Dirt Rag Magazine

Feature: Maryland, An Old-Line State of Mind



 

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Words: Brice Shirbach
Photos: Abram Eric Landes
Originally published in Issue #189

Growing up, I’d often sit and stare at it.

My obsession began the moment my family moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland. I was 7 years old and we piled into a single-story rancher a mile and a half down the road from town square. From our backyard, I could see it planted across a few miles of rolling hills and fields. Just a few short years later, we found ourselves renting out an old farmhouse on a single-lane country road, and we were suddenly directly across the street from it. I don’t think I have ever really known its name, or if it was ever actually given one, but locals like to refer to it as College Mountain, although I’ve always assumed, or maybe just hoped, that its real name was something perhaps a bit more regal.

I have since seen and been on countless mountains that more than dwarf it, but whenever I find myself driving from my home in southeastern Pennsylvania to this little nook in western Maryland, it’s always the first significant spike in the landscape, and I’m as transfixed by its summit now, at the age of 33, as I was when I was 13. The mountain tops out at 1,700 feet, with Emmitsburg far below on one side and Mount St. Mary’s University nestled on the slopes of the other.

Emmitsburg sits on the Maryland half of the Mason-Dixon Line, just a couple of miles south of historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and a little more than an hour from both Baltimore and our nation’s capital. The Appalachian Mountains make their most easterly appearance in this part of the Mid-Atlantic, with Emmitsburg tucked neatly into a declivity of one of the Earth’s most ancient mountain ranges.

Growing up in this small rural community, my development and ambitions undoubtedly were profoundly affected by the mountainous surroundings, which likely has something to do with my desire to make a living riding bikes and telling stories.

I have long felt a debt of gratitude toward the mountains and ridges that surround my hometown, so it stands to reason that when I first heard about mountain bike trails being built on College Mountain, my imagination began to run wild.

“I thought trails would be a good idea for Emmitsburg since before I even moved here,” Tim O’Donnell tells me. “A few years ago, I presented the idea to the town council of Emmitsburg. They weren’t enthused by the idea, but they also weren’t against it. Jim Hoover was the mayor at the time and wanted to create a task force to investigate the concept a bit more.”

O’Donnell is in his sixth year living here, and halfway through his second term as a commissioner for the town. He’s been mountain biking for close to 30 years. This self-described Clydesdale rider and former collegiate rugby player is one of the primary figures involved in the design and development of the trails in Emmitsburg, and he looks to them as more than just an opportunity for him to ride his bike.

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“I’m the quality control,” he explains. “My goal for the trails has always been for them to not only be an asset for the community, but also provide an economic boost to the town by bringing in visitors. From the onset, our local effort has been very strong. Over the past four years, I’d say we put in close to 900 volunteer hours of trail work. Once the feasibility study came back saying that this would benefit the community as a recreational option, we began to really move forward with the project. Grant money came from the Trail Conservancy, which is run by Austin Steo. They pursued the Recreational Trail Program grants. The RTP grant is matched by the volunteer hours we put in.”

Nine hundred hours in four years equals a significant grant indeed. Austin Steo is not an Emmitsburg resident, but his parents are, and he’s long appreciated the trail and recreational potential for the region. His Silver Spring, Maryland–based company, Trail Conservancy Inc., is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization whose mission is “to provide assistance in developing, building and maintaining natural-surface trails using sustainable design principles that minimize negative effects on the environment.”

I met Steo for an evening ride to discuss the project and his role with it. His excitement over the trail plan and construction was immediately clear. “It’s pretty awesome to have a place in the area with the terrain that Emmitsburg has, and the riding experience it can offer,” he says as we work our way up and around the stacked-loop design of the trail network. “The lower land here doesn’t have a lot of rock in it, but as you go up the mountain, there’s a whole lot more technical terrain. There are some amazing rock outcrops that you’d be happy to ride through, and it looks like the town wants to do that as well. We want it to be fun and interesting, but sustainable at the same time. This mountain has a lot of features, and trying to piece them together is certainly a challenge. But it’s a fun one.”

Steo and his Trail Conservancy are not solely responsible for the design and construction of the decidedly ambitious trail plan for the town. There are currently a little more than 13 miles of trail available to riders, but current plans call for more than double that amount, eventually taking riders from near the top of the mountain down onto Main Street. It’s more than just a marked increase in the length of the trail system; it also more than doubles the 550 feet of elevation change currently available from the highest point to the lowest, to upward of 1,200 feet.

This kind of plan requires quite a bit more than what volunteers are able to provide with rakes and shovels. “I was walking around downtown Frederick after we moved here and I saw a flyer for the Emmitsburg Trail Series,” remembers Elevated Trail Design co-owner Andrew Mueller.

Mueller and his girlfriend moved to Frederick from one of the East Coast’s most heralded mountain biking regions—Asheville, North Carolina—after she was hired by an area biotech company. He’d been researching riding and building opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic when he began to hear about the plans for Emmitsburg, 20 minutes north of his new home and Maryland’s second-largest city.

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“I knew that they had been trying to build up there for a while. I gave Tim a call and he put me in touch with Austin, who interviewed me over the phone and told me to go ahead and come by the next week to start building.”

As Steo and O’Donnell realized several years prior, Mueller was quick to see significant potential for the region, as well as some logistical challenges. “There are some really dense briar patches up there, which makes trail design tough because it’s difficult to visualize the layout. As you get closer to the top of the mountain, the rocks are enormous as well,” Mueller says. “But I think that overall this place can be really awesome. There is just so much to work with on that mountain. The dirt packs in really nicely, and there’s enough rock to create some really cool features and put some cool texture in your trail. I’m excited to get up there and build more.”

Because 13 miles of trail certainly isn’t much when compared to what other destinations in the region are currently offering—even ones like Michaux to the north, or the Frederick Watershed to the south, both of which share the same ridgeline with College Mountain—Steo and Mueller both acknowledge that they don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to the next step for the trails in Emmitsburg. They do agree, however, that the best results tend to come from compromise.

Mueller doesn’t believe that beginner and expert terrain are necessarily mutually exclusive.

“I’m pretty excited about getting to build some beginner stuff, because I think that there is a lot that can be gleaned by creating stuff you can take riders to learn on, but still provide you with the opportunity to ride with your buddies and find things in the terrain that beginners might not have an eye for,” he explains. “I don’t think that mountain biking has to have this exclusionary approach to trails and terrain. Obviously we want to push ourselves and explore new lines, but I don’t see why a beginner trail can’t still be fun for experts.”

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The town of Emmitsburg is comprised of about 660 acres within its corporate limits, but is surrounded by 1,800 acres with development restrictions in place, implemented in hopes of preserving the abundant open space available to those seeking to enjoy the natural playground the land here provides.

But, growing up, I never felt as though the town looked to the mountain as a fundamental part of its identity. Whenever I make the trip home nowadays, I’m still not convinced that the community is entirely aware of its own potential. Taking this place and these opportunities for granted can lead a small town down a dangerous path, both economically and socially.

This town of 2,900 has had to deal with a number of issues in recent years, including a burgeoning heroin problem with area youth and a lack of new businesses, particularly retail, coming into town.

Both issues seem to indicate a general lack of desire by the community to move forward in a positive fashion, but there is hope that the trails are a sign of change for the town—and it’s not just the mountain bikers who are beginning to see it.

“Right now we have about $30 million worth of projects going on around town,” Don Briggs notes. Briggs is a former real estate appraiser and the current mayor of Emmitsburg. He and his wife moved to town back in 2003 after having run their respective businesses here the decade prior. Briggs, a longtime conservationist, has high hopes for what the trails can do for the community and is working hard to ensure that there’s an infrastructure in place to allow for social and economic growth.

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“We want to show that we’re investing in this town. That’s been my main drive. We want to show people that we have a stake in this town, and I think that we have done that. We’re upgrading the sewer plant, we replaced all of our street lamps with L.E.D. lights and we’re working on developing a walkway from Mount St. Mary’s University onto Main Street in town. We’re redoing our square in downtown as well. We’re putting over $1 million into our square. This is a special nook and cranny of our state. We’re really ticking into a lot of things.”

“The first step is the trail,” Tom Rinker tells me during our discussion at his Frederick bike shop, The Bicycle Escape. Rinker was approached by O’Donnell more than eight years ago and was asked to write a letter of support for the trail plan. “My first thought was how fantastic this could be. My second was that I hoped that Tim has the endurance to stick with this concept,” remembers Rinker. “Some of the plans and conversations have evolved quite a bit, but Tim saw it through. Other towns are now looking to that success as a model for their own projects.”

When I asked Rinker whether or not he’d ever consider bringing his bike shop into Emmitsburg, he hesitated at first. “I’d want to see more complementary retail and food in town in order to consider opening a bike shop there,” he said. “It could work, but it’s not there yet.”

“We have room for some creative thinking,” O’Donnell says, with no attempt to mute his hopeful and optimistic tone. “We have room for some entrepreneurial and creative individuals to bring some life into town. When we acknowledge and listen to the locals who have concerns, we bring them into the fold and they become friends of the trails. I know it won’t be everyone, and I need to respect those who don’t agree with what we’re doing.”

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Mueller has made a living helping communities by building trails and has seen firsthand the positive effect they can have on a declining municipality. He also knows that it’s never a quick fix. “Places like Brevard, Fruita and Downieville took a lot of time to build up to where they are now,” he says. “I am going to try and continue to help Austin and Tim realize that they’re competing with places that already offer big miles. I think that the focus should be on building something different. We should be concentrating on putting in features and directional trails. We can offer riders a full range of terrain here in Emmitsburg. You can create a true playground here; it’s not just about the miles. I think that a quality-over-quantity approach will pay off big time down the road.”

Hope is widespread in the discussions I have had with everyone, and it seems to be for both the trails and the town itself.

Perhaps that’s the narrative thread Emmitsburg never knew it needed: a proper connection with the mountains that cradle this community. Change won’t happen overnight, but when does it ever? Progress within the town, and on the trails themselves, isn’t rapid, but it’s steady and it’s being led by a committed contingent of people who see the same potential for this area that I saw as a kid staring up at the top of the mountain from my backyard.

“This is an opportunity for the people in town to open their eyes and help shape this community,” Steo tells me after our ride. “It takes some time to get moving, but eventually, if it’s a good thing, it’s going to happen. And this is a very good thing.”

Explore some of the Emmitsburg trails, courtesy of MTB Project: 


 

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Video: NICA’s Slowmo Bro learns about trail stewardship


The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) just released the latest edit from its “Slowmo Bro” video series, in which pro mountain biker Matt Hunter rips berms and learns a few things about trail stewardship.

NICA and IMBA’s tips for showing your trail love:

  • Participate in local trail maintenance and trail building days. The more you help build, the more there is for you to ride!
  • Don’t poach trails when they are closed for maintenance. Nobody likes a busted berm.
  • Don’t build any trails or features without the permission of the local land manager.

See the entire video series and learn about high school mountain biking.

 

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Grooming fat: The fight for winter fat bike access


Words: Sarah Galbraith

In parts of our country, when winter takes a firm, frosty grip on your core, some mountain bikers mark the turn of seasons by putting away their bikes and tuning up their skis. But explosive growth in winter fat biking has taken hold in the past few years: Sales grew 44 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, with nearly 38,000 fat bikes sold in 2014 alone. It turns out pedaling on two wheels is just too much fun to call it quits when Jack Frost comes a-banging.

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As Andy Williamson, Great Lakes Region director with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), puts it, “Fat biking is not a fad; it’s still mountain biking.” Mountain bikers in his neck of the woods, like Illinois and Iowa, are psyched to have an option to ride year round. “What we enjoy on mountain bikes in the summer is now also available in the winter season,” he says.

While the popularity of fat biking has exploded, the number of places to ride has not necessarily kept the same pace. When it comes to winter trails, many land managers and mountain bike advocates are still figuring things out. Folks in Colorado, Illinois and Vermont are working hard at developing new relationships and gaining trail access for fat bikes, and they’re all making progress in exciting ways.

The Same Access Fight

At first, bike shops were selling fat bikes like hotcakes but couldn’t really advise customers on where to ride, so they began sneaking onto groomed cross-country ski-touring center trails at night when no one was there to catch them. (They were riding snowmobile trails without permission as well.) They were also heading out on local ungroomed singletrack, often disappointed after struggling over a trail that was tracked out by snowshoers and dog walkers. None of this was terribly fun, so soon bikespecific snow singletrack became the goal among fat-bikers.

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“We’re in the thick of it in terms of finding access for fatbikers,” says Mike Pritchard, executive director of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association based in Aspen, Colorado, and associate region director for IMBA. “Our philosophy is ‘build it and they will come.’” Pritchard explains that his community’s goal is to create winter mountain bike trails rather than searching for access on existing trail networks. “We’re looking to provide a separate experience. Riding singletrack is more enjoyable than riding 8- to 12-foot-wide groomed Nordic tracks,” he explains. “Bikespecific singletrack is the goal. That will give everybody the best experience possible.”

To achieve this, Pritchard believes fat-bikers have to do the same thing mountain bikers did a few decades ago to gain summer access. In the ’80s, bikes were used to explore existing routes in forests and beyond, generally on public lands, much in the same way the first fat bike riders took to established winter routes. When the administrative decision came down to exclude mountain bikes from legislated Wilderness areas, mountain bikers got organized and worked with land managers to find places for trails that were sustainable, catered to a broad ridership and provided the best experience.

Now, Pritchard says, fat-bikers need to organize in the same way: “We need to join together so it’s clear to land managers that this is not a fad, and that providing great fat bike experiences is a truly worthwhile cause.”

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His community is working on access to naturally groomed trails that are currently used by skiers and snowshoers, skirting town on public and private land. They’re also working with National Forest land managers to develop fat biking on federal land, where snow compaction is an issue for wildlife management. His group thinks fat bikes could be added to National Forest areas with existing compacted routes such as roads and snowmobile trails, and National Forest staff are planning an environmental analysis of the issue.

The Global Fat Bike Summit and Festival, held in January 2015, brought together fat bike advocates and land managers, including staff from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and various state parks. The summit was held in Jackson, Wyoming, where local U.S. Forest Service staff have been progressive with fat bike policies.

But other public and federal areas, like Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, have banned fat bikes. The takeaway message of the summit is that this is not going away. For riders, fat bikes mean new trails and new terrain to ride. For bike shops, fat bikes allow them to still be bike shops through the winter, rather than laying off staff or switching to skis. But for land managers, it’s a new user group to manage, and new strategies are needed.

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Pritchard says that quickly evolving fat bike technology can help the case for winter access. For example, tires have gotten wider and can run lower pressure. This means less compaction, which is important when sharing trails with other users, as on groomed Nordic trails, or riding in natural areas. Suspension forks are increasingly available as well, making riding on naturally groomed trails smoother.

“This technology can lend itself to better access, compared to bikes from 10 years ago,” says Pritchard. Plus, smaller-wheeled fat bikes for kids were added to the market last year, and that should help more families get out on the trails.

Getting to Know Snow

“Winter riding was already happening when fat bikes came along,” says Matt Andrews of his home state, Minnesota, where he’s executive director of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) and an assistant region director with IMBA. “MORC already had winter cycling, so when fat bikes came on the scene we just started grooming trails we already had.”

MORC maintains 50 miles of winter singletrack that exists in six public parks. Fat-bikers share the trails with snowshoers and runners. They don’t share trails with snowmobiles because there is a concern about the safety of combining motorized and non-motorized use, particularly in the dusk and evening hours.

Andrews also believes it’s important for trail maintainers to learn snow science. Learning how to groom is a big deal, and it can take years of experimenting to learn when to groom and what tools to use in different snow conditions. His group learned about grooming by connecting with the local Nordic community. “They understand when to groom,” he says. “If there is fresh snow, they’ll groom at midnight and let it set for four, six or 12 hours to get it solid.”

The key to good grooming is to fluff the snow to get the air out and then pack it down with something heavy. On trails where they can use motorized equipment, MORC employs a Yamaha Big Wheel, which is a fat-tired motorcycle. A club member who is handy with a welder designed their own grooming implements to attach to a hitch behind the motorcycle. “One looks like a big cheese grater,” Andrews says.

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Where motorized use is not allowed, snowshoers will pack in the trail and drag truck tires behind them. In northern Minnesota, a group called The Snowshoe Zombies packs in winter singletrack by snowshoe. “These are athletic, CrossFit-type people,” according to Andrews. They snowshoe in a line, sometimes walking sideways, up and down the hills. “They’re Jazzercising down the trail,” he laughs, “working it out, and that makes beautiful singletrack.”

But snowshoe grooming takes a tremendous effort and works only where there is a dedicated group of volunteer snowshoers or runners. Aside from grooming advice, Andrews recommends that mountain bike groups think about winter when they’re proposing new trail projects and maintaining existing trails.

For example, trim tree branches higher when building trail to accommodate for the extra height of snow. Look at features like berms, double jumps and drops and think about how they will ride in the winter, or how they can be improved upon with snow. Because snow is a more durable surface, trail builders can break the rules a bit when designing winter trails.

Sharing Is Caring

When fat bikes first came on the scene, Vermonters were finding their own places to ride, legal or not. But in the last couple of winters, Vermont has been adding fat bikes to existing summer and winter trail networks, and the shared-use model is working. Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont, which sees 60,000 summer mountain bikers per year on its vast network of singletrack, switches to a cross-country ski-touring center in the winter.

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But in recent years the nonprofit organization that maintains the trails has been encouraged by the popularity of fat biking, so they added it to their winter operations. A 12-mile network of singletrack is snowmobile and snowshoe groomed by the trail crew, and last winter they had 2,500 fat-bikers ride there.

The Jay Cloud, a full-service bike shop located near Jay Peak Resort in Montgomery, Vermont, just added a winter bike shop at the mountain. Co-owner Ethan Dull got excited about his own fat bike last season and talked to the operations staff at the ski resort; management saw it as an additional recreation opportunity that would bring more people to the mountain. Everyone was happy to bring more people to the Nordic trail network, which hadn’t been seeing a lot of skier traffic.

Plus, fat biking complements skiing, says Dull: “On crappy ski days, the trails are great for riding.” Dull moves his bike shop to the Nordic center at the mountain for the winter and offers sales, service and fat bike demos and rentals. Fat-bikers have access to nearly 12 miles of Nordic ski trails and about 2 miles of snowshoe-groomed singletrack. He also likes to set up his demo fleet at the base of the mountain on a nice day and says the bikes get a lot of attention. “Most people have never seen or heard of these things, and once they see them they want to get out and try it.”

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Dull also gets a lot of attention just biking around the base area to get coffee or run errands. Last year was particularly stellar when it comes to fat biking events in Vermont. New England’s fat bikers enjoyed Le Grand Fat Tour, a six-event series organized by Mountain Bike Vermont. The events spanned the Vermont-Quebec border and drew in 1,000 participants. Winterbike at Kingdom Trails was the culmination of the series, with 400 people joining the ridiculously fun daylong festival of riding, drinking, food and music. Plus, the Stowe Derby, a nutty downhill ski race that combines cross-country and downhill ski racing on old-school gear, welcomed 100 fat-bikers to the start line in 2014, marking the event’s 70th anniversary.

Vermont Mountain Bike Association’s (VMBA) executive director, Tom Stuessy, has been working tirelessly on winter access. Plans are in the works for an interactive online trail map, which this year will show 15 to 20 areas with open access for bikes, and expanding access is also at the top of the agenda. “VMBA’s been working very closely with public-land managers to find more and better access in Vermont,” says Stuessy. A new partnership among VMBA, the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has invited five VMBA chapters to allow fat bikes on groomed snowmobile trails that are on state land.

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“The point is not to provide long, 20-mile corridors of shared snowmobile trails,” says Stuessy. “The partnership is based on an understanding that we want access to the corridor to connect other fat bike riding areas.” To support the partnership, riders across the state will join local VAST clubs and will pitch in with trail maintenance and signage.

The Future Is Not Frozen

Clearly the number of places to ride your fat bike is on the rise across the country. Williamson, IMBA’s region director working in the Great Lakes area, thinks the winter fat bike access fight will be expedited, since this is just mountain biking, after all, and we’ve already come a long way with summer access. Yet he sees a future of providing trails on public land where people live that are purpose-built for fat bikes. He expects more ski resorts will add groomed fat bike trails in the coming years as well, since those riders represent a new market. To help all of this happen, he says, “We need to talk up the benefits of winter mountain biking.”

 

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Voting now open in East region of Bell Built Grants


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Bell Helmets is awarding a $100,000 grant to the trail network that earns the most votes in its annual Bell Built Grant program. Exchequer Mountain Bike Park in Mariposa, California, was chosen in the West bracket and Spirit Mountain Bike Park won the Central division.

Now the East voting is live through May 24 and your vote will help determine the winner. The top project from each of the three divisions will face off in the final round of voting beginning May 27.

East finalists

Urban Wilderness Gravity Trail – Knoxville, Tennessee

Sponsor: Appalachian Mountain Bike Club

Situated in the heart of Knoxville, this bike park is being constructed with a range of trails that will appeal to a variety of riders. The highlight will be the proposed gravity trail that will feature rock gardens, drops, and constructed features in a highly visible area that will draw attention to this regionally unique trail.

 

Timber Trail – Anniston, Alabama

Sponsor: Northeast Alabama Bicycling Association (NEABA)

Rock, rock, and more rock will rattle and test the skill of any gravity rider who descends the Timber Trail. Already flush with a range of singletrack, Coldwater Mountain will be augmented by this gnarly, techy trail that will feature car-sized boulders, steep rollovers, and drops.

 

Gorges Jump Line – Brevard, North Carolina

Sponsor: Friends of Gorges State Park

A stronghold of East Coast riding, Brevard has the terrain to lay down a steep, rocky trail peppered with jumps and drops. The scenic waterfalls and deciduous forest will add to the experience of any visitor and make for a photogenic ride.

 

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Inside Line: First look at Advocate Cycles 27plus hardtail


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Here at Dirt Rag we’re huge fans of classic steel hardtails, and today we got an introduction to a new brand with a unique business model that is giving back to the associations that support cycling. Advocate Cycles is a new venture from industry veteran Tim Krueger and its first product is the Hayduke, a 27plus steel hardtail with a trail bike attitude and impressive versatility.

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While the company will of course need to make money to operate, it vows to turn 100 percent of its profits back into cycling advocacy organizations like IMBA and the League of American Bicyclists. While it is still federally recognized as a for-profit company, it is regarded in its home state of Minnesota as a new status known as a Specific Benefit Corporation. These types of organizations are required to uphold “a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, from the business and operations of the benefit corporation.”

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Built from Reynolds 725 steel tubing, it has a 44 mm head tube and BB92 botton bracket shell, and the rear end has rocker dropouts of Krueger’s own design that can be fitted with a 142×12 thru axle or the new 148×12 Boost Axle. (Read more about what makes Boost parts different here.) What’s nice is that the same 174 mm SRAM Maxle is used with all of the dropouts. Naturally it can be used a singlespeed as well.

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The Boost hub was created mostly to work with the many 27.5×3 tires that will soon be available, but the frame will also fit a standard 29-inch wheelset.

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One nice touch is that you can build up a Hayduke frame with all the standard parts currently used on 29ers, and if you want to switch to 27plus down the road you can swap out the dropouts for the Boost version and hit the trail. It will even work with a double crankset and the 3-inch tires if you use the Boost crankset.

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Other key details include a 68.5 degree head tube angle, 73 degree seat tube angle and 60 mm bottom bracket drop. It is designed around a 120 mm fork with a 51 mm offset and will be available in four sizes. The 31.6 mm seat tube has internal dropper post routing and a Thomson seat post clamp is included.

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The frame will retail for $750 and should be available later this summer. Krueger said the company has three more bike models it plans to roll out in the next few months as well. It will be interesting to see not only if the bikes will perform well, but if the company’s bold business plan will too.

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More cowbell! 2013 Moots Ti Sticks now available


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Cyclocross season may be winding down, but if you’ve got Holiday Fever, the only solution might be MORE COWBELL. Moots is happy to obliged with the annual release of Ti Sticks, a noisemaker made from excess or scrap tubing from Moots frames.

The titanium tubes are cut and finished in just a way to provide the perfect resonance for heckling your favorite racer. They will undoubtedly ride faster and farther thanks to your assistance.

Each year, 100 percent of the proceeds from the Ti Sticks goes to charity or advocacy groups. For 2013, the recipient is the Great Colorado Flood Relief, a natural choice after the devastating floods along the Front Range in Moots’ home state. Each of the 2013 tubes is also marked with the Great Colorado Flood Relief logo for extra specialness. There are only 31 being built this year, and with Cyclocross Nationals coming up in January in Boulder, these are likely to go fast. Order yours here.

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