While we normally have our group rides on Thursdays lately, Mike asked if we wanted to ride in Narragansett, RI on Tuesday (April 11th). Since we only ride there a handful of times each year – and it was supposed to be relatively warm – I was all in. Unfortunately, the rest of the crew couldn’t make it, so it ended up being just Mike and me.

I arrived a few minutes before Mike did, so I headed down near the water to take some filler clips and record an intro to the video. While it was a bit windy, the sky was blue with minimal cloud cover. At around 60F, it wasn’t exactly warm, but it was bright and sunny. However, by the time we started riding, the clouds had quickly snuck in, making the lighting less than ideal for video. The first clips were a little dark, so I tried tweaking the camera setting; however, I didn’t do it very well, so some of the clips are a bit over-exposed. Oops.

The ride started off with me not really “feeling it” – you’ve probably experienced it too at one time or another: when you don’t feel confident, you don’t feel coordinated, and maybe you feel a little weak. It happens now and again. So I struggled with the warmup, and had a bit of a rough go on the first few lines. After riding for a while, I got my “mojo” back, and while I wasn’t riding like a superstar or anything, I did feel like I was actually doing some stuff that was actually halfway cool (for my skill level anyway).

If it’s not drastically apparent by the video, the difference in skill levels between Mike and me is rather large. Mike is extremely talented – he started young and has been riding trials for close to 30 years. On the other hand, I started only about six years ago at almost 50… and have therefore spent a good portion of that time not riding due to various injuries (apparently middle-aged bodies don’t like going zero to full throttle or they tend to fall apart). While none of that all really matters (it certainly doesn’t bother me), it means that when we ride together, it’s a mix of each doing our own thing for the most part. Unlike riding with others with the same general skill level, we’re obviously not taking turns at the same lines. But I’m out to ride my bike as well as make videos, so I like to alternate between filming myself and catching Mike doing some insane lines or big moves.

In one of the clips you’ll see in the video, I was on the Eastern side of Mike as he tried hopping up onto a boulder, having a bit of a struggle that was not what I expected. But then, since I didn’t want to film facing West, looking into the sun, I went to the West of Mike. As I crossed over the spot that he was using to take off with his static hop, I noticed how absolutely disgusting the rock was. It was an absolutely jumbled mess! Suddenly it was crystal clear why he wasn’t just flying right up on the 1st (or second) try. In the video, you can’t really see how nasty that takeoff is until I go right up to it with the camera. If you’ve ever tried to rear wheel hop on any surface that isn’t smooth and homogenous, you know how hard it is – every little imperfection wants to push you off-balance. So, keep in mind when you watch someone doing a trials move on video, the conditions could be much more challenging than is readily apparent to the viewer. This line that Mike chose was pretty impressive.

All-in-all, this turned out to be a good ride. The location is amazing, riding with Mike is pretty sick, and I was generally happy with my riding overall. And, since the rest of the crew was unable to make Tuesday, they still wanted to ride on Thursday – so I was able to participate in two group rides this week! The Thursday ride was fun too, so check that one out as well.


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