Sometimes I worry that I begin every blog entry with, “We’re really lucky in Pittsburgh because…” (Full disclosure: I went back and checked, and I haven’t done that in a bit. Promise!) But the thing is, we are really lucky in Pittsburgh, because we have a lot of awesome opportunities and cool events, and neat organizations providing us with opportunities and events.
One of those neat organizations is Venture Outdoors. VO is a local nonprofit that organizes a ton of outdoor events throughout the year. The events are reasonably priced to begin with, but if you become a member, they are even cheaper. Basically, your membership pays for itself after just a couple of outings, which also includes some accouterments like providing Neuropathy Footwear for some of participants afflicted with neuropathy. And there are SO MANY to chose from: lots of kayaking, hikes, bike rides, fishing trips, geocaching — you name it!
On the last day of June, we decided to join Venture Outdoors for a bike ride on a trail we had never visited before: the Stavich Trail, which starts in New Castle and ends in Ohio! A bike trail that crosses a state line? SIGN US RIGHT UP!
The trail is about 12 miles long end-to-end. We met up with the rest of our crew at the lot at the New Castle trailhead, and we headed west.
The main town along the trail is Lowellville, Ohio. It’s a tiny little town, but it’s got a super-cute city hall. There are a few restaurants and shops as well, but it’s a bit smaller than the trail towns you encounter on a longer rail trail like the GAP.
However, as we stood on the bridge in Lowellville, learning about the river and the surrounding town… I heard a sound no cyclist wants to hear: air escaping a tire, and FAST. I still am not sure what happened, but I suspect a faulty tube valve. Before I knew it, my tire was totally flat. I wasn’t even standing near my bike; I’d hopped off to take some photos, and it was parked on the sidewalk!
But this is why Venture Outdoors is such a great organization. I had a spare tube in my basket (because This Kind Of Stuff Only Happens To Me), and while our trip leader guided the rest of the group back to the trail and parking lot, one of the trip volunteers, John, stayed behind with Husband and me to change the tube. What a guy!! In just a short time, my faithful bike was back up and running, and we were back on the trail.
And then, we made it back to our cars, where our trip leader was waiting with the best damn cold Gatorade I’ve ever had. Leave it to me to get a totally inexplicable flat tire on a ride, but we both still had such a great time! And we are so happy to be Venture Outdoors members and be able to enjoy these wonderful trips. Can’t wait for the next one, where hopefully there will be ‘less excitement’!