Building up the miles

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I had a bit of a break from cycling earlier this year, so I’m still in the process of ramping back up to my pre-break mileage. Today’s ride was exciting, since it’s my first ride over 30 miles since sometime late last fall. The ride goes north from Brattleboro, and will take me through the towns of Dummerston, Newfane and Brookline. You can see the full route on RidewithGPS. It’s sort of an out and back route, with several little loops embedded as part of the ride. It’s got over 2300 feet of elevation gain, so there’s some pretty good climbs and a couple of fairly exhilarating descents.

After exiting my neighborhood, the ride heads north on Upper Dummerston Rd. I like Upper Dummerston, which is good since I have to ride it every day. Despite the fact that there’s not much shoulder in most places, it’s a popular place for runners and walkers as well as cyclists. The speed limit is 35, and thankfully most of the local traffic keeps to that.

Upper Dummerston Road

From there, the ride heads north on State Rt 30, running along the West River. Here’s a shot of the river taken from one of the bridges. We’re currently in a drought condition, so the water level is pretty low.

West River

Continuing north, the route heads past the Dummerston Covered bridge. You’ve seen this in an earlier post, so here’s a slightly different view of it, peaking through the trees.

Dummerston Covered Bridge

Continuing on north, the ride starts to head uphill, and I pass the now closed Maple Valley Ski Area, which is one of the many small family ski areas that have been driven out of business in Vermont. Maple Valley was open from 1963 to 1999. Competition from the bigger slopes, now mostly owned by big corporations, is often sited as the reason for the closures. Many of these ski areas had no snow making equipment, so the lack of consistency in our winter weather in recent years is another factor. Yet another affect of climate change.

Maple Valley was recently purchased by a new owner, and there are plans to reopen as a ski area, brewery and summer recreation area. Not much has happened as yet though, and I suspect COVID-19 could make it all the more difficult.

Maple Valley

Continuing on, the next stop is Newfane. In a previous post, I had shown you some of the oldest buildings in Newfane. Here are two of the newest.

The Fat Crow. This replaced a restaurant that burned down a few years ago. It’s a great place. If we still lived in Newfane, we’d be going here all the time. Yes, those are Tesla chargers out front. Pretty high tech for a small town.
WW Building Supply
First of all yes, that is my finger in the upper left corner. Anyway, WW used to have a small building in Newfane. They built this just after I left. It’s now the largest business in town. I wish it was there when I still lived there. I love hardware stores.

I stopped for a snack break at the picnic tables behind the church, adjacent to the gardens of the Four Columns Inn.

The ride continues north on Rt 30 for another mile or so before jumping on to some back roads that go through the tiny community of Brookline.

After looping through Brookline, the ride heads back south on River Road. There’s many places along the river to stop to cool off. In fact, that gives me a great idea for another post. I’ll have to put together a ride showing all the popular swimming holes in the area.

Not much swimming going to happen here though. As I’ve said, it’s been very dry
Well, you could maybe get your feet wet at least

When I was putting this post together in my head, I was thinking that it wasn’t going to fit into this month’s challenge, but then I looked again at the following picture and realized I had taken one very similar in the past.

At a pull off looking down on the river, June 2020
April, 2015. Different bike, but the same spot, taken at a slightly different angle

From here, the ride continues south on River Rd for a few more miles before finally merging back with Rt 30 for the ride home.

All in all, a nice Friday morning ride. It’s great to finally get out on some longer excursions. Fingers crossed that things will open up enough this summer to actually get out on an overnight.

Newly retired guy who likes to ride his bike in Vermont. Well, actually retired in 2016, so not really 'newly' at this point.

9 response to "Building up the miles"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: June 27, 2020

    Congratulations, Bob! Great to see you getting some more challenging riding in. I’m sure it’s gratifying to you to be ready for it.

    I’m also enjoying seeing scenes from Vermont, a place Rachael and I haven’t visited in over 30 years. It doesn’t look like any place outside the borders will have us any time soon, so we’ve been looking at the map for domestic ideas. Could be we’ll be in your neighborhood one of these months.

    • By: BobinVT Posted: June 28, 2020

      Thanks, it definitely feels good to be riding again. Vermont, and New England in general have some great places to ride. Not that I want to add to your travel planning woes, but keep in mind that many states in the northeast have travel restrictions on visitors. In Vermont, for example, out of state visitors are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, unless you are coming from a county in an adjacent state that has a low infection rate. That could all of course change in the coming weeks/months.

      Having said that, though, hope you can make it out this way!

  2. By: NancyG Posted: June 28, 2020

    Great post Bob. I love Vermont even though I have been there only a small handful of times, and not in a long time. Your photos remind me of why I love your state.

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 28, 2020

    You have a beautiful place to ride!
    Great photos — I’m envious as I ride thru flat commercial grain fields. 🙂

  4. By: gregblood Posted: June 28, 2020

    I think New England is an under-rated place to ride except to New Englanders and Northern Tier cyclists. Your pictures show what they’re missing.

  5. By: The Navigator Posted: June 29, 2020

    Gorgeous ride! Good to see that you can still swim in the rivers. Where I grew up in IN, you only waded in the watercourses. The last river beaches and city-managed swimming holes were closed by the early 1980s from pollution (industrial and ag run-off).

    • By: BobinVT Posted: June 29, 2020

      Most of these swimming holes are completely unofficial and unregulated, although there is a local group that periodically tests for bacteria, and then publishes the results online. There is the occasional high count, particularly after a heavy rain that causes runoff from some local farm upstream. A hot issue right now, particularly here in southern VT, is ‘out of staters’ from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York coming up to swim and supposedly not observing social distancing rules, masking, etc. Then, of course, there are some of the swimming holes that are known to be ‘clothing optional’, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…

  6. By: Alchemyrider Posted: June 30, 2020

    You have lovely countryside to ride in. Just beautiful.

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