On December 31, 2022 a group of RAD Cycling Collective and GrNY riders bid farewell to a good year of riding. We started at Bedford Memorial Park in Westchester County, NY. It was a cool and wet, but not-too-frigid winter day. We didn’t see any sunshine, but we were treated to some dramatic foggy vistas. This relatively short route (46.5 miles) has plenty of quiet dirt roads, about 1.5 miles of forest trails, and some generally quiet paved roads connecting everything together. There’s a good bit of climbing, too. Over 4000 ft according to my GPS.
Conditions were pretty good on the dirt road sections, despite a bit of earlier rain and folks made it back before the real rain started. Thank you Brian from RAD Cycling Collective for organizing! I was overdue for a good gravel ride. And the ride lived up to its “dirty” billing! Especially on the trails!
– We started at Bedford Village Memorial Park, but you could easily start this route from Golden’s Bridge if you are arriving by train.
– Sections of the Mountain Lake Park trails had some deep mud when we traversed them on Dec 31, 2022. This section of the route might be better enjoyed during the summer and during dry weather. Also expect that snow will be very slow to melt on those trails during the winter and early spring seasons.
On November 26, a group of 20 riders descended upon Katonah, NY for an after-Thanksgiving gravel ride in Westchester, NY. Riders tackled either a 66 mile route with well-over 6,000 ft of climbing or a 50 mile route with over 4,000 ft of climbing. Both routes traverse some of the best dirt roads in Westchester County and include an always enjoyable (if a bit challenging) dirt climb through Mountain Lakes Park. Both routes were exactly the same for the first 44 miles, which made it easy for folks to ride together, whether they chose the short or long routes. I did my best to organize us into three pace groups, but I think the folks in the slower two groups were eager to ride hard and ended up chasing the fast-moving front pack of riders (inevitably splitting up into smaller groups as they dropped back). Regardless, it seemed like everybody had a good time! Some of us stayed after the ride for beer and food at Paulie’s Deli. My thanks to all the GrNY and RAD Cycling Collective folks who came out on this day! It was a great way to burn off some Thanksgiving calories.
NOTES: In general, this route sticks to well-maintained dirt roads, with the exception of the climb through Mountain Lakes Park. That park road is considerably rougher, but still isn’t particularly technical. All of our riders did fine on 35mm or larger gravel bike tires.
This route attempts to include all of the reasonably-connectable gravel and dirt roads in Westchester County in a single ride. The ride is 99.6 miles and somewhere between 9,500 and 10,500 feet of climbing depending on whose GPS you believe. Most of these dirt roads are nicely maintained hardpack, with the exception of Mountain Lakes Park which is a bit rougher. Dirt road conditions can change rapidly, so use common precautions.
Is it really *all* of the dirt roads? Not quite, hence the asterisk. Short dead end streets, highly isolated road sections, and some small pieces of longer roads were skipped. This avoids adding many paved miles just to add small segments of dirt. This route does not include multi-use trails, like the OCA (Old Croton Aquaduct trail). It focuses on dirt/gravel roads.
As for the ride itself, I’ll cut-and-paste from my feed on November 20:
Epic day on the bike. Ellis and I completed a Westchester gravel century with the goal of hitting all the dirt roads in the county. We started early, so we would have plenty of daylight and had a blast. So many beautiful forests, farms, and horse country estates.
Forewarning for city folks: mornings are a lot colder here. Bundle up! It was 28F when we started, but turned into a lovely day.”