How I Got into Mountain Biking – Twice.
I always imagined mountain biking as an extreme sport: flying off jumps, rock hopping or balancing on a narrow log bridge – the threat of injury always a misstep away.
I first tried mountain biking 25 years ago in Moab, Utah, the original mountain bikers’ mecca. I did my best to follow gung-ho friends on sandstone routes, and ended up walking a lot, but that was fine. Besides, it was a great way to enjoy the rust-colored, rocky beauty. It all ended with a brief visit to the ER – not me, thankfully – but one of those crazy friends had to get stitches. Soaking in a hot tub at the end of the day never felt so good!
Now, as an older cyclist, I am more cautious, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try new adventures.
After an amazing afternoon at Kingdom Trails in 2019, I realized how much fun it was rolling on single-track, weaving around trees, negotiating small hills and wider bridges – nothing too technical – it suited my two-wheeled wanderlust just fine! This was not dangerous, but gentle exploration on a comfortable bicycle. What a revelation!
After that, getting a mountain bike was on my radar for a while. It took the pandemic, relocating to a home near a town forest with trails, plus an extremely crowded multi-use path, to have me heading to Vermont’s hills for solitude.
In the fall of 2020, our youngest son helped me choose a bike. With limited local supply, I was lucky to get a bicycle at all! I spent the autumn exploring trails as the leaves changed color and puddled beneath my knobby tires. I rode two to three times a week, alone or with our son and his friend, once venturing to leaf-covered Cochran’s Trails in Richmond, Vermont. It gave us a real challenge in navigation – we got lost – but eventually found our way back on track to descend at sunset.
I went by myself to ride Waterbury, Vermont’s Little River State Park’s easier trails, and discovered how much I like curvy single-track.
Every new adventure teaches me something – sometimes it’s just to bring adequate water and a snack! I have a lot to learn, but there’s no hurry. The trails are out there, waiting for me to slowly pedal through Vermont’s lovely landscape.
I’m looking forward to trying the Breakaway Bike Short and Soleil Flow Top or Tech Tee, for more breathable comfort on my rides during Vermont’s humid summers.
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