Unigoat and some of the other guys from Butler PA invited me out for a Muni ride in North Park, a big park north of Pittsburgh with some great trails. It was definitely a massive learning experience. The start was completely demoralizing, as it was all uphill and I’m way out of shape. Not to mention the fact that I’m rolling with 125mm cranks when everyone else had 150mm. The guys were awesome though and really encouraged me, always with one hanging back to make sure I didn’t kill myself. We finally reached the top of the ridge, and my heart was ready to explode. That was pushing the uni most of the way, too. They helped me keep going, and I had some really good level and slight downhill runs. I only had two falls, the worst involved me falling backwards while mounting and trying to impale my kidney on a 6" stump (who needs both kidneys anyway?). They were going for a 6 mile ride, but I eventually ducked out due to time constraints. All in all, it was a truly challenging but awesome learning experience.
Lessons learned: #1 Keep weight on feet, not saddle, to prevent simple dumb UPDs. #2 GET LONGER CRANKS!!! #3 Practice and condition myself.
I might need to start running just so I can build my cardio, or else I’m going to be totally screwed when I move to Boone, NC, next year at roughly 4k ft altitude.
Thanks to the guys from Butler for letting me come out and for the support to keep me going!!!
Thanks to Chris we broke a Western, PA muni attendance record with 7 riders!
We were glad to see another get hooked on muni, it’s been the vice of choice around here lately. It was also great to see the progression of a first time rider from the start of the ride to the finish.
One of the coolest things about group riding is the encouragement that pushes all of us to stretch our limits. I tried things I hadn’t before!
As fun as today was, it won’t be the last time we take some rides this fall. Now for the shameless plug: www.butlerwobble.blogspot.com keeps you up to date on the (mis)adventures of the Butler Wobble. Muni weekend June 2011 anyone?
I looked at the trail maps for Northpark. What route did you guys take after I had to go and when did you finish? Closest I can estimate for the length of my ride was approximately 2.5mi, maybe 3 including the pavement ride back to my car. Also looking at google maps topographical data, it looks like that initial climb was about 200ft in altitude. Does that sound right? Was I that miserable over 200ft?
I’ve posted the trail map as an attachment for anyone interested.
You need to hook up with the Asheville crowd, there’s a core group that ride a bunch. I live in TN, about three hours from you, get up your way to ride once in a while. Give me a holler once you move, I need more folks to ride with!
We rode up the hill, crossed the road, turned left and rode back to the cars paralleling the road following some well cut trails. As far as elevation goes, I’d find it hard to believe it was only 200ft.
When I started there was very little choice of cranks, rims and tyres. I converted a Pashley 24" unicycle and fitted a 26" mountain bike rim and offroad tyre… but could only get 127 cottered cranks! So that is what I used… for 14 years before I started making my own unicycles.
It is amazing what can be done with shorter cranks.