Every cyclist yearns for the time when they can get away from the traffic of the city and ride on quiet country roads. But if you are like me, you get tired of riding the same roads all the time. What's the answer? I've found that riding dirt roads adds variety and many times a pleasing change of scenery.
RIDING DIRT ROADS!!?? ON YOUR ROAD BIKE!!?? Mike, you have gone daft...you say. Well, maybe...but I've found that there are numerous country dirt roads around here that we never ride on and they are just there waiting to be discovered. I wouldn't suggest riding them just anytime since the rocks, dust, and potholes can sometimes present unsteady riding conditions especially for a road bike. But this time of year (spring), after a good rain and a day or two for cars to pack the surface (don't wait too long as the more the road dries out the more unstable it becomes, the second day after a good rain is perfect), dirt roads are a pleasure to ride. It may knock your 22 mph average down a bit, but this time of year you should be getting base miles anyway. Plus, seeing places that you've never ridden in your own back yard can be very enjoyable to say the least. I've been riding on several dirt roads lately and I find it very relaxing and refreshing to see new territory. Granted, there may be a spot or two that may be a little rough, but it's worth the effort to go out and check some of them out when the road surface is packed...like after a rain and they've had time to dry a bit.
You might even think about taking that mountain bike off the rack and abandon the single track to just go exploring for a day in the country. If you are riding a mountain bike you can ride the dirt roads about anytime...just be aware of all the dust if it's a dry season. Also, if you are on a mountain bike, you may find some interesting side trips into some of the striped pine lots found in Alabama (careful not to trespass private land without permission).
Next time you are out riding and just feel like you need a change of pace and scenery, take that side dirt road...there are a zillion roads that we've never ridden that lead to some interesting places. Haven't you ever wondered where all those roads go? Now's the time to find out! You may be surprised at how much you'll enjoy the change of scenery. Think I'll go find a dirt road right now...Happy cycling. Mike
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