Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mountain Bike lessons

Each time I ride the Bridgestone MB-4 bike again, after a 15-year hiatus, I learn more about how to ride, again, and more about myself 15 years older. In short, I'm not as good as I was then, something I learned this week on my second ride.

I rode 6.5 miles round trip to town and back, a 3.5 mile route there with a variety of hills, from short and steep to long and low, and a the same 3 mile route home I took the first time. I learned my balance problems from my then pinched Sciatic nerve in 2012 haven't fully gone away.

I noticed it's hard to do something while riding I took for granted years ago, like looking back over my shoulder for cars (here it's the law that bikes are vehicles and required to follow the law as one, meaning ride with traffic and not on sidewalks unless necessary, something lost on many riders).

Anyway, while in town after crossing a major intersection (road has wide bike lane), I tried to look back for traffic before my turn ahead to see if any cars were signalling to turn too, I turned into the curb, and as expected, the front tire stopped and I tumbled onto the sidewalk.

I learned years ago never to try to break your fall with your arms or hands, it's a good way to break bones, especially your wrists. I learned to roll with the fall. I was wearing my backpack I use for walking for the stuff I carry which helped cushion the fall, but I took some skin off my right elbow and knee.

Nothing hurt, except a few sore muscles later that day, but it was the lesson I forgot about mountain bikes, you ride, you fall. I'm two for two now. Two rides, two falls. Both falls just being older and still reacquanting myself with the bike.

Anyway, that's the lesson so far. I still not very good, don't have the muscles for riding - have runner, walker and hiker's muscles than biker's muscles, and they remind me later. But it's good cross training and fitness, but something to do in moderation as it leaves a lot of sore and hurt muscles for now.

What I look forward to is riding this fall when the weather is cooler and not always sunny, even maybe rainy. The bikes fat off-road tires do ok in that weather as I used to ride on the closed roads they allow bikes in Mt. Rainier NP. But I'll need some lights so cars see me.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bridgestone MB-4

In the early 1990's I  bought this Bridgestone MB-4 bicycle. I rode it for about 5 years, mostly in Mt. Rainier NP where they allow bikes, which are the paved and dirt roads (Westside Road) and the Carbon River trail to Ipsut Campground (just the main trail and no tributary trails).

After that I realized I don't have the leg muscles for riding bicycles, mostly have walker/runner legs muscles (slow twitch instead of fast twitch muscles), so I parked it and rode every now and then over the years but mostly it collected dust and flat tires.

This weekend I got it out, cleaned it, pumped up the tires and rode 3 miles to Starbucks in town and back, about half downhill and half uphill, from 240 ft elevation where I live to about 100 ft and back up to about 300 ft elevation (reverse ride home).

I won't aruge the big fat off-road tires and the quick turning makes it harder to ride on pavement, but I got myself there and back with only one tumble in soft gravel (wait, gravel isn't soft) with the result of a skinned knee from not getting my foot out of the toe clips fast enough.

The bike will be used more often now that I know I can ride to town and back to add to the walking or days I want a late afternoon or early evening ride. There's a bike/walk trail along the highway I can take beside the rural roads (many with wide shoulders for bikes).

The bike looks and works great since it's been little used in the past 15 years. Sorry I can't say as much about the body and legs. They're 15 years older and worse for wear.