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  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    Team Clydesdale Rides The Pennsylvania Turnpike!

    Well, at least the abandoned portion. Sunday, May 31, the members of Team Clydesdale (Bautieri, vXhanz, and The Historian) will join a group of other Bike Forums posters and ride a stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was bypassed and abandoned in the late 1960s. The 8.5 mile stretch of crumbling concrete includes two miles of tunnels, one 0.7 miles long, the other 1.3.

    Details in this thread: Abandoned Pa Turnpike

    The 'trail' website is pike2bike.org.

    The ride begins at 1:00 PM. Anyone is welcome to join the group. Bring a bike capable of handling rough pavement - this road hasn't been surfaced in 4 decades - and lots of lighting for the tunnels, since they are unlit.

  2. #2
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I'm there as well, bringing Mrs. neilfein along. Let's get some more C/A representation!
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    The day began for Team Whatever - the former Team Clydesdale - with the Harrisburg Bicycle Club's Sunday Social ride, a ten or so mile no-drop ramble. Bautieri and The Historian rode to the starting place on City Island, in the middle of the Susquahanna River, while vXhanz drove a van. There was a good crowd of riders of all ages and skill levels:



    The ride leader took the group through some suburban areas on the West Shore, crossing back to Harrisburg proper for breakfast at Alva's, an old fashioned diner.



    Once fed, the team members saddled up to head back to City Island to drive out to the Abandoned Turnpike. Bau and vXhanz unlock at a historic site in Pennsylvania's capital.



    The team was led by "MikeR", a Bike Forums poster and organizer of the Bike Forums meet-up at the Abandoned Turnpike. Before we left for the long drive to Fulton county, we took a ride around the Harrisburg Senators ballpark and rode on a concrete beach:



    MikeR and vXhanz:



    Then it was a long, long drive to Fulton County. The directions weren't clear, and some poor decisions were made. The worst instance was a wrong turn just before the trailhead, which led four cars down a narrow fire road to a dead end:



    More to come....

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Entrance to the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike.



    Keep this in mind the next time someone uses the phrase "ten miles of bad road" to describe ugliness:



    Photos of the Bike Forums contingent. You can pick out Machin Shin, MikeR, Jagraham, Neilfein and Mr.s Neifein, Bautieri, vXhanz, Zoste, and other folks in these photos:







    And at five minutes past one, they were off.



    Each rider or group rode at their own pace. The roadway was very rough in spots, and the riders often had to pick their way through patches of crumbling asphalt. Also, the highway wasn't flat, so there was a grade at times of 3-4 percent.

    More to come....

  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    The longest of the two tunnels was one mile from the ride start, and more than a mile long. While the road surface was generally smooth, there was some debris to avoid, and at one point gushing water from a broken drainage conduit. Also, the air in the tunnel was about 15 degrees colder than outside, and a mist forms mid-tunnel.



    In they go!



    Neilfein emerges from the first tunnel...



    ... followed by Mrs. Neilfein.



    Roark, The Historian's bike, inside the first tunnel:



    The service areas of the tunnel were open, so a few hardy souls went in:





    On the second floor someone found a mummified rat:



    And the road stretches on.....


  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Zoste and another poster emerging from the first tunnel on the return leg of the ride. They were whistling a tune from some Western while riding in the echo-full tunnel.



    We made it!



    Post ride celebration 'catered' by MikeR and Zoste. The former brought the watermelon, and latter the bananas.


  7. #7
    The Brave Descender High Fist Shin's Avatar
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    Great post! Great pictures! And it was great to meet you all. I'm looking forward to my next ride in the tunnels.

  8. #8
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machin Shin View Post
    Great post! Great pictures! And it was great to meet you all. I'm looking forward to my next ride in the tunnels.
    Agreed on all counts! An absolutely excellent day.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  9. #9
    Senior Member FrederickH's Avatar
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    What would be fun, next time, would be to ride inside and on the false ceiling of the tunnel. For those of you who didn't make the climb up inside of the ends of the tunnel, there is a suspended roof (the ceiling) above the roadway. Inset into this ceiling are supporting rods, holes for light fixtures, and slots for air intake. This area is where two massive blowers would suck out the air from inside of the roadway tunnel. Darn...... we should have taken photos of this. Next time we will. Any takers for a ride INSIDE OF INSIDE next time???

  10. #10
    The Brave Descender High Fist Shin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Zoste and another poster emerging from the first tunnel on the return leg of the ride. They were whistling a tune from some Western while riding in the echo-full tunnel.

    That was me whistling the theme from "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." One of my favorite Clint Eastwood westerns. Somehow it just seemed appropriate.

  11. #11
    I'm Rad. vXhanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrederickH View Post
    What would be fun, next time, would be to ride inside and on the false ceiling of the tunnel. For those of you who didn't make the climb up inside of the ends of the tunnel, there is a suspended roof (the ceiling) above the roadway. Inset into this ceiling are supporting rods, holes for light fixtures, and slots for air intake. This area is where two massive blowers would suck out the air from inside of the roadway tunnel. Darn...... we should have taken photos of this. Next time we will. Any takers for a ride INSIDE OF INSIDE next time???
    I wouldn't mind doing that, I think it would be fun to be honest with you. It "may" be better to scout it out on foot first though to see if that concrete is still up to muster and if there are any glaring cracks, etc. Granted... if you're going fast enough you would "hopefully" get across the colapse fast enough vs. walking and falling through

    I wouldn't mind doing it though

    V

  12. #12
    creaky old bones FZ1Tom's Avatar
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    Those pics rock! I didn't see any mention of lights though - did you guys have any lights on your bike, or could you actually somehow see well enough to not hit the curb or walls, or was it just blind faith and the light at the end?

    I happened to drive the PA Turnpike just last March...the mainline tunnels, of course. Nice drive, the tunnels are showing their age though (lots of spalling and missing tiles). If I somehow ever end up that way again I know where to go lookin' for trouble, thanks to y'all

    Tom

  13. #13
    I'm Rad. vXhanz's Avatar
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    We all had lights of some form or another... it would be very difficult to get through the tunnels otherwise. There is still a lot of stuff on the ground from tiles, gloves, boots, etc.

    V

  14. #14
    creaky old bones FZ1Tom's Avatar
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    Oops, my bad. I didn't look at the images close enough. Saw a few lights. Kinda figured there had to be something - my local MUP's have some underpasses beneath wide city streets and if the lighting or the sun isn't right, it can be quite dark for a moment. Also a tad dicey as they're at the bottom of quick drops and if another cyclist issues out of the darkness at just the wrong moment or there's some pedestrians not paying attention there's disaster potential.

    Tom

  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post
    Those pics rock! I didn't see any mention of lights though - did you guys have any lights on your bike, or could you actually somehow see well enough to not hit the curb or walls, or was it just blind faith and the light at the end?

    I happened to drive the PA Turnpike just last March...the mainline tunnels, of course. Nice drive, the tunnels are showing their age though (lots of spalling and missing tiles). If I somehow ever end up that way again I know where to go lookin' for trouble, thanks to y'all

    Tom
    The Abandoned Turnpike is in Fulton County, a few miles from the Fort Littleton exit. The tunnels are unlit. I think everyone brought lights aside from the fellow who rode with Zoste.

    And as always, if you are in the Eastern part of the state, let me know so I can arrange a ride.

  16. #16
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    The Abandoned Turnpike is in Fulton County, a few miles from the Fort Littleton exit. The tunnels are unlit. I think everyone brought lights aside from the fellow who rode with Zoste.

    And as always, if you are in the Eastern part of the state, let me know so I can arrange a ride.
    It's hard to tell from that picture, but my brother's bike actually did have a NightRider UltraFazer 5. That light really was more to be seen than to see, though. And those tunnels, especially the long one, were pitch black. The only experience I can compare it to was when the guide turned off the lights in Carlsbad Cavern: you literally could not see your hand in front of your face. Without lights, the only way through would be walking with one hand on the bike and the other feeling along the wall.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoste View Post
    It's hard to tell from that picture, but my brother's bike actually did have a NightRider UltraFazer 5. That light really was more to be seen than to see, though. And those tunnels, especially the long one, were pitch black. The only experience I can compare it to was when the guide turned off the lights in Carlsbad Cavern: you literally could not see your hand in front of your face. Without lights, the only way through would be walking with one hand on the bike and the other feeling along the wall.
    Sorry, my mistake.

    And yes, the tunnels were very dark. I neglected to fully charge my headlamp, and so I had to get through the tunnels on my helmet light and a prayer. I kept on a straight line following your taillights through the first tunnel.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    A couple more photos:



    Jagraham, Neilfein and Mrs. outside the first tunnel. Note the gorgeous scenery - this is in PA's mountain country.

    Another photo in the first tunnel:



    Barrier at the end of the Fulton County parking area. Just over the fence and hill the Abandoned Turnpike segment isn't in fact abandoned - PENDOT uses it as a storage and access area.


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