Thursday, November 17, 2005

What makes a quality ride? I am a roadie, for the most part. I really enjoy the early morning, no wind, pleasant temperature deserted road type rides. But I have another side too. I love the concept of mountain biking, but in order to ride my mtb I have to drive somewhere for good singletrack. There are some deserted railroad beds that have been converted to trails near me that I can easily get to. The problem with them is they are FLAT, and that means boring. The only grade they have is no more than 1 or 2% because trains used them. I just ride these on my road bike on my way to and from other ride sections of the road routes. Because I need to start and stop at my door (see Fatty's blog about this), I almost never ride the mtb. I am getting the itch to travel to some quality spots for the wonderous experience of riding in the wilderness areas. Thanks for that, Fatty; your blog has ignited my desire and determination to really get out there and see the USA from the seat of my bike... In the meantime, I have developed some pretty cool wrinkles on some of my rides over the years that are unusual for a roadie to do but they really enhance the cycling experience for me.

There is a county parkland that has some excellent roads to it. They do not, however, have good roads coming away from it. If this is confusing (why doesn't he just turn around and ride back the way he came?), please know that cycling must involve a circuit, or loop, in order to be in harmony with the cycling gods. That's just the way it is. I discovered by exploration and map reading that there was a horse trail that led to a class five gravel road that in turn led to a short section of the highway (that I did not want to ride on) that in turn took me to the appropriate tertiary road that was good for biking. This route created the needed loop and kept me off the highway. So, I occasionally treat some park visitors to the weird sight of a lycra clad cyclist on a road bike cruising past their picnic and into the woods on the horse trail, never to return. There is a quarter mile of horse trail followed by a game trail on which I get to bust a pretty cool move. There is a wood barrier that the trail passes under. Hikers need to stoop under the 2 X 12; I ride under it by moving forward of the seat (which clears the barrier by five or six inches) and positioning my chest forward of the handlebars and snaking under the beam. Then its off through the farmers field and around the cows to the gravel road. I love that ride.

Further out of town there is Lake Waconia that has a hilly gravel road around the north shore of it. There is about two miles of this road and it is another of my favorites, as it comes after about fifty miles of road riding and is a welcome relief from pavement for a short while. I know that someday soon this area will be developed and this road will disappear under the tarmac. I will still ride it but I will ride with that melancholy feeling that I get on many roads that I have ridden for years but now have been upgraded and "improved".

These rides will now have to wait until next Spring to be cycled on again. Winter has arrived and it is fixie city until the thaw. I am putting 700c X 25cm tires on the fixie (1970 Gitane Tour de France) to get a bigger footprint and avoid flats. Changing flats below freezing isn't much fun. Its better than changing flats in rain with an air temperature of forty, but only just a little better.


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