Story courtesy of Tristan and Sarah at mybackcountryvermont.com
When good friends call early in the morning to ride, especially in early April, you ride. Sarah and I are lucky that many of our friends ride bikes and every year we get to meet even more good folks to ride with. So, when riding season comes around, we are sure to have many great friends to hit the trails with. And, when that first ride of the season happens, no matter where or when, there are a couple of things you can come to expect.
As seen in photo A, above, the first thing you can expect on that first ride is to feel a little rough around the edges, to say the least. When those lungs start to burn and the legs start to cramp, especially after a less than brilliant winter, hang in there! And be assured there will always be a friend to ride by and say ” Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m really feeling great!” And you respond without restraint “Blarrghhhh.”
You might also on that first ride have this guy. You know: he’s on a steel, single speed 90’s-era Trek cobbled out of parts from the dumpster behind the local bike shop, and he’s dropping all the cool lines you have to work up to hitting halfway through the season. He’s a good friend so you just watch and try to capture the moment.
Ah, cabin fever. As we all get out our bikes out for the season and brush the dust off those top tubes (although I know some of you out there have been riding all winter) we suit up for our first ride. And we get to see all the diverse culture out there. Back when mountain biking was not that popular, standard protocol for riding was spandex shorts and a crusty jersey. Nowadays you can expect to see anyone looking like last month’s cover of Mountain Bike Action or perhaps all in matching spandex (Please don’t take offense: I have matching spandex. And man-pris.). It’s great to see just how far our – dare I say – sport has come.
Now, as for the ride: Yes, I think – or I hope – at least that we can all agree that we’re really all out there to just enjoy being outside and ride with good friends. Sometimes you just have to stop and smell that single track. Riding is different from hiking, which we’re quite fond of, too; but, when riding, I think one can get lost and things can fly by pretty fast! So when your lungs can’t seem to keep up with your legs or the guy in front of you: slow down, stop and enjoy the experience.
And while you’re out there enjoying the singletrack, remember to get involved; think about who made it possible. Many folks sink their blood, sweat, tears and time into building these trails and we could all stand to put some of ours in as well to make our local riding the experience we all want it to be. This sign at the end of Bear Run says it all: Get out there and make it happen!
Ah, yes. Back to that first ride…or, rather, the parking lot where you can finally rest those weary legs and enjoy the end of your ride with good friends, and perhaps a toast. This is often when we share some great stories and times with old and new friends. And, after that first ride comes to an end – or the second, third, fourth…
– we are already thinking about where that next ride will begin.