Riders of Rohan - Humberto's Farewell

The Riders of Rohan embark on a mixed-terrain ride that feels more like Middle Earth than Philadelphia.

Riders of Rohan - Humberto's Farewell
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"Arise, arise, riders of Philly!
Wheels shall be shaken, spokes shall be splintered!
A sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!"

"Ride now, ride now, ride!
Ride for ruin, and the world's ending!"

- Riders of Rohan via Strava

What does it all mean? These lyrical riffs? Do I dare arise, squinting into the rising sun and risking shattered spokes to ride now despite the world's impending doom? Yes. I heed the call, and I'm not alone. On Sunday mornings the Riders of Rohan embark on a mixed-terrain ride that more closely resembles Middle Earth than Northwest Philly.

The Rohirrim who answered the call to Ride converge at Trek Manayunk.

Humberto, who you may have seen working at Trek Manayunk or riding non-stop across the state, has been exploring and sharing Philly's hidden gravel for some time and Sunday's was his final ride before his big move to LA. Making a quick left you never knew was there or turning right down that trail you never thought to roll down, a Riders of Rohan trip led by Humberto quickly evolves into an Atlas Obscura of oddities one can hardly believe.

After a quick 180 degree turn and a short climb off the SRT, we followed a wide gravel path and to an abandoned mini golf course you've passed 1,000 times and maybe never knew existed. Old obstacles and new debris draw smiles and amazement to anyone slinking this serpentine slalom.

Beneath the powerlines adjacent to Umbria St, 4x4 trails offer safe passage and a few punchy climbs. Wheels are shaken, as promised, on the climb up Port Royal Ave. Swords in our thighs, some of us walk instead. That's OK. There's no hurry on this journey.

Having regrouped atop Port Royal, the Riders of Rohan circulate through Roxborough Reservoir atop the nameless ridge separating the Schuylkill and Wissahickon valleys. As always, a gnarly climb means a descent is in order, and the group takes on the rocky descent of Northwestern into the Wiss and to the comfort of Forbidden Drive.

While there are some tougher parts of this ride, it is strictly social and geared towards all abilities. We dismount our bikes at Valley Green and refill bottles, take pics, and swap jokes. This ride is all about fun and everyone is loving it. After a few more miles of sweeping singletrack, the ride comes to a close back at Trek where refreshments await.

To Humberto, thanks for your major contributions to cycling in Philadelphia and the best of luck in your future in Los Angeles! We will miss you.

Fear not, friends. The fellowship lives on. Follow the Riders of Rohan on Strava or Instagram for details on upcoming regular and impromptu group rides.

Humberto Sanchez @flako.sanchez.35 Strava
Riders of Rohan @riders_of_rohan0 Strava