Mountain Biking Trail Discovery Ride in Tbilisi

Originally written 2009, updated 2017.

Living in Tbilisi, Georgia 2009, I converted my touring bike into a mountain bike and spent an afternoon exploring. I rode rode out of Tbilisi towards Kojori and turned off the road down a dirt track into a gorge with a river flowing down a crease in a huge slab of granite. At some point there had been a road bridge over the river but that had long since been reduced to a crumbling sculpture of red brick invaded by a small plants, weeds and grass growing out of the mortar.

River

I tip toed across the water with the bike and surveyed the far side of the gorge for a way up to get to the next ridge. Someone had attached a wire to a sturdy shrub at the top of the ten metre high rocky cliff to aid climbing up. Bike on shoulder, I found footholds and handholds to pull myself up. A wrong move meant a fall onto rose bushes and scree. Almost up, I propped the bike onto a jutting piece of rock, and heaved myself and bike up into a tangled patch of heather.

Dirt tracks

There was a singletrack along the top of the ridge. I made my way along it and saw a snake move away into long dry grass - slow enough that it clearly wasn't in much of hurry. The main gorge was intersected by a smaller one. There had been a concrete bridge at one point but now it was just a rusty iron frame with remnants of the concrete clinging to it. I scrambled up a steep embankment past thorn bushes and low hanging pines and emerged onto the what looked like the maintenance dirt track route for the rusty electricity pylons up the valley. I descended on it, relieved to be going down and using the bike rather than carrying it, hopping over bumps and dips.

mtb  track

The track entered into a park area. I bounced down steps, threaded small sections of single track and then blasted down the road to the entrance, through the gate. I later found out that I had ridden through the botanical gardens. On revisiting I did see a ‘no cycling’ sign so I didn't take that route again, but there were potentially other possible routes.

Botanical gardens 1

The landscape around Tbilisi is full of dirt tracks and pathways to be explored and my adventure was one of many to come.

Botanical gardens

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