This mountain biking thing…..

Duluth’s Piedmont/Brewer trails.

As I’ve said before I never took up mountain biking for various reasons. Now those reasons are less of a concern. Plus they keep building these wonderful trails through my neighborhood. Today I worked a half day. Came home and decided I needed to get out for a bike ride.  I didn’t have much time to get out for a road ride. BUT, a quick loop on the Brewer Park trail was do-able. It’s 1.25 miles to the trail head from my front door. How can I not take advantage of these trails?

I’m getting slightly less frustrated with my lack of off-road skills. But my pace is frighteningly slow at this time. Today my avg pace was 6.8 mph. Granted it was stinking hot. I took many short stops to wipe the sweat off my forehead and face. That’s a slower pace then I ride when I’ve got the Pugsley out in most snow conditions. But you know what? It was fun. And I had the trails completely to myself.


I still get stopped by rocky features like this. Since I’ve never ridden trails like this with experienced riders, I haven’t been able to learn from other riders how to ride rocks like this. So as soon as my foot goes down, I dismount and push. I also realize my Pugsley isn’t the best tool for this job. The thought crossed my mind today I should think about buying a proper mountain bike. It surprised me. I’ve never been interested in mountain bikes with squishy suspensions. But with all these nice trails, maybe I should. Well, if I decide to do that, it won’t happen for another year or so.

A rare smooth, flowy section.

Personally, I wish all the trails looked like the one above. I’d be perfectly happy just riding along through the woods without all the challenging obstacles. Of course, ever since I fell off my bike in 2008 and blew apart my right humerus bone into 13 pieces, I’ve been a bit scared of falling off my bike again.

One thing that was very odd about riding through the woods today was the fact there weren’t any trees down or any sign of the horrendous storms that blew through parts of Duluth last Thursday. The storm uprooted and destroyed hundreds of trees in the city. The Hartley Park Mountain Bike Trails, part of the same system as the trails I rode today are closed. It’s only about 10 miles east of where I was today. Here’s the last two posts for the conditions at Hartley Park Trails:

Another 4 miles east of Hartley Park is the Lester River Trails, also part of the same system of trails. Here’s the last two conditions post for those trails:

I keep telling myself how fortunate we were to have this storm narrowly miss the part of town we live in. Correction, we did get the storm. We just didn’t get the 70-100 mph straight line winds that caused so much damage. I was in the damaged areas Friday morning. I thought about taking some pictures of the downed trees and power lines to show people. But I decided a picture of a couple of downed trees wouldn’t capture the breadth of the destruction. It was so widespread over such a large area. A picture couldn’t capture that.


12 thoughts on “This mountain biking thing…..

  1. Pondero July 26, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Yes, indeed. My recent ride in Colorado had me thinking about the advantages of suspension. There were long stretches of steep, rooty, rockiness. Bouncing makes for tough climbing. I’m glad you have that kind of playground nearby. Keep on posting about your play days.


    • fourseasoncycling July 27, 2016 / 10:14 am

      My wrists are telling me suspension may be a good thing to have on rough terrain.


  2. wildknits July 26, 2016 / 10:40 pm

    I actually find I like my fat bike for summer trail riding. The 4″ tires let me roll over obstacles that I just bounce into, and sometimes over, with the 26″ tires of my mountain bike. And I find I am a bit braver and will ride some drops when on the fatty. Sudden stops can be dangerous as I am about as short as you can be and ride an adult sized fat bike – barely adequate clearance of the top tube.

    The mountain bike is more maneuverable on tight trails though, which is nice when navigating tight switchbacks. Glad I have both bikes to chose from.

    If you get the chance head a bit east from Brewer and ride the Enger Park section of the Duluth Traverse. It is a blast (with lots of elevation gain/loss in a few miles) and boasts some fantastic views over the Lake and Harbor.


    • fourseasoncycling July 27, 2016 / 10:17 am

      Yeah, I rode the Enger Section soon after it was finished in 2015. I liked it a lot. If I hadn’t changed jobs, I could actually ride that section as part of my commute.


  3. adventurepdx July 26, 2016 / 11:33 pm

    Don’t forget, you need to get a three speed for Pepin before you get a new mountain bike! 😉


    • fourseasoncycling July 27, 2016 / 10:21 am

      Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder. I almost forgot about the 3-speed tour. It’d almost work better if I could somehow borrow or rent a 3-speed. I don’t see myself using it much after the tour. Or I may just have to use the Brompton.

      Liked by 1 person

      • adventurepdx July 27, 2016 / 4:25 pm

        Yeah, you can totally use the Brompton for Lake Pepin–if you go. 😉

        But if you get a “real” MTB, that would put you one bike over the line. So, what would go?


      • fourseasoncycling July 27, 2016 / 5:15 pm

        What would go? That’s a huge dilemma. I’m at a place with my five bikes that I enjoy all of them, I use all of them, and I don’t want to replace any.

        One possible solution could be to replace the aging Pugsley with a new fatbike which I could run 4.0 tires with solid fork in the winter and 27.5 with a suspension fork in the summer. One bike two forks and two wheel sets. However, I don’t have the cash for that, so that’s just dreaming.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim July 27, 2016 / 6:03 am

    I was/am/have been a bit of a Luddite as too full suspension. Front suspension is a real benefit and don’t let yourself think otherwise. But full suspension seems like motorcycling. Then I rode a local rocky, rooty fast trail just north of L’Ville (O’Bannon, fwiw) and I immediately thought “full suspension”. It’s very technical, and with a hard tail it just beat me up. The Jones does have me playing around with psi, but too low and the bike wanders. However you get on the trails, I find them to be a peaceful respite to the honks and gunning engines on the roads. And, hey, it’s all cycling.


    • fourseasoncycling July 27, 2016 / 10:24 am

      When I said suspension I was referring to the fork. But I can see how a rear suspension would be helpful on all the rocky bumps and rough spots. Hmmmm, I’ll have to think about that.


  5. wildknits July 27, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    Check out:

    This could solve the number of bikes dilemma.

    I am riding the Wolftrax Alloy and loving it. Not as pricey as some of the other fat bike manufacturers but a nice set of components etc. Bonus is they are sold locally and the dealer carries a wide variety of models (perfect for me as I really do need to test out bikes before buying due to my height).


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