Spokesman makes a connection


Life is about networking, building relationships, connecting the dots...

"Whoa, tap the brakes, Spokesman. Is this blog some low-rent version of the Harvard Business Review's Management Tip of the Day? I thought it was about cycling."

This is about cycling. In my insane quest to ride every single inch of Columbia County highways (meaning roads built and maintained by the county), I found making connections was essential. By the way, "Tap the brakes?" Really? That sounds like some sad "master of the universe" conference room trash talk (actually, someone once said exactly that to me in a conference room). 

Columbia County Route 18 in Claverack and Greenport is a great example of a connector road. It is known to most people as Fish and Game Road because the Hudson Fish and Game Club is located there. It is only 3.8 miles long but from my home in Livingston, it allows me to get off State Route 9H (a terrible riding road) and brings me east to State Route 217. A quarter to half mile northeast off 217 near the village of Philmont is the southern terminus of Columbia County Route 9, which is one of the best riding roads in the area (more on 9 in another post).

By the way, connections were how I first became acquainted with the county highways. When I was in college, someone who knew someone got me a summer job doing highway construction for the county. Not every day was construction. On rainy days, the foreman would send us out in a truck to pick up road kill. But that's a story for when you aren't eating. 

I will write about other "connector" roads in postings about the best county routes to ride. But I thought I would feature 18 on its own because it is my favorite connector and gets me to challenging riding in the northern Columbia County. It's like the booster rockets on the space shuttle that get you off the ground before the real trip begins.

18's terrain is rolling. It is lined with orchards, ponds, and crop fields. If it were repaved, it would be a top 20 county road on its own because of the scenery. Heading west toward 9H on my return home, it offers some of the best views in the county of the Catskill Mountains. 

So use 18 to connect to Ghent, Chatham, Austerlitz and other points north, where it is hilly and you will definitely need to tap the brakes. 

County Route 18:


Remember my 1-to-5 rating system for highways: "COws ("Cows" + "ow") for pavement quality; "Churches" (as in Frederic) for scenery; and, "Ventouxs" for hills (as in Mt. Ventoux in France).

COws: 1 -- watch for potholes on downhill sections

Churches: 4 -- the view of the Catskills riding west is worth stopping for

Ventouxs: 1 -- a couple short hills