I got a new car, which is an odd way to open a column about cycling, but here we are. I got a new car, and that necessitates the acquisition of a new bicycle carrying system. On my previous car I had roof trays, mismatched naturally, and one of them not all the way functional. The new car is new, and suggestive of a hitch rack system. More on that anon.
I have friends, noble friends indeed, who eschew “driving to ride,” i.e. they will not drive a car with a bike on it, to some distant location, where the bike can be removed, ridden, and then replaced for the trip home. It’s an ethos that begets a lot of very long rides, and in my mind, really just guarantees long periods of relative boredom.
I’ve been at this game for a few decades now, and I’ve ridden all the roads in my immediate vicinity more times than I can count. I also live on top of a steep hill, which means every local ride ends in a grind. So while I appreciate the Spartan approach to route access, I’m sorta over it. I’ll drive to ride, if the route looks good.
And I suppose that’s where the sliding scale comes in, the relative stoke of whatever the ride is vs. the inconvenience and moral compromise of driving there. For example, if you live where I live (Boston) and have the opportunity to ride Mont Ventoux, then you take planes, trains and automobiles, and you go. If, on the other hand, your destination is the main retail drag in Brick, NJ, then maybe you should ride there (JK, you should not).
For mountain bikers, this is less of an issue. Few of us have enough trail access to be able to forgo driving to ride. I have a local trail system that I can roll to, but I don’t want to ride it EVERY SINGLE TIME. And so, oddly, the drive-to-ride calculus changes depending on what genre of pedaling I’m up to that day.
This week’s TCIF asks, what’s the farthest you would drive to ride? Is it different with a road bike vs. a dirt-based bike? What’s the farthest you’ve traveled overall to ride, with planes involved maybe? And finally, what hitch rack should I get?
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