breathinghardBunny Hop

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  • in reply to: winter trail riding #289218

    Most of my riding is on back roads up a mountain and then a long descent back. The problem I have in the winter is twofold – I can stay warm on the climbs (most of my routes involves a climb heading out, often for quite a few  miles) but on the descents, with the windchill factor and lack of exertion, I’m pretty frozen by the time I get back to the vehicle. Second, I have yet to find any base layer which wicks as advertised, and I’ve tried merino wool, capilene, polypropylene, etc – they all get wet. My solution has been to do what I’ve done ice climbing, which involves postholing through deep snow up mountainsides to frozen waterfalls and then belaying motionless for long periods. I carry an extra base layer and a packable down jacket in a pack, strip the wet stuff off before the descent and put on a new dry layer. The brief exposure of skin to the cold is a small price to pay for a dry base layer on a long descent. I can’t say that this keep me warm but at least I’m not hypothermic. I’ve been hypothermic once in the past to the point where although I could get my key into my vehicle door I was unable to turn it. I finally got the door open by grabbing the key with both hands at waist level and rotating my entire body. With hypothermia, your muscles just quit working, a dangerous situation.

    As far as feet I use a liner sock, wool sock or neoprene river wading sock, and boots (I’ve got platform pedals and want something I can walk out in if necessary). I also have some over-the-toe cover for the boots. I’ve heard of some folks wrapping their toes in aluminum foil before inserting them into a shoe but haven’t tried this.

    As an aside, in the pack carrying the extra clothes I have a space blanket and fire starting material along with a personal locator beacon device if I’m heading up a remote road.

    If it gets too cold I leave the bike at home and break out the skis and snowshoes.


  • in reply to: New member #269880

    I stumbled across this article which might be of some interest to some. Basically the study looked at the exercise levels done by e-bike users vs regular bike users. E-bike riders rode for longer hours and greater distances, basically using their bikes more often. Thus the total number of METS used per week was greater in the e-bike population than the regular bike population (“What’s more, e-bike riders reported similar—and even slightly higher—activity levels as those who rode a conventional bike. Reported physical activity levels for e-bikers was an average of 4,463 MET minutes/week, versus 4,085 MET minutes/week for conventional cyclists.”)

    As many have said, if an e-bike gets you out and having fun, there’s a very positive gain from that. Here’s the link to the article.

  • in reply to: New Rider #269673

    I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on the subject but I have a few thoughts. First, determine what type of riding you want to do. If you want to gravitate towards enduro events or technical downhills on singletrack your needs will be different than if you plan on bikepacking or riding old dirt or gravel roads. They will be different yet if you want to race.

    Once you’ve done that there will remain numerous choices of bikes which are suitable from bunches of manufacturers, for a variety of different budgets, and they’ll all work ok – which is why we see articles like “The 10 best bikes for Enduro”. You can get hung up on choosing among a variety of essentially similar models if you aren’t careful. Just be sure to get one that’s sized right for you.

    About a year ago I switched from a 1990’s stumpjumper, a hardtail which in my hands should have been renamed the “stumpbumper” to a Salsa Timberjack. The main reason for this was that the Stumpjumper (which I loved) was bought secondhand and didn’t fit me exactly, so that after a few hours riding my neck felt like I had been belaying for 8 straight hours on some cliff wall staring straight up. The Timberjack allowed a more upright posture and was much kinder to my aging neck. Second, the local bike shop had them in stock and they got good reviews. Third, they could be fitted with racks for bikepacking. Fourth, I don’t do much technical downhill singletrack and don’t race so I didn’t feel the need for dual suspension or a superlight bike. And the price, about $1,000, was right. It’s not what I would choose for Enduro riding or any other racing for that matter but it works great for what I do. So would any number of similar well-fitted bikes out there.

    Good luck with your search.

  • in reply to: New member #269478

    There was a recent thread on e-bikes with a variety of opinions ranging from positive to VERY negative. Here’s an example of a negative reaction in an article on this website:

    I’m 69 and ride mainly old jeep logging and mining roads which run through the national forests of western Montana, on a regular mountain bike. I’ve met a few people out on e-bikes on these roads. All these folks have been older than myself and absolutely loved their e-bikes. Personally I agree with Oldandrolling – if it gets you out, and you’re having fun on trails or roads where e-bikes are legal, more power to you, and if someone has an problem with that, that’s their issue and not yours.

    You might be interested in looking at this segment the Global Cycling Network, a show produced in Great Britain but which covers some rides in the US and elsewhere. They have had several segments on e-bikes.

    The comments after this segment are particularly interesting. Major advantages of e-bikes for select people:
    1) Great for commuting
    2) Allow people of vastly different abilities and strength to ride together, as in a father and son or husband and wife
    3) Allow people recovering from injuries or beset with orthopedic issues to continue riding with their friends as they did when they were well
    4) Get some people out who otherwise would not want to or be able to do it

    Finally, one thing mentioned by the people I’ve talked to personally on e-bikes but also mentioned in the segments I’ve seen on the GCN network, they apparently are a lot of fun for people to ride. I can’t see any downside. Keep on rolling and if you pass me on an old jeep road some day say “hi”.

  • in reply to: Best Bikepacking Hardtail (front suspension) #268207

    Check out this link, which profiles a variety of different bikes for bikepacking:

    How to Bikepack

  • in reply to: e-bikes #265869

    Thanks, EJRocket. It’s good to hear from someone who has actually used an e-bike.
    I’m reminded of a discussion that occurred a long time ago during the running boom of the 1970’s. Prior to then marathons such as Boston were run by a few folks who were pretty fast. After the running boom began marathons changed and had thousands of people running pretty slow times. A book on marathoning by an elite marathoner made the comment “If you can’t run a marathon in under 4 hours you shouldn’t be running them”. The reply, which I believe came from Bill Bowerman, a famous coach, was “I’d rather see 5,000 people running a marathon in 5 hours than 5000 people watching a TV newscast about 20 people running a marathon in 2-1/2 hours”. I agree with Bowerman and feel that if e-bikes get more people off the couch getting some exercise as long as they stay where it’s legal, it’s great. Not everyone wants to be competitive. Many of us who used to be competitive find that age has changed the equation from getting stronger to having the most fun as our primary goal.

  • in reply to: Common Mountainbike Acronyms & Terms #263502

    I term I never heard before but recently read in a book by Chris Froome:

    “‘Rhoid buffer” – a descent steep enough that you get low off the back of the seat with your derriere near the rear wheel.

  • in reply to: I guess I am alright with not going (that) fast #262645

    If on a ride you are already where you want to be, why be in a hurry to get somewhere else?

  • in reply to: New Bike Day Dilemma #262471

    I love the shirt! Nice to see some humor here and compliments to the artist. The slogan’s great too. Thanks.

  • in reply to: e-bikes #262045

    The Helena Outdoor Club in Montana had a lecture recently at a monthly meeting from the owner of Big Sky Cyclery, a man who has been in the bike business for 42 years, and has his business in a town designated as a bronze level destination city by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (due to over 70 miles of singletrack within a 5 mile radius of the city center). Part of his talk was on e-bikes, and he stated that there were e-bikes suited to every category of bicycle riding, including mountain biking, though I’m not sure a budget entry level bike would fill the bill for what you are talking about. The main niche for these bikes will be for older cyclists who still want to ride but due to cardiac or orthopedic issues or just due to old age cannot manage the hills. I enjoy riding on the jeep roads that honeycomb much of Helena and Deerlodge national forests and have seen a few elderly people out enjoying themselves on ebikes, and they rave about them for allowing them to continue to enjoy the sport they love. Before anyone gets on too high a horse about this, realize that someday, if you are lucky, you too will be the 70+ year old wanting to bike, and also realize that some of these old cyclists were pretty hard core back in the day and are probably responsible for some of the trails you ride on now.

    There are issues about where these bikes should be allowed, but unless your head is in the sand you realize there are current issues about where regular mountain bikes are being restricted from as well.

  • in reply to: Anyone wear MTB pants (not tights)? #260221

    I vary the pants depending on the weather, but usually tuck the cuff into my socks on the chainring side if the pants are a little loose. I’ve never had a problem with snagging in the chainring. Everyone has their own preferences – I don’t like skin-tight spandex and usually avoid shorts, but lots of folks like these.

  • in reply to: Tarp Shelters and rain #259977

    My initial backpacking tent was a tarp. This was back in the day when the only advice on the subject came from Colin Fletcher, author of The Complete Walker, who used a tarp on his trips in the southwest desert (also, I couldn’t afford more at the time). I got soaked and flooded out on one trip in a deluge in the Appalachians and shortly thereafter scraped for a tent. The next trip I took was in the Adirondacks in black fly season. I would have gone insane without the bug protection of the tent.

    One man tents these days weigh about a pound more than a tarp and give much superior protection from biting insects, which can ruin a trip, and rain. A free-standing tent doesn’t require stringing lines to trees, a factor above timberline or in a prairie. They also allow you the room to sit up, change clothing out of the elements, and in a pinch, pee into a container at night when it’s pouring outside, something a bivy sack will not allow.

  • in reply to: New clothes #251540

    Personally I wouldn’t use jeans if you think you might also need a rain jacket. They get wet easily and NEVER dry out. 50 years ago when I was green as grass I took jeans on a backpacking trip through 12 inches of snow, and spent a lot of time trying to dry them around a campfire each night. They would char before they got dry. This was before I ever heard the phrase “cotton kills”, referring to the hypothermia danger from wet cotton in cold temps – like I said I was really a greenhorn back then, but that’s how you learn. I haven’t bought a pair of jeans since that trip. But I also think you don’t need specific clothing for most biking – your regular outdoor clothing for hiking should do ok.

  • in reply to: Winter Apparel #247003

    I haven’t done a lot of mountain biking in the cold – plenty at 35-50 degrees but not much at subfreezing as I don’t find it any fun, but have done some ice climbing and the issues are similar. Postholing uphill to a frozen waterfall gets you hot and sweaty and standing there belaying in subfreezing temperatures gets you chilled pretty quickly just as riding uphill and coasting down are different extremes of heat regulation, with windchill to boot. Loading extra clothing in a backpack and removing and adding layers (I keep a dry base layer I change into after the approach when ice climbing even if it means stripping off the wet one in zero temps). I often put on a windproof jacket for the bike descents. Most of my routes are uphill on the way out, downhill on the way back so this works pretty well for me.

  • in reply to: No more REI or Dicks for me. #247002

    I wish businesses would steer clear of politics. Mountain bikers have some issues that are political in nature – access to trails in wilderness study areas is one that could be debated. Gun control is not such an issue.

  • in reply to: Newbe middle aged man #246943

    I live about 1/2 miles from the Great Divide Mountain Bike trail which goes from Banff, Canada to Mexico. . You’d be surprised how many of the folks doing the 2800 mile route are retired. The oldest I’ve personally met was 75. There are also many middle-aged riders, and a large percentage of these are European (I suspect because of the difference in vacation times between US vs European workers). I ride several times a week and am 68. Now the Divide trail does not have too many severe technical descents but these older guys climb a total of about 200,000 feet on the journey on bikes loaded with camping gear, rain gear, extra clothing and food. Your age is not an issue. Have fun.

  • in reply to: Crash on new bike #246579

    Last year I got a new bike from Salsa and actually decided to read the manual that came with it. The manual stated in clear terms about downhill jumping and free riding “If you engage in this sort of extreme aggressive riding you WILL get hurt”. Their point being that the only people who never fall on technical downhill stuff are probably those who never ride it. Clearly full suspension bikes make it safer but a fall can happen on any bike. It’s why we wear helmets and most enduro racers use knee and elbow pads. I realize this doesn’t solve your problem but I think falls are a risk you assume if you ride those lines. I personally walk bad sections, but I’m 68 (which makes me way more cautious than I would have been decades ago), when bones break rather than bend and I don’t want to contribute to an orthopedic surgeaon’s retirement fund. Just my opinion but falls are part of the deal if you do that stuff. Better riders than I might disagree.

  • in reply to: e-bikes #262304

    Of my mountain biking friends, two have broken a humerus, one has broken a femur (and had to be found and evacuated by search and rescue), and one had a near catastrophe where he took a spill and for a brief few seconds after the crash had no sensation below the neck. An MRI scan later that day revealed that a disc in his lower cervical spine had been shoved out but fortunately there was no permanent damage. Last year at an enduro race here a kid broke his clavicle and needed evacuation. All these accidents occurred on descents and had they been on e-bikes I doubt the motor would have been giving any assist at the time of the injury. Studies have shown that injuries on mountain bikes mostly occur after faulty jump attempts, bike tricks and falls. The vast majority of street bike injuries in recreational cyclists occur because of cars. I don’t find the argument that e-bikes should be banned because if they break down their riders could be in trouble to be a compelling argument. If a person is that impaired they should be riding with a companion. Common sense is more important than what bike you ride. Hikers being nearly hit by a mountain biker descending at high speed with no situational awareness beyond a few yards ahead of them could be used as a reason to keep all bikers off any hiking trail. Most people I know descends at speed dictated by our comfort and skill level and not on how fast we can get the bike to go. I would also point out that the persons souping up the e-bikes are probably going to be young adrenaline junkies, not older people wanting one for their assist on the hills. I can see that the opinions here are not likely to change, but I also see that nobody who has posted has ever been on an e-bike, including myself. If anyone is still interested, it is instructive to read the “comments” section after the following youtube from the Global Cycling network taken in Europe: It seems that in Europe there is not the same level of controversy as there is here.

  • in reply to: e-bikes #262112

    Comparing the use of e-bikes, which is legal and as far as I can see has only health benefits for older people, to the use of anabolic steroids, which are illegal with many potential side effects, is a real stretch.

    I’m a retired physician, not using an e-bike but knowing that sooner or later I may have to if I want to continue cycling in the hills (and where I live in Montana, there are only hills). As a physician, I think anything that gets people off their sofas and out exercising is a good thing. This ESPECIALLY is true for older people, who have a major problem with deconditioning. E bikes still require pedalling and the amount of assist can be adjusted. There are other reasons people use e-bikes. One couple I saw on them commented that their e-bikes allowed them to cycle together, as the husband was a lot faster than the wife on regular bikes. On the road, e-bikes may allow older people to keep pace with the younger people they’ve been doing group rides with for years but now can’t. These people are just out there to have fun, not to prove how tough they are. In town they are becoming more and more of a commuter vehicle. I can’t see much downside to their use when used for these reasons.

    There are legitimate fears that allowing e-bikes on non-motorized trails, which includes many of the bike trails in the US national forests, might worsen access problems – and there are plenty of people out there who want to eliminate mountain bikes from hiking trails already. This is a valid concern. All of the mountain e-bikes I’ve seen have been on gravel or dirt roads or ATV roads. Currently they are prohibited in non-motorized travel restricted areas.

    In my opinion, and it’s only an opinion, those who want to stop people from using e-bikes or who are upset about the idea of someone on an e-bike because it doesn’t fit their own idea of what a hard core and physically demanding sport mountain biking is, should check their ego. There’s room out there for all of us and we need all the advocates for cycling we can get. In any event, e-bike use has taken off in Europe and is getting more use in the US, so you will see them used regardless of whether you want to or not.

    By the way, I still rock climb. I’ve been extremely gratified by the respect I’ve been shown out on the cliffs by young climbers, who may have to wait a bit longer for my buddy and I to finish a route before they start on it. Many of these younger folks seemed delighted to see us older guys out there and have expressed that sentiment to us. Good to see.

  • in reply to: e-bikes #262079

    This topic reminds me of a “war” in the rock climbing community years ago. Some of the older traditional climbers who regarded climbing as an extreme sport where one pushed the limits and risked life and limb were infuriated by the new “sport climbers” who wanted to protect sketchy routes with bolts, thereby removing most of the danger. The sport climbers viewed climbing as a fun activity but not one worth risking your life over. “Sport Climbing is neither” was the mantra to the old guard, and bolts in place were angrily chopped out and some fights erupted. Today most climbing areas have many sport routes which are heavily protected, climbing gyms are everywhere and the sport has tons of adherents because, as John Long (first guy to climb “the Nose” on El Cap in a day) noted, when it came to pure fun, sport climbing had it in spades.

    You may not think getting older people out on bikes is a cogent argument for e-bikes. I can’t think of a better argument because the young folks don’t need pedal assist. The bike manufacturers, shops, and people buying up the bikes might disagree with you. Here is what Trek has to say on their website:
    “On- or off-road, they’re perfect for those who want to climb faster, explore more, or just get there a bit faster.
    Only e-bikes offer the flexibility to get in a workout, ride with a faster friend, haul a heavy load, or simply cruise. Even if your ride varies from day to day, an electric bicycle always gives you the option to do and experience more.”

    Specialized produces bikes such as the Levo, suited to handling any terrain. Clearly there’s a market here.

    Here is a take on e-bikes by Mark Weir, a veteran mountain bike racer and former all-mountain world champion whose 20-year race career spanned downhill, cross-country, road, and endurance racing. Weir is also an eight-time winner of the Downieville Downhill – a 17-mile plunge with 5000 feet of vertical drop.

    Currently e-bikes are regarded as motorized vehicles by the forest service and subject to those restrictions, and I’m fine with that. But I don’t think it’s cool to look down on older people using a new technology to get out and enjoy themselves in areas it’s legal to do so, when otherwise they’d be at home or on an ATV, just because you think mountain biking should be “hard”.

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