The Mountain Bike Life

Since arriving in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I’ve been surrounded by nothing but breathtaking mountain views and people on mountain bikes.  I’ve really never had the experience of visiting a popular bike town–so my frame of comparison is nonexistent–but I just couldn’t believe how many mountain bikes were around me.  Jackson Hole is certainly well-known for its winter sports, but being here now, I would think that biking plays just as large of a role.

View from Jenny Lake

As I came through the downtown from the airport, just about every biker I saw on the street was riding something with disc brakes.  Whether or not they looked like they were coming from the trails, they had a bike that suggested they might just go for a ride later that day.  As someone who loves to use their mountain bike for riding around town, I immediately felt some common ground.  For roadies (and anyone, really), there are separate asphalt bike paths that run parallel to the roads that wind through the beautiful mountains.  Safe and scenic.

Loved this Jamis Dragon

I’m here for the week for my girlfriend’s brother’s wedding; I’m hoping to get some biking in during the next few days of festivities, but we’ll have to see how that goes.  For now, I’m pretty content to stare at bikes on the street as I walk by.  Ogling at bikes is something I am accustomed to doing through my computer screen, not having the privilege to be surrounded by nice bikes where I live.  It might seem pretty simple to those of you living in bike capitols, but to walk by a bar and see 4 pretty nice mountain bikes chained up outside is just incredible for me.  It’s not something I’m used to at all.

That’s a party. (Outside a bar)

Not only are there tons of bikes in the downtown, but a piece of bike culture I didn’t even know existed is this awesome bike parts vending machine outside of Snake River Brewery.  I will first HIGHLY recommend Snake River Brewery for it’s incredible selection of tasty beer, its bison burger, and awesome vibe.  Skiing Magazine once rated it as the top brew pub, and in the bathroom are two autographed photos from dog-sled drivers, so you know it’s legit.  I can only assume that one who drives a dog-sled knows the best brew in town.

Note the tube list on that slip of paper.

The bike parts vending machine is a piece of convenience that begs to be implemented all over.  At first it looks like a typical snack machine, but in the small metal coils are bike tubes of all sizes, protein gels, granola bars, a $31 multi-tool, some lights, and other small helpful goodies.  No more traveling to the bike shop for more tubes.  After you’ve had a drink at the brewery, you can swing by the vending machine to pick up a new tube and save yourself the trip to the bike shop.

Since I’ve arrived, I’ve done nothing but picture myself living here, riding around town or hitting the trails.  It seems like most people are pretty laid back, though I really do speculate about how messy things must get in the midst of busy winter and summer seasons.  In the downtown, there’s the corny cowboy vibe, but if you go a bit further outside the downtown, you’ll find the cowboy vibe becomes a lot more serious.  I had the opportunity to watch some real cowboys let the horses out to pasture for the night, and that stuff is no joke.  One guy had a whip and chaps and everything.  They were nice as could be and worked on a stunningly beautiful ranch.  The buildings all over town are all wonderful log cabin-esque structures.  It’s cozy as hell.

Good ol’ Tetons.

Everywhere I go, the Tetons seem to frame the view, which just about makes up for anything that can go wrong.  From what I can tell, a lot of people ride mountain bikes, eat good food, and drink good beer.  So, I’m gonna save my pennies and check back with Jackson Hole in a few years.

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