After almost 15 years of riding bicycles and buying bicycle parts, I have learned a few lessons. One of the lessons that I have learned is to talk to the locals when looking for a ride in unfamiliar territory, and then do just the opposite.
When I travel I almost always will try to ride some of the local trails. After driving for an hour only to find an overgrown 3 mile sissy loop on several occasions, I have learned to stop by the local bike shop and ask questions first. Most trail guide books are too subjective as to the authors opinion of what is a good trail and what is not. I have learned not to trust just the book, especially if you have limited time, like you would on a business trip or vacation.
So, on my trip out to Salt Lake City this week, I stopped by the local bike shop to ask about where a lowlander like myself should go for his first day out in the thin air. i usually like to start out with a relatively easy trail until I like a little acclimated to the altitude. So, I asked them where an easy trail ride would be. I told them I was a seasoned rider but not acclimated to the thin air, so I wanted something on the easy side. The usual glances down to my legs occurred and then one of the fellows said that the prospector trail would be my best bet. He explained in great detail how to get there. None of which I actually understood, but I nodded and asked more about it. I told him that I didn’t want a trail that started out 3000 feet of climbing up a jeep road. He said, no the climbing was really mellow and nothing steeper than middle ring. I said great. I will check it out. I then asked are there any lame or boring trails out there that I should be sure to avoid, as I don’t want to waste any time. he said, yeah the BST is boring. Oh, I said and where is that, so I make sure and stay away. He gave me the general area and I nodded and said thanks and was on my way.
I got back to my car, pulled out my IPad and looked up the BST (Bonneville Shoreline Trail). I had ridden the BST up near Ogden before, but not the section near Salt Lake City. I pointed the car to the boring trail, I rode it and had a great time. It was just right, not too much climbing right from the start, and a fun swoopy roller coaster trail that makes you grin.
Why did I do just the opposite of what the bike shop guy said? Because I have leaned my lessons. Bike shop guys always like to show off. Especially when a low lander comes to town, so they like to send us out to lung buster super gnarly stuff, and then I think they have a good chuckle about it as we leave. But, I out-foxed them. I went to the lame trail and had a blast.
The next day I went out to the prospector trail that the fellow recommended. I climbed 2000 feet in the first 3 miles of the trail up to the mid-mountain trail. Just as I suspected, the trail was straight up from the start. i had a pretty good ride once I got to the top, but I spent the first hour just going up.
So, when your traveling, ask the locals where the good rides are, and then also ask them where the lame rides are, pick up a few bicycle accessories, then go and check out the lame rides first.
Photo of the BST