Oh yeah, that bike!

My Trek Fuel EX 5 mountain bike finally gets some ride time.

I get so focused on piling up road miles that I often forget about my other bikes and the type of riding they enable me to do. Sure, I've accomplished quite a bit of gravel grinding this season on my Specialized Crux, but that's about it. I haven't even touched my Specialized fat bike, preferring to keep the studded tires on ready for the upcoming winter conditions.

That leaves my mountain bike — a Trek EX 5 that I acquired in 2019. Well, I finally jumped on board this last week for the first time all year, cruising along the miles of trails located at the Hallowell Reservoir. It's known locally as "The Res," covering 165 acres of quiet, forested space and open to residents of our city. Visitors are also welcome.

What a nice change of pace from my normal cycling routine. It was actually quite thrilling dodging rocks and logs, instead of potholes and steering clear of vehicles. To minimize my time on the road while heading to "The Res," I cut through my friend Ted Vaughan's fields, which had been recently cut for hay.

Once there, the autumn colors dominated the landscape. Yellow. Orange. Red. Purple. Brown. Every so often I was reminded to pay attention, as many of those leaves carpeting the ground made for slippery circumstances. But I managed to stay upright and not hurt myself, despite having so little time on this particular Trek.

It's a beast of a bike — weighing just over 33 pounds — so I got a good healthy workout. The Schwalbe knobby tires — coming in at 2.8 inches wide — are tough as nails, but very responsive in rough terrain. The recommended psi (pounds per square inch) is 17 to 38; I went with 30 psi. I could have gone a little softer, but because I did have some road riding I kept the tires on the high side.

I only did 11 miles and it took me just over an hour. Pretty poor results when compared to road bike standards, but it's a completely different kind of exercise. My average heart rate was 118 bpm (beats per minute) and I maxed out at 150. My resting heart rate is in the low 40s. While it was a short spin, the up and down elevation gain was 1,200 feet. Yes, we have hills in Hallowell.

So all in all, it was a fun time. It was treat not having to worry about traffic — at least for most of the journey — and my bicycle even got dirty. I just have to be more mindful of utilizing all of my two-wheeled machines and not just my road bikes. So go for a ride, but please stay safe!

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