Monday, October 31, 2011

Two MTB Trails, One Day: Enjoying My Fall Break

My college gives us one day off for “Fall Break.” I’m not sure how a 3-day weekend qualifies for a vacation, but apparently it does! I decided to make the most of this precious time, so I hit the road and drove over to Ellijay, Georgia to investigate a couple of trails I’d never ridden before.
Read the full article here!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunrise Over Lake Thurmond

Photo from the archives: Sunrise over Lake Thurmond at Hickory Knob State Park, SC


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New MTB Photo of the Day Feature on

On Friday we announced a new "Photo of the Day" feature on! I'm really stoked on this new feature, and I will be overseeing/running it as things continue into the future. Be sure to check out my announcement blog post!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Thoughts on Bike Shorts

Most everyone I know knows that I'm obsessed with mountain biking, and I will regularly have random people sending me emails or Facebook messages asking for bike-related advice. Here's a question that I got recently which I wrote a rather lengthy response to. I thought it would be worth sharing here.

"What do you suggest for mtn bike shorts? I am thinking about finally breaking down and getting some..."

Hey man!

Well, that is definitely a complicated question. What do I think about them? I think anyone that is going to be serious about riding a bike needs to have good bike shorts. Having a good pair of shorts can help you ride many more miles than you could without them, and they can help prevent a whole host of physical issues that can arise from NOT wearing them.

Since this is the main point where your body is in contact with the bike, it's important to invest a good bit of money there. I'd say see what you can afford to pay for a pair of shorts, and then go from there. There's a big difference between a cheap pair of bike shorts and a pair that's mid-range. (Mid range is probably about $50-$100.) Personally, I probably wouldn't spend less than $50 on a pair of shorts.

Name brands that make good shorts are Pearl iZumi, Dakine, Fox, and more. If you're looking to save money and still get something decent, I'd recommend going with an REI-brand short (Novara). They sell some pretty solid shorts at much less than a name brand company.

As for style, that's really up to you and what type of riding you do. If you're going with tight spandex, I'd personally recommend going with bibs over just shorts. A good pair of baggies can also ride really well even on cross-country rides. Style really is up to your personal preference and riding style.

I hope this helps! If you have any more questions, let me know!



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Commuting by Mountain Bike

I just shared a link to a cool article and started a discussion thread over on the forum, but I wanted to re-share here a few of the thoughts I wrote up:

But I'd also like to add that riding a mountain bike while on your commute also opens up an amazing number of route possibilities that just aren't open to a road bike. With a mountain bike, you can take short cuts across grassy parks and avoid traffic, ride stair cases, tackle curbs and speed bumps quickly and easily, and basically dominate the entire city instead of being worried about hitting a small dip in the pavement and throwing your skinny wheel out of true.

During my short commute to campus, there's one section where I routinely come flying down a hill, rocketing over speed bumps, straight over a sidewalk into a grassy hill, launch off of a man-hole cover that's right above a steep hill and catch some air, and them come blazing down that slope and merge onto a sidewalk at ~25 mph as I bust on over to the appropriate building. You just can't tackle a short cut like that on a road bike or urban cruiser...
 Read the rest of the post here.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Riding One of the Nation's Best: Trail 401, Crested Butte, CO

My Trail 401 ride report is now live on Go check it out!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dakine Syncline MTB Short Review

I have a new product review of the Dakine Syncline short now live on! Be sure to check it out!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dakine Nomad Hydration Pack Review

My review of this hydration pack is now live on be sure to click on over and check it out!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Thrifty Thrashing Tip #9: Don't Do Your Own Maintenance...

...if you don't know what you're doing.

This is a direct converse of the tip I published a week ago, "Do your own bike maintenance."

See, here's the thing: If you are relatively confident in your mechanical abilities, doing your own bike maintenance can help you save a significant amount of money by not having to pay someone else to do the work.

On the flip side, if you are not confident, you can end up doing much more harm than good to your bicycle, and you may end up having to take it to a shop anyway. If you've really jacked your rig up while trying to fix it, you may have just turned a simple procedure into a very complicated one, and you may have even destroyed the component that you were working on.

Of course, there is only one way to learn how to do bike maintenance, and that is by actually doing it. A maintenance book can help, but there are bound to be hiccups in the learning process.

If you are trying to be as economical as possible, it takes real wisdom to decide when you should strike off on your own, and when you are out of your league.

Your Turn: When do you decide that you're out of your league and take the bike in to the shop?

For me, it's usually when some fine-tuning is required. Serious wrenching and tightening bolts, etc.? Yeah, I'm fine with that. But doing something like a brake bleed or truing a wheel.... "Can I get some help please?"




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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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Mountain biking, plain and simple. Trail reviews, ride reports, and philosophical musings induced by delirium from grinding up way too many vertical feet.

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