Cyclocross Touring, gumby style
Saturday morning Gary , Marc and I rodethe Airline Trail from Rte. 169 in Pomfret toWillimantic.It was a great time.
The trail is an unfinishedrail-trail conversion. The surface varied from loose gravel, loose sand, mud, bumpy single track, smooth double track and once we got near Willimantic it was cinder for a few miles then paved.
It seemed to be slightly uphill most of the way, like the West Bay trail to West Warwick from Providence. The trail is beautiful. It is very scenic and littleused. It is a bit tough to find the trail and there is no parking or signage. The Connecticut state bikemap and website only offer marginal help. Only the equestrian set seemed to use it much. There was agood amount of horse poo around. We saw a boy scoutgroup out mountain biking on the first leg but otherthan one dog walker about halfway along we saw noother trail users.
I had heard everything from it is manageable on a road bike to it is totally impassable. I certainly wouldn’t recommend thin road tyres but we all were on cyclocross bikes with 30mm or so knobby tyres. A mountain bike would have been overkill for all but the roughest sections. I would not recommend the trail to anyone not confident of their off- roadskills. The bike will bounce, skitter and skid. We averaged 10.5mph for 22 miles and we are all in the17-18 mph range on the road. It was a tough ride.
We did not cycle back to Pomfret, we were met at theWillimantic Brewing Co. pub by our rides. After lunchand a few beers we gladly climbed in the cars for alift home.
More info on the Airline Trail at:http://pages.cthome.net/mbartel/ARRabout.htm