Studying the Trail
There are several rail-trails across the US which provide a wonderful cycling experience. One can have a lot of fun on these trails. Before going for a ride it is important to plan. To have a perfect ride plan it is necessary to study the trails. In the US there are several trials with extraordinary stories behind them. How these beautiful trails have come to be and what facilities are available along the way. The more we know about the trail, the more enjoyable the ride. There are so many websites and particular trail websites that provide tons of good information. There are so many online forums where you can read about shared experiences.
Origin of trails
Trails originate from old railroads that have been dismantled. The US had a fascinating history of railroads. Origin of this trail originated as far back as the earliest days of industries itself. The first attempt was to build the rail line through this region. As per Wikipedia the Native American Pine Creek Path followed pine creek to Ansonia and beyond. Between 1820 and 1833, trees were floated down to sawmills in Jersey Shore and Williamsport. Pine Creek & Buffalo Railway (JSPC&B) came in the 19th century. Sawmills were constructed and the finished products from these industries were carried out by train. Another important industry was Coal mining and the coal was also shipped through the railroads.
The Pine Creek Gorge area is also known as Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon. This area was best known for its profit potentials for businessmen and entrepreneurs. It was believed to hold vast amounts of coal, iron ore, and timber. In 1870 the Jersey Shore, Pine creek & Buffalo Railway was incorporated. The intention behind this was to create a bridge line at Port Allegany which connects with the Altlantic and Great Western Railroad and at Williamsport to the Catawissa Railroad to move the freight and passengers. A later year of completing the construction in 1883 the passenger service started. This service was continued for several years. Later the tracks were removed and the trail was opened in stages.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources operates this trail. It was one in the top 5 places in the continental United States on the list. The trail is famous for Bicycling, hiking, Horse riding, and cross-country skiing.
Pine Creek Trail
Per Wikipedia, the Pine Creek Trail is approximately 65 miles from end to end. The roads are generally flat with some grades. This trail is the best place for cycling and hiking during spring, winter, and fall. The beautiful roads between the long trees show the beauty of nature. There are small towns along the route and numerous trailheads, comfort stations, campgrounds, and lodging facilities for the visitors. Pine Creek Rail to Trail is the best enjoyment package for family, couples, and friends. The history of Pine Creek Trail is best described by David Kagan, click here for the history.
One needs to figure out where to park and stay before you can get on the trail. We parked at Pine Creek Rail Trail Trailhead Parking at Jersey Shore, PA.
We started from Sterling, VA on July 31 and stayed at Comfort Inn, Williamsport. On August 1, we started from Jersey Shore and rode 65 miles to Wellsboro. We stayed at the Canyon Motel at Wellsboro. On August 2, we rode 65 miles back to Jersey Shore.
Why Falco eBike Kit?
Trails are our connection to nature. Cycling is also that natural connection. Falco eBike systems or eBike kit is the purest form of electric-assisted cycling experience that delivers that powerful connection. It is an extremely adaptive and intuitive assist that does not emasculate your cycling ability. The system is designed with intelligent and embedded electronics to minimize the space on a bike or a trike. I am quite fit and I can ride 100-mile a day without electric assist. However, I like to use electric assist to have the option at my disposal. Yes, there is the extra weight for the kit but that is irrelevant while riding. It only matters when you need to lift the bike. I have had instances where I have developed discomfort while riding due to poor riding position. Under those circumstances, I can use the electric assist through its pedal-assist or throttle (power on demand) function. I can convert downhill to uphills and uphills to downhills using my Falco electric bike kit. Its unique pedal assist and power on demand technology is extra insurance I like to have at my disposal at all times.
My average speed during the ride was about 10 mph. I rode mostly in mode 0 and 1. I was able to last the 130 miles with a single battery charge. The battery had a capacity of about 400Wh. However, conservatively, I would recommend estimating no more than 40 miles per charge with the use of the torque sensor. When we use the torque sensor, there is a dramatic increase in the range as compared to the speed sensor or throttle. The watt-hours used per mile go down substantially because the motor is able to harness the human power much more effectively.
This is the Motobecane bike bought from bikesdirect.com and converted with a Falco Electric Bike Kit
Bicycle and Equipment
The Motobecane bicycle was equipped with a Falco eMotors’ eBike system as shown above: e5.3 36V/500W/400Wh eBike System. That is the bike I used for my ride. Sanjeev has a Trek touring bike (Trek 520, 57cm). Sanjeev’s Dad Baldev has a Trek hybrid bike (Trek 7100). I helped him install a front wheel geared hub motor on his bike. We equipped the motor with a simple controller from Amazon. He bought a battery from eBay etc. He has been happy with his setup as he uses the motor when he wants to climb a hill.
Equipment Required for a Long Ride
It is important to plan the accessories to be taken along for a ride. Some of the accessories and equipment that I recommend are as follows
- Pannier Bags (To store all the things below);
- Bicycle Related
- Flat fixing kit;
- Hand Pump;
- Body/Medical Related
- Food (Bars (Rx, Cliffhanger etc.), Fruits, Peanut Sandwiches etc.);
- Water (Gatorade preferred);
- Paper Towel;
- First aid kit;
- Protection against the Sun (We use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 55);
- Protection against bugs (We use Greenways Organic Bug Repellant);
- Pain Killers (Ibuprofen, Tylenol etc.)
- Weather Related
- Protection against Rain;
- Protection against the Sun;
- Protection against the Bugs.
- Navigation/Safety Related
- Cell Phone;
- Extra Battery Power to charge phones etc.
- Safety on the trails (Whistle, Bell, Mace etc.);
- eBike Related
- Extra Battery;
- Tools to remove the wheel.
These are few of the things that one must have. On a ride you may face issues, but to keep riding with joy you need the resources and tools to overcome any unforeseen circumstances. For the most part, our rides have been free of any incidents.
Protocol while riding in the dark: Riding in the dark is not really recommended. Trails can be prone to accidents. We have had rides where we ended by riding until mid-night because of aggressive day goals we had set up for ourselves. We had good LED lights which kept us moving through the dark.
Protocol while riding in the rain: Riding in the rain is not recommended. Trails become extremely dangerous during the rain. We had to stop our ride as soon as we came across the rain. Fortunately, we had the rain protection we could use during the ride.
Start of Our Ride: Day One - Saturday
Per the plan, after reaching Jersey Shore, we unloaded the bicycles and started our ride. The ride begins from the most popular starting point of this ride; Jersey Shore.
Unloading and getting our bikes ready. Sanjeev’s dad is helping me with my backpack. I did not have the panniers on this ride.
You can see Baldev’s bike in the middle with a front hub motor. Sanjeev’s bike is on the right.
We are all ready to go - Sanjeev, I and Baldev