Wednesday, April 13

Bikes Can Be Fun Too!

In recent months I've been focused more on utility cycling and less on the recreational aspects of my chosen mode of transportation. But as spring blooms and warmer weather creeps into our lives I have started thinking more and more about riding just for the pure unadulterated heck of it. After five-ish months of scheming to get my family on longtail cargo bikes we’re finally there. So now its time to go back to daydreaming about the long rides. Having a "new" bike inspires a cyclist to greatness.

Planning specific rides also helps me tweak the Cannonball. I've said that I will most likely swap out drops for some other type of bars bars down the road. It will be good to get a summer of riding in and see what type I end up doing more of on the Cannonball. If I start straying off-road a lot I will most likely lean toward mountain bike or riser bars. If I tread the pavement's edge too much I will work on tweaking the drops and going more with a touring setup. If I can't decide then I'll go on and on and on and on about it here for months on end until my wife throws up her hands and goes out for a bike ride without me.

Revisiting the Medicine Bow Trail is high on the family adventure list this summer. Wow, and thinking about riding it without the tow bar and trailer makes my little heart swell. The trailer might still tag along, but not having to pull a train of kid related bike accessories with camping and cooking gear is already looking kinda nice!

The longtail bikes obscure the obstacles. Bikes do make life easier. It’s a misconception that having to pedal all the way to your destination is harder than getting in a car and riding there. The effort expended in pedaling, even in hauling a load of stuff up a hill, creates human strength and endurance. Riding in a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine saps strength and endurance. What seems initially hard become second nature and is ultimately less complicated, less frustrating, less demanding of your life energy converted to currency in the long run. Riding a bike does that, never driving a car.

This is especially true when it comes to recreational cycling. I am baffled by those who will put their mountain bike on the roof of their car to drive five, or even ten miles to a trailhead to ride on a singletrack trail. Even more baffling are those who will drive their bicycle out of a residential neighborhood to an urban trailhead on the South Platte or Clear Creek Trails to ride. How is enjoyable to get the car involved in a bike ride? I'd rather just get on the bike and ride. It's like the people that drive to the gym to run on a treadmill...ridiculous.

And so thinking along these lines makes me second guess my desire to ride the Medicine Bow Trail. It's a three hour car ride through Colorado and just over into Wyoming to get to the trailhead. I'm not saying I wouldn't ride my bike to get there given the appropriate amount of time, but it seems increasingly silly to drive so far to ride so little. I still want to do it, and just going to camp and enjoy that part of the country makes the trip worthwhile, but if we could find some place closer to home requiring the same human energy to reach would be infinitely more satisfying. Elk Park and Kingston Peak anyone?

I've also considered touring up to Pawnee Nat'l Grasslands sometime. I'm not sure why I've been so fascinated with the prairie the past couple of weeks. I'm typically a mountain kind of guy. I typically prefer vertical relief over endless horizons. But the endless horizons are calling me these days as well. I'm being pulled west and east.

I'm looking forward to the first week in May when I won't have to be at work until 9am. I can leave out early one day and ride up to Genesee again. Lookout Mountain looms over my commute through Golden. Many a morning it calls to me. Soon I will be able to sneak in a climb along its winding roads. Soon...

The "threat" of spring

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