Spending the majority of the time riding in the Boston area, I develop a false sense of security. I feel comfortable riding just about everything on my fully rigid single speed, and then when I occasionally hit some gnar in New Hampshire I start thinking about how I can get "just one more low gear" on my bike and how I can eek out a little more travel in the suspension.
Case in point, my most recent jaunt with my brother Ralph. Starting from Echo Lake, we essentially pointed our bikes up and climbed 1000 ft with virtually no flat sections. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the climb and look forward to doing it again, but it's sure as hell a lot different from Willowdale or Harold Parker or Lynn Woods or anything else in the north of Boston area. I was seriously wishing I had some lower end gearing and was dreaming about an Amazon drone drop with an extended range rear cog, of say 40t. But, alas, I had 32x36 and just kept grinding. The 90F temps added an extra element of fun to the day too.
Anyway, the climb was well worth it as the views from the top were awesome and the ride down was an absolute blast.
I've been having some trouble with my Magura disc brakes so I really had to keep focused while on the descent. Having suspension made the downhill a lot more fun than it would have been on my rigid bike, and with that I'll concede that I was happy to have gears and squish.
I had to get heading home and Ralph had some stuff to do, so we only got out for a short ride before a late lunch at Black Cap Grille (don't tell my wife that I had the amazing sweet potato fries).
I'll be heading back up in a couple of weeks... Plenty of time for some upgrades...