Tuesday, 12 April 2011


It's been almost three weeks since my last ride. Aside from a few excrutiatingly dull stints on the hotel gym stationary bike I've been all but inactive - ride wise. The fear of my legs withering away right as race season builds up, plus a genuine prevailing sadness from missing the trails, caused me to hunt out some dirt amongst the concrete sprawl of New York. After some googling I found Cunningham Park, in Queens. A couple of train rides later and I was plonked right outside the Peak Bikes bike shop, where my trusty rental Kona steed awaited!

The weather looked threatening. But as a wise man once said, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." It was either explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes or my friend Aaron Aubrey who coined that phrase. Either way, they're both right. So armed with nice new waterproofs and a PB&J sando I set off to experience shredding, east coast style. Cunningham Park has been transformed by local MTB enthusiasts to provide riders with a whole trail network in an area that is pretty devoid of any real riding opportunities. As such, it has a very man made feel. The constant traffic roar and broken beer bottle litter, also a constant reminder that you're not exactly escaping into nature's playground. However, the trail builders have done a lot, a hell of a lot, with what they have. Although relatively small, Cunningham Park provides a good few hours of riding fun. With no significant elevation change, the rolling nature of the trail dictates serious cranking to keep any sort of speed and flow. Coupled with the twisty, often burmed singletrack and many technical sections, a great ride and workout is guaranteed. Just what I need!

The trails are graded with varying levels of difficulty. Although the red (hardest) trails offer little in terms of scares, there are a few gnarly man made drops and rock gardens to keep things spicy. The trails are split down the middle by a freeway. Each half of the park offering slightly different, but equally fun riding. Plus, each side has its own pump track and dirt jump park! Great fun. A little oasis of dirt that should keep my fitness and kung fu bubbling nicely until I get back to familiar trails.

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