Friday, January 30, 2009

Following the Road the Plow Takes

It is inevitable that during some time of the winter, mountain biking comes to an end. I always hope for only a short time without, but sometimes, as mountain bikers we must look elsewhere to feel the wind on our face and get the satisfaction of a hard effort, all with giddy smiles. These feelings I do not often find in a spin class or on the trainer.

Looking out across the frozen iced over sea of snow, I knew the time had come. With temps rising close to 34, the plowed roads would be my safest choice, so as much as I love to ride up in the park, I decided to stay in suburbia. Art had just converted my sister's 1985 Team Fuji into a single-speed, and during the last few days, the new bar tape had been calling out to me for attention, so without hesitation, I grabbed the retro single-speed.

During the first few miles, I decided my gearing was too tedious and spun out. It was still set from my last hilly ride. I do not have the single-speed set up like a normal single-speed. It's what some refer to as a "dos". It has 2 chain ring and cog combinations of equal number of combined teeth and no derailleurs. So what I had to do to switch, was pull off the road and slide the rear wheel forward and manually change the gear combo. Thirty seconds and "viola", super soul rider is back up to speed and cruising with the taller gear.

Once I looked past the SUV's, dirty snow and piles of salt, it was quite nice to be out. I find the adventure of riding by myself to be energizing, and then throw in the discipline of one gear and I'm even more energized. I followed the road or wherever the snow and ice was not. Although much of my concentration was on avoiding potholes, cars and buses, I felt the wind on my face, and my heart pounded whenever I went uphill. I returned home sweaty like always, but with more energy than before. It was a good winter ride.

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