The Mountain Bike Life

Smartphones are amazing pieces of technology, who would have thought that one day we would have the knowledge of humans in our pocket…oh..and cats…lots and lots of cats! When I got my smartphone I was excited to start tracking my riding, mapping and sharing my rides with my friends and family. I saw a few of my friends using this app called Strava and after using it a few times I was hooked! I could show off my rides and compare times with friends, but for me I wanted to just keep track of my rides. Now a few years later I have decided to uninstall Strava, Not because I don’t like it or even think it’s not useful under…

“Where have you been riding over the last month?” That’s what I’ve been continually asking my friends recently. Here’s what you’ve been telling me. You are showing me that Mountain Bikers have amazing lives! “Pedal and Paddle” by Tom Stone 1. Santa Marta, Columbia. (Daniel Rangel Aguilar) “Santa Marta” by Daniel Rangel Aguilar Every Sunday, Daniel and his friends pick a route to ride and explore.  Today they decided to visit a farm called “Tequendama” in Córdoba, Colombia.  He writes… …Toribio River is one of the most beautiful water falls from this side of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It has crystal waters , each with a natural pool where you can swim or just watch the water fall…

Having recently relocated from the north shore of Vancouver, BC to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan I was not looking forward to the long winter. Biking in the snow, ice and extreme cold sounds daunting and very unappealing to most. However, after the first major snowfall hit the city in mid October I began to notice a new breed of bike around the city nearly everywhere. The “Fat bike” is a beast of a bike set up specifically for these winter conditions. Extra wide tires make riding over ice and snow feel as smooth and safe as you would on a mountain bike riding on dirt, and guess what? It’s a lot of fun. Fat biking started out as a very niche sport…

Last Saturday was not only the first day of the month, but it was also my first race of the season! The first race of the year always brings all kinds of nervousness and excitement. I have been training for months, but is it enough? I know that I am getting stronger and faster, people have told me and I have seen the results myself, but what about everybody else? When that whistle blows will all my hard work and effort fade away onto the second page of results? All of these worries and doubts were figured out over 20 miles of rolling singletrack, and what I figured out is what I am writing about today. With some teammates at…

Fat bikes. You might love them or hate them but when the conditions are right, they are the perfect trail weapon. With the snow we’ve had here in the North East and the snow we are going to get over the next few days, I wish I had one. I’ve got a singlespeed, a 700C touring bike, a freeride bike, and now a cross country 29’er…but still no fat bike. I would have bought one but really wanted a new trail bike and the Titus Racer X fit that bill. Let’s face it, I am not made of money so another cold winter will go by with no fat bike in my quiver. But with fat bikes becoming so popular…

My first project was lacing up my new 650b wheels here, but now I am moving on to finishing up my next project. Every year Nashbar has a frame sale and blows out a bunch of GT frames at fantastic prices. Two years ago I picked up and Carbon Force and built it up, but then sold it off to buy a car. Hard to imagine a bike frame being worth the same as a car, but it was close. Anyway, I did like the Carbon Force as I built it more as a full suspension cross country bike instead of an all mountain. However the geometry of the frame was a little high to really get into tight corners…

For the last few years, I have been progressing through the sport rapidly. From the struggles of figuring out when to shift, to rebuilding suspension systems,to maneuvering rock gardens, I have had to push through many obstacles, yet none of them have been as difficult this, the ultimate: finding a group to ride with. Unfortunately for me, this is not a story of success but instead a forum for suggestions and an analytic’s guide for what not to do when trying to find a group to ride with. The group ride is something to be cherished. A time to show off your hard work, your improvement, time to take that tough line that has been calling your name, a group…

Someone once told me that it wasn’t worth the time and effort to spend hours hike a biking in the Chilcotins. This person was fit, had a light bike and rides regularly. The simple fact was they would rather pedal their bike than take it for a walk. That’s understandable, we all prefer to be on our bikes riding. But the Chilcotins wouldn’t be the Chilcotins without some hike a biking and having been a regular visitor for the past ten years, I say the rewards far outweigh the sweating, the grunting and the cursing involved in pushing a bike up a mountain. Above the Tyaughton trail Hike a biking allows you to explore new trails. The Chilcotins is full…

Well friends, it’s been fun. However, much as I like to say that mountain biking is my life, I must admit to the fact that it’s not an entirely true statement. As those of you that have clicked the “about the author” page for me will know, I’m currently going through my undergrad degree. Right now, I am in my second-to-last term of University and am, as you’ve no doubt guessed, ridiculously busy. So where does that leave us, readers? Well, at this point my plan is to take a brief hiatus from TMTBL writing, and attempt to get my life under control (and, you know, do all that boring stuff like pass courses and get a degree). Assuming everything…

These past few years we have seen a lot of change in the mountain biking world, new wheel sizes, dropper posts, better suspension designs (does anyone even make a bad bike anymore?), clutch derailleurs and then there is the latest piece of  the gear puzzle, the narrow wide chain ring. If you have been under a rock or out actually riding your bike for the past year, what makes these chainrings different than the rest is the design of the teeth. Every other tooth is fatter than the one next to it. While SRAM may have started this trend with their awesome XX1 drivetrain, it has really taken off with everyone from Chromag, Race Face and others jumping on the…

Its still mighty damp round here, I know plenty of guys getting out on the trails but I have to say riding in seriously boggy conditions really doesn’t float my boat unless I absolutely have to. As I’ve mentioned before I believe that part of the responsibility of being a biker is trail maintenance and seriously wet natural trails can get badly damaged by heavy use. Add to the this the heavy toll in terms of maintenance time and cost that very muddy conditions throw up and you’ll find my winter MTB calendar looks a little slim right now. So with only occasional trail centre rides propped up with weights, a bit of running and road bike pedaling this is…

The middle of winter is an interesting time for a mountain biker. In the Pacific Northwest, rides are usually limited to the weekend, when its not pouring rain and the occasional evening night ride. Thoughts are usually focused on what new bike shwag is coming out, eagerly anticipating the Bike Magazine Bible of Bike Tests. For me, I’ve been bike overdue for a long time, and my trusty steed, a 2006 Santa Cruz Heckler, will finally be retired, to likely be replaced by a 2014 Santa Cruz Bronson (Aluminium, because I’m not made of money nor a weight weenie). This will mark one of the first times in my life that I have spent the majority of my bike budget…

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