Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Harvey’s Lake revisited

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Back in November, I rode to Harvey’s Lake, but I didn’t have time to ride around the lake. This seems to be one of the quintessential places for road rides in this area, and I felt I had some unfinished business, so on Saturday I decided to ride back out to Harvey’s Lake and this time, complete the loop around the lake. I took a different route this time, because I also wanted to explore some new gravel roads along the way. Here’s a map of my route.

View Harvey’s Lake 05/02/2009 in a larger map

Unfortunately, I had to start out by climbing Larksville Mountain Road. I’ve written plenty about it on here — it’s the hardest climb I’ve ever ridden. I always have to stop a few times on the way up, and this time was no exception. I took advantage of the opportunity to photograph a few wildflowers.

Mountain Road

St. Vladimir’s Cemetery



More flowers

Level area atop the mountain

Field with dandelions (“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them” – Eeyore)

After a whole lot of climbing, I rode on the ridge for a bit before descending down the back of the mountain on a different part of Mountain Road, which turned gravel at the bottom. I enjoyed a couple of miles of flat, easy riding with mountain ridges on both sides.

Mountain ridges

I made my way over to Pine Tree Road, which I had heard was a nice gravel road, and relatively flat. It was quite nice indeed, and flatter than many roads around here, but reallyt his just meant that I only had to do a couple hundred feet of climbing on this road. It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped, but it was quite enjoyable.

The pavement ends on Pine Tree Road

Rolling field


Curvy road ahead

The road went in a general uphill trend for some time. It was tiring, but it was a very pleasant, cool day. The road surface alternated between paved and gravel, and all the roads were very quiet. Meeker Road had a nice straight hill and I let loose. I hit the highest speed I’ve reached for a while, 43 mph. You would think that descending off a mountain, you would be able to hit speeds like that regularly, but the mountain roads are too twisty for that. A  straight descent down a smaller hill actually let me pick up more speed.

I enjoyed some beautiful scenery from a ridge before descending toward Harvey’s Lake in a long, flowing, fun descent.

A view from the ridge

Weird tree


Finally, I reached Harvey’s Lake. I started the loop around the lake, a little concerned that there would be a lot of traffic. But I was surprised to find there was almost no traffic. But, it was a cool day to be out on the lake — I bet that the roads get pretty busy during prime boating weather.

This part of the ride was extremely flat, smooth pavement. The easy riding was a welcome respite from all the climbing I encountered on the way there. For about nine miles, I had the lake on my right, while the left side of the road had a lot of amazing homes. I noticed some weird and cheesy tropical themes: one boathouse had a “Margaritaville” sign, and had some plastic flamingos in front of it. Some others were decorated in tropical ways as well. I also rode by an apparently-abandoned restaurant called “Tijuana.” I thought the tropical and southwest themes were a little odd. I know it’s a lake and all, and it had its own character — and it was not at all tropical. If people must decorate, I really wish they would choose something more appropriate.

Don’t get me wrong, though, the lake was beautiful and most of the homes were tasteful.

Beautiful lake — cheesy decor

Don’t even get me started on this clown

Looking across the lake

Me, at Harvey’s Lake

“Tijuana” restaurant

The lake

The trip around the lake was fun and easy. Once I made it most of the way around, I started looking for a convenience store so I could get some water. I didn’t see anything. I did see some restaurants, and I was a bit hungry, but I didn’t bring a lock. I decided to head out. I was sort of dreading the climb away from the lake. Last time I rode out to Harvey’s Lake, I climbed up Carpenter Road, and it was harsh. It was beautiful, but a tough climb. This time, I took Old Lake Road, and I was stunned by how much easier it was. However, the scenery wasn’t all that great. But it’s nice to have options.

I ended up on PA Route 415 for a bit, it was a little busy but there was a decent shoulder. I eventually found a gas station where it intersections PA Route 118, which was also a little busy, but I was only on it for a fraction of a mile before I turned to go by Huntsville Reservoir. I intentionally went a little bit out of the way so I could ride back on the east side of Huntsville Reservoir. I have ridden on the west side several times but only once on the east side. I enjoyed some big rolling hills, followed by a gravel climb that wasn’t as bad as I expected. It seemed a lot longer last time I was there, but then again, it was covered with snow then.

Big rolling hills

Gravel Road

Huntsville Reservoir

Huntsville Road

I was looking forward to the next section of the ride, a long, flowing descent down Huntsville Road. It wasn’t blisteringly fast, topping out at around 30 mph, but I stayed over 25 mph for quite a while without really putting any energy into it.

Now, I was back at Larksville Mountain. The climb isn’t as bad from this side, but it’s still significant (400 ft) and it’s quite steep for a while. I have made it up without stopping, but I was rather tired at this point and took breaks several times.

Steep, winding road

Looking back

Steep switchback

I reached the top, and after a few minutes of flat riding, I got to ride down Larksville Mountain and back to the valley in which I live. This is a steep, twisty road and you have to ride the brakes almost the entire way. However, I was able to go faster than I have in some time as the roads are now relatively clear of winter debris.

1 1/2 miles downhill

Soon, I was home. I’m glad I went and rode around Harvey’s Lake, as I enjoyed it, but really in general I prefer the more remote lakes, or at least less touristy areas, such as those by Huntsville Reservoir.

Interestingly enough, the ride turned out to be around 35 miles. Back in Indiana, one of my common rides was around Lake Lemon, and it was about 35 miles as wel. However, I used to do that ride in right around two hours; here in the mountains, even with the 9 miles of flat riding around the lake, a 35-mile ride took me almost four hours.

3 Responses to “Harvey’s Lake revisited”

  1. Sarah Says:

    A clown?! Watch your mouth, mister. That’s my husband you’re talking about!

  2. 331miles Says:

    Looks like some beautiful country for cycling. I love the shot of the rolling hills. Only hills we have where I live is where the roads top the levees…and maybe the overpasses on the expressway!

  3. Myles/ rattrappress Says:

    The button up shirt with bike shorts looks like a winning combo. Great report.

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