“meet me in johnstown” they said

outside hope cyclery before most folks woke up

Al Morris stewed up a fun weekend in a place they’ve never been — a place a lot of people have never been — the ol’ steel town of mythical floods that aren’t so mythical. a tragic history to this town // thousands dead // several floods. you can read more on that somewhere else.

its hard to imagine what this town, or many other just like it, must have been like at their economic peak… the infrastructure is massive, and mostly brick… but where are the people? well, they don’t seem to stick around. at the city’s top out in 1920, there were 67,000 folks who called Johnstown home, now only 18,000. the city continues to shrink by an average of 12 percent per decade — but they built the buildings to last, and so they have. acres of abandoned brick factory buildings nestled in a deep valley — prone to those mythical floods.

only 18,000 people live here! (stolen from wikipedia, or my helicopter)

Arya and I left our sewing shop in Waterbury on Friday and headed west for the 7 hour drive. we decided to go last minute — some folks we’d not seen in a while tempted us out there.

home for the night off the highway

we got to the shop around 11am on Saturday … only a few folks were up, so we went for a ride. up and down. chunky. flats. not me though! I always get nervous about flatting in front of folks I don’t know for all the obvious reasons … but I quite enjoy other people’s flats (as long as they aren’t Ultradynamico), as it gives me some leisure time to smoke a bowl and offer advice from the peanut gallery. “it does not appear you’ve chosen dynamically” for example. that’s advice.

back from the ride and there were a few folks getting tattooed by Kevin Gates up stairs in the bike shop. Kevin is great. he even made a flash of my face, and I almost went for it… should have taken a photo of it

now it was time for the much hyped Punk Baseball for Hotties. if you follow Al on IG, then you are likely a curious fan, and interested in being a PB Hottie. I was. I am.

a group of us pedaled over to the ball field and got to warming up our arms … warming up after 20+ years of not throwing things or catching them in gloves. I’m still sore.

the game was great. my favorite part of the weekend. no score, and you’re up until you hit something. surprisingly all the punks had at one point in their lives played baseball, and we managed to play a semi coherent game! — ain’t that America!

then it was off to John Paul’s farm 10 miles away for the campout.

and then it was off to go swimming on Sunday! we had planned for a longer more meandering ride, but this weekend was more of a party than a Strava stacker, so we took the rail trail. I did not complain.

the hands of John Paul

was nice to cruise and hang with such a great group on an easy flat path. the water was fine. the company was extra fancy fine.

we left the swim hole early to get back on the road east. we had Monday off and wanted to break up the drive by riding somewhere on our way back. and we sure did! more on that next time.

thanks Al for putting this together! thanks Hope Cyclery for being such a pillar of this community!

my first official vacation

Joe Cruz and Arya with Greylock’s shoulder

its true, now that we are working stiffs, rides that used to be our job’s are now our vacations. not sure how that happened — too early to tell if it was a good decision — but what isss a good decision anyway?? it’s been well documented that humans get used to just about anything… like autotune in pop music

Great Barrington (GB) is great!

we drove the van 2 hours north (1 hour from the factory in waterbury) to my new fav town. it was my birthday too, but that happens every year.

we slept 3 nights undisturbed here

we then met up with our pal Joe Cruz in Williamstown and headed up the dirty way to the top o’ mt greylock. this was our 2nd time up, but it had been years. tallest mt in Massachusetts folks! some photos in the gallery bellow::..

so that was Sunday. a full week of vacation to go! we left Williamstown and headed a few miles north and over the boarder to Vermont where Joe lives with his wife Margaret. Joe and I share the same b-day, so awaiting us were veggie burgers and cake! a nice night of watching the final stage of the tour de femmes and lights out.

Joe with oct “mt”

after breakfast we headed down to Lenox to meet up with Ballz and Troy for a recommended route by our friend Tin of crust videos fame. October mountain. Lenox is nice, but kinda old in the average age — we would really study this whilst looking for food post ride. GB on the other hand actually had young people. young people in New England is something to always take note of.

photos of that ride here bellow:::

as mentioned above, this day ended looking for food in Lenox — a handful of restaurants all with 1 hours waits on a Monday! we decided that since we were riding near GB the next day anyway that we should head south and trust all the recommendations for Prairie Whale.

Prairie Whale is described as a “Brooklyn style eatery” by many reviewers — perfect, we live in the sticks— always looking for “Brooklyn style” — that just means, shamelessly, I will probably like the food. I know my people! shamelessly. I’m 42 years old!

Prairie Whale exceeded expectations!

we were very lucky to receive the VIP treatment here as the chef and maitre d’ were both ultradynamcico dynamic choosers, happy to make the connections and have us for what was my best meal in months. thanks guys!

end of the day on our last ride

the next morning after breakfast in town, it was off on our 2nd time up mt Riga in recent years. such a good ride — I fudged the way out of GB just a little (as there were seemingly quieter roads going in every direction), but quickly changed course into the primo stuff after 5 miles.

the first half of the ride is mostly up. the kind of sustained climb I miss living down where we do. I love getting into a good climbing rhythm, just makes everything feel right. my happy place — especially when on a bike where the low gear is 22 x 34 like it is on my Atlantis. I don’t use that gear much, but nice to know it is there.

its a slow bike, but I know it can get me in and out of more places than most others

up up and up, and then a screaming down to stuffy Salisbury CT. a brief downpour while we were snack shopping, and then back to GB on some lovely most dirt and flat valley roads with views of the mountain we’d just traversed to the left.

and then we drove home via New Haven for a ride up East Rock and apizzzzzza at Modern. a weekend of riding to come, but that would be from home. nice to get out, if only a few hours away!

New Haven Photos :: thanks for reading/looking

XO Ronnie Romance

2022 spring fling home video

thanks to everyone who came out on 9 days notice! I really enjoyed the ease of the format here and hope to host more in other parts of New England.

2022 nutmeg country single track spring fling

Easter Weekend! Meet at the Hadlyme Ferry landing in Lyme CT across the river from chester at 10:40. the first ferry of the day leaves the chester side at 10:30am. last ferry from the Hadlyme side is 5:20 pm, so take into account your fitness and bike handling skills if you plan on parking in chester. a plus of parking in chester is enjoying some really good pizza at otto and a beer or several at little house brewing.

if you drive or ride around north and take the Godspeed bridge, it will just ad about 8 miles on your way back to chester. the ferry landing is a fine place to park here on the hadlyme side, and we will likely have a small party afterwards. we will take a poll at the start.

Max and Michael last spring fling above the CT river

bring a mountain bike, but can be done on anything if you’ve got the right dance moves. the route is 49 miles and nearly half single track. all ridable rigid with a low enough crawling gear. an old 26er is perfect. we will ride a mixture of country roads and 1 track down to the beach and picnic at rocky neck state park. from there its north a bit until we hit 13 continuous miles of single track on the Goodwin trail. if you’d like to camp off the Goodwin, that’s a fun idea too. you’ll find plenty of good spots.

note these routes (except for the bail out option) don’t start at the ferry landing — just .5 miles off route. I am confident you can find your way, and if you can’t …. then yer in for quite the day!

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38960754

https://www.strava.com/routes/2945791807344675890

and here is the bailout option that follows the same route to the beach, but then takes PREMIUM paved country roads back north instead of the 13 miles on the Goodwin trail.

https://www.strava.com/routes/2947860319523902226

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39017715

the ride with gps route link features waypoints that might be helpful.

CT slick rock on the Goodwin trail

this is a 100% self supported ride. bring your food and water and probably a purifier if its warm and you sweat easily. lots of wild water on the route. good swimming… classic 1 track. there is a market at mile 14ish thats marked on the ride with gps route link.

if ya wanna camp nearby on Friday night there are options, email me coolultraromance@gmail.com ::: otherwise we will run this like we did the nor’easter in 2020. only with 9 days notice this time around! clllllassic.

hope to see ya’ll soon!

please register for free at this bike reg event link

https://www.bikereg.com/nutmeg-country-single-track-spring-fling

weekend and midweek jaunts at the end of peaking

look hard, there is a bike rider on the Joshuatown bridge

some rides from the past week. ive been getting out mid day and going to work from 2-dinner time to take advantage of the light now that its dark at 4:20. okay, gotta gt to work early today — Mondays, ammmmiiirriggghhht???

other news would be we mayyybeee have frame building undergrounder “Darren Larkin” moving to the area to start a production shoppe. he is the tall guy on my romancer in a few of these photos.

micro colorado man made right here in nutmeg country

keep finding weird new (to me) things near home. had first heard about rt 11 ghost road a few years back, but hadn’t checked it out until recently. yesterday on a warm October day a group of 5 of us met up at Long Table Farm where our friends/shippers Bri and Ryley work and live.

ice cream and then up the side of the abandoned (never used) bridge built in 1972. its a bit steep and prickly, but nothing a few farmers can’t handle. I rather like the climb up as it stretches the calves.

the bridge to know where goes somewhere. the washed out road leads into the artificial canyon microclimate. I thought it was fun that we had 2 Weigles on this ride as we randomly ran into Arya as she was wheeling down Beaver Brook rd on a roady ride when we intercepted. of course she wanted to see the ghost canyons of nutmeg country. they are getting more dramatic by the minute.

a tale of two Weigles

we left our bikes at the bottom of the “canyon of lost highways/souls” and hiked up to the tops. a mini Colorado awaited. a canyon carved by a folly. glad our area is so into stopping highways from cutting through their back yards and dinosaur foot prints. thats a real thing… read it on a forum that dinosaur foot prints are among the myriad of reasons why this highway never happened.

Ballz lost their croc in a slow speed fall into a mud hole BTW. 2 minutes later it was excavated.

we then parted ways to our respected pockets of the lower river valley and called it a fine day out. love this time of year. I think I say that about every time of year though.

instagram on the computer

from instagram Sunday the 9 11th so you don’t forget. Labor Day weekend rides:: really packed em in. Friday long MTB with Sean, a ride to “celebrate East Haddam” and the haddam neck fair. nice to get out to “the neck” for some inverse (overse?) elevation ratios. Sunday was a ride across the river to Cockaponset groomers, county road chunk, to the secret mill falls that might not be secret if you are among the 5 people who would care about that sorta thing around here. we got all wet and then laid naked like lizards on a granite slab in the sun. radiated. great way to let go of summer by going deep inside of it.

blog like 2006

do you remember the internet? I remember it as being pretty informative and fun… blogs and whatnot. blogspot in particular. had a few that I would check daily or weekly such as cosmic country, republic of doom, gypsy by trade (pre Lael, Lael), my olde roady team, and the king of them all, Belgium Knee Warmers just to name a few. oh, and Guitar Ted (my OG dirt drop resource) is still at it!

seems like a good time to start blogging again since I don’t really look at Instagram too much, and promoting black holes for folks attention doesn’t really appeal to me. I hope to use this as a place for my photos, thoughts, and routs to live algorithm free.

indulge!