This marks my first feature-length article in a print publication!
Photobucket

Photobucket



Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


After riding the top 10 mountain bike trails in the world
as ranked by users on Singletracks.com, I thought I’d take some time to
review my initial impressions of those trails and reflect on them based
on my perspective today.



Click here to read the full blog post.




My road biking compatriots tell me that we have some of the best road riding on the East Coast here in Dahlonega, Georgia. Since the local mountains were once the most challenging stage in the Tour De Georgia and are now home to the popular Six Gap Ride (drawing 2,500 riders), guess I believe them. Still, when the winter makes its annual appearance, many riders who primarily roll on the pavement take to the woods… and here’s why:

Click here to read the full article.
Guest post on Lovingthebike.com:



The word “epic” has been entirely overused in recent days, and
especially in mountain biking circles. It seems like every time I ask a
rider how his ride or the trail was, the classic response is either “It
was epic dude!” or “Man, it was so gnarly!”



Click here to read the rest of this blog post.

2012 has been an awesome year here on the Singletracks.com blog, even if I do say so myself! We have published hundreds of original destination features, gear reviews, how-tos, race reports, news articles, and more. We’ve also revamped the blog design to provide a cleaner look and better interaction in the comments.

Since even my memory of what we published earlier this year gets hazy, here’s a list of just a few of the best blog posts and series that we’ve published this year:

Click here to read the full recap.


As many of you may know, I spent almost two months this summer
traveling the nation and riding my mountain bike. One of my main goals
when I was out west this summer was to ride any of the trails on our top 10 best mountain bike trails list that I hadn’t ridden yet.




Our list is constantly changing based on user ratings and other
factors computed by our ranking algorithm, and some of the trails I went
out of my way to ride this summer are no longer even ranked in the top
10. However, a few weeks ago I went and took another look at the list
and realized that I’ve now ridden the 10 best mountain bike trails in
the world, as ranked by Singletracks.com!




I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what my initial
impressions were of these 10 trails, a photo that I took out on the
trail (if any), and what I really think of these trails now that I can
look back on them with the clarity that retrospection provides.



Click here to read the full blog post.

I think the reason so many San Francisco riders want to claim the Demo Forest as their own is that it is just so good! Demo Forest is home to the only legal downhill/freeride trails in the region… so if you are into pure XC riding, you’ll probably want to pass on this place.

Read the rest of this blog post here.

The massive popularity of Strava has changed the way many of us analyze data from our trail rides and has even changed how some people ride their mountain bikes. What some people don’t seem to realize, however, is that the data you collect via your Strava app can be used for much more than just proving that you’re actually the fastest rider to the top of the hill.

Read the full article here.

It’s no secret: mountain biking can be an expensive sport at times. With the economy as rocky as it has been, it can be tough to keep up with the latest and greatest bike gear and components. Add in the fact that normally when you spend more money you get a better product, and it makes it even harder to cut back.

However, every now and then a product comes along whose quality belies its price. Enter Ecyclingstore.com.

Read the full review here!


In the initial “On Test” blog post I mentioned all of the
modifications that Airborne has made to v2.0 of the Goblin based on what
they learned from their experiences with v1.0. While some of these
changes were large and others were small, when added together they
equaled a very different ride out on the trail!



Click here to read the full review!


If ever there was an under-acclaimed trail system, a network of trails that flies way, way below the radar, it is the Liberty Mountain Trail System in Lynchburg, Virginia.



Click here to read the full blog post!


Still, one of the main bikes in my stable is the original version of
the Airborne Goblin, and I use that bike to test many of the products
and components I get in for review. When I heard that Airborne was
releasing the latest rendition of the Goblin this fall, I knew that I
had to check out the updates!




I’m pleased to announce that I was one of the first people to throw
my leg over a production Goblin, so the scoop doesn’t get any fresher
than this:



Click here to read the full blog post.

The relation of mountain biking to road biking/cycling fascinates me. On one hand, they each seem to be just a different side to the same biking coin. But on the other hand, mountain biking is oftentimes so radically specialized when compared to road biking that it seems like a different sport entirely.

Since these sports are so different, transitioning from the road to the trail can be a daunting task.
Specifically, while road riders often bring an amazing fitness base to the mountain bike trail, the technical side of the sport usually proves to be challenging. While I could write for days about mountain bike skills, here are the three most basic mountain biking techniques that you should have in your arsenal:

Read the rest of this article here.

Bent Creek has been on my ride wishlist for a very long time. I’ve heard so many rave reviews of this trail system that my mouth started to water at the mere whisper of the words “Bent Creek,” but I had yet to taste the sweetness for myself. Until now.

Click here to read the rest of this ride report.

I rarely use my GPS unit anymore–partly because it has been on the fritz, and partly because I hate carrying a different gadget for everything. Carrying an iPhone is just so much easier, and so I was on the lookout for the perfect GPS app to log my forays into the wilderness. I’ve tried just about everything on the market, from MapMyRide to Strava to AllSport LE… and many more. Finally, after a couple of email nudges from one of the Runtastic marketing people, I gave the Mountain Bike PRO Cycling Computer App (powered by Runtastic) a try… and I’ve fallen in love!

Click here to read the rest of this article.


Some people denounce the smartphone as a technological leash forever tying those who own them to the world of digital screens and the internet. I, on the other hand, choose to think of my smartphone as the ultimate liberation from the burden of mountain biking electronics.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Pearl Izumi is famous for making high-quality apparel for running, road biking, and, of course, mountain biking. While you can easily get decked out in Pearl gear from head to toe, the company is especially known for their shoes.

Read the rest of the blog post here.


This summer my wife and I undertook a road trip of epic proportions.
Traveling from Georgia to California and stopping at many places along
the way, our travels lasted for almost two months and involved about 600
miles of dirty singletrack under my mountain bike tires and about 7,000
miles of pavement under the tires of my Toyota T100 pickup truck. Such
an epic journey called for a reliable bike rack, and the Yakima Doubledown Ace 4 proved to be just such a rack.

Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the entire review.
I decided to try my hand at a creative intro to a Cinema Sunday blog post:

Really, I want to know who comes up with these ideas. The conversation must have gone something like this:
“We want to make an awesome dirt jumping/freeride mountain biking movie, but piles of dirt in the woods are so boring to look at.”
“Well, what if we go way up in the French Alps and build a massive slopestyle course, but… wait for it… we make all of the jumps look like castles. I mean, who thinks that castles aren’t cool?”
“Yeah, but we need to kick things up a notch and stop thinking about what mountain bike movies have done in the past. Let’s take a page out of the snowsports book: we’ll get the Red Bull helicopter up there and shoot uber hi-def fly-by shots of all the riders for some killer slo-mo action?”
“Guys… I think we have a winner.”
Click here for the original blog post.


While it seems that some companies have jumped into the 650b movement
headfirst, other companies are testing the waters with just a couple of
models.



Read the full article on Singletracks.com.
The downhill trails at Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear, California are steep, rocky, and very loose… and just when you think the trails can’t get any harder, there’s a booter or a mandatory drop. That combination makes for some pretty hairy riding, but despite the demanding trail conditions, the local riding scene continues to thrive.
This past summer, Big Bear local and Chains Required team rider Scott Durkin took the time to show me around his stomping grounds, and I got intimately acquainted with Big Bear’s dust and rocks. During one of the lift rides to the top, Scott mentioned in passing how there were no videos showcasing the riding at Big Bear that come anywhere near professional quality. It seems like everyone nowadays has a GoPro, but how many helmet cam videos can you watch before you get fed up with the perpetual shaking?
Well, Scott teamed up with local filmer Tony L’Ambrose, and they decided to change that. The result is the video below. Check it out, and let them know what you think in the comments section!
Click over to Singletracks to check out the video.


While most of what we’ve been writing here on Singletracks refers to
650b as a new mountain bike trend, if you look at the history of the
sport this wheel standard is anything but new. We stopped by
the Ritchey booth at Interbike and spotted a 650b Ritchey from the 70′s
standing right next to Ritchey’s newest 650b hardtail wonder bike:



Read the rest of this post on Singletracks.com.


It’s been all over the blog and the forums on Singletracks.com:
the industry is quickly jumping behind the new 650b/27.5″/tweener wheel
size, whatever you want to call it. This year at Interbike I was tasked
with covering the new 650b products–quite a tall order! In this series
of posts I’ll highlight a number of 650b bikes that I spotted at the
show. I’m sure that I missed a few, and others will be featured in their
own posts–so stay tuned to the blog as we catch up on the Interbike
madness!



Click on over to Singletracks to read the rest of this blog post.


There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the release of Surly’s Krampus, and when talking about what this bike is, it’s probably best to begin by talking about what it’s not:
It is not a “fat bike” with massive 4 or 5-inch tires designed for
maximum flotation and slow speed crawling. It’s not a race bike either…
it’s somewhere in between. That place in between goes by the name of
“funland.”



Click on over to Singletracks.com for the full review.


The Mission is Diamondback’s rendition of the all-mountain 26”
wheeled bike. With a full 6-inches of travel front and back, a 67-degree
headtube angle, a beefy 6061-T6 aluminum frame, tapered headtube, ISCG
05 tabs, and thru-axles front and back, this is a burly bike that wants
to play rough.



Click on over to Singletracks.com to read more.

I’ve spent plenty of time riding a full-suspension 650b bike over
the course of this summer, but I had yet to see how the tweener wheels
handle in a hardtail package. So, when I wandered over to the KHS booth
and noticed the beautiful carbon frames rolling on WTB Laser Disc 650b
wheels, I had to grab one and take it for a spin.

Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the rest of this blog post.

I did a significant amount of work proofreading and fact checking for Dirt Rag Issue #164. Specifically, I hand in editing these articles:
  • "The Flight of Dickarus"
  • "Catching Up With: Brian Lopes"
  • "Ladies First"
  • "Land of Enchantment"
  • "Manic Mechanic"
  • "Tokul Creek Trails: A Silver Lining in Pay-to-Play?"
  • "The Carbon Cycle"
  • "Yoga for Mountain Bikers"
  • "Deschutes Brewing Chainbreaker White IPA"
  • "Leg Lube"
  • "Trampled by Turtles: Stars and Satellites"

I had a readings piece featured in Dirt Rag issue #164 about the Dominion Riverrock Festival held in Richmond, Virginia.


New this year to Spot Brand Bicycles
is the Honey Badger. Based off of their classic Rocker frame, the new
steel-framed Honey Badger features a very similar geometry (that has
been slightly tweaked), but there have been many significant
upgrades that help provide significant performance improvement.



Click on over to Singletracks.com for more info!
I wrote a portion of this blog post:

At first blush, Shimano’s rendition of the hydration pack shows some serious promise. This definitely isn’t a pack that you would ever wear for a hike: it is designed specifically for comfort when you are on the bike–and that’s a good thing!
One thing that has annoyed me about hydration packs in the past is how they tend to jump around on me when I take air. I like riding with a hydration pack, and I like riding aggressively, and basically every pack that I have ever used has failed to ride silently–some to lesser degrees than others. It seems like Shimano’s X design might have resolved this issue! Of course, I can’t be sure unless I actually get one loaded with water and gear and out on the trail, but the design is promising.
Add in the fact that is spec’ed with a Hydrapak reservoir (which I am a big fan of), and Shimano’s initial hydration pack offering may be setting itself up to make a real dent in the market!


My first taste of the dry, dusty desert singletrack of Bootleg Canyon was aboard the Yeti SB-95
and what a taste it was! With 29” wheels, 5” of travel front and back,
and a 68.5” headtube angle, this is an aggressive bike that was ready to
tackle the most technical Outdoor Demo test track that had been marked
out in the barren landscape.



Click on over to Singletracks to read the rest of this article.
I wrote a portion of this blog post:

This super sleek GPS watch from Polar, dubbed the RC3, is the company’s latest in fitness data collection technology. Featuring the ability to communicate with some of Polar’s external devices such as heart rate monitors and foot pods, Polar meshes the statistics that the device gathers with built-in training plans. Download your data to the computer and upload it to Polar’s website, and get even more detailed training analysis!

GPS files from this device download in the widely accepted .gpx format, making uploading your data to websites such as Singletracks and Strava a cinch. Battery life is a whopping 12 hours, and the watch can be easily recharged.

The real story with this watch is its size–it’s crazy thin! Seriously, the guys at the booth were all wearing them, and these things are literally about the size of a normal digital wrist watch (shame on me for not getting a photo). Due to the small size, these watches are primarily for data collection–navigation with them is virtually impossible. The only navigation feature is a “get me home” arrow that points to your starting point, but if you are out in the wilderness on an epic 30-mile loop, straight back over who knows what kind of terrain is usually the worst possible idea.
$300 MSRP for just the watch, $350 with the heart rate monitor.

It’s that time of year: expo season! Seemingly every bike company under the sun is launching their new product lines and Interbike 2012 (the largest bicycle industry tradeshow in North America) is behing held this week in Las Vegas with about 1,200 exhibitors showcasing the latest and greatest. Singletracks is traveling to Vegas this week, and we’ll be bringing you the scoop on what’s hot and what’s not right here on the blog.

Click on over to Singletracks to read this whole blog post.


As I’m sure you’ve already gathered, the XC components and geometry make
the Jamis Dakar SixFifty B Pro a very capable climber for a 5.5″ bike.
If you don’t feel like you need full squish on the climbs, close the
gate on the rear shock and dial the compression all the way up on the
fork to drastically reduce the amount of travel and stiffen the
suspension up. With a weight of 27.72 pounds (without pedals and without
dropper post), the Dakar 650b Pro is very light for an aluminum-framed
5.5″ travel rig.



Click here to read the rest of this blog post.


Test riding mountain bikes at an expo is a lot like sampling teriyaki
chicken at the mall: it all tastes good, but you can’t really tell
which is the best until you’ve eaten a full serving.


After demoing the 2012 Jamis Dakar SixFifty B Pro at the Southeast Bike Expo
in February, I knew that I had to have a full-size helping of this
delicious meal. Jamis was stoked to get one of their rigs into my hands
for review, and shipped me one as soon as the container full of bikes
arrived from the Far East.



Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the full blog post!


In the end I rode 17.8 miles and climbed 4,075 vertical feet over the
course of the ride. As you can imagine, it was pretty intense, but
after the anti-mountain biker prejudice evident in the East Bay,
I was ecstatic to be riding such gorgeous singletrack, and to absorb
the beauty of the mighty redwood trees that I had only ever seen in
books and movies before this trip.



Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the full blog post!


Despite Marin County’s storied history and long ties to the sport of
mountain biking, it is no longer the mecca that it once was. Back in the
late 1970s and early 1980s when the sport was born, mountain biking was
so new that no legislation existed to say one way or the other if bikes
were allowed on the trails. Back in those days, hikers viewed mountain
bikers as a novelty and an amusement, but as the sport continued to gain
traction the local land managers and hikers were quick to ban mountain
bikes from almost all of the singletrack trails in Marin County.




At present, there are only two main singletrack trails in the
entirety of Marin County that are legal to ride a mountain bike on: Camp
Tamarancho and China Camp.



Click on over to Singletracks for the rest of this blog post.


If I have ever ridden in an area that is less friendly to mountain
bikes than the East Bay, I don’t remember it. I’ve been to places where
there just isn’t any green space or hills, or there just aren’t really
any trails in those hills to ride. But neither of those is the case in
the East Bay. And it’s not like the trails that are there would
be too difficult for mountain bikes to ride–many of them looked
immaculately groomed and butter-smooth. Finally, it’s not like these
areas are even designated Wilderness or National Parks, two areas that
have been historically closed to mountain bikes



Read the rest of this blog post by visiting Singletracks.com.


I have written about both the downhill mountain biking and some of the cross country riding available at Big Bear Lake,
but no mountain bike destination is truly complete without comfortable
places to stay (or at least pitch a tent), unique restaurants to satisfy
that post-ride hunger, and establishments to serve some delicious adult
refreshments.



Click on over to Singletracks to read the rest of this blog post!


I knew the ride was going to be a long one when, seeing me loading my
gear in the truck, Gavin rolled up to our rental cabin and said, “oh,
we’re just going to ride from here.” I assumed we’d have a ways to drive
to get to the trails all the way on the other side of the lake, but it
was only a couple of miles of paved pedaling until we turned off into a
church parking lot and started climbing up the side of the ridge on the
unmarked Don’t Shoot Me trail.

Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the full blog post!
Several different people left comments on one of the recent Cinema Sunday posts about how insane and straight-up dangerous freeride mountain biking is. I think RoadWarrior may have put it best: “Looking at the crashes; I think I’ll stick to my technical XC trails, let the kids break their necks.”

Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the rest of this blog post.

We are pleased to announce that we are rolling out a new feature on Tripleblaze that we have been running on Singletracks.com (Tripleblaze’s sister site) for a little over a year now with great success: trail system pages.

Have you ever been hiking at a place that has a large, interconnected network of trails, many of which have their own names, or have you ever backpacked on a long distance trail that has many distinct sections? When trying to add trails like those to the website, it can be really difficult, if not down-right impossible, to fully describe such a trail in one simple trail listing.

This is where the new trail system pages come in: with a trail system, you can start by writing a description that sums up the entire trail system or long distance trail as a whole. Then, to add more detail, you can create additional trail listings that give more specifics about each individual trail or section of trail.

Click on over to Tripleblaze.com to read the rest of the article.


Located less than 100 miles from downtown Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake
and Snow Summit Mountain Resort are well within day-trip distance of
about 18 million people, thousands of which are passionate mountain
bikers. Those lucky dogs!



Click on over to Singletracks to read the rest of this blog post!


I have had the chance to put Gravity Dropper’s Turbo seatpost to the
test over the past several months. I have used it heavily on several
different bikes, putting on hundreds of miles and countless drops and
climbs. One thing is certain: this is one bomber piece of machinery!



Click on over to Singletracks for the rest of this blog post!


The Big Sur really is the big brother of the Selva: it can do
everything the Selva can do, only more. With three liters of water
capacity and much more storage room, the Big Sur is ready for some big
rides! I’ve taken the Big Sur out on numerous 20-30 mile adventures into
the backcountry and have been using it as my main hydration pack for
several months now, and it has held up admirably!



Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the rest of this blog post.


I’ve been wearing the Pearl Izumi Rev shorts consistently for several months, and they have quickly become my favorite pair of bike shorts. While the exterior doesn’t feature any vents for air flow, the fabric is light enough that it still ventilates well and transfers moisture with ease.




Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the rest of this blog post!


When you roll into the town of Downieville, California you can just feel it in the air: you have arrived at a true mountain bike destination. 
“Destination” is definitely the operative term. Located over an hour up into the mountains on winding two-lane highways from the closest interstate, Downieville isn’t a town that you pass through on the way to somewhere else. If you drive into Downieville, you’re there for a purpose!
Read the rest of this blog post over on Singletracks.com! 


When we rolled into South Lake Tahoe, I was totally unprepared and had no idea what to expect. Tahoe hadn’t originally been on my to-do list, but thanks to Jeff’s recommendation and the availability of additional time to spend, we decided to stop in and see what the area had to offer. At first we were planning on heading over to Tahoe City, but after doing some looking around for hotels I settled on South Lake Tahoe (SLT) because there were many more options, cheaper rates, and because I had heard of SLT being the epicenter for downhill skiing in the region.
Read the rest of the article over on Singletracks.com! 


Yes, I know: I desecrated mountain bike mecca by breezing in and out of Moab in just two days. Moab has enough mountain bike trails to fill a month of vacation time… and that month would have to be jam-packed with riding seven days a week, sunrise to sunset. Just look at all of the Moab trails and trail systems we have listed here on Singletracks.com–and I know we’re still missing a few!
Read more over on Singletracks.com! 
Having never made the pilgrimage to mountain bike mecca before, I wanted
to make the most of the short time we would be there. Going on hearsay
and a little bit of research, I realized that the one ride I absolutely
needed to do was The Whole Enchilada.
Click on over to Singletracks.com to read the rest of this blog post!
;