Often enough I’ll roll up to the trail matching everything or looking as if it was laundry day.
I know plenty of folks who spend quite a bit of money on their jersey, shorts, shoes and helmet just so they can look good. Hey man, I’m all for that, but sometimes I just let my personality show. So why do I show up looking like I came out of a 90′s Cross Colours Ad? Here’s a few reason.s
1. I really don’t care what people think.
2. It’s laundry day.
3. It’s comfortable
4. I think the colors are pretty.
5. Makes LadyP laugh or shake her head in disapproval.
6. It’s what I have.
7. I do it to bring brand awareness for MtnBikeRiders.com
Let’s discuss a couple of the points above. #1 is probably the most obvious reason why I do it. People’s opinions of me don’t really bug me all that much. I’ve had guys comment on my pink tuxedo jersey in a sarcastic tone, “nice jersey..(as they chuckle)” I’ve said, “thanks your mom got it for me.” Or I kill them with kindness and say, “Thanks, I like yours too!”
Then there’s #5. One of my greatest joys in life is to make LadyP laugh. If it’s at the expense of my appearance, then so be it. Lastly is #7, people see the bright colors or mismatch outfit, that means they’ll pay more attention, thus them seeing the MtnBikeRiders.com logo and hopefully when they home, they’ll remember to check out the site.
So there you have it, if you run into me at a local trail, most likely I’ll be looking as sharp as I did in the photo above. I know, you’re jealous.
Alright fellas, listen up! It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is on it’s way. The 14th to be exact! So what are you going to get your better half? A box of chocolates? Jewelry?
Ya those things are good, but it’s pretty much predictable. Just go to any grocery store and they’ll have aisles and aisles of Valentine’s stuff and a good 80% of that would be boxes of cheap chocolates. So why not get out of the mainstream of Valentine’s gifts and get her something bike related? This will only work if your significant other is into bikes. If not, then it would be similar to that episode where Homer getting Marge a bowling ball named “Homer.” If you didn’t see the show, it turned out bad and caused Marge to get tempted into having an affair…so do you really want that for yourself?
Anyhow let’s get back to bicycle gifts. This all depends on your lady and how much she’s into mountain biking. For some, new apparel would be great and others may even appreciate some carbon parts or even color matched components. Heck a new bike will have the same effect as an expensive piece of jewelry!
Here’s something I’ve always believed in and most men don’t realize. For starters, don’t give her your seconds. Meaning, don’t give her your old bike gear. If your wife/girl friend really likes riding, why not better her experience by getting her own stuff to enjoy her rides? I recently had a conversation with a friend where we talked about riding our motorcycles together with our wives on a date. But his wife wanted her own pink helmet. Mind you, he’s always wanted her to ride on the back of his motorcycle for a while. But he responded by saying that she can use his old helmet…the response he had could have been a missed opportunity to get her more into riding motorcycles. It’s the same thing when it comes to riding mountain bikes. Make sure she’s enjoying her ride by getting things that is meant for her. Apparel that fit nice, components she likes, and even tires that would help her have more grip show’s that you care. One thing I’ve learned over the years, our significant other love it when we make a fuss over them. It’s the reality of women in general. If you show genuine interest in making her experience in what ever you do as a couple, that effort goes a long way.
My own brother does this for his wife. Though they don’t mountain bike, they do like playing paint ball together. In fact they’re part of a team that plays in a league. So when she showed interest in playing, and found that she likes it, he went out and bought her own gear and even a pink anodized paint ball gun.
So I hope you’re getting where I’m going with this. If your wife/girl friend loves to ride, consider getting her stuff she’d really like for riding. Besides if you get her a box of chocolates, she’ll get mad at you because she’ll think you’re trying to make her fat..
On Sunday, Nick D. and I participated in the first race of the Triple Crown Series as tandem racers. Mind you, they don’t actually have a tandem category so we entered in the 200+ category since our combined weight along with the tandem was probably over 400lbs. We made sure that we matched our jerseys and wore the highly coveted Pink Tuxedo jerseys. This ensemble along with us riding the tandem proved to be a crowd favorite. In fact even the Race Marshals through out the course kept taking photos of us riding.
Nick and I warmed up by practicing some parts of the trail, already we knew this would be a tricky race since there were some great single track. Tricky as in weaving with up and downs, great on a regular bike, but on the tandem it would be far more difficult.
One our first lap we were doing pretty well, we managed to do all the climbs and at some of the tougher descents, Nick dismounted and I would blaze down the trail solo and meet him at the bottom where he’d jump back on. I have to hand it to the race organizers, they marked out a great course, very challenging and fun on the techy stuff.
As we were finishing up our first lap, we come in to the spectator area and one of the marshals yells out “PINK TANDEM PINK TANDEM!” As soon as he said that the MC started talking about us and then the crowd erupted in cheers! Nick and I felt like super stars because we had so many people taking pictures and videos of us as we rode by. This certainly boosted our motivation to finish the race.
On lap 2 is when all hell broke loose. First our rear brakes stopped working, then we’re coming in super hot into one of the descents and BOOM! We crashed! The front wheel went into a sandy rut and we went down. But we didn’t just go down, it was one of those things where I landed on my left side, hit my shoulder and my head on the ground and then Nick falls on top of me. It was what I would call a very “intimate fall.” We brush ourselves off and make small chit chat to shake off that awkwardness of falling on top of each other by saying, “So how about them Saints?!” and “Ya, what about them Jets!” We were fine and the bike was in great shape. So we continued onto the next climb. On our way down the mountain, there’s some great single track, again perfect for a normal bike, but a beast to handle on a tandem. Then we get to a point where we had to muscle our way up a steep climb, we shifted gears, I called out to pedal hard and we’re motoring up the hill and BOOM! Chain comes off, we start rolling backwards down the hill and could barely stop. Upon inspection of the bike, we saw that due to the amount of torque we were pushing out, we bent the cranks.
We knew that this was the end of our race. We make our way down the hill towards the cheering crowd and I signal to the Marshals that we’re done due to a mechanical. Nick and I were both bummed and relieved. We wanted to finish the race, but we knew how hard the course was. So for now we DNF’d due to a mechanical, not because we didn’t want to.
Watch this clip and you’ll see the damage on the crank.
By the way, I do want to thank Nick for racing with me. Not many are brave enough to take on a tandem, let along race with one. Great job to him for being a great Stoker!
A confession: until this past weekend, I hadn’t ridden a mountain bike since sometime in July (even though I have a new bike!). Ouch!
For the most part, my riding is done on weekends… I work a chained-to-the-desk office job, and I have two young kids at home, so for the sake of household harmony I don’t often get out during the week (also, I don’t have a light good enough to do night rides – so it’s impossible a large part of the year!). I do bike commute to work and back… but that doesn’t really give me my bike fix… it just eases the pain of not being out riding in the woods!
So… the last few weekends I’ve had 2 specifically planned rides rained out (and trails closed several other times), 1 ride cancelled by a ride buddy (though for a good reason), been hacking-up-my-lungs sick, had my wife and kids sick all at once, and just plain fallen victim to life getting in the way.
But! Saturday morning, I met a coworker at the trail closest to my house and rode for a couple hours. It wasn’t epic, I didn’t have any major firsts or any major crashes. It was just solid riding on a reasonably nice day – and at the end of it, life was better than it had been before the ride. And that’s why I ride… and why I keep riding, and why I get back out there again even after not riding for a while and feeling a little extra-clumsy. Because if you start the day out riding singletrack, you can’t help but have a better day.
The first thing I did was go on a ride to Aliso Woods with Lady P, Single K and Nick D. Since I was out of shape, right after climbing up Cholla, I decided to head a different direction than the rest of the group. I went through Rockit (my favorite) and met them down by the bottom of their destination, Meadows. In the photo above you can see that I’m still using the KORE OCD bar. Yes I know it’s pretty wide and throughout the time I was at Aliso, I kept getting asked, “bro, how wide are those bars?”
As I was sitting waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, I noticed this chart that was posted on the trail. It’s some sort of circle of life thing. Aren’t those squirrels cute! But it’s sad how the Coyote is about to pounce on them. Then the bunny next to it just doesn’t have a chance since the rattler is right behind him.
Once I got home, I noticed something on my rear derailleur. Can you see it? All morning I kept mishitting and I thought that I either wore out my drive train or the hanger was bent. Well, I’m glad that it was just this issue in which I could easily fix.
Later that day I walked my dog, Cowboy.
I then went to Wal-Mart. Not sure if you do this, but I ALWAYS go by the bicycles and make fun of the assembly jobs. Here’s a great example of how their bicycle assembly people don’t really know much about putting bikes together. I was first drawn to this bike because it’s a 29er beach cruiser, but I noticed the bars.
I thought that this might have just been an isolated incident, nope. Check out this other 29er cruiser.All the other cruisers and bikes had proper handle bar positioning, but for some odd reason, those guys made the 29ers look like this.
Last but certainly not least. The bitter/sweet moment of my weekend. I just about screamed like a little girl at Justin Bieber concert when I saw this…a Unicorn helmet! But I was saddened that they only had children’s sizing…
After realizing that I probably would never come across an adult sized Unicorn helmet, I drank my sorrows away and went to bed in the sporting goods aisle. But I was rudely interrupted by an employee saying I had to go home. As sad as I was, that helmet gave me inspiration for a NEW MtnBikeRiders.com jersey…you ready? Unicorns! I’m already working with our artist to see if we can come up with a long sleeve DH style jersey. Ya I know it’s summer right now and it’s going to be 90 degrees today…but it’s my jersey so there!
For the past year or so, I’ve been saving my nickels, quarters, and the occasional folding currency for a new mountain bike – specifically, a geared 29er hardtail. After a lot of waffling and agonizing, I ended up ordering a custom Niner EMD9 build through Speedgoat Cycles. I initially wanted just a couple modifications off of a stock build they had, but ended up being able to work out several component changes for exactly the right price (thanks Michael C.!).
Begging to get dirty!
For everyone wanting to know the specs, here you go (the rest of you, skip down to the pretty pictures).
2012 Niner E.M.D.9 aluminum frame with tapered headtube
Fox 32 FLOAT 29 100 RLC FIT 15QR Tapered Fork
SRAM 2×10 X7 drivetrain (derailleurs, shifters, cranks)
Shimano XT Ice Tech brakes
Stan’s Notubes Arch EX 29er wheelset
Continental Race King 2.0 tires
Easton EA50 stem, bars, and seatpost
WTB Silverado Pro saddle
Weight: 25.22 lbs
2x10 SRAM drivetrain
I now have about 6 hours on the bike (3 rides in 3 states, thanks to a recent family trip!) and I have to say I’m having a blast. It’s a solid ride – could be lighter I suppose, but I have no complaints since it’s lighter than my Monocog! I’m also really enjoying the Fox fork (no surprise there), the 2×10 drivetrain, and the XT brakes.
The EMD9 at home
For the frame itself, I have to say it’s a really nice balance – very maneuverable, I can loft the front end easily, which is a nice change from the stable but ground-loving Monocog. I’ve also found it to be a capable climber – the last ride I went on (which I’ll be devoting a separate post to later!) involved some pretty crazy rocky and rooty climbs, and the bike handled them all – I made a few mistakes in picking my lines on unfamiliar trails, but it’s not fair to blame the bike for human error!
Rocks and roots, no problem!
I’m still making adjustments and shaking things down, but I’ve been really happy with my purchase so far. A couple changes may be in order – for one, I still have to get the tubes out of my tubeless-ready setup, and I also want to take some weight out of the seat post (it’s 400mm and I could probably do fine with 300mm). Overall though, I’ve got a sweet and fun ride that can handle a wide range of terrain with ease. If you’re in the market for a new hardtail 29er that doesn’t totally break the bank, I definitely recommend checking out the EMD9.
A couple months ago, we got an offer from BTB Sunglasses to test out a pair of their sport-oriented glasses. BTB stands for “Be The Ball” – personally, I don’t WANT to be the ball since usually the goal is to HIT the ball, but I agreed to try the glasses anyway!
I chose the BTB 500 glasses, which have a 3/4 black frame with smoked lenses and according to BTB fit “medium to large” faces – a guess on my part, but one that turned out to be accurate.
When they arrived I wasn’t terribly impressed – the packaging was a bit rough and they just came in a soft liner, not even a box. However, they looked good and fit, so I started wearing them. As time went on, I found myself not only reaching for them when I went mountain biking (where I thought they functioned well), but also commuting, walking, running, and even driving (even though they’re not polarized!). They’ve quickly become my favorite sunglasses I’ve ever had, despite the modest $39.99 price tag – and actually, given my history with sunglasses (I’ve lost sunglasses in multiple states), that price tag is a big point in their favor, as I can actually afford to replace them. I liked them so much that I even returned the last pair of (more expensive) sunglasses I bought.
So what makes these so good? Well, the fit is good – but obviously that’s going to be different for every person, so I can’t count it as a plus for everyone. I will say though that they stay put really well – no movement on my face whatsoever, even over rough stuff. I like the light weight – yes they’re plastic, but it’s sturdy plastic. I also like the lenses – they’re dark enough in bright sun, but not so dark that going in and out of shade or biking early or late in the day throws me off. The lenses are also supposed to be ballistic grade – I haven’t tested that personally, but I haven’t damaged them yet! The frame design allows for a small amount of airflow across the back of the lens to ward off condensation – there was a small amount of fogging a couple of really warm, humid days when I wasn’t moving, but even walking-speed air movement is sufficient to clear them. I’ve also worn them for multiple hours at a time and still been pretty comfortable.
In sum: I can’t claim to speak for every pair of glasses BTB offers, but this model does everything it’s supposed to do. These were provided for test at no charge, but I would buy them again if anything happens to this pair (probability: moderate to high). For those of you unsure of buying glasses online, BTB offers a 10-day exchange/refund guarantee, so check out what they’ve got to offer next time you need sunglasses!
I hope you all had a great weekend. I know we did. But before we go on with our ride report, I would like to take the time to thank all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country to protect our freedom. All of us at MtnBikeRiders.com thank you for everything you have done.
If I may, I’d like to WARN everyone that this following article is rich in photo content. So if you’ve got dial up…not sure why you would since WiFi is readily available through your neighbors…then you better grab a sandwich and a cold beer because it will take some time to load up all the pics from this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »
A couple weeks ago, I got the opportunity to drop by the Paul’s Ride for Life event, which centers around a charity ride that raises money for life-saving organ transplants. While I found out about it too late to join in the ride (which seems like it might be a cool thing to do next year), there was also a Cyclefest event sponsored by a local shop, the Bike Lane. As part of that, there were not only tables and booths for cool local organizations like MORE and FABB (join one or both if you’re in the area!), but demo bikes on hand from Niner, Felt, and Trek. I got to try out the Trek Superfly Al (geared) and the Niner S.I.R. 9 (singlespeed) for a few minutes each.
I tried the Niner first, and man… it was a fun bike! You can probably trust the word of a man who owns one more than mine, but in the few minutes I got to tool around on it I was very impressed. The geometry felt really natural – the bike was responsive without being twitchy – and it didn’t feel too hefty despite the steel frame (853 Reynolds, for those who might be wondering!).
Niner S.I.R. 9
When I got on the Trek, I noticed immediately that it had a different approach than the playful Niner. The Superfly (in all editions) is billed as a race-oriented XC bike, and it shows in how it rides and handles. It was a nice bike, but I didn’t really get that grin on my face that I look for when testing a bike out. To be fair to Trek, part of this may have been because the brakes on my test bike were REALLY dirty and noisy, so I was distracted by that for much of my ride.
Trek Superfly Al
This was my first real experience testing out multiple bikes at a demo event (I was supposed to have a 2nd a couple days ago, but it got rained out), and it was a lot of fun! I’m sure many of you do this when you can, but I’d encourage everyone to attend demos when possible – it’s an easy way to check out one or several bikes fairly quickly, whether you’re looking for a new ride or not!
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