As I was mounting my light for Wednesday's night ride, something triggered memories from long ago, the early days of night riding for me, which in turn got me thing about how my night riding has evolved. I suspect what triggered this was the yellow Light and Motion logo on the black mounting bracket, the same color scheme as my first bike light, a Vista Light that blazed at a whopping 6 watts as I remember. In those days, night riding on trails was just starting to happen, light choices were minimal and not many people were doing it.
Back then, night riding was similar to a camping trip. It usually consisted of a core of 4 of us: Rob, Tim, Bill and myself, two pairs of old friends who happened to get connected by mountain biking. We'd set out well after sunset, usually in the cold, and we'd always be packing food. Not Power Bars or any kind of sports oriented sustenance, but tin cans of soup or beans or some other cheap staple. I preferred Chunk New England clam chowder as I recall. Mid-ride, we'd stop and build a fire, warm our bones and bury the cans in the coals. After a few stirs and some bubbling over of the contents, you reach into the fire with your hand safely sheathed in your glove (none of us wore fancy, high tech plastics to melt back then) and retrieved your trailside delight. Just like a camping trip, we'd sit by the fire munching down our food and shooting the shit. With a warm belly full of food, the fire was extinguished and we were back on our way, often returning after midnight.
Wednesday's night ride was at the other end of the spectrum. When the trails are too wet or the snow is to deep, we take to doing night road riding. Road bikes, cyclocross bikes, fixies and MTBs with slicks. It's fun, but it's main purpose is to log some miles and get out on the bike and not miss that coveted mid-week ride.
What really made the whole picture weird though was the post ride encounter. Kevin and I hit a local pub to grab some food and beers and I ran into Rob from the early night riding days. He's not really a cyclist any longer, but in the course of conversation he brings up one of our long ago night ride camp fire adventures, complete with ice coated trails that we rode down on our ass for a good portion of the downhills. Good times for sure.
Sunshine Ride Time //
Wednesday - March 3, 2004
When I got on the bike Sunday, total mileage for the past 2 weeks had been well under normal. The week I spent in Vermont was the major factor. I was so busy with snow sports that I actually didn't feel like I was going nuts not logging my usual two wheel time. Arriving home Saturday night, I checked weather to find a forecast in the mid 60's for the next day. Things had stayed pretty warm here at home while I was gone, beginning the dreaded melt-off. Dreaded, because it meant no trail time since things would be a wet and muddy mess. Despite my love for the warm and sunny weather I was hoping for a gloomy, chilly day to keep people off the trails, because, for some of them, that's the only way they won't do damage. But, the sun shined bright and warm and I found myself spinning the asphalt on the fixed with Jay and trying not to think about the throngs of riders hitting the local soil.
The ride was not necessarily epic, but what a day. The last day of February and it was around 65, cycling in shorts and a short sleeve jersey. A bit of wandering on no particular route heading south and eventually we find a new little rail trail type bike path of dirt and cinder that follows the Little Patuxent river and leads us in the direction of the Fordham Brewery. We make a mid-ride stop to sit on the outside deck overlooking the Middle Patuxent river and down some Tavern Ales. A fine finish to the vacation, we remount and head back towards home, spinning out the miles in a nice steady rhythm.
Is spring here? Not sure, but I'll take what I can get, even if the trails are still wet. They've got to have some dry time, hopefully this is the true beginning.
News Flash //
Tuesday - March 2, 2004
This just in: The 2004 Single Speed World Championship website is now up.
Back from some beautiful winter weather in Vermont. Barely any bike riding was done while I was there, to busy with snowboarding and snowshoeing. We did manage to do a road ride on an off day, slugging around on our 1x1 MTBs with the small gears and fat tires. Not ideal, but any pedaling is good, the views were spectacular and there was hardly any traffic.
And of course, who can forget the nighttime attempt to build a snow ramp at the top of the hill at the end of the driveway where we were staying. It was dark out by then and we just arrived back from the local brewery where we had put down a few of their tasty IPAs after a day on the slopes. The snow wasn't the packing type so we had to settle for carving out a slot in the snow mound so we could launch off the hill. The giant divot in the driveway right before the hill didn't make for an ideal take-off spot. In fact, it totally screwed up your approach and sent you endoing down the hill insuring a wreck as soon as your wheel got buried in the deep snow. The jump area looked good on paper but didn't hold up in the real world. It was worth the attempts for the few good laughs and pictures alone. After rolling around in the snow several times we called it a night and ducked back in the house for some Long Trail Ale.