Dirt Rag Magazine

Steamboat Springs to host 2014 IMBA World Summit

“Bike Town USA” is in the news again.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has announced that its 2014 World Summit will be held in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Aug. 20-24. The biennial event brings together mountain bike enthusiasts, volunteers, trail builders and thought leaders with bike industry representatives, land managers and government officials from across the U.S. and around the world. The IMBA World Summit is a unique opportunity for people to share ideas, learn new things and ride great trails in a beautiful destination.  Read the full story


IMBA announces 2013 class of Epics, Ride Centers, Flow Trails and Gateway Trails


Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Minnesota, has been named one of IMBA’s Model Flow Trails.

This year, IMBA is recognizing five Ride Centers, four Epics, three Flow Trails and two Gateway Trails in locations from the Czech Republic to Kentucky.

These trails should go on your short list of riding destinations. These are the trails worth traveling to, the best places to introduce someone to the sport we all love and are the facilities builders and advocates should look to for inspiration. They vary from gorgeous adventures in the backcountry to innovative trail systems located amidst population centers. Read the full story


Coastal Crew crowd-sourcing new year-round bike park

The Coastal Crew builds and films some of the best mountain bike trails in the Pacific Northwest, and now they’re taking the huge step to open a bike park of their own.

Rather than adapt a ski area, they’re building one from scratch on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The goal is to build a year-round, lift service bike park, opening in Summer 2014.

The Coast Gravity Park is being funded in a unique way as well: crowd-sourcing. Contribute to the goal of $100,000 Canadian and you can get anything from a lift ticket to a personal riding tour of the Sunshine Coast with the Coastal Crew.

An Introduction to Coast Gravity Park from The Coastal Crew on Vimeo.


Downhill 101 at Northstar California

Northstar‘s Bike 101 is the perfect introduction that teaches all the basic skills needed in the park. Get to know your bike and riding equipment, learn how to balance and control speed, and familiarize yourself with the riding protocol and safety. Includes bike rental, body armour, lift ticket, and full face helmet.

Bike 101 instruction begins at 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Reservations for the morning Bike 101 lesson package can only be made by calling 1-800-GO-NORTH at least 48 hours in advance. We are unable to take reservations for the afternoon group lessons. The afternoon group lesson packages are based on bike rental availability as of 12:45 p.m. daily, and can be purchased on a first-come, first-serve basis at Plaza Bikes, if available. 


Video: Building the Coldwater Mountain Trails in Alabama

Coldwater Mountain in Anniston, Alabama, is a signature project and the "southeast trails laboratory" of IMBA Trail Solutions, which is leading the design and construction of up to 75 miles of bike-optimized trails over the next three to five years. As of June 2013, there were already 25 miles of trail on the ground, including the Southeast’s longest continuous descent. When complete, Coldwater will feature gravity trails for shuttling, a bike park, beginner rides, rugged backcountry routes, black-diamond freeride trails and everything in between. 

Coldwater Mountain, Alabama | 2013 from IMBA on Vimeo.


Help save the Stokesville Campground

Stokesville Campground, just outside or Harrisonburg, Va., lies on the doorstep of more than 500 miles of epic riding in the George Washington National Forest and beyond. This iconic spot, which hosts the Shenandoah Mountain 100 among other classic mountain bike events, is up for sale. The current property owners need to liquidate, and Chris Scott of Shenandoah Mountain Touring is attempting to purchase the land and save the campground from the developers’ bulldozers.

At the time of this post Scott has one week left to raise the remaining $65,000 toward the full purchase price of $950,000 and is offering shares for individuals at $5,000 and for families at $10,000. We’re told this buys an ownership interest in the property (that you may choose to later sell, or pass on to future generations) and gives you access to the facility for camping during the regular season of operation.

Interested? Read more here or email Scott for the nitty gritty details via shenandoah.mountain.touring@gmail.com 


Niner releases latest IMBA-edition frameset

Join damn it. That’s the message Niner has applied to its limited edition run of nine custom painted Jet 9 RDO frames that will be auctioned off to raise funds for the International Mountain Bike Association. Each is paired with a painted to match RockShox SID XX fork.

The first set of frames is on eBay now through May 12 and a second batch will be auctioned May 13-23.

The Jet 9 is Niner’s flagship cross country bike, sporting 100mm of travel through its CVA suspension design. The frame and swingarm are carbon fiber, with a tapered head tube at the front and a 142×12 axle in the rear. Read our long-term review of the Jet 9 RDO here.




CA’s Demo Forest demonstrates how conflicting interests can work together

By Joh Rathbun. Photos by Brad Davies.

The Soquel Demonstration Forest is a unique forest located on Santa Rosalia Mountain about an hour away from San Jose, California. It’s unique not just for its amazing beauty and great riding, but because it’s owned by the California State Fire Department and it leases out the land for logging and recreational activity.

California took ownership of the property in 1988, but the 2,600-acre “Demo” became a state forest in 1990 so the state could conduct "baseline monitoring and studies of the hazards, risks and benefits of forest operations and watershed to urban areas." According to the state, the park was designed to “host research projects and demonstrate improved forest management practices, from timber production and environmental stewardship, to public recreation uses.”

Coho salmon—once wildly successful in the area but now decimated—use the creeks as spawning grounds and environmentalists are watching the evolution of the park in hopes of saving endangered species in this area. Redwoods are also prevalent in the park. A picky species, redwoods address their specific need for water with a solution unique to most trees: absorbing water through the air. The climate they grown in is known as a “cloud forest”, and the lush scenery combined with the ride to the trailhead is breath-taking.

While Demo is a demonstration of how two different demographics within the community can share land, a new timber harvest plan was enacted last year. One trail in particular, appropriately called the Tractor Trail, was “sacrificed” for logging. While local advocates work towards restoring the trail, there are still at least half a dozen trails to ride. From the short but steep Saw Pit to the wildly-loved Braille Trail, the Demo Forest is truly a mountain biker’s park.

The climb from the parking lot is about two miles of paved and dirt roads, but once at the trailhead, you now have a choice of about half a dozen singletrack trails ranging in technical ability, but almost all with bailout routes. Your bike like its own little car on your very own woodsy roller coaster. At the end, all the trails stop at Hihn’s Mill Road, and you must ride uphill to get back to the parking lot. Most local mountain bikers take a couple laps, riding up Sulpher Springs—aka “Suffer Springs” to get another descent in. Because if riding down once was awesome, then twice will be twice as fun.

If you’re looking for just the gravity-assisted type of riding, a local, Dave Smith started up Shuttle Smith Adventure a couple of years ago, the only shuttle service in the Santa Cruz mountains. For $20, you and your bike will be dropped off on Buzzard Lagoon Road, about 3/10 of a mile away from the intersection of Aptos Creek Road. From there, ride up Aptos Creek Road for approximately a mile to get to the Ridge Trail trailhead. Dave is a great character, and is a fountain of information. He will tell you about the new bridge built over Mill Creek while giving accurate up-to-date information on the trails. A big teddy bear of a guy, Dave is your downhill shuttling van man!

While Demo is one of only a handful of demonstration forests in California, it is considered the mountain biking destination in the Bay Area for tight, yet legal singletrack that knocks your black little ankle socks off.

About the author: Joh Rathbun is a Freelance Writer and columnist at shineriders.com. To stay up to date on West Coast events, like her Facebook page.


Second Fat Bike Summit & Festival aims to grow winter riding in responsible way

By Estela Villaseñor, photos by Bob Allen Images

Island Park, Idaho, is the winter mecca for snowmobilers. However on January 25, 2013, this small town situated in the scenic Yellowstone ecosystem and world-renowned for its gnarly winter weather, had a new kid visiting the ‘hood. Winter fat bike enthusiasts from eight states, 40 strong—and some with young families, filled festival headquarters at the hospitable Sawtelle Mountain Resort while the first epic snowstorm of 2013 anointed the 2nd annual Winter Fat Bike Summit & Festival.

The Summit, co-hosted by Minnesota-based Quality Bicycle Products and Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in nearby Victor, Idaho, had presentations and Q&A sessions with public land managers from Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, two Idaho congressional staff, Montana and Idaho chambers of commerce, a private Nordic ski area executive, tourism professionals, non-profit land and trail organizations, the International Mountain Bicycle Association (IMBA) and members of the bicycle industry.

The 3-day weekend featured seminars and discussions on fat bike winter trail access issues, safety and maintenance, the important role of gateway communities and the benefits of fat bikes for winter recreation-based economies.

Private and public land managers spoke positively of current efforts while emphasizing the increased need for public education and safety on shared trails, maintenance and volunteer efforts, and cost sharing for trail grooming. Highlight of the seminars was the frank discussions with land managers ranging in policy from Yellowstone National Park, which currently bans winter bicycle presence in the park and prohibits summertime pedal-powered trail access, to Grand Targhee Resort’s Nordic Ski Center, the first private nordic trailsystem in the country to allow winter fat bike access. Advocacy groups representing trail conservation, bicycle access and tourism associations rounded out the summit with their input. 

Industry professionals complimented the festivities with fat bike demos, winter riding clinics, a 25K race, raffle and prizes, customized trophies, guided tours and of course a local brew—the official fuel for winter fat bicyclists.

A multi-media presentation by professional endurance fat bicycle athletes, Tracey and Jay Petervary, was a weekend favorite. Their winter expedition imagery across Alaska’s backcountry inspired the crowded but cozy yurt, our festival conference room.

On race day, a crystal light radiated the winter stormy trails. Virtually a whiteout at times, Janine Fitzgerald pedaled the foggy 25K contest while towing 2-year old Braden in a snow chariot! Bright-eyed, five-month old Erza Montegull kicked his little legs vivaciously at each passing bike, while Dad, Geoffrey, finished first in his category and claimed 5th place overall. See all the race results here.

Fat bicycling, as the fastest growing sector of the bicycle industry, has the potential to retire the debate and substantiate year-round diverse terrain trail riding as a healthy outdoor activity with relatively no impacts to the environment and important economic boosts to communities surrounding public lands.

Bicycles have been an historical presence in the Yellowstone region since the mid-1800’s by blue-collar workers traveling on low-budget, two-wheeled vacations and by the US military as non-equine, pedal-powered troops, called Buffalo soldiers. Fat bicycles represent a viable response to ever-changing social needs, and overall bicycles have been an obvious tradition of ecological-friendly recreation and transportation, contributing economically sustainable opportunities for local businesses and communities.

The future of fat bikes, a user-friendly recreation regardless of age or ability, relies heavily on establishing: year-round trail access, good natural resource maintenance, and shared trail etiquette, education and safety. Direct exchanges on perceptions of bicycle recreation in an open diverse forum and setting a clear agenda: first, always first—for fun and the love of bicycles, for healthy dialogue, for public education on social impacts and wildland-preservation benefits, and for compassionate debate. Ultimately for timely resolutions and prudent regulation to protect bicycle access on public trails and preserve our wildlands, a national heritage. 

Presentations from the Summit


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