The Project – Introduction

James from Ride Lugged introduced me to a project he and some like-minded friends started a few years ago. The goal: to record and catalog the “rideable” (use this term flexibly) dirt roads in PA and MD. They started with roads in and around State College, PA and Frederick, MD, but they hope to expand the project in an area near you. You can find their results at Dirtdata.org. I’m sure James would appreciate any additions you might care to make. He’s color-coded his maps according to surface type.

After tooling around on James’ site, I started thinking: what if the same could be done for cobbled or bricked roads? Growing up in the Philly area, I’ve come to love the smattering of cobbled climbs, roads, and trails the area provides. Why couldn’t I create a place for people to share similar experiences?

Voila! So let it be known: I’m officially accepting all submissions of the cobbled and bricked roads you know and love. Please include all the necessary data: location, surface condition, length, difficulty, and any other interesting tidbits. Of course, your photos are much appreciated.

I’ll publish your stones here for the rest to see, ride, and share. James has also mentioned adding these roads to his maps using new colors to differentiate their respective surfaces.

Here’s a sample:


This is a picture of yours truly on a stretch of cobbles just outside the town of Wijgmaal, Belgium. (Okay, I’m cheating by going all intercontinental on ya’…) This is the same road in the photo in my previous post. It’s a tree-lined lane of about 2 km running through cow fields. The surface? Grassy, slimy, and often covered in manure. Years of tractor use have created a crown made all the more dangerous by the grass growing in the elevated environment. Riding the gutter brings the danger of misplaced stones, puddles, and holes. In other words? It’s perfect. This photo took about an hour tinkering with the timer, a mini-tripod, and a rotten fence post.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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