Mountain Bike Season Is Here

Tonight I enjoyed the best mountain bike ride I’ve had since probably last April.

First, my bike worked. Sometime last spring I caught a stick or something between my rear wheel and my rear derailer. Result: Bent derailer hangar. What that means is that no amount of adjusting would aline the derailer with the rear cogset. With the two out of line, shifting was iffy at best. Sometimes the chain would respond correctly to shifts, sometime it wouldn’t go at all, sometimes it would rattle and then go about ten or fifteen seconds after I needed to change. Not having the skills to fix it myself and not wanting to spend the money to take it to the shop, I basically rode a single speed for the last five months. Eventually that got old, so I took it to the shop last week. Now it rides like new. Sweet.

Second, my favorite local trails – the Stoner woods system – are in the best shape since the tornadoes last spring. After those things blew through the area, most of the trails were blocked entirely or at least covered in debris. Not long afterwards, the weather heated up and then we had all kinds of rain in July. With the trails a sloppy steamy mess, no one rides them. With no riders, no one wants to fix them, either. Thankfully, with the return of fall, the truly dedicated have cleared out many of the trails. South of the Shreveport Barksdale Bridge parts of the trails are still under water, north of the bridge, though, everything is perfect. No debris, nice tacky surface, a few new trails that make for some sweet loops: It is fun, fun, fun.

Finally, the weather. Evening rides at Stoner are always nice, the sun sets behind you making the river beautiful. We don’t have many scenic views around here, but this is one of them. More than the blue sky and vibrant late evening colors, it was the temperature that made the ride. Low seventies at the start with no humidity. For months, the idea of “cold” or “cool” or even “comfortable” has been completely inconceivable. I mean, during the summer you know at some point you will again wear long sleeves. But that’s it, you just know it, like some academic fact you accept as true even if you don’t understand it. On the way home tonight, though, I almost felt like I could be wearing long sleeves.

All in all, the perfect way to spend an evening after work.

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