Schwinn Collegiate

Saturday, January 26, 2013

X-bow hits the trail...and the ground

The X-Bow meets its first trail
So I took out my new Ridley X-Bow for my first off road adventure.  I took it onto the trails behind LaSalette in the hopes of experiencing some nice biking trails.  On the way there I cut behind Brook Haven and took a path I remember riding as a kid.  It was radically shorter than I remember, but also bumpy as can be.  I expected a better ride on a name brand cyclocross bike than the Huffy mountain bike I rode as a kid, but the truth is that the snow obscured the path, and it made it impossible to know what I was riding on.

When I arrived at the shrine, I road up and down a snowy hill, which I found enjoyable.  Then I made my way along a path to a field.  The gravel path was fun to ride, but the field had very tall grass flattened beneath snow, and was once again more challenging than fun.  Once I got to one of the paths that spun off from the field, I started up and down a rocky and root-ridden path.  It was incredibly challenging but also fun.  I slid all over the snow as I ricocheted off of rocks.  I was knocked off my bike numerous times and took the opportunity to practice a couple runs with my bike.  Overall, I was slow, awkward, and exhausted.  The ride was certainly more muscle building (upper) than aerobic, but it was clear that I was getting some sort of workout as I sweat and ground through the paths.

I begin to question whether this path is too rocky

My vigor was tempered by my fear.  There was snow covering rocks and I simply didn't know if the bike could take the kind of abuse I was doling out upon it.  In reality climbing wasn't bad because it was an excuse to move slowly and made the slips off my bike easy.  But going downhill was wild, exhilarating  and terrifying.  I also found it difficult to know where the path led in the snow, and finally turned back when I found myself at a river crossing.  It was tempting to blow across it, but I feared my foot going through some ice and having to pedal home with soaked feet.

On my way back, one of the difficult ascents turned into one of the terrifying descents.  As soon as the path hit a frozen over puddle, I slipped and found myself on the ground.  My first spill on the new bike.  It is also my favorite spill, because either the extreme cold numbed me from the pain, or the light snow layer padded the ice.  Either way it didn't hurt, and my bike is fine.  On the way home I went along a path at Finberg field, which was once again fun.  The road was a bit brutal because of the wind and my own poor condition, but not so bad.

Crash eye-view

Her first crash

This one didn't hurt. Yay!

My overall first impression of the bike is still unsure, so I'm not going to say much yet. I will say that I know cantilever brakes can be a bit weak, but I think these simply need to be tightened as they were quite weak.  I am excited to get out there some more though and go everywhere on my new bike!