I haven’t really mentioned my third bike yet, even when I was blogging about how much I love my bikes. That’s because it is a mountain bike, and until recently I have been a fairly die-hard roadie.
Last winter I did a bit of mountain biking, including a few trips with various friends up to our local wind farm. It was a pleasant alternative to perilous riding on icy roads, and had a pretty strenuous climb thrown in for good measure.
My mountain bike was pretty old, although in fairly good nick, but I never quite trusted the v-brakes. So this summer I treated myself to a brand new 29-er with hydraulic disc brakes. While I like going fast, I also like being able to stop!
When I bought my summer road bike I did a ton of research. I read reviews, learnt all about gear ratios and can pretty much recite all the specs of that bike off the top of my head. For the mountain bike, it was a bit different. I went to one of our local bike shops, Rock and Road, and it was love at first sight. My new mountain bike would be a completely ridiculous, luminous yellow Trek.
I’ve never really done much mountain biking, and I was lacking even basic skills. Over the last few months I’ve been to a couple of skills coaching sessions, ridden in a couple of off-road triathlons (winning my age group in one and coming second in the other, so I must be doing something right!), and visited my local trail centres. I even volunteered to be one of the Bike Club’s two mountain bike reps, despite my relative lack of skills and nerve.
After falling off on a slippery wooden bridge, and then getting totally psyched out doing cyclocross, I lost a bit of confidence recently, but a fantastic club trip to Carron Valley (in the dark!) last Wednesday allowed me to get my mountain bike mojo back. My shrieks of glee when I managed to get both wheels off the ground (briefly) could probably be heard for miles around.
Chris has now also bought a mountain bike – in fact he’s off riding up a hill on it as I write – so hopefully there will be more off-road adventures in the near future!