Underbiking

Last Sunday, I broke out for a pretty big ride (for me). Rather than meeting the guys for some mountain biking, I was cracking the garage door before 8:00 and wheeling the Raleigh out. My destination was Alum Creek, almost 20 miles out, and my plan was to ride the Raleigh for a lap around the P2 mtb trail when I got there.

I rolled north, stopping at the Home Road bridge for a quick picture over the Scioto River:



From there, it was a quiet ride out to the park at the corner of Hyatts and Liberty roads, in Delaware county:

When I do an S24O to Alum Creek with buddy Charles, this is our usual meeting point, me coming north from Dublin, and Charles riding south from Delaware. My load was much lighter today, and I could make much better time. I continued down and across the Olentangy River, then up the hill, and before I knew it, I was at the P2 trailhead parking lot:

It was good to have my handlebar bag for this ride, since it gave me a useful space to stow a layer of clothing as the day warmed up--even though the contents rattled once I hit the trail.

I've been spoiled by my 29+ tires lately. The 30mm wire tires on my 27" wheels don't give me nearly that traction and shock absorption when I hit that trail:

This is important, because Alum can get quite rooty and bumpy:

I was taking it pretty easy--there's something about knowing I have to protect my bike and my body for the ride home to keep my speeds in check. Perhaps oddly, the thing I missed most from my regular mountain bike were the strong brakes: flexible calipers and cheap pads can't match hydraulic discs for stopping confidence. I also missed the cornering knobs for the many off camber elements of Alum.

To my quiet disappointment, I didn't come across a single other rider that I could stun with my amazing display of technique over technology. Maybe next time.

After about 30 minutes of riding, I was starting to worry about saving my back for the ride home (on single track, I'm in the drops 95% of the time, which can take its toll), so I popped out of the trail at Sherman Road and started my trek southward. I took a different route home, so I could stop in Powell for a well earned lunch:

I was pretty impressed with my Raleigh on this ride. After about five miles of rooty singletrack, my wheels didn't need truing, and I was still pretty comfortable on the bike after over four hours of riding. Even my typical left pinky tingling, which is usually one of my first things to go wrong, didn't make an appearance.

Not bad for $25.

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