Published Somedays

Raleigh mtb ride

(updated: Sep 21, 2011)

Sunday Ed, Michael and I went to Raleigh to ride. Believe it or not, we ran into Bill from Wilmington on the trails. There were a lot of folks outside, running, hiking, cycling, walking, etc.. It struck me as a very healthy outdoor oriented community. Later, Jamie sent me an article from Businessweek on the best city in America to live in, which, not surprisingly, is Raleigh. They referred to it as a "city within a park". If you go where we go, Lake Crabtree next to Umstead Park, you know what they mean.

These ratings are sometimes the kiss of death if you are ranked at the top, because then the population swells, thereby sealing its fate, as more and more people have to share in fewer and fewer amenities. Everything gets too crowded and busy and expensive and you have to wait in lines for everything, and that just sucks. The key term in the article is "per capita". You want the most amenities and resources available per capita. Raleigh is up there right now, but as the population swells, it will go down.

Austin, TX was like this once, but after being ranked No. 1 for years and seeing it's population balloon, it's no longer has the amenities per capita that it once did. Moral of the story: keep your city out of the top rankings.

Wilmington, by contrast, has a dismal amount of parks and woods per capita, unless you include the beaches. Without the water and beaches, this place would totally suck. There's hardly any open space in New Hanover County. And I had a bad dream last night that the county decided to expand the jail and took away the bike park. I'm not kidding - no idea why I dreamt about that. Maybe it's because I don't trust people and there's that tiny inkling tucked away in a corner of my mind that thinks this is a possibility.

Enough of that stuff, here's some more interesting things we saw on our excursion...

No. 1: A 36" wheeled bike. And it was a singlespeed. I got to ride it too. It's a custom job by Black Sheep. My only questions are, why have I not seen one before, and how come I don't have one?

Look at the size of these wheels ... they make my 29" wheels tiny in comparison.

Here's a short clip of me riding it. You can just roll over anything that gets in your way, including other riders.

36 in wheeled bike! from Sir Bikes on Vimeo.

No. 2: If a giant 36" mountain bike is not enough, then check out this giant motorized grocery cart heading on I-40 towards Wilmington. Either this is part of some new supersize Wal-Mart shopping campaign to get people to buy more crap by providing huge grocery carts, or the NC Agriculture Association has figured out how to grow giant sized people. I was afraid of what might be coming down the road next.

No. 3: Actually it wasn't giant people, or food, or bikes. It was a truckload of weird wooden sculptures instead.

The Niner club. 29" wheeled bikes - you know, the ones with the small wheels now that you've seen the next bigger thing.

Lake Crabtree. How come I've never seen anyone swimming in this lake? People swim in the ocean, and it's full of sharks and jellyfish.

Ed riding his now small-wheeled 29er.

Michael on his tiny wheeled bike.

The rock.

Blair Witch. If you tell other folks where this is, it will come after you and hang you by a 36" wheel.

Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Raleigh


1. Steve said...

Considering a Jet 9 myself. Your thoughts on the Jet vs. the Rip?

Sep 22, 2011 @ 3:03 PM

2. Dude said...

I didn't know that I needed a 36er! Reminds me of the first 29er I saw in the early 90s.

Sep 23, 2011 @ 5:02 AM

3. SBA said...

Jet 9 = XC riding and racing, endurance racing.
Rip 9 = All Mountain riding, rugged terrain

I couldn't some of the drops or jumps on my Jet that I can do with my Rip.

Sep 23, 2011 @ 5:28 AM

4. Matt said...

Sir Bikes - It was nice to meet you and the guys on the trail. Nice pics of the local trails, sorry to have gotten you turned around upon our exit.

Glad you took the chance to ride the 36er, nobody ever asks me to ride it so I've had to start offering straight out. It certainly looks pretty odd to see others ride it, but it feels so good once you're on it you forget about the size. I'll be racing it in VA in Nov for the 18hr Scouts Honor if anybody from the coast is going up for it.

You are right about keeping your city out of the top rankings. They say we're expecting another 1 MILLION people to move to the Trianlge in the next 10-20 years. I am cringing at the thought of more development and more riders/mi of trail but am optimistic the local active community will hear the call for more trails and a louder voice in general. The more people that ride the bigger the voice we have so not all is lost with expansion.

Sep 26, 2011 @ 7:48 PM

5. SBA said...

No worries... it was cool to see you rockin a bike like that. Just seems to roll over everything once you get it going. And if it weren't for folks like you pushing the envelope we won't see where frame design will take us in the future. I remember when nobody would ride a 29er, now they're at Wal-Mart.

As for population growth, as long as city and county planners are smart enough to plan for it and expand the parks system and open space, based on more and more people riding and enjoying the outdoors, then things should be ok. Otherwise you share a fixed amount or dwindling resources with more and more people, such as Austin, TX where 97% or more land is privately owned.

Sep 27, 2011 @ 5:46 PM

6. Michael said...

The Raleigh trails are a great change of pace and scenery and well worth an occasional drive. Make a weekend out of it and check out the parks and museums too. The Crabtree trails are perfect for the family too with different levels of difficulty and a kids pump track and technical skills area.

I have seen the motorized shopping carts in stores but I never thought that the day would come that the carts would be powered by a 454 ci. Big Block! Next will be moving walkways in Costco like at the airport and the grocery pickup lanes will be moved to the rear loading docks. I must admit however that I like supersized bicycle tires!

Sep 28, 2011 @ 4:33 AM

7. Weir said...

in Outside magazine this month. Can't stop this interesting migration pattern. Pennsylvania used to be the move to state.

Oct 11, 2011 @ 3:59 PM

8. Sara said...

Nobody swims in Lake Crabtree because it is polluted, severe PCB contamination. Great trail pictures! You should try riding the other side of the trail, much more rocky and hilly and fun.

Oct 13, 2011 @ 5:53 AM


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