Areas north of NYC experienced torrential rains during a mid-July storm (2023). It’s already mid-September, but some roads and trails have not yet been repaired. Be extra careful if you plan to ride in these areas, below.
Parts of Sunken Mine Rd, in Puntam County, NY were destroyed during the aforementioned storm. I’ve heard from a few groups of riders who found this out the hard way. In one case, a rider went down pretty hard as they approached the destruction. Even on the “better” parts, I’ve heard that the road/trail is pretty rough and there are many downed branches.
NOTE: Many of the dirt roads in Putnam County are in rougher shape than usual. On our last ride, we encountered many more washouts, big potholes, or soft spots (where riders lost traction) than usual. Old Albany Post Rd is one example of a great dirt road, which is rideable, but extra caution is required – particularly when going downhill, where speeds will be high. We purposly routed uphill only for most of our time on that road, with one short exception, which you could consider cutting around by staying on Rt 9 in that direction.
Know about other damaged dirt roads we should watch out for? Let us know! email: email@example.com. In particular, we tend to ride in these areas, which are within striking distance of NYC: Westchester, Putnam, Orange, and Dutchess Counties in NY; Litchfield County in CT; and the Bedminster region in NJ. Thanks!
NOTE: The photo is of Sunken Mine Rd and was taken by Ken shortly after the storm. Thanks Ken!
We revisited another of our Spring Gravel Series of routes. Once again this was after a three month absence. This time the beautiful Bedminster area of New Jersey was our target. If you haven’t ridden here, it is worth the drive or train ride to experience it. This area of NJ has some of the nicest gravel riding in our region: Dirt roads through woods, forests, and along peaceful streams; Ridges and hills with beatiful pastoral views; Quaint small towns with General Stores. You’ll find at least one cooler in the woods with local maple syrup and an on-your-honor jar for depositing money.
We started from the lovely Natirar Park (named after the Raritan River, but spelled backwards, however you might feel about that). We had an awesome ride with a fantastic group. Highlights included the rugged climb up the Teetertown Ravine, the spectacular Lockwood Gorge – and of course many beautiful country roads through farm and forest. We saw some wildlife, too, including a bear and it’s two cubs (thankfully off the side of the road – so we could avoid getting between them!). Just about everyone hung out after the ride for cold drinks and snacks. As always, thank you to everyone who joined us and made it such a fun ride!
ROUTES (Same as our 5th Spring Gravel Series – These awesome routes deserve to be ridden more than once!)
Medium-distance group traveling through the beautiful Lockwood Gorge.
Long distance group again.
Most of us walked the two short rocky sections in the Lockwood Gorge. These short hike-a-bike areas (a few hundred yards) are well worth it to enjoy the rest of the scenic (and rideable) parts of this closed-to-cars former dirt road.
This was a really spectacular Memorial Day ride. It was much needed after a Saturday and Sunday of non-stop rain and cold wind. High temperature was a cool 68F, which is perfect weather for climbing. And we did plenty of climbing! Anywhere from 6400′ (Strava) to 7000′ (bike computer with altimeter) of elevation gain over ~64 miles.
While steep, the gravel roads on the east side of the Hudson were peaceful and often surrounded by forests and streams. But the star of the show was the Black Rock Forest. The trails were perfect for a gravel bike and the journey was rewarded by views of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs at every turn. It was as spectacular as a I remembered it. We continued onto the Storm King Highway and enjoyed stunning views over the Hudson River. We then returned over the Bear Mountain Bridge to finish the rest of the gravel roads on the other side of the river.
I’ve included some photos from the ride and the route links from Ride with GPS. The first route is 64 miles/6400′. The second “bailout” route takes a direct path back to Garrison, which cuts the ride down to 50 miles/4500′. I’ve also included a “mini” route that focuses on Black Rock Forest and the Storm King Highway (28 miles, 2500′), but requires driving to the start location.
NOTE: We were unable to go through West Point, so were forced onto some truly heinous roads for bicycling (the short bit on 9W). USE EXTREME CAUTION IF YOU DO THIS ROUTE! You will also need to traverse some *very busy* roads to cross the Hudson River (in both directions), but you will be rewarded with beautiful views from the Bear Mountain Bridge each time.