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  1. #1
    PMK
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    Visiting - Trail info

    So work has decided I need to spend a couple of weeks in PA. I'll being staying in Exton.

    I did some searches here about places to ride.

    I am not at all familiar with the location or distances from where I'm staying to any trails or nearby towns.

    These 4 came up as possibles

    Marsh Creek, French Creek, Downingtown, Covered Bridge

    Which of these trails would be a decent intermediate trail. I'd prefer more natural terrain and features over "chutes and ladders" type North Shore stuff. Distance of 25 miles or figuire or a few hours pedaling.

    If these are just ok, any other locations to try or information would be great.

    I'll be there almost 2 weeks so I should have some weekend rides too. I wouldn't mind a couple of shorter and rides close by to do after I'm done with work.

    Posts, PM's or Emails are fine.

    Thanks
    PK

  2. #2
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    What a great location!

    The four rides that you researched would all be great, after work rides. Especially the Downingtown/Trestle Bridge/Covered Bridge (all one in the same) trails. Plus, you'd have the advantage of having Victory Brewing Company right there to hit for dinner post ride. French Creek is do-able for post work (my choice for a local ride) and could be a weekender as well.

    PLUS, since you'll be here on the weekend, you could hit up some other "close" rides such as Fair Hill (MD...but pretty close per the PA/DE/MD line isn't that far away), White Clay, DE (www.trailspinners.org), and Wissahickon in Philly (www.phillymtb.org).

    Downingtown is about 10 minutes from Exton. French Creek is about a 35 min. drive from Exton but very easy to get to without knowing the area and is a beautiful drive to boot! Rt 100, left onto Rt 23 West, and right onto Rt. 345. The park entrance is a left off of Rt. 345.

    The three, longer distance rides that I mentioned for your weekend(s) would be worth a little more research on here and on the sites listed and I'm sure you could come up with some group ride solutions for all three. That way, you can concentrate on riding/having fun as opposed to pulling out a map every mile or so.

    Just out of curiosity, where's home?
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
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  3. #3
    PMK
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    I'll be heading up from West Palm Beach Florida.

    I'm guessing the dirt and terrain should be like riding I've done in New England or maybe North Carolina. Not expecting much sand, shellrock or red clay.

    PK

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't suggest French Creek at this time of year. It gets disgustingly buggy and humid. I prefer mid fall and spring. I havn't been to downingtown recently since it became legal again. I am hoping to get out there this weekend if you are interested. Marsh Creek is kinda charming. Wissahickon is my hands down favorite system in the area. I would also suggest Brandywine and other delaware spots. I wouldn't mind showing you around. PM me if you need someone to show you some local spots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdarnall237
    I wouldn't suggest French Creek at this time of year. It gets disgustingly buggy and humid.
    I think for somebody thats coming from West Palm Beach, that the humidity and bugs won't be a problem. I lived in Boca Raton for 6 years... the humidity up here can't touch what the south Florida summers offer (100% RH, mid 90's every stinkin day for 3 months straight).

    Besides, a french creek ride from 6 or 7pm until dusk is quite doable year round. Definately check out the Gibson trails (start out from Victory, and either bring a GPS loaded with a track or meet up with somebody in the parking lot for a guide).

  6. #6
    PMK
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    This weekend will be tough as I arrive on Sunday. But I'm always open to ride with locals, or find a group ride.

    Roy has a good point about the humidity, we have our fair share of it and bugs. I do need ask though, is there a webpage or forum with GPS tracks that are able to download?

    I take some time and pin these spots down.

    PK

  7. #7
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    For downingtown/gibson, half of french creek, some wissahickon and marsh creek:

    http://royldean.motionbased.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyDean
    I think for somebody thats coming from West Palm Beach, that the humidity and bugs won't be a problem. I lived in Boca Raton for 6 years... the humidity up here can't touch what the south Florida summers offer (100% RH, mid 90's every stinkin day for 3 months straight).

    Besides, a french creek ride from 6 or 7pm until dusk is quite doable year round. Definately check out the Gibson trails (start out from Victory, and either bring a GPS loaded with a track or meet up with somebody in the parking lot for a guide).
    I agree with Roy's response. Yeah, it gets a little hot under the tree canopy up at French now and again. But, it's an excellent ride. And, the 6-7 till dusk thing is completely true. Even without GPS, the maps of the park (avail. at the main building near the Hopewell Lake-free) are excellent. One will find the same heat, bugs, etc. at D'town, Fair Hill, Wiss., ....almost anywhere at this time of year.
    It's almost like saying that one wouldn't ride French in the winter because it gets a little cold up there at times....
    Not bashing at all. Just don't want to nix ONE OF this area's great rides for this rider.

    And, PMK, you're right on about the terrain around here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoaster
    I agree with Roy's response. Yeah, it gets a little hot under the tree canopy up at French now and again. But, it's an excellent ride. And, the 6-7 till dusk thing is completely true. Even without GPS, the maps of the park (avail. at the main building near the Hopewell Lake-free) are excellent. One will find the same heat, bugs, etc. at D'town, Fair Hill, Wiss., ....almost anywhere at this time of year.
    It's almost like saying that one wouldn't ride French in the winter because it gets a little cold up there at times....
    Not bashing at all. Just don't want to nix ONE OF this area's great rides for this rider.

    And, PMK, you're right on about the terrain around here.

    French Creek is one of the best rides no doubt. I guess I need to give it another shot during the summer. I just recall an overwhelming amount of bugs at the base of the Mill Creek Trail. It was an exhausting haul back to the trail head that day. I'm probablyt basing all this on one not so great experience.

  10. #10
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    Dont get it on your clothes or your helmet straps.

  11. #11
    PMK
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    Picked up the bike case yesterday, sounds as if there is some decent stuff nearby. I'll also look into some of the other spots also, where a little travel is needed.

    Out of curiosity, what kind of bugs are we talking about, flys and mosqitos, or something else like gnats. Yes every ride here unless windy seem to have bugs, some little some need runways. Just wondering what to expect.

    Thanks, and if it looks as though things will go smooth I'll try and send that PM.

    PK

  12. #12
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyDean
    For downingtown/gibson, half of french creek, some wissahickon and marsh creek:

    http://royldean.motionbased.com
    Roy, I'm pretty certain I can load all those tracks, just not certain which are better than others. Can you narrow it to the better ones of each location. Maybe just tell me by a number counting from the top.

    Thanks
    PK

  13. #13
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    Really...the bugs are not much of a problem.

    Gnats and a fly now and again. The only time that they "bother" me at French Creek is on slow climbs (nothing that a hand swipe into the air in front of my helmet doesn't cure) and when stopped to down a whole grain fig newton or three. I don't really ever find the need for bug spray. Although high dose DEET (Ben's Max and Roy's choice in the photo that he posted....never saw that stuff) is a beautiful thing. (Despite causing cancer... ;-)

    Just my opinion, but I'd reserve French Creek and Downingtown for your weekday rides and Wissahickon and Fair Hill for your weekend jaunts. All should be a lot of fun for you.

    I used to travel with my bike for work a bit. Trico Sports Iron Case for me. I once watched (from the plane) a baggage "handler" lift it over his head and "bodyslammed" the case onto the belt that lifted the luggage onto the plane. They're never too kind. Plus the dough to and from.

    BUT....there's something to be said for having an old, familiar, steed under you when exploring/riding new areas and diff. parts of the country!
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
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    Depending on the 'range' of where you want to go, Blue Marsh or any of the Lehigh Valley trailsystems are less than an hour from Exton as well. Check out bikevmb.com for the LV stuff- you could easily spend all weekend in the LV area and not ride the same trail twice

  15. #15
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    So....PMK, you're now "here", right?

    Here...as in, "In Exton"?
    Are ya' going to be riding this week?
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK
    Roy, I'm pretty certain I can load all those tracks, just not certain which are better than others.
    Whoops. Sorry I missed this. Let me make some suggestions...

    French Creek (East side):
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6219629
    Park at the intersection of 345 and Shed Road. Here you can choose which side you wish to ride. Park map located here: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/statepar...creek_mini.pdf. (The blue w/red trail is great downhill).

    French Creek (West side):
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5759891
    The "(white)/(blue)" trail is a monster climb (or a very fast, very rocky descent). I prefer to climb it. Well, climb 2/3rd's of it and walk up the rest.

    Full Downingtown Ride:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6142225
    Park at Victory Brew Company (http://www.victorybeer.com/directions.html). Ride. Drink beer. If you don't drink alcohol, try their Root Beer. I love it.

    Short Downingtown Ride:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/4707040
    You can park at the Covered bridge, but you'll have to take a road other than Harmony Hill as it's one way. Alternatively, you can park at the Skelp Level Road parking area. You can dig around at http://www.eastbradford.org for more info (scroll down to the "Harmony Hill" link).

    Marsh Creek:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5305910
    West side is steeper, more climbs, rockier, rootier. East side is smoother, tighter, more fun little obstacles (drops, log jumps, etc.)

    Bear Creek:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5975346
    Super technical, but short course. Stop in at the hotel lobby to sign waiver and get trail pass (free!) and official map. Ride clockwise.

    Wissahickon:
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/4768328
    Only been there twice, but had more fun when I rode it counter clockwise. This map shows my progress as clockwise, but you can always follow it in reverse. I'm sure the philly guys have more suggestions. If you like jumps, there are some terrifying hucks and drops at the southern most location of my track (you can see all the back and forth riding as I attempted some of the more tame stuff)

    I do have a link to the Lehigh Valley Salisbury Trail, but I didn't get much riding in as it was my first time there and I seemed to lose the trail. That and I was cold. And tired. Behold, my whopping 3 miles (but at least it will get you to one of the trailheads):
    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/4684001

  17. #17
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoaster
    Here...as in, "In Exton"?
    Are ya' going to be riding this week?

    Yes, I arrived Sunday. Got checked in and wanted to ride but was not into it with three hours sleep.

    Worked today, got back to the hotel, and went to Marsh Creek. Used one of the tracks posted on Roys MotionBased list.

    Initially I found the wong side of the lake, got it figuired out and found the other boat ramp. Once on the trail it was a nice uneventful ride.

    Checking out the wrong side of the lake took some time, but I was still able to do one half of Roys loop before dark. I'll try and ride the other half tommorrow.

    This place is close to the hotel.

    I guess I'll plan on riding French Creek this weekend.

    PK

  18. #18
    PMK
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    Roy I don't have Mapsource with me so new downloads will be tough. I just used the most recent tracks.

    PK

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    I'll be doing a quick loop at French Creek tonight.

    Only, I'm sketchy on the time. My wife and I are both off today and we're taking our daughters to a local amusement place. (Dutch Wonderland)
    The plan is to be at the Hopewell Lake parking lot by 6p. But, could vary. 6-6:45 ish with only about 1 & half hours out riding. My standard little "loop to do when I only have a little time". Green 4Runner/Orange EWR on top.
    I'll check back here later today.

    The East side of Roy's Downingtown route would also give you some stuff to play around on.
    Roy, maybe you could tell me, but it looked like you guys got to the west side (south side as 322 is tech. an East/West route, I guess) by going over the Trestle Bridge. (?)
    I've ridden over it plenty of times in years past, but it seems to be getting more than sketchy now. But, riding down 322 and over the "grated bridge" is a total crap shoot too with traffic.

    Anyway...PK, Glad to hear that you got out and rode!

    Eric
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoaster
    Roy, maybe you could tell me, but it looked like you guys got to the west side (south side as 322 is tech. an East/West route, I guess) by going over the Trestle Bridge. (?)
    I've ridden over it plenty of times in years past, but it seems to be getting more than sketchy now.

    Riding over the trestle bridge would be illegal and dangerous. Of course, there are no "no trespassing" signs on it (that I can see, at least).... and somebody has gone though the trouble of making little ramps over the barricades which may or may not be ridable.


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyDean
    Riding over the trestle bridge would be illegal and dangerous. Of course, there are no "no trespassing" signs on it (that I can see, at least).... and somebody has gone though the trouble of making little ramps over the barricades which may or may not be ridable.

    It may or may not have a great view of the Downingtown area.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtskibum
    It may or may not have a great view of the Downingtown area.

    especially at night....

    Not that I'd know.....

  23. #23
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    PMK, will give you a buzz later today. Poss. French Creek Friday night? Would be a nice start to your weekend.
    Have to check on a sitter first. My wife will be working.
    The rest of my weekend's up in the air at this point. Tough for me to say yes to a ride sat/sun at this point.
    I'll check in with you later today.
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  24. #24
    PMK
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    Roy the GPS tracks of Marsh creek have been fine. Last night I got to ride the section from the BR past the dam, entire loop you tracked, plus a brand new off camber section that added a bit more.

    Your tracks were a great blend of trail. Especially for someone not familiar and riding solo. Nothing crazy just fun ride with some efforts and windy singletrack, and a couple of technical things.

    Thanks

    Eastcoaster, thanks for the return call.

    PK

  25. #25
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    PMK,
    No luck at Shirk's today on the Magura lever. I was bummed. Hopefully, FedEx will come through for you.

    BTW, still unsure what my weekend holds for me but I just got an email newsletter from the Philadelphia Mountain Bike Association.
    They got a group camping area at French Creek this weekend. Campsite #9 per the newsletter.
    Should be group rides going on all weekend. It's supposed to be stupid hot this weekend, but at least you'd go up there knowing that there's plenty of other bikers around and I'm sure that you could jump right in on a ride!

    Maybe their website has some more info. www.phillymtb.com
    EWR-HE-148-11-4-97
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