Friday, March 31, 2006

Drop Zone

Taking advantage of the really nice weather yesterday, I rode my logging trail again and its getting good. Just have find some more lose rocks to get over the first tree. Looks like I may have found a good alternative to the hike-a-bike situation that leads back up to the Polly Brody. Instead of going up over the hill, I am now staying to the right and following yet another old logging road that leads to a really nice drop. It has sweet ramp up, you come down a slight incline and then perched right next to this tree is a big rock that the 19th Century Farmers obviously couldn't move. The rock has a nice ramp up and then you launch out into a nice clearing, well sort of. There are some little trees that sort of make it treacherous if you don't hit it at the right angle. Other than that, its beautiful! The only downside to this route extension is that I haven't found a good connection to either back to the Polly Brody or down to Al's Trail (although I wasn't really looking for that, I think that might be something to consider.

As you can see where it looks like a loop, I made the hard left and did the hike-a-bike and as I was riding down the Polly Brody I saw a little trail off to the right which I turned around and followed. It lead to a break in a stone wall that was fashioned into stairs but after the stairs the trail gets lost. Following my nose I wound up at the start of the hike-a-bike. When I turned around I could see the outline of a road and started following it when I came to this rock.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

ATV issue comes home

So, look what comes up in my hometown paper on the heels of 5806:

Police Plan Enforcement Crackdown On Illegal ATV Use
Newtown Bee, 3/30/2006

By Andrew Gorosko

In response to continuing complaints from the public about the noise nuisance posed by the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and light motorcycles known as dirt bikes, police plan to launch an enforcement campaign against riders who violate state laws, focusing their efforts at the D'Addario Sand & Stone Company Inc's surface mine at 9 Button Shop Road in Botsford.

Police Sergeant Douglas Wisentaner said this week that police have received complaints from property owners near that sprawling surface mine who say the use of ATVs there poses a continuing noise nuisance, damaging their quality of life.

The D'Addario mine lies east of South Main Street, west of Little Brook Lane, north of Botsford Hill Road, and south of the town landfill. The mine is bisected by the east-west Button Shop Road. Most illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes occurs on weekends in the section of the mine lying south of Button Shop Road, police said. At times, approximately 20 vehicles are illegally in use there, police said.

The riders sneak onto the property from various points along its border. One of those illegal entry points is a small clearing in a thicket along the east side of South Main Street, near Kay Lane.

Besides entry points near roads around the mine, some ATV riders enter the mine from the Housatonic Railroad's right-of-way that borders the mine, police said. That rail line extends into Monroe.

Sgt Wisentaner said that with the coming of mild weather, police plan to increase the enforcement of ATV violations, especially at the D'Addario mine.

Police met with a representative of the mining company and state officials last week in planning their enforcement campaign. D'Addario representatives could not be reached for comment.

Typical rider violations include simple trespassing, which carries a $92 fine; simple trespassing on railroad property, which carries a $136 fine; and failure to register an ATV. Unregistered ATVs may be impounded by police in certain cases.

State law on ATVs lists a variety of violations, Sgt Wisentaner said. The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has enforcement power for certain ATV violations, he explained, adding that DEP plans to aid police in the enforcement project.

Police plan to personally inform people living near the mine of the enforcement project, he said.

"It's been a problem for a long time," Sgt Wisentaner said.

Although police receive ATV usage complaints from other parts of town, due to its large size, the D'Addario mine receives the heaviest ATV use of any place in town and generates many complaints, he said.

Besides local riders, the mine attracts out-of-town riders, who sometimes approach the mine riding their ATVs on the railroad right-of-way, he said.

Police, who drive large sedans on paved roads, are physically limited in how they can pursue ATV violations, he said. At times, when police spot ATV trailers parked at places where ATV riders enter the mine, they simply wait until the riders return to their trailers to issue them tickets.

Most riders whom police apprehend are people from out of town who have left their ATV trailers along the edge of the mine, Sgt Wisentaner said.

The illegal use of ATVs poses several law enforcement issues, the sergeant said.

It is a public safety issue because injuries can occur from ATV use, he said. Illegal ATV use involves trespassing, he added. ATV use can cause property damage, he said. Also, the vehicles create noise nuisances, damaging the quality of life, he added.

The sergeant compared enforcing ATV laws at the D'Addario mine to the town's trespassing enforcement project at Fairfield Hills. After the town started strictly enforcing trespassing laws at Fairfield Hills, the incidence of that problem there greatly decreased, he said.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CTNEMBA Postcards are in!

So my idea to create a 4x6 card has finally come to fruition. The purpose of the card is to get Mountain Bikers from around the state who don't know of CT NEMBA or want more information to come to our website or email me for more information in the hopes of joining CT NEMBA and getting involved with everything we are working on to support Mountain Biking in the State of Connecticut. I plan on handing these out to any MTB'ers I might encounter on the Trail or in the parking lots. In conjunction with this card is our new and improved website that is supposed to be unveiled April 1st - hopefully there will be no jokes this day.

So if you are a Mountain Biker and want to get involved with us, check us out online and sign up!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous said...

Wow, I think I got a response from someone in the ATV community about 5086.

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous said...

If you had a pond in your back yard you would not have to register your boat!!! if you want to use the river you pay. If there was a state forest to ride in like Mass then we would pay.

Actually, even if the pond is on your property and the pond is named on a state map, guess what? If it [the boat] has a motor, you have to register it to be able to operate it on your pond. Before, I started MTB (mountain biking) I was on the board of directors for the Mianus Chapter of Trout Unlimited and involved with all sorts of different DEP like stuff, so you point Mr Anonymous doesn't really hold water (no pun intended). As for the River, yes, if you have a powered boat, whether its an electric trolling motor or a 4 stroke, electric start, power trim, 115 hp Merc (my next outboard motor for my next Tracker), that boat has to be registered before one molecule of STATE owned fresh, brackish or tidal water comes into contact with your hull. Frankly, I think the same rule should apply to ATVs.

You do have an excellent point, though, and maybe that is what needs to be amended to the bill, an area needs to be set aside for riding, today. Clearly, this bill falls short in that arena, largely in part due to the one-sided opinion of the bill's author and maybe the ATV community should look at this bill as a wake-up call to do something pro-active if you want to make ATV riding legal in the State of Connecticut. Not sure what type of Not-for-profit organization(s) you have but you should be banding together and opening a dialogue with the non-motorized community to work something out, find some middle ground so that everyone can enjoy the State's public property.

Here is what I would recommend: All ATVs must be registered, just like any other motorized vehicle. There should be some exceptions, like farm use, and if you don't use it in the state, but the penalties should remain - just like a car, if its not registered you can't ride on any public property except your own, and that means, you can't just zip down the road to your friend's property or your lower 40. If you want to put that on puplic property, town or State, you have to be registered. The penalties should be strict to ensure compliance.

The registration fees should go into the maintenance and upkeep of the designated riding location as well as into a fund to acquire more land for ATV riding. The registration process would be self policing, too, because if there are not enough people complying with the law to register then it will lead to eventual closure of the riding location due to no funding. It's kind of like a State fishing licenses, if no body bought them this year, the following year the State probably wouldn't have enough money for trout stocking.

So, what do you think?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Broken Deraileur Hanger

So, I am hammering down the back side of the hill in the Upper Paugussett on my on one of my logging roads on Tuesday and then there was a *CRACK* and then my chain had all this slack in it. Looking behind me I see my rear derailuer hanging an inch from the ground. Curses! Snapped the rear hanger. Of course, all I could say to myself was perfect timing. My Open Space Task Force meeting started at 4:30, I still had to get home, shower, and then drive down to Peck's Land. Had to hop, coast and run home. Of course I was in a quandry, drop my bike off at Brookfield Bicycle Center to get it fixed or go to the meeting. Hadn't been in a while, so I went to the meeting.

Dropped off the AC on Thursday to get fixed and asked to have a Bash Guard put on, too. I don't think I have ever switched into the upper gears but the teeth on that chain ring were getting worn down from the rocks that I was hitting all the time. Makes, sense. So, I get the bike home and riding around in the driveway, I notice that its not shifting right. Called them up and they said tighten the L screw, then losen the H screw, now tighten the H screw ... did that and it sort of helped.

Back out on the trail on Friday and the Grannies were slipping big time. Made it up the hill on the Polly Brody but it was close. Rode down the logging trail again and this time tried to pile some rocks on the big tree to make a roll over but I need more rocks for something decent.

When back to the bike shop on Saturday and they fixed me up right this time. Next time, always test the bike before leaving the shop. I think this was the second time this has happened.

Pushed Crankfire at the bike shop on Saturday, too. Shawn said he checked it out but didn't join. I think another guy, that I was talking to, did join up but haven't see any input from him yet.

On Sunday, I rode some Newtown open space. I rode up the hiking trail down the road from me, got about 3/4 of the way then I gave up. The road links up with an old road that eventually spits out onto Butterfield. The owner of the property on Butterfield, John, said I could ride on his property. Looking closely on the map, it almost looks like there is an old road that heads down the back side of the hill towards Pond Brook.

Rode on a trail off Butterfield on more of the Town's Open Space but the property just ended. Had to push the bike back up the hill. Rode down Georges Hill, this hill is steep! Rode a little on the old Shepaug line bed but turned around when I hit a mass of No Tresspassing signs belonging to the resident of 31 Pond Brook Road. Need to introduce myself and see if I may ride on his property. Sunday's ride was actually 6 miles.

Will post maps shortly.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Out and About

Saturday Huntington Ride

Rode with the MeatMan (aka VinceMeat or Crankfire acclaim) - he has an awesome bike, an Intense 6.6. Dude was wearing body armor, too, it was around 35 degrees, not really muddy. Did a few rollers, fell over once. Rode the NEMBA trail (super techy). Overall, a pretty good 4+ mile at that Park. I was whipped afterwards.

So, here is where we rode:

And her is a blow-up of the NEMBA Trail:

Brewster Loop Recon

New guy on Crankfire mentioned there is a place to ride over in Brewster, NY that he calls the Brewster Loop. I had to pick something up for my wife in that area and my son fell asleep, so rather than wake him, I drove around these beautiful reservoirs looking for trailheads. Well, I found them and marked them with my GPS. The only question is whether this is a legitimate place to ride because its NYC watershed property. Friends over at basically have said that the Watershed Hiking pass is just for hiking. On the other hand, someone else mentioned, I think it was that the Village Bike Shop (Carmel, NY) runs a ride there Tuesday evenings. I got the number for the shop but have to talk to the shop owner.

As far as the trails go, the topography looks good. Lots of climbing but real long trails.

Upper Paugussett Workouts

Still riding in the Upper Paugussett, mainly for a quick 1 hour 4 mile workout. Mainly riding in from Tamarack/Sanford Road, doing the Polly Brody Forest Road, jumping off onto an old logging road that heads down towards Lillynonah and then pick up another logging road that meets up on the back side of the hill near Hanover.

Friday, March 17, 2006

All Terrain Vehicle Bill Raised Bill 5806

So, the environmental groups got together (I think this might have been largely pushed by CFPA) and put together this bill for CT State Legistlature.

This bill is a compromise. The language requires the state purchase two parcels through bonding for use as ATV facilities through bonding.

It will require universal (biennial) registration of all ATVs - $75.00 in state, $100.00 out of state This shall close the loophole that has been liberally applied by an estimated 77,000 ATV riders who claim they only ride in their yards.

The registration fees will be divided in such a way that part of the registration will go towards paying down the bond debt. Part of the registration will go towards the maintenance of the facilities, and the purchase of new facilities. Another portion of the registration fees will go towards law enforcement. Farm and forestry vehicles will have a separate, no cost/low cost plate.

With passage of this bill, lands purchased for natural resource protection and passive recreation shall no longer be considered for ATV use.

After the purchase of the two ATV facilities, any rider who is caught riding without registration and identification shall be fined $500.00 for each offense - $100. of which will go to the arresting authority –be it a municipal law enforcement officer or a DEP conservation officer.

Because of a drafting error, the universal registration component was not inserted. We are working with the committee to correct this. Please when you contact your legislators, and the environment committee remind them that the bill is useless without universal registration.
Potential revenue shortfalls will mean the bond debt won't be repaid, the ATV facilities won't be maintained, the account will not grow to purchase further facilities, and law enforcement, already compromised will be further.

Without universal registration we will be forced to kill the bill. I can say quiteconfidentiallyy, that no legislation for ATVs will ever get through the legislature without registration and identification.
Last week I read followed links to NETRA and CTTrailRiders and read the opposite camp's opinion on this bill. It was pretty interesting. Most of them recognize the need for land to ride on and realize that this bill sort of makes sense and then there are those in the ATV community that want to defeat this bill altogether. I think it's a step in the right direction. I think its sort ofquandaryy. The environmental groups (in this case non-motorized trailusers) want more teeth to deter ATV use on their trails by giving the ATV riders a legal place to ride. Simple enough. I am sure the ATV users want a legal place to ride, too. But like any group that you tell that they will have to pay to play you are going to get instant friction. Land isn't cheap and if they don't do anything soon the land is going to be swallowed up by developers.

I see quad damage in many of the non-State Parks that I ride in and frankly its appalling. These people have no qualms about tearing up the land and believe me, they are not just riding in their backyards. Where there is money to be gained, I don't see why the State Legistlature is not falling overthemselves to pass this bill. If there are 77,000 ATVs in the state, that's roughly $5.8M per year in registration fees. Drop the $800K for administration and you still have quite a chunck of change to buy some land. If I have to register my boat that I seldom use in CT waters, I don't see why not these guys won't register their quads.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Two mapping projects

So, not only am I now officially the map maker for the Upper Paugussett Trail but the deal I am working on for the Cockaponset SF is starting to take shape, too. On Crankfire, I found a cool little tool some college student is working on that is really good for sniffing maps out, check out: Satellite Photo Compare. Of course, what I really like about this already is that its like a wide screen version of terraserver. Granted, its a little slow at night.

Rode in the Paugussett again, on my new loop, which is about 3.6 miles. If I don't stop to move dead fall around I think I can run the whole course in about 45 minutes. What will be really cool is where this trail pops out is where the Multi-use trail would begin, which would give me a six plus mile loop through the forest. There are still a few loose ends in the one section before you get to the switch back that crosses over the stream. It appears that the road/trail might go further down the hill but I can't find where it would connect back up with the old road again. I recall seeing some old trails coming into Al's trail.

One thing that stinks about all the wet weather and the general thaw is the mud. Fortunately for me, riding the Polly Brody forest road doesn't contribute to any erosion and neither is there any impact at all to my other forest road that I have been riding but getting there on Sanford Road is another story. Sandford is mud city and naturally that kicks up an coats my camel, me and my bike. So, I thinking about getting fenders for the AC. Definitely going to put them on Trek but I am getting sick of the mud. They might look geeky but who cares about fashion when you are riding?

A funny thing to note, I came across the legal definition or political definition of Mountain Biking today: Off-road bicycling. It just sounds so phony and seems to make it trendy.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Upper Paugussett back in the limelight!

Got an interesting call this evening from someone who is on the CT Horse Council about the Upper Paugussett State Forest and it appears that this concept of a multi-use trail is finally getting some traction.

So, it looks like CHC is leading the charge and getting NEMBA, CFPA, DEP, and CHC together to try to put something together for this trail. If this comes to fruition, then the Upper Paugussett would definitely have some nice trails in it. The reason they contact me is because I am the man with the maps. Now that is cool!

So here is the existing blue blazed trail (above) along the west side of the forest. The red is the Jeep Trail/Forest Road/aka Pauly Brody Road. And here is where the Multi-use trail would go.

I have ridden the proposed multi-use trail a few times last year before I discovered the intentions of NBLA. I recall discovering some new markings and imporvements being made but as of late, I haven't been too interested in this trail, after all its technically blue blazed trail and you are not supposed to ride it. So, I haven't. I have been enjoying all the other trails in the forest, like the ROW trail I found that parallels the proposed Multi-use trail.

I have also been riding quite a few new trails. One that comes off the Jeep Road heading west then starts climbing. I have almost climbed the whole hill. I will get there. Once at the top of the hill this trail pushes into the interior of the forest. I still see foot prints in the snow and mud so its obvious that others are using this trai, no waffle prints except my own.

About two weeks ago I hung a right off the Jeep Trail at the top of the highest hill within the forest and found a really nice logging road that is fun to ride that actually connects up with an old road similar to the ROW trail I found last fall. Here are a couple of rides. The green, yellow, and red lines, at the top of the image follow along this new trail. It beats going down the forest road. The cool thing is if the Multi-use trail does go in, this new loop will connect nicely to it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This weather is driving me nuts!

So, I was working from home on Thursday and really wanted to ride in the morning before it started snowing but by 9 AM it was still around 20 degrees. Then it started to snow. Drat.

On Saturday, my daughter was spending the night at her grandmothers and I blew the afternoon shopping. Curses!

Finally, Sunday morning, after picking up the princess at her grandmothers and driving back to Newtown, I finally got out on the trail. Sorry, no map. Got GPS data but I basically rode the reverse of the trail that I found on the north side of the jeep trail, aka Polly Brodie Road. I think I found where the trail/road goes that will hook up with the old road that I found. I need ride it going down again.

This ride I was going up and it was basically just a hike-a-bike. If the trail was decent I could probably ride it, of course with no snow. I think once I figure it all out this is going to really make riding in forest fun with a couple of 6 mile loops to choose from.