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Bicycle Club Banks-Vernonia Trail Ride
Bicycle Club Banks-Vernonia Trail Ride

The Delphian School Bicycle Club attacked the Banks-Vernonia Trail and I'll let you decide who won.

Our plan was to bike the majority of the paved 21 mile trail from the small town of Banks to Vernonia. This trail used to be a railroad line and it has been converted into a very nice paved hiking and biking trail. Bicycling Magazine put out a story of the top 10 Car Free Bike Paths in America and the Banks-Vernonia Trail was on their list.

The young lads took off like the hare in the Tortoise and the Hare story. I played the part of the tortoise and came trundling up behind them. At one point the trail has to drop down to a road because the railroad bridge that used to go over the road was in such bad shape it was torn down. So the trail makes a steep descent to the road via several switchbacks. But our hares, not noticing the sign that said, "Steep Grade. Walk Your Bikes," encountered a 90 degree left hand turn while still going at hare-like speeds. Charley, the lead hare, went straight ahead and ended up about 30 feet deep in the bushes, next to the tree we christened, "Charley's Tree."

In the above photo, you can't really see Chaley as he is way off the road. But you can see David, in the yellow jacket, inspecting his arm. David, another hare, was unable to stop when the hares in front of him stopped and decided to have a go at the asphalt. The result is David inspecting the road rash given him by, "David's Asphalt."

Ah, there's Charley!

He was fine, just a couple of scrapes and a great story to tell. His bike was fine also but the main calamity that had befallen Charley was he lost his phone. Yee Gads!

But the search was on and scrapes be damned, we've got to find the phone!

Locating apps were tried but alas no cell service. What to do?

Continued searching and poking through the undergrowth resulted in:

Success, Charley found his phone!

Bikes were straightened up, scrapes were talked about and admired, new holes in jerseys were found and the war stories of old crashes were bantered about along with showing off the old scars.

But we had miles to go before we sleep! So off the hares went again.

Our two slightly damaged hares, Charley and David, all of a sudden decided to enjoy the company of the tortoise at the back. For a few miles we still had hares out front but we also had Charley, David and me bring up the rear as the Official Tortoises. Ah, a good slide down a hill towards a cliff will turn you from a hare to a tortoise in no time at all.

The turnaround at Vernonia came and went with little fanfare. We arrived back at the bus in time to fix a flat on Mary's bike and then we rode for our lunch break at the Blue Jay's Family Restaurant. We collected Paula on the way who was enjoying the scenery and was trying to figure out the Cricket match that was going on by the trail.

At the restaurant, we discovered that our hares had worked up a remarkable appetite as all but one ordered THREE complete meals, and ATE EVERY BIT!

The hares declined the tortoises' invitation to ride the 5 miles back to collect the bus, instead opting to stay and eat more food.

Here are a couple of photos of one of the train trestles we rode over.

All in all they rode 35 miles which was the longest all but one had ridden in one day. Plus they rode through beautiful scenery, had a great crash with admirable road rash and got to eat a ton of food! A good time was had by all.

Scott Gregory

The Official Tortoise