18 February 2012

Powder coating and Lagonda Trail

Saturday, 18 February 2012

This morning, I headed off early to Links & Kinks, my most trusted bike shop in the Dayton area, to leave my Lotus Legend for a refinishing. Brian does powder coating, which is a clean process for single-color finishes. A long, long time ago, I sent the same bike to an Indiana company for a beautifully done repaint to a metallic blue as a primary color with a pink forequarter that dripped into the blue. But the pink had faded over the years to whites and several serious chips had allowed a bit of rust to develop at the bottom bracket, chain stays, and downtube. So it's time for a refinish, after about 18 years.

Back in 1984, the refinish had cost over $150, including the breakdown by my local bike shop, shipping, refinishing, and rebuilding. Brian quoted a much lower cost, about half of that cost.

Brian's shop is at the north end of Fairborn, on Broad Street (Highway 444) about a block north of the intersection with Maple Avenue and a quarter mile north of the intersection with Central Avenue (Highway 235). Since I had this errand, I brought my mountain bike with me, and headed on to explore either John Bryan Park outside of Yellow Springs or the LORT (Lagonda Trail off Miracle Mile) in Springfield. John Bryan was closed, and I talked with a park ranger for a short bit, to ask about the trails in Springfield. It turned out he knew only about the paved bikeways, and he told me horror stories about shootings on the path from high vantage points. (Man, I hope that is just his paranoia as a uniformed officer.)

I drove on to Springfield, and found the trail after some unsure driving through town. I took the slowest way possible, off Highway 68 through residential areas to eventually end up on Limestone Street, which I took to connect to Highway 4 just to the east of downtown.

Note: The Lagonda Trail is closed to mountain bikes as of Fall 2012.
The better way from Yellow Springs is to take Highway 68 north until it becomes a freeway, then take the exit for Ohio 41 and go across town. From Dayton, take I-70 east to the Highway 4-Business I-70 into Springfield, then take Highway 68 north, and the exit for Ohio 41. From this exit, go east as the street becomes West First Street; turn right at a T-intersection with St. Paris Street, and follow this around a turn to the east to become McCreight Avenue, continue on this street at its name change to Mitchell Boulevard, and 3 miles from Highway 68, turn left on Miracle Mile. Take the first left onto a gravel road at a sign for WIZE radio 1520, and park at the out building on the left.

I had a hard time finding the parking for the trailhead, as I expected to see well-developed facilities. Hmm, too ready to expect everything is absolutely ready for the crowds of mountain bikers, I guess. The north trailhead needs about $25K from a generous benefactor before it can offer parking, and the south trailhead has room only for a few cars parked closely together.

The trail is suitable for beginner to intermediate riders, though the first 150 yards from the south trailhead offer a sudden jump into the complexities the trail offers a rider. The trail is still in development, though it has come a long way from wilderness, thanks to diligent work from Diana Daniels and others. The trails are discernible with the exception of perhaps 50 feet in the middle of the course. The way is marked very frequently with pink ties around trees on alternating sides of the path. The path is generally free of obstructions, though a few 4- through 8-inch timber cross the path occasionally. All timber is hop-able, and many quick dips and rises make a fun ride without being a huge challenge.

The middle of the course has several flatter sections, particularly as the forest gives way to meadow. Some natural obstacles added in this area could keep the path interesting and form a skills development area. There are two or more natural pools that the trail comes near, and sometimes the trail may be pretty muddy in these sections. So, until the trail becomes more developed, expect not to wear your Sunday Best on the trail ... as if we're afraid of mud!

Diana Daniels, indefatigable trail minder
When I parked, a woman was pulling tools from her Rav4. I asked whether the trails were rideable, and she was emphatic about the need to ride them, even through the soupy spots. She mentioned that she had been working on several stumps, and I asked, "So are you Diana?" Yes, it was the indefatigable Ms. Daniels herself, out again to bring more of the trail into shape.

I'm usually a more timid rider, wary of slipping on wet trails and worried that I might leave ruts. Had I been alone at the trailhead, I would have turned around and waited for a dryer course. But Diana insisted I ride, so my tracks could show her where the better lines were, and how corners can be made crisper or slower. So I encourage you, when other trails around Dayton are closed, go to Lagonda to have some muddy fun.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 43 to 45°F at 12:00 noon
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm 
Clothing: Skinsuit, longsleeve undershirt, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Mongoose MGX-D40 trail
Time: 00:40:39 for 3.02 miles
Heart rate: 142 bpm HRave, 157 bpm HRmax
Trail users: 1 trail worker
Playback of the ride

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