FLCC Gravel Ride 5/18, Braley Hill, 6:00pm

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Rob Joyce

May 16, 2023, 11:29:12 AM5/16/23
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Hi all — Andy is unavailable this week, so John Dennis and I are leading the group gravel ride.  This week’s route is a notch more “gravel” than last week’s, but still relatively short.  There are a couple places where folks can opt for easier / less technical options if they want.  And Leonard Road is back on the menu!

Details:- Time: Thursday, May 18, 6:00pm- Location: Shindagin MTB trailhead on Braley Hill Road, https://goo.gl/maps/FByWMVypByA9pEJD8- Route: Braley > Hurd > South Road > Downey > Leonard, 13.4 mi, +/- 1,362 ft: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42898019
The route starts with a long, gradual descent and flats to warm up, followed by a spicy climb up Hurd Hill Road.  We then return to ground level via the (newly re-graded!) Downey Road, followed by the crowd-favorite climb, Leonard Road, meandering back to the parking lot.
Travel notes:- Valley Road in Brooktondale is supposed to be closed for most of the summer between White Church Road and Boiceville Road.  If that’s your route in, you’ll have to take 79 to Boiceville. Don’t let your GPS guide you toward driving on Bald Hill School Road, unless you really know what you’re doing.- John Dennis has offered to carpool with one or two other riders+bikes from the East Hill Plaza parking lot.  He’ll leave the lot around 5:10pm.  Coordinate with him by e-mail (johnv...@gmail.com) in advance if you’re interested.
See you there!_Rob

Rob Joyce

May 16, 2023, 11:33:46 AM5/16/23
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(This time, with proper formatting!)

John Dennis

May 20, 2023, 10:13:10 PM5/20/23
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Hey Everyone, 


Thursday's gravel ride went off without a hitch as they say.  Thanks to Rob Joyce for posting and leading the ride.


Rob gave a good briefing at the start noting where ruts and loose gravel might be expected including the steep downhill on Downey that was recently regraded.  We had a robust turnout:  (apologies for any misspellings or misnamings)


Jim van Leer

Andy Krainer

Katie Moring

Craig Biel

John Dennis

Ted Caldwell

Rob Joyce

Bryan Boynton

Scott Moore

Susan K.

Jack Rueckheim

Rich Wayman


Katie was on a new Salsa Cutthroat, a bike that is a cross between gravel and mountain.  Thanks, Katie for your group photo.


The streams were more or less without water compared to two weeks ago when they were flowing freely.  The dirt road sections were dusty.  I hope the insides of our lungs were not as dust-covered as my Salsa Warbird was following the ride. 


The lawn by the house just before the left turn onto Leonard Road is no longer being cut by a robotic lawnmower (sometimes these devices go walk-about.)


Hurd Hill Road and Leonard were our two challenging climbs.  Everyone waited for the group to coalesce at the end of Braley Hill, at the end of Hurd Hill, at the turn onto Downey, at the bottom of Downey and at the top of Leonard.  At the bottom of Downey, we happened to meet Katherine who was riding Njóla which means “night” in Old Norse. Perhaps Njóla is an Icelandic horse as she was smaller than most horses but larger than a pony. In any case, she knawed on my outstretched hand and might have drawn blood except for the protection from my bike glove; she then gave a playful chomp on my right brake covering. Katherine is probably the first horseback rider we have met at Shindagin and luckily it wasn’t as the group was in a tear halfway down Downey.



It was near the top of Downey that we stopped for a group photo. In the one Katie took, I am on the far left, Jim is in the white jersey & white helmet, Rob is in the center with the blue and pink jersey, Andy is just visible behind Jim, Rich is in the dark red jersey at left rear, Jack in blue, is poised modestly in the very far rear to the left of Susan who is standing with her rearing bike in a ditch beside the seasonal roadway sign.  Bryan--riding the only bike with aerobars--is on the far right with grey tee-shirt and yellow helmet. That leaves Scott, Ted and Craig to fight over the remaining three characters!



In my not-so-in-focus photo of the group, Katie is center front in yellow jersey and the bag on the front of her Warbird looks like it might have been made by Andy, who is in the camo-green shirt at the left rear.  He makes amazing bags tailor fit to any bike. Jack is far right front this time and Rich far left. 


Jack heard a Yellow Warbler at some point in the ride, but otherwise the birds were skittish. 


Vinca minor


Plant-wise, I saw one patch of Japanese Knotweed that had already been knocked back by a DOT mower.  Patches of blue-flowered Forget-me-nots were common. Garlic Mustard was in bloom as was one exquisite patch of white Trillium that was near the crest of the hill on Bald Hill Road just before the descent down to Braley Hill Road. There were also copious patches of Lesser Periwinkle (Vinca minor) in bloom along some road shoulders such as the intersection of Leonard and Ball Hill.  It’s a plant native to central and southern Europe and I believe its presence in rural NY may be due to a practice of planting it at grave sites.  Byran identified a pink flower as a wild geranium. I had stopped to botanize on Bald Hill Road, so thanks Bryan for circling back to sweep me back up-:) 

That’s about it.  

Not sure how long Valley Road out of Brooktondale will be closed for but if you happen to come that way and find it blocked you can take the last remaining right onto Burns Road and get back to 115/Valley Road that way.


Ride safe everyone,



Cell: 1-607-227-5172



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