This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A day in the dirt

     As I have mentioned, I really suck at dirt bike riding. I've always been a commuter/tourist/roadie, so the few times I have ridden bonafide mountain bikes I have found that it really brings out the inner child in me.  Unfortunately my inner child is a panic stricken,screaming little girl.  But I have this challenge in front of me:

the Hunq is more adaptable than I am.  I must work to do it justice.  I know I won't be using it for any trips  in the next couple of weeks, so I changed out the tires and let him don his alter ego, the Hunqa 29er.
    We have some pretty challenging dirt trails in the area and I decided to learn them.  There are a three things apparent that cause me some problems.  First, I use drop handlebars, but then so do cyclo-crossers, right?  So that should be OK.  If I like this enough I will add some interrupter levers on the bar.  I also have bar-end
shifters which I don't intend to change, but I'm not racing, so split -second shifting is not critical, right?  Thirdly, dirt trails are not maintained well, you know, they leave tree roots, rocks and sand and all kinds of stuff on the pavement of those places, and did I mention-it scares the crap out of me!
    Well I went out early Sunday morning, because I figured the trails wouldn't be too busy and I couldn't get too embarrassed.

Boy, I screwed that up.  The parking lot was near full, I was surrounded by people who looked like they were enjoying themselves, and worse than that, they seemed know what they were doing.  I slithered into the forest hoping nobody detected the fact that I was scared to death and totally clueless.
 It wasn't too bad.
Right off the bat I found my inner child wandering in the forest and having fun in the dirt, until I had to carry the bike up this cliff like formation.
  A moment later, this guy came by and ran  right into that cliff, bounced up and didn't even dismount to carry his bike. Then it dawned on me,  the tires are bigger!  They have a bunch more air than the other ones.
 I get it now, the tires are different for a reason!
     Well after that I went pedaling off through the woods bouncing around on roots and rocks like I was having fun,clang!
I broke the chain.  Well that was weird, I could fix it easily enough with my trusty rivet tool, but why?
And why was my derailleur stuck in a high gear?
Whoops!  A-to-B-to-C, I was out of the saddle climbing and banged the shifter with my knee!
Something new to worry about!
It was only few minutes to fix the chain and readjust the derailleur.
I was climbing nothing like a professional once again, but with my new found confidence.
I ended up doing around 16 miles successfully and I have to admit I felt a little better about this dirt thing.
It would be more fun without those pesky mountain bikers in whose way I'm always getting.
So I learned a few things today, big tires hold lots of air to bounce over big things and please don't bump the shifter!
So my inner child has evolved from a panic stricken little girl, to a whining little boy with a booboo on his ego.
I am better now.


  1. For what it's worth, the reason the mountain bikers could get up 'cliff' you mentioned is no because of the tires, but because of technique. Riding up a step-up requires the rider to shift their weight back and the forward at just the right time. The best suspension bike in the world wont allow you to ride straight over a step-up if you don't shift your weight the right way.

  2. Yep! I'm just starting to get a feel for that. Years of avoiding any kind of bump has left me with a tough habit to break. I'm getting there,a little bit at a time.