The Mountain Bike Life

Author: Grant Fanning

New brakes can make your bike feel like a million bucks. The old Avid Elixers on this BMC 29er were rough, loud and steep descents were met with plenty of chatter. A fresh set of Shimano SLX’s have got this bike stopping strong and best of all you can’t hear it screaming down the trail from 200 feet away. I’ve ridden a few different types of Avid/SRAM hydraulic brakes in the past and every time I hop on a bike…

Racing. Training. Diet. Equipment. Upgrades. Money. All of these are things a lot of cyclists worry about on a constant basis. Am I fast enough? Am I meeting my goals? When can I afford that new wheelset? Is my alu frame holding me back? Do I have enough points to upgrade? All of these things are valid and I wouldn’t take them away from anyone, including myself. But the most important part of cycling in my opinion, is fun. And…

When it comes to all things maintenance I tend to learn things the hard way. Clean your suspension fork after every ride, dust off the drivetrain, lubricate those bolts. I know it all like the neighbourhood mechanic, but how often to I actually heed the advice? Almost never. The subject of this blog entry will be my lovely SIDI trail shoes and the cleat that has been stuck in there for over a year. At this point I don’t remember…

Good day riders and enthusiasts! How is your summer in the Northern hemisphere? I hope you’re enjoying the Tour as it is certainly one of the more entertaining ones of the last several years. It’s been dryer than Steven Wright here in central Virginia and that is making for some pretty good trail riding albeit with a mouthful of dirt. Thank dog for my Ryders glasses or else my eyes would be breaded by now! This morning I want to…

It’s the 29er’s annoying little brother. It does things the hard way. Cushy Suspension? Neh. Fat, shock absorbing tires? Nyet. A little stupidity and brashness? Yes! Ladies and gentlemen, cyclocross! So I’ve written about our Sunday rides through suburban streets and hidden trail systems and we have cross bikes and 29ers come along for the ride. It’s a 2.5-3 hour ride and it is nothing short of fun. Together, we have carved out guerrilla tracks behind shopping centers, in neighborhood…

It wasn’t long after getting absorbed by the world of MTB when I was introduced to the MTB night life.  For the first few months on my Niner (and years earlier on an old Cannondale) it was a race against the sun.  In the early months of the year you couldn’t get home from work fast enough.  There was simply no time to ride.  Come March and April you could squeak out an hour or so of daylight before eventually…

Richmond, VA We’ve been doing these Sunday evening bike rides.  The kind of thing you look forward to all week after (hopefully) busting your ass for the $$$ and wearing yourself out on training rides.  These Sunday evening rides are nothing but fun.  No one is keeping track of cadence, meters, hell, some people just wear tennis shoes and t-shirts. The only rule: Big tires. One of our buddies, a local bike shop owner, has been exploring those random patches…

Father Winter has almost found his way out of the mid-Atlantic as we’ve seen in the last few days with temperatures steadily in to the 60’s.  It’s already the middle of March and I’ve been on maybe TWO MTB rides in the calendar year.  It’s not necessarily the cold that bothers me, no.  I rode well into December.  It’s all the moisture that keeps the trails soft as Play-Doh and makes the trails both dangerous and susceptible to erosion.  I…

After reading Rivers’ stance against using Strava, I wanted to fight for the other side of the coin for a bit, as I am pretty heavy into Strava and believe it is a tool that can be used to improve your performance and enjoyment of the bike trail. I’ve heard the argument against Strava mirrored on other forms of social media addiction, namely Facebook.  The way I’ve seen some become so unhealthily addicted to Facebook/Twitter ect. that the only way…

Richmond, VA.  February, 2014.  The ground has been wet since June.  It has been one of the wettest years in recent history and that’s not just me pulling figures out of the back pocket of my jersey.  You can look it up too!  Some figures from an old article on Earthsky put this region over the annual rainfall average as of August. What I’m trying to say is, I haven’t been riding this winter.  According to Strava, I have logged 7…