Over the weekend I picked up a complete, original 1971 Iverson Road Runner, a classic rat rod bike style that brought me right back to my childhood days on a banana seat Schwinn my dad repainted and named "The Streaker."
This Maine barn find is the coolest thing. Stickers on the double-crown fork give it the look of a sprung front suspension. Ape hanger bars are each mounted in their own posts, affording maximum flexibility in positioning the bars. The chainguard is in great shape, and both fenders are solid, original, and nearly perfect.
Sure there's rust all over the chromed bars, the rims, and even the chainring. And the foam in the seat is, well, nonexistent. But the seat has no tears in it and the tires held air when we got it home and pumped them up for a test ride.
Why did I get this thing? Over a couple weeks, I had been eyeballing it beside a barn during my commute. It looked like it was going to the trash, but I couldn't tell for sure. Jess could tell that it pained me to see it out in the weather. When I saw the homeowner outside, I pulled over, made some inquiries, and loaded up the bike (and one more that isn't nearly as cool).
I'm not sure what I want to do with the bike. It's an excellent resto candidate since it is, quite literally, complete. But I almost think it's just more fun the way it is. For now, it's just really cool to see my own kids taking a spin on the kind of bike I rode back in the day.
While in Maine last week, I took the opportunity to check out some of the single-track available in the Portland area. A quick search turned up Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, Maine. Online discussion boards suggested a really nice, well-maintained network of challenging single-track. The boards were right!
Bradbury is a really nice place for either a short or long ride, and it's full of multi-use trails (horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, x-country skiing, and, of course, hiking).
I took the advice of a couple people in the parking lot and rode the east side of the park, on the side with the campground. I found some really nice, technical trail full of little ups and downs, swithchbacks, rocks, roots, and more.
Then, on Sunday evening at my local riding spot, I ran into a guy who was talking about racing in Maine. I told him about the ride and he went on to describe for me the races he's done at Bradbury. I guess I picked a good spot to check out the single track!
The ranger and park volunteers I talked with were really pleasant and helpful, and the riders were all eager to share their knowledge of the park. I'm thinking this will be a very nice place to go for camping, and for some less technical family rides on the snowmobile trails.
On our biennial trip to Seattle this week, I took the opportunity to hit the wonderful little network of trails I used to know as Beaver Lake. It's now called Soaring Eagle and it's just amazing how much development has occurred in the area over the last decade. Every time I visit this place it seems like a whole new area.
I began with a stop at Veloce Velo, a new-to-me bike shop in Issaquah, for some stuff to get my brother-in-law's bike in riding shape. Mostly, the plan was to get the bike ready to ride so that when my head/chest cold cleared I could hit the trails. By the time I put the pile of stuff together and asked one of the managers about a needed tire, I found myself in a conversation about a demo bike. While I was considering a ride on Saturday or perhaps later, the manager made an offer I couldn't pass up - provided I took the bike for the PM that day. Weighing the cost of equipment to make a 20 year old bike path worthy and the manager's offer of a $4000, dual-suspension StumpJumper test bike for the tail end of the day, I opted to ride a demo bike with a serious head/chest cold.
The last time I rode Soaring Eagle was 2006 or 2007, and it was a bit less tame then. There has been some serious bridge and rock work in the wetter areas since I first rode this trail back around 2000 or so. And the paths are more worn. This is a very well-maintained, fun-as-all-get-out network of single-track that runs up and down over about 200 feet of elevation. Just the trail names tell you a lot about the fun. Devil's Slide is a really nice little shoot down and around the far side of the park that I couldn't resist hitting twice. There's Katie Lane, Sleigh Ride, Do Loop, and the Bone Trail. All of the trails are up-down-left-right, and over again. A regular on the trail can get the feel for what's coming; for me, it's a whole new adventure with every turn.
The StumpJumper was awesome! I haven't ridden a dual suspension bike in a very, very long time. They're better than they used to be. I now know why all the folks riding my local singletrack have these bikes, and why they look at me like I'm a fool as I hop the logs and rocks - and use my body to smooth the edges. This bike ate the bumps, forgave every mistake, and totally softened out the ride. I woke up this AM with nary a sore muscle, despite taking the entire network twice at a nice little clip.
This was my maiden voyage with disc brakes. I'm still riding with cantilevers on the rear of my Trek 990, and only moved to v-brakes on the fronts about 5 years ago. It was tough to be real easy on the disc brakes, particularly in that nether realm between light braking and the locked wheel. 2 hours with the brakes and I couldn't quite find the zone.