As a blog owner and general cycling obsessed fanatic, my pedal induced forward motion sickness spreads through all aspects of my life. To find inspiration to ride, write and live the life of biking, I indulge in everything biking related on the web, trail and road. While this is not a comprehensive list and is completely subjective, these are the cycling blogs on the net that I think have the most influence online and in my personal blog/web development. Some personal and some professional and spanning the range from mountain biking to commuting, these blogs and websites bring out the best in the cycling community by providing that much needed outlet for the rest of us.
30 Most Influential Cycling Blogs and Websites in 2010
So let’s jump right into it…in no particular order…the 30 most influential cycling blogs and websites in 2010.
#1 – Bicycle Design
James over at Bicycle Design has been blogging about various cycling subjects for quite sometime. As an industrial designer by trade, the aspects of bike design have been at the forefront of his incredibly interesting blog.
Jason has put together a fantastic review site over at FeedtheHabit.com that covers bike related reviews over the warmer months and then switches over to outdoor and snow related activities in the winter. As one of the original bloggers (back before WordPress), Feed the Habit has become a signature review corner on the web.
Grizzly Adam is a freak! From how to finish a 100 mile mountain bike ride to his thoughts on the cycling industry, Grizzly Adam covers a whole host of cycling related subjects with a unique, captivating writing style.
Jason Van Horn has put together a great blog on the heavier riding side of the spectrum. From trail building to reviews on bikes like the Intense Tracer and Trek Session 88 FR, I Hate Bikes brings the love/hate side of biking to life.
A great friend and blogger…Byron blogs on cycling life and commuting over at Bike Hugger. Completely engulfed in the biking lifestyle, Byron bleeds for all things cycling related and that shows in his blog.
With a library of online pictures, videos, reviews and an active forum, Pinkbike.com is one of the best at spreading the stoke online and off. Having sponsored numerous mountain bike videos (remember their logo at the beginning of Seasons?), Pinkbike.com and the crew that supports it are a great source of mountain biking advocacy and support.
It is hard to talk about cycling related blogging and not talk about Eldon at Fat Cyclist. Having raised more money for cancer than a celebrity PBS sell-a-thon, Eldon (also known as “Fatty”) has turned tragedy into inspiration and still manages to throw in some great cycling content in the mix.
If you are looking for gravity riding related news and reviews, Sick Lines is the place to hit on the web. With high-quality reviews, race reports and general DH/FR mountain biking info, it doesn’t get much better than the content from the crew at Sick Lines.
The original when it comes to mountain biking forums, MTBR.com is still one of the highest trafficked forums in the world. On MTBR.com (which you have heard of unless you are living under a rock), you can find a forum category on just about everything in mountain biking plus user reviews on every piece of gear imaginable. Just be careful…there are more opinions on mountain biking in MTBR.com than there are politicians in Washington…
Another blog about bike culture, Cyclelicious can best be described through the mission statement: “Cyclelicious encourages cyclists to promote bicycling as a fun, safe, responsible, reasonable, and healthy means of transportation.”
With breath taking pictures of Alaska and crazy insane cold rides on her Pugsley, Jill takes you on a wild ride through the amazing landscapes and long rides in Alaska. Along with the “I could just stare at them for hours” pictures of the views, you get to step into the story with some amazing writing.
If you are looking for the latest in cycling news from the dirt to the road, Bike Radar is your spot to keep up to date. With interviews, race reports and reviews, Bike Radar keeps on tap with the cycling community no matter where you call home.
Commute by Bike is run by Josh from Bike Shop Hub. With everything you wanted to know about commuting by bike through editorials and product reviews, Commute by Bike is a one stop shop for all things biking transportation.
Race reports, ride reports, gear reviews…you’ll find it all on UltraRob.com. Rob Lucas is obsessed with all things long distance riding, so don’t be surprised if he is posted up some wickedly long race and ride routes. With his first 150 mile unsupported bike ride was when he was 15…I’m pretty sure he knows what he is talking about!
Brian Mullin has a severe passion for mountain biking and reviewing components. In conjunction with MTBR.com’s Pro Review section, Brian posts his mountain bike and component reviews on Grams Light Bikes.
Another online mountain biking forum, Ride Monkey focuses on the gravity side of things to get the job done. With a growing community and review section, Ride Monkey is a go to place to get in needed stoke and rides.
Fixie Dave is just one of those fixtures in the sport that you know to be a nut and can ride the wheels off a bike. While this is not a well known blog in the industry, his attitude towards cycling and personality to go along with it make this blog a great read. PS…do not believe the “slowerthensnot” part…
Jeff is not only a racer on the Topeak-Ergon team, but he is also part of the Ergon crew. With exciting adventure race write-ups, Jeff brings you into the action and shows you what it takes to be at the top of the endurance scene.
Humor, bike antics and a long ass list of bike calculators can all be found at Ron’s blog, Cozy Beehive. Truly obsessed with the cycling culture, Ron shares his latest thoughts and opinions on his blog that provide for great entertainment during your time off the saddle.
EcoVelo is filled with commute by bike information coupled with some fantastic imagery. “This site is the public expression of our personal commitment to reduce our impact on the environment by employing bicycles as our primary mode of transport.”
Love him or hate him…it is hard to talk about bike blogs without mentioning Bike Snob NYC. With a regular periodical in Bicycling Magazine, he has shown that ranting online can get you a regular gig! Captivating writing and a defined opinion has put Bike Snob NYC on the map permanently for bike blogging.
My dear friend and riding buddy Laurie captures the feel of a ride better than anyone I know throw words. With amazing pictures of her various cycling adventures, she shares with us her thoughts and feelings as we go on weekend epics and trips to Moab, Switzerland and other locales.
From reviews to trail reviews, Singletracks covers just about every aspect of mountain biking. With one of the largest online libraries of trail reviews, you can find almost anywhere to ride if you know where you are headed.
With the best the legendary North Shore has to offer, NSMB.com brings everything from an active forum to in-depth product reviews to those looking to ride on the heavier side of things. With testing grounds like the Shore…who can blame NSMB from posting some incredible pictures and reviews of gravity related riding and components.
Nothing gets a ride together or a work party organized like your local forum. Across the globe, cyclists from all backgrounds, ages and disciplines get together online to plan rides, share stories and talk about cycling related activities. Most of us will never actually know the spread of local forums unless you live in the area, but they are an integral part of the cycling culture.
#29 – Facebook
Yes…Facebook. If you look at my personal wall and timeline, you will see it scattered with ride pictures, stories and one liners attached to pedal power. We keep in touch with our friends through this social media outlet and our friends are cyclists, blogs, manufacturers and other cycling related groups. Everyone has a fan page or profile…and we all use it to spread our love of the sport.
#30 – Sheldon Brown
While he will be greatly missed both online and off, Sheldon Brown’s website is an incredible resource for all things biking and bike maintenance. If you are looking to do anything from adjusting a derailleur to building a wheel, Sheldon’s in-depth tutorials are a must read before you put a wrench to the bike.
Your top 30 most influential cycling blogs and websites of 2010. Each of them bring their own stoke to the table as we continue to dive into all that is the bicycle. Regardless of background or riding style…you can find somewhere to call home online through one of these fantastic sites and resources.
I wanted to take a second to recap what we have accomplished on Mountain Biking by 198. Yes…we…without you guys reading this blog…I am nothing but a crazy guy talking to himself, so we are responsible for the benchmarks that are hit on MTB198. While I was away on vacation for my first wedding anniversary, Mountain Biking by 198 surpassed 1,000,000 pageviews. I don’t know about you…but that seems like a HUGE number to me! And yesterday was the first day above 5,000 subscribers!!
What else we have accomplished:
1,041,887 Total Pageviews as of noon yesterday
3,597 Newsletter Subscribers
519 Published Articles
5,000+ subscribers and 1,000,000+ pageviews were two stats that I knew were going to be a benchmark. If we could hit those numbers together, I knew the site was going to be there for the long haul. After accomplishing both of those in a very short period of time, we are going to continue to expand and grow Mountain Biking by 198 into a site for cyclists by cyclists (haha…that phase sounds even cornier as I read it…but it is true).
In the next couple of months, we are going to go through some exciting changes at Mountain Biking by 198. Later this month, we will see the release of the first downloadable eBook on MTB198 titled Ramped Riding that is going to be packed full of riding tips to become a better mountain biker (100+ pages). As my thank you for supporting this site and accomplishing goals that most sites only dream of…I am going to give it away for free to newsletter subscribers (which is also free!).
I am also going to let you in on a little secret that has been brewing behind the scenes at Mountain Biking by 198. For sometime now, I have HATED the domain name. I am sure you have run into the same issue if you try to tell someone about the site.
You say: You go to mtbtrailreview.com.
They say: Hold on…let me write that down.
Well…we all need something more easy to remember and the site needs to expand into my other pedal propulsion obsessions, so mtbtrailreview.com is going to become…drum-roll…bike198.com. It is going to be easier for me to expand the sites offerings with the new domain name and it is going to be a hell of a lot easier to remember. It should be a great move for everyone and we have some fantastic web geeks behind the project so that all of our search engine love is transferred.
This also means that I get to complete some projects that I have had on the table for a long time. This includes t-shirt and jersey ideas among other things as we really swallow up the branding around bike198.com without losing the personal flair that comes with a blog.
So what have we done in 1,041,887 pageviews?
Here are some of my favorites from pageview #1 all the way to pageview #1,041,887.
Becoming A Roadie – The First Century – With the addition of a road bike from Blue Competition Cycles to the stable late last year…this was a big personal milestone in my riding. 100 miles is a long ass ride. I have done several since this one…but I’ll never forget the first.
We have also reviewed some incredible parts from around the industry…here are some of my favorites.
Niner Jet 9 – Even with the current recall…this is one of the fastest mountain bikes I have ever ridden. Great news for Jet 9 owners…Niner is taking care of you guys in a huge way. Props to them for really stepping up.
Trek Session 88 FR – Who doesn’t like a big ass bike to drop off of anything you can find. Expensive…but fun to ride.
Notubes.com Stans ZTR Flow Rims – I have an actual love affair with these rims now with all of my wheelsets sporting their wide stance. Light weight, stiff and can handle just about anything from XC to DH. Not much more to ask for there.
But not all got glowing reviews…
Ellsworth AM Wheelset – The expense still does not quite match up to the quality. Haven’t heard anything from TE yet on reviewing the new set.
WTB LaserDisc Trail 29er Wheelset – After 1 ride…I blew the rear wheel out of dish. For the new models, they finally moved up to 32 spoke from 28…smart move on WTB’s part.
Ventana El Chucho 69er Mountain Bike – Ventana has an incredible stable of mountain bikes, but the 69er platform just doesn’t do them justice. Having owned several Ventana frames in the past…I can assure you that the rest of their lineup would not be in the “not so glowing reviews” category.
We have been fortunate to have some incredible guest posts too…
This week, I also added a section to the footer that shows some of the larger, long term reviews we have going on at Mountain Biking by 198. Hopefully, that will keep you a little bit more keyed in on what we have going on and what we are riding right now.
Also, the Mountain Biking by 198 Flickr group continues to see some incredible shot from around the world that make it onto the side bar of Mountain Biking by 198. Thanks for all of the submissions and keep them coming!
A huge thank you goes out to all of you, Justin Shattuck and all of the manufacturers and supporters of Mountain Biking by 198. It has been a wild ride so far…and it is just going to continue to go up from here.
It’s Friday and you are bored at work just begging for something to tear you away for a couple of minutes as you daydream out this weekends ride. You have a hand print on the side of your face as you watch the Windows XP logo move randomly across the screen. Good thing you don’t have a window office because seeing how beautiful it is outside would just be salt on the wood at this point.
I want to do what I can to get you through the rest of the day and help you be even less productive than you were 5 minutes ago. Here are a couple of mountain biking videos courtesy of simple searching…enjoy!
Sea Otter Jump Jam
You might not like the background music, but watching the utter flow of these guys as they hit this huge jump park known as the Post Office is a great watch.
Santa Cruz Syndicate Testing
Check out some of the fastest DH riders in the world as they test out their new V10′s from Santa Cruz. Steve Peat is one of my favorite riders, so this video was a blast to watch.
Danny MacAskill on Inspired
This one I have posted before, but it is worth showing again. This guy is flat out insane on a trials rig. I would love to see a video of him and Hans Rey urban riding together. That would make for a great clip…
Whenever you guys see videos online that you think everyone else would like to see. Hit me up and I’ll make sure to get them posted. While I like to watch videos that are geared more towards the FR/DH/trials side of things, there are some great XC/AM styled videos out there…so send them on!
Norris, TN USA 37828
Take Interstate 75 North of Knoxville. Approximately 12 miles.Take exit 122 , turn towards Norris. Turn left onto highway 441(just past the museum of Appalachia). Follow 441 and turn right on lower clear creek road (just past Lenoir museum). Stay on lower clear creek road until you come to the pumping station (green water tower). ride up.
Norris Watershed High Point Specs
Classification: Cross Country
Difficulty: It has bumps (modest)
Trail Traffic: Hey Dude! (low)
Norris Watershed High Point Review
Being younger riders, with very limited income and no transportation other than out bikes, my friends and I started riding in the Norris watershed area during middle school because it is less than a few miles away. There is also so much to offer right there, with its almost endless supply of trails. People come from all over, those Knoxville riders with the neoprene shoe covers, the oak ridge’s that glow in the dark, the thrifty Norris riders, and even the rednecks show up after a good rain. The old and young alike enjoy the watershed, truly a place for everyone. They all know the trails, so if your new to the area stop and talk to them, they can show you the best places to ride. Even several years, states, and a few degrees later highpoint trail in the watershed is my absolute favorite trail. It begins with a fair uphill climb. Its a pretty simple climb, steady with a few switch backs. If you’re going after fitness, hit it hard and you’ll be winded in no time. Otherwise, just drop down a few gears and pedal up. You’ll break a sweat, but chances are you’ll make it without any heart attacks. From the pumping station (890′), the High Point jeep road climbs 2 miles to High Point (1460′). Once you get to the top, the fun begins (personally, i love the uphill too). You’re presented with three immediate options that increase as you descend. If you take the way you probably used coming up, you’ll have a fast descent with a few humps along the trail (used for water run off) that make for great jumps. The best and most I’ve seen on any trail for 20 miles.
Take another option and you’re presented with a few whoop-de-doos and then you can branch off for a great ride on lake loop trail that takes you down right along the shore of Norris lake through a tunnel of deciduous trees and back up the side of high point for a steep climb. Other options include raccoon run, just off the left of the main trail on your way down, which is a quick little single track that can be a blast to hit up. Another plus, is that it dumps you out right along the trail on the way down just before the best humps/jumps. Still though, after riding all the trails and combinations, the main up and down is my favorite. I remember being so addicted as a kid that we would pedal out from our houses wearing latex gloves over our wool gloves to keep out the wind and despite being unable to smile since our faces were so cold, or brake because we couldn’t work our hands (looking back the gloves didn’t do much) just for the trill of the ride back down.
Image by Charles (http://www.tnbirds.org/birdfinding/NorrisArea.htm)
Even now, on trips back home, I find myself itching for a quick spin up high point and back down. While I don’t go quite as fast on the way back down, its still a great thrill and makes for a wonderful ride. Be careful though, since cars are technically allowed on the jeep trail and people sometimes bring horses, if you take a turn too fast you could find yourself coming upon something bigger than you faster than you might want. But, despite my many years riding trail, it has never happened to me and there’s only been one close call with a park ranger. But, since traffic is so sparse, especially during the week, there’s not much to worry about. Oh, and because the high point is so well maintained and is designed to drain extremely well, it can be ridden on rainy days with little increased impact to the trail. A huge bonus for those days when you just want to get out and ride despite the inclement weather.
In addition, all the trail users are incredibly courteous and nice. Most are from around the area and can offer great recommendations about other things to do besides mountain biking such as visiting the lake, hiking, or exploring the historical nearby towns. Oh, and on Sunday mornings and afternoons, a lot of community members gather at the Lenior museum (free year round museum that has a few exhibits about early life in the area and the history of the Norris Dam) to play music. The music generally consists of bluegrass, but nothing beats a long ride in the watershed, a splash through clear creek, and relaxing under the shade of a dogwood tree while listening to some great, hometown blue grass on a warm Sunday afternoon.
Overall, a fantastic ride with tons of options for riders looking for a casual ride to a training ride.
Every now and then…I like to give you guys an idea of what is going through the mind of 198 while I am on the bike…so here it is…
Yesterday afternoon, traffic was light so I got the chance to get to the trail and session before my friends were able to show up. The weather had been terrible the days preceding, so there was no one back in the downhill/freeride area of my local trail…even though the conditions were about perfect. All I could hear was the wind blowing, my heart pounding, my breath hitting the full face helmet and my tires gripping that tacky soil that is only found after a great thunderstorm. As I looked down the trail before my next attempt, I felt an overwhelming calmness that I only get through riding.
Let’s face it…things are pretty messed up right now. The job market is terrible and even if you haven’t been downsized, laid off, pay cut or anything else related to things we would wish didn’t happen at our 9-5′s…working right now is difficult given the mood and manner of most customers and vendors as we push through this rough time. To make matters worse, our politicians (on both sides of the fence) would rather argue and not pay their taxes instead of coming together and attempting to solve this mess we are in.
I am able to find peace in the woods as I rip up that next section of singletrack. In the woods…the trail doesn’t care how bad my day was. It doesn’t care what is going on in the world around it. All it cares about is providing the rider with an outlet to vent frustrations and bring about something positive and fulfilling in his day. As I looked down the trail listening to the wind blowing through the trees, I planned out my next section of my ride and truly enjoyed being out on the trail. I was looking forward to my friends coming for some great sessioning out in the woods. Most importantly…I forgot about the crap that is going on around me to realize how great I really have it in this world. I started recollecting my beautiful wife, my crazy dogs, my family, my bikes and everything else that brings me happiness. I was forgetting about the stresses and people that would rather bring you down to their level instead of bringing everyone up.
There are very few things in my life that I can turn to that competely rid my thoughts of negativity. Luckily, I have a great family, a fantastic set of friends and a sport that is there for me time and time again when I need it. It doesn’t matter what bike you ride, what the latest and greatest part is or what kind of riding you choose to participate in…it only matters that you are riding…
A trail that can be run in two directions for different experiences. Perfect for all skill levels as it gets harder as you get faster. Great trail for training or endurance looping.
Directions to Pemberton Trail
Located in McDowell Mountain Park Metro Phoenix area. From HWY 101 North Loop and Pima Road drive north to Dynamite Road and go east to end of road. Take right “tee” onto Rio Verde Rd. and go south to stop sign and turn right continuing on Rio Verde. Follow to park entrance on right and enter park ($6 user fee per vehicle). Drive to Pemberton loop turnoff and park near restrooms at bottom (map at entrance gate outlines route to trail head).
Pemberton Trail Specs
Classification: Cross Country
Trail Difficulty: Whoa! Air Time! (medium)
Trail Traffic: Little Help Here (medium)
Pemberton Mountain Bike Trail Review
Pemberton Trail is often over looked by more skilled or physically fit riders due to it’s ease of use and intimidates many beginners since the elevation change sounds scary. In all actuality, the trail probably would rate the highest in the area for the fun/tech/work ratio (if we had one). It’s a trail that depending on which direction it is ridden, how one pushes while riding and what your personal goals are can be a exciting challenge for just about anyone.
The trail itself is composed mostly of decomposed granite and rocks. The grip is pretty good with a low rolling resistance tire, but watch tire pressure! It is tempting to run higher pressure to gain speed, but the higher pressure will lessen your footprint and make the going slick. There are no drops of greater than six inches and most climbs are short steep ones with lots of room to recover. Riding the trail clockwise will start you on a slight up grade (1-3%) for the first five miles. There are a few little rollers tossed in. Most of the climb up is single track with semi tight switchbacks. The higher you go the better the view gets in front of you as the McDowell Mountains get closer. The view behind is getting good too, but you will get plenty of that on the second half!
Around mile five (this is such a fun trail I rarely track mileage on it) you hit the plateau and the roller section which is twisty, water barred (air time!) and quick up and downs. This is where the technical aspect ramps up as you go faster. The short downhills with water bar jumps entice you into higher speeds for bigger glory with short braking areas into off camber slick 90 degree turns and hairpins which put you smack into a short quick uphill run. Ride faster and you must brake harder on the crushed granite which makes tires lock up and sends more than one rider off the trail on tucks the front wheel and slams you to the ground. Caution is your boring friend here and more often than not I find myself telling him I will meet him at the truck- Bye caution!
For the last 5-6 miles it is time to go back down to the trailhead on a mostly smooth, snaky two track. SS riders will be spinning and trying all kinds of new techniques to gain speed by tucking, standing, sitting, hands in- hand out etc. The gearies will drop the gear, drop the hammer and try to carry more speed through the turns- be careful- the traction runs out fast and talent runs out faster when you come across what looked like a nice 120 degree turn and find that the turn folds in on itself to avoid a large cactus pile that has sucked in many riders before you- it is still hungry- look out! The nice long down hill drops you to the trailhead lot where after a drink of water- your refreshed legs want another go at it. Why not run it the other direction?
Anti-Clockwise is my favorite. The climb out is post hard ride day friendly even for us SS riders. A great trail to catch up with old friends as a conversation can be held on the slight grade and two tracked trail. Or, you can hammer up a long steady grade for race training. The swoopy and fast plateau sections takes you through all the single track the opposite way with the same results and same rule- the faster you go the more gonzo it gets. When you get to this section- stop and take a look down the grade. You can see the mountains in the distance looming but directly before you is the Verde River Valley. The best time is when the sun is just getting ready to drop out of the sky. The landscape takes on a blend of soft tans, translucent purples and foggy oranges. Don’t linger unless you have a light, but you got downhill to do and your opponent is the night. (BTW-this trail is popular for full moon rides led by the park. Lights are used but it is fun to get out front or drop way back and shut off the lights- the ground glows and the wildlife is incredible!) Racing down the alluvial fan is more technical here as you spend the gravity bucks you earned on the way up. Cantaloupe sized rocks dot the singletrack and more sinister looking cactus line the edges of trail and outsides of turns. The end of the ride leads you down a 18mph section of trail with some long jumps if you please and dumps you back into the trail head.
Some trail traits:
Multi Use with horses and hikers- give them right of way on this trail.
Beginners love this trail as it gently exposes them to distance (half is downhill) and they can come back and learn what faster feels like and and how it affects the ride.
Experts like the endurance race feel to the trail (one is held here yearly) and it is perfect for training on. The trail lends itself well to conditioning and learning to control heart rate.
There are nice flush toilets and showers on site at the trailhead.
You cannot get lost here. If you get turned around- find a trail and go down. No matter where you are lost at you will hit a paved road within 8 miles.
Nearby Fountain Hills has some nice small restaurants and bars for after eats!
Located in McDowell Mountain Park which also has competitive MTB right of way loops, and links into over 70 miles of trail from mild to way too wild! Maps located here.
It’s official…Mountain Biking by 198′s first blog post was on March 18, 2008. What started off as a simple blogger based thought gathering page for mountain biking related content, ended up being full out cycling related blog and 374 articles later…we are growing like crazy! I would like to think that it is because I have an extremely cool online persona, but the truth is…it is because of you guys! Thank you for the support and interaction over the past year. It has been a lot of work, but Mountain Biking by 198 is nothing without it’s readers.
The Mountain Biking by 198 Design
Over the past year, we have seen 4 different blog designs until we finally got something that really works. That is thanks to the guys over at Justtheweb.com and specifically…Justin Shattuck. Speaking of the Shatt…he was also brought on as a partner in early 2009 as we progress into other disciplines of cycling and grow this site (and others in the oneninety8 network) to that next level.
Product Reviews by Mountain Biking by 198
Mountain Biking by 198 has seen a lot of product in one years time. Over 50k in mountain biking related products has seen their way through these pages. We have been fortunate enough to review some of the best parts and bikes that the cycling industry has to offer (and some that aren’t so great…).
All of this couldn’t be done without some help from our partners and fellow blogging friends. A huge thank you goes out to Greg and the rest of the crew at MTBR.com, FeedtheHabit.com, Bicycle Design, Sacred Rides, Ultrarob.com and all of the other blogs, manufacturers, sites and individuals who have linked to Mountain Biking by 198 over the past year.
Laurie and regularJoe have also done an incredible job of providing a lot of the action shots you see here on Mountain Biking by 198.
Thanks Again to everyone involved and especially you guys…the readers…that are the value of Mountain Biking by 198.
This weekend, a group of us are heading up to Pisgah National Forest for some true southeast, all-mountain riding on some of the best trails the eastern United States has to offer. Pisgah National Forest, nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, is known for dozens of mountain epics all within miles of each other, and this makes Pisgah a destination site for eager mountain bikers ready to tackle all day, technical rides. For the roadies out there…Pisgah/Asheville is also known as the training ground for Lance Armstrong as he gets ready for the mountain stages of the tour. The Blue Ridge Parkway provides some of the best climbing in the US.
As I prepare for this weekend of long miles and incredible riding, I started wondering how many of you guys spend some time during the year on cycling related vacations. Do you go on biking vacations and where do you normally go? (use comment section below for the where)
…is running a contest right now to when a free mountain biking vacation.
At Sacred Rides, we eat, sleep and dream mountain biking. We travel all over the world in search of the best rides. We talk about it, write about it, take photos of it, film it.. you get the point. We simply love it.
We want to share that love of mountain biking with you and we want you to share it with us. So we’re inviting you to show us your love with our new I Love Mountain Biking video contest.
The winner of the contest will walk away with an all-expenses-paid MTB trip to Peru or British Columbia worth over $4500. The grand prize includes a spot on one of our trips in Peru or BC, return airfare from North America or select spots in Europe, and the use of a DeVinci bike for the duration of the trip.
The sooner you enter, the better your chances. Your video could be 1 to 3 minutes of anything: footage of you riding your home trails, a song and dance, a music video. However you express your love of the sport.
I look forward to seeing your entries, and good luck!
Oak Mountain is a trail that you will spend significant time to get to when you are craving just one good ride that incorporates almost every kind of riding style. This 17 mile loop offers several varieties of trail type and every variety of singletrack fun.
Directions to Oak Mountain
Oak Mountain State Park is located just off of I-65 in Pelham, AL. Take exit 246 and turn west onto AL Hwy. 119 (Cahaba Valley Road). Almost immediately, turn left (south) onto Oak Mountain Park Road. Travel approximately two miles on Oak Mountain Park Road. You will pass under I-65 and come to a 4 way stop. Take a left at the 4 way onto State Park Road (John Findley Drive) and enter the park. You will pass a golf course on your left. Take the first right onto Terrace Drive and follow it until the road turns to gravel. Before you get to the gravel, turn into the parking lot on your right. You are at the south trailhead! map: Google Maps Link
Oak Mountain Trail Stats
Classification: Cross Country
Trail Difficulty: Whoa! Air Time! (medium)
Traffic: Hey Dude! (low)
Oak Mountain Trail Review
Many mountain bikers require multiple trails to satisfy the cravings that we get for different types of riding. However, when we speak of “destination” trails, trails that people will travel significant distances to get to, we generally end up discussing trails that offer many varieties of riding in one area. The Red Loop at Oak Mountain State Park fits squarely into the category of a destination trail. Though primarily a cross-country trail, this 17 mile loop will give you a taste of almost everything that mountain biking has to offer. The highlights include miles of flowing singletrack, a white knuckle doubletrack downhill with multiple creek crossings, and one of the most infamous rock gardens in the southeast. The best part is that you get all of this trail goodness just a short distance from a major metro area and the entire trail can be enjoyed without having to be an expert rider.
Oak Mountain State Park contains over fifty miles of trail but the only trail open to mountain bikers is the Red Trail, also known as the Double Oak Trail. The entire 17 mile loop is well marked with a red blaze (how did you guess?). There are two main trailheads, the south trailhead on Terrace Drive and the north trailhead on Findley Drive. The most popular way to ride the trail is to park at the south trailhead and ride in a counter clock-wise direction. The south trailhead has the benefits of extra parking, bathroom facilities, and a separate 1.5 mile beginner’s and family trail.
The loop is broken up into several distinct sections and several of these sections have very interesting names. You begin with “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” and “Foreplay”, both short sections of flat and flowing singletrack. This will be your warm-up to “Johnson’s Mountain”, a 2 mile section of hilly wooden singletrack that starts your climb up to the main ridge. The next section was built by the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers and is known simply as the “BUMP Trail”. Here you will find the majority of the climbing up to the ridge of Oak Mountain. At the top you will encounter the infamous rock garden known as Blood Rock. Blood Rock is wet and slippery year-round and very difficult to climb. It is also intimidating but surprisingly rideable in the downhill direction. This area is a very popular spectator spot during BUMP’s annual Bump ‘N Grind mountain bike race. Take a look at this video to get an idea of what it feels like to not ride Blood Rock .
Take a left turn at the top of the Blood Rock section to begin the 5 miles of doubletrack known as the “Red Road”. This section will allow you to catch your breath from the climb up the “BUMP Trail” and will also show you some of the beauty that Oak Mountain holds. The second half of this section will satisfy your craving for speed with a 2.5 mile decent that includes 8 armored creek crossings that can give you a surprise launch if you are not careful. As always, pay attention on the downhill and the creek crossings because you will likely encounter hikers and other bikers slowly making their way up to the ridge. This video will give you an idea of what the decent on the Red Road looks like:
The next section of trail provides a chance to shake out your hands and enjoy pure, basic singletrack. Be on the lookout for wildlife in this area. You will also see portions of the park development, including the primitive camping area and the RC car race track. You will also have to cross one paved road and ride on a dirt road. Water is available in the Day Use area after you cross the paved road. The trail is well marked in these areas and you should have no problem finding your way. Use this section to rest up for the final push to the finish.
The last singletrack section is known as “Seven Bridges” and contains 8 bridged creek crossings (I bet you didn’t guess that one!). This section is approximately 2 miles long and contains wooded singletrack climbs with good flow. You will end at Terrace Drive where you will turn left and climb less than a mile to get back to the south trailhead. The final section on Terrace Drive is the only paved portion of the trail in the entire loop. Be wary of vehicle traffic on Terrace Drive, especially during the summer. Keep your eyes open to see the park beach, lake and dam. A quick stop at the beach is very tempting after a summer ride.
Oak Mountain is a well known destination for mountain bikers and is one of the most well built trails in the southeast. The best feature of the trail is pure and simple singletrack and the beauty of an Alabama forest. However, the variety of riding that is packed into this loop will surprise you and leave you wondering where the 17 miles went. This trail will provide excitement for any type of rider and is a beautiful example of what southeast mountain biking has to offer.
Industry Legend Leaves – PayPal Donations Still Needed
Las Vegas, NV -February 18, 2009 - – Brent Thomson, Mountain Bike Industry Legend and Trail Master of Bootleg Canyon (trail used for the Interbike Dirt Demo) has lost his battle with complications from the Quadruple Bypass surgery he underwent in January.
While surgery went well and Brent was coherent and talking after recovery, a series of post-operative strokes took him back to the Intensive Care Unit where he eventually succumbed to complications from the surgery.
Brent’s son Barret was at his side with relatives as his condition worsened. “Brent appreciated and was aware of all of the love and support that the mountain bike industry has shown through this difficult time” said Barret. “There’s been an outpouring of emotion and support from all of his friends and the industry, and we’re making plans for a memorial event to be held at Bootleg Canyon over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend (March 14-15.)”
Please Continue to Support Brent Through PayPal Donations
Barret can still use financial support as there are many loose ends to tie up. Please continue to support the cause by donating to the paypal account listed above. Stay tuned for more information, and make plans to attend the memorial for Brent Thomson at Bootleg Canyon over the March 14-15th weekend.
As much as we all love watching videos like Seasons, there is something about watching friends rip the local trails on videos that make them that much better. Chad Oliver has been playing with the MTB by 198 GoPro Wide Angle for awhile now and is starting to get creative with multiple camera angles. Check out some of this sick riding in Tennessee.
You already know which trail I am talking about because every rider in every trail ridden area of the world has at least one. The weather is poised to be perfect over the weekend. Your local forum is buzzing with suggestions on where to ride and take advantage of everything the great outdoors has to offer. Several riders throw up suggestions and nothing seems to really stick. The conversation starts with around 30 eagar riders all waiting in anticipation of the RTR spot. Then it happens…
One of your favorite riding buddies suggests…that trail. All of the sudden you have 1/2 of the excited group bailing and the other half are gearing up for the pain as they prepare for the inevitable sufferfest that is “that trail”.
That trail for us north Georgia residents is Rich Mountain. Rich consists of Stanley Gap, Flat Creek, Lake Blueridge and Green Mountain. This 20+ miles of mountain biking heaven is about 20 minutes north of Ellijay, GA and once you are done…it feels like you actually rode over 50.
Littered with super technical climbs, this out and back route delivers the same amount of excitement coming down, but you pay for it…over and over again. Even the best riders come to Rich Mountain expecting to walk some. That last climb back over Stanley Gap is pure survival mode as you try to save at least a little bit in the tank for that last incredible, several mile downhill to the car.
So…what makes it that trail?
Like I mentioned before, every area has a trail like Rich. It is that trail that half of your riding group grimmeses at the thought of riding it and the other half gets an evil grin hoping that this is the ride that they conquer the beast. That trail tests your endurance, heart and technical ability all in one ride. Some riders may not find this ride fun at all, but for us insane few…this is where mountain biking is at its best.
Challenging what we consider normal is part of the fun in my riding. I am constantly trying to push the envelope of technical ability and endurance. Rides at Rich test all of your skills at once, and after finishing…I have a feeling of accomplishment as I love to hate the next trip out to this hill. I will never turn down a ride to this area as it makes me a better rider with every attempt. This kind of challenge is not for everyone, but if you give yourself the chance…you can find out that you are much more capable than you ever thought.
Next time you find yourself bailing on the ride that visits “that trail”…don’t. Take the chance and see what you are really made of. Everyone is in the same boat so just pace yourself and make it through. You might never fully conquer the beast, but you will gain a lot along the way.