In the saddle: Hardtail envy |

In the saddle: Hardtail envy

Charles Agar
Aspen, CO Colorado

MOAB, Utah ” What did people do before bicycles with rear sus­pension?

They rode.

And that’s what I do.

Mountain biking seems to attract lots of testos­terone-driven gear heads, and pulling up to other cyclists at the top of a hill can feel like popping the hood of a hot rod at a 1958 carhop.

“Nice derailleurs, brah.”

The sad truth is that my heavy, old GT Coyote stacks up like Fred Sanford’s pickup truck beside the tricked out, carbon fiber Cadillacs out there today.

And I’m tired of taking heat for it.

OK, so I wouldn’t mind having hulking suspension on a bike that weighs about the same as a manila envelope, but I’m not willing to cough up a house down payment at the local velo dealer.

So when I hit some rugged terrain in Moab with my friend Mooney last weekend, I just rode my trusty old rust rack.

We paid $20 each for a shuttle ride from a bike shop on Moab’s main drag to a trailhead south of town. (We calculated the 20-minute ride earned the van driver about $300.) But it was worth it, as the van dropped us off at a great downhill section of the Hazzard County Trail. And after just a short climb, we hit a plateau and had a full day of almost all downhill, connecting to Kokopelli’s Trail and then Porcupine Rim, a classic Moab ride.

A few guys on downhill bikes blew by me like I was standing still, but I had a ball dropping some scary ledges and swerving through fields of baby­heads and rattling across stretches of washboard rock.

And there’s nothing more gratifying than yelling “coming through” when you pedal past someone pushing a $5,000 bicycle up a technical climb.

The drop from the high mesa above town to the Colorado River was more of a hiking trail than any­thing, but the short road ride back to town was a hoot.

Day 2 we hit Slickrock ” an always- humbling ride and a true gawker-fest something like a skateboard park.

“You cleared it. Sweet ride, brah,” one guy said as I made it up a rough stretch coughing and wheezing. “And on a hardtail? Nice.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I call it a bicycle.”

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