Fun on the New Mountain Bikes at John Bryan State Park

October 26, 2008

Today we wanted to give the new Mountain bikes a workout!

Cannondale Hardtail F5

Cannondale Hardtail F5

After an easy trial ride yesterday on the new Cannondale Hardtail F5 mountain bikes, we decided to test them out on mountain bike trails today.  One place I’d been wanting to go back up to was John Bryan State Park.  We’d done the easy (Abracadabra) trail with our retail store Schwinn and Huffy mountain bikes about a month ago, but we kept things light and easy then.

John Bryan Mountain Bike Trails

John Bryan Mountain Bike Trails

The plan today was to do an easy lap on the Arboretum trail to see if tire pressures needed to be lowered.  Penny led so that I could keep with her pace.  After riding around the wide Arboretum trail, we ducked into the easy Abracadabra single track trail.  It didn’t take long for our body temperatures to come up and about half way through we pull off to the side to shed our skull caps under the helmets and change up some layering, then we were off again.

The bikes felt really good on this trail, much better than the other bikes previously had.  After we knocked off the 2.5 mile Abracadabra trail, we decided to tackle the Great Scott trail, which has an Upper and Lower segment.  We’d never been on this one, so weren’t sure what to expect.  As we started into it, we finally decided to take some pressure out of the tires to improve handling some more.  That was just what the doctor ordered because the bumps became a lot easier to deal with so we started taking the turns more aggressively.

There are some cool things on these MTB trails.  They have some nice long runs, nice ramps up and over huge logs, and also boardwalks with directional changes that challenge your balance.  Most of the time, the low gears on these new bikes kicked butt on the grades, but I was caught a bit off guard on the largest ramp that appeared around the corner.  I started pedaling to build speed, but I’d left myself in too low a gear, so I was spinning “like a hamster on meth” (too quote Penny) and I couldn’t build a head of steam.  Right at the top of the ramp (about 4 ft off the ground), my front tire went off, but fortunately I was able to land and step on the top of the log and stop myself.  I held the position until Penny caught up to me so that she’d know that this ramp might be better walked up.  She concurred. 🙂

One of the absolutely coolest things was when we were barreling down a trail and Penny comes grinding to a quick stop.  Immediately ahead of her was a Doe and her grown fawn (sporting adult coloring) that slowly walked off of the trail.  We froze in position as they took a position about 15-20 feet to the side.  When they continued to watch us, I slowly pulled a camera out of my pocket and started snapping shots.  The Doe was licking the head of the little one as they continued to study us.  Finally, since they were content to stay, we pedaled on and they didn’t budge.

Penny Doe and Fawn

Penny Doe and Fawn

Doe and Fawn next to the trail

Doe and Fawn next to the trail

It was fun to follow Penny through the trail, listening to her exclamations of glee and surprise.  It made me smile outright many times, and made the riding a joy.  At the end of the ride we came out of the woods into the parking lot area and I thought I heard Penny clank through her gearshift up to the vehicle.  As I was leaning my bike next to the Jeep, she limped her bike around to the back with her chain separated and dragging on the ground.  How could she have possibly broken a brand new chain?!?  Geesh!!!  I think her next mountain bike is going to be a tank!  LOL!!!  What better luck than to have the chain break within 50 feet of the vehicle.  Some people have all the magic!! 🙂 After stopping at the bike shop, we got the piece we needed for the chain and got everything squared away when we got home.

Penny crunched her chain

Penny crunched her chain

We had about 2.5 hours of some great riding and about 7.5 miles of riding on Arboretum, Abracadabra, and the Great Scott trails.  It was great fun… but now…. where did I put that Aleve!?!



  1. Great account!

  2. […] and involves more elevation changes, has more roots to travel over, and takes different skills than John Bryan MTB trails.  To compare the two, East Fork takes better pedal control (so as not to spin over roots when […]

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