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  1. #1
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    Rides around Philly

    I posted in general discussion before I found this forum, so apologies to anyone who reads the same post twice.

    I'll be visiting Philadelphia from the UK at the end of October and would like to get some mtb riding in. Are there any places I can hire a decent bike and meet up with some riders?

    Secondly, are there any Cove dealers in Philadelphia? I've a yearning for a Cove Hummer but they're out of my price range over here.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    I posted in general discussion before I found this forum, so apologies to anyone who reads the same post twice.

    I'll be visiting Philadelphia from the UK at the end of October and would like to get some mtb riding in. Are there any places I can hire a decent bike and meet up with some riders?

    Secondly, are there any Cove dealers in Philadelphia? I've a yearning for a Cove Hummer but they're out of my price range over here.

    Cheers.
    I think I may have replied to your previous post. I'd be happy to show you around the Wissahickon valley. Great trails within the city limits. I still can't help with the hiring a bike part but, depending on your height, I might be able to loan you one for the day.

    Re: Cove dealers, I don't know of any in the Philly area. I bought my Handjob from jensonusa.com 2 years ago. Jenson doesn't have any Hummers in stock now and, as far as I know, Cove still doesn't have a distributor in the US. The best way to get a Hummer would most likely be to order one direct from Cove and try to have it shipped to you while you're in Philadelphia. Given a very favorable exchange rate from GBP to CAD (currently ~ 1:2.25), you'd probably manage a great deal on the frame (or complete bike, should you go that route).

    The biggest problem with that would be whether or not Cove has your size in stock and ready to ship in time for your trip. Of course, you'd also need a ship-to address here in the states. I'd be willing to help you out in this regard, provided you trust I wouldn't rip you off (and, of course, you'd be completely justified in flat-out refusing the offer...the internet being littered with con-artists and whatnot). That said, if you're serious about trying to get the frame or bike while you're here, send me a private message or email, and we can discuss it further.

    -Joe
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  3. #3
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    Joe, thanks for the advice and offer of help. I can't believe Cove don't have a distributor in the US, that's just crazy! I'll look into having one sent direct to my hotel, but i may get stung for imprt duties from Canada to USA then. Duty isn't usually too bad, shipping costs are (at least for shipping to the UK).
    Guiding arounf the Valley sounds good. I'm happy to hire a bike if I can find one, but if not I'm just short of 6'2" and usually ride a 18-20" frame. What days would you be free? I get in to Philly on Friday 22 and leave on Thursday 28. Schedule not planned out yet and not all under my control so I can't pin down a date yet.

    Cheers,

    Mark.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    Joe, thanks for the advice and offer of help. I can't believe Cove don't have a distributor in the US, that's just crazy! I'll look into having one sent direct to my hotel, but i may get stung for imprt duties from Canada to USA then. Duty isn't usually too bad, shipping costs are (at least for shipping to the UK).
    Guiding arounf the Valley sounds good. I'm happy to hire a bike if I can find one, but if not I'm just short of 6'2" and usually ride a 18-20" frame. What days would you be free? I get in to Philly on Friday 22 and leave on Thursday 28. Schedule not planned out yet and not all under my control so I can't pin down a date yet.

    Cheers,

    Mark.
    I'm sure I could find time on saturday or sunday (23rd, 24th). Midweek is a bit more difficult, although I could take a day off from work (any excuse to stay home and ride is a good one! ) if you let me know when your schedule is free a day or two in advance.

    Unfortunately, I think all of my bikes are too small for you. I'm only 5'6"ish. and my frames are all ~16" +/-.

    sorry!
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  5. #5
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    It looks as though I will have the Sunday free. I have an event to attend at 6pm but that leaves plenty of time for riding. This may change but I'll try to keep it free.

    I'll need to get hold of a bike from somewhere then. I'll have a couple of hours on Saturday morning to find one but not much more than that. Do you reckon it's possible?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    It looks as though I will have the Sunday free. I have an event to attend at 6pm but that leaves plenty of time for riding. This may change but I'll try to keep it free.

    I'll need to get hold of a bike from somewhere then. I'll have a couple of hours on Saturday morning to find one but not much more than that. Do you reckon it's possible?
    Anything's possible! If all else fails, I might be able to borrow a larger bike from one of the guys I ride with.
    [SIZE="2"][/SIZE]"mmmm....Beeeeeeer." - Homer J. Simpson

  7. #7
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    let me know when you go- I would like to tag along if possible. What do you weigh soliour...I might be able to hook you up with my yeti- its a Med but Yeti's run big- it has times on it as well so that might be a consideration

  8. #8
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    I weigh 85kg, about 190 pounds. I run shimano pedals and could bring some with me. Apparently they look a bit like hand grenades under an X-Ray machine though, I hope that's not a problem!

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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    I weigh 85kg, about 190 pounds. I run shimano pedals and could bring some with me. Apparently they look a bit like hand grenades under an X-Ray machine though, I hope that's not a problem!
    lol re: grenades. If Dan can bring his Yeti, then you should be set. If the yeti won't work, I know someone with an older Schwinn (Moab, I think?) loaner that would probably fit you. Nothing fancy, but it's functional.

    Do you know where you're staying yet? Let me know once you find out and I'll try to figure directions to the park for you.
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  10. #10
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    Either the Yeti or the Scwhinn would be fine, if it means I can ride I'm not too fussed on the bike.
    I'll be staying at the Sheraton Society Hill on Dock Street.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    Either the Yeti or the Scwhinn would be fine, if it means I can ride I'm not too fussed on the bike.
    I'll be staying at the Sheraton Society Hill on Dock Street.
    Nice hotel, but it's about 13 miles from the park. Will you have a car while you're here? Or are you relying on public transportation? Hopefully it's the former, because the latter is not much fun.

    http://www.septa.org

    I'm really not an expert on navigating the city via mass transit, but I'm fairly certain that you would need to get from the hotel to Suburban Station (<2 miles, you could hire a cab or walk from the hotel), then hop on the Regional Rail 8 (R8/Chestnut Hill West) . Take the train to the end of the line at Chestnut Hill West. From the station, head south-east on Germantown Ave. to E Springfield Ave (you'll see a blue sign for Valley Green). Turn right onto Springfield, then follow it until you come to a Y- in the road. Bear right onto Valley Green Rd and follow that down into the park. It dead-ends at the Inn.

    Here's where we'll be starting the ride from:

    http://www.valleygreeninn.com/

    If you have a car, a map, a good sense of direction, a sense of adventure, and the ability to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road, you can probably follow the directions on the VGI website.

    Or...if you'd prefer, I can probably swing by the hotel and pick you up.
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  12. #12
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    I won't have a car whilst in town but I'm not averse to using public transport. I'm sure I can get directions from the Hotel too but being picked up from the Hotel would clearly be best for me. I didn't realise Philadelphia was so big though, so if picking me up creates more hassle for you then I'll use the buses/trains/whatever.
    I'm really looking forward to this. The weather's shite here at the moment, I hope it's better over there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    I won't have a car whilst in town but I'm not averse to using public transport. I'm sure I can get directions from the Hotel too but being picked up from the Hotel would clearly be best for me. I didn't realise Philadelphia was so big though, so if picking me up creates more hassle for you then I'll use the buses/trains/whatever.
    I'm really looking forward to this. The weather's shite here at the moment, I hope it's better over there.
    Well, I live ~ 11 miles from Valley Green, in the suburbs roughly 20 miles or so north of where you're staying. To pick you up at the hotel wouldn't exactly be convenient but it's not an unreasonable drive. Besides, you'd likely spend more time trying to get to and from the park via SEPTA than you would actually riding in the park. What fun is that?

    Re: weather... it's been near-perfect every day for the two weeks or so since the last hurricane blew through. Sunnny, high temps in the low to mid 60's. Hopefully, the nice weather will last through the duration of your trip.

    Speaking of hurricanes, the trails at Wissahickon have taken a beating this year. I hope you don't mind riding on/over/through loose rocks, ruts, etc. Overall, there's still plenty of good riding to be found in the park, but some sections are worse than others.
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  14. #14
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    "riding on/over/through loose rocks, ruts, etc"

    That's what mountain biking's about, isn't it?
    Seriously though, here in South Wales much of the landscape is ex-industrial and pretty rough going plus I think many of our trails are regulated less strictly than in the US, so you get Moto-Xers and 4x4s regularly ripping up the ground, so loose and rocky is pretty much par for the course in many places.

    I don't fancy getting caught in a hurricane though, how bad does it get there?

    Have a think on picking me up, I don't want to inconvenience you and I don't need a decision right now.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    "riding on/over/through loose rocks, ruts, etc"

    That's what mountain biking's about, isn't it?
    Seriously though, here in South Wales much of the landscape is ex-industrial and pretty rough going plus I think many of our trails are regulated less strictly than in the US, so you get Moto-Xers and 4x4s regularly ripping up the ground, so loose and rocky is pretty much par for the course in many places.

    I don't fancy getting caught in a hurricane though, how bad does it get there?

    Have a think on picking me up, I don't want to inconvenience you and I don't need a decision right now.
    South Wales, eh? A friend & riding buddy of mine (and infrequent poster on the Passion board by the name of Jive Tolkien) is from Swansea. Small world. I'll have to see if I can get him to join us.

    Don't worry about the hurricanes. We only ever see the last vestiges of them around here (if that); usually in the form of heavy downpours minus the destructive wind. There was an unusual amount of flooding in parts of S.E. Pennsylvania this year, but nothing at all like the storms that hit many of the southern states.

    p.s. :

    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    "riding on/over/through loose rocks, ruts, etc"

    That's what mountain biking's about, isn't it?
    yeah, to me. But you'd be surprised. Around here, just about everyplace we ride is fairly rocky. Having learned to ride here, I stopped noticing the rocks after a while. It only becomes an issue when riding with people from other parts of the country (or, in your case, other countries altogether). I once ran into some guys who were visiting from Colorado who absolutely hated the trails here because they weren't 'buff' enough. I've read reviews of PA trails written by people from North Carolina who basically said the same thing. Trails are too rocky, lack flow, etc. To each their own, I suppose.

    What can I say? They are what they are. Just wanted to give you a heads-up so you'd know what to expect.
    Last edited by Stick; 10-13-2004 at 12:33 PM. Reason: added postscript
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  16. #16
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    if Wiss is too much of a mess (I have heard it is really bad) we could hit FrenchCreek....

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    A friend & riding buddy of mine (and infrequent poster on the Passion board by the name of Jive Tolkien) is from Swansea. Small world. I'll have to see if I can get him to join us.
    Sure, the more the merrier, though Cardiff and Swansea are mortal enemies (It's OK, I'm not from Cardiff, I omly live there). Does he ever get back to Wales and does he ride there?

    Th riding sounds good. Nice smooth trails are good, but often you could ride them on a road bike. You need rocks and stuff to make it feel "extreme". It'll be good just to ride somewhere different anyway.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by soliour
    Sure, the more the merrier, though Cardiff and Swansea are mortal enemies (It's OK, I'm not from Cardiff, I omly live there). Does he ever get back to Wales and does he ride there?

    Th riding sounds good. Nice smooth trails are good, but often you could ride them on a road bike. You need rocks and stuff to make it feel "extreme". It'll be good just to ride somewhere different anyway.
    Just got back from there, actually - well Guildford really, I was there for three weeks on a work trip. Got back to Wales at the weekends, but unfortunately didn't get any riding in, although I've ridden Afan the last few times I've been back (my brother lives about 5 minutes' drive from it).

    The Philly area trails are a lot of fun, you should enjoy them if you're looking for something different to the typical South Wales ride.

    Joe (Stick) emailed me about the upcoming ride, and it looks like that weekend is open for me, so I look forward to riding with you (even if you are from Cardiff!).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    if Wiss is too much of a mess (I have heard it is really bad) we could hit FrenchCreek....
    I'm fine with either place, to be honest. I love French Creek, but Wissahickon is a lot closer.

    The situation at Wissahickon is sad, but it's all relative. The worst thing about it, really, are the bridge closures. One can detour around them, but the "best" way to do so (from a riding perspective) involves riding a few short stretches of trail that were previously closed to MTB's.

    (The FPC may or may not have temporarily lifted the 'no mtb' rule on these trails; it's difficult to tell. At one point, there are signs posted that direct all trail users onto hiking trails that lead from the multi-use down to an alternate bridge.)

    The alternative is to skip certain trail segments altogether by detouring out to Forbidden Dr.

    The rest of the "damaged" areas are aesthetically unpleasant but rideable (given sufficient skill) and, since it's mostly rocks over quick-to-drain sandy soil, the impact of riding those sections is minimal (and certainly pales in comparison to the overall impact mother nature's had this year.)

    I'll leave it up to soliour's schedule and a majority vote. I'm happy either way.
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  20. #20
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    Just wanted to chime in on the bike rental, if you're still looking for it.
    Erdenheim Bicycle Center on Bethlehem Pike in Erdenheim/Flourtown will rent a bike for the day. The last time I was in there, they had a Giant AC and an Ellsworth Truth available. Just a thought. Not too far from Wiss at all, either.
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  21. #21
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    Ok....did a little recon over the weekend....

    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    if Wiss is too much of a mess (I have heard it is really bad) we could hit FrenchCreek....

    Things I learned:

    It's a really bad idea to go to french creek on a saturday. Didn't realize that they opened the park to hunting. This sucks. Not because I'm opposed to hunting, but because the park is surrounded by State Game Lands which we're not allowed to ride on. Why do people feel compelled to hunt IN THE F$%^&'ng PARK where riding is allowed instead of on the lands specifically set aside SOLELY for hunting?!?!

    I rode up the Lenape trail and passed a dozen shotgun-toting men & boys. Stopped at the park office to check which areas were open to hunting. Basically, everything except the hopewell furnace nat. historic site is open to one form of hunting or another (weapons restrictions in some areas: archery, muzzle-load, shotgun & slug). Of course, the historic site also happens to be closed to MTBs. #^*#*!@

    LOTS of shots fired during the brief time I was there.

    We'd be fine going there next sunday, but it's worth noting that the trails on the east side of 345 (red/white) are pretty washed out too.

    Went to wissahickon yesterday and, after seeing what I saw, I'd like to change my vote. Wissahickon is even worse now than it was two weeks ago. Much, much, worse. The trailhead at Valley Green Rd is gone. That's right, gone. Completely. Land-slide style.

    One of the concrete bridges that was closed before has colapsed. Split in half. Ironically, it's open now. There's a rut 2 feet deep and almost as wide down the center of one trail. What used to be a challenging climb and a roller-coaster of a downhill is, essentially, unrideable.

    The trails on the west side of the creek are in better shape but, overall, the place is a mess. Just when you think it can't get any worse....

    All that said, I think it's got to be either French Creek or somewhere else altogether. Jim Thorpe, maybe? But then somebody else would have to lead. The only trail up there that I know well enough to lead is American Standard (which is now closed).

    thoughts?
    Last edited by Stick; 10-18-2004 at 07:50 AM.
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    Right- good call on the hunting situation....We could ride some spots in the Lehigh Valley as well- can guide either South Mountain area (Lehigh and Emmaus) Both are technical, with Lehigh being the longer ride---not so much in mileage, but the nature of the riding can make for a 3-hour ride without much hassle- Emmaus can be a 1-2 hour ride if you get creative as well. If those dont work and JT is preferred- I can also guide for Flagstaff as well- right now, though, Sunday the 24th is better for me as I have a commitment Sat morning (trailbuilding ) ---the benefit to riding JT is bikes can be easily rented form the local shop and the colors will be in full swing for fall

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dankilling
    ---the benefit to riding JT is bikes can be easily rented form the local shop and the colors will be in full swing for fall
    That's exactly what I was thinking.
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  24. #24
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    for anyone who hasn't seen...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stick
    That's exactly what I was thinking.
    Some of the damage @ Wissahickon. Note the photo of the Valley Green Rd 'footpath'. This little piece of trail provides access to the trails from both ends of Valley Green Rd (parking lot at one end, the bridge over the creek at the other). This photo must have been taken sometime in august or september. The footpath is almost completely gone now. Everything right up to the gaurdrail has crumbled.

    The other thing I couldn't believe yesterday was how badly wrecked the wooden gaurdrails along Forbidden Drive were. Normally only a few feet tall, some sections were ripped so far out of the ground that the full length of the gaurdrail supports are visible (maybe 10 feet long, possibly longer).
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  25. #25
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    I am up here from NoVA and would like to ride. I brought my bike and am staying off of Ridge Pike in Lafayette Hill.

    How far is Wissahickon and how do I get there?

    Thanks,

    Chris

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