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Monday, July 4, 2011

Images of Invisible Roads

A month or so ago when picking my bike up after the 600-mile service at Bob's BMW, I ran into Jim Ford. Jim is the guy behind The Rider's Workshop. I'd read about him and his courses in various places. What always stuck with me were two things. First, the types of roads he teaches on are roads Hubby and I traverse frequently. Second, he likes to call those roads "invisible roads." As his web site says... "Except for locals on tractors, in pickup trucks, or riding in Amish buggies, Invisible Roads are virtually unknown to outsiders yet offer engrossing riding conditions, great beauty, and wild, natural surprises! These rural roads run along tilled farmland, pastures, remote ridgelines, and stretch along shaded creeks of clear splashing water. Best of all, there is no traffic!"

It's the perfect descriptor. Really. 

So when I noticed Jim (he was wearing a Rider's Workshop shirt), I said, "Are you the 'invisible roads' guy?" He sort of chuckled as he said yes. I told him why that phrase stuck in my head, how we'd built a house in WV to have better access to those roads, etc. We even got to talking about some of my favorites, like Grassy Lick Road.

Jim says he also uses the circulatory system as an analogy for those roads, too. The interstate highways (I-70, I-68, I-81, etc.) are the arteries. Roads like US-50, US-220 and WV-29 are the veins. The capillaries, aka "invisible roads," are roads like Grassy Lick Road, Back Creek Valley, Fountain-Headsville Road, etc.

Here's a couple of Streets & Trips screen shots of some invisible roads we discovered in Mineral County (next county from us) today.

Pleasant discovery #1... Fountain-Headsville Road (between Patterson Creek Rd and Knobley Road).
Pleasant discovery #2... Dans Run Road/Dennison Hollow Road.

Map views don't do the roads justice. Pictures are much better. That handy helmet cam of mine does still shots, too. Every 2 seconds. Over a two-hour ride, with the camera switched on some of the way, I shot 735 images. Here are a few.

WV-28 heading south toward Romney, WV

US-50 heading west between Romney and Burlington.

US-50 heading west between Romney and Burlington.

US-50 heading west between Romney and Burlington.

Patterson Creek Road heading north from US-50.

Patterson Creek Road heading north from US-50.

Patterson Creek Road heading north from US-50.

Dans Run Road headed east... newly discovered invisible road.

Dennison Hollow Road headed south... newly discovered invisible road.

Dennison Hollow Road headed south... newly discovered invisible road.

Dennison Hollow Road headed south... newly discovered invisible road.

WV-28 headed south from Dennison Hollow Road toward Romney.

Neighborhood road.
Those shots aren't super high-quality, but they aren't bad for a helmet cam. The videos are pretty good quality, too.

I took a few quick shots with my DSLR, too.

This is why I don't take more pictures when riding with someone else.

He's actually a good sport about pics most of the time.

I just had to stop for this shot. I didn't do a very good job, though. It was much prettier in person.

Bucolic farm scene along one of our new invisible roads.
It takes a bit of research to find roads like these, but it is sooooo worth it.

Honestly, though, even on the main roads like US-50, US-220, WV-28, and WV-29, you can't go wrong. I cannot say often enough how great the riding is in these parts. Lucky for you, I'm here to give you some guidance.

When you are ready to explore the area, let me know. I'll be more than happy to give you some tips. I'll even point you to some of my favorite invisible roads.

Do you prefer slow, scenic rides? Knee-dragging twisties? Or maybe a little of both?

2 comments:

SonjaM said...

Great road pictures. Thank you! I certainly prefer the flower-picking kind of rides. Never had a bike that got me into knee-dragging...

Shybiker said...

That's the perfect description. Most of my favorite riding has been on "invisible roads." Their appeal is obvious to us. I like 'em going slow; I like 'em going fast; I just like 'em!