As you know, I’ve been getting back into riding again…(insert sound of an LP screeching to a halt). “Wait, what do you mean by ‘ride’?”, you ask. Well, when Isay ride, I mean riding a bicycle – specifically, my mountain bike. But apparently, some guys I overheard talking at the gym this morning meant riding motorized dirt bikes or 4-wheelers!

I became excited when I overheard two men discussing nearby trails and how great the riding was in and around Taunton and Seekonk. I thought these might be trails that hadn’t made it onto any website and had to be a great secret that only locals knew about. I listened in a little closer; I even lost count of how many pushups I completed. Man #1 said, “Oh yeah, man that’s a really great ride, once you pass under the power lines just keep going up this hill.” I said to myself. “Hill?”, this sounds good (obviously ignoring the power line bit). Man #1 continued, “Its pretty technical, lots of roots and rocks.” Hmmm….technical. Ok, now even though it was raining pretty good this morning, I thought about getting out of there and hopping on my bike. The first man continued to describe a decent sounding ride with lots of distance, beauty, peace and fun. My attention waned a little as I drifted into dream land (damn, how many sets did I complete). I anxiously awaited for another significant piece of data to add to my virtual reality trip.

Then I heard something that made my heart sink. Finally, man #1 said something that provoked a response from man #2, “Oh yeah I know the place! I ride my 4-wheeler there all the time!”. Shit. I thought I had found a trail I could get to out my front door. A place where other mountain bikers went to ride. Sigh.

I’m already convinced that I will have to purchase a regulation hunting vest to ride the trails around here. So, I’m not sure about the riding on trails chewed up my motorized vehicles and run the risk of being hit by one as well. Not to mention the noise…oh that awful noise.



After studying a Google Map for 20 minutes Saturday morning, I was determined to get out on the bike for a second consecutive day and find more peaceful routes with less debris on the shoulders. (I have to thank my Kathy for spending the entire morning with Alex on a Saturday.) As I’ve said before, I’m about 18 months new to this part of the country and for the first time in a long time, I saw some beautiful countryside (going no more than 25 mph). Traveling various roads in an area roughly bounded by Attleboro, Rehoboth, Seekonk and East Providence, I saw country sprinkled with old plantation like homes (with their barns), unnecessarily gigantic homes (although exquisitely designed), farms, nurseries, an equestrian school, and various small businesses. I noticed something rather odd (at least it seemed odd to me), there were a lot of small cars parked in driveways and on the roads. I really can’t conclude much from that, since Saturday’s ride was the only data point I have for this area- but it was nice. Also, it was comforting to see some “for Clinton” and “for Obama” signs (and even more comforting that I did not see one McCain sign).

So, still no dirt trails yet – I still need to build my endurance. I didn’t do too bad considering, my quads were screaming when I started out. I figure I completed about 16 miles. I don’t know for certain as I rely on Google after I finish each ride (I love the “change route” option). You might be saying, “Get an odometer, you cheapskate!” Well, I’m a mountain biker, no such fragile component survives very long on my bike.


Back in the saddle again

April 19, 2008

I’ve been in Rhode Island now for about 18 months and I’ve taken my trusty ‘ole Klein Attitude Comp Mountain Bike out maybe four times (including today). Not one trip was off pavement, three were on The Cape. Today’s ride was the first I took right out of the garage. What a feeling! Took the day off to get some things done and decided to ride this morning instead.

Since I was diagnosed pre-diabetic in early February, I figured that I’d treat the news as the precipitating factor to get back into shape. Since I make other people wince when I run, since I feel like I’m drowning when I swim and since I acquire an injury every time I play my favorite sport, basketball, I decided that I will sit through excruciating hours of Headline and Fox news at the YMCA while riding a “bike”. All to get ready for outdoor riding.

My first local ride left me with mixed feelings. Not about my riding abilities (I pounded out a nicely-paced 20 miles in a buck-fifteen…on a mountain bike), but more about the riding where I live. Man, I need to hit the dirt. The shoulder on 152 in Mass is very generous for the most part, but it was littered with small pieces of glass and debris between parked service trucks. Selfishly, I thought the wide shoulder was just for us riders. Combine all this stimulus with periodic flashes of being hit by a car (while riding to school as a teenager), its not the most comfortable ride. Nevertheless, it was great to get out. I think I need to head to Lincoln Woods to calibrate how folks rate the rides out here and get a baseline. I’m used to Northern CA mountains and dirt trails, so my expectations will need adjusting.

Oh yeah, I think I need a new pair of padded shorts.