Monday, April 28, 2014

Don't Be A Jack Ass

I mentioned before in a previous post The Rules. While they are somewhat in jest some are pretty bang on and was recently reminded of this. Specifically Rule 43- Don't Be A Jack Ass.

While it is easy to shrug it off and move on, this still has been grinding my gears. And what is that you ask? The basic lack of manners and general behaviour with some mountain bikers.....specifically those who are ego fueled. A situation made worse now-a-days with Strava and how it has become for some a way to make up for something they are lacking.

Yes, Strava is a useful tool when used properly and improves one's fitness. You feel better about yourself, and your spouse thinks you are so hot. Great, but it does not give you the right to be a Jack Ass on the trails.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sometimes Your Ride Conspires Against You

There are times, that no matter how much you want to go ride and how well planned every aspect of your ride is, it just seems to be that your single track quest is simply not meant to be. Earlier this week I had everything planned out perfectly. I was starting my ride at 5 in the evening, a very normal start time allowing for plenty of daylight. There was a storm that was supposed to roll in, however, that was not for another few hours. I had plenty of supplies, tools, water, spare tube, pump. I was all set and ready to go. Apparently mother nature and just plain dumb luck has other plans.

Thick Grey Clouds Blanket the Wasatch Range

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gambling on Lady Luck in Reno/Tahoe

Pushing bikes through snow at 7,800 feet in mid-April didn't come as a surprise - that's the gamble we took going to Reno/Tahoe this past Easter.  The yearning for warm sunshine and drier trails trounced doubts that Lady Luck wouldn't be on our side. The online chatter was all about the unusually low snowpack this year and trails opening up. Covert phone calls during work hours confirmed that local bike shops had rentals available. But Lady Luck can be fickle and as we found out, she loved us some days and mocked us on others.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Going Enduro: 5 Component Upgrades for Big Descents

I have to admit this whole Enduro thing has been beaten down pretty hard. Enduro this and Enduro that, but frankly, I love it. Call it what you want, but the premise of Enduro is perfect and fits my personality well. I am one of those, struggle to the top, bomb to the bottom type riders and I prefer to ride a bike that shares my personality. Here are my big five for descending hard on my trail bike.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Frugal Mountain Biker: Part 3 - Rock Shox Fork Upgrades

While many bike upgrades are often just for cosmetic reasons and others offer some added comfort; some upgrades can genuinely make a huge difference of how well you ride.

Most bike components have a wealth of information available online like this schematic.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Girl Next Door

In this high-profile world of full-page glossy magazine photos taken in ever more exotic locales it is easy to lose focus on the trails in our own backyards. It seems that the natural progression of our sport has pushed the boundaries to an extreme that it requires riding on a glacier into a fjord shuttled by clydesdales during an eclipse on next-years prototype bikes to get noticed anymore. It can make our local trails seem more than mundane. Maybe even a little.... dare I say... boring. I have fallen for this greener-grass-ism myself. As a middle-western expat I spent my youth dreaming of the places I had never ridden, far-flung bicycle meccas beyond the horizon. Cycling never-lands that captured my imagination and paled my local trails by comparison. It was easy for me, as an impressionable youngster to believe incorrectly that somewhere out there were the "real" trails, and that somehow the hype and publicity of those other places invalidated the riding that I was doing. My flat little 10 mile loop of twisty rooty Wisconsin singletrack seemed a little vanilla. I was fixated on the Prom Queen, and forgot all about the Girl Next Door.

Home Sweet Home

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Bike Mullet - De-Blinging My Ride

As a bearded guy in a Carhart hat and a flannel shirt whipped a styled 360 my mindset whipped clunky 180. His garage sale skis probably cost him $35. I on the other hand was picking my way through the same moguls with zero flair at half the rate speed while donning $2k worth of gear. Twelve years have passed since that ski run but I haven't forgotten the lesson.

The start of my de-beautification project

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dan Barham Interview: The Man Behind the Muddy Lens

Over the last seven years I have watched Dan Barham's photography and cinematography career explode, becoming one of the very best in the mountain bike industry. Dan works for numerous editorial and commercial clients across the globe and his photos have been published in nearly every outdoors and action sports magazine.

I was lucky enough to get Dan to take a few moments out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us at The Mountain Bike Life and he has shared with us some of his favorite photos from around the globe.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sea Otter Classic Cross Country Race Report

The Sea Otter Classic was held last weekend in Monterey, California. For those who don't know, the Sea Otter Classic is four day cycling festival with a huge expo, racing, and gran fondos. This is one of the largest cycling gathering in North America, and I am lucky enough to live only about an hour away.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Trail Shot

This is a little feature where we show off some of our favourite shots from the trail. This one was taken last month at Partridge Hills in Victoria BC, one of my favourite local riding areas.

We would love to see some photos of your local trails, share them in the comments or on our social media. We love seeing everyone's trails from around the world!

The author riding at Partridge hills in Victoria BC - Photo by Derek Endress

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monstercross Part 2

As mentioned in Part One of this journey I decided over the winter to build up a Monstercross bike instead of a Cyclocross. And the  base frame I was using was a 29er frame. And this would be a build that would evolve over time as mileage was put on. And one must acknowledge that with the end of winter and melting snow in the last week and a half the mileage has increased.  Though it will be a few more weeks till the Singletrack is ride-able.

The first major change was thanks to the Warranty frame I received earlier was a swap of the previous frame for the warranty one. Yes identical but decided the more used frame was to be the 29er frame in the future.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cable Routing: Is Yours Done Right?

There is something I have noticed on a lot of bikes that is often overlooked. You can see it on random bikes at the trail head, your buddies bikes, or even your own. It can even be seen on brand new bikes sitting on the show room floor. I am talking about cable routing. A lot of the time how and where you route your cables and housing sounds as if it is such a simple and inconsequential thing. I want to outline why it matters, and how it will make your bike ride better for longer.

Good clean cable routing can create a very symmetric and pleasing aesthetic. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

One shot story: MacGyvering the mechanical

If you remember the MacGyver TV star from the late ‘80s, you know he could fix anything with what ever was at hand along with his knife and duct tape. My husband has a knack for MacGyverying and this has come in very handy for those unpredictable mechanicals on the trail.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Local Bike Shops: The charity of my choice?

After a recent purchase of discounted tires from a “big name” online store, and an incredible customer service experience, plus a free overnight shipping upgrade, I found myself asking, why does everyone seem to hate these online businesses so much? Why do I feel guilty about buying anywhere other than a Local Bike Shop? Then I realized, I shouldn’t, Online Stores aren’t the bad guys, they are simply businesses, just like the Local Bike Shop, they are simply producing a different more successful product.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Frugal MTB Rider: Part 2 - Dropper posts are awesome!

Dropper posts are one of the hottest products in the mountain biking industry. They vary in price ranges starting at around $250 for the cheapest ones, up to around $600 for the top end. But what if you are on a frugal budget? For instance, you might have an inexpensive $500 - $700 bike. Spending close to $350 on a good reliable dropper post might not be your cup of tea. So what are the alternatives then?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

5 Small Things That Make A Huge Difference

We often focus on the big things, wheels, frames, drivetrains...but I think it's the small things that really make the difference. I have compiled a list of a few things that I have found to make my Mountain Bike Life better, I hope that you will find these items to be as useful as I do.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Trek Superfly 20 Initial Review - Cool Kit for the Kiddies or Dad Reliving Childhood Dreams?

You remember it don't you? It was a defining moment, for some of you it was THE defining moment. It changed everything.  Since then you have spent thousands of dollars on kit, yet one piece of kit was the ultimate game changer. You spent thousands of dollars in gas and day passes and for great rides, yet there was one ride changed everything. No mountain biking dollars have ever been better spent than those that bought your first real mountain bike. No ride has ever matched that first real ride.  This past week my son had that moment.

Introducing the newest steed in our collection: The Trek Superfly 20.  Read below to the break to see  my initial impressions.

Trek Superfly 20'

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dakine Pickup Tailgate Pad Review

The simplest and quickest way of transporting or shuttling your bike with your pickup truck is the tailgate pad. Just throwing your bike in the back of the truck and the front wheel over the tailgate keeps your bike from getting scratched up and secure in your truck bed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How Much is Too Much?

As we delve into Spring and with Summer rapidly approaching, we are seeing more and more product releases by companies. I love this time of year and all of the new products to drool over, but it can be a bit over whelming. Sometimes it seems like wherever you go, you cannot get away from the latest marketing buzz words. With all this noise, does the average consumer really care? Oh, and did I mention that it is "enduro specific"?

26, 650B, or 29? Who knew that something as simple as the wheel could be so complicated?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Long Cold Winter

When you haven’t seen a trail since December it starts to wear you. So, when the thermometer got up to a wonderful 20F I decided I was going out. That by itself isn’t that great, but there was no wind and it was actually sunny out. As far as this winter has gone it may has well been summer. Anyway, I decided to drag my lazy but out to a trail and log some miles in the snow. I have to admit as far as winters go, this has been the longest, coldest and snowiest I can remember. Kinda makes me wonder why I live in the midwest………