“Want to ride on the Fourth?” asked Maggie.
“Sure,” I said. “Road or mountain?”
“Hmm, your choice.”
“I feel like a trail ride,” I replied. We agreed to meet at 8:30 at Starbucks.
I’ve mentioned the choice of mountain biking trails around here. Instead of going to the Slaughter Creek Preserve Trail, to the west, we opted to ride the singletrack through the Circle C Ranch metro park. We could cover some ground that way, and Maggie hadn’t seen some of those areas before.
After a tentative start, we found our legs. I glanced off a boulder and fell, but didn’t get hurt, and we made good time through the rough, mostly narrow, trail.
When the trail ended and we hit the streets of a residential area, we bumped into a little neighborhood 4th of July parade.
We decided to keep heading east, to a subdivision called Bauerle Ranch. When it was built a few years ago, the developers left in a network of trails. Neither of us had ever ridden there, and we wanted to see what they looked like.
Pretty much the same as the trails we had just ridden — that is, typical for this part of Texas. As I led the way through the unfamiliar territory, I was focused on the track ahead. Maggie called out to stop me.
“I want to take a look at this tree!” she called.
I doubled back, and was not disappointed. It was the biggest live oak I’ve ever seen. A nice bench had been installed along the trail next to the tree, and we decided to take a break there.
A mountain biker of a certain age came by while we admired the tree. He bikes these trails a lot, and gave us an idea of where we might go from this point on. After a chat of several minutes, he moved on.
“That’s what I like about mountain bikers,” Maggie said.
“What?” I asked. “That they’re sociable?”
“Yeah. Road bikers don’t talk to you much. Mountain bikers will talk to other mountain bikers with no hesitation.”
We continued on, and found the lollipop loop the guy had mentioned, and were soon heading back the way we had come.
“Aaaagh! Ray! A flat!” she yelled.
Her front tire had hit something, and was as flat as it could get. I thought we were getting close to the trail head, but wasn’t sure just how far it was. The roof of a nearby house seemed to indicate it was pretty close. Maggie thought she could use a CO2 cartridge to fill the flat temporarily, and hope it would get us back on the streets. In the meantime, I called my wife and asked her to come get us.
The CO2 worked for about 10 seconds. We took turns carrying her bike out of the overgrown parkland. I was right — the beginning of the trail was not far. We walked a few blocks on suburban streets, when my wife pulled up and we could load the bikes on the rack and head home.
Why didn’t we just fix the flat on the trail? Maggie’s bike, a new Trek 29er, has disc brakes. It needs an Allen wrench to get the front wheel off. She had all the gear she needed to fix a flat — but no Allen wrench. Lesson learned — by both of us.