Monday, June 24, 2013

Vaya con Dos: Es Mejor

A delightful extended dirt-road climb and descent yesterday with friend Will, who works at my LBS, the venerable Hampshire Bicycle Exchange.

It was a oven-like, summery day, but these particular roads are well-shaded, and the surrounding burbling brooks and deep glades provided refreshing breezes most of the day.

Will is a perfect ride partner; like me, he enjoys conversation (which we somehow managed to keep up over extended 7% climbs on loose gravel) and, like me, he occasionally likes to wind up the motor and let fly. We spent most of the ride two-up, just chatting and enjoying the remarkable bucolic scenery on Pratt Corner Road in Amherst and Leverett and Montague Road in Shutesbury and Leverett.

For gravel grinders in the Pioneer Valley, you won't find more appealing roads on the east side of the Connecticut River. If you really want to add to the challenge, do the short out-and-back spur on Sand Hill Road -- but make sure your tires are wide and your legs are fresh. It's gorgeous up there, but the grades are real, the road is aptly named.

One reason we had been looking forward to joining up on this route for months is that we both are proud owners of the Salsa Vaya, a bike perfectly suited to mixed-surface rides.

Vaya 2 and 1, descansando in el fresco sombre
33 miles, 2,400', about 70% dirt. A most satisfying afternoon's work.

Dos Vayas charlando 

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