The amount of riding I've done in April this year has been pretty sad. Lots of crap going on has prevented me from getting in the usual miles I have by now. From lots of snow on the trails early in the month, to injury, to a head cold, and now a stomach flu, I've only managed a few rides. May is around the corner and hopefully goes a little better for me and I can push the reset button on my failed attempt to ride to work a few times a week.
I've been itching to do the Substance Projects half-marathon series this year after a fun go last year at the Long Sock Classic, but I think I`ll be biting off a bit too much to chew if I go for the 37km half-marathon on May 16th.... its only just over two weeks away. Oh well, perhaps I'll try a few other races later in the season. I like the sounds of the Singletrack Challenge at Hardwood Hills in Sept.
WARNING: Language and my sometimes offsetting sense of humor abound ahead. You have been warned.
Trail Etiquette, some riders have it and some don't. It can be hard to decipher the grey area that it is as there are no written rules of the trail so to speak. I usually forgive the errors of mountain bike noobs, everyone had to start somewhere and some have more to learn than others. Hopefully someone finds this article a little enlightening and learns a bit from it, although I am no expert. These tips come from my 16 years as a mountain biker and are by no means "in stone", also keep in mind there will be some sarcasm.
1) Right of Way
Who has the right of way on the trail?
2)Know when to get off the trail
When should I get off the trail?
What etiquette should I observe when riding in a group?
4) Being Prepared
What do I bring along?
5) Don't be an Asshole
How do I keep myself from going to the Dark Side?
6) Become an ambassador of the sport
How can I do my part in showing people that mountain bikers are great people enjoying a great sport?
Got something you want to get off your chest? Have a product you like / hate and want everyone to know? Had a great ride at some new trails? Have anything you would like to contribute?
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Got my first ride in on the Winter Project 29er I built this year. As you know, the frame is an old KHS Tucson, mated with a Lefty and some Shimano / WTB goodies. I did swap the Schwalbe tires in favour of some sweet ass retro looking Maxxis treads. I went with skinwall Ardent tires, 2.25 rear, 2.4 front. These tires are of the "rip and grip" variety and work great in the sandy trails of Turkey Point.
I got a few compliments from other riders I met on my maiden voyage with it, one person mentioned that it had a classic look to it, to which I say thanks. Thats what I was kinda going for. I'm glad it turned out that way.
The bike rides awesome, steering is quick, likely because of the 72 degree head angle mated with the 45mm offset of the lefty. Though quick, its controllable and stable at speed. The bike wants to be ridden fast, it feels a wee bit sluggish if I'm sight seeing, but open up the throttle and it loves to be laid over into the corners. I had to do a few quick adjustments of the seatpost height, the rear brake, and the stem spacer height, but after that the ride was uneventful. I'm glad I built up a 29er over the winter, I forgot just how fast they can be after riding the fat bike all last summer. Looking forward to putting alot of miles on this old girl.
Conditions in TP are perfect right now. The East Side trails are in A1 condition, are ready to ride for the season now. The West Side is surprisingly dry already, just a few low wet spots but overall in good rideable condition.
Two trails in the Anderson Tract are still in bad shape from the logging (Martin's Up and Pail Trail) but everything else is ok and the TPMBC trail gnomes are working at getting things going again for Martin's Up and Pail Trail.
The trend is being set lately and an increasing number of riders are going to a 1x driveline system from the 3x and 2x of the past. With 10 speed cassettes being the norm in mountain biking these days, its easy to have a relatively wide range of gears with only one chainring. Is a 1x driveline right for you and your riding? Only you can answer that question.
The 3x driveline
The 3x 10/9/8 drivetrain has been the standard of mountain biking since the '80s. Offering a wide range of gear choices it is a truly versatile setup. Modern 3x drivelines usually consist of 24/32/42 chainrings paired with a 11-36 10 speed cassette.
-Widest range of gear choices possible
-Least chain and gear wear
-Best chain retention
-Heaviest setup of all the drivelines
-Most overlap (redundant) gears
The 2x Driveline
The 2x came to popularity when 10 speed cassettes became the norm. Offering almost all the gearing of the 3x and only losing the highest and lowest useable gears.
-All of the most used gears in an easier to use package
-Less redundant gears compared to 3x
-Less cross-chaining compared to 3x
-Still the same weight as a 3x system (save for one ring)
-Loss of your lowest stump pulling gears
-Loss of your top gears
The 1x Driveline
The simplest and lightest setup of the bunch, losing two rings, the front derailleur, and a shifter. It also comes with the most compromise in gear choices. Wider range gearing can be kept intact with cassette adaptors and chainrings for 104bcd now available with 30 teeth.
-Simplest of the bunch
-Best obstacle clearance
-Loses the most gears compared to 2x/3x drives
-Cassette adaptors can be expensive if you want a wider range
In my opinion, the 2x system has the most compromise without much in the way of gains. I do like the 22/32/bashring 2x combo on my fatbike though, but this setup keeps the low gears and loses the high ones compared to the more common 28/36 2x setups. For this reason I'm disregarding the 2x systems from here on out.
Lets take a look at some gear range setups between 3x and 1x
Above is a typical 3x10 driveline gear inch chart on the left with a 1x chart on the right comparing 30 / 32 / 34 tooth chainrings. As you can see, with the 30t chainring you basically don't lose any low gears but you take away your 3 highest gears compared to the 3x drive. I don't know any mountain bikers who use their top three all that often honestly. With the 32t you lose one gear off the bottom and two off the top compared to 3x. With 34t you almost lose two off the bottom and pretty much keep all but your highest gear. Now the advantage of the 1x system gets a little clearer, you are keeping nearly all of your gear range from your 3x system and can lose up to one pound off your bike by ditching the 3x components. Factor in having a few different size chainrings in your parts bin and you can change your gearing to suit each trail if needed. That said, the 3x system still has the advantage as far as tuning your cadence as there are more options to choose if you really work the gears, and not as large jumps between gears as the 1x. 3x also has an advantage over 1x for driveline wear. Larger gears wear out slower than smaller ones, so when you have a road section or some really fast trail you can pop into the 42t ring and 21 out back to keep from wearing a similar ratio of 32x15. Larger gears also have more chain retention and are less likely to skip of bounce off in hard terrain, although the current crop of "clutch" type rear derailleurs will keep your chain planted no matter what you run into.
Is 1x right for you? I'm sure most riders make do with less than 10 gears anyways but its what you are comfortable with. I'm running a 22/32/bash on my fat bike and really enjoy the 22-36 gear for spinning fast and going slow in deep snow. I'm also currently running a 24/32/42 3x on my 29er, but when that setup wears out I might opt for a 1x with a cassette adaptor as I don't really use my lowest gears on the 29er, or the highest for that matter.
Clear as mud?
Mrs. Bric and I set out this morning for a leisurely ride through the nice paved paths through town out to the Lions Park with Little Bric and Princess Bric in tow. An awesome day with some riding, a picnic, and some playing at the park. It was Princess Bric's first bike ride in the Chariot ever and Mrs. Bric's first ride on her new bike.
Mrs. Bric did great, she learned quickly how to work the gears and brakes, cruising along blissfully. She even gave me some typical Mrs. Bric trash talking yelling at me to keep up while I grunted it out pulling 50lbs of kids plus lunch in the Chariot. It was a good day.
Got a great ride on today with the crew from the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club. Conditions are fantastic out there, no snow to be seen. Couple of ice patches on White Tail in the shadowy pines section. We have hero dirt conditions on 99% of the trail on the East Side already. We had 21 riders in our group with a few joining in later in the day, we also came across groups from London and St. Catherines. It was a busy day on the trails. Our ride consisted of Earshot, Dizzy Lizzy, Spinal Tap, Gasline, Martin's Up, Pail Trail, High Mile, White Tail, North Rainbow Ridge, Fox on the Run, The Burn, and Saudwinder. It was a good day.
Logging in the Anderson Tract - Pail Trail and Martins Up are destroyed but the TPMBC trail gnomes have been out there this week and roughed in some of the new trail. Its tough going but should get packed in relatively quickly. High Mile and White Tail are in great shape, I did not ride the other trails but assume they should be pretty good as well.
Only one pic, hopefully more to come if other members of TPMBC will allow the use of their photos.
Looks like we are good to go. Just got this chart from TPMBC. Keep it off the West Side for a while though. Also note that the Anderson Tract is closed due to logging.
Got out for a nice ride at Turkey Point this morning. Trails are starting to shape up for some spring riding. Right now its a mix of deep snow in the low areas and dirt on higher ground. The areas without snow are nearly dry, as per typical with Turkey Point sand. I rode Saudwinder, The Burn, Spinal Tap, Dizzy Lizzy, and Earshot. Spinal Tap had the deepest snow while Dizzy Lizzy and Earshot were nearly clear. Good on the fat bike right now, should be good in a week or so with warmer temps for skinnier tires. The long range has some double digit temps and rain with above freezing overnight, hopefully its enough to melt alot of the snow that remains.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.