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Back to basics?

XTC2009XTC2009 Posts: 115
edited October 2015 in MTB general
I broke my foot a few weeks ago, so I'm off the bike for a while. I've been reflecting on my cycling year in the meantime and thinking about cycling in general. It's not been a great year. My MTB has only had two outings, and is currently sitting in the shed looking sorry for itself and in need of a major service. My road bike has fared better and is already kitted out for the winter rides that I will hopefully be able to do at some point, but I still haven't ridden it as much as I would have liked. I was finally doing something about that before my foot, gradually increasing my time in the saddle and getting stronger and fitter than I've been in ages. I was getting somewhere. With the realisation that I've got to start from scratch all over again it's got me thinking - do I really do the kind of riding I want to?

I used to love bashing around on my MTB at trail centres and doing MTB Marathons, but now I have a young family I don't really have time for the travelling involved with that any more and the trails themselves had started to get more extreme than I like anyway - give me flowing singletrack over a rock garden any day! So I turned to road cycling as most of my local routes are on the road, and got myself a cheap road bike. Too cheap it turned out because I quickly upgraded many parts to make it more to my liking. The problem I have found with the road bike though is that it is very often more like hard work than fun. I have to put in a lot of time and effort to get fit enough to actually start enjoying riding it. I'm always 'training', aiming to be able to ride further and faster. The trouble is I don't have enough time to put into getting to the point where I can go further or faster, so I end up stuck at the same level and frustrated with myself. If I'm realistic though, I'm never going to ride the Tour de France. And I'm never going to ride a World Championship Cross Country MTB race either.

All I really want to do is to ride like I used to as a kid. Just for the fun of it. My first bike was an old drop bar Raleigh, and I have this great memory of sneaking out on holiday on my own and leaving our caravan site behind to explore what lay beyond, and finding my way to a nearby lighthouse by just following my nose and seeing where the road took me. No route planning, no Strava, no targets or goals, just the ride. No energy gels or protein shakes. Just stopping off at the local shop when I got hungry. No sticking to one kind of road or another either. I want to recapture that feeling again. I'm not sure how though.

One way I thought was to get a multipurpose bike that bridges the gap between the two bikes that I currently own - and maybe replaces them - something with the speed of my road bike but capable of tackling some off road stuff too like my MTB. A cross bike or one of these new 'gravel or 'adventure' bikes maybe? Or is a new bike/replacement for my current bikes just a sticking plaster solution?
Wobbly Cyclist

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