*All live photos are the property of guest blogger David A. Raymond. We didn't include all of the pictures and commentary from this blog, but go here to see more of David's awesome experiences.


Advice From a Bicycle

The earliest picture I have of me on a bicycle was taken when I was one year old.  It's of my father holding me steady on a ten speed bike.  I think it's safe to say that neither my mom, nor my dad, would have ever thought I would one day grow up to be an adult who would derive so much joy and inspiration from riding a bike.



As always...thank you to YOUR TRUE NATURE for the super cool bookmarks and magnets.  Your gifts and work continue to inspire me.


Hanging on the refrigerator in my kitchen is a magnet that the good people at Your True Nature sent me a few months ago.  It reads:  ADVICE FROM A BICYCLE.  Just one of a few gifts that they sent me after reading my post, OBSERVATIONS FROM OHIOPYLE.  The folks at YOUR TRUE NATURE also inspired me to write ADVICE FROM A SQUIRREL and, one of my favorite posts, ADVICE FROM A MOUNTAIN.  Decades of bike riding have taught me a lot of lessons. Some of those lessons were taught to me (thank you, Mark)...and some I had to figure out on my own.  Interestingly, many of them can be summed up in the seven phrases printed on the magnet hanging in my kitchen. Again, many thanks to YOUR TRUE NATURE for inspiring me with these your pieces of advice from a bicycle.  I hope you don't mind...but I added one more (and in my opinion...the best) piece of advice to the end of the list.  Enjoy!



To me, the key to biking...and to life...is staying on track.  Figure out what you want to do, where you want to go, who you want to be...and go there.  The trails won't always be marked, paths will often diverge, and sometimes you'll have to make your own way.  Just keep your eyes on the trail ahead of you.

Just like mountain biking, in life there are often plenty of signs to help keep you on track.  Taken while mountain biking near the Bedford Springs Hotel -- January 13,  2018

Those signs can be easily missed if you aren't paying attention....sort of like the sign that diverted Baughman Trail (in Ohiopyle State Park) off to the right and away from the mud and muck that I ended up riding in.  --  June 15,  2017

No matter how hard you try to stay on track...ultimately, you'll come to a fork in the road.  Thankfully, All Trails Go Somewhere!  Mark Lentz in Michaux State Forest. -- July 21, 2017

To Glenn's chagrin...staying on track sometimes means inventing a new way forward....like enduring a cold stream crossing and an unauthorized trek through a construction site.  Glenn Medice riding at the Lakes. -- May 2, 2017


Trails, like life, don't always lead you where you want to go...but they always go somewhere...and that somewhere is often really beautiful!



I love this trail in Michaux State Forest.  It winds and curves through a freshly logged area of the mountain. -- October 30, 2016


My boss calls it, "Keeping Your Triangle Balanced."  Family, Work, Leisure.  We all can be guilty of focusing too much on one of those three things and neglecting the others.  Life, like riding a bicycle, is a balancing act.  Leaning too far in any one direction will knock you to the ground.


Making my way down Trail 7 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  In my opinion, one of the most fun and probably the most difficult trail in the park.  There is a rock garden about 2/3 of the way down the trail that I've never been able to make it through.  Way to go, Mikey Nardelli!  You're the only person I've ever seen ride it! -- November 3, 2017




There are times in life, just as on a bike, that we need to put the brakes on and slow down.  Maybe we need to get our bearings...maybe we need to watch out for danger...or maybe we just need to stop and take in the moment.  It's okay to put the brakes on every once in a while.  Don't worry about your STRAVA.


Kristian and I putting the brakes on to admire the beauty of the Patapsco River in Patapsco Valley State Park, MD. -- October 15, 2016


Yes....I will put the brakes on for snakes.  I hate snakes.  Thanks, Mark, for pointing it out.  Michaux State Forest. -- October 30, 2016



Someone once mentioned to me how surprised they were when they realized that I didn't just mountain bike "downhill."  Life is full of uphill climbs.  Actually, you'll spend exponentially more time and energy climbing up than you will riding down.  When you do get to ride down...go ahead and coast.
You deserve it.

Mark Lentz and  I coasting down a super slick single track that winds underneath the power lines in Michaux State Forest. -- October 10, 2016



Inevitably, things get tough.  Be the person who looks for solutions...not the person who just sees problems.  S**t happens...don't let it derail you.  There's always a way around, through, or over anything in your way.


This tough spot at on the Parkway Trails in Harrisburg, PA didn't derail Chris and I...it just made us backtrack a little bit. -- March 3,  2018



The saying goes..."We all have gears we don't use."  Use them.  They'll help you get out of the valleys.


I took this amazing pic of Mark as he started his climb up Trail 8 at Rocky Ridge County Park.  Climbs like this are the reason bikes have so many gears. -- January 26, 2018



My contribution to the list.  I don't think I would enjoy mountain biking even a fraction of the amount that I do if it wasn't for the friends that I share these experiences with.  Just over the past two years, I've had the honor of spending time (doing the things I love) with these people.  They are ALL so special to me and mean the world to me.  Thank you, all!


Back row:  Tim Sindlinger, Glenn Medice, and Matt Linnane.  We took this pic at the end of Grave Ridge Trail in Michaux State Forest. -- August 15, 2017


Riding with my very best friend of all...Robin!  -- April 9, 2017


Life is a journey...not a destination.


David A. Raymond -- March 21, 2018