Harlem Valley Rail Weekend 2019 (BASH BISH & HVRR)
Bash Bish Falls & Harlem Valley Rail Weekend is a self-contained 5BBC weekend bicycle trip to Dutchess and Columbia Counties, NY, and Bash Bish Falls State Park, Massachusetts. Our ride leaders are Doug Von Hoppe & Steve Lyon.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019, we will meet at Grand Central Terminal at 6:45 or 8:45 AM depending on whether you are taking the 7:10 or 9:10 AM Metro North Railroad to Harlem Valley-Wassaic. (If you would prefer to get on at 125th St. or Fordham Rd, email the leaders in advance.) To make our day even more pleasant, a shuttle from the HVRR is coming to pickup our tents/gear so that we can have a leisurely ride. We then ride our bikes to Copake Falls, a distance of approximately 50 miles on the acclaimed Harlem Valley Rail Trail and low-traffic country roads. In the Copake Falls area there will be optional activities including a short hike to Bash Bish Falls, a visit to a museum of the industrial history of the region, a bicycle ride up a steep mountain road to a spectacular vantage point, and a refreshing swim in a pond formed from an abandoned iron ore mine. Later, we will set up our tents at the Millerton Fairgrounds. Dinner will be in historic Millerton, where there are many restaurants to choose from. (If you are prefer to sleep indoors, the folks at HVRR have this list of lodgings--contact them soon, as many rooms are already taken. Also, you'll have to get to & from them on your own, so we recommend you sleep/travel with a friend or partner.)
On Sunday, there is a delicious pre-ride breakfast. You'll have several route options to meet your goals. Are you primarily interested in mileage, scenery, or camaraderie? If you are interested in the Century route, you'll probably want to: wake at the crack of dawn, break down your tent, bring everything to the Bag Corral so you can ride all day without the weight of your gear, grab your breakfast and start riding! Or, choose a more leisurely 45 mile route, sleep in, load up on pancakes, yogurt & chocolate milk, meet new riders, then break down your tent and start riding. You are at the start point of the fully supported Harlem Valley Rail Ride (HVRR) “the summer’s most beautiful ride” with distances of 45-100 miles through the Taconic and Berkshire mountain ranges and (of course) the magnificent Harlem Valley. When you finish the HVRR you will have time to enjoy the festival and cool off in the Millerton pool. Your weekend ride leaders will escort you on the 11 mile trail to Wassaic where you catch the train home. Or, if you are too tired to ride to Wassaic, you may take the free shuttle bus, provided gratis by HVRR.
What this will cost
This inexpensive ride is priced a la carte. Your additional expenses will include round-trip train fare ($38), & meals (approx. $50 if you join us for Saturday dinner, $25 otherwise.) This year, registration in HVRR is included! Standard price: $120
How to register and pay
1. Please check back soon to register for this weekend trip. Please note that all 5BBC weekend trips are not refundable.
2. Email Von Hoppe at email@example.com with your name and cell phone number. We will help you register directly at the ride start; there is no additional charge. DO NOT register directly on the HVRR site. If you do so, you will pay the full price and will not receive the discounted rate.
3. Your other expenses (train fare, lunch) are pay-as-you-go. If you don't already have an MTA bike pass, buy one ahead of time at any ticktet window at Grand Central Station.
How to prepare
Our group riding will not be strenuous by bicycle touring standards. The hills are fairly gentle (except for that optional mountain in Bash Bish Falls State Park), and the pace will be 12-14 mph. As for the HVRR, it's up to you which route you take and how fast you ride. One of the 100-mile routes has 6925 ft. of climb, but the 45-mile route has only 1678 ft. Please remember that in addition to whatever you ride on the HVRR, you may have an additional 11 miles on Sunday, from Millerton to the train station, if you don't take the shuttle bus to the train station.
We're going to the mountains, but you don't need to bring a mountain bike. Most of the roads we'll be traveling are better than the roads in NYC. The bike you're comfortable with on long distance rides – road bike, hybrid, or touring bike – is the bike to bring on Harlem Valley Rail Weekend. If you plan to do a Century route, road bikes are strongly recommended.
Make sure your bike is ready. Do the 5BBC 2-minute bike check (or have a shop check your bike for roadworthiness). Recheck tire pressure the day before the ride. Remember to bring basic bike repair equipment (at minimum: 2 spare tubes, patch kit, pump, and tire levers) and a water bottle (2 bottles if the forecast is for a hot weekend). Clothing and supplies are best carried in panniers or a rack trunk, although a backpack will suffice. Bring what you need, but don't overpack. While you’re riding the HVRR, however, you can check your stuff at the Bag Corral or even leave it in your tent and break camp after your ride.
The ride is “rain or shine”. There are no refunds from 5BBC, nor from the HVRR. Please check the weather forecast before heading out. What clothing to bring will be partly dictated by the forecast, but remember that the weather in the Taconic Mountains might be different than the weather in the city. Pockets of rain can form in the mountains when the forecast is for clear from NYC to Albany.
Unless conditions are extreme, a reasonable selection of gear (what you wear plus what you pack) would be:
- helmet – not optional – without it, no ride, no refund
- bike gloves (or any kind of gloves) to protect your hands while riding
- 2 bike jerseys
- 2 bike shorts, padded
- swimsuit/shorts for swim in Ore Pit pond, towel is optional (dry off with a bike jersey instead)
- soap/shampoo/flip flops for shower at Fairgrounds on 7/22 (optional)
- soft-soled shoes for walking if your bike shoes are the hard soled clop clop type
- rain gear – we suggest a waterproof raincoat
- sun block, sunglasses & bug spray
- tent, tent bag, poles, & stakes, liner/tarp, sheet/pillow/pad
- 2 spare inner tubes that fit your bicycle, pump or CO2, patch kit
- "nice clothing" for Saturday dinner is unnecessary
Don't forget your medications, personal care items, sunscreen, mobile phone with an extra battery, and money. How much money? Train fare can be charged on your credit card. Your food expense is estimated at $65. However, in a worst-case scenario of major mechanical failure or injury, you might need cabfare for up to a 30-mile ride to the nearest train station. We suggest you bring a minimum of $150. (The mechanic at HVRR only takes cash.)
We think you will enjoy this trip. Bash Bish Falls is a gem. Although nobody will confuse it with Niagara or Upper Yosemite Falls, it's in a beautiful setting and so close to home. The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is one of New York State's best greenways. Much of our riding, both on the group ride and the HVRR, will be on scenic and low-traffic country roads – bicycling as it should be. You will finish this ride wanting more of it, which you can get whenever you want, just by hopping on Metro North.
We are pleased to announce that our gear will be picked up by van after we get off the train at Wingdale on Saturday so that we can enjoy our ride to lunch and Millerton. On Sunday, join our 5BBC groups on HVRR ride day. Do the 45 mile route with Steve Lyon or the Century with Doug Von Hoppe. Prefer your independence? You may pick any route that is offered on the HVRR when we register at Millerton. Cool off after your ride in Rudd Pond.