I’m not dead. Yet.

I know it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry. I’ve been a busy man. I’ve spent three days out of the last two…or has it been three?..weeks in meetings with a local city government about a new trail system at a park. I dedicated bike trail system. I’ve also been on the property a couple of times, and made some very interesting discoveries. Including that I’m going to be building a LOT of elevated trail over a creek on the property. Each crossing – and I’m aiming for two – will need 40 to 60 yards of deck elevated to an unknown height as of yet, but I’m guessing at least 2 feet. I’ll know for sure when the water goes back down. I’m very excited about this project though, because I really do feel like mountain bikers finally are getting cut loose in this area to build a real playground.

Speaking of playing, I have gotten some playing in. Our Saturday Social last week was fun, we had a good turnout and picked up a few new folks. One of the new folks we picked up was a seasoned rider who had never been in the park before. Four of us ended up doing over 7 miles giving him the guided tour. Here’s the group about halfway through the first loop. Y’all will get used to seeing this barn. It’s a real landmark on our trails.

April 6th Social ride. There are three participants not including myself who are not in frame.

April 6th Social ride. There are three participants not including myself who are not in frame.

Late in the ride I had a bit of a spill. Honestly, after a couple of days, it didn’t feel that bad. The only real problem with it, is that I still can’t explain how it happened. You know those old cartoons, where someone pulls the rug out from under someone, and they go completely horizontal, and come crashing to the ground? Well, that’s what happened. I was riding into a switchback, and *boom*, I was laying on the ground. No idea. But that brings me to a tip. You’re thinking, hey, weren’t you carrying  a camera? Yep, I sure was.

The camera I carry on my rides isn’t something I’d get all broken up about if it got destroyed in a fall. Still, who wants to break a camera? I carry my old Canon Digital Rebel XT. I have a gizmo called a Capture Clip (Peak Designs) on the strap of my Camel Back. I can get all crazy and bunny hop stuff and jump things with the camera on this thing and it doesn’t smack me in the face or anything else. It’s pretty sweet. Even sweeter is the fact that in this crash, it not only held the camera, but again, the camera didn’t hit me in the face or anything, and when I stood back up, the camera worked. In fact, I carried with me the next day at Rotary. When we, you guessed it, did trail work.

We’ve had a trouble spot for some time where the trail is on flat ground because it has to be. It’s the lowest spot on this bit of flat ground right before you get to the creek. So when it rains, a bunch of run off from where a pump station was put in flows off the hill and onto the trail, and sits there. That’s a problem. Here’s a picture I took (with my camera that survived my strange spill) of the solution, and the four guys that worked with me to help finish out this somewhat drawn out project.

These guys worked super hard with me April 7th to get this turnpike finished. We did in one day what would have taken two days on either of my other work days out here. Bravo chaps. Bravo.

These guys worked super hard with me April 7th to get this turnpike finished. We did in one day what would have taken two days on either of my other work days out here. Bravo chaps. Bravo.

You can see an old section of turnpike disappearing out of the frame at the back, and the new section extends to where I’m standing to take the picture. It’s a lot of work, but it should allow water to pass through in a few places, and run further down to a low spot with a lot of drainage into the creek, keeping the trail from being wet and muddy after rains. We’ll find out today I guess.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to, in short. I’ve got a full day ahead, that includes another Saturday social. But first, I have to go haul a couple of tons of gravel for a friend….

Patches, tubes, and other flat solutions.

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to get a ride in on some trails with a friend. He doesn’t ride a whole lot, but he keeps some pretty nice kit. While we were out he got a flat. It was a classic pinch, and he pulled out another tube, said he’d patch that one later. Unfortunately, the extra tube he was carrying around had been in his pack for a year or so, and it split when he pumped it up. It brought to mind an issue I think about sometimes.

Typically I don’t carry a tube with me when mountain biking. When on a road bike, I always carry a tube, but I’ve had this same thing happen where the tube basically dry rots in the pack. Of course, I always, regardless, carry a patch kit. I think maybe the difference for me between mountain biking and road biking is that I can patch the tube sitting in the woods, and the worst I have to worry about is what, a passing cyclist, or hiker? Ok, maybe a bear. At the same time, I’m not keen on sitting on the side of the road for any length of time. I mean, you just never know today, right? Especially when it comes to people behind the wheel.

On the flip side of that, when I went riding with my brother over Christmas, he stuffed a tube in my pack. Now, he has miles of mountain bike trail to get lost on, and tubes do come in handy sometimes. It’s not like he’s in one of my local parks when seven or eight miles of trail covers the whole loop, and it takes at max a mile or three to get out of the woods. If he can’t patch a flat he has to hike 10 or 20 miles sometimes.

So, I’m taking to carrying a tube with me now on my mountain bikes as well. I’ll just have to be more cautious about how long I carry it around with me, otherwise it’ll be useless. Speaking of useless, I was riding with a friend who got a flat and pulled out some of those new glueless patches. That held for about 3 minutes. As near as I can tell, those things are horrible.

So what about everyone else? Tubes? Patch kits? How do you feel about patching a tire on the side of the road? In the woods? Let me know.