Adam Franco

Who are you; family, where you grew up, what you do when you’re not riding?

After growing up in south-central Pennsylvania I headed to Middlebury for college, fell in love with the town, and never left. My partner Alison and I live in Middlebury and enjoy being just steps away from Battel Woods. I’ve spent the past 14 years as a software developer for the College and fill many evenings practicing Aikido and swing dancing. On weekends and vacations I can often be found canoeing or motorcycle-touring when its warm or skiing when the snow flies.

Are you involved in other organizations?

One of my personal quests is to improve our region’s infrastructure so that bicycling can be a safe and viable mode of transportation for people of all ages. To that end I joined Middlebury’s Downtown Improvement District Commission (DIDC) with the goal of improving the downtown for walkers and bikers. I also manage the Midd Bike/Ped mailing list and am a founding member of the Addison County Walk/Bike Council, a new citizen-led advisory group working to improve the state of walking and biking county-wide.

What is your favorite trail/place to ride in Addison county?

While I love the excitement of bombing down a mountain, I find that most of my time I spend on the TAM and its side trails, primarily in Battel Woods. I love the diversity of terrain, from the fast gravel with bunny-hops over logs to the balance and finesse needed for some of the ledge-tops. One of my favorite spots in the woods is the little trail below the cliffs in the northwest corner near Little Pond Road — for much of the summer it’s cool and mossy with ferns erupting from cracks in the rock.

How long have you been mountain biking?

Its a little bit foggy as to quite when I started, but I think it was around the time I got my first “big kid bike”, a Trek 800, sometime in the late 1980s / early 1990s.

How often do you ride?

Unfortunately all of those organizations and other hobbies don’t leave me nearly as much time to ride as I’d like. While I’m on two wheels almost every (much of it commuting), I probably only get out mountain biking a few dozen times a season at the moment.

Do you race?

I had a few stints at cross-country racing in high school and college, but my love of mountain biking has been centered around more around the thrill of gliding through the woods than the competitive world of sport.

What do you ride and/or how many bikes do you own?

I’m still riding a 2003 Giant VT frame that has seen every part replaced a few times. It’s due for a replacement but I can’t decide what’s next.

I also ride a Giant Transend DX commuter bike outfitted with panniers and a milk crate, a Cannondale road bike, and periodically putter about on a unicycle. Add in my partner’s 3 bikes and the stable is getting a bit full.

What inspired you to mtn bike?

I find myself oscillating between my love of exploration — following little paths to places not yet known — and the thrill that comes from speeding along on the edge of traction.

What gets you through that really hard ride?

Knowing that for every climb, there is a descent waiting. I’ve never been a particularly fast climber, but boy do I love going down!

What do you hope to contribute as a member of ACBC?

In addition to helping launch and maintain the club website, I hope to help connect the mountain biking community with road cyclists, bike-commuters, and others that have shared goals around being able to engage with the world on two wheels.

Share a cool, funny or bizarre story you had while riding.

I think the most startled I’ve ever been was riding on the TAM out near Morgan Horse Farm Road. It was a beautiful autumn evening, the low sun was streaming through the trees. All of a sudden I heard what sounded like a helicopter taking off beside me and a large bird launched out of the bushes, glanced off my front wheel, and flew off into the trees. It was first encounter with what I believe was a ruffed grouse.