The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Damascus bike riding

Mark on a bike on a Fall Sunday

bike rack guy

We spent a great day in Damascus coasting down the mountain with some friends today.

It was our first bike adventure together and we had a lot of fun. I'm sure it won't be our last.

The bike guy charges 25 bucks for the bike rental which includes a ride up to the top.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Do it uphill as well! :-P
Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Sep 13 14:33:30 2010
Actually, I hadn't really been on a bike in a decade. Our rural roads are just not cycling compatible. I was thrilled to be staying upright. :-)
Comment by anna Mon Sep 13 14:49:38 2010

Were you riding off-road, like trails and such? Because the tires look more like road tires.

How did you like the bikes? Personally I find those mixte frames a bit on the flexible side. The handlebar height (higher than the saddle) is more like something you find on a city bike. Racing and mountain bikes tend to have the handlebars below the seat height. I guess these bikes are built for people who only cycle occasionally?

Zooming downhill on the road is extremely good fun. :-) But do be careful. I once clocked up around 65 kph (say 40 mph) going downhill in France. Then I had to hit the brakes really hard when a sharp corner with some gravel strewn across the road suddenly became visible. Afterwards I could smell my brake pads and my front rim was so hot I couldn't touch it. I got the feeling I was not far away from a blown-out inner tube. That would have been "interesting".

That's a small part of the reason my current daily transport (see below) has hydraulic disc brakes. Mostly because they actually work properly in the wet as opposed to rim brakes.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Sep 13 16:26:27 2010

The Virginia Creeper trail is a rails-to-trails project. So, it's similar to riding on a road, but perhaps a tiny bit less level (and no scary cars.) For the gentle downhill glide, I found these bikes quite easy, but you understand, we didn't really need to pedal... :-)

Most folks were zooming past us, but we kept to a gentle pace, taking 5 hours to cover 17 miles. That required us to brake quite a bit, actually. I like to see scenery, and even that seemed a bit zippy to me. I suspect you'd enjoy zooming down the Creeper Trail.

That's quite a bike you've got there!

Comment by anna Mon Sep 13 16:47:15 2010

Sounds interesting, those rails-to-trails tracks.

My bike tend to be in daily use for quite a while, and I need it to Just Work. This is the second bike I ever bought. So I figured that if I'm going to buy a bike that is going to be my primary transport for the next ten years (I put more mileage on my bike every year than on my car), I better get one I really like and that is built with quality components. :-)

It has been my experience that it is well worthwhile to invest in sturdy and good quality stuff. While the initial expense is higher it saves you a lot of aggravation and costs down the road.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Sep 13 17:40:30 2010
I totally agree --- for someone who rides as much as you do, you should get the best bike possible!
Comment by anna Mon Sep 13 19:22:06 2010

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