A Spring Single-Speed Overnight
This year, I decided to make my first yearly trek out to the Sterling Forest, for my traditional first campout of the spring, happen by bike rather than motorized vehicle. I have a single speed mountain bike race coming up in two weeks, so the more hours I can spend on the bike the better. I would ride my single speed from Hackensack to my secret spot in the woods in Sloatsburg, New York.
I started from my apartment in Hackensack and rode to meet a friend at REI in Paramus (where we both work) for a pre-adventure breakfast. We got some sandwiches from our favorite breakfast spot, and ate them behind a Dairy Queen which wasn't open yet. We discussed our aspirations for future adventures before I set off.
I was a bit nervous of completing the ride with just a backpack, because in the past I've always used racks and such. I thought it would be a cool way to train on my racing bike, with a heavy pack, to get ready for the race.
I took a few brief breaks along the way to Sloatsburg along the Saddlebrook Greenway. Not too many, though, and before I knew it I was entering New York State. The Ramapo Mountains looked beautiful this time of year!
I pushed on until I got to Rhodes North Tavern on 17A, where I got some lunch. Rhodes is just up the highway from the Harriman State Park, where the real adventure began. I rode roughly four miles into the woods, arriving at my favorite spring camping spot beside a lake. Even though not much snow remained in the area, the lake still had a sheet of ice over it.
I had run over a big piece of broken glass as I entered the woods, but my Stan's Tire Sealant fixed it right up. Pumping more air into the tire was the only necessary task. Lifesaver right there! I set up my Eno Hammock Shelter before dark and collected some firewood for a relaxing evening.
After a good night’s sleep, I packed my things back up and set out for home. The weather was beautiful!
I had a great time, trained my endurance for the race, and got to spend some quality time in nature. I'd needed some time away from the shop, and this trip fit the prescription perfectly. I absolutely would do it again!
Tip for this adventure: The trip was 80 percent roads and 20 percent trails. The total distance was under 30 miles from my home. Before hitting the trails, absolutely stop by the Rhodes North Tavern for a drink or a bit to eat.
Favorite local bike: The bike shop at REI Paramus, of course! Almost all of my gear is from there.