I made a few more tweaks to The Beast, including throwing knobby tires on it, to ready it for mountain biking. Saturday, Dave and I met at Brown County State Park to hit the trails.
We rolled out, and I was excited to be back on the trails for only the second time this year, and I felt good, and strong, and the bike felt pretty good, too. I was anxious to see how the bike would do in its new setup. It quickly became obvious that it handles a lot differently from what I’m used to, and that it would take some time to get used to it. It was a warm and extremely humid morning, so much so that my camera lens fogged up and I couldn’t get it to clear up.
The first technical challenge of the day involved a short, but steep, eroded climb with a nasty root at the top. I picked up some speed to help myself clear it. I hit the root pretty hard, and my tire bounced a bit. I didn’t exactly crash, but I sort of fell, and I laid the bike down. When I got back up, I took stock of the situation. I wasn’t hurt at all, except a small bump on the leg. But then I looked in my handlebars, and was shocked at what I saw. These photos are from Dave … my camera lens was still fogged up.
We were less than a mile into the woods, and my handlebars were severely bent. My ride was over. Actually, it’s probably a good thing that this happened right away, rather than deep in the woods.
Dave snapped this shot of my contemplating my bars … or pouting, perhaps.
Dave walked back to the trailhead with me. As we were walking back, Dave said, “Talk about ridus interruptus!” — thereby naming this post. Dave grabbed his earbuds and headed back out. I drove home. Later, he sent me this shot of a great switchback from the Green Valley trail, to let me know what I was missing. Damn!
So, I was pretty frustrated. I drove home. Once there, I ate some lunch, and then I decided to put the bars from my old mountain bike on The Beast. Within three hours, I was fed, the “new” bars were installed and wrapped, and I was riding once again, this time closer to home.
The Beast was hilarious on paved roads, with knobby tires. It sounded like a helicopter going down the road. I like to imagine that it must be sort of like a mini Pugsley, in that the tires seem oversized relative to the frame.
I explored some nearby parks, covering some familiar ground, and some new trails I found. Sadly my GPS crapped out on me, so I don’t have a map of my exploration. Alas.
Here, you can see my new/old bars. I used these for many years, and they usually work well for me.
I can’t get over the carving in this log — perfect for a singlespeed ride!
T’he Beast looks menacing, from a low angle.
So far, everything had been pretty flat and easy. I found some additional trails off the beaten path and explored. Some parts were wide open, like the photo below, while others were overgrown and not maintained … it was like bushwhacking, on a bike (bikewhacking)?
I practiced some skills like log-hopping, riding over rocks and roots, etc. These trails were tame enough to be ridable, but technical enough to give the bike a good shakedown ride. I learned that climbing on the singlespeed really requires a wide handlebar. The ends of this bar worked perfectly for this, and in fact I could have spent most of the ride holding onto them instead, except that I can’t reach the brake levers from there. I wonder if I could move the levers to the outer portions of the bar, or something.
At one point, I came out of the woods and had a nice view of the gazebo at this park. From the gazebo, you can’t tell the trail is even there.
More bikewhacking …
So, despite the fact that my original plans were foiled, I had a good ride, and these bars are definitely better than the ones I had on there before. I haven’t decided yet if they’re staying or not. My first real offroad ride on the Beast in singlespeed form was illuminating, and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it was quite hot, and just as humid, later in the day. I was really cooking. I’m glad I rode anyway.
Once I was sure the Beast was doing well, I contacted Dave and we decided to try again at Brown County on Sunday. More on that soon!