Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Personal Experience with Wally World Bikes

When I was a young mountain biking padawan, I asked my master this very same question about what was really so wrong with Walmart mountain bikes. And he gave me essentially the same answer that I am giving you. Since that time, I have found this to be true through my own personal experience.

The first experience that I had with a Walmart Special was when a friend of mine asked me to look at their bike and see if I could tune it up. It was a Next, and was in horrible condition. The rear shock was totally shot, fork was rusted up, seat and seatpost just destroyed, and everything else not looking too hot. I had seen how this bike had been stored, and general abuse wasn't the issue. The issue was that those bikes simply were not built to endure frequent use at any serious level.

About a year ago my roommate asked me to do maintenance on one of his bikes that he had purchased at Walmart. His chain was broken, and I was just going to throw a standard sized powerlink on it and send him on his way. The only issue was that because it was a generic department store bike, none of the components were standard size, so it wouldn't work. (Yes, I did have the powerlink that should have worked for the standard size chain for that many cogs.)

A few months later, I was going to load a different Wally World bike that he had bought onto the bike rack on my car. The first issue that I ran into was that it didn't even have a quick release skewer on the front wheel. I had to bust out the crescent wrench to take the thing off. The second issue that I faced in that moment was that the size of the hub on the front wheel was not at all standard size for a mountain bike. In fact, it was too narrow to even fit on my rack! One of the nice things about mountain bikes today is that as an industry, there is more and more compatibility with sizing of components across brand lines. Some things are almost universal. This, bicycle, on the other hand, was not compatible.

My roommate started commuting on his bike to work about 3 or 4 days a week. About 2 months later, I pulled into the garage to see his Walmart rig lying on the floor, with the front bearing total destroyed. Mountain biking on a Walmart Special? Forget it! Cheap bicycles cannot even stand to be used as an on-road commuter several times a week. Forget the abuse doled out by a gnarly web of tree roots! Quality mountain bikes are constructed to handle the abuse over a lifetime. Sure, parts may wear out and break, especially if you're riding several thousand miles of singletrack a year. But a good bike will take a massive amount of use and abuse, and just keep giving.

Vtolds shared a story with us the other day over on a thread on the Singletracks forum:

My personal experience was bad with a Walmart bike, specifically a Next. Cost me literally 70 dollars and was as happy as a clam. First ride was something like 10 miles, everything went good. The ride was on road, never even dawned on me back then to ride off road with it. Every ride after that my non drive side crank arm would fall off. Started getting some ghost shifting for no real reason. After it sat around for a few years, my roommate and now best friend/biking buddy got me into wanting to ride. So I took my bike off road, which was a bad idea. Ghost shifting is horribly frustrating when riding a trail. My crank arm fell off and we were unable to find the nut that holds it on. Ended up using one of the nuts the held the front wheel on. So I literally road home with one nut holding my front wheel on. My back wheel was so out of tru that I had to disconnect my rear brake just so I could peddle.
That was my last experience on that bike. My room mates brother donated to me a old Rigid Steel Schwinn Single speed, until I started to build my first bike.

Yet again, another classic story of the shoddy construction of Walmart bicycles.

Coming tomorrow, this bleak situation begins to look more positive, and I'll cover: "What should I do if I can't shop at Walmart?"

Read the whole series: 
This post is a part of the series "Buying your first mountain bike? Here's what you should and shouldn't do." For a well rounded and informed view of the topic, I suggest reading all of the posts in the series.

Do you have a story about the short lifespan of a Walmart Special? Feel free to share it below in the comments!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guest Blog: Transitioning Ski & Board Skills to the MTB Trail

Hey guys!  Yesterday was a pretty big day with the launching of my first series. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback about it, which is pretty sweet.  Today the series continued here.  I'm pleased with the post, and am excited for what is to come!

Yes, yesterday was a pretty big day.  But today, something just as big if not BIGGER is going down: my first every guest blog!  Yep, that's right, I've officially written a post on someone else's blog.  I am now a legitimate member of the blogosphere.

The blog I guest-posted on was no little no-name blog either: it was the official mountain bike blog! The cool thing about this is, for any mountain biker that spends a decent amount of time on the internet, you don't have to be told what Singletracks is: you already know!

Go check out my guest post entitled "Transitioning Ski & Board Skills to the MTB Trail" now!  I hope you guys enjoy it!

PS be sure to leave some love over there in the comments, and maybe I'll get this awesome opportunity again!


What Is Wrong With Walmart Bicycles?

Let me break it down for you quickly, just so it's clear: Walmart bikes are crap.

Why is this so? The bike sold at your average department store (Walmart, Target, K-mart, etc) is cheap.  In mountain biking (as with many things in life), you usually get what you pay for.  When you pay $100-150 for a Walmart bike, you are getting a heavy-as-lead bike that is poorly constructed, with cheap components that are going to fall apart with anything resembling regular use.  In bicycling, weight is key. Specifically, low weight is key.  The heavier the bike, the more effort you will have to expend to pedal it.  Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone shell out $5,000 for the lightest race whip on the market. But if you can spend a few bucks more and get a bike that's close to half the weight, then I'd say go for the lighter bike.

Secondly, the construction of these bikes is incredibly shoddy.  They aren't built to withstand serious trail riding.  Bolts and nuts start falling off, components that aren't supposed to move start moving around... it's a bad situation. When mountain biking on serious singletrack, you have to depend on the bike that you're riding, and trust that it is going to do it's job and not fall apart when you're bombing down a rock-strewn mountainside. Department store bicycles can't even withstand a regular on-road commute. (More on that tomorrow.)

The components on these bicycles (one of the worst brands being the Walmart in-house brand "Next") are horrible.  Much high-level engineering has gone into making light, durable, reliable components for real mountain bikes.  When a high-end rear derailleur costs about the same as a complete full suspension Next, well, there is a reason for that.  When buying a bicycle from a good company, one of the things that differentiates between an expensive bike and an inexpensive one is the quality of the components.  The components that come stock on the typical "Walmart Special" bike don't even reach what is considered bottom of the line by the bike industry at large. Why is that bad? When I first started mountain biking, I had issues with constantly destroying low-mid range components due to their lack of durability (and age).  Now, with generally high-level components on my bike, I have fewer issues that require replacement, but I still regularly go through components simply due to the amount of time that I put on my bike.  Bearing in mind that the components that come on the average Walmart Special don't even reach the standard for bottom-of-the-line industry components... that is a very sad, sad story.

Also, as one of my forum acquaintances AK_Dan mentioned, the fit of a bicycle has a lot  to do with how well it performs.  Most of the bikes found at a department store tend to be a one-size-fits-all deal.  One of the major pluses of purchasing a quality bicycle from a reputable shop is getting a bike that actually fits you, due to different size choices and an experienced salesman helping you choose the correct bike.  If you buy a bike at Walmart, you're stepping out on a really weak limb when it comes to bike sizing.

Read the whole series: 
This post is a part of the series "Buying your first mountain bike? Here's what you should and shouldn't do." For a well rounded and informed view of the topic, I suggest reading all of the posts in the series.

What do you think about Walmart bicycles, and the topic as a whole? Please bear in mind that there are another 4-5 posts coming on this topic, and that I will address more points of view later on. But feel free to express your opinion on Walmart Specials. I have talked to many, many people that agree with me and what I've written.  But there are people out there that disagree too, and a couple of them have already left good remarks down in the comments.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Buying Your First Mountain Bike? Here's What You Should and Shouldn't Do

After participating in multiple online mountain bike forums for several years, I have noticed there is a general question that keeps getting asked over and over again. It can take many forms, but it boils down to the same general subject. This basic question can be asked as:

  • I want to start mountain biking.  How important is having a name-brand bike?
  • I only have x amount of money.  What is the best bike that I can get?
  • Why shouldn't I buy a full suspension bike from Walmart for $150 dollars, instead of a hardtail from the bike shop for $300?
  • I bought a Next a month ago, and _______ is loose/broken, PLEASE HELP!
  • Why do experienced mountain bikers always get all snobby whenever they see me riding my "Walmart Special?"
The above questions will be answered through a 5-part series released over the next 5 days:

Over the course of this series, I hope to present a pretty all-encompassing view of the issue.  Sure, some of the initial posts may be on the harsher end, but I think the last couple of posts will bring more balance to the issue.  As the series progress I will update this post with links to the individual articles.  Check back daily for the next installment, and I would love to hear what you think about the issue!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Information: Yahoola Creek Reservoir Trail

I added more information in the form of a quotation to the Yahoola Creek Reservoir trail review.

Here it is:

Just a couple of notes: This trail was built by Todd Smith Grading Co., by contract to Lumpkin County, who received a Recreational Trails Program grant through GA DNR. It was NOT built by Yahoola Trails Conservancy (or any other advocacy organization). In fact, YTC attempted to assist the county with the planning, design, and even construction, but the County wanted complete control...and this trail is the unfortunate result. What a missed opportunity! At any rate, it is supposed to be a single-use (hiking) trail, but it has not been marked as such (there are no maps/markings at all yet) fact the County says it is not "officially" open, but plenty of people are using it. Because of several very steep grades (>35%!) this trail would be rated as "most difficult," but it is very wide (more of a road than a trail) and very scenic. If you are using it, please do anything you can do to improve it.


The Sutra of Gregory Heil

This is my philosophy midterm paper, and I got a verbal “outstanding” and a 100% on it. (Hey, I did well, I think I deserve to pat myself on the back a little bit.) The last section of the paper deals with the question “Do material things really exist?” I think this is a question that is easily answered in all mountain bikers’ minds, and I use a short mountain biking illustration in my conclusion to tie it all together. If, as a mountain biker, you have not thought about this question or answered it to your own personal satisfaction, then read on. The first half of the paper discusses different views of knowledge and belief, which must first be understood before more specific philosophical questions such as “Do material things really exist?” can be addressed and answered.

Ha, all this talk of answers. I have come to realize that philosophy doesn’t even deal with answers. But that is a post for another time. So read on and enjoy my “outstanding” paper:

The Sutra of Gregory Heil: Midterm Exam


Over the course of the past several months, we have discussed in great detail several different philosophical views about knowledge, how it can be attained or discovered, and how it impacts belief. The views were complicated and varied, and the majority of the time they conflicted with each other. Reconciling all of these different views is impossible. Therefore, in order to develop a personal philosophical view on the topic, one must first understand the reasoning behind the different viewpoints, and then use discernment to decide on what the truth really is.

One of the first philosophers studied was that of Paul Feyerabend. Feyerabend in his piece entitled “Against Method” argued against the adoption of any one specific method of looking at the universe. Instead, he promoted the epistemological view of “anarchism,” which is basically a rejection of limiting oneself to a single way of viewing the world. Adhering to this worldview could create a more open minded individual who is willing to look at a particular issue or question from a multitude of views. However, the concept of anarchism, instead of truly freeing an individual from a confined form of thinking, creates yet another mental “box” by saying that having a specific worldview is bad.

When I refer to the term “box” as confined form of thinking, I am referencing a closed mindedness to other ideas. The heart of the philosophical pursuit is an examination of questions, and the different views from which that question can be analyzed. As was discussed in class, having a specific worldview in and of itself is not bad. The general consensus was that having a worldview but refusing to examine or try to understand other views was close-minded and irrational. If the specific worldview or epistemological method of discovering truth that an individual holds is sound, it should be able to handle a cross examination by other views. If, on the other hand, it is not sound, cross examination by a number of different ideas can reveal that. This would, and should, ultimately lead to the rejection of the original viewpoint.

Charles Sanders Peirce disagrees with the opinion that refusing to at least examine other beliefs is irrational. Peirce argues in his essay “The Fixation of Belief” that even if an individual was to avoid thinking about or experiencing anything that might possibly cause a change in their worldview, that he would be justified in doing so. The argument begins by acknowledging what many people say that if they believed certain things to be true, they must then believe that there is no life after death and there is no ultimate meaning or purpose in this life. Peirce then writes:
When an ostrich buries its head in the sand as danger approaches, it very likely takes the happiest course. It hides the danger, and then calmly says there is no danger; and if it feels perfectly sure there is none, why should it raise its head to see? A man may go through life, systematically keeping out of view all that might cause a change in his opinions, and if he only succeeds—basing his method, as he does, on two fundamental psychological laws—I do not see what can be said against his doing so. It would be an egotistical impertinence to object that his procedure is irrational, for that only amounts to saying that his method of settling belief is not ours. (Emphasis added.)
The author refers to this as “the method of tenacity.” The person in question tenaciously holds on to what he wants to believe. As the essay progresses, Pierce claims that while he has no problem with anyone who holds to such a method, in real life it really will not work due to the influence that people have on each other’s views.

Up to this point, I personally disagree with both of the philosophers that have been cited. I think the most logical choice is not a rejection of all methods of belief, but an examination of the options and an arrival at a specific conclusion. Basically, I’ve concluded that anarchism is not logical. However, I disagree with the opinion that all “methods of settling belief” are equally valid. This is what Pierce ultimately believes, and is firmly implied in the statement: “It would be an egotistical impertinence to object that his procedure is irrational, for that only amounts to saying that his method of settling belief is not ours.” I have concluded that this is also illogical. Different methods are different and therefore not all the same. In order to make sense of the matter, more philosophers must be consulted.

Many of the other philosophers that we moved on to examine spent their time promoting a specific epistemological method. In her writing entitled “Is Science Multicultural?” Sandra Harding points out in great detail many “Western” scientific ideas and inventions that actually originated in the East. She also points out that “we [in the west] are primarily based on Western Eurocentric white-male thought” (Quotation taken from notes). Harding’s main point is that Western thought is not the only scientifically accurate view point. The East is just as scientifically valid. Patricia Hill Collins also rebels against the standard of white-male dominated epistemology. In her mind, personal experience is the best, and at times the only, lens that the world should be viewed through. Ayatollah Murtaza Mutahhari examines the scientific, philosophical, and religious points of view. He concludes that science is incomplete as worldview because “one [cannot] determine by experiment whether the universe has a beginning and an end or is limitless in time.” There are questions that science can’t answer. Mutahhari concludes that a philosophical worldview is deficient, because it doesn’t actually give answers to any questions. Religion is then set forth as the worldview that can answer the great questions and provide a foundation for life. Mutahhari’s religion of choice is Islam, also known as the “world view of Tauhid.”

My conclusion based on all of this study is simple and yet complicated at the same time. I have concluded that not just one specific epistemological method can suffice in the search for truth. Different methods are applicable in different situations. Personal experience may be the best epistemological method to use when looking at people’s lives. Science is applicable when attempting to discover information about the natural world. Philosophy is applicable when trying to think rationally about why the world is the way it is. A religious worldview is necessary in order to give answers to the questions posed by science and philosophy, such as “Who or what is God?” Yes, religion can only talk about who/what is God, what is he like, how should we live, and etc. To avoid circular reasoning, the question of “Is there a God?” can only be answered by scientific and philosophical methods. I personally believe that science and philosophy answer the question “Is there a God?” affirmatively (although I will not go into great detail about that here). Thus religion enters onto the scene. So, not just one worldview can suffice. To obtain a holistic view of truth, several epistemological methods must work in harmony. However, not all methods are equally valid. Some methods lie in direct contradiction to each other, especially when different specific religious views are brought onto the scene. Great wisdom and understanding must be used in order to discern between all of these different views and methods. But the underlying mechanics of it all rest in philosophy and science.

Five Questions
Philosophy is concerned primarily with asking questions and less with finding solid, concrete answers to those questions. From the texts that we have studied over the past 2 months, I have identified five important questions that we should all ask ourselves. They are: do material things really exist; are there non-material things that exist; is everything one, or do we exist merely as individuals; is science the best way to attain knowledge of the world; and can enlightenment to a state above the ordinarily perceived world be achieved? The question “Are there non-material things that exist?” is important because knowing whether or not we can actually think and reason is vital to the practice of philosophy itself. Also, this naturally leads into the question “Is there a God?” which may be the greatest philosophical question of all time. The question “Is everything one, or do we exist merely as individuals?” boils down to a head-to-head confrontation of Eastern philosophy and Western philosophy. There are many major differences, and trying to understand them and/or reconcile them is vital. The query “Is science the best way to attain knowledge of the world?” can primarily be viewed as a critique of the Western philosophy examined in the previous question. It also deals with the basic question addressed in the first section of this essay: “Which epistemological approach is best?” “Can enlightenment to a state above the ordinarily perceived world be achieved?” is relevant due to several of the works which we read by people claiming that they have, in fact, traveled to higher worlds or achieved exceeding levels of enlightenment as to promote them to a plane higher than the rest of humanity. Knowing whether or not this is possible (and if it is, how to attain it) is crucial to how we approach life and learning.

All of the aforementioned questions are very important. However, based on the readings that we have covered so far this semester, the question of “Do material things really exist?” is the most important. We read many works that dealt with this specific issue. The philosophers were divided all across the spectrum, all the way from thinking that nothing material exists whatsoever and all that exists are perceptions, all the way across to the only things that really exist are the material. For the remainder of this paper, the fact that nonmaterial things exist is more or less taken for granted.

Darwinian scientists, however, are of the firm opinion that all that exists is the real world. They believe only in natural law, and form one extreme on the spectrum of materialistic debate. According to Charles Sanders Pierce in his “The Problem of Method,” science’s
. . .fundamental hypothesis, restated in more familiar language, is this: There are Real things, whose characters are entirely independent of our opinions about them; those Reals affect our senses according to regular laws, and though our sensations are as different as are our relations to the objects, yet, by taking advantage of the laws of perception, we can ascertain by reasoning how things really and truly are; and any man, if he have sufficient experience and he reason enough about it, will be led to the one True conclusion.
All the rest of the philosophers examined below are much more skeptical about the reality of what is seen and perceived. Atheistic Darwinian naturalists thus provide the most materialistic of views to breed skepticism from.

Surprisingly similar to the view of the naturalist is the Eastern view of the Upanishads. The similarity lies in the high priority placed on physical things. The Upanishads believe that “Thou Art That.” God is inside of the individual, and the individual is God. God is also above the individual and dictates the individual’s life. In order for the individual to know God, he must come to know himself. God is also in everything else. Since God is inside the individual and inside everything and everyone else, the individual is by extension a part of everything around him. As a result, one wants to treat the world with great care. All is one: many threads in the fabric of God, but also at the same time not. Because of this, the material has immense value and importance.

The material world is simply a crude extension of a higher world, at least, according to Plato. Through “The Parable of the Cave,” Plato tells about “the world of forms,” and sheds light on enlightenment. In Plato’s mind, the world of forms is the true world, with very distinct objects. These objects are projected into the world which the average human being interacts with. These projections are but mere shadows, crude and indistinct. In order to truly achieve enlightenment, one must journey from what is commonly considered the normal world, to the highest level of the world of the forms. The catch is, if one were to truly achieve this enlightenment and come back down and share it, that person would be considered insane because of the total lack of comprehension by anyone else. They would not be able to relate to this great enlightenment.

Crazy Horse believed in a world of forms that was much the same as that of Plato’s. He stepped it up a notch though, and believed that he could move between this world and the world of forms at will. Many people attribute his miraculous safety in battle to this ability to move between the two worlds. This ability to move between the two worlds would only be useful if they resembled each other like Plato’s concept of the upper world. Divided by several thousand years and several thousand miles, they both held congruent views about the essence of the material world.

Radically different from the views of Plato and Crazy Horse, George Berkeley believed that only perceivers and perceptions exist. He realized that that a person can be fooled by their senses. Because of that, there must be at least two perceivers perceiving the same thing for it to be real. According to Berkely, if there aren’t two perceivers, the perception cannot be trusted. David Hume takes it a step further. He believes that there are no perceivers, just perceptions. According to Hume, everything that we think are material things are simply jumbles of perceptions, floating around in who knows what, in a constant state of flux. He puts it this way: “I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement.” As an extension of this, Hume proposes that things we recognize as always having the same characteristics are simply a bundle of perceptions that happen to continue to occur together to give us concepts of objects. That does not go as far as to say that it is proof that those objects exist. This is known as the “bundle theory of knowledge.” In my opinion, David Hume just wanted to do whatever he pleased, and so he decided that he could not really prove the existence of anything. He was unsure of the world. If he had been a few centuries later, he could have latched onto the views of the Darwinists and, taking them to their logical philosophical end, achieved much the same result.

After all of this reading and discussion, my personal opinion about the nature of reality has not changed. Sure, maybe nothing really exists and it is all perceptions. But even if everything is just a perception, one perception of a rock can really hurt my perception of me when it falls off of its perception of a mountain bike during the perception of an afternoon ride. Philosophically, perhaps there is a big difference. However in the way we live our lives, would be no difference whatsoever. I believe it is most logical to live with a belief in both material and the immaterial, and the idea that one can impact the other. Until a view with real substance which logical people called “proof” or even “evidence,” I am going to continue to live my life much the way I have been. Because really, where is there any evidence in what has been said for the insubstantiality of the tangible world? I submit that there is next to none.


Saturday, March 27, 2010


As a general rule, I try not to crash on my mountain bike very much.  Not only does it hurt a lot, but oftentimes I am riding by myself with no one to call 9-1-1 if I really got hurt.  However, there has been a lot of crashing going on lately, and these recent biffs have caused me to ponder the topic of carnage.

I just recently crashed two or three times while riding Chicopee Woods, but neither of them were really that bad, and I came out fairly unscathed.

A couple days later, though, my wife had a picture-perfect endo and bashed her knee on a massive root.  It did not look pretty!  It's a week later, and she has a really attractive bruise still gracing the side of her knee cap.

Carnage: crashing, getting busted up, bleeding, and lots and lots of pain.  Carnage is an intrinsic part of the sport of mountain biking.  We try to avoid it at all costs, but it happens anyway. 

Not all crashes result in blood and pain. Some are relatively injury free, like the ones I had at Chicopee.  Even when a rider escapes a biff without injury, it is still an important learning experience.  He learns what he did wrong, and hopefully how to remedy the situation next time. The fact that the rider crashed also means that he was pushing his limits on the bike.  Carnage and crashing are about as necessary in the sport of mountain biking as are a pair of wheels. 

Here is a phrase to live by: "If you're not crashing, you're not learning."

Hopefully, you can survive the crashes without much damage.
But real carnage is eventually inevitable.  Be prepared!

My chain ring ripped the snot out of my leg as I landed a jump. That was about 7 months ago, and I still have the scars.


Yahoola Creek Reservoir Trail, Dahlonega, Georgia

Getting There:
 Head out of Dahlonega north past the Walmart on the "bypass." Go straight through the stop light at the entrance to Walmart,  and straight through the stoplight at the junction with 52.  Shortly after the second light, hang a right into the small gravel parking area overlooking the dam.

The Route:
Head down across the dam, and hang a left up through the ditch next to the road.  Continue straight a little ways, go around the yellow gate, and head down past the couple of shelters.  From here the trail is really straight forward and goes around the lake and back up in the woods.  It then comes out into a clearing by the highway again.  You're almost done, but bear left back towards the lake to pick up one lest section of open trail.  Round about the boat landing the trail ends, and to connect the loop you'll have to hop on the highway quick, cross over the bridge, and that will bring you back to your car! In total this will be about a 3.5-4 mile loop.

All About the Trail:
This is a very new trail: construction finished in December of 2009.  It was built by a local greenspace-type advocacy association, and as such is wide doubletrack because they apparently knew very little about what goes in to making a quality trail that will actually attract visitors instead of just being a ho-hum trail for the locals to walk when they are bored. 

That being said, this is one of the only trails in-town to take your bike off-road.  Currently, there are no signs permitting or banning bikes, and there has been a decent amount of bicycle traffic on it.  Until some sort of notice is posted indicating what sort of travel is allowed, I (and everyone else) assumes that it is fair game!  (Written 03/26/2010)

Despite the fact that it is wide doubletracky stuff, this trail is actually a fun ride through the woods. The views of the reservoir are awesome, and anytime away from the hustle and bustle of the world is a good time.

As I said, the people who constructed the trail weren't well versed on quality trail construction.  I.E.: expect some steep, anaerobic climbs that are going to make your heart rate spike!  This four mile loop packs a punch and can provides a pretty decent workout, especially if you ride to the trailhead from home.

Other side effects of poor construction:
  • Steep, fall line hills with sharp turns at the bottom that disrupt flow.
  • Hills that are begging to be deeply eroded in less than a year due to the fall-line nature, overall steepness, and the lack of grade changes.
Here's an update with more information on the status of the trail, from a review posted on the listing:

Just a couple of notes: This trail was built by Todd Smith Grading Co., by contract to Lumpkin County, who received a Recreational Trails Program grant through GA DNR. It was NOT built by Yahoola Trails Conservancy (or any other advocacy organization). In fact, YTC attempted to assist the county with the planning, design, and even construction, but the County wanted complete control...and this trail is the unfortunate result. What a missed opportunity! At any rate, it is supposed to be a single-use (hiking) trail, but it has not been marked as such (there are no maps/markings at all yet) fact the County says it is not "officially" open, but plenty of people are using it. Because of several very steep grades (>35%!) this trail would be rated as "most difficult," but it is very wide (more of a road than a trail) and very scenic. If you are using it, please do anything you can do to improve it.

Nearby Trails: 


Friday, March 26, 2010

Something big is brewing...

Something big is brewing.  It's so big that involves a brand new mountain bike, a trip across the nation, and the fact that I probably shouldn't say anything about it until after the 30th of March.

Stay tuned... this is going to be freaking awesome!

PS: This trail review of the Wine Creek trail in Augusta was also posted today. Be sure to check it out!


Wine Creek Trail, Augusta (Plum Branch), South Carolina

Getting There
From Augusta/I-20, head north on Hwy. 28 to Modoc. Turn right in Modoc on Hwy. 23. Go roughly 6 miles to Key Rd. and hang a left.  About 5 miles down you will pass over a bridge.  Turkey Creek starts on the left immediately after the bridge, and Wine Creek starts on the right.

The Route
Like its sister trail, Turkey Creek, route finding is a non-issue on the out-and-back ride of Wine Creek.  At 5 miles each way, it's long enough to be an awesome spin through the woods! Turkey Creek starts on the other side of the road, so if you're in the mood for a long ride, combine the two trails for a total of 24 miles. Cheers!

All About the Trail
Wine Creek is the Twin Sister of Turkey Creek, and shares many of the same characteristics that Stevens Creek does. The main differences between Wine Creek and Stevens Creek is that Wine Creek has more changes in elevation, and it generally passes at a lower elevation, closer to the creek than does Stevens Creek Trail. As such, the tread of the trail is a little loamier, and there several interesting bridges spread out (especially through the first couple of miles) along the trail.

Some sections of Wine Creek are unique from Turkey Creek in the way the narrow tread tunnels through the underbrush. Much of this is on very flat ground.

As I mentioned, Wine Creek Trail shares many of the characteristics of the typical Sumter National Forest singletrack: Sinewy/curvy singletrack, contoured benchcut trail, and technically easy. While all the trails in the area are pretty easy, if I had to pick one as the single easiest trail, both technically and aerobically, it would have to be Wine Creek. But overall, it is just incredible singletrack trail!

Bottom line: Beautiful, easy singletrack. Combine an out-and-back on Wine Creek with an out-and-back on Turkey Creek for a nice long ride.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

About getting lost in the mountains of Montana

My escapades trying to find a trail that didn't exist reminded me of a similar, although much more intense episode that took place in fall of 2007, shortly after I had moved to Montana.  The post below was written that evening after I had found my way back to school.  I rescued the post from my old blog for your enjoyment.

I am about to relate an ordeal that I went through this evening while trying to mountain bike. It has left me extremely worn out, so please excuse any choppiness that may creep into my writing.

It started out with attempting to find the place that I was going to ride at. I ended up taking the long way around, but I think I found it. At least, I did find a trail to ride. All was good for the first bit, except for the fact that big hills take a lot of effort to ride up. So I'm moseying along, and I end up getting a pinch flat. Well that was no biggy, I had my spare tube and mini tire pump along, so I just started changing my tire. As I was changing my tire, another rider came along, and I asked him if he was from the area, and we got to talking about the trails. He recommended that I continue along the trail I was on, hang a right at the T junction and climb up that trail, and at the top there was supposed to be a "totally bomber run with motocross jumps and hills... you know dirt bike jumps and stuff. It will drop you right back out in the area that you started."

I was like, "sweet," and so after I finished changing my tire, I hopped back on and kept going. Unfortunately, there was a creek crossing immediately after where I was changing my tire, and I was in the wrong gear so I ended up putting my foot down in the water. "Oh snap," but it was pretty warm out so I was pretty sure it would dry off pretty soon.

I climbed up the hill (it really was a climb) and I hung a right onto the trail. What the dude neglected to tell me was that these weren't just dirt bike jumps; they were dirt bike GAP jumps. So I went over the first one, dropped my front wheel into the trough and did and endo. It wasn't too bad, as the ground wasn't too far away due to my wheel being in a big hole, but the consequence turned out to be a severely bent wheel. I beat on it until it was at least mostly ridable, and continued on.

The trail forked. The trail that looked like the main trail had huge, old logs down all over it, so I took what looked like a narrower reroute. I pushed my bike along that narrow excuse for a trail for about ten minutes, decided it wasn't worth it, and turned around and went back and tried the other fork. I climbed over huge logs for about ten minutes, and turned around yet again. I decided that I didn't want to backtrack, so I decided to follow the narrow trail again.

(I'm really getting tired of this story, it sounds dull as I write it. )

I attempt to follow that pathetic excuse for a trail for about a half an hour to forty-five minutes or so, carrying or pushing my bike the whole way. I was very sure that it had been a trail at one time, as there was flagging here and there, but I could not tell if it had been traveled in sometime. I kept telling myself "I'll be there in just a couple of minutes..." I never got there. I then started to pray like crazy, as I was starting to get really freaked out. The light was disappearing fast as I hit a dry stream bed.

(I'm getting really really tired right now, and am finding it extremely difficult to concentrate.)

I figured that if it did get dark, a stream would be much easier to follow than the trail; I definitely did not want to lose it in the dusk and get well and truly lost. I decided that streams flow down hill, that I hadn't gotten over the ridge yet so the stream most likely joined with other streams and flowed downhill past the trail that I had ridden across on. And if not, it would end up somewhere in the Flathead valley, so I would be able to find a road. I began following the dry creek bed, and pretty soon there was water in the creek. Rather quickly there was too much water to avoid, so I began wading through it with my bike on my shoulder (and that mountain spring water was cold!!). It would have been sooo much easier if I had been wearing normal shoes or had not been carrying a bike, but as it was, I was doing both. Pretty soon I was wading through three foot water hole, the lower halves of my legs going numb. I tried following the creek from the bank intermittently, but bushwhacking through the underbrush was also extremely rough on the body.

(Now I'm really tired.)

Eventually, after a whole lot of pain, I made it back to my car. The end (of hell).

What I guess I failed to mention due to sheer exhaustion in my original blog post is that I had been right.  The stream that I waded down was indeed the stream that I had crossed right after I fixed my pinch flat.  I was so happy to see that trail!  Then I retraced my ride back along the trail, back down to my car.  That was one of the most epic and grueling adventures in the wilderness I have ever done.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Two old silos
The other day I went for one of those rides that just didn't go the way that I thought it would.  I was trying to ride the Canada Creek loop between Dahlonega and Suches.  I was following along in Off the Beaten Track, and everything was going great until I had to find the "hidden singletrack surprise." After riding back and forth for a while, I eventually picked up the old road-turned-trail, and followed it for about a half of mile.  And then it just ended. In the woods. In the middle of nowhere.

Yes, it just ended.  There was a field off to the left, so I spent a while wandering around the edge of the field looking for any semblance of road.  Then, I headed back up in the woods and started working my way out in concentric circles, looking for a remnant of trail.

I used to pride myself in my trail finding skills, but I could not find anything. Well, there were several times when I thought I might have picked up a trail of some sort.  But it would lead nowhere.

There may have been a trail there even as recently as last fall, but the leaves hadn't been ridden in, and there was so much dead fall in the area that if there was a trail, it could have been completely hidden under last fall's leaves and this winter's dead branches and trees.

After hiking around for about 30-45 minutes, I decided to turn around and head back.  I really didn't want to retrace my steps, because it would be mostly climbing the 10 miles back to my car, and if I could have found the trail it would have been a quick 4-5 miles back.

In the end, my quick 1 1/2 hour 15 mile ride turned into about a 2 1/2 - 3 hour 23 mile epic.

Hey, it was a good work out though!


Turkey Creek, Augusta (Plum Branch), South Carolina

Getting there
From Augusta/I-20, head north on Hwy. 28 to Modoc. Turn right in Modoc on Hwy. 23. Go roughly 6 miles to Key Rd. and hang a left.  About 5 miles down you will pass over a bridge.  Turkey Creek starts on the left immediately after the bridge, and Wine Creek starts on the right.

The Route
As with Stevens Creek, there is little route-finding to do on this ride.  It is a simple out-and-back: 7 miles each way.  Also, Wine Creek is very similar and starts on the opposite side of the road.  Wine Creek is a 5 mile out and 5 mile back ride, so if you're in the mood for a long ride, combine the two for a total of 24 miles.  Cheers!

All About the Trail
Turkey Creek is a twin Sister to Wine Creek, and shares many of the same characteristics that Stevens Creek does. The main differences between Turkey Creek and Stevens Creek is that Turkey Creek has more changes in elevation, and it generally passes at a lower elevation, closer to the creek than does Stevens Creek Trail. As such, the tread of the trail is a little loamier, and there are several interesting bridges spread out (especially through the first couple of miles) along the trail.

As I mentioned, Turkey Creek Trail shares many of the characteristics of the typical Sumter National Forest singletrack: Sinewy/curvy singletrack, contoured benchcut trail, technically easy. But overall, just incredible trail!

Bottom line: Beautiful, easy singletrack. Combine an out-and-back on Turkey Creek with an out-and-back on Wine Creek for a nice long ride.

Riding through the deep woods of Sumter National Forest is a sobering yet soothing experience.
Sunrise at the beginning of my ride.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stevens Creek/Modoc Trail, Augusta (Modoc), South Carolina

Getting There
From Augusta/I-20, head north on Hwy. 28 to Modoc. Turn left on Hwy. 23, and the trailhead will be on your left in about 1.3 miles.

The Route
No intensive route-finding required here! This trail is a simple out-and-back, about 6-6.5 miles in each direction.

All About the Trail
Known by two names, the Modoc/Stevens Creek trail is classic Sumter National Forest singletrack! After spending two intensive days and covering over 60 miles of trail, I began to recognize some general themes from the singletrack trails in Sumter National Forest. Stevens Creek embodies most of them.

The trail could be considered intermediate at the hardest. While it is decently long, the trail is technically very easy, save for a few stream crossings. The stream crossings are many, and tend to break up what may have been a generally monotonous trail. Well, not monotonous, but after riding 60 miles of leafy singletrack, everything started to look about the same. I’m sure these trails are a heck of a lot more fun to ride in the summer time, when the leaves are ridden in and the dirt is tacky and fast.

What makes this trail so easy and so fun at the same time is that it does not lose or gain much altitude along its length. Instead, it contours along the hillside, maintaining roughly the same elevation above the creek. The turns follow the hills, and the singletrack is beautifully bench-cut. There are many stream crossings, but all but one of the serious ones and many of the small ones are spanned by well-built bridges.  Most of the trails in the Sumter National Forest area provide that “out there” feeling, and Stevens Creek is no exception!

Bottom line: beautiful singletrack above a beautiful creek, deep in the woods of a national forest. It’s a win!

Nearby Trails:
Turkey Creek, Augusta (Plum Branch), South Carolina
Wine Creek, Augusta (Plum Branch), South Carolina
FATS (Forks Area Trail System), Augusta, South Carolina


Monday, March 22, 2010


Saturday turned out to be even more incredible than I thought it would be!

My wife and I headed out into the beautiful spring weather and spent a couple of hours riding the local Jake Mountain trails. The trails were in perfect condition, and the sun was so warm that it even felt hot. Yeah, the excessive March warmth called for the sleeveless jerseys to come out of the closet. Ah, it was a great ride!

Airing off a root

What made our day Saturday truly enjoyable was how care-free and totally unplugged we were.  It was a great return to the elemental: enjoying creation, enjoying the company of loved ones, and living down in the dirt. We rode singletrack, went to the park to cook out, and hiked around to see a beautiful waterfall--and I didn't check my cell phone or the time even once.  Seriously, I went for almost a full day without worrying about the time.  That, my friends, is freedom.

Amicalola Falls
Jake Mountain Trails


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Montgomery Creek Trail (Wahsega) (Doubletrack), Dahlonega, Georgia

Montgomery Creek Trail
Getting There:
From Dahlonega, head from downtown on Highway 60 (North Grove St.) past Lifetime Bikes. Go a couple miles past both of the schools, and then turn left at Camp Wahsega Road and then follow it all the way until it runs into Camp Frank D. Merrill. Turn left, and then left immediately into the parking lot of the white church.  Park and ride from there.

Navigational Information:
Pick up the Bull Mountain Trails map (red) printed by Milestone Press as your crucial navigational resource. The National Geographic Trails Illustrated map #777 is awesome as well, and great for navigating all of the forest roads in the greater Blue Ridge WMA area. Jim Parham's Off the Beaten Track also has a well laid-out route for this ride listed under the name "Wahsega."

The Route:
Take a left out of the parking lot, and start heading down the gravel road (#28 or #28-1, depending on which map you're looking at.). The road will take you down past 4-H Camp Wahsega (continue to the right). The road will climb around several curves, and then eventually off to the right there will be a gated doubltrack forest road, #141.  From the direction you're currently riding, if you ride right past this gate and go over the rise, there will be another gate on your right, but that doubletrack road eventually leads to/turns into the No Tell Trail.  Make sure you get the first gate.

Ride past the gate, and continue riding this old gated forest road.  The direction I am describing the route puts most of the climbing into road/trail #141 which you're riding.  It is more of a rolling climb in this direction, and is still a fun ride.  If you would rather descend this area, then reverse the directions.

I-beam across stream
You'll come to a stream crossing with a metal I-beam over it.  Cross and continue straight on the road.

Towards the end of the ride there is one major stream crossing. Cross it, don't turn around, and hook up with the pavement in the ranger camp (Camp Frank D. Merrill). Bear up the hill and to the right, until you complete the loop with the gravel road.  Turn left on the gravel road (#28) and ride about a quarter/half a mile, and turn right into the church parking lot.  After about 9-9.5 miles, you're back at your car.

All About the Trail:
I may have made that route description more complicated than it needs to be, but now there is virtually no way to get lost! The route is really quite simple. 

The first thing to know about this ride is that it is not singletrack.  Rather, it is old gated doubletrack and mixed with maintained gravel road. I'm including this review in my grand list of trail reviews because:
  1. It is listed in Jim Parham's Off the Beaten Track
  2. It is a really good ride for when the singletrack is wet.  Ride the wide doubletrack and avoid doing more damage to our precious singletrack trails!
  3. Even though it isn't singletrack, this is really a fun route!
As #2 implies, please don't ride the singletrack when it is soggy!  This will make some of the already badly eroded trails even worse.  Montgomery Creek (this route) is great when everything is a little mucky, and is even a fun ride in the snow!

Snowy Mountain biking
The only real thing of interest (that I can tell you about) along the length of this ride are the two stream crossings.  As I mentioned in the route description, only one of these crossings will require you to actually ride through it if you're trying to stay dry.  During the winter when the rest of the singletrack may be wet, it is a pretty sure bet that the last creek crossing will be running pretty deep, and that getting wet will be unavoidable. Especially in the sub-freezing temps of a North Georgia winter, getting soaked is not any fun at all!  But, if you ride the route the way I've described it, you'll only be a half mile (at most) from your car after you ford the creek.

Bottom line:
This is a great winter ride that won't destroy the singletrack, and yet is more interesting than riding the main USFS (United States Forest Service for those who don't know) roads.

Montgomery Creek
Montgomery Creek Loop

Update 11/22/10:
Wooden Bridge
While not nearly the most interesting or challenging trail in the Bull/Jake  Mountain Trail System, Montgomery Creek has certainly been the most dynamic lately.

New Bridge
This past spring some benevolent figure who currently remains a mystery built an excellent wooden bridge across the old metal I-beam to make this stream crossing much more rideable. While the old I-beam was a nice challenge, I definitely didn't feel comfortable risking a cold swim every time I rode this loop.

When ridden in the counter-clockwise direction, this bridge works easily into the flow of the trail. When you approach it going clockwise however, the turn onto the bridge is very sharp. I think that it will be doable with some practice, but I ride this loop counterclockwise about 90% of the time, so it usually flows easily for me.

In my opinion, the new bridge is a welcome addition to this ride! 


At the time of this update, there is a serious logging operation in progress on the lower end of the loop.  The skidders and logging trucks are utilizing the same doubletrack that this ride runs along for their skidders and log trucks. In fact, they have a big crane set up directly above the gated road for loading trucks with logs.

When I rode through last I was fortunate enough to have the place all to myself, but I have ridden through the vicinity within the past week while on the No Tell trail and could hear them loggers hard at work right next door on Montgomery Creek.

At this time, I'd advise you to avoid Montgomery Creek unless you know that they aren't logging on it at the moment, or unless it's the weekend. It's a shame really, because this time of year when the rain starts picking up and the singletrack remains wet for longer is when we really start frequenting the various forest road rides such as Montgomery Creek. Hopefully the logging will be done sooner rather than later, and we can get back to pedaling through the forest in peace!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dry Trails and Warm Temps!

As I wrote almost a week ago, I was very anxious for warm weather, dry trails, and sunny days to finally return. Well, they have!! Thursday the high temperatures around North Georgia were in the low 60's, yesterday the temps. topped out at about 70 degrees, and today the sun is supposed to work its magic again with highs in the 70's! Yesterday I really didn't get to enjoy the amazing weather to the full, as I did taxes all morning and worked all afternoon. Lame.  Andrew Carney recently exhorted everyone on his blog to"Work Less Ride More." Well, some work does need to be done. But I'm going to be working on the riding more part!

The success story of the past two days comes from Thursday. Thursday I got out of class, did some blogging, and then headed to Chicopee Woods and dominated 21 miles of beautiful singletrack! It was such a pleasure to get to ride and ride and not have to climb a gravel road or do any sort of connecting between trails, but to just ride singletrack and keep on riding!  By far the best part, the crucial element that made the ride so epic, was the dry, beautifully maintained trail! Man, it felt so great to ride dry trails again!  It seems like all of the trails in the Bull Mountian network never fully dry out, due to the large number of stream crossings spread throughout the system.  Granted, there is one large stream crossing at Chicopee, but other than that the trails were dry and fast!

Dry trails are really what most mountain bikers are, and should, be looking for.  Riding really wet trails is detrimental for all the reasons that most of us know about. If you don't know about them, I may write a post about that sometime soon, or you can check out my first trail advocacy meeting. 

Long story short: good riding is upon us again!  Let's get out and ride!

I dominated this log ride


Friday, March 19, 2010

Cycling Stinks: A Response

Fatty of the blog Fat Cyclist recently posted an old blog post of his about the stink that is an inseparable part of the sport of cycling. I had thought about the topic before, but definitely not in as great a detail as he visited in that post. I encourage you all to check it out: it’s good!

Of course, as a semi-serious rider, I have noticed the different sorts of stenches associated with mountain biking. What I realized after reading Fatty’s post, is that I have come to enjoy the stink. I’ll (or at least, I used to before I got married) go for several weeks without washing my cycling clothes. Being a dirt poor college student, I always wear the same ones. It brings me satisfaction to pull on my clothes and smell the mustiness of sweat mixed with mud.

Fatty mentioned that cyclists build up a olfactory immunity to this smell. I bet that I have built up something of a resistance as well. This is a really bad thing for the people around me. Yes, it would be bad for anyone. But as has been proven to me time and time again by my now-wife, my noise is generally dysfunctional. Yes, I have a handicapped nose. Chronic allergies impair my ability to smell, and while I definitely do have a sense of smell, it is not nearly as acute as the average person’s. Add on to that a resistance to the normal odors associated with riding, and that’s not a good situation.

I feel sorry for the people around me when I reek like that. Funny thing is, most of them are polite enough to not even mention it.

Fatty and I aren't the only ones are we?  You smell too, right?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Back on the Bike

Montgomery Creek
I'm officially back from the not so cold, but relatively snowy north, and am kicking it on the mountain bike once again!  Knocked out a quick 9 mile doubletrack ride at Montgomery Creek as I waited for the trails to dry out a bit, and then did about 9 miles at Gainesville State College the next day. 

For my ride at GSC, I was actually able to meet up with a guy that I'd met on the Singletracks forums. We connected at the trailhead, and knocked out 2 laps together.  It was a fun time, and I realized that I miss riding with people.  Due mainly to time constraints and a weird schedule, I have been riding by myself almost 100% of the time over the last month.  (Of course, one whole week of the last month was spent skiing with friends, so I don't really know what I'm talking about). It was just really fun and totally chill to be able to chat and ride with someone.  The trails at GSC are especially good for conversation.  Read: easy and flat. It's not like I'm trying to carry a conversation while huffing and puffing up one of the massive North Georgia gravel road climbs behind one of the local guys with quads of steel.  No, rocking GSC was a good thing.

Montgomery Creek Ride
Gainesville State College Trail


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Big Mountain Ski Resort (Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain), Whitefish, Montana

Summit Trail
Getting There:
From Kalispell Montana, head north on US Hwy. 93 towards Whitefish. In downtown Whitefish, take a left to stay on 93. Take a right on Baker Ave. (signs for either Big Mountain or Whitefish Mountain Resort). Go about 2.5 miles, and take a right on Big Mountain Rd. Drive all the way up the road until you reach the mountain village.  Park somewhere near the chalet, or maybe higher up, depending on the crowding and whether or not you're forced to pay to park.

The Route:
If the chairlift is running, ride that up and then choose your line down.  Otherwise, you're going to need to climb the Summit Trail, which is an 8 mile climb up, and a sweet 8 mile ride back down!  Runaway Train is about a 4.5 mile drop back to the base of the mountain.  There are trail maps around, so pick one up, or check it out online here.  Also, there is a network of cross country trails around the village.  Read the description below and check out the trail maps for more info.  Whatever you do, don't ride the Danny On trail!  That is hikers only (and would be a wicked-steep climb).

All About the Trail:
Full disclosure: when I mountain biked Big Mountain (now called Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain), the only trail that I rode was the Summit Trail. Runaway Train had not yet been built, the lifts were closed for the season, and I didn’t have the skills to ride any of the serious freeride stunts.

Older Jumps and Log Berms
Ok good that’s out of the way, now on to the review. As I just stated, the lifts were closed when I rode Big Mountain. However, when the lifts are running, Big Mountain sports the only lift served mountain biking for hundreds of miles. Montana is a big place, so Big Mtn. naturally has a local corner on the market. Despite the lack of competition, they have been pushing the envelope with their mountain biking programs. When I originally rode Big Mtn., the Summit trail was the main staple, with several shorter black diamond spurs going off of it, with some big stunts (wall rides, wooden tabletops, etc.), as well as some slower North Shore style skinnies. Since then, they have constructed a jump laden downhill trail named "Runaway Train" with "more than 29 berms, six rock drops, one rock wall ride, three natural terrain wall rides, more than 24 jumps of varying sizes, one large technical section of single track near the top, and a “flowy” section on Russ’s Street at the end." (From here.)

I have not had the opportunity to ride that trail, although I have seen pictures and it looks incredible! (Click here for some pictures, and browse the other summer months for more.)The resort put a lot of work into building this new trail, and like I said they are taking local lift served mountain biking to brand new levels. By the way, this new trail was built after the buy-out (hence the switch from Big Mountain to Whitefish Mountain Resort). So for the mountain bikers, the commercialization is bringing in better trails. Really, was the buy-out all that bad then?

Moving on. What I did ride was the Summit Trail. It climbs 8 miles from the parking lot to the summit of the mountain (so they named it the “Summit Trail”). For the vast majority of its length, the trail was anything but epic singletrack. It was built very wide, and it does accommodate traffic going up and down. However, rated on the basis of the narrowness and construction ethos of the trail, it leaves much to be desired. However, there are many well built switchbacks and turns along the length of the trail, which somewhat make up for its excessive width.

Well what’s the one benefit of a fairly wide, fairly straight trail with bermed corners? The answer: speed. And lots of it. Even riding my fully rigid steel-framed Giant, I was able to fly on my way back down that trail to the base of the mountain! This was my first real ride in the mountains, and despite the lack of high-quality trail, it still ranked as the best ride down a hill I had ever taken on dirt! The sporadic roots and rocks on the mostly smooth trail made for great air opportunities taken at speed on the way down. It was an awesome descent!

The Summit Trail’s biggest saving grace has to be the incredible views! The Flathead Valley is definitely God’s country! Since the trail crisscrosses many of the ski runs as it winds up the mountain, it affords amazing views of the valley that are hidden on most other trails by the deep northwestern forests. Bring a camera and prepare to be amazed!

There are even more trails on Big Mountain that aren't included in this reveiw. I have heard that there is a great network of cross country oriented singletrack around the base of the resort. No I have not ridden this, but when I make it back out to Montana to visit it is most definitely on my to do list!

One final note: this is Montana. The riding out here is wild stuff, with many of the rides starting on gravel mountain roads 15-30 miles from the nearest highway. The loops then extend 5-30+ miles away from that point. What I’m saying is that many of these rides are “out there.” Preparation and supplies should include some basic survival gear. The trails at Big Mountain see a lot more traffic, and are patrolled during the main summer season. If you are looking for a ride in the area that requires less commitment and preparation, I would suggest starting here at the resort.

Bottom line: The only lift served mountain biking for hundreds of miles. If you’re bringing the big hit bike and don’t want to shuttle or pedal, Big Mountain is the place to be!

What are your experiences with riding at Big Mountain? Do you have any more info about the trails that I haven’t ridden? If so, please share it!




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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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