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Friday, July 1, 2011

Holy July Batman !

7/01/11 #222 51m

Ride 51 miles in 3h47m. (That's riding time, clock time including stops was 5h30m) Started in McDonald PA, rode the Panhandle Trail east to Collier, back to McDonald, joined the Montour Trail and rode it to McMurray, got a sandwich at Subway and a peice of cake at Farmhouse Coffee and returned to McDonald.

Rode with Rusty the first 20 miles. It really is nice to have somebody to ride with on longer trips. We encountered a lady with a flat tire on her bicycle, we didn't have a 26" Schraeder tube but we were able to patch it and she rode the patched tube back to her vehicle. I think I'm going to throw a 26" tube in my kit, you do encounter people on the trail with flats and no spares and it would be a mitzvah to be able to help.

Between MP 20 and MP21, just north of Route 50 in Venice, there are five large nets rigged along the trail. It seems like they're designed to catch bats in the darkness. I asked a question about the nets on the Montour Trail Yahoo group, and got these two answers:

I work with bat conservation groups.

V. sent me two pics he took of the nets. They are mist nets, typical of ones
used to capture bats. The placement, especially next to the stream, is typical
of placement for bat capture as bats swoop low over streams in search of

Several organizations, including the PA. Game Commission, are currently tracking
a devastating disease in bats - White Nose Syndrome - which has killed millions
of bats across several species in the eastern U.S. They are probably looking
for signs of WNS in this area. It has been confirmed in Westmoreland County.

I'll ask around and see if I can find out which group is doing the netting.
Meanwhile, if you see a bat struggling in the net, leave it alone. The nets do
not harm them and you could be bitten trying to release them.

They are part of a bat study being made for a connection between Westland and the Wheeling and Lake Erie railroad. Between April and November it is illegal to cut any tree larger than 5" diameter unless you can prove that the endangered Indiana bat is not in the area and therefore the study is currently underway. So far they have found several interesting bats but no endangered Indiana bats.

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