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Showing posts from November, 2019

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…

Strider Bikes

The original Strider bike came on the market in 2007, invented by a dad in South Dakota. Four years later I put my oldest girl on one when she was almost two. A month after her third birthday she set it down and started pedaling a real bike. She was pedaling her bike around kids twice her age that were still on training wheels!   Let me stop here and say this isn't a post about how my awesome kids are, this is a post about how awesome Strider bikes are. I know that technically we can call them balance bikes. And I know that every corporate bike company in existence has ripped off the design from this dude in South Dakota, but I still call them all Striders. Just like every flying disc is a Frisbee or every nostril wipe is a Kleenex.    When I first saw a Strider, I instantly knew it was a genius design. For people who don't know what they are, Striders are a small, kid-sized  bike that has no cranks or pedals. The child can stand over the bike and walk, then eventually they lear…

Dacono BMX

It's a warm summer night at the Dacono BMX track. Insects circle around each of the bright flood lights mounted high overhead on poles. You push your bike forward until the front wheel nudges the expanded metal gate with a satisfying 'thunk'.  As you roll a kink out of your neck, you feel the weight of a full face helmet sitting securely on your head. A random pick has placed you in lane number four, not a bad place to be. At least it's not  lane eight on the far outside. Instead, you are just behind the compressed air cylinder that will slam the gate down in front of you.
 The officials are making some quick changes to the schedule and the announcer is relaying information over the loudspeaker so you have a few seconds to take in the moment.  On your right, are three legit BMX racers. Two are in their fifties and third is just a bit younger, but all of you are over forty, and all of you have kids who already raced in the younger age groups. The guys in the first th…

Transporting Bikes

Placing my bike in the roof rack of my car is a profoundly satisfying experience. I just hoist my ride up and place it in the track. Next I fold the clamp against the wheel and tighten down the knob, locking the front wheel in place. Cinch the strap down on the rear wheel and it’s good to go!

  My last bike and rack combo included steps like, remove front wheel, set fork adapter in fork and reinstall front axle.Then the matter of setting a fork, or a fork adapter onto the skewer clamp could also be a challenge. The tension on the skewer seemed to always need some adjusting. I've also pulled the move of arriving at the trailhead only to realize a front wheel was left in the driveway.
 The first time I went to Moad, I had two fork mount trays, but we needed to carry four bikes. So, we mounted two of the bikes in the racks. The other two were just bunjee corded to those bikes. That wasn’t even the sketchiest bike carrying I’ve done.
  When I first got my VW bus, it had a big plywoo…

Jumping over things

I find there is an extra sense of accomplishment when I can jump over something with my bike. It draws at the very fundamental aspects of the biking experience. As kids on bmx bikes, some of the very first challenges we faced were learning how to jump over things. I can remember it wasn’t good enough to just perform a nice bunny hop. It didn’t mean diddly if you weren’t actually jumping over something.
  If we found a decent jump, we could convince younger siblings and friends to lay down side by side under the ramp. If you can clear two people, the logical next step is trying to clear three people. This stunt was just as thrilling for the bike riders as it was for the obstacles. Admittedly this type of stunt presented more opportunity for injuring the jumpees than the jumper.


  As skateboarders filtered into the riding posse, we started jumping over less animate objects. A couple of skateboards might be lined up as a proper bunnyhopping challenge. Coming up a little short might end…

The Art of Riding in the Rain

Here in the front range, we try to take care of our trails. The Boulder Mountainbike Alliance (BMA) and other local groups put a lot of hard work into maintaining and repairing the glorious singletrack we get to ride. Riding trails when they are too wet can cause considerable damage that requires a lot of time and hard work to fix. Sometimes ruts put into a trail in early season can last the entire summer.

If it's rained recently, and you aren't sure just how wet the trails are, do a little research. Rangers from  Boulder County Parks are consistently checking on the trails in county parks. They post conditions with pictures and descriptions on Twitter.
  The BMA website,  contains a very thorough chart that is constantly updated by actual riders. Anyone who visits a trail can contribute to updates on the conditions.
  If you think "Ok, the trails are muddy, I'll just go to Valmont," think again. The trail crew at the bike park are constantly working hard to ke…