This morning I drove to the trail head of the Gateway on Norell Ave at Point Park. There's a large parking lot, wash rooms, bubbler and benches. My goal was to do the third installment of the Gateway from I694 to Norell. Since that segment is only about 4 or 5 miles, I figured I'd go a bit further and get in at least 6 miles.
Bike Guys in spandex over by the bubbler were mildly interested as I pulled the unicycle out of the Vibe, strapped on the fanny pack of tools and phone, and started off. Instantly I knew it was one of those days that I would be balance-challenged. I dove down the horse trail and on the very first downhill segment hit a channel that sent me head first into the bushes. What an ignominious start.
I brushed myself off, checked for ticks, (since I found one after the second segment ride) and mounted back up. Or tried to, anyway. Remember, this was a balance-challenged day, so it took at least three tries! The section from Norell to Manning has narrow, sandy tracks that I found really tough today.
Just about the whole first half of the ride I was right-shoulder-forward and couldn't even consider doing hands behind or any other type of balance challenge. It was simply a matter of survival out there.
I got to Manning pretty quickly, finishing the third leg, and decided to continue down the trail. In fact, I continued to continue until I got all the way to 75th, way further than I originally intended. At 75th I stopped for a bit of bench rest, walked back a bit to change the pressure on my knees, and to restore good circulation in my crotch.
I think this Freeride saddle is a bit easier on the crotch, but I still have 195lbs bearing down on a small, tender zone, and that pressure just can't be mitigated by saddle design. Eventually I have to get off and walk or jog to alleviate crotch burn and NDS (numb dick syndrome).
After the turn-around I moved over to the asphalt and put up with the bike riders and roller bladers riding past me ("passing on your left...") because it was faster and easier. That Big Apple is a pretty good tire for packed dirt and asphalt. Given the conditions I was on today, ranging from sand to asphalt, I think it did pretty well. Worst was the sand, but then that could have just been my balance. Perhaps the best riding feeling I had to day was bombing through the grass in the alley between the paths on the horse trail.
By the end I was whipped, but elated that I had completed the ride. I just did the map, and it totaled 12.75mi, my longest by quite a bit.
View Long Gateway trail ride in a larger map