Hidden Gem Alert! I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Chuck Lennon MTB Trails right next door to De Leon Springs State Park…I was also a bit shocked, as I’ve been to De Leon Springs many times over the past 25 years and had no idea these trails existed.
One of my sons recently got into mountain biking and he invited me to join him and a friend for a ride through this trail system, maintained by FABS (Flagler Area Biking/SORBA). Beautiful trails with lots of skill level variety, but it was just not my day. I broke 2 cardinal rules and paid the price.
First, I did not check out my bike from my last ride…and I knew there was a high probability of a problem with my bike, because near the end of my last ride a vine got wrapped in and through my derailleur, locking up my rear wheel. At the time, I just pulled it out and went on. Exhausted, just ready to get back to my car and turn on the a/c, I knew it wasn’t shifting right, but figured I’d check it out later.
Second, I decided to leave my backpack (with tools) behind, stripping weight in the hopes that I might be able to sort of keep up with my son and his friend. I started out strong…until the first time I had to shift, which wasn’t far from the trailhead. I fell behind pretty fast, stopping and trying to adjust the derailleur with my fingers, but to no avail. I couldn’t see the problem, so I fought it all the way back to my car.
Still, a bad day on the trail is better than a good day in the office. I did enjoy all 4 3/4 miles of trails that I rode, minus the distractions of mechanical malfunction. What I found was that the vine had bent the chain guide on the derailleur (see photo), so the chain wasn’t even running on the guide wheel. Five seconds with a pair of pliers is all it took to fix.
Lessons: Always check your bike/equipment before heading out. Always carry your tools. Check Florida’s MTB Organizations for places to ride throughout the state. I could have easily prevented this issue and really enjoyed my ride…although there’s no way I could have kept up with my son.
Do check out these trails, sandwiched between Chuck Lennon Park and De Leon Springs State Park. I know I’ll be back for another ride here. Looking for other great places to mountain bike, hike, or paddle? Check out our Bucket List and Where-to-Go. Now get out there and enjoy Florida’s Natural Wonders!
Chuck Lennon Park, 5000 Greenfield Dairy Rd, De Leon Springs, FL 32130 Phone: 386-736-5953