A record tonight for the number of riders in The Rockland Bog- I counted 17 guys milling around in the parking area off Bog Road after the ride, which happens every Tuesday night- year round, snow, mud, or heat- as if has for almost two decades now. Most of the faces are the same, but the bodies are a bit thicker, hair grayer, and the bikes lighter, faster, more comfortable, more able to handle the ribbon of rocks, roots, and grit under our wheels.
Are the bikes more dependable? The Bubbas are famous for being hard on gear- the number of frames that we have broken has reached double digits- with me contributing to that category as well. It’s incredible that we rarely now have members that have ” mechanicals” out there any more. It used to be a standard practice to interrupt a ride to replace or adjust drive trail components. Now, even flatted tires are rare. The bikes are better, and maybe we are also better riders- we sure have had chances to practice!
I rode well again tonight, finally clearing the long section that started on the Highland Path, past the power line, back into the woods, and across three woods roads.
I am riding better than I ever have, partly by losing 10 pounds of body weight since April, but mostly due to the almost magic properties of my Santa Cruz Tallboy with those big 29 inch tires and VPP rear suspension system. I think it is mostly the bigger tires. I have the same ability to roll over difficult terrain and climb more easily on my Surley Pugsley, whose 4″ wide soft tires are nominally 29″ in diameter. Here’s a pic of Ian on his Mukluk ready to attempt leaping from one log to the next and riding it out. He didn’t make it, but he tried.
It is also coming on to the best time of the year to ride here in Midcoast Maine- early fall, before the days get too short and the rainbow of foliage drops from the hardwood trees and blankets the trail, making it harder to follow, and camouflaging some of those knock-you-off your bike obstacles that are normally visible. Here’s a shot of Craig on his newly assembled Turner, who managed to roll off the trail a couple of days ago while we were riding Five Brooks’ on Ragged Mountain. He’s smiling!