Messing about in the woods

I spent a little time messing about in the woods today. I’ve been getting over my weekend cold quickly, but I still wasn’t ready to do any kind of proper ride . Instead I pedalled up to the LanserKopfl – the little forested chunk of land right on the southern edge of town – and pedalled around for an hour or so. I rode some new trails, linked together some others that I’ve ridden a lot, and generally avoided getting too out of breathe.

Looking down on Innsbruck from the Lanserkopfl

The trails are in really good condition. Very few people muster the adventurous spirit to meander away from the gravel forest paths, and this means the single-track has very low traffic – either walkers or riders. The pine needles, instead, lay undisturbed; the perfect surface on which to pedal. Their individual spines lock in your tyres, creating gravity defying grip. The downside, of course, is the extra friction making itself felt on the way back up. The downhills are still worth it.

Riding on the Lanserkopfl, overlooking Innsbruck in Tirol, Austria

For anyone who has no idea about feeling I’m trying to describe*: When you’re skiing a super steep face of pristine powder, the snow naturally holds you back, allowing you to ski the fall line without worrying about gaining too much speed. Riding trails on a bed of damp pine needles is the same way. Without the constant concern of scrubbing speed with your brakes, the trail flows under your tyres – the turns become fluid and natural, and you use your body weight to push against the seemingly endless grip offered by the forest bed.

[*Note: if you’re neither a skier or a cyclist then I’m sorry, I really cannot explain this any better to you!]

Moss covering everything in Innsbruck

Alongside the Pine needles, there’s plenty of moss too. After the rain last week, it’s like a natural sponge; absolutely soaking wet. This Bryophyte doesn’t have any way to transport water from the ground to its leaves, and instead relies on holding as much moisture as possible it its foliage.

Getting out of the city took less than five minutes, and I didn’t see anyone the entire time I was playing around in the woods, even though I could still hear the main Germany-Italy motorway. This place really is a land of contrasts.