Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mountain bike ride proves I'm a roadie

I've flirted with mountain bike-ism before. My first, a Specialized Hard Rock, lost its life to an out-of-control car, my second was stolen from my garage. I purchased this Cannondale F500 around 1997. I've taken it on the stunningly beautiful Flume Trail in Tahoe, and used it as a commuter bike with slicks. But mostly it waits for some action while I'm out on the road bike.

After our recent overnight at Black Diamond Mines and the difficulty I had with the gravel on my commuter bike, I thought I heard the Cannondale calling me again.

It was all a trick. I'd pumped the tires the night before, but when I went out the front was flat. When I took the tube out the aging rubber rim tape strip came out with it, torn in two. Oddly enough I had some rim tape, so installed that and ended up leaving for Black Diamond Mines half an hour later than I'd planned.

I like climbing on a road bike, but mountain bikes are a different story. I like to stand, but standing on loose ground means the rear wheel loses traction. Usually I can cope, but when the gradient hits double digits it's hard. The steepest section of this ride is a 19.5 % bump at the top of a hill. I can't stand, and sitting is tough as the front wheel wants to lift. And lift it did, so down I went. I like to joke that mountain bike riders like to show off their blood and scars. I didn't get a scar, but I did bleed a little. But, no scar, so I think I'm still a roadie.
Of course, all that climbing means there's a descent. I like the climbing more. I'm just not willing to "just let the bike go" down 12% rutted trails. Maybe I'm a wimp, or maybe I need newer suspension, but whatever the reason, just no. NO.

There is a payoff. The view is grand. I complain about Antioch, but Black Diamond Mine Park is a jewel, and the views are wonderful.

But all in all, I'm a roadie. When I got home I cleaned my titanium road bike and took on on a test ride. What a delight. 


  1. Love the shot from the hills, great view and so golden.

  2. I have a "vintage" 90s era mountain bike too, and my pals with newer bikes with newer, much more capable suspension *fly* down those steep grades as I gingerly pick my way down.

    Still, I think mountain biking improves my bike handling skills notably, which helps me on the road.


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