Thursday, January 17, 2013

Single Track Ahead

I've talked about the winter blues before, and with all the cloudy days and cold weather recently I could feel them coming on again.  That meant some therapy and preventative medicine was in order.  So, on a Tuesday in January when the temperature was hovering around 20 degrees, and snow flurries were in the air,  I decided to do some window shopping.  And what was it that caught my eye?  A bright shiny red mountain bike.

A little out of season I admit, but I've been thinking about getting back into biking.  Not the motorized kind.  I still do a lot of that when the weather allows.  I'm talking about the kind of bike with pedals and big knobby fat tires.  I used to do a lot of that.  Even competed in a couple of mountain bike races back in the day when my son was riding competitively.  He was the one who got me into it.  It was a great family activity for all of us, and we traveled hundreds of miles in all directions to races or just searching for a great trail to ride.  From the King of the Rockies in Colorado to the Rage in the Sage in Nebraska, a lot of wonderful memories were made.  I've been thinking lately that I want to start riding again.  Not racing.  Not even in the old man category.  I think they may call it "Veterans Division" now.  That may be a nicer way to say it, but it's still for old guys.  Not this old guy, though.  I don't think I could clean even that first hill at Alkali Creek, or survive a wicked endo like I had at Big Hill that one time, or be able to clip out of my spuds in time to avoid a wipe-out while hammering down a gnarly singletrack at Old Baldy.  That's mountain bike talk for us "veterans."  I would just like to be able to get out once in a while and hit the trails.  Besides, it would be good exercise.  I could use more of that, too.  It's not much of a workout riding down the highway on a 700 pound machine powered by a liquid cooled 1520cc horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine.  Fun, yes.  But not much of a workout.
I stopped in at both local bicycle shops and was re-educated on the new technology, and was reminded why I will buy from a local independently owned store.  They know their product and it matters to them that you get what is the best fit for you personally.  Both places informed me that 29 inch tires are the new standard and the only way to go.  A lot of the bikes look mostly the same as they did 15 years ago when I was riding a lot, except for those tires.  29 inches!  That will take some getting used to.  A lot of cool new colors now, also.  Orange and red seems to be a popular combination these days.  Plus, that color combo would match my motorcycle.  Bonus.
There are still a couple of months to study up and consider my options.  But I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it.  So, if you're hiking around Mt. Roosevelt or anywhere on the Mickelson Trail this summer and you hear some scrunchy gravel noise behind you, then someone shout "On your left!" It could be me and my hardtail out on a three-hour tour


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