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I am a mountain hiker, not a mountain biker.

Posted May 08 2011 1:51pm
This blog has primarily been about my attempts at riding my bicycles for transportation all year in a very unforgiving climate. I'm speaking of our harsh winters in Northeastern Minnesota. Along the way I've documented my interests in expanding my uses of the bicycle. That has included a growing interest in bike camping and bike travel. That was my motivation for buying a Surly Long Haul Trucker . I continue to expand my use of bicycles for basic mobility and utility. I've been the proud owner and user of an Xtracycle converted bicycle since 2007.

And even though I am a late-adopter or non-adopter of new technology in everyday life, I have been an early adopter of some new innovations when it comes to the evolution of the bicycle. I was one of the first to buy a fat tire Surly Pugsley early in 2006. While the fat tire craze is just getting rolling, I have 5 winters of fat tire snow riding under my belt and two starts and one finish of the Arrowhead 135 .

I am one of only a handful of people in the world that has retro-fitted a belt drive to a cyclocross bike....or a bike of any kind for that matter. I saw it's strong potential as a drive train choice for urban commuting when it was first introduced in 2007.

The one big craze I missed altogether was the mountain bike. My early days of riding was on the road way back in the late 70's and early 80's. Then I stopped riding. I didn't ride again until 1992. The mountain bike craze was really taking off. I had a bad case of tendinitis in both forearms at the time. I had constant flare-ups from riding on the road. There was no way I could handle off-road riding. Hard braking and rough terrain was not an option for me. So I never took up off-road riding. I never developed an interest in mountain biking. (Unless you count my winter riding. I consider riding on snow much more forgiving than riding on dirt).

Later in the 90's I met Susan. And together we took a love of hiking and turned it into a love of backpacking. Three thousand back country miles later and one trip of a lifetime, a six month thru-hike of Appalachian Trail , when I think about heading out into the woods I grab my trail shoes.

As much as I love biking, when it comes to spending time in the woods, I can't think of any better way to travel than by foot. I prefer the pace and the way I feel connected to the natural world when I traveling by foot. It's my preference. When I'm on a path in the woods, I have never found myself thinking I wish I had a bicycle with me. This surprises me. It surprises me because of how much I love to get around by bicycle. I don't have an answer to why I prefer foot travel when in the woods other than the feeling I get when traveling by foot.

This is just one of many, many thoughts that crossed my mind yesterday. I spent the day in the north woods doing trail maintenance. Nothing soothes my soul more than a walk in the woods on a beautiful day. I blogged about it on my hiking/backpacking blog here .

The day did start with a bike shuttle A gorgeous day for a bike shuttle assisted hike.
I use the bike to shuttle the car to the end point of my hike.
A bit of gravel along the North Shore of Lake Superior
The route included a few miles of gravel. That's Lake Superior in the distance. Nothing like a three mile descent with a view of Lake Superior.

Orange bikes aren't very stealthy.
After the bike shuttle was completed, the bike spent the next 8 hours hidden in the woods locked to a tree. My new orange Cross Check isn't as stealthy as my older black Cross Check was.

Cross River
Nothing soothes my soul quite like a walk along a river raging with snow melt on a gorgeous sunny Spring Day.
My favorite trail clearing tool, a light weight Gerber Axe.
A little manual labor is great for the soul as well.
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