With summer’s intense burst through the door, my exercise thoughts began to turn from indoor cardio exertions to outdoor activities. I’ve spun on enough indoor cycle bikes to yearn for the wind, not the fan blowing in my face. So I pumped up the tires, dusted off the helmet and was raring to coast.
As a former road biker from Brooklyn, I was used to sidewalk rides, no tree roots to navigate and very few hills and dales. But since I have this cool mountain bike, I decided to brave the forest and commune with the birds, fauna and mosquitos. There is a well known trail in Rocky Point, property of the DEC, heralded as a sweet ride by experienced bikers and maintained by C.L.I.M.B. http://www.climbonline.org/ The last time I rode my bike on the Rocky Point Mountain Bike trail, I successfully completed my ride, only to overturn in the gravelly parking lot and bleed profusely from my hands and legs. It took me 3 years to go back, but I was determined not to fall this time. I studied the map and decided the family ride would be just my speed.
My son, the daredevil biker, convinced me to follow him down a “supposed” beginner trail labeled “main loop.” But that was a misnomer because in actuality it was an intermediate course, we found out later. He kept looking back at me as I white knuckled the handlebars down a narrow, winding single track, calling out, “Are you o.k.? We can turn around if you want!” But, oh no, you can’t turn around on a single track bike lane. So, I mustered up some courage, determined to keep going until finally the trail came to a main intersecting road. I sped off on the shoulder, back to my car, relieved, as my son continued on another trial.
That brief foray into the woods gave me some confidence and on our return trip, I did much better. We located the family course, namely wider tracks and my best mountain biking friend, the “fire road.” I knew my son and I would part ways as I navigated to the crackly cement roads, wide and open, as he went in search of moguls and black diamond courses. I found a few beginner loops and managed to enjoy the trek, gaining a hint of the joy bikers feel touring through woods, as sunlight peeks through the foliage. The ride completed, with no falls or cuts, I now have the desire to return and embark on a longer ride, as long as I know I can bail out on those wide, friendly tracks.
Helpful hints: You'll need a permit and parking pass to ride, so print out from website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/regions_pdf/newaccessprmt.pdf
Also, bring a map; you’ll need it; water bottle, goggles and a helmet are required to ride. A compass would be helpful, too.