and then join the 2 of together making this a place where you can get a quick Lunch Ride or a few hours out on the trail.

Post Ride: Preakness Mall – Startbucks, Gourmet deli, Trader Joes, Preakness Diner
GPS Link to Blue Trail
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