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Warm weather brings out Washington County bicyclists

March 22, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Smithsburg resident Mike Baliff, left, 70, and Hagerstown resident Tom Lowe, right, 67, went out bike riding along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath Thursday afternoon.
By Caleb Calhoun, Staff Writer

Hagerstown resident Izzy Nelson was riding his bicycle through downtown Hagerstown Thursday.

“I love the open air,” he said. “It’s a mild time, not too hot, and not too cold.”

Nelson, 40, was among area residents taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather in March by going bike riding.

Nelson said that he prefers riding a bicycle to driving a car, and bicycling is his primary source of transportation.

“I can probably get to places in Hagerstown faster than other vehicles,” he said. “I’d always rather be outside than inside.”

The first day of spring was Tuesday, March 20, but the weather has been above 70 degrees in the afternoon throughout the week.

Bicyclists were out in force, riding through the city and on bike trails in the county.

Wes Gindlesperger of Greencastle, Pa., said that, although he does not use his bike for transportation, he does ride for fun two to three times a week when the weather gets warm.

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“I usually get out and ride after St. Patrick’s Day and ride through the summer into the fall,” he said. “But this year, I was able to get out earlier because it was warmer.”

Gindlesperger, 40, said that he loves riding on trails in Washington County.

“I like to ride at the (Chesapeake & Ohio) Canal and along the Western Maryland Rail Trail,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite hobbies.”

Bicyclists were out Thursday afternoon riding along the C&O Canal towpath in Williamsport.

Smithsburg resident Mike Baliff, 70, said that he loves biking on trails, and it is great exercise.

“You can go further with biking,” he said. “It’s a little easier on the knees.”

Baliff said that now is one of his favorite times of year to ride.

“It’s pretty, and it’s after the winter so it’s warming up,” he said. “It’s just very enjoyable and pleasant.”

Canal Park Ranger Lisa Dittman said that this is one of the best times for bicyclists to ride along the towpath.

“We haven’t had a lot of rain, so the towpath is in really great condition,” she said. “It’s also really nice out there. There’s a lot of wildlife.”

Dittman said that as it gets closer to summer, heat is not usually as much of a factor along the towpath as it may be in other places.

“When it gets really hot, it still has shade,” she said. “A lot of people also like the fact that it’s flat, so it’s easier to ride on.”

In addition to the towpath and the Western Maryland Rail Trail, there are also bike trails along Fort Frederick State Park, Greenbrier State Park, South Mountain State Park and Washington Monument State Park in Washington County, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

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