Posts Tagged With: Mountain Biking Ohiopyle PA

Erin Graber, Wilderness Voyageurs new bike tour manager

Bill Hall, our beloved bike tour manager, moved away to the mountains of Idaho this summer. We’ll miss him, but we’ve got a bright new face filling in–Erin Graber.

Erin Graber

While working on her business administration degree at Shepherd University, Erin Graber spent her weekends guiding rafts on the Shenandoah River. After college, she moved to Morgantown, WV to sell outdoor gear at Pathfinder. She got her sweat on at Power Yoga Morgantown every week and made friends with the owners, a pair of boaters from Ohiopyle.  Through them, Graber hooked up with Wilderness Voyageurs in Ohiopyle and trained to guide on the Youghiogheny.

“I just love the whitewater industry and the people associated with it,” she says with a characteristic, sweet smile. “And the staff is like family. We take care of business and have as much fun as we can while doing it.”

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But Graber has another passion—cycling.

“My dad’s an avid cyclist,” Graber explains, “So I’ve been biking as long as I can remember.” While she was growing up, Graber mountain biked at Cooper’s Rock State Park.  She started road riding when she moved to Morgantown. “Then I had access to all the cool bikes at Pathfinder,” she grins.

After spending a couple months rafting, she heard that Wilderness Voyageurs was hiring a new bike tour manager. So she applied. After a whirlwind interview session, Graber snagged the job. She moved out of her place in Morgantown and set up a tent in Ohiopyle. (Until she found another apartment, of course.)

Since she started working, Graber’s been able to sample a few of Wilderness Voyageurs’  cycling tours. She’s pedaled the six-day Great Allegheny Passage tour,  the GAP and C&O Canal Highlight Tour,  the Civil War Bike Tour, and the Katy Trail Tour in Missouri.  And there are more in her future.

“I love going on bike tours,” she says. “The bed and breakfast’s we stay in are awesome, and the food’s great. It sure beats living out of a tent.” She laughs.

As the new manager, Graber hopes to use her passion for outdoor travel to add some fresh new flavor to the bike tour scene. She’s working on adding some new tours to Wilderness Voyageurs’ repertoire, including one in Washington State and another in Colorado.

“Right now I’m working on an all-female bike tour that would be a mix of road and mountain biking,” she says. “I’d also love to include some yoga classes and cooking instruction. It would be fun to add in some different activities to the bike tours that would appeal to lady cyclists like me.”

The job’s got a lot of perks, especially her new company vehicle: a tricked-out Kona Rove. Plus she scored a Cannondale shop shirt (unfortunately it wasn’t the design with the humping bunnies on the collar).

Interested in “Living the Dream” and working as a bike tour guide or working in Ohiopyle. contact us at
Wilderness Voyageurs Outfitters Inc
103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470
800-272-4141
http://www.wilderness-voyageurs.com

Categories: Biking Vacations, Ohiopyle, Wilderness Voyageurs | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Mountain unicycling in Ohiopyle- Something completely different

Since I tweaked my shoulder last month, it’s hurt to go uphill on my mountain bike. I figured that I needed to take some time off riding to let the shoulder fix itself, but I couldn’t just sit around. And I can’t stand walking or running. So my only reasonable option was to hit the trails on a unicycle.

Mountain unicycling trails in Ohiopyle

Wobbling and waving down the trail.

The trails around Ohiopyle are tight, twisty, and covered in rocks and roots. And this time of year, they have a slimy coating of leaves. They’re tricky to ride on a mountain bike. Take away a wheel, a set of handle bars, and the ability to coast, and they’re trickier. By a lot.

Riding a unicycle feels weird. To go forward, I have to lean until feel like I’m going to fall on my face, then catch myself by pedaling forward, which rotates the unicycle backwards. So riding in a straight line is a constant back and forth between falling and pushing myself back up with the pedals.

Add in some hills, off-camber paths, and bumps, and staying upright becomes a weird flailing dance. Lean back on a descent, resist the wheel, push the saddle forward into the climbs, wave right arm into a left turn, shake the left into a right, grab the saddle hop up a rock, and twist around and around.

It’s exhausting.

I can happily do a 50 mile day on my mountain bike, but after six or seven miles of unicycling I’m ready stumble off into the mountain laurel and pass out (and I almost never do that when I’m sober.)

Unicycling down a trail

My photographer was able to take surprisingly artistic shots while running behind the speeding unicycle.

Despite being really hard, unicycling is fun. I’m started to get the hang of riding technical stuff, and I’ve done my seven-mile commute to work on the thing. Although it takes three times as long as it does on a bike, it’s still slightly faster than running. And unlike running or riding a bike, when I’m on the unicycle people always smile, wave, laugh, and yell encouraging things. Which makes sense, because I look ridiculous:

Categories: Biking Vacations, Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Bike Tour, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Bikepacking out of Ohiopyle

The Quebec Run Wild Area is a really cool system of trails to the south of Ohiopyle. I’ve been looking at some maps for a while, and figuring out a way to ride from town to the wild area on single track and double track the whole way.

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So last Saturday I loaded up my pack and started the climb out of the valley.

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The trail that goes into Quebec is a ten-mile piece of single track called the White Tail Trail. My plan was to ride a gravel road out of Ohiopyle, take a trail through some state gameland, hit the White Tail Trail into Quebec, watch a cyclocross race that was going on near Quebec, then camp and ride back into work the next morning.

The climb out of Ohiopyle was pretty brutal with a loaded pack. Since I was on my single speed, I couldn’t stay in the saddle. And since I had 35 pounds of camping gear on my back, it wasn’t easy to pedal out of the saddle either.

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But I made it to the top and into the gamelands. A few miles in, I saw about 40 trucks parked in the woods. At that point, I realized that it was the first day of bear season, and I was wearing a woolly black shirt. The rest of the ride through the hunting zone was less than relaxing.

When I got to the entrance of the White Tail Trail off of Skyline Drive, I saw more hunters. Since I had no desire to be mistaken for an emaciated bear and shot, I decided to ride the road the rest of the way to the cross race. But at least now I know that the trail to Quebec does exist. It even has fresh blazes. I’ll just have ride it when there’s less firepower in the woods.

Buzzing along Skyline Drive wasn’t so bad:

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A couple hours later, I made it to the cross race. I hung out for a while and heckled some racers. Especially my friend Rob, whose bicycle choice was a little suspect:

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photo by Fred Jordan

Then I started the long climb back up the ridge. I made it to my camping spot above Uniontown just before dark, and got a little fire going.

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I knew it wasn’t going to rain, so I didn’t bring a tent. I sat next to the fire and looked out at all the bright lights a few miles below. Ate two pots of Ramen, burned up all my firewood, and drank the contents of the flask I brought along. I was hoping that I would be drunk enough to sleep all night without noticing the cold (see simulated summer.)

ImageThat worked for about two hours. Then I woke up. It was 25 degrees, and the wind was ripping across the overlook I was sleeping on. I wrapped my ground cover around myself, hoping that it would keep some heat in.

It didn’t. But it did keep some moisture in, and soaked my sleeping bag.

I drifted in and out of shivering sleep for the next few hours, then at 4:30 I decided to get up and start riding back to town. The sun was starting to rise when I got back to Skyline Drive, and it was a bright clear morning. Image

Pretty, but bright clear mornings are also cold mornings. I thought my fingers were going to freeze and snap off as I descended the mountain back to Ohiopyle. When I got back to town, I spent a long time thawing myself out in front of a little oil heater before I opened the store.

Overall, it was a pretty good mini-bikepacking trip, even though hunting season kept me from riding all the trails I planned on. I ended up riding 45 miles the first day, and 15 the next morning. Not a bad little adventure from the front door. Next post I’ll talk about the gear I used, and what I wished I would have used.

posted by Montana

Categories: Biking Vacations, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Setting up a mountain bike for the winter

Some people, like Amanda here, set their bikes up for winter by covering them with junk in the corner of the garage. But she also bundles up with a puffy sweater and ski hat before she steps inside to use the computer.

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So the following winter riding tips are for those of us that are hardy enough to type in nothing more than a Zoic Tradesman Riding Flannel ($85, all sizes in stock):

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with elastic cuffs to cut keyboard drafts:

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I’ve had some of my best mountain bike rides in the winter. Knobs dig into the frozen crust through corners, and the trails in Ohiopyle can be as fast as they are in late July. Riding through the last six winters, I’ve picked up a few things to keep myself rolling in relative comfort.

So here are the top-secret secrets.

1. Whiskey in the bottle

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An ounce or two of liquor will keep a bottle from freezing in cold weather. Five or six ounces will make it feel like summer again (activate simulated summer at your own risk.)

2. Catching the crud

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The Crud Catcher ($15) is the best mountain fender I’ve used, and I’ve used many. It attaches to the downtube with a few rubber o-rings, so it’s easy to pull on and off. Never bounces around or gets in the way, and keeps freezing spray out of the face and off the water bottle. Perfect.

I also shelve my suspension fork for the snowy months, and put on rigid one. The suspension fork doesn’t work super well and cold weather, so it isn’t worth it to get the delicate fork seals covered in frozen mud.

3. The light

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The days in winter are too short to risk going out without a light. Priceton Tech’s Push ($49) puts out 100 lumens with three AAA batteries. That’s plenty of light to get home on the road, and enough to carefully negotiate single track. The thumbscrew handle bar mount is secure and easy to remove.

Those are the only changes I make to my bike for the winter season. If you ride gears, it is a good time to try single speeding, but that’s a topic for another post. Otherwise, the mountain bike you ride all summer will work like a peach.

Next post, I’ll share my thoughts on winter riding clothes.

posted by Montana

Categories: Bike repair, Mountain Biking, Ohiopyle, Outdoor Gear | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Mountain Biking in Ohiopyle

Mountain Biking in Ohiopyle, PA

Riding Up Sugar Run...see the all Trillium & the creek? It's beautiful right now!

Mountain biking in Ohiopyle can be a blast! Some areas around us may have more miles of single trek, but there are still plenty of fun trails to ride. One of the local favorites and most beautiful is Sugar Run. Right now it’s ideal. With spring Trillium blooming and good water in both Jonathan Run and Sugar Run, this trail is spectacular. The ride starts from Ohiopyle with 15 minutes or so down the bike trail, before turning on to Jonathan Run Trail. There is a fun little climb immediately off the bike trail, bringing you to the creek. Cross Jonathan Run (or stop for a picnic since it’s a spectacular spot) and in just a few feet, Sugar Run Trail comes in on the right. The fun single trek climb has begun!  This trail ultimately leads to the take out parking lot, but it makes for a great out and back ride. There is a good climb along Sugar Run (the creek…not the trail. It gets a little confusing). Once you get to the road – turn around and enjoy a great  downhill. You’ve earned it!

Riding Sugar Run Trail

Crossing a creek on Sugar Run Trail

Wilderness Voyageurs rents mountain bikes and has a repair shop. If you have a bike that needs a little attention, bring it in! One of our skilled mechanics will fine tune it for you.

Categories: Biking Vacations | Tags: | Leave a comment

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