Trail Ramblings: Looking Towards Spring Rides.

It was great to see so many commuters out today, it’s interesting to see how people dress for the below freezing start to a day ending in shirt-sleeves. The weather is shifty here though, and these mild days may or may not last. The Frosty ride wasn’t very frosty, and the limestone may be too soft to ride on right now. It’s all enough to get people thinking of upcoming rides and tours. The Winter Endurance, February 17, might not be the derailleur-killing slopfest of fun of last year, but more like the Mid South, March 15, in temperatures and conditions, wait, that could just as easily be the same thing. It just goes to show we have no idea what we’ll be dealt with. The Washington Jefferson Ride March 2 is a more mellow introduction to the riding season, and as for the Crane Ride March 23, all that can be said at this time is that there’s a good chance of a stiff breeze. But the wind is our mountains here in the plains, so don’t fret, change direction.

But what about the tours? June brings us the gems of Nebraska cycle tours, the Tour de Nebraska, and BRAN, the Bike Ride Across Nebraska. Both these rides this year are routed through the lovely Sandhills. This is exciting, but as anyone who has spent time there or in the High Plains can attest, you need to be prepared for a wide range of conditions, even in June.

If you’re not going on an organized tour, there’s still plenty to ride close to home. We’re lucky to have good trails and many roads that aren’t too busy to enjoy here. Great Plains Bicycle Club hosts Spring rides, too. See the list below.

It’s beautiful weather, in my opinion, for riding right now as long as you’re properly attired, have lights, and are aware of the possibility of a little black ice in some places in the morning. The bike fitness level you’ve been able to maintain over the winter will make those late winter/early spring rides more fun, too. For those who pack away the bikes over the winter, why? If you’re starting up a training schedule, be aware you may need to toughen up your sitting parts. An unfortunate friend of mine started a spin class, one-hour sessions for five consecutive days, without realizing padded bike shorts were necessary for her, as she hadn’t been riding. Needless to say, the results were a deal breaker and she didn’t go back. Also important is a properly fitting bike. Apparently, physical therapists have noticed an uptick in injuries caused by poorly adjusted home stationary bikes, combined with doing too much too fast. If you have questions, ask the professionals at your local bike shop. I found out just how different a bike can feel when I recently borrowed a beach cruiser for a week while traveling. It certainly worked my legs differently, but was tougher on my knees, even after raising the saddle, than what I ride a home. Sometimes the simple difference in geometry of a different bike style can make a big difference in comfort and efficiency. For different kinds of riding, there are different bikes. Use one that meets your needs.