OK, if you’re in the Baltimore area and are looking for a nice bike ride, this is it. BWI Loop loops around BWI airport (duh) and has spurs to other trails and even the BWI Terminal!! Here you have tiny hills, but it is all on traffic free paths, and might I add everyone I met on the trails are 100% super nice. Just fantastic people around here… So this loop is around 11 miles or so and does link to the B&A (Baltimore Annapolis) Rail Trail, which is about 15 miles one-way and flat. Although there are many signs on BWI Loop, it is a little tricky to link up to the B&A. Keep your eyes peeled for the signs and planes overhead. B&A Rail Trail is again all traffic-free, wooded in most areas, and paved quite nicely. Here you’ll find cars stopping at intersections where path crosses streets. Really, they stop way before you reach the intersection. Amazingly, some intersections at certain times have crossing guards. So they’ll see you coming, stop traffic and wave you right through!! Great for tired legs! You’ll also see cardinals, bamboo forests, park benches, rest areas, convenience stores, cafes, etc.. You’re away from it all, but can access it all in a minute. Brilliant.
Once in a while I ride a road route or a mountain bike trail that is just truly beautiful. One that stands out above the rest – significantly. Today I was at Patapsco Valley State Park in Maryland near Baltimore and let me tell you – these trails are perfect. The trail network is easy to follow and are marked very well. Best marked trails I’ve been on. Different colored blazes and even road-sign quality trail name signs. woah, really?!? Trail maintenance is excellent – the trails are great, no ruts, no signs of excessive wear and tear. Oh, yes the forest is maintained wonderfully!!! Trail features hard-pack, roots, off-cambers, hills, steeps, banks, covered and in fields. great place. Print the map off the website – they don’t sell maps and the one they can give for free won’t help unless you need tp.
Susquehanna State Park in Maryland is a very nice park indeed! It runs along the Susquehanna river and has a very natural setting. Filled with hills, fields, and varying terrain, I’m sure most mtbers would be satisfied for a long time here. Oh and tons of wildlife also. I saw deer birds of prey and many insects. Word of caution – don’t go for (my guess weeks) after rain. These soils do not drain easily. It must be clay or something. Hey you can camp here too .
Beautiful trail and plenty of gnarly rocky cliffs. My initial reaction was “way too short!” but I started off in the wrong direction! This is a smaller area, but since there is not a ton of publicized mtb trails in the locale, mtbers have made a serious network of zigzagging and crisscrossing paths that make this place big on fun. Great for practicing technical riding: roots, rocks, logs, ramps, off-cambers and other balance testing features will keep you on your toes. Since there are very few flats, and many gullies this place is loaded with false-positives. That is, areas that are nearly impossible to discern whether they are going uphill or downhill.
Lots of fun.
I did this on a bike prepared for a non mtber. That is fat saddle and platform pedals. Holy smokes that was fun. Haven’t ridden platforms off road in maybe 15 years? You think climbing was tough? No way! It was remarkably easy! You see in clip less you’re locked in one foot position, with platforms I was able to shift my weight even more forward by putting the heel of my foot above the pedal axle. May have looked unconventional, but I swear I was able to motor up the steeps!
Road, gravel & single track in the city, country and woods.
If you have a folding bicycle with a maximum of 20″ wheels, then you probably can take it with you when you travel! It is the best way to see a city in my opinion. You get activity, quick travel, easy parking and it’s hella fun! When bike rentals tend to be crappy and/or expensive, it may be worth it for you, depending on how much you travel and how much you value another bicycle. This post assumes you have a folding bike already. I do have a take-apart travel bicycle planned, but it won’t be built anytime soon.
So you want to pack your bike in a luggage. Find a cheapo hard shell 29″ or 30″ luggage. IMPORTANT TO GET BIGGIE LUGGAGE MON! I found several available for well under $100 at Home Goods (discount overstock type bricks and mortar retail store). The teal beauty pictured below was $60!
Ok first step:
Remove the wheel skewers and put them along with the derailleur bolt in a safe spot, like an on board sachet. Leave easy access to the sachet and be sure to put your multitool in there when you’re done because TSA hates bike tools in carry-on luggage!!!!!! They questioned me twice at great length about it when I brought it in my bag. It’s a definite red flag item.
Now fold the pedals, fold the bike (so that a fork blade gets between the rear stays), get the top steerer to fit somewhere and slide the seat post wherever it fits. Using padding will help to protect the frame. I found some memory foam in my shop, but hotel towels would work too.
Add some protection around that nasty cassette. That thing is super hardened and will tear through anything (‘cept a dura-ace chain). So be careful. Key in your wheels so they fit nice. Did you remove the air from the tires? It’ll help with the fit. (nice perk on a Speed P8: the seat post is a pump!)
Now strap it down and zipper up! I like putting an extra locking strap around the case upon completion.