Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for December, 2009

Finally! Some trail riding on my new mountain bike

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

I finally got out on my first trail ride on my new mountain bike — in the snow, no less. I rode over to some nearby trails in the neighborhood where I grew up. These aren’t exactly hardcore trails, but they aren’t well-designed, either, so there are some steep parts.

I rode a couple of miles on a bike path and some residential streets …


… and got on the trails. Within a couple of minutes, I spotted a fox making his way through the woods, and a few minutes later, a deer. In one spot, there was a big log pile on the trail — my 29″ wheels rolled over it easily. It still required some finesse, but wow, what a difference!


I stopped by the pond. It was a lovely snowy scene. Not a lot of snow, but enough to make everything  fun and beautiful.


The next section was more rugged. Eroded trails, with lots of sticks, and some steep parts. This eventually took me to a creek.





I rode in the creekbed a little bit, but couldn’t go far due to rocks and debris. The water moved fast enough that the creekbed wasn’t icy.


I turned around at this point, because if you continue on, you go up a short but very steep hill, and it shortens the loop considerably. I had to ride up a couple of tough climbs. I had to walk part of the way, it was just too steep!  I rode on some rolling hills, and finally down a big hill to another creek, which I explored. I saw a group of wild turkeys, which took flight when they saw me.




Around this time, I realized I had dropped my GPS. Damn! I looked around for it, but I couldn’t find it. I was planning on doing another lap anyway, so I could look for it then.

One thing I noticed about my new bike is that the traction is really fantastic. Not just different-tires fantastic — the tires aren’t even all that aggressive. The bigger contact patch of the 29″ wheels really does make a difference. Off-camber, snow-covered rocks? No problem. And the bike rolls over sticks and rocks much better than my old one.

I was about to put the traction to a real test. I attacked a hill I’ve never been able to ride up, it’s a steep climb with a lot of rocks in the trail. I rode right up. The bike stuck to the trail, and the rocks, impressively well. After that was more climbing, not as steep, but long. I really wished the bike had a slightly lower gear. I have a feeling that’s going to be a recurring theme.

Once I reached the top of the hill, I got to do some fun ridgetop riding.


I started a second lap and looked everywhere for my GPS. It was nowhere to be found. I went back and forth a few times, up and down hills, etc. I checked the places where I thought I was most likely to drop it. No dice. I headed back, still looking. Eventually, I found it! It had fallen at a very strange place, no major bumps or other things that could jar it loose. I have no idea how it happened.

After I found the GPS, I rode around a bit more. Someone has been doing some trail work back there — builidng reroutes and a few new trails. I explored, but ultimately ended up bushwhacking and turned around. Maybe next time, I’ll explore the new trails more.



I’m trying not to get too excited …

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

… but, looking at the forecast for the long weekend, I’m positively giddy!

Can you say snow biking?? On real mountain bike trails?? On my new mountain bike?? I sure can! Even if the snow doesn’t materialize, the cooler temperatures will mean the trails will be frozen, rather than these terrible freeze/thaw conditions we’ve been having.

Of course, the forecast could be wrong. But I sure hope not.

A brief mixed-terrain ride

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

The office closed early on Wednesday, and the prescribed rain didn’t materialize except for a few sprinkles, so I set out for a ride in the afternoon. I rode a version of what is becoming one of my favorite short routes — I guess I’ll call it my Friendship route, since part of it is on Friendship Road. Here’s a map; the ride was a bit over 17 miles.

This route really has a little bit of everything:

  • Urban riding
  • Country scenery
  • Paved roads — some smooth, some rough
  • Rolling hills
  • A long, gradual, twisty downhill
  • Steep descent
  • Flat sections
  • Gravel roads
  • A long climb
  • Creeks
  • Optional singletrack
  • Many optional route extensions
  • Works well in both directions

Here are a few photos from the ride. There is a lot of scenery that I really enjoy seeing in various seasons and conditions.





New Tire




My bicycle was clean before this ride




My new tire performed well, but I need more ride time on it before I can say more.

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