Monday, November 24, 2014

Mountain Biking in Texas: Erwin Park, Mckinney

Erwin Park Trail: The place where locals ride.

The trail isn't the most technical trail in north Texas, but is challenging enough on my 90's rigid
mountain bike.

Past the northern suburbs of the city of Dallas and Tarrant county, mountain biking options are few and far in between. Erwin Park has been around since the 90's and it's the go to place for local Collin county mountain biking scene.  About 8 miles long, this trail is known to have lots of tree roots that can frustrate many  a newcomer who come and ride it. It is not the fastest flowing trail in DFW, nor is it the most challenging. In spite of this it is challenging enough to keep intermediate riders on their toes and boasts a variety of obstacles that are both natural and manmade. There are no rock gardens at Erwin and only one huge drop that would require a bicycle with suspension (there is a detour on the trail for this drop, so it's not necessary to cross it and can be avoided all together). A rigid bicycle of good quality should be able to handle anything this trail throws at it, although a front suspension will take the edge off the bumpy surfaces and the many tree roots that are scattered along it.

Erwin Park is a short distance from home and can be ridden in about one hour. It's not an all day sort of trail, but it's short enough where I can now go mountain biking a few times during the week in between the things that I have to do. As winter draws near, the days get shorter and daylight runs out. It can be frustrating and dangerous riding at night on the roads in this cold weather. Although not as cold as many states in the Northeast, Texas is a very windy state. When cold fronts come through, 20 and even 30 mile an hour winds can be expected, which will drop the wind chill factor by over 10 degrees. A bright sunny day can be freezing and a cloudy day can be much warmer. It's one of the few places that I know of where someone can freeze while getting a tan. It's nice to have a local trail in the woods where I can escape of the chilly plains winds that are so common around this time of year. The tradeoff of course is riding shorter distances and a slight loss of form during the winter months, but anything beats being on the stationary bike or trainer. 

I recently purchased a Nikon S32 point and shoot camera for my off road bike rides. I wanted something other than my phone where I could take pictures and video of  the things that I saw on my mountain biking trips. Here's a few snapshots and videos from my ride at Erwin Park.

The area around the trail still reminds me that I'm still in Texas.

If you're new into mountain biking, or just new to the DFW area, you should definitely give Erwin Park a try. Stay tune for more video clips and photography articles of places to ride that make North Texas a great destination for any kind of cyclist. Please subscribe to my posts for future write ups.

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