Today OH decided to go for a run along the banks of the Waihopai – a gravel path that takes you right out to the estuary. It’s a lovely trail, specially in the summer. I miss running sometimes, in that regard. So, today I decided to take the mountain bike.
I haven’t ridden it properly, as it was built to be ridden, only as a bike to take me to the shops occasionally. It’s really really cheap, heavy and is doing really well at 8 years old. It’s the bike that I bought when I first decided to try a triathlon. It only cost me £80.
No SPD pedals, just trainers and bike kit. I had no idea if I would like it or hate it, and felt quite self conscious, I have no idea why! It took me a while to get used to the idea that I could actually ride wherever I wanted, terrain wise, and did not have to slow down and let walkers past. I wouldn’t break something or pick up a puncture if I rode on the grass! I have been a road cyclist way too long I think!
I had no agenda, no bike computer, no watch, no gauge of speed or distance, and just decided to ride along and enjoy the scenery. My ride took me along the banks of the Waihopai right down to the estuary mouth, where the river meets the sea. I passed a sea scouts hut and a little look out, then the peninsula continues with a small inlet to its left: water on both sides.
It seemed strange to be taking a bike along paths like these, I was used to running this sort of trail, but it made me realise one thing: it’s actually quite liberating and extremely enjoyable to ride them, a wee bit like a half way house between riding and running. It enabled me to navigate the terrain I was used to – but on the safety of a bike, thus protecting my knee as well.
I will say one thing though, I need to learn mountain bike handling skills, and I need to save up for some SPD Pedals and mountain bike shoes! They would probably be worth almost the same as the bike, but it would make life easier, I had forgotten how much power you lose when your foot is NOT attached!
I even managed to raise my heart rate, I thought I had given OH to much of a lead on the route back to the car as I rode further before my turn around. So, I set off in hot pursuit, to make sure I caught him and got back first!
Thoroughly enjoyable, and I would in all likelihood, do it again, not as a replacement to the road and the track, as a compliment. 🙂
Things I discovered that I didn’t expect;
- Loved the variation from long straight tar sealed roads
- loved being able to get down the trails without having to run
- It can be as hard or as easy as I want it to be
- Its quite different to my tucked in road cycling position