The Mountain Bike Life

Author: Mike Brennan

Recently I was gifted the JVC GC-XA1 ADIXXION Action Camera.  For a popular frame of reference, it’s very similar to the GoPro.  I’ve only been able to test it on one ride, which was actually the stickiest mud I’ve ever had the displeasure of trudging through.  So, my video is more a testament to video quality than longtime durability or varied features.  Check out the video and watch for flying specks of mud throughout! The specs: Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, freezeproof…

 Why do we always try (or, at least, talk about trying) to push ourselves, every single ride? Now, I know that with the New Year having just passed, many of you will have all sorts of resolutions like “I’ll hit that rock garden at least 50% faster than I did last time!” Maybe you’ll tell yourself that you’re not going to give up and walk up the hill that you always have trouble with. Shoot, you might even resolve to…

I grew up biking in flat-as-a-pancake central New Jersey, but started mountain biking seriously in college in Upstate New York.  My riding time thus became divided between the two surprisingly different types of terrain.  Having the good fortune of going to school–and riding–in a location much different than home has taught me the importance of diversifying the terrain I ride, and the importance of a good ass-kicking on the rocky boulders of good ol’ New York. I grew fond of…

Two weeks ago I took part in my first cyclocross race.  I’ve never before been a part of any race involving a bicycle, so the whole experience was incredibly new.  After agreeing to do it with a few friends a week or so before, I proceeded to not train at all, instead opting to go into it with a “whatever happens, happens” attitude.  In a nutshell: cyclocross dudes are fit as hell and even though I’m not, cyclocross is incredible…

A seasonal model. Once realizing that having any old bike helmet wasn’t really good enough, I upgraded to a mountain bike-specific helmet still within a reasonable price range, the Specialized Tactic II.  After any somewhat serious crash involving your head hitting something, a helmet greatly loses its ability to further protect against an accident. It’s also been said that after around 4-5 years, the foam in a bike helmet starts to break down; this means a helmet should be replaced…

Redbull Rampage, debatably the most notorious freeride event of the year, goes down next weekend (October 11-13).  One of my first posts for The Mountain Bike Life was about the competition, and why I think it’s so important to the sport.  Next weekend, the bike community will gear down and watch one of the most visually spectacular competitions.  I write this partially out of my own sheer excitement, and also partially in response to an article I saw on Pinkbike…

As mountain biking has seen growing popularity, riders everywhere are struggling to create diversity within the sport.  Not only does one need a fair proximity to “mountainous” regions, but a bike, too.  Yet, the personality type of a mountain biker generally wants to broaden the sport and welcome new riders.  So how can we give those who want to ride an opportunity to do so?  Trips For Kids is an organization that helps disadvantaged youth get out on the trails…

Recently I made the switch–though I thought I never would–to a clipless setup.  Before going back to school for the semester where I knew I would bike a couple times a week, I picked up some Shimano SPD A530L hybrid pedals and a pair Specialized Tahoe Sport mtb shoes.  I had ridden for years with platform pedals, telling myself that I would be more confident in my riding ability if the chance to hop off at any moment was available.  I…

I owned a slim CamelBak for years. I really thought I had the best option out there, until I saw the Dakine Amp 12L hanging on the shelf. This attractive pack really has exactly everything I need, including some options I wanted, yet didn’t even know were available. For a do-it-all pack that holds 3L of water, ample space for tools, and numerous organizational pockets, check out the Dakine Amp. My main complaint with traditional hydration packs was the points…

Another one of my exciting summer riding locations this year comes from tagging along with my girlfriend’s family, yet again. The destination was Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, for a few days of rest and relaxation; projected activities included getting up early to read and some leisurely hikes. Naturally, I asked if I could throw my bike in her car. It was a classic “Oh, I’ll bring my bike and if by some chance I have a large block of alone time…

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