Having done my part to make America great again by facilitating a demonstrably inept person's continued operation of a motor vehicle in a potentially deadly fashion on our public roadways, I figured I'd reward myself by finishing off the work week with a ride on ol' Piney:
So pleased have I been with this bicycle that I've temporarily decommissioned my other geared all-terrain bicycle with knobbly tires, which, as you may recall, was ailing from a broken chain and cracked derailleur pulley wheel:
As a semi-professional bike blogger, author, cultural touchstone, and father of various human children requiring daily care and feeding (who knew?), I realized maintaining two redundant bicycles was a poor use of my limited recreational time. Therefore, instead of repairing it I simply took it apart and consigned it to my storage cage. I figure I'll build it back up again at such time as I need a project, or, much more likely, when my kid is big enough to ride it.
My usual mountain bicycling destination is the thrilling, untamed trail network behind the mall--sorry, "mixed-use lifestyle center"--about 8-ish miles north of my home:
This allows me to get a decent ride in without having to either disappear all day or resort to using a car. Plus there's like a Whole Foods and stuff, and when my chain explodes I can walk to the REI.
However, over the holiday break I stumbled upon some new-to-me trails also within reasonable riding distance of my abode and I'd been meaning to check them out. (I was on a road bike at the time so was only able to peer into the woods from the trailhead like a bargain shopper ogling the dresses at Bergdorf Goodman.) These trails are more like twelve miles away from me, but with judicious route choice I can get there and back almost entirely on dirt. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but I can assure you that by New York City standards being able to do a proper off-road ride right from your back door without having to deal with either car or pavement is positively decadent and a luxury akin to having a washer/dryer in your home--which is another thing that probably doesn't sound like a big deal to you, but such is life here in the Big Arple. (Hey, we may have to leave our apartments to do laundry, but at least we don't have to drive to a fucking Walmart.)
Anyway, brimming with optimism, I pointed ol' Piney northward towards the new-to-me trails, and I was savoring the crunch of freshly-fallen snow beneath me three-inch tires when I was set upon by an ornery Canis familiaris by the name of Auggie:
I know the dog's name was Auggie because that's what its owner kept shouting at it as he implored it to stand down. The dog, naturally, completely ignored him. I've often marveled at suburban dog owners' complete inability to control their dogs. (Though futile attempts to exert control seem to be the basis of suburban life.) I've also noticed that in the city I can ride by pitbull after pitbull without eliciting so much as a bark, yet as soon as I enter the monied precincts of Westchester some designer dog wants to tear me apart. To wit:
There was a time I might have dismissed a dog like Auggie's advances as mere playfulness. Hey, maybe he just thought I was a sheep and was trying to herd me, right? But that was before one of these fuckers bit me. Indeed, I encountered the biter, the wheelsucker in the video above, and Auggie all within about a mile of each other. Therefore, when Auggie chased me down and initiated a face-off I simply stopped riding and stood there. After all, I didn't know Auggie from a glory hole in the wall, and as far as I knew messing with either one could be a good way to get my dick bitten off.
Eventually the suburbanite reached Auggie and took him in hand, so I continued on my way, and before long I came upon the fresh tracks of another rider:
My first reaction was one of panic. "Are those tires fatter than mine?!?" This, I realized, is how Freds with mechanical shifters must feel when they encounter riders with electronic transmissions. But my insecurity soon gave way to curiosity, and I resolved to learn from the tracks. After all, I was heading into slightly unfamiliar terrain, and the decisive lines of this rider indicated both competence and confidence. And so I followed.
Here's the road I'd been riding on when I "found" the trails:
While this is a fairly dense suburb, if you squint you can pretend you're in the alps or something:
Well, I can, anyway. My standards are low. I usually ride behind a mall, remember?
The trails were beguiling, and soon the tracks reappeared:
I found this reassuring, figuring as long as I didn't see Sasquatch prints and a pool of blood I was probably safe. I also found all the footbridges reassuring, because who doesn't like a wooden bridge?
Assholes, that's who.
Anyway, I scampered about until I satisfied myself that I'd found a delightful new round-trip mountain bike ride to add to my repertoire:
Then I headed southward again, stopping at the gluten-free bakery in "Hipsturbia," which was for once free of runaway cars.
May your weekend rides be similarly rewarding, and either free of or replete with gluten depending on your preference.