I own a Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. That’s not my bike in the photo above. But it could be. Bought mine back in the early 2000s for probably $600. It’s a solid bike. The frame is still in perfect condition. Silver and shiny. From all the photos I found by Googling it, the bike must be something of a classic.
There aren’t that many miles on my mountain bike because most of my annual riding is done on the roads. Mountain biking in Illinois is just not that thrilling unless one takes a trip over to a set of single tracks in Palos Heights. But I bang around on the mountain bike in my ‘neck of the woods’ in all sorts of weather. If the snow isn’t more than 3″ deep, it can be fun to ride in the winter. I’ve learned that deeper snow with a regular mountain bike is just a bunch of spinning around. One needs a true Fat Tire bike for that.
If I had half a conscience I’d ride the Rockhopper to work. I only live four miles away from my workplace. It’s supposed to be a tolerable winter here in Illinois. We’ll see. I rode to work a bunch when I lived seven miles away from a former job. One morning I spun out on a moss-covered bridge and got all green and slimy. That took my commuting appetite away for a while.
Early in the history of that bike I had the front all jacked up with a raised stem that sat me upright. I finally pulled all that off and got back to basics. Now I can ride in what amounts to mountain biking aero if I choose. Hunker down and pedal. Fuck the wind.
The only challenge in riding that bike is keeping my feet warm in really cold weather. The bike as SPD pedals and my shoes have metal cleats in the sole. The cold comes into the sole even when I wear the Pearl Izumi booties that cover the entire foot.
So an hour to 90 minutes is all I usually ride. That gives me 15-18 miles usually. Work up a sweat. Avoid the big winds. Enjoy making tire tracks in mud or snow.
Hello, mountain bike. Goodbye, Cabin Fever.