Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Joys of an Urban Ride.

For years I was a mountain biker. JUST a mountain biker. No road bike, no cyclocross bike, no commuter bike. I have ample trails a short ride from my front door and that was enough for me. Why would I ride pavement when there's singletrack? Why would I deal with cranky drivers when there's singletrack? Why would I chose anything else when there's singletrack?

I still mostly feel like that but then winter happens and the trails get wet and stay wet. Around here, you don't ride wet trails. (It's hard on the trails, creates damage and erosion. It's just bad form.) So, I went to spin class even on the weekends when the weather was otherwise pretty nice. Last winter I didn't get to ride my bike on the local trail loop for the better part of two months! That sucks! So this past April I bought a cyclocross bike...and proceeded to ignore it until August. I was unfamiliar with the handling and braking of a road-style bike and it scared the crap out of me. I hated it.

So, I did the next logical thing, I decided to race it. Hahaha. I know. After a few exploratory rides with various patient friends, I competed in 12 races from September-December and now I'm the total boss of that little Fuji. And I love it. So, when the trails are wet we do what I call, "urban 'cross" (though sometimes I still ride my mountain bike.)

If you're not from Richmond, let me tell you - my city is the best for urban 'cross. We have all kinds of cool historical and industrial bits to explore. We have a river, we have tiny islands in the middle of the river, we have a floodwall, we have gravel roads, we have all kinds of crazy cool places you can ride bikes probably some of them not quite legally.

We also have a series of "pirate" trails through the little bits of scrubby brush and trees that most urban areas have. I can't tell you about them because technically they don't exist. These kind of rides are the balm of winter. It's exactly like when you were a kid and your bike represented freedom and exploration. Sometimes I go with friends and sometimes I go alone, but it's always an adventure.

(All pics are from my Instagram account. Pls follow if you like bikes, cats, shoes and/or booze.)

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly what I want to get into. Just found that Kansas City has an underground race series, Street Cred KC. I will be doing it next year for sure.