Category Archives: Mountain biking

The Exhilaration of Slowing Down

How do you convey an emotion with a photograph? How do you set the tone and allow the viewer to feel what you felt? Real photographers have been pondering and struggling to answer these questions for a century and a half now, with varying degrees of success.

I’m no artist. I take photos for fun. So, my photos may need a bit of explanation to create a ‘feeling’.

Here’s the setup:

I like to mountain bike. David and I love to share being in the woods on a bike with others, so when our neighbors showed an interest, we were happy to show them ‘our’ trails. The day was spectacular. Sunny skies but not too hot and barely humid. Still in high summer, everything was lush and green.

Problem was, our neighbors are 20 years younger and a whole lot more fit than me. Adventure Race fit. Personal Trainer fit. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were as gracious as could be and really were enjoying the day. But, after a couple of hours of desperately trying to keep up with my nice friends, I’d really had enough of being the anchor. The ball and chain. The person who makes the ride last twice as long as it should because she’s so slow!

So, I begged off, taking another route through the woods. I know the trails well so David was sure I’d be fine. David, by the way, can hang with almost anyone on a bike. One young admirer said David has ‘old guy strength’. I would dispute the ‘old guy’ description but David is very strong on a bike!

For a while, off on my own, I rode at my typical slower pace, thoroughly enjoying nature all around me. The birds were outdoing themselves singing their sweet songs. I startled a young deer. After a while, I saw a side trail I’d never used before. I knew it would be short since it appeared to be a fisherman’s trail down to the water. So, I took it.

Around a bend, I stopped. Oh, it was a beautiful spot! Very peaceful and calm and beautiful, beautiful. Time to relax here for a while! Do you ever find yourself somewhere, or perhaps with someone, and get a sense of ‘right-ness’? Like you’re in the exact right spot at the exact right time? That’s where I was!

I pulled out my camera and took some shots. Can you feel it?





– Jane

Photo of the Week #10

Day 10 of the Voyage of the Tramper 09/24/2012

Trailhead – Kingdom Trails; East Burke, Vermont


We were only 10 days into a 170-day journey. Yet, it didn’t feel like we just left home but rather like we had been enjoying a luxury of days already. And so we had, for who goes on a vacation for more than 10 days? It’s not usual among our set. A precious week is all the time we usually allow ourselves, all at once.

That’s the magic of the Voyage: time. Time to explore and travel and just breathe!

– Jane

Virginia Mountain Bike Weekend!

The Tramper, though we love her dearly, is taking up way too much space in our driveway. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore importantly, David’s workshop is totally blocked with the Tramper in the driveway. No projects or cars can go in or out for servicing. Horrors!

The Tramper will never be sold and will never be retired. Just…. out of our hair! Some friends made a lovely offer so we’ll relocate the Tramper soon. But first, one more trip!

It was just a long weekend. A tiny speck of time compared to the Voyage. But big fun!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

We attended the Virginia Mountain Bike Festival held each year near the Shenandoah in George Washington National Forest.

We love this bike fest! The attendance is small but the trails are huge. They even un-complicate the camping a bit by feeding us a few meals.

Our rides varied from 2 hours to 6 hours and we had loads of fun! To get to the gorgeous singletrack trails, an hour of road riding was required. Road riding is not our favorite (danger from cars, exhaust fumes, blazing sun, etc.) but we were richly rewarded for our efforts by views from the spine of the mountain.


Knowing that you climbed the mountain by bicycle power makes it all the sweeter! Did I mention the trails can be quite rocky?


This segment of trail is tame compared to some of the others. But, I was fighting for my life on the truly rocky bits. No time for photos!

Seen in the woods, on the ridge top: Pink Ladies Slipper! It’s the first time I’ve photographed them in the woods. Enchanting!



Here’s a bouncy bridge over the poetically named North River. I had fun jumping on it! I don’t think the friends who were with me had as much fun on the swaying, leaping bridge as I did, though.

The Tramper was a cozy haven when the weather turned chilly.

He, Rich! Refuse to smile for the camera at your own risk!

Hey, Rich! Refuse to smile for the camera at your own risk!

Another great weekend with the Tramper!

– Jane

Project Clean Stream – 4/06/2013

We worked at the Loch Raven Reservoir, trash was located

We worked at the Loch Raven Reservoir, washed up trash was located on shore…

ALL STREAMS LEAD TO THE CHESAPEAKE BAY!  At least around here they do.  Check out the amazing size of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed on their site.

...then gathered by mountain bikers, with the help of local high school students...

…then gathered by mountain bikers, with the help of local high school students..

...then hauled out by bike, for the city to pick up

…then hauled out by bike, for the city to pick up


Even during our Voyage on the road we knew what was going on in Baltimore.  We arrived home just in time to participate April 6 in one of my favorite local causes.  Mountain bikers have issues.  We love the outdoors, we love the trails.  We even get along with most other users, despite the “Mountain-Dew” commercial image of flying muddied bikers wreaking caffeinated havoc on  downhills with jumps and loud thrashing.  We recognize everyone’s right to be out there enjoying the same places we love.  Managing this and supporting sustainable trails is important.  Another issue is trail access, in this we have an international ally.  IMBA is the International Mountain Biking Association, who educate riders and agencies as well as provide advocacy.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve trail opportunities for mountain bikers worldwide.
Who else was out there this April ?: Chesapeake Bay Foundation picture (see the link below)

Who else was out there this April ?: Chesapeake Bay Foundation picture (see the link below)

Other groups are out there too.  Getting along and aligning missions gets more done.   Gladly we don’t have to work against each other even though there have been historic cases of one trail user wishing the others would go away.  No, today there is actually coordination going on.  MORE is the region’s mountain bike club, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts.


Project Clean Stream is an annual event including Bluewater Baltimore, MORE, The Alliance for the Bay and other groups.  They have been making it easier for individuals to have an impact for years.  All we have to do is call, or email, then SHOW UP.  Our “little” Bay is impacted by citizens hundreds of miles away in 6 states.  Maryland of course, but also Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, DC, and even all the way up there in New York.  Check out some local links:

Project Clean Stream

Chesapeake Bay Net

Save Our Streams, MD Chapter

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Some good news at Chesapeake Bay Foundation

I think my favorite part of all this is that in the frustrating world of decay and negativity, we are making a difference.  We are making progress!  I was born in the early 60’s and remember some dead streams I played in as a little boy.  I remember our old stinking Inner Harbor.  I’ve read and SEEN that there are rivers and streams now, that are healthier now than then.  I’ve seen crayfish, a fragile sign of stream health, thriving where once were murky, stagnant and lifeless trickles of a stream. It has been in our lifetime that we learned how small the Earth really is.  It has been in our lifetime that we construct fewer concrete culverts and actually encourage streams to slow down and add life to the water and those who live nearby.  It has been in our lifetime that we’ve begun taking steps to preserve our habitat.

I am impressed and encouraged to be a small part of our World.  Like the Elephant Parade (posted last week in Wow, Now What?), I am finding my place in a city, finding my place in the working world again.  Enjoy the wiki of ecology: the relationships of living things.

Wiki ecology

We love to ride: Pass this on