Down Life’s Crazy Road: Trails and tales
By John Pozza
Last time, I wrote about my planned round trip bike ride in late October from Kane to Warren and back through the Allegheny National Forest and Kinzua Recreation Area.
Turns out the overnight ride was cancelled as it rained the day of the return trip from Warren back to Kane. But while it temporarily put those plans on hold, it allowed me the opportunity to take a closer look at the planned routes I was to take. I did this by taking a day trip last month by car.
In a way, I was fortunate my plans were cancelled because the roads I planned to ride the first day from Kane to Warren were not what I had expected. They were downright dangerous.
Specifically, both routes 321 and 59 had little to no shoulder to ride on. That meant any motor vehicle passing me from behind would be much too close for comfort. Even though Pennsylvania motor vehicle law requires passing vehicles to leave a minimum 4-1/2 feet between the motor vehicle and the bicyclist, that would have been nearly impossible on these roads. Even on wider roads with wider shoulders, some motorists fail to adhere to that law.
In retrospect, even though I’d be missing many scenic points along the Allegheny River and reservoir, the better and safer route to Warren is taking Scenic Route 6 the entire way. This was the route I was planning to take on my return. It goes through the towns of Clarendon, Tiona, Sheffield and Ludlow. And while it doesn’t pass by some places I wanted to see, Route 6 in this area provides a much more generous road shoulder.
I have written numerous columns over the past few months on some of my favorite bike routes both within and outside the PA Wilds region. Some involve all road riding, others are off road on rails-to-trails, and some involve a combination of the two.
My 20 favorite combined road and trail bike rides in northwest Pennsylvania listed in alphabetic order, not necessarily by preference, include:
• Allegheny River Trail in Foxburg, Emlenton and Franklin;
• Ammerman Trail in Clearfield, Curwensville and Grampian;
• Armstrong Trail in East Brady, Kittanning and Ford City;
• Butler-Freeport Trail;
• Clarion-Little Toby Trail in Brockway and Ridgway;
• Ghost Town Trail in Ebensburg and Blacklick;
• Justus Trail in Franklin and Oil City;
• Kinzua Valley Trail in Westline;
• Mahoning Shadow Trail in Punxsutawney;
• Moraine State Park Trail along Lake Arthur near Prospect and Portersville;
• Mount Jewett to Kinzua Bridge Trail;
• Oil Creek State Park Trail in Petroleum Center and Titusville;
• Oliver Trail along Lake Wilhelm at Goddard State Park near Sandy Lake;
• Pine Creek Rail Trail in Wellsboro and Snow Shoe;
• Presque Isle State Park Trail in Erie;
• Queen City Trail in Titusville;
• Rail 66 Trail in Marianne, Lucinda, Leeper, Vowinckel and Marienville;
• Redbank Valley Trail in Brookville, Summerville, New Bethlehem and Lawsonham;
• Sandy Creek Trail in Van and Belmar;
• Sligo Spur Trail in Lawsonham and Rimersburg.
Although some of these trails are outside the PA Wilds, you’ll notice that many of my favorite trails are within the PA Wilds landscape.
If you’ve ridden a favorite bike route or trail I may not know about or haven’t tried, let me know about it so I can try it and write about it in a future column. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Family biking on the Pine Creek Rail Trail, photo by Allison Schanbacher
About the author: John Pozza
John Pozza, of Brookville, is an early childhood education advocate and veteran broadcast journalist. He retired from the Region 1 Early Learning Resource Center based at the Northwest Institute of Research (NWIR) in Erie in 2020, but keeps active as a regular columnist for the Brookville, Brockway and Clarion Mirror, and as a contributing writer for Watershed Books in Brookville, which helped publish his memoir, “Was Anybody Really Listening,” available on Amazon, and his newly released “Conversations on The Neighborhood” on the legacy of Fred Rogers. He also hosts the NWIR Quality Early Learning Show podcast on Soundcloud. John and his wife Lisa live in Brookville with their three cats, Rusty, Ginger and Buttercup. They have a son Matt, a US Navy veteran, who is a graduate of the Claude Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University and practicing attorney in Jacksonville, Florida.
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