This time of year, in the area around Nashville, TN the weather is, at best, damp. Most of the time, it seems downright soggy. That means it’s not the best time for getting out and riding single-track. Every once in a while you get a day that allows a dry road ride. Occasionally it gets cold enough that an industrious person can get up early in the morning and ride the trails while they’re still frozen. But for the most part, it’s paved bike paths, dodging puddles, and braving winds that just don’t seem to quit. That’s why this post is a categorized as a musing rather than a ride report, or something such as that.
You see, days like today that I think about rides like the one I took this picture on. Oh, it was cold that day. But it was a fantastic ride. I got to check out some recently rehabilitated trail on Lookout Mountain, up in the GW. Just a few miles away was also some slick flow coming down Narrow Back Mountain. Yep, checked that out too. Rides like that stick out in my mind for a lot of reasons. First, I’m not usually the guy holding a ride up. Normally, in a group, I’m closer to the middle than the back. On this ride, my flat-lander was showing the whole time. I had a killer time with some of the climbs. I kept up on the downhills though.
Another reason is there isn’t a lot of trail like this in middle Tennessee (affectionately known as MidTN). For a long time, I thought the problem was a lack of public land. Growing up in central Virginia, I took the huge tracts of public land there for granted. Parks, and national forests everywhere. Around here, things are a little different. But there is still a lot of public land. We just don’t get the idea that the land is available for public use. It turns out that notion is largely wrong. When relationships are built, and understandings and agreements reached, public land can be used by the public. We have land capable of supporting epic class trails. Rolling hills, forest covered ridges, hollows with flowing creeks that fill with fog on those crisp fall mornings.
It brings to mind the importance of building relationships. It’s easy to get on a bike and go ride a trail that’s already there. Many people do just that. They let someone else build the trails, usually those same people maintain the trails, and everyone else just rides on them, and wonders why there aren’t more cool trails. The answer is because of relationships, or lack thereof. See, if those people got involved in maintaining trail, it would give everyone more time to think about new trail. The new connections brought on board by the new people might be useful in locating more land managers, with whom relationships could be established, ultimately allowing more trails to be built. Sure, it takes time, and all relationships take work, and trail building is it’s very only kind of labor of love, but new trails benefit entire communities.
So it turns out instead of thinking about riding, I’m thinking about relationships. But the ultimate goal of those relationships is to give more people more places to take more pictures like this one. So take a look at it. Think about it. Do you know someone who does trail work? Do you know a land manager? Do they know each other? If not, maybe you can take the first step to opening the next door, and introduce them.