One of the turtles Stan Malcolm has photographed on the Air Line State Park
Trail in Connecticut.
Lawrence Schreibman and family on
the Towpath Trail in Ohio.
Tell Us ...
In March, we asked you to tell us how a fellow rail-trail user has aided you in a time of need:
Sue Hamburger — University Park, Pa.
In summer 2008, I was biking in New Jersey from Allaire State Park to the ocean beach at Manasquan on the Freehold and Jamesburg Railroad Trail and Edgar Felix Memorial Bikeway. While at the beach, a thunder and lightning storm came up quickly as I was changing back into my riding clothes. Lightning hit the beach about 40 feet away from me, right where I had been sitting on the sand. I took shelter under an overhang and tried to wait out the storm.
It continued to rain while the lightning moved west toward my destination—the Allaire campground. I rode back to the trailhead in the rain to decide if I should attempt the trip when a woman emerged from the trail on her bike. I explained my predicament and she asked if I'd like a ride in her car back to my campsite. I gratefully accepted, and we put both of our bikes on her rack and drove me back to the parking lot where I'd left my car—with thunder and lightning booming and flashing all around us. The next day I read in the newspaper that three men 20 miles up the beach had been struck by lightning in that storm, and one had died. I am forever grateful to that compassionate woman who saved me from what could have been my last ride.
Stan Malcolm — Marlborough, Conn.
I've been photographing the Air Line State Park Trail in eastern Connecticut for more than eight years, resulting in a website with more than 4,000 photos—plants, animals, scenery through all seasons. Sometimes getting the perfect picture requires me to get down in the dirt, close to my subject. One time, I was lying prone on the ground, nose to nose with a painted turtle, just the camera between us, being very, very still, waiting for that brief moment when it emerged from its shell but before it skittered away. I'd been there a few minutes, barely breathing, when I heard two people approaching behind me. Not wanting to miss the shot, I kept still... until I heard, "Are you okay?" I'm pretty sure they feared I was dead, or nearly so. At that point I had to respond, miss the shot, and then reassure them I was fine. There would be other turtles, and I did appreciate their concern, even if for me it wasn't really a "time of need."
Lawrence S. Schreibman — Bay Village, Ohio.
Last summer while biking the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath (or Towpath Trail) here in northeast Ohio, my family had covered approximately 27 miles from Rockside Road in Valleyview through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, all the way to downtown Akron. After turning around, we had gone about a half a mile when one of my twin sons had a mishap with his bicycle.
The rear rim separated, and the ragged metal edge flattened his tire. We are a biking family and are not new at the sport. We always go on these trips with an excess of emergency equipment. Well we had spare tubes, inflators, CO2 cartridges,
patch kits, wrenches, oil, grease, screwdrivers and a first aid kit, but somehow we never thought of bringing a spare wheel.
Luckily, a Towpath Trail volunteer came along and gave us some help. First he volunteered to stay with the twins while I went to get the truck so I could pick up the boys and bikes. He also had a road map to give me, because although I knew how to follow the trail to our starting point, getting back to where we were by road would be a route I'd never taken before. A couple of hours and 27 miles later, I got back to the truck. Using the map and directions from the volunteer, I was soon reunited with my kids.
Several nice things happened that I'd like to mention. First, the volunteer helped immensely. Second, even though the bike and wheel were five years old, our local bike shop (Eddy's Bike Shop) took care of all the labor at no charge and mediated on our behalf with the manufacturer. And third, the manufacturer (Trek Bicycles) replaced the broken rim and flattened tire at no charge and with no questions asked.
Ron Meservey — Columbia, Md.
Back in February 2006, my wife and I were biking on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Park Trail in Florida when we had a flat tire. Another bicyclist stopped and devoted a great deal of time and effort to helping us fix the flat, as it is very difficult to remove and remount tires on our Bike E tandem with its tiny wheels.
Last year we were riding the same bike closer to home on the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (formerly the Northern Central Rail Trail) in Maryland. We had another flat and were helped by two other bicyclists. Unfortunately, we did not record the names of these trail angels, all of whom went the extra mile to help us.
Eric Adelberger — Seattle, Wash.
I commute to work on Seattle's Burke-Gilman Trail. One day I had a tire puntcture and, because I foolishly didn't have a spare inner tube or patch kit, started to push my bike along the trail. Within a minute another rider stopped and asked if I needed help. I had only 1.5 miles to go till I got to work, so I said was okay. But the anonymous rider gave me a new inner tube and refused to accept cash for it and told me to pay it forward. This is typical of the bicycling community here in the Northwest.