Tag Archive: Paxton Berardy

About two months ago I snapped the frame of my mountain bike near where the rear wheel inserts into the frame.  I was riding at the Chesterfield Gorge in Huntington Massachusetts on an old dirt road paralleling the gorge and my tire started rubbing for no apparent reason and after about 15 minutes of curious investigation I found a the snap very discreetly hidden in one of the joints .  After a nervous ride back 3 miles to the parking lot without a blow out, I embarked upon an epic quest to remedy the situation.

My bike is a GT  Karakorum and I have owned it for fifteen years and like it a lot.  It is a steel framed bike and I have upgraded most of the components several times over by now.  I took the bike to numerous bike shops none of which would or could weld it.  Most would not even recommend welding it and of course highly recommended I buy own of their fine products, which if I was not about to buy a house.  By the way I test road a Santa Cruz Superlight dual suspension and it took all my will power not to buy it on the spot, what a sweet bike.

Eventually I out my thinking cap on and brought my bike to a major motorcycle dealership figuring one of their mechanics must be able to weld.  Such was not the case unfortunately but they did refer me to a guy who welds aircraft at the Westfield airport named Pete Most.

Pete was super helpful and cheap, the welded bike looked flawless, if it were repainted no one would be the wiser.  He charged me 20 bucks for all the work, which compared to the $700 for a comparable steel framed bike or 1200 for an entry-level competent dual suspension bike is the bargain of the century.

But will the weld hold??  The answer, so far so good.  I rode the new rail trail in Southwick immediately when I  got home without incident.  I was worried that maybe when he welded it, he did not line up the frame correctly, but this was not the case and there was no rubbing or other signs of ill performance.

Next I took the bike out to ride the tobacco fields around my house for a true dirt experience.  Now the tobacco fields are pretty flat with only a few small hills but they are certainly no rail trail either and most importantly they are local.  The bike performed flawlessly and while this ride really isn’t a full test of the welds strength it is certainly a This site does not support embedded trip maps. View the trip here instead.

I am super happy to have my bike back and will probably ride Robinson state park or the gorge again to fully test its metal.

So the moral of the story is next time your bike shop tells you that some repair isn’t worth it or is too complicated think outside the shop and you could save yourself a ton of money


Wilcox Park Trail Map

I hiked Marion K.Wilcox Park in Bloomfield this past week. It was a gorgeous sunny 50 degree december day with 40 mph + winds blowing all day.  Fortunately the lay out of the trails here kept me sheltered from the wind until I hit the summit.

This park is kind of hidden gem, not many people know about it as it is squirreled away in northern Bloomfield away from high traffic areas, near the intersection of 187 and 189. It is on Hoskins road in Bloomfield, about a mile on the righthand side.  Keep a sharp eye out for the sign as it is more apparent heading north than heading south. There is a small parking lot at the bottom and then a tar path leads up to a meadow area and a yellow brick building, which is probably the park headquarters.

Cross the open field and at the end you will find a yellow blazed trail that splits initially left or right.  I took the right branch, which gently climbs to the ridge and the Metacomet Trail with its blue blazes. You will cross a dirt road on the way up with a stop sign. Do not be deterred by this sign, simply cross the road and you will  reach the ridge and Metacomet shortly where you will find an old chimney and a partially obscured overlook.

Continue on the Metacomet to the south and you will shortly reach a large rocky out cropping with views of the Farmington Valley, primarily Granby, Avon and most prominently down town Simsbury. Nearby you will see another yellow blazed trail heading down, this is the cliff trail and it will lead you back to the lower park.

I continued on the blue blazed Metacomet trail all the way to Penwood State Park, where a large rocky out cropping gave me even better views of the Farmington Valley and a really neat view of the southern Metacomet Ridge.  About mid way to Penwood I encountered Wintonbury Road in Simsbury. Once you hit the pavement you can go either  slightly uphill and continue on the Metacomet or you can go slightly down hill and go on a relatively flat trail that parallels the Metacomet at the base of the ridge. The lower trail would make an excellent cross-country ski or mountain bike trail in my opinion. This trail will eventually meet up with the Metacomet trail near what I think is Lake Louise.   From here take the Metacomet trail  up a stone stair case to the ridge and then circle back to Wintonbury Road and Wilcox Park which begins here again.

There are several other trails in the park a red blazed trail which I could not find and a dirt road which is in good shape and used for access to power lines which are extensive. On future visits I will explore these options more and probably bring my mountain bike or skis. Pray for snow.