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Biking Out Of Town

by Nick Coons
Dec 1, 2004

Several months ago I got a new mountain bike. It's been awhile since I've really ridden a bike. I remember as a kid I used to ride my bike to school everyday, and then to work, followed by a stop off at the bowling alley with 35 pounds of bowling equipment on my handlebars.

In the summer, it was so hot that I always ended up at my destination covered in sweat. And on winter mornings, I remember the skin on my knuckles used to crack. Back then, I couldn't want until I was old enough to drive, and I would never have to ride a bike again.

However, more recently, I've been trying to find ways to ride instead of drive, and this is for a number of reasons. First off, riding is significantly less expensive (no gas or insurance needed, and very little maintenance or repairs). Also, it gives you the ability to go almost anywhere you'd like. I can take shortcuts where motorized vehicles aren't allowed. It's also common to have a sense of accomplishment when arriving at your destination under your own power.

My job requires that I travel quite a bit, as well as carry a lot of equipment. So riding is not usually an option. But on one day a week, I work at one location for 10 hours, and I don't have to make any more trips that day or carry anything that I can't fit in my backpack. This is a leisurely 12-mile round-trip ride.

I've wanted to push this a bit and see just how far I can go. So this coming weekend, I plan to pack the bike up into the back of the Jeep and take a drive up to Fountain Hills. From there, I plan to bike up to Four Peaks. It's only about a 20-mile round-trip ride, but the trip there is mostly uphill. Having mostly ridden only in the valley, I've always had the luxury of passing on flat surfaces, so I don't know how much of an incline will have an impact on my speed or energy. This is what I intend to find out so I can hopefully plan future trips similar to this one.

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