Pasture Peak I usually start and finish the ride with a couple of jumps in the vacant lot on Houghton. It's a cool little basin where the neighbourhood kids have built a few kickers. I've never jumped this one because I'd rather not be impaled on the fence, but I love the one I've included here -- taking off from the bottom right and landing in the top left. This guy shows how it's done.
Then I tour down the road, cut through Chichester Wetlands and climb through an industrial area that's less than pretty. I used to be able to start the trail right at the road, but now they're putting in this ugly subdivision, so now I climb through the scraped-out construction zone till I hit the pasture. I always curse development that eats into trails, but I'd also love to live somewhere with great trail access.
So why bother with the industrial climbing and smokey road ride to get to this old cow pasture? Cows make great singletrack. It only takes me ten minutes to get there, and then I can do a hour singletrack loop with some ridiculously fun sections and a few nice views.
Apparently cows don't tend to walk in straight lines, which suits me fine. There aren't any hair-raising steeps or stunts in there, just lots of twisting, smooth trail with some great pitches and climbs. The cowpies, pinecones and deadfall keep me honest enough, and I can get some adrenaline flowing without the danger these days.
Aside from the rush and the exercise, riding gets me into beautiful places, even when it's still in town. You can't really see it in this photo, but there's a wonderful little canyon down in those trees, with a meadow surrounded by bright yellow birch trees. Good for the soul. On the way out of the pasture, I happily close the gate behind me, locking away the treasure for a later visit.
I never take photos of my bike because it's old and flourescent green, but I was feeling happy about it today. It's served me well, and still gets me out for a spin on a sunny afternoon, even though it's getting creaky and tired. I'm thinking of putting up for-sale posters around the 'hood to see if it could still fetch $500.