Friday, July 29, 2011

Gone Riding, but the Posts Shall Go On!

Trail 401 in Crested Butte, Colorado
Image by jbersch of Singletracks.com
Greg Rides Trails is officially on autopilot.

We are heading for the mountains! It has been about 3 years since I've ridden true Rocky Mountain singletrack, and it is about time that I've been back for a visit!

We will be spending most of our time camping and riding in Crested Butte, which is where the picture on the left was taken. This photo is of Trail 401 which is reputed to be the best trail in the nation! I haven't ridden it yet, but in a few days you bet I will!

Trail 401.
Photo by BobinConifer of Singletracks.com.

Don't worry, though--Greg Rides Trails will still be bringing you plenty of online mountain bike goodness! I have scheduled a slew of guest posts for the next week and a half and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. On tap are an awesome post from Wendy Davis of the Airborne Flight Crew, several photo posts from my brother AJ, and more!

Since I'm going to be camping, I probably won't have time to get internet access and post the links to the Facebook page and Twitter account. Want to know exactly when posts go live on GRT? Be sure to grab the RSS feed!

Just please don't destroy the comments section while I'm away...


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Trail Maintenance out at Bull Mountain



Just a quick heads up in case you haven't heard about this yet. If you're around, don't ride these trails... help work on them instead! Unfortunately, I'm going to be on the highway on my way back from Colorado that day so I won't be there. But if you're around, be sure to pitch in!

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My First Rattlesnake Encounter

Photo by Matt Stephenson.
My friend Thomas had ridden off down the trail ahead of us to shoot a video as we all shralped the descent, but a minute later he rode back up to let us know that there was a rattlesnake chilling in the middle of the trail. It was so thoughtful of him to keep us from bombing down at breakneck speed right over this venomous viper!

I had never seen one before, so I was pretty stoked to check it out... but I gotta admit, I did not want to get close! There is something very sinister about a creature so small that can catch you unawares and kill you with it's venomous bite. I'd almost rather encounter a moose or a grizzly bear out on the trail than accidentally run right by a snake and get bitten because I didn't see it.

So needless to say, Matt shot this photo... I did not get this close! But when I rode by (as far off the right side of the trail as possible), I could clearly see the warning rattles lying on top of his coiled body. Thankfully, they weren't shaking!

I don't usually think about rattlesnakes living in Georgia... but they do! The specific species is the timber rattlesnake, and according to this article they can be found all across the state. Stay safe out there!

Your turn: Have you ever seen a rattlesnake before? (In Georgia or elsewhere?)

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Thrifty Thrashing Tip #4: Ride Your Tires Until They're Bald

Definitely not a bald tire!
I've already written a few posts about inner tubes and inflation, and now the focus of this column moves to the tires themselves. 

Why have I written so many posts on this same area of the mountain bike? Well, tubes and tires are some of the things that will inevitably wear out on a regular basis. They are not intended to last forever. A good frame, for instance, can stand up to tremendous use and abuse and last forever. Tubes and tires, however, will need to be replaced.

Also, with the constantly rising price of oil, the price of rubber has consequently risen since oil is necessary to manufacture it. 

Bike tires are expensive, and they are only going to get more expensive.

If you are truly trying to be a thrifty thrasher, my recommendation is to ride your tires until they're totally bald and they start falling apart. 

Sure, for the last several hundred miles your traction is going to suffer. But since we've covered the fact that you need to be as thrifty as possible and that tires cost money, it's quite probable that you just can't afford to just plunk money down on a brand new tire whenever you want. And remember what we said about picking your battles

There have been times in the past when I have literally run my tires until they were so bald and frayed that I tore a hole in my sidewall... and I wouldn't replace it until I did.

And even when you do have to replace your tires, there are ways to do it on the cheap....

Stay tuned for the next installment in the series!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Videos of the Airborne Flight Crew Thrashing!

Brent Davidson of the Airborne Flight Crew tears up the dirt jumps on the Airborne Wingman:



Jerry Hazard riding downhill on the Airborne Taka at Full Tilt - MSC #6 2011 Telluride, CO:


Full Tilt - MSC #6 2011 Telluride, CO from J Hazard on Vimeo.

Jerry Hazard shredding at Telluride on the 4th of July:

Telluride July 4 from J Hazard on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Accepting Guest Posts

Crested Butte, Colorado
Over the past couple of weeks I have been in the process of planning an epic mountain bike trip/vacation to Colorado, and everything is coming together super smoothly! The only things missing are posts for the week or so that I'll be gone. Once I get back, I'll definitely have a ton of content to post, but I don't want GRT to sit stagnant for a week while I am out shredding beautiful high-alpine singletrack.

So, I'm opening up the opportunity for you to get published here on Greg Rides Trails! Have a product you've been itching to review? A story that needs to be told? A cool video that you shot? Or even just a couple of cool photos from your last ride? Shoot me an email at g.gaheil@gmail.com and I'll see what I can do about getting your MTB awesomeness up for everyone to see!

Be sure to include a bio-line and website (if any) that you want me to link back to.

Oh, and please get your stuff in before Thursday, July 28th.

Cheers, looking forward to some cool submissions!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Thrifty Thrashing Tip #3: Choose Your Battles

Keeping your mountain bike and riding gear in good repair can seem like a never-ending war. In this war, it is important that you carefully choose which battles you really want to fight, and which you might just need to let go. 


For instance, I was really hoping to do a race in mid August. Unfortunately, my riding shoes completely fell apart  last week. They were well over 3 years old and had seen thousands of miles of singletrack all across the nation, and they had finally had it. I had to make the tough decision to stick some real money in a new pair of shoes... not the most expensive, but definitely not the cheapest. By choosing to win that battle, I effectively canceled out the possibility of racing in August.

The key to choosing the right battle is to determine which is a more pressing issue. Obviously in this example, doing a race was a luxury, but without decent shoes I wasn't going to be riding my mountain bike--period! Other times the decision isn't quite so cut-and-dry, so ask yourself: "what will help me the most in the quest to keep the wheels rolling?"

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Paynes Creek Campground, Hartwell, Georgia

Getting There
From Hartwell, head north on GA-51 for 7 miles to the stop sign. Take a left onto Boleman Hill road and drive 2 miles. Head straight off of the corner of the turn and continue onto Paynes Creek road for 0.8 miles. You should start seeing signs for Paynes Creek campground/recreation area. Follow signs for the last couple of quick turns, and get ready to mountain bike!

All About the Trail
For my take on the trail, please check out my post on Singletracks.com entitled "Fresh Dirt: Paynes Creek, GA Ride Report."

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Hydrapak Selva Review

Click here to check out my latest product review on Singletracks.com.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Chilhowee Trail System, Ocoee, Tennessee

The Chilhowee Trail System lies deep in the mountains of Tennessee and offers close to 30 miles of  challenging singletrack trails with plenty of technical obstacles, tough climbs and fast descents. The area offers amazing views of both waterfalls and the surrounding mountain ranges!

To read more about my experiences riding the trails, click on over and read the article I published on Singletracks.com.

But as for directions to the trail system:

From the East and South: 
Head West out of Ducktown on US 74 for 16 miles. Turn right onto TN 30, and the trailhead is immediately on the left.

From the West:
Head East out of Ocoee on US 74 for 9-10 miles. Turn left onto TN 30, and the trailhead is immediately on the left.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thrifty Thrashing Tip #2: Inflate by Hand

Flickr Creative Commons Photo Credit
As Phil mentioned in the comments on last week's post, CO2 canisters are expensive!

Using CO2 every tire you fill a tube out on the trail adds at least 3 extra dollars per tire. Most single-use canisters cost even more than that. If you flat a lot, that can spell big $$ over time.

Of course, CO2 is fast. If you are in a race situation, it definitely makes sense!

But if you're out just riding for fun and are trying to thrash thriftily, inflate your next spare tube using a hand pump. Not only are hand pumps infinitely cheaper, but they are more reliable. CO2 canisters run out, but you have an infinite amount of air from your hand pump if you are just willing to sweat a little bit.

The next time you have to change a flat on the trail, inflate it by hand!

Your Turn: Do you use CO2 or a hand pump?

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Creative Commons Photo Credit
Hey guys and gals, I hope you all have a happy 4th of July filled with plenty of fireworks and singletrack! I rode a few new-to-me trails on Saturday for a total of 26 fun-filled miles, and I'm planning on a ride on my local trails tomorrow to celebrate the holiday.

What have been / are your riding plans for the weekend?

Greg Rides Trails will be back with regular content on Wednesday.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Thrifty Thrashing Tip #1: Patch Your Tubes

I have heard many different people claim that patching a tube is only useful just to get yourself out of the woods when you have a flat. Afterwards, these same people claim you should just replace the tube because it has been "compromised."

Now, there are really only two uses where I can see a patched tube being somewhat problematic:

  1. Road biking, because road tires run such high pressure. But this isn't a road biking blog.
  2. Downhill mountain biking, due to the force of jumps and drops. 
But for most standard tube uses, I have found that patches work remarkably well. Think about it: the average mountain biker just rides trails for fun and runs relatively low tire pressures to increase traction. During normal riding, a patch is more than capable of surviving for many months. In my experience, another part of the tube tends to fail (poked by a thorn, pinched due to low air pressure) well before the patch.

Money Savings
"Wait, how does this save me money exactly?"

I don't know if you've noticed, but inner tubes can be expensive. 26er tubes at my LBS are $6 and 29ers are $7. I've purchased tubes at REI before and they generally run a solid $9! Even off of the internet a tube costs $3 or more. 

In contrast, a patch kit with 6 patches costs either 3 or 4 bucks, depending on the shop. 

To illustrate the amount of money you can save by patching just 6 tubes, I input some data into a spreadsheet and crunched some numbers. Check out the screenshot below:


Basically, depending on where you were already buying your tubes, by patching just 6 tubes you could save up to $51.00! That is a ton of money!  Not to mention, repairing a tube is much more eco-friendly than throwing it away.

So the next time you got to throw away an old tube after a pinch flat, patch it instead and save some serious $$.

Your Turn:
Do you patch your tubes?

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

About This Blog

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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