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The Joys Of Mountain Biking

And frankly I love that bike. For all that I'm thinking of getting a new one...

I have lived in a bike-friendly city for most of my life - over 20 years. It's a major city - over 100,000 people, but it was designed with plenty of bike trails around and through the many parks and lakes. And even the streets are for the most part wide, with shoulders on which cyclists can ride. This is because it's a major city in the midwest, where there was plenty of room to build and spread out, unlike the New England states where space was at a premium.

Anyway, I bike everywhere that I can- to the library, to my local grocery store (if I'm only buying a few things. I use a detachable handlebar basket), to work and for general pleasure riding - during spring, summer and fall, anyway,

Every spring, it takes me a few weeks of serious biking in order to get back into shape (I'm a warm weather woman, I huddle indoors in the winter time, storing up fat, and then as soon as spring hits I'm out on the bike until next winter.)

The first year I had the bike, I used it solely for road biking, and for off-trail riding. As I said, I love the bike - it's much more comfortable than a road bike with its typical tiny saddles and drop handlebars. And I liked the freedom it gave me - if I saw something off in a grassy field somewhere I could turn off the trail or road without hesitation and go investigate without hesitation - something you can't do with those narrow wheeled road bikes.

Was I able to go as fast as a road bike? Well...not really, but then, I'm never in a hurry to get anywhere.

When the second spring came around, I decided it was time to actually tried a little mountain biking. I wasn't going to seek out any actual mountains - but there were plenty of hills around the city that had "mountain biking" trails on them. I did my few weeks of "getting into shape" and then set off for the nearest "official" trail.

And let me tell you - mountain biking is a gas. I don't enjoy the climbing portion of it - I'm not a masochist, but once you get to the top and head on down, the wind against your face and the sheer concentration needed to negotiate all obstacles is exhilarating.

So if you live anywhere near a mountain biking trail, go check it out. You'll be glad you did.

By: Alastair Hamilton -