Sometimes You Have to “Settle” for a Ride to Cold Spring

Having missed Saturday’s ride to the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills, I took a day off on Thursday to make up the ride. There were two complications. First, the earliest weekday off-peak train for Poughkeepsie leaves at 9:44. That’s two hours later than the first weekend bike train and under the best of circumstances I wouldn’t start pedalling until well after 11:00 AM. I had resigned to getting a late start and finishing sometime in the evening. That was fine since I kept the whole day free so I could ride, but something happened on Wednesday.

My weeknight softball team, the Ramblers, had to play a third game in our league’s semi-finals. We had split the first two games of the series on Wednesday and we had to play the third and deciding game on Thursday. I had to come back by 7:00 to play in that game. Riding to Ashokan would have been out of the question.

Instead of taking two trains and riding nearly eighty miles in the Catskills, I rode to Cold Spring via the tried-and-true Bike Route 9. I would have to take the 4:19 train from Cold Spring to make it back to New York by 6:00 and the 7:00 game.

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In all, it was a tad over sixty miles to Cold Spring. I had planned on riding through Harriman State Park but I was concerned about having enough time so I opted for a more direct path along Bike Route 9. I had never taken this route past Rockland State Park so it was a new experience for me.

The route is clearly marked and with signs so it’s easy to follow. However, there was one place where the route appears to disappear. Between Tompkins Grove and Iona Island, the path directs you off US-9W to a lightly travelled road. But the road ends.

I backtracked a mile to the bike route’s junction with 9W and continued north along US-9W/US-202. A good deal of this route was uphill but nothing overwhelming. There were some nice views and a nice downhill after the climb. About three miles later, I was reunited with Bike Route 9, and I continued through Bear Mountain State Park and across the Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River and on to Putnam county.

As I did when I rode to Cold Spring in July, I ended the day at Whistling Willie’s on Main Street. I could have made the 3:21 train but opted for a burger and a beer. The food and drinks are great after a ride, and better than the Depot, but the staff is a bit cold. “Good Food. Fresh Service,” as Ed Debevic’s used to boast.

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