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.Tweet
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.
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.Tweet
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 SummitTweet
By Adam Newman. Photo above by A.E. Landes, photo at right courtesy of Team CF.
Team CF racer Kaitlyn Broadhurst has been selected as the recipient of the Shining Star award from the Delaware Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Broadhurst, who has cystic fibrosis herself, is also the star of a documentary, Catching Air, that details her experience tackling one of the most difficult mountain bike stage races in the world, the Trans-Sylvania Epic.
The Shining Star award, now in its third year, honors an individual with cystic fibrosis who strives to live life to the fullest and to overcome the many obstacles cystic fibrosis presents.
Team CF has dominated endurance mountain bike racing in both men’s and women’s divisions in recent years. This year, in a move to grow the team at the grassroots level, has established a formal partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is inviting the public to join the Club Team.
Cystic fibrosis is the most common genetic disease in the Unites States affecting about 30,000 children and adults. The genetic defect renders certain organs of the body susceptible to obstruction due to thick mucus secretions. The most severe manifestation is in the lung where thick secretions lead to chronic lung infections which require a daily regimen of drug treatments and chest physical therapy to help clear airway secretions. Advances in the clinical management of CF have improved the prognosis, although current life expectancy is 37.4 years of age. There is no cure for CF, however, lung transplantation is the only life saving treatment in those with end stage lung disease.
Dejay Birtch at the 2012 Trans-Sylvania Epic. Birtch will represent Ride for Reading in 2013.
Ride for Reading is teaming up with professional mountain biker Dejay Birtch to create an innovative, professional mountain bike team. Birtch will not only represent Ride for Reading through racing, he will serve as an ambassador of the organization by collecting books, visiting classrooms, and spreading Ride for Reading’s mission as he travels from race to race.
Ride for Reading is a Tennessee based non-profit organization with a mission to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income areas.
In 2008, Birtch and Ride for Reading’s founder Mathew Portell met while sitting around a campfire at the first ever “Dirt, Sweat and Gears” 12-hour bike race in Fayettville, Tennessee. Since then Birtch has supported Ride for Reading in a variety of ways, including raising funds for the organization through his 2011 “Tour Divide” finish.
Birtch will be wearing Ride for Reading’s colors as he races nationally and internationally. The team will not only focus on winning races but also informing the public of the need for books in the homes of children in low-income areas.
Great strides are anticipated with the new team coupled with the National Ride for Reading Week to be held from May 5-11, 2013. During this time Ride for Reading supporters around the country will be hosting a Ride for Reading book delivery in their city.
The team is being sponsored by Pivot Cycles, Maxxis, NoTubes, Fox Racing Shox, Crank Brothers, Ergon, Industrial Strength Marketing, KMC, Thomson, Devon Balet Photography, King Cage, Smith Optics, Krieg Cycling, Primal Wear, and Endless Bikes.
The high school cycling movement continues to gain momentum in California
"Singletrack High", a documentary about a progressive approach to body, mind and character developmentthrough the sport of high school mountain biking premieres tonight in Mill Valley, California. The premiere is at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre, at 8 p.m.
"Singletrack High" follows a diverse group of high school students through the 2012 mountain bike racing season in the NorCal High School Cycling League. Through their experiences, the 61-minute film explores the positive outcomes of keeping kids active on bikes at the age when many trade in two wheels for four.
Singletrack High was produced by Pedal Born Pictures, with the generous support of Specialized Bicycle Components and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Additional production support was provided by GoPro and Sunnyvale VW.
The NorCal High School Cycling League, founded in 2001, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which serves students from both public and private schools from Monterey to Siskyou Counties. Regardless of ability level, the NorCal League is committed to providing a positive cycling experience for all its student-athletes.Tweet
World record holder and mountain bike legend Jeff Lenosky has joined X-Fusion‘s growing team of athletes and brand ambassadors. In 2013, Lenosky plans to continue highlighting his head turning trials skills at multiple demonstrations across the country. On top of his national tour and dealer visits for long-time frame sponsor Giant Bicycles, he also plans on getting his competitive fix at select enduro events around the country.
“I raced a few enduros last year, had a fun time and got some good results,” Lenosky said in a statement. “There aren’t too many contests for my style of freeride-trials riding so Enduros are a great competitive outlet for me.”
Keep your eye out for Lenosky in 2013 riding a wide range of X-Fusion products including the brand new 34mm fork lines (Trace and Slant), Microlite rear shock, Hilo SL seat post, and all the other performance based products.
Selene Yeager, Kristin Gavin, and Kathleen Harding are part of the dominate Women’s Elite team. Photo by PJFreeman Photography.
Team CF, the rolling brainchild of cystic fibrosis researcher Dr. Jim Wilson is racing into its fourth year with some fresh faces and a new Club Team that is open to the public.
Team CF, which has been a dominant force in the National Ultra Endurance Series will be beefing up its Elite Team roster with several new riders including Philadelphia-based Jesse Kelly and Janine Verstraeten; American Ultracross Series Champion Stephanie Swan out of Pittsburgh; Roger Masse, second overall in Master’s division of the 2012 NUE Series from Baltimore; and Gerry Pflug, four-time NUE singlespeed series winner also from Pittsburgh.
Cheryl Sornson and Christian Tanguy took top spots at the 2012 Cohutta 100.
Returning are Cheryl Sornson, who captured the Women’s overall NUE title in 2012; Christian Tanguy who was the 2011 Men’s overall winner; Selene Yeager who again captured the Pennsylvania Cyclocross series; Nikki Thiemann who led the cyclocross field across the country; plus Kristin Gavin, Kathleen Harding, and Cary Smith. The team will be focusing once again on the NUE, mountain bike stage races and cyclocross both traditional and ultra endurance and will be sponsored by Specialized, DNA Cycling, CarboRocket, ProBikes in Pittsburgh, and Smith Optics.
This year all those racers would like as many riders as possible to join them. In a move to grow the team at the grassroots level, Team CF has established a formal partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is inviting the public to join the Club Team. By joining the team riders will receive a Goodie Bag Welcome Package and have access to discounts on sponsor and team merchandise. They’ll also be encouraged to participate in a Cycle for Life CF charity ride and will receive training plans and enjoy the support of elite team members with help in training, bike maintenance, and nutrition. For more information check out TeamCF.org.
CF is the most common genetic disease in the Unites States affecting about 30,000 children and adults. The genetic defect renders certain organs of the body susceptible to obstruction due to thick mucus secretions. The most severe manifestation is in the lung where thick secretions lead to chronic lung infections which require a daily regimen of drug treatments and chest physical therapy to help clear airway secretions. Advances in the clinical management of CF have improved the prognosis, although current life expectancy is 37.4 years of age. There is no cure for CF, however, lung transplantation is the only life saving treatment in those with end stage lung disease.Tweet
Film by Adam Nawrot.
Mountain biking isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘New Jersey’. Nevertheless, Jason Fenton has been building and maintaining mountain bike trails in the heart of Central New Jersey since 2004. "The Dirt Merchant" takes a peek into what it means to be a cyclist in the middle of some of America’s densest suburban sprawl.
The Dirt Merchant isn’t necessarily a documentary about Six Mile Run State Park or Jason Fenton in particular but rather a film about the cycling community and how its individual members make it what it is.
About the filmmaker: "I race bikes for Rutgers University, where I study filmmaking and graphic design. I grew up riding Jason’s trails at Six Mile Run in my early teens and I’m so excited that this film is able to give back to the community that has shaped my life so dramatically."Tweet
The Puppies & Rainbows Ladies Jump Jam at the San Francisco Bike Expo was a skills clinic and practice session that brought the joy of dirt to San Francisco’s Cow Palace.
By Joh Rathbun. Photos by Shane Mckenzie.
While San Francisco is a culturally progressive and geographically unique city that provides everything a metropolis can offer, what it doesn’t have is legal, fulfilling singletrack. Like most urban environments, those with a thirst for tasty dirt must leave the city to find it. China Camp State Park, Joaquin Miller Park, Pacifica, and Mount Tamalpais State Park all offer great riding, but are not in the city.
Enter small businesses like RideSFO and Clayton Bicycle’s Stunt Team. They bring bike events to urban San Francisco. Phil Segura, owner of RideSFO and the man behind the San Francisco Bike Expo says there’s no money in doing this, “but that’s not what it’s about.”
Originally founded in 2003 as an online forum for riders, RideSFO evolved into its current iteration as a retail outlet with a mobile dirt jumping/park mobile set and crew. Headquartered out of a warehouse called the Sand Box on Portretro Hill, RideSFO is a unique blend of bike shop and cycle-centric traveling circus.
There’s no one like RideSFO in San Francisco when it comes to the 26-inch bike. As such, Phil is busy with coordinating with others like Hank Matheson of Bicycle Fabrications—co-habitant of the Sand Box—to spread the word and make mountain biking accessible to city dwellers.
Events like the San Francisco Bike Expo highlight technical riding like AT’s Showdown, a jump competition that features 30-foot doubles with a fear-inducing run-in. Based at the Cow Palace, these folks are bringing the mountain to the cycling San Franciscan. The event also included a female-specific event, this year it was the Puppies & Rainbows Ladies Jump Jam hosted by my publication, Shine Riders Company. Shine is an online publication and community center for women’s gravity mountain biking.
When speaking of AT—Andrew Taylor—of AT’s Showdown—Segura says, “He works really hard—the course is a labor of love—he’s not making any money off of it, but we both love riding, and want to bring something to the riders. We’re the only people putting on urban slopestyle events. So, that’s where we really want to hang our hat, and these comps show the possibilities with the parks and therefore, providing access for us, and hopefully we’ll have a domino effect.”
The cousin of RideSFO is the traveling Clayton Bike Stunt Team. While they’re a non-profit, they “provide BMX shows for all occasions.” As a non-profit, they focus on “bicycle safety, such as safety gear, obeying traffic laws…and always being aware.” Clayton Bicycle Stunt Team recently hosted the Battle of the Bay on Treasure Island in San Francisco.
Mike Henry, a competitor and native San Franciscan, is thankful for the few organizations like Clayton Bicycle Stunt Team, and said, “I just like to pedal around after work. I like the Chili Bowl, in Balboa Park. I got into bikes through a friend in the Mission District. If you want a dirt fix, though, you got to go out of town. We just got our jumps plowed. Guess the city didn’t want no one getting’ hurt out there.” Without cycling-centric entities like RideSFO and Clayton Bicycle Stunt Team, the San Franciscan wouldn’t get their dirt fix in the city.
“We got to keep building momentum so we can bring it to the people,” Segura said. “The great thing about the Expo is you get exposed to a lot of different things, but a kid riding in a parking lot gets a glimpse at a different type of sport. Promoting a healthy lifestyle that embraces alternate modes of transportation like cycling is beneficial for the urban community, and incorporating different lifestyles like mountain biking along the way can only be beneficial for that community as well.”
About the author
Joh Rathbun is a sport and travel journalist, a pro mountain biker and editor in chief of Shine Riders Company. For coverage of West Coast events, bike adventures, cool tips and bike tutorials, like her on Facebook
The exploding popularity of fat bikes has led the International Mountain Bike Association to put together some "best practices" for fat bike riders when using the bikes on Nordic ski trails, snowmobile trails, or in the backcountry.
Regarding equipment, what is the bare minimum I need to ride on snow?
- Tires wider than 3.7 inches
- Tire pressure less than 10 PSI
- You will not leave a rut deeper than one inch in the snow
- You are able to safely control your bike and ride in a straight line
- You have permission to ride from the land manager
- DO NOT RIDE, especially on groomed nordic and snowmobile trails, if you can’t meet all of the requirements above.
Best Practices for Riding on Nordic Trails
- Yield to all other users when riding. Skiers don’t have brakes but you do!
- Ride on the firmest part of the track.
- Do not ride on or in the classic tracks.
- Leave room for skiers to pass (don’t ride side-by-side with all of your buddies blocking the full trail).
- Allow the track time to set up after grooming and before riding.
- Beware of alternative days for bikes and for skiers.
- ONLY ride a purpose-built fat bike, not any old mountain bike. Tire tread must be wider than 3.7 inches.
- Be an ambassador for the sport: stay polite, educate other riders, discourage bad behavior and follow the rules.
- Help out and get involved by joining your local nordic club.
- Donate money for trail grooming.
Best Practices for Riding on Snowmobile Trails
- When riding on snowmobile trails, use a front white blinker and rear red blinker at all times. Wear reflective material on both the front and rear of your body.
- Stay to the far right of the trail and yield to snowmobiles.
- Know and obey the rules of your local land manager. Understand that some trails may be on private property and might not be open to alternative uses.
- Be prepared. Winter travel in the backcountry requires carrying proper gear and dressing properly. Be self-sufficient!
- Use extreme caution when riding at night. Be visible and always use lights.
- Be friendly! Fat bikers are the newest users and the snowmobilers you encounter might not be welcoming. Be courteous and open to suggestions.
- Help out by supporting your local snowmobile club.
- Donate to trail grooming and maintenance efforts.
Best Practices for Riding on Natural Terrain and in the Backcountry
In the right conditions, a fat bike can be the ultimate winter backcountry travel tool. Frozen conditions and minimal snow coverage (1-5 inches) means access to areas that are impassible during the warmer months. But just because you can ride somewhere doesn’t mean you should. Be aware and be prepared.
- Do not trespass! Know whether or not you are on private property. Obey ALL land manager rules. Some land parcels are closed to bikes whether you are riding on a trail or not.
- Do not ride through sensitive wildlife habitats. This may be especially important on beaches or in places where animals hibernate. Learn about the area you want to ride in before you ride there.
- Do not disturb wildlife. Many species survive on minimal diets during winter. Stressors or the need to move quickly can deplete their energy stores.
- Learn safe ice travel. Riding on frozen water can be extremely dangerous. Is the ice thick enough to support you? Take ice fishing picks and a length of rope when riding on lakes and rivers.
- Understand changing conditions. New snowfall or warming temperatures can make the return trip much more difficult. Tire tracks can be covered, hard snow can turn to slush, rivers can start to melt. Always know the forecast and be aware of how changing conditions might alter the safe passage of your route.
- Be prepared. Carry provisions in case you have to stay out longer than planned.
- Let people know. Make sure someone else knows where you are going, when you left and when you expect to return.
- Learn to share. Be aware that your tracks might attract other riders. Understand that "your" route might not remain a secret for long.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association Awards were established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and partners that have made outstanding contributions toward the development of high school cycling and the national high school mountain biking movement. This year, awards were awarded to 13 individuals in 10 different categories that were selected from a field of more than 222 nominees from NICA Leagues across the country.
The Student Athlete Leadership Award honors student-athletes who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, academic performance and volunteerism in their team, school and community. The recipients are:
- Josie Nordrum, Redwood High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
- Zachary Tucker, Lyons High School, Colorado High School Cycling League
The Trek All-Star Student Athlete Award recognizes student-athletes for their outstanding competitive achievements and potential for future success in competitive cycling. The recipients are:
- Kate Courtney, Branson High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
- Lucas Newcomb, Sir Francis Drake High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
The Jeep Extraordinary Courage Award recognizes student-athletes who have persevered through challenging circumstances and overcome adversity to develop and excel as a model student athlete. The recipients are:
- DeShaun Smith, C.K. MCClatchy High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
- Mark Doty, Oakley High School, Utah High School Cycling League
The SRAM Coach of the Year Award acknowledges a head coach whose qualities as a leader and motivator embodies NICA’s mission to provide student-athletes with the coaching and camaraderie to help them achieve both competitive and non-competitive goals in a safe and enjoyable manner. The recipients are:
- Whitney Pogue, Summit Academy High School, Utah High School Cycling League
- Ken Mozek, San Ramon Valley High School, NorCal High School Cycling League
The Clif Bar and Company Volunteer Service Award honors an exceptional volunteer whose dedication of time, expertise and enthusiasm goes above and beyond to make a difference in the organization. The recipients is:
- Nick Gualtieri, St. Francis High School, SoCal High School Cycling League
The Quality Bicycle Products Community Impact Award honors an individual whose dedication to high school mountain biking has resulted in positive impacts on youth, the community and the organization. This individual is an outstanding representative of the organization internally and externally. The recipient is:
- Ed Fischer, Camas Composite, Washington High School Cycling League
The Primal Wear Race Production Partner Award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding partnership role in race productions is key to the success of a leagues race event production. The recipient is:
- Martha Flynn, Minnesota High School Cycling League
The Easton Foundations League Founders Award recognizes an individual’s commitment, enthusiasm, perseverance, and outstanding contributions in establishing a NICA High School Cycling League. The recipient is:
- Lori Harward, Utah High School Cycling League
The NICA Legacy Award honors an individual for their tremendous philanthropic support of NICA and NICA Leagues. The recipient is:
- Mike Sinyard, Specialized Bicycles
Support the winners at the NICA Awards Benefit Ride and Banquet! Both events will be on January 12, 2013, with the ride at Ft. Ord and the banquet at the Specialized world headquarters in Morgan Hill, California. Register today for either the ride and/or the banquet here.Tweet
Honoring her efforts as the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan and her fight for women’s rights in conflict zones, earlier this month Shannon Galpin was named one of the 2013 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year. The prestigious recognition highlights not only her adventurous pursuits, but also her humanitarian work in this war-torn region.
“I’ve always felt that the best way to know a country and its people is to get outside. In Afghanistan not only do I try to work with locals one-on-one, without the confines of security and convoys, but also I try to truly interact in their country. I think that the best way to rally support for our programs is to highlight our common humanity, to show a country like Afghanistan in a different light to the West, and show a different example of Americans and of women to Afghans,” Galpin said in a statement.
Cycling has allowed her to do just that, bridging cultural boundaries through adventure. Based in Breckenridge, Colorado, Galpin is committed to empowering women around the world, both in conflict zones abroad and here at home.
“I focused on Afghanistan because it’s repeatedly ranked the worst place in the world to be a woman. I wanted to fight for women that didn’t have a voice," she said. "Over time I realized that unfortunately the same issues are affecting women in the US. Using the mountain bike as a catalyst, I decided to also fight for the voice and value of women here domestically that have been victimized, giving them the chance to rise above through taking part in biking camps, which we’ll be launching in 2013.”
The public is invited to vote for the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year contest. Fans can vote every day for their favorite nominee. The adventurer with the most votes on Jan. 16, 2013, will be the 2013 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year. Other notable entrants include Felix Baumgartner, who skydived from 23.5 miles high while the world watched live online; Josh Dueck the first paraplegic skier to land a backflip; and ultra-runner Lizzy Hawker, who has won the 103-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc five times.
Galpin is also the founder of Mountain2Mountain, a nonprofit organization working to empower the people of Afghanistan with a focus on women and girls and gender equity. M2M believes that investing in women and girls is the most effective way to achieve stability and economic prosperity. The organization works alongside the Afghan people, other nonprofits and local governments to develop programs that will create sustainable change.
One of the biggest gravel grinder races of the year, the Almanzo 100, will get a big boost January 5 as riders and fans will gather in Minneapolis for a party to offset some of the cost of organizing the race which charges no entry fee.
Intermedia Arts will host the party from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are just $10 at the door. Expect a family-friendly event for cycling fans from fanatic to casual.
Festivities will include the introduction and pre-ordering of the 2013 race kit, and short films from Salsa Cycles and event sponsor Royal Antler Films. HED Wheels will be on hand, and Challenge Tires will unveil a new Alamanzo tire inspired by the race. There will be a raffle with swag giveaways from other sponsors, including Dirt Rag. Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without live music, food, and beer, too.
Since 2007 the Almanzo 100 and Royal 162 have provided a premier platform for gravel endurance racing in the United States. Financed solely out of pocket and with help from a dedicated family of volunteers, race organizer Chris Skogen continually sets the bar high. Eschewing entry fees, the Almanzo attracts upward of 600 entrants to the rolling hills and farmland around Spring Valley, Minnesota. Registration opens January 1, 2013 and ends January 31. The race is scheduled for May 18, 2013. You can find more details at www.almanzo.com.
Better head on over to your local shop and make nice. Some bike shops attending Interbike in 2013 will be allowed to invite their favorite customers to the annual tradeshow in Las Vegas, opening the door to consumers for the first time.
The limited-access initiative, called Interbike by Invitation, will allow registered retailers to invite customers to attend. These special invitees will be treated as special guests of that shop and will be afforded preferential treatment at the show.
Interbike will not be adding a day for this initiative, and instead will be extending Friday’s hours and allowing access to both consumers and retailers on Friday, September 20, 2013. The show will now be extended two additional hours that day, to 6 p.m.
Retailers that register for Interbike will be allotted a limited number of consumer access invitations based on their geography. Consumers invited by retailers will be able to register on the Interbike website beginning in April, 2013. There will be a $50 entry fee for all invitees, which will include special access and a host of other benefits planned for the event. Interbike says the program was also created as a means of strengthening the bond between retailer and customer.
The program will not include the Outdoor demo days and no products will be allowed to be sold at the show.Tweet
Dirt Rag has been supporting IMBA since Day One.
Words and Photos by Gary J. Boulanger.
More than 350 devoted mountain bikers from 20 countries gathered for the 2012 International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 10-13, rallying the troops to advocate increased trail access for all in a celebration of IMBA’s 25th anniversary.
Maurice and Spike, in Needles, California.
Mountain Bike Hall of Famer and Dirt Rag founder Maurice Tierney and I packed up our road food, music, mountain bikes, and gear and made the 18-hour drive from San Francisco to Santa Fe, home of 10,000 art galleries. After a night spent in Needles, Calif. (home of Snoopy’s cousin Spike—near Route 66), we arrived in Santa Fe and shared a Thai meal with National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s Rick Spittler and Austin McInerny. He was in town to speak during the panel discussion on Creating Youth Initiatives with the SoCal League’s director Matt Gunnell and Concerned Off-Road Bicycling’s Steve Messer, himself an expert and author on the best mountain biking around Los Angeles.
This guy has his priorities straight.
Hitting the trail
The solution to shaking the dust of nearly 1,200 miles off our bones was a two-hour mountain bike ride on Santa Fe’s Dale Ball system in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Moe and I spelunked our way through a mix of pinon and conifer trees while climbing high enough to see across the Rio Grande Valley and down upon Santa Fe, thanks to directions provided by the folks at Mellow Velo. It was a proper way to prime ourselves for a gathering of the faithful that evening in the Santa Fe Convention Center.
Beer and philanthropy
On Thursday, we heard from New Belgium Brewing’s Senator of Tour de Fat Non-Profit Relations Michael Craft (yes, that’s his title; employees are encouraged to get creative…), who regaled the lunchtime crowd with his anecdotes of beer drinking and philanthropy, and how New Belgium Brewing has raised thousands of dollars for regional trail building advocacy groups.
Throughout the day, several panel discussions were offered to attendees, including Opportunities in Mountain Bike Tourism, How to Develop and Implement Mountain Bike Clinics and Camps, Getting Kids Involved, Knobby Tires in the Urban Core, and Future Ride: How Bike Parks, Ski Resorts and Flow Trails are Changing the Mountain Biking Experience. All were filled to capacity, with extended conversations flowing out into the hallways.
Regrouping on the La Tierra Trails.
That afternoon, Moe and I joined several riders from various countries on a ride on the new La Tierra Trails, located on 1,500 acres of city-owned property just three miles from the downtown plaza. We rode through high-desert arroyo, pinion and juniper trees on the Caja Del Rio plateau above the Rio Grande River. The 7,500-foot elevation put us into a bit of oxygen debt, but the cool things about the La Tierra Trail are the variety of single- and double-track trails, a BMX jump area, and technical flow track with several lines for air-catching thrill seekers.
Advocacy and Red Bull
Friday continued with more panel discussions following a keynote TED Conference-esque presentation, which included several unique voices in the mountain biking community, including Mountain2Mountain founder Shannon Galpin, Breck Epic promoter Mike McCormack, and Swiss Alp native and mountain bike advocate Darco Cazin.
The gale force wind and rain couldn’t keep several dozen hearty souls (including Moe) from one last visit to the trails before everyone convened in the main Convention Center ballroom for a showing of “Where the Trail Ends.” The film was introduced by gravity-dropping star Darren Berrecloth, and includes amazing footage of his adventures with riders Cameron Zink, Kurtis Sorge, James Doerfling, and Andreu Lacondeguy. The producer, Red Bull Media, stirred up its own batch of controversy during the panel discussion “Engaging the Red Bull Generation." (Tell us what you think of the marriage between trail access, advocacy and the Red Bull generation in the comments below).
Epic saddle time
Saturday morning ushered in the Santa Fe Epic Ride, which saw 150 brave souls unpack their finest winter gear to a shuttle toward the top of the Santa Fe Ski Area at 10,000-plus feet in the southern Rocky Mountains. With freezing temperatures at the start area, we collected our demo bikes (Moe chose the Santa Cruz TallBoy; I picked a Trek Slash), clipped in, and in waves of 10 or so, began our two-hour journey back to town, literally over hill and dale.
My Trek Slash demo bike. See our long-term review of the Slash in Issue #164.
Starting in an aspen and pine forest, we gathered steam while stoking our way through ponderosa and mixed conifer, with a few lung-busting climbs thrown in from the Tesuque Creek Basin. The 3,000-foot drop into town included plenty of serpentine singletrack and flow trails (good thing Hans Rey was with us to enjoy it), technical bermy speed stretches, and general rocks-and-roots mayhem to keep us honest and entertained. Everyone shared war stories over lunch while IMBA executive director Mike Van Abel thanked everyone for participating in the week’s festivities before dismissing us with a smile.
With 18 hours of driving west ahead, we decided to spend Sunday night in Flagstaff, Arizona, home of our friend Ben Proctor and MTB Hall of Famer and bike designer Joe Murray. With another delicious Thai meal in our bellies, we rested our weary bodies in preparation for our interview with Joe the following morning.
Maurice and Joe, posing for the camera.
Murray, who began his career building wheels and complete bikes before racing for Gary Fisher, is part of Shimano’s skunkworks. He develops and tests most of the products you and I get to enjoy years after he does, and if his current riding skill is any indication, there’s gonna be some great product coming our way soon. He designed and developed bikes for Marin, Merlin, Kona, and VooDoo since 1986. The 48-year-old Marin County native won more than 70 races in his seven-year career, and hasn’t gained an ounce since high school. He graciously led us on a low-key ride through his local trail system after we snagged nearly three hours of his time during our interview and photoshoot. Look for a complete interview with Murray in an upcoming Dirt Rag next spring.
With 12 hours of asphalt before us, and the high of epic riding in our lungs and legs, Moe and I decided to fuel up at Chipotle in Flagstaff (yeah, yeah; it was Murray’s idea) and drive straight through the night to be with our families in San Francisco. With my wife’s snickerdoodles and a large helping of the Replacements, Led Zeppelin, and Jane’s Addiction on the stereo, we rolled into Mountain View by 4 a.m., happier for the experience of rubbing shoulders and elbows with some of the world’s best and brightest mountain bike planners, advocates, leaders and visionaries.
For more information, visit www.imba.com.Tweet
Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and Saguaro National Park in Arizona are the two most recent National Park Service properties to allow mountain biking on both existing and future trails.
The regulation at Mammoth Cave opened two existing and two future trails to bicycle use on October 12, 2012. Mountain bikers now have access to the Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail and the White Oak Trail, and will have access to the planned Connector Trail near Maple Springs and Big Hollow Trail north of the Green River.
A press release from Mammoth Cave stated the following: "The regulation designates four bicycle routes within the park to address the interest and demand of the visiting public for bicycling opportunities without compromising the National Park Service’s mandate ‘to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife’ in the park."
The regulation implements portions of the park’s Comprehensive Trail Management Plan and satisfies NPS general regulations that require a special regulation be promulgated to allow off-road bicycle use on routes outside of developed areas.
On Dec. 1, 2012, the three-mile Hope Camp Trail in Saguaro National Park (AZ) was converted to a multi-use trail. The trail — once a dirt road that allowed bikes prior to Saguaro’s National Park designation — connects Tucson, AZ, to the Arizona Trail.
IMBA prepared a set of frequently asked questions regarding the NPS rule change. The FAQ can be found here.Tweet
The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship employes 15 full-time trail builders, has clocked in more than 30,000 volunteer hours, maintains 30 trails, has built 25 miles of new trails in the past year, and serves more than 200,000 riders each year in the Downieville and Lakes Basin areas of California.
Now they need your help. For purchasing a $5 foot of trail, you’ll be entered to win a fully decked-out bike from Santa Cruz. That includes a Fox suspension, a Shimano build kit, and ENVE carbon wheels. Not too shabby.
Buying a foot of trail will help the SBTS continue its great work in the area.You can purchase your foot (or feet!) at this link, but do so before October 1 to enter.
A 1983 Cunningham R1 built in Fairfax, Calif., for Charlie’s future wife, multiple NORBA champion Jacquie Phelan. Weight is 27 lbs.
By Gary J. Boulanger
Thirty-two years ago, Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly were selling more than 1,000 Mountainbikes-brand bicycles from their shop in Fairfax, Calif. At the same time, the San Francisco Airport Commission collaborated with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco to create an exhibition program at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). In 1999, SFO Museum became the first to receive accreditation from the American Association of Museums, and is a widely imitated model for museums operating in public arenas. Today, SFOM features more than twenty galleries throughout the airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions.
And from now until February 2013, the main exhibition is focused on mountain bikes.
“Repack to Rwanda: The Origins, Evolution, and Global Reach of the Mountain Bike” is on display in the international terminal of SFO, and a private party was held August 4 to bring together many of the original pioneers of the sport, including Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey, Keith Bontrager, Steve Potts, Otis Guy, Erik Koski, Charlie Cunningham, and Jacquie Phelan.
Jack Bissell’s 1981 Mountainbike, built by Tom Ritchey. Weight is 33 lbs.
The exhibit, curated by Tim O’Brien, begins with a restored 1941 Schwinn Admiral DX balloon-tire bike, an example of the bikes Kelly, Fisher, Guy, and Breeze would convert to a ‘klunker’ to ride down Mt. Tamalpais in the early to mid 1970s. Other similar-era klunkers in the display include Breeze’s modified 1941 Schwinn B.F. Goodrich and Guy’s modified 1941 Schwinn Texas Special, both stripped of their original fenders, racks, chain guards and kickstands. Fisher’s modified 1940s Schwinn ballooner included tandem drum brakes, derailleurs, and thumb shifters, plus a triple T.A. Specialties crankset.
According to O’Brien, the mountain bike was introduced as a possible subject for exhibition at SFOM in 2008, but only developed sporadically because his schedule requires that he and his team work on multiple exhibitions at any given time.
“The first step in our process is identifying potential lenders and learning more about the subject and any objects that may be available to help us address its history,” he explained. “That my colleague Ramekon O’Arwisters reached Joe Breeze near the beginning of our search was extremely fortuitous, as we quickly realized we had a guide who not only made this history, but cared deeply about historical accuracy. Joe’s assistance is identifying and locating appropriate objects for exhibit was critical, and we remain very grateful for his dedication to this exhibition.”
A 1990 Bontrager OR with composite fork crown.
Spokesman for a generation
Breeze, whose Breezer #1 bike is hanging in the Smithsonian Institute, was impressed with what he saw at SFOM Friday night. “I really like the chronology starting off with the vintage 1941 Schwinn,” he said. “That bike is all original and shiny new as it might have sat on the showroom floor in 1941. The bike is right next to the Schwinns that Otis and I modified in 1973. This allows people to see exactly where our clunkers were derived from.
“There has never been such a complete collection of historic mountain bikes, and many of the bikes in the show have extraordinary provenance,” Breeze added. “Since I was guest curator, my months of immersion in the project muted my appreciation of the final product—the actual installation at the airport. The SFO Museum did an amazing job, first gathering the materials and then displaying them. I really enjoyed working with Tim O’Brien, with his deep interest in and respect for history and his great attention to detail.”
Klunkers to carbon
Considering the fixed dimensions of his gallery spaces, O’Brien needed to decide on a focus very early in the process. One of his first decisions was that, rather than present a specific time capsule, he wanted to provide a historical glimpse at this subject beginning with the modified clunkers in Marin County and ending in the present, with carbon machines on display from Specialized, Gary Fisher, Breezer, and Santa Cruz. According to O’Brien, although there is no single moment-of-beginning for something as universally appealing as riding a bicycle off-road, and one’s definition of mountain biking will determine their own view of its history, the Marin County group was taking its bikes off-road and downhill at a significantly different level than anyone else at this time, and he was very comfortable beginning the exhibition with their story and what they were doing at Repack.
“After addressing the local roots of modern mountain biking, it would have been impossible to present a coherent timeline had we tried to include what was happening in all other locations at any given point in time—Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Colorado, certainly the really interesting work of Chris Chance out in Massachusetts—and I hope visitors to our exhibition understand that,” O’Brien added. “Fortunately for us, the fact that so many of the Marin County pioneers and other Northern California bike designers and builders continued to push the bike’s evolution in such fascinating ways allowed us to keep our focus regional.”
Based on last year’s numbers, O’Brien estimates that well over two million SFO visitors will pass these galleries during the seven-month exhibition.
“While we can’t determine exactly how many are stopping to view the show, the exposure is obviously tremendous,” he said. “We’re very excited to share this story with so many travelers.”
Soulcraft’s Sean Walling (left) and Steve Potts in front of the SFO Museum exhibit.
What goes in, what gets left out
With regards to the frustration of "leaving things behind," O’Brien acknowledges all the work that was done before and after a particular period of work highlighted in the exhibition.
“Case in point, in our timeline we show an example of Steve Potts’ beautiful craftsmanship from 1988, but we did not have the space to illustrate the exquisite work he was doing prior, after, and presently,” he explained. “We’re exhibiting Otis Guy’s modified Schwinn from 1974, but none of his hand-crafted frames from the ensuing decades. Scot Nicol’s early and important involvement is referenced in the text, but his company’s work is only visually represented by the 1997 Ibis Bow-Ti.
“And Keith Bontrager’s archives are just fascinating, speaking to much more than the examples of his work we were able to present. The level of generosity on the part of the participants was remarkable. They shared so many great images and drawings and information, that if viewed together, can really help someone understand the motivation and evolution of one’s work. It’s folly to think we can ‘represent’ an artist’s body of work in a five-foot window and with less than 300 words of explanatory text. But I’m hopeful that this exhibition provides some sense of the individual or company’s impact at a particular point in this history, and that those who are interested, will pursue this subject in greater depth.”
Several mountain bike pioneers gathered at the San Francisco International Airport museum on August 4, 2012, including the Koski family, Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, Jeff Lindsay, Tom Ritchey, Otis Guy, Jacquie Phelan and Gary Fisher.
Among the highlights for O’Brien included locating the Kestrel Nitro, just 30 miles down the road at the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara.
“The story about the work I did on the Kestrel Nitro, the first Rockshox forks, and the first V-brakes gets told,” Bontrager told me after the party. “We even found some of the original drawings I did. From an ‘evolution of the species’ point of view I think it’s cool to see that part of the story come out. I put a lot of work and thought into those designs, and they showed the way on what followed for a long time.
“Tim and his staff did an amazing job. They handle a lot of very old, rare items in their daily routine so they’ve got it down. Joe Breeze deserves a lot of credit too. He was their idea guy, the one who knew what to look for and where. The novelty in their presentation is the span of mountain bike history it covers. There’s plenty of the original Klunkers. It’s cool that there is so much of the old bikes and photos to tell that story.”
Tom Ritchey and his Rwanda coffee cargo bike, below a real Rwanda wooden bike.
According to Bontrager, O’Brien and Breeze took it further and showed where bikes went after that, beyond the stone age of the sport.
“That increased the quantity of information and the complexity of their task by a ton,” he explained. “Think about it: the original bikes were replicas of Schwinns with touring and BMX parts hung on them. After that we started developing bikes and parts from the ground up. There’s a lot more work involved to flesh out the latter.
“Extending the historical range in the exhibit means a few things to me. Some details of the Bontrager steel hardtails we worked so hard on get attention: that’s very cool. And thanks to Eric Rumpf, who supplied the bike shown there; he told me he still rides it a lot! We built them to last, and that one is more than 20 years old now; I guess we got it right.
“Other than that there were quite a few highlights for me, too many to list in detail,” he added. “The restored ’41 Schwinn was amazing. So was the Rwandan coffee bike. From the creativity and clever use of resources point of view, the coffee bike steals the show.”
O’Brien was impressed and humbled by the reception and cooperation of his participants
“It certainly helped that the project had the blessing of Joe Breeze, whose record of accomplishment and integrity commands so much respect,” he said. “I enjoyed meeting Don and Erik Koski and learning more about the valuable role their Cove Bike Shop played in the early days of this history up there in Tiburon; meeting the incomparable Jacquie Phelan and quickly realizing why, on or off the bike, others just can’t keep up with her. And I think anyone who has had the pleasure will understand when I say that intersecting with Charlie Cunningham has been meaningful on a level where words fail.” Potts agreed.
“One of the real highlights was to see how into all of the museum crew really got totally immersed into the project, you could see that everyone of them really understood the passion that drove all of us, it was clearly contagious, as the whole experience was and is for all of us,” the Mill Valley native explained.
“I thought all the setup and artifacts were awesome,” Guy added. “Very well done and thought out. My impression was that the more SFOM worked on it, the more they were inspired.”
Inspiration on wheels
Mike Varley, owner of Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes Station, California, a small town north of Fairfax, enjoyed the camaraderie of the evening. He took the spirit of the exhibit one step further.
“For me, one of the highlights was seeing friends who had flown in from out of state and others who I hadn’t seen in years,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky that I get to see a lot of these people on a somewhat regular basis, and it was nice seeing them all in one place. The bikes, of course, were awesome. The next day, about 15 friends who had come out to the reception, met up in Fairfax and we did a loop on Mt. Tam’s trails on our vintage mountain bikes and ended the ride with a run down Repack. The perfect topping to a fun weekend honoring the mountain bike.”
At the end of this process, the strongest overall impression O’Brien had was the joy and excitement all these mountain bike pioneers must have experienced in the wide-open days of the earliest part of this history, not just in Marin County or in Northern California, but everywhere it happened.
“Before marketing campaigns and money and patent fights and the like, the sheer joy of experiencing something so thrilling and so magical, and knowing that what you were doing made it possible to share that joy with so many others,” he said. “I think anybody who has experienced the pleasure of riding a bike off-road should pause and think about the real sources of all this.”
For more information, visit www.flysfo.com.Tweet