By Jack Hawkins http://jackonabike.ca/
Recently, I purchased a new (to me) mountain bike, having realised that my tourer won't go through every trail that New Brunswick has to offer. Plus, I wanted to have an alternative ride for commuting, or running errands around town (while still remaining car free). So, I picked up a used mountain bike off a friend for forty dollars.
Since then, I've thrashed it around an ATV trail - never again. Fun though it was at times, the trails aren't dry enough yet, and in places it's even washed out completely. Perfect for you all-terrain-vehicle riders, not so for me and my mountain bike.
Naturally, as with any new bike, one must check it over first. That's another lesson learned - I did not do this, and I paid the price out on the trail. I went careening down this rocky hill, without realising that in the middle of said hill, was a small river, before the hill resumed on the other side - which turned out to be one heck of a climb. Anyway, down I went... through the "small river", and then came the bounce as the front wheel hit a rock, I carried on, pedalling up the hill before it became apparent that the pedals were simply turning and I was getting no actual forward momentum.
I looked down - yup, sure enough, the chain was off. I stopped, cursed, and then proceeded to put the chain back on. Happy days, problem solved! Nope. Now, my gears weren't shifting... "Screw it - there can't be far to go", I thought. I was wrong. I rode on a single gear for the rest of the way - it was definitely one of the higher gears, because that was bloody hard work!
Two hours, and plenty of
swearing words of
encouragement later, I emerged on the other side of the trail, with
no idea how far I'd gone, or where I was now. I finally gathered my
bearings, worked out which way was home, and set off - still in a higher
gear, still having to work hard on the hills...
I wasn't able to get any in-ride pictures, I was too busy trudging through deep water, putting my chain back on, climbing hills, or getting lost to even contemplate taking a photo. However, here's a couple of post-ride pictures of the trusty steed, well and truly caked in mud.
About the Author
Jack Hawkins is a freelance travel writer and touring cyclist. Originally from the UK, he swapped one seaside town for another in 2006, and has been living in Canada for eight years. Jack has always had a fondness for writing and after graduating from Bonar Law Memorial High School in Rexton, Jack decided to pursue a freelance writing career, and implemented his love of cycling into his work shortly after a chance-meeting in 2013 with a fellow Englishman who had cycled across Canada.
Jack currently writes for this webzine, but is also a monthly contributor Mike's Bike Shop's E-Magazine, "The Rider's Edge". He recently worked on and published a series of thirty-one articles for revered bicycle touring guru, Darren Alff, for his website: http://gobicycletouring.com/. Jack also writes articles, journals, gear reviews, and interview pieces for his own website - http://jackonabike.ca/.