BIKING STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR TO SPRINGVILLE
75 Miles of Pedaling
(See more photos from this ride.)
Mountain biking. Well, technically it was road biking, because it was on pavement and not grass or dirt. But don't let biking on pavement fool you into thinking that it was easy!
I enjoy technical trails along a river, or up and down some steep foothills, but riding the smooth (although long and hard - requiring some endurance) canyons and valleys that lie along the Wasatch Mountains was a great change, and a fun challenge.
How did it happen? Well, we were backpacking from Maple Canyon almost straight through to Strawberry Reservoir and a full-circle trip seemed appealing. If you can't understand why, just remember a time in your life when testing your limits sounded like a lot of fun to you. After a couple days of intense backpacking, what I thought would be a 60 mile bike ride seemed like just a bit of an extra effort.
The time required for this particular ride was scheduled so that we could take almost the entire day, if needed. Luckily, we made it back to my house before it ever even had a chance to get dark. A fellow backpacker and I left at half an hour before noon. An hour and a half into the ride (right as we reached the Strawberry Bay turnoff from Hwy 40) we ran into bike trouble that took 30 minutes to fix. That happened about two more times on our journey. We were making pretty good time though, averaging different speeds throughout the entire trip, depending on the incline or decline we were facing. We stopped for nearly an hour at a store in Heber, Utah to buy a new tire, eat some lunch, fill up on some much needed water again, and were back on the road - ready to finish the long stretch before us.
As for the average speeds, the 23 downhill miles of Daniel's Canyon went by fast. We most likely reached speeds up to 40 mph or more at the steeper places. It is quite exhilarating to have traffic on a busy highway going only about 15 mph faster than you, when you are on a bike! In other areas, such as the rolling hills around the reservoir or just before you hit the top of Provo Canyon, you don't get as much momentum carrying you up the hills as you would like. Even at top gears. I will admit, we found that walking a fair number of the steeper hills is accomplished just as quickly as if you had just put your bike in a low gear and tried to pedal furiously to the top. Walking occasionally also helped conserve energy and muscle fatigue. And seeing as how previously my longest ever bike ride was maybe 15 miles at the most, I think developing that strategy early on was probably smart.
We ended up at my house in Springville, Utah (after taking University Avenue all the way through Provo and then the back roads to Springville) at approximately 8:00pm. I'm sure that much more experienced riders could do it at a much faster pace, but I am also sure that even experienced riders, who have enjoyed many of Utah's great bike trails, would enjoy this scenic, challenging ride!
Some tips to remember:
Having a large supply of water with me, as well as a bike pump and tire kit proved to be very necessary- make sure you go prepared for any long ride.
The precautions are to be taken seriously if you do something like this. When you drive in a car down a curvy canyon, you take your life in your hands. When you are on a bike, just remember how many times you are doubling your chances of serious injury or even fatality. Even all of that considered, besides just staying street smart (more like highway smart), I at no time during the whole ride felt like I was in any kind of danger. I kept my eyes and ears on the traffic and made sure I was as far away from the traffic lane as I could be. I knew this was not the time to be dodging in and out of the road, or making any drastic or sudden movements.