Friday, July 01, 2011

New bike

I've scored a new Pugsley from Surly.

I've recently injured my back so I've been not able to ride it until today. My trip to work was uneventful, but enlightening, but my trip home was eye-opening. I typically ride city streets to work and back and this morning I did my typical morning commute at a pace that seems to be a fat-bike speed. Slow.

On the way home I decided to take a "short-cut," a way that is not ridden by anyone. I took the train tracks from 70th to where they end at 60th.

Pugsleys and train tracks are made for each other. Bumping on the tracks on fat bike tires is a treat that few will ever know and when the tracks are less close, the ability to ride on the rocks, weeds, crap and other surfaces without a second thought are a treat that few will ever know. I repeat myself because I believe it's true.

When was the last time you felt like you were five? I learned to ride a bike early and the freedom that gave me was, uh, heady. I know that bikes give a feeling of freedom, but that initial hit, that world opening, stunning, I can go anywhere feeling, has been repeated with the Pugsley. I have the ability to go places a middle-aged man probably shouldn't go.

That last bit is the important part. Sure, when you're 12, you can ride your bike where ever you'd like, but a 46 year old man isn't really expected to be there. You should be in a car and passing over this without looking a second thought.

This is freedom, the ability to explore, the chance to go where you're not expected to be. Our society allows 12 year olds to go there, but if you're older than that you are a bum and not really allowed to be there.

Really? I can't see my city?

Bikes give a mobility that even cops admire/hate/use. The ride along the train track showed me that people walk along the tracks, the garbage they leave, the desire to move and be where sidewalks are not places. I saw a mother and her child coming back from the store along the tracks probably for the same reason I was there; it went places that streets didn't.

The ability to ride on tracks, rocks, dirt and weeds is a treat that I figured the Pug was good for, but to actually do it, to hover past the neighborhoods and the traffic, to effortlessly rumble over tracks and rock was a near spiritual experience.

I felt the thrill of going places I wasn't allowed. To be where you needed permission to exist, to use the place that was there for only someone else.

I felt new, five, illegal.

It was exhilarating. Perhaps because of, or despite of the 95 degree heat the discovery made for an Independence Day. I've had my eyes opened on my first ride. Is it like this for others? Have your rides on fat bikes been as awakining as mine? Am I so doltish as to have missed the whole thing (initial answer from me: yes) Where have y'all taken your bikes? Where do I need to go?

I like the feeling of exploration. What do y'all get from your fat bikes?


WheelDancer said...

Wait, did I write this on your blog? I sure could have since getting my fatbike and finding out exactly what you have written.

Since getting our Fatbacks, we ride everywhere but started our explorations by looking for the little deer paths that sprout up everywhere off the sides of trails like the Cedar Lake Trail where there is a parallel universe of little hiking trails used by deer and locals alike. And train tracks? Oh my yes though we generally ride the gravel along side not between the rails. Don't rule out any of the formal mountain bike trails either; fully rigid, full suspension in the same bike is the magic of riding fat.

Joboo said...

Good for Sir Yam!!!!
Yup, the writings of a new Fat bike owner!!! :))
It doesn't matter what flavor you choose, that feeling of "all the above" is almost beyond explanation; you did very very well in your explanation, Kudos!!!
what has my Pug done for me?? I always say it's brought back the joy of biking to me in a big big way!!! Yes like when I was a child!!! What's wrong with that?? Lol
I love to exPlore, and the Pugs made those adventures that much more fun!!! NO TRAIL NEEDED!!!
Ha ha and you havent even touched a tire to snow yet!! Lol
I'll be waiting for that 1st snow ride post!!! ;) ;) lol
Peace, Joboo

The Old Bag said...

Congratulations! Totally agree with your revelations. We've had a ball just turning the wheel in any direction we want to go and going there.

Some of my biggest frustrations have been seeing some prime land (ala Murphy Hanrehan/Hennepin Cty Parks) posted no bikes. :-( I get the issues with startling horses, but damn.

And, we need to find out about rail right-of-way -- there's a perfect rail line through swampland west of 169 just south of Cedar Lake Rd, but there's nuthin' around it, totally exposed. You know me, I was sure someone would report us. But like you said, people are crawling all around the rail lines in town.

Hey, we'd be happy to show you some of the trails we've found in the woods either side of the Cedar Lake trail. Email us up and we'll do some reconnaissance sometime.

One more thing. Go to MTBR forums and find the Fat Bikes forum. Look for the Daily Fatbike pic thread or the beach/sand pic thread. You'll see there's a whole 'nother world out there. I'm particularly jealous of those who live in Scotland -- by law they're allowed to ride ANYWHERE, trail or no trail (damned city, anyway). It's my new dream destination.

Doug said...

Well said.

I was one of the early Pugsley owners. I've been going fat since the summer of 2006.

What do I get out of it? It puts a big smile on my face (and sometimes little giggles come out of my throat)every time I ride it.

A Pugsley has a wonderful way of expanding the way you ride and the way you think about riding. It opens a whole new world of bike riding you didn't even know existed.

Have lots of fun.

The Donut Guy said...

Good stuff........with my fairly severe knee arthritis.....I'm wondering if I could put my motor set up on one of those and have myself a tank ;-)

theboy said...

Great post. We were just chatting about why the heck anyone would buy a Pugsley . . . good answer!

Some guy on a bike said...

I have been riding a 1X1 for a couple of years and I had a similiar experience.

There was an office building going up in Hopkins and we had gotten some snow and I wanted to go ride on the top level of the parking ramp and leave tracks in the fresh snow. When I got there I found the snow had drifted and made it pretty much impossible to reach the top level of the parking ramp. I gave it the old college try and took several runnung starts at it but was only able to make it about 20 feet through the foot deep snow. So, as I was leaving the parking ramp, I noticed a bit of snow that had blown in the side of the lower levels of the ramp and as I was descending I swerved and rode through the snow. I am not sure if I said it out loud, but, I was screaming "WEEEEEE" inside. I had not had that much fun on a bike in many years.

Like you said, back when I first realised I could go anywhere. I absolutly love my fat tire bike. It may not be the best bike for hilly rides, but, it is easy enough to plan out a route that is not to hilly.

Matilda444 said...

Oh, Man! I want a Pugsley. I just can't justify it. Some day!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Pugs. Had mine a year and now it's my only mtb.