Our Rides in Words, Photos, Videos & Maps

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Follow where the brake cables go after crossing behind the handlebar bag: the left cable disappears into the down tube on its way to the rear wheel; the right cable runs down to the front wheel. It's the same on my Trek Powerfly 5 and Dean Randonneur.

Now, go check your collection of ebikes.
The matter of the location of front/rear brake levers is one of the most of confusing matters. The worldwide standard for the brake lever is "the rear one on the right" except the UK, Australia (and probably New Zealand and South Africa) where it is the left-hand lever to control the rear brake. Now, motorcycles worldwide have their front brake lever on the right; except of the French scooters, where the front brake lever is on the left...

My brother has had his brake levers in his MTB organised the UK/AUS way because he was used to the motorcycle/Japanese scooter scheme. Now, after riding my Lovelec e-bike, he's swapping his bike brake levers to be in agreement with the worldwide bike standard...


Active Member
It's pretty common here to have people leaving chalk signs on the path about riding harder, birthday greetings, etc. About a week ago, several black lives matter chalk signs appeared every quarter mile or so on our path (probably a dozen or so), some list the names of individuals who died while in police custody. As a baby boomer, I remember how Peace Symbols appeared everywhere during the War in Vietnam. I am not trying to start a political discussion here and really am just trying to share a different kind of scenery that's popped up on my rides. Are these showing up on other bike trails?


Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
70-mile Ride Around The KPN with My Brother

-- "What is the relationship of the very red sunset with tomorrow's weather?" -- my first cousin (brother) Jacek messaged me the evening before -- "It's gonna be very warm, bro!" -- I replied. I trust good weather forecasts and these reported on Mapy.cz bike route planning/GPS navigation app are unrivalled for our area.

Indeed, after heavy night-time raining what we got was at least 21 C (70 F) sunny weather. The wind was rather strong but it was the first time this year I could wear cycling shorts and short-sleeved jersey during the whole trip! Jacek fell in love with my Lovelec e-bike, which is a 250 W hub-drive motor touring e-bike. With his strong legs, he can make improbably long rides on a single 576 Wh battery, pedalling steady 32 km/h (20 mph) disregarding upwind or downwind. He actually often switches the pedal-assistance off when riding downwind.

Jacek asked me to plan a 100+ km route and I told him: "Jacek, let us make my dream come through: Let us ride around the whole Kampinos National Park (KPN) on-road!" I will reveal some secret now: After we already made 92 kilometres and had a rest, I told Jacek our total distance would be about 112 km. "How many miles that would be?" he asked. "Bro, that's amazing! If we make 112 km 280 m, that would be 70 miles sharp!"; and we set it as our ride target :)

The best ride anecdote:
Jacek was riding in the lead. He looked in his rear-view mirror and spotted a road cyclist approaching me from behind, and ready to overtake us. Jacek thought "If this guy will overtake us, soon we both will have to overtake him, what's the point?" and he pushed hard on his pedals. It was an uphill segment. I noticed Jacek putting on a spurt so I switched to the Sport mode and pushed my pedals very hard. We both just "ate" the hill and the road cyclist was left behind. I could see his big surprise in my mirror... The guy has never caught with us :)


At the first stop in Laski. Jacek lives nearby the KPN so we didn't need to transport our e-bikes. I demanded a rest every 12 km because of the inadequate blood supply to my legs. As you can see, Jacek (who is very slim) hates cold. My clothing was far more lightweight on that ride.


The first 60 km meant upwind ride. It was even not that hard, and the wind is an excellent coolant for the human body. Yet that part of the trip was very boring. When I was in the lead, Jacek was impudently slipstreaming me! He told me later he rode for as many as 10 km with the PAS off in my slipstream! 🤣


A nice wooded ride segment approximately 54 km from the start. It was already in the south-western corner of the KPN.


The longest rest at the 59th kilometre, soon before the ride direction change that allowed us riding downwind. The first battery went flat (that is, reached 5% level) at 58.5 km. I was using my custom "Steroid Eco" mode with 45% Support and 80% Max Motor Power. Such support level is very effective and still quite economical on the battery. @Marci jo, you said you couldn't control your urge to fight the headwind with the Turbo mode. You just need a riding partner! And to carry a spare battery in your pannier :) Regarding my diet @Readytoride: as a diabetic I ate three sandwiches (no butter) with dried sausage and green peppers and a small packet of kabanos. I also drank 2.1 litre of isotonic drink. It was enough for the ride.


There is a railway warning sign ahead. We met some narrow-gauge railway there, and a STOP road-sign. "That railway is not operable... Why should we STOP here?" I laughed at my brother.


Jacek rode in front of me. Suddenly, he started pointing at something with his hand vigorously. I took a casual photo of a stork, wading and feeding in the grass. The stork had even flown above the road but I missed that shot.


"That railway is not operable..." Remember? 🤣 Ten minutes later we met the fully operable narrow-gauge train running at 15 km/h (9.4 mph) and full of tourists! It is the Sochaczew Narrow-Gauge Railway that operates in the warm season. Starting from Sochaczew Narrow-Gauge Railway Museum, the shuttle train (often using a steam engine) takes tourist into the Kampinos National Park. The tourist are guided on a walk there and then they return to Sochaczew by the same train. This time, a (historical) diesel engine was used. Dedicated to @David Berry, the lover of narrow-gauge trains :)


The life comes back to Poland. We met many road and touring cyclists on the trip. The guy in the orange helmet was a senior citizen, as many of us in this Forum.


Riding northwards downwind, towards the River Vistula, on the western edge of the KPN.


The ride along the northern edge of the KPN meant either downwind or cross-wind for us. Jacek told me I was using too much of the pedalling-assistance. Therefore, I started the Mission Control app and decreased the "Steroid Eco" Support to 40%. To Jacek's big surprise, I went on sprinting in Turbo at some moment. It gave me a big lead and I could take a photo of Jacek riding :D


The 70th kilometre in Kromnów Polski. Whenever a place-name involves "Polski" (Polish) it simply means the neighbouring villages were inhabited by foreign settlers (German or Dutch) in the past.


A horsie photo for @RabH ;)


Here, Jacek took my camera and sprinted forward to be able to take a picture of me riding. There are interesting objects in the photo. There is a stork's nest (with a stork inside!) in the top-left corner. There is a "Agroturystyka" (Farm tourism) sign at the right-hand side.


The place name "Little Village by the Road" makes me laughing loud!


Riding street "two abreast" legally! I was riding an S-Pedelec so I rode on the road. Jacek was riding a regular (electric) bicycle on a bike lane. It was a unique situation where we could ride two abreast in normal traffic (riding two abreast is otherwise allowed only where there is no traffic at all).


Post-ride data.


The ride stats.
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Not Exactly My Day...

I should have thought deeper on whether I should set off for another longer ride after the yesterday's seventy-miler but I could not resist the positive weather forecast; and that was the Giant Trance day. I had planned a 70-km ride in and around the Bolimów Landscape Park, packed quickly, drove with the Monster to Radziwiłłów Mazowiecki (I am aware the name is painful for your eyes...) ;) (I had even customised the pedal-assistance power schemes, decreasing the support level to save the electrons for a longer ride). All in vain. It was not exactly my day.

All started good. I rode on tarmac and on some dirt to Skierniewice-Rawka (I was already there on one of my earlier Trance rides, where the ruined mill could be seen). I discovered that my EVO display had rotated on the handlebars so I could not see the information there well. I stopped at a ice-cream shop; first I used a hex wrench to fix the display position, then ordered ice-cream (it was delicious!) There was a church nearby serving the Holy Mass. I could hear beautiful singing of a girls' choir from the distance. All went well so far. I hit the roads (mostly fire-roads) in the Forest.


The Bolimów Forest teemed with tourists and people seeking recreation. It was very warm, pleasant sunshine, light breeze. It seemed to be ideal cycling weather.


The sun disappeared. With very warm weather (the temperatures reportedly reaching 26 C (79 F)) it became muggy.


I stopped for an early rest. Too early for me.


I continued riding, without the usual enthusiasm though...


Then I hit a dirt/sandy road where I discovered riding out was a mistake for the day. I was simply exhausted after the ride the day before and the reduced power levels didn't help. Additionally, Giant RideControl App did strange things to my EVO display, it reset my current stats and made me feel negative. I at least was able to restore the factory defaults and the screen went back to normal.


After I rode out of the forest, I sat on a bench at the outskirts of Skierniewice and ate something. There were many people riding in both directions. I especially liked seeing a Mom riding together with her little kid. The boy rode a mini MTB and was delighted to make sprays in the puddles. The Mom was telling him: "Son, don't ride into the puddles! You cannot see what's underwater. You might ride into something you cannot see, stop and fall!" The boy, of course, rode in another puddle. Suddenly he stopped and fell! I could not help shouting: -- "See boy? Your Mummy was right!" :D

I was sitting on the bench and debating with myself what to do next. Eventually, I planned a new route: Return to Radziwiłłów yes but by a non-obvious route! "I sometimes can discover signs of being an idiot myself, peculiarly in the evenings" /Josef Hasek "The Good Soldier Svejk"/ :D


My idiotic route took me to the Land of Łódź again :) The symbols mean: Textile industry, folk art, and movie art (The city of Łódź is the site of the Movie Art University). Mazovia and the Land of Łódź share a very complicated border here.


Another stork that just has landed. I wish I had a proper telephoto lens with me...


As some of you may remember, I had been recently searching the "bygone manor houses" in the area. The tourist map listed the Manor in Pamiętna as one of them. A joke. It looks like a newly constructed building, which is a restaurant , hotel and a banquet hall. Something good for upstarts if you ask me :)


The place-name means "Females". Not explained if the cow in the road sign has anything to do with the name :D


I was rewarded with some sunshine, lack of people and nice forest roads nine kilometres to the destination.


Completely exhausted and overheated back in my car. At least I could turn the AC on.


I was surprised to find I made 53+ km on that day!

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
That’s still a fabulous achievement. 53 km the day after the 100 km. Imagine if you had attempted that before you had your ebikes!
It’s ok to chill and recuperate for a couple days.
Note: I think brother Jacek owes you a cold beer for riding in your slipstream (drafting).

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
This is the route that I like to take when I'm not in a hurry… which is almost always. It's so much pleasanter than riding next to a motorway.
That boardwalk is lovely! I especially like the photo full of blues! Just for my orientation: How many grams is your camera? I consider buying a compact camera with a super-zoom lens and these tend to weigh almost as much as a DSLR. Need your information to think more on the subject. What handlebar bag are you using, @David Berry?

Note: I think brother Jacek owes you a cold beer for riding in your slipstream (drafting).
Oh, he always offers me beer post-ride :) The point is I have to drive home so can't drink it :D Regarding the new word (drafting), you wouldn't believe how much of the cycling terminology I had to learn during the several months of my stay on the Forums; both English and Polish. Another gain of being here!

P.S. We're going to experience at least a week of raining here. Always prepared!

The Abus Pedelec+ helmet can be made rainproof on demand!


The rainproof helmet, windbreaker, trousers (that also protect the shoes), water-repellent gloves and water-proof Vado equipped with famous Dry-Tech mudguards. Nothing can stop me from riding, except... "Thunderbolt and lightning very very frighting me!" :D
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Well-Known Member
An "Everybody is Out Cycling" day, Visiting Old Vistas, and Riding New Old Roads

This was not a day to sit inside. This was a day to be on your bike because when Virginia gives you a bright sunny day with decent temperatures (mid 70s(F)), no humidity, and a cool refreshing breeze, you say "Thank you, Ma'am" ... and you take it. And run with it.

So, it stands to reason I was not the only one hopping on the bike and heading off for a morning of cycling today. Fact is, as I was heading down my driveway, I saw a guy on an extremely fast S-Works mountain bike - with loads of shock absorbers on every angle of that bike's lithe frame - go flying past on my paved road. Before I could blink he was 1/4 mile up the road, pedaling like he'd had 5 Red Bulls to drink for breakfast. He went up our hill at about 70mph, and had hit the gravel road on the other side before I'd gotten 100 yards down the road.

And that's the last I saw of him and his speedy bike. All that were left were the tire tracks in the gravel road bed. I simply shook my head and settled the LaFree into a nice pace. I had 30 miles on my agenda, and a beautiful day to ride the distance, and I refused to be hurried. It was a day to be enjoyed, not rushed, and I had the perfect route to do just that.


I headed north, more into @jabberwocky's territory (I fully expected to see him out today, but must have just missed him), with a mixture of paved and gravel roads. It was a chance to see some old familiar roads from a new angle (via a bike), and to decide if I wanted to make this route a one-off, or a routine.

The first 5 1/2 miles were uncomplicated secondary paved roads. Quiet, peaceful, relaxed. Roads my Vado would have loved. The LaFree was certainly enjoying them, but its interest ramped up as we turned onto a beautiful gravel road, named Hibbs Bridge Road, that took us through a deep, heavily shaded woodland, following the natural terrain as it dipped down to keep company with the clear, happily running waters of a woodland creek, then rose again to check out the views barely visible through the intense grouping of trees.


Along this route I happened to see a lady walking a very lovely large black dog along the road. I, of course, had to stop and ask "Giant Schnauzer or Bouvier des Flanders?" My first guest was right she said, but I was surprised when she looked point blank at me and said "I know you". It took me a moment to realize she looked slightly familiar, and with a bit of back and forth info shared, I remembered she had been a boarder at a neighbor's barn down at the end of my road a few years back. We stood and enjoyed catching up on our lives for quite some time until an approaching car, that had come to a halt to politely wait until we yielded our command of the middle of the road, helped conclude our animated conversation. We said our goodbyes as she continued her walk with her dog, the car graciously passed by, and I continued on my way towards some very familiar old roads.


The lovely gravel road ended at a busy paved road full of cyclists, and the random car now and then, but I was only going to use it for a moment to turn onto a paved route that I used to travel every Tuesday and Saturday for many years with my truck and horse trailer decades ago. This was prime foxhunting country up to 10 years ago, with vast open farm fields and wonderful woodlands full of streams and pathways. But now the 500 acres of woods and fields had been claimed by fences, and the open paths we used to ride were closed off as private property, no admittance. A massive 15,000 sq foot mansion had been built in the middle of one of the high fields where we used to sit quietly on our horses, huddled in our thick wool coats, heads bowed against the cold of winter, ears listening to the hounds sing in the fields across the distance and along the creek beds in the woods.

The wild woods had been tamed, the entry had been gated with a full time guard, and three helicopter pads now claimed a former wild berry patch that had been the smorgasbord for the local wildlife including black bears, foxes, and assorted other inhabitants. I still remember the day when one of the hunt staff whips excitedly told us afterwards about seeing a bear amble past her, the critter not even noticing she was there. Her horse certainly saw the bear, however, and she laughed as she described how she felt him rise up a few inches in height as the bear passed, but never moved an inch from his spot.

So many years of good friends, wonderful hunts, cold frosty mornings following a pack of beautiful hounds, hours spent sitting or galloping across fields and through woods and splashing through ice covered creeks on agile, trustworthy horses, and hours listening to the chorus of PennMaryDel hound music echoing over a pristine rural countryside that now only echoed with the noise of helicopters and cocktail parties around the pool.

I wonder if they left any berry patches for the bears...

The paved road hadn't changed, however, and so the old familiar bends and turns of the pavement as it slipped past the old hunt fields felt like a dear friend traveling north with me towards an old town with a very historic past. I wasn't alone with my thoughts as I shared the road with two other cyclists traveling my direction - a lady and a gentleman. We exchanged pleasantries as we passed each other the first time, and a second time when I passed them on a hill (naturally), and then a third time when I stopped to take a picture and they took the lead, and then a fourth time when I passed them (yet again) on a uphill. I slowed to talk to them at the fourth pass for a few seconds to ask where they were going, and to share where I was going. It was so nice to see such big smiles on both as they were clearly enjoying their ride and the stunning day.

At the town my route, now at 16 miles, started my journey back towards home and we waved our goodbyes as they continued towards home in the major town a few miles ahead.

The paved road soon tired of being civilized and shrugged off the blacktop to breathe as a gravel road. Once again the rural landscape took ownership of the land with tractors and trucks being parked in the front of houses rather than cars. Hayfields dotted the byway, many already festooned with a plethoria of freshly baled big hayrolls ready to be picked up and transported somewhere where there was cattle to be fed.


At times the woods and streams moved back in to take possession of the edges of the gravel road, and sometimes to take possession of the road itself. The amount of windfall trees and flooding from the past storms only a few days ago had been promptly, and quite efficiently, cleaned up by our cadre of VDOT (Virginia Dept of Transportation) workers, so the roads remained passable with no detours required, despite the road signs which, apparently, had been either forgotten or left in place for the next flooding, which, given June weather in Virginia, was (if you'll pardon the whimsical use of grammar) a given.

I had just come to the end of the latest gravel road when I chanced across another cyclist at the Philomont store. He lamented that the store was closed on Sunday, and I asked if he needed anything- water, snacks, a banana, a pickle. I told him I packed everything, and reached back to pat my panniers fondly. He laughed, and assured me he was fine. He smiled at my bike and said that I had probably been riding the gravel roads judging from the direction I had come. I admitted I had, and said I was debating going straight on the gravel road across the street that lead to the creek crossing through the water, or taking the alternate gravel road instead, and keeping my shoes dry. He was on a very sleek road bike that would have probably fainted had he asked it to "do" a gravel road, so he was planning to take the paved road route back into Leesburg where he had started, although he wasn't quite looking forward to some of the big rolling hills he would meet right off the bat. We chatted a few more minutes, then said our goodbyes, he heading off on the no-nonsense paved roads while I chose the alternate dry gravel road where my feet would remain dry for the duration of the ride.


The views on this stretch of gravel roads was definitely designed for a camera, so I stopped to take a few shots just as a guy in a mountain bike zipped past. I didn't bother to do more than glance at him, concentrating instead on picking the best vantage point for my photos. Mission accomplished, I hopped back on the LaFree and casually headed down the road, not expecting to find myself catching up with the zippy mountain bike rider as he was powering up a hill. He was just chugging a drink as I quietly announced myself on his left. I apparently startled him because he told me I did! (LOL!). We exchanged pleasantries, and then he took off down the other side of the hill so fast he left a raised cloud of dust in his wake. I was amazed at his bravery to slalom down that hill as I clenched both of my brakes to keep my bike at a steady, slower pace. It was clear, a mile later, that we were following the same route as we leapfrogged a few times until we settled (or rather I settled) into a pace that kept us side by side. As we talked I was amused to see my pedal stroke similar to one employed on a flat going, while he spun much quicker and got out of his saddle at every hill. Then again, as he explained, he had teenagers at home who were "probably just rolling out of bed about now" (it was already well past noon) and so he was hurrying to get his ride in and be home at a reasonable time. For the most part his wife usually rode with him, he said, but she had errands to run today, and he didn't want to miss a ride on such a nice day. He was highly impressed with my bike's ability to climb hills, and he really liked the carbon belt drive. I asked him how in the world did he manage to fly down hills like he did, and he explained his philosophy which, not surprisingly, was that of your classic 30something "I am immortal" daring-do. We did both agree that the gravel roads were a treasure, and he hoped they would remain that way forever.

We enjoyed each other's company until we finally came to a parting of the ways approximately 4 miles from my house. He was now headed back towards home in Purcellville, and would be taking some of my regular gravel roads, including one that would pass right by my house. I, on the other hand, had planned to go just a touch further, and so we said our goodbyes. Such a nice guy - hopefully he had a great ride home.


The final 8 miles home were quietly ridden, simply enjoying the tree shaded gravel roads and the views they offered, and then the paved roads for the final sprint home. 33 miles and 3 hours later I was back on my driveway, heading up towards the house where my hubby stood, in the middle of the driveway, of course, staring straight up at a huge broken limb, hung up and held in place by two other limbs, in the big old willow tree next to the driveway in one of the pastures.

He called for me to stop and look up at the tree with him. I obliged, and the two of us stared upwards at the broken limb while he ran through a number of scenarios of how he could remove that limb before it fell. I casually pointed out, in a wifely way, that common physics would cause all his scenarios to not work, so he was best just to leave it alone and let the wind blow it down, if that ever happened. The way it was wedged so tightly in place it probably would end up staying in that tree for the next 20 years. He thought about it, finally agreed, and we headed up to the garage together, discussing the day and what time I wanted him to start cooking the ribs for dinner. I gave him a time, and that just made his day.

It's the small pleasures in life, like cooking ribs and riding a bike around a beautiful countryside and meeting friendly people, that really make any day that much more special.


Oh, and the route? Definitely going in my book of regular favorites.
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David Berry

Well-Known Member
How many grams is your camera? I consider buying a compact camera with a super-zoom lens and these tend to weigh almost as much as a DSLR.
My compact camera (including battery) has an advertised weight of 735 grams. Add 50–60 grams to that for lens cap, lens hood, protective filter, SD card and a strap.

It fits nicely in the camera insert for an Ortlieb Ulitmate6 Pro handlebar bag.

A super-zoom camera seems like a good choice. On occasions, I would like to use something other than a fixed wide-angle lens.
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
David, all my questions have become irrelevant now! I was considering a handlebar bag but my Vado has a huge headlight mounted on the stem, so any handlebar bag could not be used.

I've just ordered the Sony RX100 Mark VII camera with the LCJRXKB jacket case/strap for the camera series. It is a 1" sensor camera with the zoom lens equivalent to 24-200 mm and of f/2.8-4.5. The camera with the battery and SD card weighs just 302 grammes! That's the paper-weight of the cameras! (Yes, it's rather pricey). I will be able to carry the camera on my neck for the whole day without even feeling it! To compare, my pocket small-sensor Fujifilm X30 camera weighs over 100 grammes more than the RX100 Mark 7!

I will show same sample pictures when I have got the camera.


Active Member
I headed north, more into @jabberwocky's territory (I fully expected to see him out today, but must have just missed him), with a mixture of paved and gravel roads. It was a chance to see some old familiar roads from a new angle (via a bike), and to decide if I wanted to make this route a one-off, or a routine.
The better half and I got out and did a short ride out of Philomont yesterday. So we were in your part of the county while you were exploring up towards Leesburg. :) I've been slammed with work this week and spent most of the weekend at the computer. I'm hoping to get out later today, but it will depend on how quickly I get this design off my desk and over to the client.

Oh, and the route? Definitely going in my book of regular favorites.
Looks like you went out Lincoln Rd, and back by Telegraph Springs. If you're in that area again, instead of Lincoln Rd, try taking Fork Rd a little further and take Shelburne Glebe to Oakland Green. Both gravel and super pretty.

Love that little loop around Beaverdam. Beaverdam Bridge Rd, Leith Ln and Hibbs Bridge are some of my favorite roads in Loudoun.