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Showing posts from 2020

Working in a bike shop Part 1 The Tube Shortage

Bikes are so hot right now! The global pandemic has brought massive popularity to a thing that many of us already knew about. Bikes are cool. Riding Bikes is fun. It's conceivable that social distancing has killed many sources of recreation that people had come to rely on and enjoy. Obviously bowling isn't a sport, but it did provide entertainment to many people, and now bowling alleys are closed.    It would have been great if bowlers had taking the sport back to it's rough and tumble roots. I'd be interested in watching some gritty, underground 'street bowling.' I picture it in an abandoned warehouse run by bowling gangs. But that didn't happen. Instead everyone in the country said, "Hey don't we have some bikes still in the garage? We should ride those." or even better, they said, " You know, I think I'd like to try mountain biking, that looks fun!"   And so the Golden Horde was unleashed on an unprepared cycling industry. By A…

Competitions, and choking at them

I've mentioned before that I suck at ball sports, but I did run cross country and track all four years in high school. Of the two, cross country was a lot more fun. Each race began with a mass start, then the racers would funnel into a dirt trail through New England forest. I wasn't very good, but I could just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Both the boy's team and the girl's team had some very fast runners. A few of my team mates were top runners in the state. All I had to do was cross the finish line, and they would qualify for the podium.

  This arrangement led me to develop a whole new racing tactic...The Decoy.  An underclassman named Joey MacRitchie and I would toe the line with all the best runners other schools had to offer. Everyone would put on their game face. A starter gun would go off and the group would lunge forward. That's when  Joey and I would jump into action. We would explode into the 3.1 mile course at a pace that was barely sus…

John Biro and the Dirt Bike (Not Bike Related)

I knew John Biro. I was lucky to meet him early in my short time in that part of the mountains. At his service lots of people told great stories about him. Lots of people knew him better and new him longer. My Biro story is just a tiny scrap in the mountain of stories that could be told about him. But I want to tell it anyway, because I feel like one day his boys might be looking for new stories, little stories, everyday stories, about  their dad. I don’t want to tell a story about myself, I want to tell a story about Biro, but I just happen to be in it.
  I first met Biro on his birthday in 1998. Shane and Marvelous Marvin led me up to his cabin. I had been sledding up Kebler before, and into Robinson basin. But I had always skirted around the townsite. The town site was forbidden, unless you had a reason to be there. I was excited to finally enter this mysterious place where smoke trickled from the chimney's of odd little cabins covered in snow. I stayed all day at the party a…

Wheelie Masters and the Journey

Last year, riding up the road from the parking lot to the trailhead, reminded me that I absolutely sucked at a riding wheelies. After decades on a bike,I could hold the front wheel up for 10 ft at most. Even back when freeride started several of my friends learned to manual, I still had nothin'.

  Then a year ago, my friend Zane started making FB posts, declaring that he was going to learn manuals, by practicing 30-40 minutes a day, every day. By the end of the summer he posted an amazing video of an endless manual down a hill. This gnawed at the back of my mind, he's over 40, I'm over 40. Maybe it is possible. Maybe wheelie skills aren't something that only the gifted are born with.
  So around Christmas I started messing around popping wheelies in front of my house. I wanted to follow Zane's technique of solid repetition. I've read Malcolm Gladwell, I believed in the 10,000 hour rule.  So I tried on my own in the culdesac and got nowhere. Then I watched som…

So you say you want to try jumping?

I love to jump my mountain bike, it's my favorite part of riding. I could never ride with headphones, because I love to hear the silence when my tires leave the dirt. I guess it used to be silence, now it's my hub going RZZZZZ. If you jump big enough you actually feel like you've taken a land vehicle and briefly made it into a flying machine. Now you need to pilot it safely back to earth using only momentum and two huge gyroscopes.
   I started out riding XC. Then I turned my back on it for a long time. The only climbs I would do were from the bottom of the dirt jump line, back to the top. As I neared forty, I knew there was no fitness to be found on the XL line, so I begged XC to take me back. Luckily singletrack doesn't hold a grudge.
  Last season I heard from several riders who told me they'd like to jump, but they really don't know how to do it. They feel like they freeze up when their tires leave the ground, and jumping just hasn't had a place in t…

LHC True Crime

It was naive of me to think I could just sit down and throw together a post about murders in Left Hand Canyon. I'm not into true crime shows or podcasts. I don't know how those writers do it. With each new detail I read, the stories just became more sad and bleak. I felt like a ghoul as I uncovered each new tale of a life lost.
  So why even bother? Shouldn't things in the past just stay in the past? The blood on the trail has long since faded into the dirt under our tires. When we go out in those woods on our mountain bikes we experience pure joy and happiness.  Should that be tainted by the notion that on the very same spot, some people experienced the brutal last moments of their lives?
  I don't have any of these answers. But I started to feel that if we are going to dance on graves we should at least be aware that the graves are there. Ok, maybe not graves, but at least crime scenes. I'm not going to get into the details of each crime, you can click the li…

Weld

The process of using high voltage electricity to attach two pieces of metal together was first developed in the ancient land of Eternia by a master swordsmith named Heman. Heman would craft the blade of the sword and the hilt as two separate pieces of refined steel alloy. Then he would set the hilt onto the blade and hold it aloft during a lightning storm. His muscular build would serve as the ground point for the current flow and through this process, he would create a metal arc weld, fusing the two sections into one solid piece of sword
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  Ok, some of that might not be true. But, it was more fun than writing this... Twice upon a time, all the major nations of the world engaged each other in bloody conflicts that spanned the globe. During the second one of these conflicts all production of fun things like bikes was halted and manufacturing focused solely on the assembly of weapons. In order to build bombs and torpedoes faster, new techniques for electric arc welding were invented.

No Guard Rails

Monarch pass isn't the scariest mountain pass in Colorado. That title belongs to Red Mountain pass out of Ouray. Red Mountain has a monument dedicated to snowplow drivers on it that reads, "This monument is dedicated to those who have given the supreme sacrifice in the maintenance of Red Mountain Pass. The lonely vigil of the night is known only to those men of courage.'' On the plaque is a list of drivers who have died, and it's easy to notice that there is still room left at the bottom to put more names.
   No, Monarch isn't the scariest, the highest or the most remote, but I like it. Either side has passing lanes going up, so you don't have to be stuck behind tractor trailers slowly grinding up it, or terrified tourists crossing their first high mountain pass. Traveling from east to west is nice, you get to hug the mountainside. But the real fun begins when you start to climb up from Sargents and tackle the pass the other way. Driving the outside lan…