My fiancé and I are avid mountain bikers from California. Since we were in Massachusetts visiting family over the July 4th holiday, we decided it would be a shame to not sample some east coast dirt. So, on Sunday, July 3rd, we rode Trail of Tears.
First off, I’ll say this: Damn, I wish we had brought our own bikes! We made the big mistake of renting some demo bikes from Bike Zone in East Falmouth. Phone calls to them in the weeks prior to our trip had me convinced that it would be a smooth process. Wrong! They promised to have two Cannondale Prophets ready to roll at 8:30am. As it turns out, we ended up with two Jekylls, which weren’t ready until almost 11:00am. My fiancés demo bike was perfectly fine, mechanically. Mine was the biggest pile of junk I’ve ever ridden. The Headshock was blown out, so it just clunked around with no rebound damping whatsoever. The front brake line was full of air, rendering the brake nearly useless. I guess that either the swingarm was bent or the rear wheel was dished wrong. I say this because the rear tire rubbed the left side of the swingarm (severely) when the wheel was bottomed out squarely in the dropouts. Worst of all, the left crank arm bolt would not stay tight no matter how much you cranked down on it. I had to stop every half-mile and re-tighten it.
Oh, well. It was a beautiful day, and crappy bike or not, we were looking forward to the ride. We parked at the Race Lane/Farmersville Road lot and set out on the trails. It felt strange to be riding in the woods, with little elevation change, and no vista points to keep you oriented. Out west, we’re used to climbing for miles at a time and then descending for miles at time. This was a fun change of pace: Fast, swoopy, smooth trails with lots of short ups and downs. Instead of surveying the area from mountaintops, we used the sound of traffic on route 6 and sound of gunfire from the local shooting range to orient ourselves.
The first 3-1/4 miles to the Walker Point wooden deck were easy enough to follow. Beyond that, it got difficult. There are more trails out there than are shown on the map, and unfortunately, some of the TOT trail markers are either damaged or missing altogether. It’s mainly the Upper Ridge Trail area, between 3.5 and 4.1 miles that’s extremely confusing. We rode in circles there, trying every possible branch from that 5-way (or more?) intersection around the 4-mile mark. Once we finally picked the correct branch, the rest of the route was fairly easy to follow. Such a fun trail system! It’s amazing how many miles of trail they’ve managed to squeeze into a relatively small plot of land. All in all, we had a really fun ride. I look forward to returning, but this time I’ll bring my rigid singlespeed. I think it would be the perfect bike for TOT. I’d also like to explore the trails in the 151/28 area.
I should mention that, to their credit, Bike Zone refunded the demo fee for the problematic bike. Not without some attitude, of course. At least the two mechanics that work there were friendly, helpful, and apologetic about the situation.
Here’s wishing you all a nice long riding season!
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