Without a Compass

A guy came into the store today looking for a compass that attaches to bike handlebars. Hmmm? I’d never heard of such a thing. Would it be good or bad to have?

Yesterday I did a quickie 60-90 minute ride in Franklin’s Town Forest, starting near the YMCA on Forge Park Hill. Given that the  property is bordered by an industrial park full of humming a/c units, an interstate highway, and a commuter rail station, a compass shouldn’t be necessary. But I was so into the riding that I got lost, anyway.

In brief, this place is a blast, a perfect afternoon stress reliever. Motorbike riders appear to be primary park users, so the trails are dug deep, with banked turns and lots of little mounds for jumping. I read one review by a mountain biker who said it had “fast loops,” but I had to prove that for myself. I can assure you that he was spot-on.

In quick succession, the trails I was on went like this:

trees — bank left — rocks! — bank right — roots — trees! — bumps — m-uuuuu-dddd!

it's hard to get a good pic of the banked turns that fill Franklin State Forest

Remember Spirographs, the twirly kid’s art device that allows one to insert the tip of a pen into a plastic circle and spin all sorts of loopy designs? That’s what these trails felt like: quick, curvy, and artistic, folding back on one another. Even though I Nancy Kerrigan’d my knee on my handlebars and ground a bunch of Mayflies into my chewing gum, I didn’t really care that the sun was going down and I didn’t have a clue which way was out (trail markers are nonexistent here). I was having too damned much fun.

Someday, I might take the Southern New England Trunk Trail out of Franklin to points unknown. For now, it’s just a really fun place for a fast ride, with all of the necessary elements: singletrack, mud, trees … ahhh. Who cares which way is out??


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