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Claim

"You know, years ago when people were fired up about something they did, they could show it. Give a fist pump or the full-on hands raised, whatever. Look at team sports, they still go nuts. But somewhere along the way, in all action sports, outside of competition, it was no longer cool to look stoked, even if you just did the sickest thing in your life. You had to contain it, and look all nonchalant. Because apparently, doing that showed you were 'so good' that you felt like 'ya, that's pretty standard for me.' 
'Who came up with that one? Well I say, screw the cool-guy standard procedure, because when I'm fired up to be in a certain place or I just pulled off something sick, I'm not going to be afraid to show it. I'm gonna let people know. I'm gonna Claim!"

Spike Jonze was a BMXer

It's hard to believe magazines have taken such a nose dive out of relevance. Now the only magazines I encounter are on the table in a waiting room. There was a time when  that glossy stack of paper folded in half and stapled together was like a portal to another dimension. I could gaze for hours into this other dimension and see the place where I belonged. I could see my tribe.
   In a bike magazine, the world existed for bikers. I could see bikes blasting into the air out of huge half pipes. Or I could see bikes doing flatland tricks on Hollywood Boulevard. It was proof that this biking thing existed.
   The first bike magazines were formed out of the BMX racing culture. BMX racing had peaked before my time and was established as good clean All-American fun. It was fairly easy to explain to Grandpa that you like to race your bike around the track and go faster than the other guys. In a magazine like BMX Plus, every rider wore a full factory racing kit and they all looked pret…

30 posts in 30 days

I want to start by saying thanks to everyone who's  clicked onto the blog over the last month. Together you guys have clicked the "read more" link almost 450 times. Hopefully you found something amusing, funny or interesting. This first batch feels a little self-aggrandizing, I've got a lot of stories and pictures about me. This is a little bit intentional, I'm trying to establish that I have first-hand experience on freestyle bikes, bmx bikes, cruiser bikes, road bikes, fixie bikes, tandem bikes, freeride bikes, commuter bikes and mountain bikes. So when you visit my blog I don't want to just link you to another story that I found on the internet. I want to share people, places and things that I have a personal connection to.
  Going forward, I plan to start roping friends in for interviews and guest features. I know a lot of interesting bike people and I want to share their stories too. I think some of the best conversations I've ever heard take place w…

Spectator Sports

I’m not good at ball-sports, or really, team-sports all together. In little league I once tried throwing the ball from right field to first base. Instead I threw the ball out of the park and hit a guy sitting in the bleachers. As a high school freshman I tried out for soccer and qualified for the sub-sub-JV team.
  The cross country team needed runners, so I quit soccer after a week and I ran. I ran in the fall, and then I ran again in the spring for track. I wasn’t good, but I could do it. All that really mattered was that I crossed the finish line. Running helped me develop the mental state that I use nowadays when I’m tackling a long climb. I don’t need to enjoy it, I just need to zone out and keep putting one foot, or pedal, in front of the other.
  My state had one professional sports team, a hockey team called the Whalers. But they broke up, or moved on a few years after I moved to Colorado. I love the atmosphere of a Rockies game or watching the Eagles. But I have nothing at …

Full face Helmets

It’s good to set limitations for yourself. Pick some sort of qualifier and tell yourself that this is a rule you need to live by and your life will be better for it. Here’s a few examples, ‘no caffeine after noon’, is one.  Or, ‘Never drive more than 10 MPH over the speed limit,’ Another good one,  ‘liquor before beer’. Just basic limits that help keep things in check.
  I certainly don’t believe that my life will collapse over one early evening mocha. I just don’t want to do it every night. It’s that moderation thing. I heard that Marilyn Manson is a strong believer in moderation. Apparently Mr. Manson does drugs, but he keeps someone close to him as his drug handler. When the handler says, “that’s enough for tonight,” Marilyn rolls his two different colored eyes and grumbles, “fine.” He respects the prearranged limitations.
  When I was a year or so into my freeriding phase, I realized I needed to set some limits for myself. Some of my friends were dead-set on making each stunt b…

Trail Maintenance

Have you ever been to the Longmont Humane Society to look for a new dog? You can walk down the row of pens and check out each animal. Usually the dogs are a collection of every variation of pitbull mix. But when you see the right one, you know it instantly. Maybe you don’t even read the card that describes all the issues the dog has, this is the dog for you!
That’s how I felt when I adopted my trail this summer.

  I rode it the first time following a friend. The trail is fast, loose and riddled with fist sized rocks in all the wrong places. It’s nearly a straight shot across a ridgeline, that is mostly descending. And when it does rise up, or level off, you are carrying so much speed, that with just a few pedal strokes you can maintain your speed until it drops again.  This trail is just naturally fast.
After riding it for the first time, I was grinning ear to ear. But, I was also thinking how just a few little touch ups could really improve the flow. That’s when I decided to adopt …

Building a cruiser single speed

Early in the fall I was at a bbq talking with Austin and he mentioned he didn't have a bike. My ears perked up. "What are you looking for? Just something to cruise into to town?"
"Yeah, something really simple ya, know, like what Sam has."
I started to grin, Sam has a single speed road bike, those are fun to build.
"I got you man," I tapped my beer bottle against his, "you'll be riding before spring time."
I love building junk bikes for people, it's like my super power. The thing is, after you've built enough junk bikes, people start to think of you as the guy who builds junk bikes. Then other junk bikes just start coming into your life.
  So, it happened that I had two mostly complete 70's road bikes hanging in my barn. Rick from Bike N Hike had given them to me a few years ago. I used to pick through his pile of junk bike trade-ins and bikes that were abandoned to the shop. These bikes represent some of the finest steel to …

Bike Thieves

Sadly, I've had the opportunity to speak with three different bike shop owners after they have been robbed. None of Longmont's bike shops are large chain stores, each of them is a small independent. A large robbery can be devastating for these business's already running on tight margins. The merchandise is insured, but sometimes insurance companies can argue over values, or just delay payment for a long time.

  On Saturday I was in the little shop in my neighborhood talking with the owner and getting some parts. Later that night his place was hit.
  Sometimes the operation seems simple. One owner told me how thieves broke his plate glass window, and grabbed the first five bikes they could. The next day after the police had left, he was sweeping up broken glass outside and noticed a dude walking down the street. This shop is next to a vacant lot over grown with weeds. The owner looked up in time to watch the dude take a few steps into the tall weeds and pull out a bike. I t…

Joder Ranch

Finding trails to take kids mountain biking on can be a challenge. If you bring them somewhere that's too steep, too busy, or too rocky then you will probably meet with failure. At best your kid just ends up pushing their bike and glaring at you, and at worst they crash and end up with a bloody knee. Recently, I brought my girls age eight and ten up to try a trail called Joder Ranch. After a twenty-minute drive west of Longmont, we pulled into Buckingham Park a few miles up Lefthand Canyon. On a Saturday morning the parking lot was nearly full. Luckily many cars seemed to be cycling in and out pretty quickly. We unloaded bikes and smeared on sunscreen. Then we rode about a quarter mile up Olde Stage road to the trailhead.
  Taking kids or a beginner rider on this trail requires a little preparation beforehand, because the first 500 feet or so is a hike-a-bike. I had prepared my girls, so they pushed their bikes up the steep hill and the first two switchbacks without much eye-rol…