Sunday, October 25, 2009

Biking - The Bridges of Washington County

My Long Island friend Ted was in town for the weekend and wanted to get out for a ride. He had previously done a 33-mile ride in rural Washington County, a loop including Greenwich, Salem, and Cambridge, which he described as "having some killer hills". So we decided to give it a try on a cool windy Sunday.

Washington County adjoins the state of Vermont, which in many ways it resembles much more than it does the other New York counties surrounding it. The terrain is hilly, farms are plentiful, and the scenery is very rural. There are even several covered bridges in the county, and we crossed one on today's ride.

The Rexleigh Bridge, built in 1874, is on a side road south of Salem, NY. The text reads "25 Dollars Fine for Driving on This Bridge Faster Than a Walk". This bridge was followed immediately by the first big climb shown above, and visible in the background, which continued on for about a mile. In the middle was one short cruel section of approximately 15% grade. After making it up that one, we chose to skip a second covered bridge that would have involved another significant country road up-and-down, and took a valley detour to Cambridge instead.

After a rest and snack stop in Cambridge, we headed northwest, into a stiff headwind, and tackled the second big climb of the day. This one was not as steep, but did seem to continue on for a couple of miles. After that, it was all downhill back to Greenwich and the car.

This area is a great place to ride, and I'll keep this one on my list, maybe with a few modifications.

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