Stella has been working me to get out on the bike with her for months. I have been out of the bike riding mode for the last couple of years and, honestly, the couple of times she and I have been on the road for rides it has been way too stressful. On a lark, we took our bikes out to Pocahontas State Park to see how riding on some fire road trails would pan out and it ended up being a great time.
This is us on our first ride at the park. Fire road trails are wide open and multi-use so we saw joggers and hikers out there, too. The climbing was never steep and it didn’t go on very long, despite being marked as “moderate” difficulty. We got a little turned around and had to ride on the park road to get back to our car but it was still fun.
Our next time out we went with some friends. This was an “easy” difficulty single track trail called Blueberry Hill at Pocahontas State Park and Stella struggled a little bit. The climbs were short and never steep, but the lack of bailout room had Stella being extra tentative. It also raised the stress level for me because I really didn’t want to watch her take a dip off of the track into a tree. She had just a few slow-speed crashes and, as evidenced in the above photo, finished with a smile. We’ve been out to PSP a couple of times with this group and it’s been a lot of fun.
Stella and I took a Labor Day ride down to the James River Park System for some easy loops around Belle Isle. A sunny holiday meant that the place was packed but it was good practice for Stella’s share-the-road skills. That’s a photo of us on the rocks at the river. After a couple of laps around the island, we took off down the Richmond Slave Trail and Kanawha Canal. It was mostly riding on paved multi-use trail. Easy stuff and a good time.
I had heard of a downtown trail called the “Poop Loop” for it’s proximity to Richmond’s water treatment facility. The Loop is just under 2 miles long and sits at the far end of the Slave Trail. It was described as a good place for new riders to work on mountain bike skills, so we were stoked to get on it. Turns out, Stella needs some more seasoning before she can qualify as a “new rider”. It’s a pretty technical trail (meaning lots of roots and rocks with occasional felled trees) that had her super gun-shy by the end. It was not ideal, but she toughed it out. She’s no quitter.
Our most recent rise was new-to-us trail at PSP call Box Turtle. It was rated “easy”, but I am starting to think these rating are more about grade and less about trail obstructions. The roots and rocks here weren’t as bad as they were on the Poop Loop, but she was still reeling a bit from that misadventure and so was quick to dismount some rideable sections. She’ll come around, I’m sure.
And that catches us up to date. I’ll be sure and post up after our next ride.