Allie finally scooped a new mountain bike this weekend, and we couldn't be more stoked!
For the last few weeks we've been trying to find Allie the right bike. I searched all the Craigslist ads within 2 hours driving time, monitored local bike sale pages on Facebook, and took note of what all the local shops had in their inventory. The budget was limited, but with 7 years of experience working in the bike & ski industry, I have a pretty good idea of what bikes are worth and how we could get the most bang for our little buck.
The number one issue when trying to buy a used bike is that people are proud of their stuff. "One man's treasure is another man's trash." Granted a few of the people we spoke with were flexible, most of the ads looked like these:
However, we narrowed it down to a few bikes that may work, if nothing else turned up:
All in all, nothing really stood out as "The Bike" or anything that we should be in a rush to jump on. On Monday I decided to call around to a few more shops in the Tri-Cities to find something out of a rental or demo fleet. I spoke with a few shops in Asheville and in Boone. Finally I got in touch with Magic Cycles and spoke with Hunter. He told me they were about to bring their demo bikes down from Beech Mountain. I told him I was looking for something like a Trance or 5010 in a size medium. To our luck, they had a mediumGiant Trance 3. Jackpot! I told him to hold it aside with our name on it and we would come check it out on Friday. The rest of the week dragged by as we waited in anticipation to check it out. When Friday finally came around, I ran out of my office at 11:30, picked up Allie & Olin, and we headed over to Boone.
As soon as Allie sat on the bike, I knew we were leaving with it. She was stoked, the fit was perfect, and the bike was a smokin' good deal. The guys at the shop gave it a tune while Allie tried on some shammies, a few pack essentials, and a shop jersey. Then we were on our way. I'm not really who was more excited at this point!
When we got to the house, we both changed into our gear as quickly as we could, grabbed the dog, and made our way to Bay's Mountain Park while Olin stayed with her grandpa. At about 6:00 pm, Allie was finally experiencing her first singletrack ride. Bay's is a great place to take a beginner rider in the Tri-Cities area. We did a 6 mile loop that had features great for new and intermediate riders such as small rock beds, log features, and small, non intimidating climbs. At about mile 4, while we were taking a break, Allie said to me, "I'm sorry if I ever assumed riding bikes wasn't a workout." We hopped back on our bikes and rode the last remaining chunk of trail before we hit the gravel road that lead us back to the car.
On her first day on single track, Allie and I rode about 6 miles in an hour and a half. Not Bad! When we got back to our house we went through proper washing techniques as well as what to check for after each ride and a few key maintenance tips to always perform.
On Saturday, we decided to go across the street to Winged Deer park and do a quick lap on the unfinished singletrack that SORBA has been working on. Still a little bit sore from the previous day, we set on a little bit slower. Although the trails aren't yet completed, Winged Deer has a few more intermediate type features such as rock rolls, rock gardens, and a small technical descent. It's a great place to boost confidence and work on some form! Allie decided that she wanted to work on the rocky downhill section and learn how to ride over smaller ledges and rocks, so we did a few laps on the little segment in the video below. Pretty darn awesome for only her second day on a mountain bike! We finished the ride and headed home with plans on coming back to attend the SORBA trail event the following day.
At noon on Sunday, we headed back across the street to Winged Deer to meet up for the trail work day. Not only was this Allie's first trail day, but we decided to bring Olin too! Olin loves to be outside, especially in the woods, so she had a great day playing foreman of the job site. We pushed her stroller through the trail to the berm section we were building up where she hung out for the next few hours while we worked on a few features.
After about 3 hours we called it a day and headed back to the parking lot. Naturally, there was pizza and beer for those who worked. This is mountain biking after all.
All in all it was a great weekend, and words will never be able to express how happy I am that we can take on this sport together as a family. The next step is to get Olin a trailer so she can start joining us on rides!
Taco and I went on a trail run to Sill Branch Falls. On the run back to the parking area while pondering the vanishing flow of the parallel creek bed, I saw what I thought was a black dog through the branches around an upcoming corner. About 300 feet away, I saw that the black blob cleared into a black bear cub! Taco and I came to a halt and slowly stepped backward. I feared that another mama may not be too far behind this baby cub. The cub was cute and small and curiously trotted closer to Taco and me. We carefully stepped backward and I grabbed a thick stone with a sharp edge in the unwarranted scenario that mama bear was nearby. Taco and I stepped into a small opening in the trees between a steep incline and a creek. We kept an eye as the cub stopped and looked around. We did not want to go backwards to the falls and further away from our transportation wondering where the bears may be so we stood ground and studied as the cub studied us. Taco and I walked a few steps forward and Taco growled spooking the cub to run across the creek to the other side. We steadily walked by and observed the cub from a distance and continued forward. Taco kept an eye on the cub, and I studied the woods for a bigger black blob as we kept pace. We picked up speed with no animals in sight and arrived safely to our car. I was so proud of Taco for keeping calm and standing between the bear and me in protection mode. He did not bark nor hesitate in running to a bear on the trail. It was a safe passing as we entered a new state of mind while studying the cub and allowing our instincts to promote a natural awareness that we are sharing these trails with other animals.
Dogs & Diapers