There are a few things nicer than getting back in the trails after a month of abstinence, but only a few, and not much nicer.
A perfect storm of bicycle failure, house moving, deck building, and some actual storms had meant an enforced mountain biking lay off.
The failure was a long time coming. The mountain bike got a good hammering during the long autumn we had around here, and I attributed the odd noises that started coming out of it to a list of possible things. They were a sort of twanging sound when under whatever force my legs can muster at full throttle. Also, a soft squelchy kind of noise a bit like a leaky shock, but not happening at the right time to be one of those. When I got a chance I would take it into the shop and suggest they checked the derailleur hanger, spoke tensions, and while they are at it see if they can emulate the squelchy noise, and fix it.
Of course, with the golden weather I never got around to it.
The bike lived in the back of the van, and got its chain lubed every other outing if it was lucky.
Until one day I was almost at the top of Lobotomy, a climbing singletrack to myriad downhill options. At just about the last little steep pinch the pedals went soft, and then the drivetrain gently shifted into neutral. Everything operating, but no drive. Something terminal had occurred in the rear hub.
I pushed and hobby-horsed my way across the top of the forest to Hot X Buns, which is not all coastable but the bits that are make up for the bits that aren’t.
The highlight of the day took place on a slightly uphill section of forestry road near the car park. I was scooting along the road with my seat jammed all the way down, pushing off the ground in long steps while my pedals dangled uselessly. The road was so near to flat I didn’t want to get off and walk, but the speed dropped off enough that I was passed by a small group of riders, a mother and her two kids.
Mum didn’t look at me, and her daughter was also too polite to look at the strange scootering man.
The seven year old son had no such scruples. He gave me a withering look that said something like “this whole activity will be so much better for everybody when you know how to work your pedals”.
I couldn’t yell at him that I don’t normally ride like this. Would have been too weird.
But I admit, once the bike was fixed, and I could get back in the woods, I was sort of keeping an eye out for the little guy to show him I had figured the pedals out.
Even though I didn’t see him, it was great being back on the horse.
Happy trails, Gaz & Glen
Full time adventurers