Home > Uncategorized > Back to the woods…first forest ride and dog weaving!

Back to the woods…first forest ride and dog weaving!

It ended up being a pretty mild winter here in Ottawa with very little snow as well so the cycling calendar has certainly moved up. I also didn’t use my mountain bike for riding over the winter much so it didn’t need rebuilding this year and it works!

I will be taking the bike in later this week for some changes either way, but with another nice week of weather I decided to see if the mud was gone if the routes were dry enough for a deep ride into the woods.  I also had a new set of tires as I removed the studded winter tires and replaced them with  Specialized “The Captain” Armadillo Elites which besides being oddly named got good reviews and they were half price at my LBS. I was hoping they would be a good upgrade.

My usual route required that I drive a few KMs to get to the forest entry point and in that environment the tires were a nice swap from the winter tires, but maybe a bit less tarmac friendly of the now well worn tires that came with the bike.

As is usual this time of the year before the biking gets more regular the forest nemesis of all mountain bikers are out in force and that is dogs and their walkers. Now I don’t mind dogs per say, but I would like to think that if I had skittish dogs I would use a leash. There seems to be a hope of dog owners that they will be able to “own” the forest for a while before things get too busy with hikers and bikers so they let their dogs roam free. When you are bombing along on a trail you come upon these dogs who do the ‘Look..something moving” and either bark or lunge or simply freak out it can be problematic and downright dangerous.

Dog owners fit two models. The first one is “How dare you” who don’t do much about the dogs but give you a wicked why are you riding by (despite the fact that the route is plastered with bicycle tire marks) and just let the dog chase you. These I don’t mind kicking if they get too close but usually they back off as they get closer.

The other one is the “OMG, I’m so sorry” dog owners who grab the dog and hold them while they pass. I prefer this type and I know Dogs don’t want to be on a leash (would you?) so I think I am ok with folks at least making an effort. Also know your dog. Some dogs freak out every time, others just sit up and watch you go by. If your dog is of the second type no problem.

The other issue was that while there wasn’t any standing water, but were a few spots of light muddy bog and in these areas the tires didn’t seem to find enough grip. I did chalk this up to the fact that the tires were fairly high-pressure. I will try again with lower pressure. Included a few shots. To be this dry in April is awesome!


The front shock is clearly pretty shot (it is a dart 1) and that was made very clear as the leaves hid some of the rocks (ouch!) so have a new one on order and it will be replaced later this week and will report on that a bit later. If it interests you here is my garmin track. I notice that accuracy is a bit off in the woods, I was always on the same route.



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