ASK HURL: Go Tandem? Good Aural.
Hurl returns this month to answer burning questions from JoyRide readers. Need to Ask Hurl? Send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hurl: I'm looking for a girlfriend and I'm building a tandem. What do I need to know?
This is your captain speaking. While these two actions you're engaged in could be construed as mutually exclusive, it does sound like you’re searching for a partner in crime. But are you prepared for the very likely fact that your future paramour may take little interest in being on the back seat of your bifurcated bliss. Have you considered that this special someone could possess the strength and skill of 14-time National Cyclocross Champion Katie F’n Compton and become the captain of your ship? With regards to romance, there’s a well-known adage in cycling: “Wherever your relationship is going, a tandem will get you there faster.” On a bicycle built for two, you both need to pay special heed to the lost art of (constant) communication. Without it, life for the stoker can feel like one big trust fall. Happy Valentines Day!
Dear Hurl: Regarding your photo...You might want to prepare a smart answer to other folks like me who object to your wearing earbuds on your bike! (Notice my management skills. I’m praising in public and criticizing in private.)
Signed, Hans Gasterland
You know what really smarts? It’s the sad reality that if you revisit the photo in question, you’ll notice there’s not even a bike in the image. I am, however, somewhat ironically, wearing a helmet, and I can only imagine the scornful rejoinders I’d have to smartly rebut if that weren’t the case. So while it blows my hair back to no end as to why someone would object to another wearing earbuds, please hear me out. If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it, but I do believe that everyone deserves aural pleasure. And when it comes to aural stimulation, there’s simply no accounting for personal taste. Therefore, – and this is crucial – I also believe in personal accountability. If one chooses to ride with earbuds, then it is incumbent upon them to be aware of their surround-sound surroundings.
When riding in traffic, the motorized mosh pit requires hyper-vigilance, with head-on-a-swivel reflexes. Sometimes I’ll ride with just one earbud in, but the truth is that a little common sense can help you bomb those base miles while keeping you out of treble (see what I did there?). Because just like those bass-rattling car stereos that are seemingly so prevalent, pressing uncomfortably up against the city noise ordinance, the last thing I want to hear on my ride is that other sonic scourge of the Greenway, the Boombottix handlebar speaker, its tinny, soup can acoustics shattering an otherwise peaceful auditory amble around the lakes.
Hey Hurl: I’m a man who happens to have north of 50 freakishly fantastic years on this planet and I want to keep riding the good ride. So I need your advice and guidance around the balance I like to call - Intelligent Danger. I’m not interested in super flat, easy rides that have no potential for adventure. I also don’t want to be risking broken limbs, traumatic brain injury or even snapped ACLs while proving my single track manliness. So where’s that middle ground where fun meets sanity and, more importantly, where in this fine state of ours should I be riding?
Your Pal, AJ
Please tell me you’re in a band called ‘Intelligent Danger,’ because that would be awesome. I would buy a t-shirt. Now then, I, too, have recently blasted through the finish line of year 50, and have no intention of slowing my roll. As mountain bikers, getting down in the dirt is in our dna, and in my estimation, every ride is a good ride. But experience has shown me that savoring the singletrack, and consciously choosing when to uncork a rowdy session of dirt-filled bravura can lead to greater longevity in the saddle. Even though I grew up racing bicycle motocross, my days of hitting double jumps are on the wane. Still, that won’t stop me from roosting berms and banging bars with my compadres when they leave the door open in that one hot downhill corner at Theodore Wirth.
Minneapolis is loaded with trail gems, and Minnesota is increasingly a mountain bike mecca with outstate destination ride centers. When I want to ride metro area skill-builders, I head to Lebanon Hills where the trails increase in gnarliness according to ability. (Hello, triple XXX Danger!) For a sanguine weekend getaway, or even a day trip from the Cities, the Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trails are tough to beat with lodging accommodations trailside at True North Base Camp. The rugged icing on the cake are the insatiable Duluth-area trails, featuring the Duluth Traverse, over 100 miles of singletrack. Is it summer, yet?
Until next time,