19 March 2014

Swan Creek Mountain Bike Trails in Tacoma

I was excited to hear that MetroParks Tacoma partnered with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to build mountain bike trails in Swan Creek Park, the second largest park in the city.

A Grand Opening celebration is happening on March 29th from 10am-3pm with activities for kids and adults, including a Trek bike demo. If you are unfamiliar with Swan Creek, this would be a great time to check it out.

Lots of riders are already enjoying the trails. My friend Jesse has been out there several times and offered to give me the full tour a few weekends ago.  Jesse rides a full-suspension 29er that can handle everything the park has to offer. I rode my rigid drop-bar 29er, which is more of a monster cross bike, but it worked great. It was an overcast rainy day, so most of my photos turned out like this.

From the park entrance on East T Street near Lister Elementary, we rode south to the main trailheads. The pump track, outer loop and skills sections all start near the same spot. 

The outer loop starts with a few big drops, which I opted to ride around. However, most of that trail seemed like it would be manageable on every thing from an old 26" mtb to your singlespeed cyclocross bike. 

Near the end of the outer loop there's an optional downhill section. Jesse had already figured out my comfort zone and advised me to "stay left, it's a bit less...violent." The violent bit is a steep and fast down/up feature that was happy to avoid.

We rode the full outer loop with a detour onto the Braking Bad inner loop and finished where we started (the trail is one-way.) That first introductory lap took about 30 minutes, but Jesse said he usually rides three laps in an hour. 

There are three skills trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty with jumps, drops and berms and other features. We did multiple runs on the easy and moderatate skills trails, but I was still riding slowly and going around the big drops. It was tons of fun.

The expert skills trail was still under construction, but from what I could see it would have been way out of my league.

Overall, I had a blast and cannot wait to get back to Swan Creek. I think this is going to help make mountain biking more accessible for many local riders and allow seasoned riders to play in the dirt more often.

11 March 2014

Mob Ride this weekend

It's MOB RIDE time! The Great Leprechaun Hunt 2014!

03 March 2014

A Review of RIDE 2: More Short Fiction About Bicycles

I like reading about people riding bikes. And while many bike books contain personal accounts of tours and adventures across countrysides and continents, RIDE 2: More Short Fiction About Bicycles offers readers just a small glimpse into the hearts and minds of more everyday bike riders.

Each story or poem is written by a different author. Sometimes a bike pushes the plot of the story and other times it's just a way for the main character to get from A to B. The characters come through as real, relatable people that you may already know in some way as a friend, relative, or neighbor.

These short stories cover a variety of bicycle cultures, from bike polo to missionary work, and involve an even wider variety of people. I've read RIDE 2 three times over the last year and with each new reading I'm struck by my own intense interest in these stories. A different story has stuck with me each time: first it was the love story, then it was the one set in Oklahoma, and lately I can't get the bike polo grudge match out of my head.

I have since purchased the Kindle ebook version because I like taking these stories with me when I travel. I hope this short fiction series continues with a RIDE 3, because these snapshots of bicycles in everyday life beg to be read again and again.

RIDE 2: More Short Fiction About Bicycles is available on Amazon.

[Full disclosure: I was provided with a print copy of RIDE 2 for review purposes.]