Last week, my road bike was out of commission while my cassette woes were being attended to. That left me without a ride on Sunday morning, which is my main ride of the week. What to do?
Aha! Hanging in the garage, seldom used, is a 10-year-old mountain bike. My wife gave it to me for a birthday present, and I never really took to it. At one point, I thought I might turn it into a utility bike and use it for running errands and such. It’s gotten vary limited use in that regard, although I have mounted a rear rack to it and put on skinnier slick tires to replace the knobbies.
I decided I’d give it a try. I hadn’t really ridden the thing on the roads for a couple of years. I pumped up the tires and hopped on.
Nothing adventurous — I just wanted to get some time in the saddle. I rode a mish-mash of neighborhood routes, and covered 14.5 miles in a little over an hour.
So how was it? Better than I remembered, actually. Oh, there are things I still don’t like about it: My hands hurt after a relatively short while because there isn’t the variety of hand positions that I have on my road bike. However, that also might be a fit issue. I never took advantage of the simple fitting the bike shop does, because back when I got the bike, I didn’t know anything about biking, and didn’t think being fitted to the bike was all that important.
I’m also not crazy about the front suspension. Obviously, if I used the bike as intended — off road — they would be most welcome. But riding on suburban streets, they’re completely unnecessary. I just can’t get used to the diving sensation that occurs when I make a stop.
On the plus side, it’s a good workout. I worked harder than I would, and at a slower speed, than I would to ride the road bike the same distance. When it was over, I felt really good.
So, I think I might be taking it out again. I doubt I’ll ever get into mountain biking in a serious way, but as a change of pace, it’s worthwhile. Close by, we have some nice county parks with bike trails. Nothing technical, but the steed would be in a more appropriate environment when it rides there. I might have to break out the knobbies again.
I imagine many, if not most, Bike Noob readers have mountain bikes of their own. How much do you ride them compared to your road bikes? Do they serve as fill-in duty like mine, do you run errands in them, or do you bash round singletrack? Let me know.