Mountain Biking under Route 1

25 Aug 2017

mtb track

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Here I was at Indian River Inlet's surfing side (north side of Indian River Inlet Park in Delaware) surfboards and wax ready go ... and not a wave in sight ... yet. It was 4PM in late August 2017 and the forecast was small side bump waves coming in around 6 PM. I am not much of a beach bum (although I did end up napping on it for a bit) so I wanted something to do. Enter a bike sesh.

It wasn't too hot or too cold and I needed a to-do to burn off some food. So I took a look at the area underneath the route 1 bridge and figured I would give it a go. The previous evening, after a successful surf jaunt, I watched two young boys mountain biking it. Why not me?

Features

The pictures don't do it justice and I was trying to be discreet about them. Basically at the south end is a gravel and dirt rampart up underneath the pylons which also drops back down on the other side. A small access road runs up to the rampart (if you click on the picture you can see it on the right). What makes this spot challenging are a few factors:

  • It is relatively small meaning it is easy to get bored fast
  • Depending on the time of year there can be a lot of foot traffic
  • Interspersed with the gravel are sand traps. These can be trouble if the speed isn't just so.
  • I am not 100% sure it is entirely legal to be doing jumps and wheelies: this did not stop me I am just saying if you do this spot - know the risks.

People

This was my first trip to Delaware that I didn't strike up a conversation with anyone the entire time outside of "yes I would like fries with that." I wrote it off to the season. Tourist season can suck the joy out of spots and no one seemed inclined to strike up a conversation with some lone nut popping off underneath the bridge. I did get some smiles out of the kids; they always dig a good show.

The Ride

mtb track

When I was able to get a fair amount of speed running at about 5th gear or so it was a lot of fun. The upside of a small track is you get to take breaks and I definitely burned off some cals. The big technical problem I was running into was dealing with pedestrians and hitting the random big rock (usually back tire) that I didn't see. Luckily I didn't wipe out.. well not this time. But I came close ...

mtb track

If you look closely at the road going up the ramp there is a sort of yellowish blotch on it about midway on the left side. That is a solid piece of dirt that is a small bump maybe only three or four inches in height. On one run I went at it as fast as I could pump the pedals out of the flats and caught air, at least a foot or so of the front wheel and I wasn't expecting it. I accidentally turned the handle bars too much and if it were not for my "fair enough" reflexes I would have had a gravel and blood sandwich that afternoon. I did not try that again that afternoon but having pulled it off (or more accurately survived it) I intend on getting a picture of that in action sometime.

And the Point is

If you look or just give it a go you can surprise yourself. There is stuff all over the place to ride if you take a good look.

mtb track

...watch out for rogue surfers though...