How to customize your mountain bike

fat tire mountain bike single speed

Well there really isn’t a rule on how to do this. But if you’re happy with your component group, then start making some changes on how your bike looks. A lot of people will change out the color of their grips, bars, stem, seat and etc. Changing out those items is a sure fire way to give it a personal touch.

Personally I like to accentuate some of the subtle colors that the bike has. For example, if my frame is orange, but the graphics like the logos are white, then I’d go with a white saddle and grips. If the bars and stem are black, I’d keep it the way it is.

One of my bikes had a pretty blue frame with white letters. So I made sure I got white wheels and a white saddle as well as a white seat collar(eventually).

Titus Rockstar 29er mtnbikeriders.com

The Moe followed the same idea with one of his older bikes. At the time there was a tire company called Sweet Skinz that sold these colored tires. They had a variety of designs that could make your bike’s appearance pop.

My newest bike in the stable is all white with black logos. I decided to go with a USA theme with it. I ordered red bars, white grips, blue water bottle cage,  USA flag water bottle and a frame bag that is black and blue. I thought about getting star stickers to make it more patriotic, but I’ll probably do that later on.

Gravity Single Speed Fat Tire moutain bike
I decided to go with a red white and blue theme.
wake best bicycle handle bars
Wake Best Bicycle 780mm bar and short stem.
fat tire bike
White grips
gravity fat tire single speed mountain bike
Though my frame bag doesn’t match my cage…I’m ok with it because not every shade of black on this bike matches with each other…right? I’m going to put my snacks in there!
 Ahren's WiseCracker bottle opener
Last but not least, my Ahren’s WiseCracker bottle opener

So that’s about it…customizing your mountain bike can be as easy as changing out the colors of your accessories. Unless  you get your frame painted or Plasti-Dip it, then you’ll have to work with what you got, and that’s what makes it fun!

4 Riders with Mad Skills On AND Off the Road

Mountain biking and road racing may come from the same DNA, but much like Snooker and Pool, there is no denying both are different sports that require different levels of skill, fitness and technicalities.

However, if you find you have certain talent for one, the likelihood is you will be able to utilise a number of those attributes over to the other code.

That is certainly the case in cycling and Mountain biking as we look at some of the most successful transitions from road to dirt and vice-versa.

Now retired, Dane Michael Rasmussen began his career mountain biking and was quite the dab hand at the sport.

So much so in fact he won the 1999 Cross Country World Mountain Bike Championship defeating runner up Frenchman Miguel Martinez and third place Belgian Filip Meirhaeghe.

In 2001, Rasmussen made the switch to the road after earning a Stagiaire with CSC-Tiscali and would go on to shine in the 2005, 2006 Tour de France winning the mountain classification with aplomb.

He clearly put his mountain biking prowess to good use as all four stage wins came in the mountain classification.

However, Rasmussen’s career was tainted by doping scandals and in 2013 he openly admitted that he had cheated for 12 years and was subsequently banned from the sport for two years.

Australian Evans was a serial silver medallist during his mountain biking years in the 1990’s and early noughties.

In fact, five silver medals followed for Evans at various Mountain Bike World Championships before making the switch to road racing in 2001 after impressing on the 1999 Tour of Tasmania.

Evans was proclaimed as a potential future Tour de France winner and achieved the feat in 2011, although one is where it remained unlike 2019 favourite Chris Froome who can be backed at 11/4 with Betway as of the 10th December to win a fifth Tour de France title.

He did, however, still go on to have a hugely successful road career outside the Tour de France as well which included a Commonwealth gold medal in 2002 as well as a World Championship gold in 2009.

However, Evans returned to his mountain biking roots in 2017 taking part in South Africa’s epic eight-day Absa Cape Epic stage race in the master’s category.

Remarkably, Evans and team mate George Hincapie won their category at the age of 40.

The Slovakian Tourminator has a fine record on the road including eleven stage wins on the Tour de France and four individual stage wins on the Vuelta a España and three World Road Race Championships.

A host of other wins aside from the grand tours have followed for Sagan but there are too many to list here.

But it is Sagan’s off-road exploits for which he has earned a sturdy reputation.

Most notably at the 2016 Rio Olympics in which were it not for a series of mechanical issues, he may well have claimed an extraordinary gold medal in the cross-country race.

At the end of lap one, Sagan was in the top three and out to spring a surprise, however, a front wheel puncture ended his hopes.

Admittedly, Sagan is a former junior World Mountain Bike champion and is well versed in the discipline and at just 28-years of age, what’s the betting on Sagan to reappear for another crack at Cross-Country gold at an Olympics coming soon?

After all, that is what we all want to see, isn’t it?

American Amber Neben got her mountain biking career underway with a two-and-a-half-year spell with the SoBe HeadShok team and achieved a second place at the 1999 collegiate US National Mountain Bike Trials.

A certain Willow Koerber as the winner that day with Kelli Emmet in third which just goes to show how talented a mountain biker Amber Neben is.

Technology has come a long way since 1999 in mountain biking but rather than stick with the progression of the sport, Neben found she has a remarkable talent for road racing after winning the Cascade Classic in 2001.

More success would follow after making the permanent switch to the road including two World Time Trial Championships in 2008 and as recently as 2016.

However, doping reared its ugly head in 2003 with Neben testing positive for banned substance 19-norandrosterone.

Despite receiving a suspension, it was determined the substance was taken unintentionally and Neben soon accepted regular tests to prove she was clean at all times.

Build Update

marin palisades 29er

As you may have read from my previous POST, my bike broke and I bought a new frame. I found a Marin Palisades 29er on closeout from Ebay for about $130. I pulled the trigger and the frame came in.

marin palisades 29er

I sat on building the bike up for a while because I had to order parts for it. I had to get bottom bracket spacers since I went from a 73mm shell to a 68mm. I also had to order a new headset since the Marin’s was larger in diameter than the Titus Rockstar. All that took a few weeks to arrive. Once I finally got the parts in, I got sick.

But laying in bed all day sick gets a man all bored and stuff. One can only watch so many hours of Youtube videos before he gets cabin fever. So I decided to get up, go into the garage and start building this bike up. I ran new shifter cables and housing, installed the new parts and got everything dialed in.

Voila! I’d like to introduce you to….MADEA!

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Yes her name is Madea, just like Tyler Perry’s Madea. I named her that because she’s a tall bike! This is a small, but with the big honkin’ fork, I can’t even touch the ground flat footed unless I’m practically off the bike. I’ve yet to ride Madea, still recovering from my cough, but soon…soon.

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Have some fun at Betting Top 10!

Ok…I’m trying.

Two weeks ago I was feeling down. Rather than drinking my way to happiness, I decided to get on the bike and do a short ride. 6 miles to be exact. Mind you it’s been months since I’ve ridden so that meant my pace was slower than usual. What’s difficult for me is when I was riding, all sorts of emotions started coming up and at one point I wanted to cry. Eh…this sucks.

Then part of a trail had a little jump, I took it and while in mid-air, I quickly remembered why I love to ride. My heart jumped and all my sorrows went away and it produced a big smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong, the whole ride was just tough on my body. I took everything slow and wanted to enjoy the moment, you know, be present.

I stopped at a local lake to just take it all in. I was grateful for the beauty that surrounds me. Maybe if I just approach riding as a way to enjoy what’s around me and not focus on what was and focus on what is, that might help me get back into it a bit more.

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Let’s have a heart to heart

Hello everyone,

This is RL Policar, I’m the founder of this here mountain biking website. In the last year I’ve had some personal challenges that I’ve been dealing with. Don’t worry I’m not dying, at least I don’t think I am. Anyhow, I’ve been going through some major life changes and remaining strong. However, mountain biking has been put to the back burner for me. I no longer enjoy it nor do I find any excitement for it. Perhaps it just reminds me too much of the shit I’m going through.

crash-1
Life feels like this right now.

Though I’m not riding mountain bikes, I’ve turned my focus more on motorcycles and scooters. I find it therapeutic to buy/sell and work on them. I’ve bought and sold so many in the last few years that I really should have my own reality TV-Show.

My Happy Place.
My Happy Place.

Anyhow so that’ where I’m at, not much riding in the last 6 months. Perhaps I’ll come back to it once I’m doing better. In my absence, Art Aguilar has been put in charge of MtnBikeRiders.com. I’ve also handed over the reigns of BikeCommuters.com to my best-friend Moe Ramirez. He’s doing a bang up job over there.

Flannel Shirts Make Great Cold Weather Clothing

flannel shirt for cold weather clothing for mountain biking

Let me get this out before you all start criticizing me. Cold for Southern California (SoCal) standards typically hovers around 40-50 degrees. So that means many mountain bikers in will be wearing jackets, arm/knee warmers and even ear coverings when temps drop. I’ve had various cold weather clothing but none of them come close to the versatility of a basic flannel shirt. Here’s a few points on why I prefer flannel shirts for cold weather riding.

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1. They’re super affordable. On average, I’ve paid about $15 for my shirts. That’s a tremendous savings over cycling specific winter gear.

2. Pockets in the front! If I’m listening to my music, I usually keep my phone in the front pocket and I route the ear buds in between the buttons so they won’t dangle or get in the way.

3. Easy to layer. So what I do is use the flannel as my outer shell. I will wear a long sleeve jersey underneath when temps are between 50-60 degrees. This set up allows my body to stay cool and dry but not cold. So when I sweat, my long sleeve jersey wicks the moisture and the flannel allows just the right amount of air flow to keep my body temps comfortable.

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4. Durable. Have you ever taken a spill while wearing a regular jersey? Often times jerseys don’t survive, they usually end up torn or shredded. In my experience, flannel is way more durable than a polyester jersey.

5. No special laundry rules. With jerseys, I usually will hang dry them to prevent shrinkage. With my flannels, I wash them like regular clothing.

6. Looks great! I know that wearing flannel isn’t for everyone. But for the most part wearing a jersey when you ride looks great! I’ve never been a fan of goofy loud jerseys. I like my riding gear to look like normal clothing. For me, I think flannels look great, they come in a variety of colors and because they’re so affordable, you can by 5 of them for the price of one cycling winter jacket. One more thing to add, you can wear them on and off the trails.

What’s great about flannel is that you look presentable enough to wear them on the trail and then wash them so you can wear them when you’re hanging out with your buddies for beers later that evening. Plus they go with any pair of jeans or shorts. I’m telling ya, flannels are a win-win kind of shirt!

rl jump 3

Cheaper Alternative to Energy Gels

If you’ve ever bonked or on the verge of bonking, quick energy might be the thing that saves you. For the most part mountain bikers will carry energy gels like Gu or the like. They work really well because they contain sugar that your body needs. The problem with these energy gels is that they can be pretty spendy. One gel pack can be as much as $2.00 and eventually that money cuts into your beer money. So here’s an alternative that saves you some money, gives you energy and it tastes great. Take some Nutella, a tablespoon and a zip lock bag. This 26.5oz jar costs about $6 at any grocery store. nutella mountain biking Next step is to scoop in one or two tablespoons into the bag. Gu packets have about 2tbsp of…Gu in it, so we figure we’ll do the same. There’s a trick to getting that gooey goodness in. When you scoop it, turn the bag inside out, use your fingers to get the Nutella onto the bag. nutella mountain bike Once you get all of it in, close the bag and try your best to move the Nutella into one corner. This makes it easier to consume while you’re on the trail. To eat the Nutella, all you do is tear off the corner and squeeze the contents into your mouth…enjoy the chocolaty yummyness, drink some water and then get back on the bike!photo 3 (1) You take this bag with you the next time you ride. Keep it in your hydration bag or jersey pocket and bust it out during your rest breaks. So before you start judging how effective Nutella is Vs. Gu, let’s look at some facts. 2 tbsp serving of Nutella is 200 calories, (100 cal if you do 1 tbsp) first ingredient is sugar. 1 packet of Gu Chocolate, 100 calories, first ingredient is Maltodextrin…

The idea of this DIY is to get you some quick energy for very little cost. You figure the cost of Nutella is roughly $6.00. For the same price you could get about 3 packets of Gu. That jar of Nutella can yield you about 51-1tbsp servings, which by now you should be able to see the financial benefits. Another benefit to this method is taste. I’m mean, c’mon! It’s Nutella for Pete’s sake! This stuff is soooo yummy! Anyhow, I’ve showed you how to package your own energy gel of sorts for a fraction of the cost. If you don’t like this method, Nutella does have individual serving packets that you could buy for about $1.00 a piece, still a savings over energy gels.

Solo Rides-A Must

As much as I enjoy doing group rides, there something really great about doing solo rides. Personally I like it because I get to go at my own pace, stop when I feel like it, take photos and ultimately enjoy my ride without having to worry about someone else’s schedule.

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Often times I do find myself on solo rides just because I’ve got such a weird schedule. Currently, I’m riding on Sundays and weekday mornings. As much as I miss the camaraderie and friendships that group rides offer, solo rides is a great time for personal reflection, planning things in my mind and even prayer times.

I think the only thing that sucks about solo rides is if you break down or get a flat, you don’t have immediate assistance. But with the sport of mountain biking, you’ll eventually see another rider and for the most part,mountain bikers are friendly and would offer to help you out.

New Project? Sure!

Not sure if you’ve caught on, but we love doing bike projects. In previous years we’d take on extravagant builds where we source parts from various brands. But times have changed and companies are a bit more strict now when it comes to sending out promotional products. So what we’ve devised in our recent projects is to re-purpose old bikes. Take this for example, a Trek 6500 with 27speed drivetrain, Manitou fork, v-brakes and grime. I’m not really sure on the year on this bike, but some Googling has led me to believe that this bike might be around 2006…so about 10 years old. The condition of the bike was relatively rough when I got it it. It had a bent saddle, blown out fork, gunked up drive train and dry-rotted tires. The wheelset was decent, a set of lightweight Mavics, but they’re not disc ready…boo! But the frame is!

The bike shop where I purchased this bike from had this in their used-lot for quite some time. Someone traded it in for store credit towards a new bike. My cost would be $75+Tax. Not bad in my opinion. I took it home that afternoon and started improving the bike with parts I had laying around.

trek 6500 mountain bike

 

The first thing I addressed would be the blown out Manitou fork. I had no use for it so I swapped it out for a Fox F100RL and I also had a Synergy disc front wheel that I added. I threw on a rotor, some crappy Tektro caliper, replaced the stock bar with a 680mm (still too short for me) WTB bar, replaced the 100mm stem with a 35mm, put a WTB saddle on, replaced the shifter cables/housing, lubed up the rear brake cables, cleaned/tuned the drivetrain, installed lock-on grips and installed some new tires on.

Here’s a picture below, a huge improvement from the stock form. I took it out on a ride at the world famous Fullerton Loop, It did great! It’s a wonderful climber and thanks to the Fox F100RL fork, it descends like a boss.

photo 2 (1)

 

There’s actually a few more things I want to do to this bike. I’m weird about having things match…well at least the wheels need to match. I wanted to search for a used Synergy rear wheel, but that’s almost impossible. So I’m settling for some lightweight/budget friendly wheels. Since we’re on the subject of budget, rather than spending money on some hydraulic brakes, I’m going with some period-correct Avid BB5s that I have laying around. The drivetrain is actually in decent condition. Rings and cassette aren’t too worn, about 50% life in them, the chain was checked with gauge and we are still at 50%.

The plan for this bike is to help me get in some sort of shape other than round. I’ve always been a big fan of hard tail XC bikes and in the last few years, all I’ve really done is XC riding. So I figured I might as well have a rig that will match the riding I do. Besides, my investment on this bike so far is $75, all the other parts I’ve had laying around. This is probably the only time in my life where being a bike hoarder paid off!

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Smell My Fingers!

Um…your fingers stink and it’s all because of your gloves! Seriously, when was the last time you washed your gloves? If you haven’t in a while, it probably explains why you smell funky! Think about how gross your gloves are. You ride with them, so that means they’re covered in trail dirt, what about the time you dropped your chain…now they’re covered in grease. Oh remember when you did a snot-rocket, ya, now they’ve got mucous on them. What about those times when you wiped your sweaty face with them…man just thinking about it paints a clear picture in my head that your gloves are probably grosser than a 3 month old dish sponge that’s been sitting at the bottom of your sink full of dirty cereal bowls.
wash your smelly gloves
With that in mind, wash your gloves every few rides. I typically will throw them in the washer with my regular laundry, but hang dry them. Doing so, keeps my hands and fingers smelling so fresh, so clean…clean.