We had a couple requests for a post about our experience with shopping and purchasing our new mountain bikes. Jim can’t get motivated to write it since he can barely use his right hand due to a fall on our last ride, but more about that later.
We have been biking for years, both road and mountain, but only being able to carry two bikes we sold our previous mountain bikes before we went full time.
Our favorite recumbents. They got lots of pre-retirement mileage.
We loved our recumbent bikes but just didn’t find a lot of suitable riding in our travels, so in 2009 while volunteering at the Bonneville Lock and Dam in Oregon, we sold the recumbents and bought a couple of cruiser type bikes.
We thought those would be suitable for both dirt and pavement riding, and they were to some extent, but without suspension they weren’t much fun to ride off road.
During our first winter in Mission, Texas in 2011/12, Jim got the bug to get another recumbent after seeing so many people in the RV park riding recumbent trikes. He was able to swap bikes with a guy from Austin, and was back to riding a recumbent. There was a five mile paved bike trail just outside the RV park gates which led to many great areas to ride, so during our two winters in Mission we biked several times a week.
After leaving Texas this past April our opportunities for road biking dropped off considerably since most of our summer and fall were spent boondocking in the forest on dirt roads. Our pals Boonie and Box Canyon Mark are always preaching the mountain bike sermon, and it finally took!
We probably would have done it sooner, but we needed to be somewhere long enough to sell the other bikes, and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
Having owned several mountain bikes in the past, we knew that full suspension bikes with shocks on the front and back were a must. What has changed over the past few years is that now you have a choice between the traditional 26” size wheels and the new 29” wheel bikes. From our shopping experience it appears that 29ers are now all the rage, and after hearing all the salesmen (and Mark) sing their praises, we decided we may as well go for it. Of course they are more expensive, but we were accustomed to paying big bucks for recumbents, and with five months of workcamping for a free site, and five months of boondocking, our expenses for the past year have been extremely low. So what the heck, we aren’t getting any younger, might as well splurge!
My Giant Anthem. It’s very pretty even when covered in dust.
Jim’s Specialized Rumor. He bought a ladies bike to have more clearance over the bar and a shorter reach to the handlebars for his short arms. The salesman assured him that lots of guys buy the women’s frame.
Since we haven’t ridden a mountain bike in almost six years, it’s a bit hard to compare the 29er to our old 26” bikes, but the theory is you get a more comfortable ride, better obstacle rollover, and even better traction with the 29’ wheels. We certainly feel like that’s the case, and even I can attest to the fact that I have been easily going over rocks and ledges that I never could have done on my old mountain bike. We are sold, and feel like we made good choices on both our bikes.
Now for the Guacamole Trail, one that Mark, Bobbie and Boonie had not previously ridden. If you’ve already read Mark’s post about our ride, you know it was quite a technical trail, not the kind I was ready for after our long steep climb up Dalton Wash Rd. Bobbie and I decided to stop and take in the view and then hike the trail while the guys went on.
Yes, we came up that road. It really wasn’t as bad as we thought going up, although we did have to get off and walk in a couple of steep spots.
Show offs Mark and Boonie rode the whole way.
Taking a little break for our legs and lungs.
When we caught up with the guys on the trail, Jim was nursing a swollen thumb and Mark had blood running down his legs. They tried to downplay their falls, especially Jim, after having fallen three times. Bobbie and I definitely made the right decision not to continue trying to ride!
Since Boonie has moved on to warmer and drier pastures (maybe), and Mark and Bobbie will be spending Thanksgiving week back east with family, Jim will only have me as his riding partner. And you can be sure we won’t be riding any more advanced trails!
As for our old bikes, we were hoping to sell them locally, but after listing them on the St. George, UT and Las Vegas Craigslist and only getting one inquiry, Jim posted them on Bent Rider Online a few days ago. They were both sold within two hours so we are now awaiting checks. We picked up some boxes from a local bike shop, and as soon as we have the money in hand we will box them up and ship them off to New Hampshire and North Carolina. A happy ending to our story!
If anyone has a technical bike related question, Jim will gladly answer. His thumb is feeling much better now.