The first day we arrived in Moab, overnight temperatures were forecast to reach a low of minus 5oC or something silly like that. For some entirely unrelated reason we decided not to camp on the first night, and instead spent the evening huddling in a cabin in Moab itself. Well actually, I went out for a run, exploring some of the local single track, while the menfolk unpacked the car, cleaned and overhauled the bikes, and cooked dinner.
The following morning we packed everything up again, and drove our little car convoy out to the Moab Brand trails. Just north of town, they were the perfect place for a gear shakedown, and nice and friendly to test out the new Tout Singletrailer we had acquired (courtesy of Finn’s Zaida).
For the record, the Tout could easily handle the Lazy-EZ trails, as well as Bar M and Rockin’ A. Probably a few of the others would have been fine too, we didn’t explore the entire trail system.
Most of the Tout towing on the trip was done by Alex. Well over 95 percent of it. It’s much lighter and more maneuverable than the Chariot, but has a completely different feel to the towing – unsurprisingly given that it attaches to the seat post rather than the rear wheel spindle. It’s also much more stable – the Chariot isn’t very hard to tip.
There were a few things that could either be improved on, or that just have to be taken into account. It could be narrower; although it’s narrower than your handlebars, the width is low to the ground, meaning it occasionally has issues with rocks and features that the bike can just roll past. It’s also inclined to cut corners, so that has to be taken into account when you’re making turns.
All in all though, it’s a fantastic little single track machine. The rear shock seems to work reasonably well, and the Moosling was pretty happy to chill out on his bench seat – oh, another added bonus is that you can put the harness on after the helmet is already attached to the toddler (not the case with the Chariot).
Above you can see Brendan displaying the typical “Moab grin”. This is the facial expression common to mountain bikers riding in the Moab area, however scientists are yet to explain this puzzling phenomenon. It is suspected they may be thinking something along the lines of “I can’t believe I’m riding my bike in Moab, this is fantastic!”, although conflicting studies have suggested it’s merely an allergic reaction to the red sand.
After our little trail adventure we headed up into the Sand Flats Recreation Area to the east of town, and had our pick of the campsites. Our first choice somehow ended up being the best one available (following comprehensive surveys of other available campsites performed shortly after arrival). We had a juniper tree, a nice large camping area, and a small mountain for the Moosling to climb. And so Alex and Brendan headed off into town to ride some more single track, while the Moosling and I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the area and playing in the sand.
Distance biked: 18.5 km
Elevation gain: 185 m