Ryan rides his Inspired Fourplay trials bike in a technical line across the "field" of granite rocks
Ryan rides a technical line through the rocky bramble

Several months ago we decided to try riding the rocks near the water at Rocky Neck State Park. Since then, I’ve wanted to go back to try some new lines and spots we hadn’t been able to get to in the time we had before. Unfortunately, we’re two for two now with bike drive train failures when riding here. But more on that later. This week we have three videos from the group ride: the main group ride highlights and two bonus videos, including “B-roll” clips and some extra context for my bike fail.

Tim does a small rear wheel drop gap on his trials bike from a rock ledge to a boulder

We started the ride with a little warmup at the same place Jim and I rode last time, when we were photo-bombed by newlyweds taking photos. Then we headed down to the place we spent most of our time on the last ride here. It’s a fun spot with lots of technical riding, since there are thousands of rocks to ride on. It’s interesting to see what lines people come up with through this area. All of them are challenging to ride, which is compounded by the fact that while you’re not necessarily high up, you have to think quickly when bailing to put your feet onto a rock instead of into a hole. You can see an example of the rocks in the photo above. Jim and Ryan rode some good lines through here. I struggled – these type lines always give me grief. Something I probably should practice, though this type riding also really aggravates the residual tendonitis in my arms.

Jim rides his trials bike across a line of rocks to a boulder, trying to avoid the sand below

From our first riding spot on the water, some of the crew caught sight of another area a few hundred feet away that had a large driftwood tree along with all the rocky ledge. The tree captured our attention, so we went over to check it out. The tree – what was left of it – was in the shape of a giant “Y”, providing opportunities for a number of different lines. Since one end of the “Y” was on top of a raised ledge and the trunk was on the lower level, the result was a really scary skinny line. After getting onto the tree in just a couple tries, I actually considered going on the way across the top of the “Y”, but it really freaked me out being that high up on a skinny, with the other branch of the “Y” in the bailout (or crash) area below. I hesitated long enough to lose my balance, so I bailed out. While I possibly could have made it, it wasn’t worth the risk. Maybe one day I’ll have a better success ratio on such lines and be able to pull them off consistently with more confidence. It would have been pretty cool.

Tim rides a skinny up a Y-shaped driftwood tree on his trials bike

After spending some time riding lines on the tree and rocks in the area, we moved to an adjacent spot. We didn’t spend as much time here, as it mostly featured a ridge of ledge rock and a boulder, which were good for a few different lines. The ridge sloped gently upward, making it an easy rollup at one end and a few feet of height at the other. I really wanted to drop off the high spot, but there were a couple rocks near that landing that got me spooked. If things go south (so to speak), I like having a clear bailout space. While I probably could have nailed it just fine, it’s not worth the risk of a bad injury. My skills just are not consistent enough yet.

We finally moved inland a bit for the final spot where we often ride while we’re here. Soon the two Ryans headed home, leaving Jim and me throwing ourselves at a particular line up a rock wall, each trying a different approach, and each having limited success. While Jim was using the two wheel approach, I was trying to do a small pedalup to a hook to get up. After quite a few tries, my pedal eventually loosened itself from the crank enough that it finally popped off during a pedalup attempt, tearing out some of the crank threads in the process, and possibly damaging some of the pedal threads.

This was the first time I trashed a crank with a loose pedal, back in July 1021

This isn’t the first time I had a pedal come loose. In July 2021, the same thing happened, though I discovered it before the pedal tore off. I’m not sure how, given how the threads in the crank were utterly destroyed. It was a challenge to get cranks back then because it was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply chain disruptions made getting bike parts exceedingly difficult – compounded by the fact that Echo bikes seemed to have gone under.

Knowing that was the case last time made this time doubly frustrating – especially since the Bentonville bike fest is coming up in one month. But, Ben from Trials Addict over in the UK hooked me up with a set of new echo cranks. This time might be more of a challenge since nobody seems to have those cranks… and Echo has proprietary aspects of some component interfaces, making it necessary to replace most of the drivetrain.

Since I only needed once crank last time – and only need one crank now – I went and found the remaining unused new crank. I mistakenly thought that it was a non-drive side crank, which was exactly what I needed. Until I just looked at the video from the first time and realized that was also the non-drive side. So, now I don’t have a usable competition trials bike, which is quite frustrating.

As a public service announcement, you should always check your bike’s bolts, pedals, etc., to ensure they are tight and operating correctly. I do that before almost every ride, including this one. Unfortunately, the pedal must have come loose during the ride. I’ve heard others say they’ve have the same thing happen – so I guess I need to go back to being paranoid that my pedals will come loose, and continually check them throughout every ride. Thankfully I didn’t get hurt either time that my pedals came loose. If this had happened while getting ready to do a big drop like the one I considered earlier in the ride as mentioned above, that could have resulted in a pretty bad ending.

Group ride highlights
How I trashed my crank
B-roll clips


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