|Trace The Mitten|
I just completed a nice ride along numerous trails in Stony Creek Metro Park. I went out after work and went until after sunset. It soon was dark once I had strapped the bike upon the car rack. This was a great way to end the day. I did not always enjoy mountain biking and I am growing to like it as part of my riding routine.
I think part of slowness in embracing mountain biking is that it was not around when I was a kid, or in my 20s or 30s or 40s . I bought my first mountain bike with front suspension only 18 months ago. This bike has almost 300 miles. Trail riding only amounts to a about 10% of my mileage. I looked at the riders tonight and many are about half my age. That difference means that many have grown up with mountain bikes. I thought about biking when I was in grade school and we just road on the streets. We wanted to move from the one speed to the ten speed with thin tires. As I was in high school Schwinn came out with the Sting Ray bike. It started to be cool to ride bikes with 20" tires. Soon the kids were making jumps for their bikes. Later came the skateboarding which made jumping fun. In 1978 the mountain bikes were getting started. Through this whole time I was totally into road bikes. My first mountain bike was a completely rigid frame Huffy that was an inexpensive big box bike to ride with my kids in the neighborhood. I would use this bike on rail trails. The rigid frame was not a comfortable ride on bumpy paths or roads.
Once I bought my current mountain bike I started riding these wooded trails at Stony Creek. Some of these were old two tracks and others probably started as hiking or skiing trails. Most times that I ride I have the trail to myself. I always enjoyed hiking or cross country running and this cycling is just like that for me. With each time out I gain more confidence. A year ago I picked up the fat tire bike and I use this also in the woods.
I did not realize how hard the mountain bike ride can be. The wide tires sure feel different with much more resistance. The knobby tires are made to get traction. The surfaces of soft dirt, sand, and grass cause greater resistance than the paved roads. The bumpy surfaces slow me down because you cannot maintain the steady cadence . The Mountain trails have many turns and obstacles. I find that I have to concentrate much more and work harder to maintain balance. I found some steep climbs and I founds some long climbs that wore me out. I came home and took a nap after my first rides.
I could see the benefits of fitting some mountain bike riding into my week. Now I enjoy the ride.