The Mountain Bike Life

Last weekend I competed in my very first cyclocross race. For those of you that don’t know, cyclocross is basically a cross between mountain biking and road biking. The typical bike used is a heavy duty road bike made for off road use. There is also parts of the course where you must get off of your bike and run. The races are on courses that are only a couple miles long and the races last for 30-60 minutes. So why am I talking about cyclocross on a mountain biking website? Well, I rode a mountain bike in my first cross race, and it was super fun. Jumping over the barriers Cyclocross is one of the hardest and most fun…

Ever wonder why they changed the design of bottom brackets so much over the last 10 years? What was wrong with the good old square drive axle? As it turns out a lot was wrong with it. The new through axle cranksets and bottom brackets are very rigid and require very little maintenance. Best of all they very rarely creak. That one sound that drives every biker of any type nuts. That loud creak every time you apply force to the crankset. It can ruin an entire ride which is otherwise great. Well if you happen to still have one of the older cranksets and it has developed a creak you can get rid of it. How? Read on……. First…

Some think that riding 100k off road is a simple affair. Like getting in the car and driving for a couple of hours. If it was only that simple as these types of people think. But reality is that this does take a wee bit of thinking when it comes to bike set up. No I won’t bore with things like nutrition and what foods I might take to eat. Pretty much running the Mistress stock with some minor little changes. Keep in mind that I am not a weight weenie. All my bikes are built for use…what they call Enduro these days. But really it is simply stuff that takes abuse and keeps working. First one of note is…

Recently I have have rediscovered one of the main reasons I love mountain biking. It was after a ride at the Holyoke Range Trails in Amhearst, MA. but it wasn’t until I went back to ride a particular local trail network that I realized not only how much I missed the type of riding there but how lucky I am that the trails are as close as they are to me. My friend Javier on a tricky section of the trail at Holyoke In the Beginning I remember when I started mountain biking. Years ago, before I had kids and a house to take care of, I had a lot more time to myself so I rode more. I was…

Setting up your point of view camera for the first time can be a little overwhelming. There are many different settings and modes to choose from. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure it all out. So here I’d like to share my basic setup tips for POV cameras.  I’m using a GoPro Hero 2, but most of these concepts apply to every camera. Resolution and Frame Rate When filming in low light situations, such at woods or at dusk, use a resolution that allows you to film at 30fps or lower*. This gives the camera sensor more time to absorb light in between frames which produces a better picture.  *The fps setting would be 24fps is…

I was quite impressed with this saddle while I was riding on it in BC. I’ll admit I always worry about the carbon components on my bike breaking with a big hit, but as of yet they haven’t! The Gobi stood up fantastically, even though it got hit hard enough to leave me a couple really nice (no, not really) bruises. As a matter of fact, this saddle has made it through a couple mistakes that have previously resulted in my metal-railed saddles getting bent to the point that they’re unusable – if you’re looking for something tough but light, this should be on your list. Make sure you head to your local shop to try it out first, though…

Often when I’m riding the MTB far from home, I encounter friendly 4×4’s.  My standard greeting these days is “If you need a tow, just let me know”.  They usually laugh – although some of them take me seriously and ask how a cyclist could tow a heavy motor vehicle. So when you have to cover tough terrain, which one comes out on top? The Mountain Bike or the 4X4? Hike-a-Bike Recent injuries have made it impossible for me to ride a bike for a while, so I offered to act as chauffeur for my friends.  They wanted to complete a point to point ride over the mountains, covering about 60 km (about 38 miles).  I agreed to drop them…

We love our bikes. We spend a lot of money on them and then wonder why after riding them all summer they have some squeaks, are hard to shift and are slipping and sliding around out on the wet trails. Like anything, our bikes need a little love and attention once in a while. Here are 7 things you can do to refresh your ride. 1. Service your suspension At least once a year get your forks and rear shock serviced. These are the bits that keep you and your bike rolling smoothly, so take them to your favourite shop and get them to do a yearly service. If you want to take your suspension to the next level send…

I tried to come up with a witty title for this post – something pithy that would get your attention without giving away my whole point. Unfortunately, when I think about local bike shops what comes to mind is “please don’t make me,” “I don’t wanna,” I’d really rather shop where people at least acknowledge I exist. Yes, I am am woman, and no, I am not a hardcore rider but if you are a small local niche store of any kind, why don’t you want my money? Photo courtesy of Whitby Archives. In general I prefer to shop local. We don’t often eat at chain restaurants; my favourite shoe stores are local boutiques, and whenever I can afford to…

I’ve definitely chosen to begin writing for a Mountain bike blog at exactly the wrong point in time! This first entry finds me at the end of 5 weeks of literally no pedalling due to various circumstances. Whilst I don’t have much recent riding to comment on I did find myself sat on a beach in ‘rural’ Michigan and, as so many times has been the case, I found myself inspired into thought by a most unexpected sight. Not something you see every day….. There I was minding my own, surrounded by happy (irritatingly tanned and healthy looking) families in beautiful surroundings of Pentwater, MI, when an older gentleman, resplendent in Breeches, Knee socks, trouser braces and an Olympic standard…

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 figured I’d be able to push the limits with that kind of confidence.  While that “hop-off” insurance isn’t there anymore, I’ve found more benefits than detriments to the clipless system. I went out for my first legit ride on the…

September 1st was the world championship downhill race in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The track in Pietermaritzburg is not very technical compared to other tracks we see on the world cup circuit, such as Ft. William in Scotland. The South African track features lots of big jumps and a quick pedal towards the middle of the run. This means that many riders were on modified versions of the bikes they normally ride. Because of all the modifications and prototypes, this was one of the most interesting races all year. My top three riders for the weekend were Steve Smith, Greg Minnaar, and Marcelo Gutierrez Villegas. Steve Smith has been on a hot streak recently winning the world cup in Mont Saint…

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