Square Zero

The Seat of Scoffers

Posted by Eric (August 22, 2006 at 9:14 pm)

Saw Wee Kee trail, Oswego IL

Blessed is he who sits not in the seat of scoffers.—Psalm 1:1

In my last post I said I was going off on a 30 mile road ride. I decided instead to go mountainbiking at Saw Wee Kee park, a woods grown over an old strip mine, filled with miles of tight, hilly, rocky, sandy and very challenging singletrack.

This was my first mountainbike ride in almost a month—it isn’t only the blog I’ve been neglecting under the demands of this exceptionally busy summer—and it was a real challenge. I’m at the point where I can knock out a thirty- or even forty-mile road ride and then carry on with a busy day, but Saw Wee Kee really took it out of me.

There are some among my associates who delight to scoff at the notion that there is any serious mountainbiking in the Chicago area, and never miss an opportunity to sniff when I mention a grueling climb or wicked descent, or employ the word “hill.”

“There are no hills around here,” they tell me. “If you want a hill, you’ve got to go to [insert home state here].”

They snigger especially at the term mountainbike—”What mountain? I don’t see any mountains.”

It’s no good trying to explain that the term derives from the name of the first company to produce bikes for off-road use, Mountain Bikes, a name which stuck long after that company was history, and long after the machines they manufactured had been ridden far beyond the rough mountain fireroads where the concept of a specifically off-road bicycle was born.

Like the so-called “clipless” pedals into which one clips—but cycling lore is of little interest to the scoffers. So instead I invite them to ride with me sometime and see if there aren’t some serious climbs and severe drops around here. That usually claps a stopper over their nonsense.

However, in truth, I would not seriously entertain riding with these fellows, for despite their scoffing attitude they are dear to me and I would not have them risk life and limb undertaking an endeavor to which they are physically unequal—no, not even to prove a point; not even to hear the dying words, “You were right all along, Eric—can you ever forgive me?”

By the way, I had considered cleverly entitling this post “The Saddle of Scoffers,” adding a bikey element to the Psalm, but of course it is not the scoffers who are in the saddle; if they were they would scoff not. They are very much “in the seat” —and a disturbingly expanding seat at that.

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3 Responses to “The Seat of Scoffers”

  1. Jake says:

    Did you find any drops, jumps, or any unexpected quarry walls or anything. i figure there has to be kids that make jumps throughout the trails with the all the houses in the area.

    I did see a few ponds and dug out pits full of rock but no actual quarries.

    Is there enough land, trails, to get lost to some extent?

    i just bought my first high end bike (enduro) and am looking for some terrian that can actually suit my bike. Ive been there twice but only for about an hour each time not allowing me to explore very much, got any more in depth info about the trails? Thanks alot, jake

    Comment posted May 2nd, 2007 at 10:17 am
  2. Eric says:

    There are some great drops here and there at Saw Wee Kee, especially after the work that was done this past weekend on the trail called Dominator; also includes a big jump. There’s also a pretty cool pair of drops at the end of Vertical Velocity.

    Not many other jumps, though. The trail is heavily used by equestrians, and horses have a problem with large logs, let alone big jumps. Stuff like that would be removed by the park district pretty quick—or more likely by serious mountainbikers who don’t want to see their access to the park jeopardized by such hijinks.

    There’s an area called “The Quarry” because it’s strewn with rocks and boulders, but it isn’t really a quarry. There’s a trail that runs along the outer rim of it called Boulder Dash.

    You can learn more about Saw Wee Kee, as well as read trail conditions reports at the Cambr site here. (There used to be a map, but the site was recently redesigned and I can’t find it.)

    Comment posted May 2nd, 2007 at 11:17 am
  3. JoeDell (theWebGuy) says:

    link to the trail page for Saw-Wee-Kee

    link to the map

    Comment posted September 10th, 2008 at 12:33 pm