One of our favorite 911 bike trips is a 32-mile circuit featuring a thrilling 6.5-mile run down a twisting highway through Frankfort Gorge. August 29 provided perfect biking weather with low humidity, cool temperatures and bright sunshine. The easy ride down the gorge must be earned by peddling up three long, steep hills.
We started from the Hannaford parking lot in Washington Mills and after a short bit on Oneida Street immediately turned into Mallory Road and began a never-ending three-mile ascent of 680 feet. We paused at the intersection with Graffenburg Road to catch our breaths and admire a panoramic view to the south. I am a slow biker and by the time I catch up with the group they are ready to move on. This makes it difficult to take all the pictures I would like.
From here we had a very pleasant two-mile peddle through rolling country side before reaching the entrance to the gorge. This 900-foot drop between towering cliffs of black shale is one of the most pleasant downhill rides I have experienced. Our speed stayed between 20 and 22 MPH without applying brakes as we leaned around the sinuous curves. Every time we thought that we had arrived in Frankfort another turn and another hill prolonged the pleasure. On a cool day all of this easy riding can bring on a chill. I remember doing this ride in the rain a couple years ago and almost suffering from hypothermia.
Finally we arrived in the Mohawk Valley and made our way to the Frankfort Marina, a little known gem of a harbor for canal yachts complete with a picnic pavilion and a little restaurant, a perfect place to stop for lunch. Sue Williams suffered a flat tire that made her trip down the hill less than satisfactory, but as usual in these circumstances, three other Tramps came to her rescue and soon had the tube replaced and re-inflated.
From here we took a short detour to view a little Chapel and Garden with beautiful flowers and then to see the devastation wrought by the disastrous fire that leveled the former Union Fork and Hoe factory.
After lunch we proceeded a little ways up old Route 5-S and turned left onto Mucky Run Road to begin the second of our three difficult climbs. This climb is shorter by a mile than the ascent of Mallory Road but the grades are steeper. Nice scenery and lack of automobile traffic compensated for the hard work. After reaching Frankfort Center we took Welch Bush Road to Proctor Park where we followed the bike path, being ever alert for broken glass from discarded beer bottles. One final climb up Master Gardner Road through Valley View Golf Course brought us to the Eagle and a fast ride down to Oneida street and finally back to Washington Mills.
Map of the Ride
Fixing a Flat
Bind Weed at the Marina
Flower at the Chapel
Rose of Sharon
The View from Valley View
Eagles at the Eagle