The Mountain Bike Life

Well, everyone knows that the bike season started a long time ago, but for a lot of students in Ontario, they’re starting to dust off the cobwebs, ride more often, and get focused for the University Cup Mountain Bike Race Series. The U-cup series is a series of 6 races over 4 weekends that starts as soon as the school year starts and continues for 3 nonstop weekends thereafter. The cool thing about the series is that it has the power to bring new people to the sport (with both an A and B category), as well as bring riders from a school together with each other and with other schools. You just can’t beat the friendships and friendly rivalries…

New brakes can make your bike feel like a million bucks. The old Avid Elixers on this BMC 29er were rough, loud and steep descents were met with plenty of chatter. A fresh set of Shimano SLX’s have got this bike stopping strong and best of all you can’t hear it screaming down the trail from 200 feet away. I’ve ridden a few different types of Avid/SRAM hydraulic brakes in the past and every time I hop on a bike with Shimano SLX I’m immediately met with a reliable and comfortable brake.

Like anyone who rides bikes there is always the endless discussion of gear, bikes, and what do you carry in your pack. This year we replaced our Passat with a SUV for reasons that are far more numerous to explain. Yet in the end ended up with a vehicle better suited to riding and adventure. But how much do we think and discuss what gear for the vehicle? Of course I hadn’t done anything even though I had thought about setting up some gear to always leave in the vehicle. It was only after just getting the Escape I went to help at a race when the reality of needing stuff smacked me upside the head. Arriving in a town…

Living in the moment you never realize it is coming. You ride along blissfully with your thoughts focused solely on the trail in front of you. You are out enjoying another perfect summer rip through your favorite trails. You finally are back in riding shape. You know the ins and outs of every trail. You know not to hit the brakes for the high speed corners. You have become intimately acquainted with every square inch of trail. You are only going to get faster and faster. Then it happens, off on the distant hillside you see it. Your brain does not quite process what you saw, so you keep riding. Then there it is again, out of the corner of…

There comes a time when you have to put the chainsaw down and go ride a bike. You’ve seen others benefit from your trail work and appreciate the smiles and thanks you get in return. But all work and no play makes for restless riders. You have to get away from the wood and start riding through the woods. Time to reap the rewards! Our Chilcotin chainsaw gang has been doing trail clearing for the past few years. Many a long weekend spent in solitude in the mountains, getting to know the ups and downs of our adopted trails. Lots of logs lie peppered along the trail, evidence of how far we’ve come yet there remained a large section virgin…

Countless pedal strokes, sweat dripping from every crevice of my body, a pain from each and every muscle, and a back pack full of warm water. Rocks trudging under my tires as I spin through the grit on my way to the top of the mountain… For what? One measly run down the mountain, not good enough or at least I think this to myself as I pedal up. If only I could go to one of those bike parks, you know, the ones with ski lifts… yeah that is the life… I think. Well, to cap of my summer of escaping the Phoenix heat, I headed to my proverbial mecca, my one true home. Lift access mountain biking. After…

As much as I enjoy Singletrack trail rides, I do not think that they are the end-all or pinnacle of my experience and ultimate enjoyment when it comes to mountain biking. I like to mix things up and to go to as many different places as I can to keep things interesting. Like they say “Variety is the spice of life”. Many years ago I remember when I had just gotten my first mountain bike. At the time I lived in a suburban area just outside of Hartford, CT. I think it was around 1997, and mountain bikes were fairly new at that time. Someone asked me “Where are you going to ride that bike?” My reply was simply, “Dude…

“So I love what you’ve done to the place,” he said, pouring himself a healthy dose of Maker’s Mark into the least cloudy glass he could find. “Thanks,” she replied. “I really wanted to bring out the character of all four walls, kind of accentuate the power of the cube. Can I ask you a couple of questions?” “I don’t see why not.” “Why is your thumb wrapped in a paper towel and electrical tape? And where have you been staying?” “Work work work,” he said. Inhaled as he sipped his whiskey. Felt it in his lungs. “The Boss doesn’t even bother to keep toilet paper stocked in the customer bathroom, why would he keep bandages for us employees? I…

There are few component manufacturers more iconic than Chris King. For over 35 years King has been manufacturing the gold standard in high-end cycling gear. From their introduction of the first sealed bearing headset, to their recent innovations in XD compatible driveshells and Press-fit bottom brackets that actually work, Chris King continues to push the envelope in quality, beauty, and functionality. King prides themselves on their ethic of sustainable manufacturing, and produces their 100% of their wares in their Portland, OR USA facility. They use only materials from high-quality US and Canadian mills with verified manufacturing and labor practices. In a world where high-volume, outsourced, overseas, no-questions-asked production is the norm King proves that it is still possible and economically…

I seem to make the trip to lift accessed trails about once a year. This year there happened to be a race in the California Enduro Series, which I have been writing about her on the blog, at Northstar Resort. This time, instead of a race report, I thought that I would discuss my thoughts on bike park trails. One of the trails that we raced on last weekend was Northstar’s signature trail, Livewire. Livewire, like many bike park trails, is a jump trail. It is packed with sweeping corners and table top jumps ranging from small to large. The popularity of trails like this is not a surprise, with trails like Whistler’s A­Line gaining worldwide fame. Jump trails like…

Companies make money by the dump truck load selling us drinks that are supposed to help us ride better. Especially during the hotter times of year or for those long 4 plus hour sessions. Sounds good in theory till you think of a couple of things. First that really most of what these are made from is not natural or we have no clue where it actually came from. The second thing is stuff like HEED and PowerAde costs lots of money and it racks up quickly. And I lost my taste for things like Gatorade when I found what the actual formula for it was compared to what they sell us now. Few years ago I found out that…

Some road trips start out with a strange foreboding feeling. You get the sense that you should not be journeying to the destination you have in mind. All parties involved seem to have catastrophic vehicle failure immediately before disembarking. You seem to get stared at by every rough looking local in all the small towns you stumble through. There is the sense that you should most certainly not stick around for too long. Real life seems to resemble the start of some strange horror movie. This was the start of a trip to Winter Park Colorado. I should start with what sparked the notion for such an adventure. Jeremy, a good friend of mine both on the bike and off…

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