So I learned a valuable lesson today, maybe a few of them. I have been wanting to bike more and several weeks ago happened upon a bike rack on clearance that would fit the Kia and aide me in my goal. So today, I decided to try my hand, for the first time, mountain biking some of the trails at Fellows Lake which is only a short drive away from my home.
After the nail biting drive down Hwy 65, watching my bike on the rack more than I watched the road in front of me (luckily it was a low traffic period) I unloaded my Schwinn mountain bike from the rack, slung my string bag loaded with water and Clif Bars over my back and proceeded to bike my way down the Little Bit trail located just off N. FR 197, close to where the access for the handicap fishing dock is located.
Lesson One: I should probably buy a helmet. For some reason, I was not expecting the level of difficulty that came with this adventure or misadventure. I expected to ride over some hills, stay on a dirt track, and pedal through some water-maybe. It is next to a lake. What I discovered was the trails are very narrow, I don’t know my bike as well as I thought I did, and there were obstacles someone had placed in the way, like logs that were lined up, high banked curves and rocks placed over streams. I brake-checked myself numerous times and thanked god I had not invited anyone to ride with me and witness my ineptitude.
Lesson Two: Beginner trails are in the eye of the beginner. I had no business being on these “beginner” trails today. My awesome goal of biking casually through the woods of Fellows Lake quickly turned into a hike as I abandoned my 2 wheeled transport next to a tree near a particularly startling obstacle and had a good hike for about 20 minutes before turning around and heading back.
Hiking felt pretty good until I ran into two full blown spider webs with my face. I quickly realized I was the first one through the trails this morning and no one else had cleared out the creepy crawlers before me. I grabbed a long stick, walked directly into another web, breaking said stick while thrashing about trying to get the sticky webbing off my face and shoulders. Grabbed a stouter stick and proceeded to sweep it ahead of me to remove any more dangerous spider predators before resuming my hike.
Fellows was quiet and beautiful, regardless of the spiders that tried to catch me for breakfast. The new Ozark Greenways Trail system meanders around the entire lake, giving miles of peaceful though sometimes challenging hiking and biking opportunities. I think I will check out some of the smaller bike routes for this fall when the changes will make for an excellent and somewhat cooler experience. You are allowed to bike and hike these trails, but be vigilant. It can be somewhat hard to see the trail ahead of you due to the foliage. Be ready to call out if you are mountain biking these trails so that hikers can move aside allowing you to pass.
The marina has maps of all the trails available around the lake, some as short as .14 miles and as long as 4.5 miles. Most of the trails are in and back as they are not looped so remember you must save enough energy to get your bike back to the car. I have been guilty of this before-having so much fun getting there that I forget I have to go back!
Lesson Three: Check your equipment before loading your bike back onto your vehicle, especially if you have a strap-on model bike rack. I got home and discovered the bottom strap was nowhere near my trunk where it should have been. Luckily enough, the other straps held the bike in place and it didn’t fly off and hit any other motorists while I was cruising down Hwy 65!
Lesson Four: Go have fun! This was a rather nerve racking thing for me to do alone. I know how to ride a bike, of course, but to do something like this took some courage even for someone who loves to do new things. I was so happy I did it and I got in a good workout. PS: I did tell my daughter where I was just in case I landed in a ditch somewhere ;-).
Check out the YouTube channel for a video of part of the trail and Instagram at htdto2020 for more pics.