One of my meetups had an “advanced beginner” ride at a nice local park, Rancho San Vincente. I was a little leery about “advanced” in the title but I’d hiked the trail previously and it seemed nontechnical. I have zero technical skills off road. No rockhopping or stumpjumping for me. I talked to the leader and it turned out “advanced” referred to climbing ability. Some people try to go straight from the couch to the trails and are challenged by both the terrain and the cardio. That’s not an issue for me, especially since the hybrid I used has electric assist.
I had a blast! And felt perfectly safe. A lot was on fire roads but there was also a lot of flowing and rolling singletrack, which I loved. I was definitely the “beginnerest” of the group and stayed at the back so I wouldn’t hold them up, as they could corner a lot faster than me.
I have an odd weakness that I can’t turn well sharply to the right. I think it’s because you never make a U-turn to the right. Maybe if I lived in the UK I’d turn fine to the right and be weak to the left? Anyway I’m going to practice my right hand turns as much as I can before my next outing. The only bit of nervousness I had was coming around a sharp corner to the right and meeting someone head on going the other way. Fortunately he was much more skilled than me and able to avoid me.
I was the only one with electric assist. That’s a controversy among some “serious” bikers, some consider it to be “cheating”. I find that a bit odd. Obviously it would be cheating in a race, but on a rec ride? I rode 12 miles to the meeting point and back, with the trail ride in between. Everybody else drove there and just did the trail ride. Who’s Cheating? But this group was good natured and I didn’t get teased about my motor.
We had a great day for it:
I’ll definitely give it another try and also work on cornering on my own. But I’ll still stay away from technical stuff. I had enough falls in 2019. This year I intend to, as motorcyclists say, “keep the rubber side down”