Lorikeets sang their twittering song. Magpies warbled to the sun. My tyres scrunched over the gravely single track. What better music to wake up to.
This morning was the first opportunity I’ve had to ride trails with my new clipless pedals, handlebar grips, chain and cassette, and off-road tyres. Boy, what a difference it made! I felt a much stronger connection through my bike and to the ground.
By being clipped in I could focus on my balance and cadence, rather than on whether my feet would slip from the pedals. This made it easier to negotiate logs and rocks, as well as making tight turns feel more natural. I was also able to climb more easily through the increased power that comes from having an upstroke, not just a downward push. Hills I’ve never climbed became manageable and I got further up other hills that I am not yet fit enough to ride up.
The new handlebar grips with me something firm to hold onto and aren’t sticky like my old ones. They were worn down to the smooth inner rubber that became a gluey mess in the heat. I even think I might need to get myself some riding gloves now that I have the new grips (I haven’t ridden in gloves since I was a teenager – not on road or off).
The new chain and cassette ensured I could actually hear the birds singing instead of the squeak of my old rusty number turning through worn cogs.
And what can I say about the sensation of riding with off-road tyres instead of the hybrid road ones I used to use. It was just a whole new experience. I actually could take turns in gravel without the bike wanting to go straight ahead.
I’m excited about the upcoming adventure racing season now that I have set my bike up. All that’s left to do is to install the new brake cables I bought yesterday so that I don’t have to squeeze the levers all the way back to the handlebars to get any cessation of momentum.
Total: 14.63km MTB