Buying Local vs. Online!

What’s up shredders,

Nowadays, online shopping is so easy. You can practically buy anything with just a quick search and the touch of a button. Most people don’t want to have to find a store, drive to it, and hope that they have the item you are looking for. It is so convenient to use your phone or computer and buy the same thing without leaving your house. Believe it or not, there are benefits to buying both online and local though.

In the biking world, the major thing buying online has in its favor is the ease of buying a product. Anything you are in the market for, all you have to do is a quick search. Most likely, you will find several places selling the same item that you are looking for. Also, depending on the bike part, bike shops might not have the part you are looking for. With so many bike types and bike models out there, it is impossible to have every bike part in stock. Buying online can also save you money. Some bike parts can get pretty expensive and having the local bike shop order it for you can be costly. Obviously, in doing business with them, the bike shop has to make a little money off it too. When buying online, you are cutting out this issue.

Although it might sound like buying online is the clear choice here, many still stand by supporting their local bike shop. Yes, they might not have the best prices and all the high end parts you are looking for in stock, but who is going to be there Saturday morning when you want to go for a ride and need a new tube or tire put on? When buying a bike, who online is going to help you get fitted and choose the appropriate bike? How are you going to know if the helmet you bought off Amazon is going to fit? All of these answers are your local bike shop. I can say from experience, that bike shops get taken advantage of. People come in and expect to get a better deal online and get mad when they don’t. If you are an avid biker, you won’t realize how important your local shop is until it is out of business. Who is going to work on your bikes then? Who is going to be hosting group rides after work? Yes, I have gone online and got stuff before, but every chance I get to support my local bike shop, I do. I hope you make that decision too!

Here is a link to an article by singletrack.com on why supporting your local bike shop is important!  Buy Local!

Downhill Bike Parks!

Welcome back riders,

For this blog, I will be talking about the new craze in the mountain biking world, downhill bike parks. Bike parks have been opening up all over the world in the past several years. These parks are being opened up at ski resorts and offer lift access to the top of the mountain. The ski resorts are becoming four season resorts and can bring in large amounts of revenue in opening up a bike park during the spring, summer, and fall months.

The bike parks usually hire groups who specialize in building mountain bike trails and features. All throughout the mountainside, mountain bike trails are built. The trails use the same coding for beginner (green), intermediate (blue), and advanced (black) as they would for skiing and snowboarding. One of the main reasons why these bike parks are becoming so popular is because it is so easy to progress your skill in such a short amount of time. Before bike parks, if you wanted to ride a downhill trail, you had to hike the trail to the top or find a way for somebody else to shuttle (drive) you to the top. With this way, it was so hard to get more than just a run or two in. Nowadays, you can spend all day riding the park on all different trails getting as many runs in as your body could handle. Not too mention, the obstacles and features that are built at these places are meant to improve your bike handling skills.

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Two bike parks that opened up recently in Virginia are Bryce bike park and Massanutten bike park. Both of these parks have all different kinds of runs from what many call “jump lines,” which consist of a trail with nothing but jumps all the way down, to really steep and technical trails. Both of these are located close to Harrisonburg, VA. Another popular bike located in Pennsylvania is Seven Springs. Seven Springs has been open longer than the others and has more trails here. The park is located right outside of Somerset, PA. Lastly, the biggest and oldest bike park that is in our area is Snowshoe. Snowshoe is known all over the east coast as having an awesome bike park. Riders from all over the country come here to compete in big races and ride. They recently opened a trail (Skyline) that is over 3 miles long with more than 5o jumps on it!

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What is neat with all of these places is that they have a full service bike shop located at the resort where you can rent all the equipment you need to have a wicked day on the mountain!

Thanks again and stay tuned for the next post!

 

Trail riding in Virginia!

Hello bikers,

For this post, I will be talking about trail riding in Virginia. When people think of doing big mountain sports like snowboarding/skiing, mountain biking, or even hiking, they think of it mainly being out west in states like Utah and Colorado. They are wrong. We are lucky enough to live in the great state of Virginia, where we are able to still do all of those activities and do them in a pretty sweet environment.

For those of you that live in northern Virginia, there are several great trailheads that you can access in little time. The first place is called Andy Guest/Shenandoah River State Park and is located right outside of Front Royal, Va in a town called Bentonville. Andy Guest has a total of 16 trails that cover 23 miles. The trails consist of gravel paths to nice, flowy mountain bike trails. Some trails run right by the river offering a nice pit stop in the summer heat.

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The next trail located in northern Virginia that is worth riding is located in Sherando Park in Winchester,Va. This trail loop isn’t long only being  3 miles in length but allows you to ride the loop several times. The terrain is similar to Andy Guest with a variety of hills and descents. This is a good trail for beginner/intermediate riders who are looking to get there mountain bike fix in.

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The next trail is located  more south near Strasburg,Va. This trail is called Elizabeth Furnace and is more for the advanced rider. The terrain here is rocky and very aggressive with some steep, technical climbs. The trail is 15 miles long and will keep you on your toes the whole time.

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Next is Carvin’s Cove. This trail is located right outside of Roanoke,Va and offers 30 miles of trails. Within these trails, any skill level of rider can enjoy the park and what it has to offer. There are some enduring climbs that take you to the top of the mountain for a fast and flowy descent. Carvin’s Cove is ridden by lots of downhill riders due to the Gauntlet and Trough trails.

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Lastly and closest to Radford University is Pandapas Pond. Pandapas Pond has 34 miles of trails ranging from beginner level to advanced. Just like Carvin’s Cove, there are several trails that take you to the top and offer a view that is priceless. The downhill trail, Jacob’s Ladder, is personally my favorite and if I had the chance to ride it everyday I would!

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Enough of me talking about riding, lets go do it! Stay tuned for more two wheel action!

Do you have all the right gear?

Hello everyone,

By this point, you have been informed about the different kinds of bikes and how to get the appropriate size for you. The next step before you can get those two wheels turning is choosing the right gear. Different kinds of riding require some different gear than others but there are some basic things that every rider should carry with them when riding.

The first and most important piece of equipment that every rider should have is a helmet. Whenever you ride this should be the first thing that you grab. Without wearing a helmet, if you were to fall or have an accident, you could experience severe head injuries. A lot of new riders buy a helmet when they get a new bike but many do not get the right size or right kind for the riding they will be doing. It is important to get the right size because if not, the helmet will not serve any purpose when it is needed. Also, depending on the riding you plan on doing, each type has a certain helmet that is best for the conditions. For example, mountain bike helmets cover more of your head due to the rough conditions that many ride on.

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The next piece of equipment that is nice to have is a good pair of gloves. Although it is not necessary, in the case of emergency and you have an accident, having your hands protected is always a bonus. There are many different styles out there that cater to many different riders. Some gloves have a lot of padding while others are more for ventilation purpose while riding.

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Thirdly, I always like to carry an extra tube with me when I ride. There is nothing worse than getting a flat tire during the middle of your ride and not having a spare. In addition to the tube, carrying a portable pump or co2 cartridge to fill up the new tube is a must.

The last piece of equipment that is good to carry with you is a multitool. There are all kinds of multitools out there ranging from ones that have only a couple uses to ones that have over 20! Whether your bike breaks down or your friend’s bike does, you can always save the day by carrying a multitool. You can either carry the tube and multitool in a small backpack or buy a little carry on bag that attaches to your bike.

multitool

Now you are all set to get those wheels spinning and don’t forget to bring the right equipment with you!

How to choose the right size bike!

Welcome back two wheel fanatics!

For this blog post, I plan on explaining the best way to choose the right size bike. The hard part is over of choosing the style and brand bike that you want, now it is up to you to get the appropriate size.

As stated in the previous blog, there are three main types of bikes to swing a leg over; road, mountain, and hybrid. After finding that style you like, there are several basic rules to follow to the get bike that fits you the best. What most people don’t realize is that riding a bike that is not your size can really affect your riding performance.

The first and most important rule when choosing the right size bike is the two inch rule. The two inch rule is based off when you are standing over the center of the bike and the top bar is directly under and between your legs. You want to make sure the top bar is no more than two inches from your crotch and no less than 1/2 inch. In doing this, you are eliminating the risk of coming down on the top bar while riding and injuring yourself. We all know, we don’t want that to happen! If you are unsure between two sizes, ride both bikes and jump off the seat on to the top to simulate an emergency and figure out which feels best.

The second thing to consider when choosing the right size is how long or stretched out the bike is. Bigger bikes will be longer, therefore meaning you will have to stretch more for the handlebars. Road bikes are less forgiving due to the nature of how the bike is designed. As for mountain bikes, the longer the bike is, the harder it is to handle it under rough conditions. Although many xc bikes now are being made longer allowing the rider to be able to pedal better like a road bike. Again, if you are unsure, ride two different sizes to find the best fit for you.

Lastly, once you have found the right size frame, you want to adjust the seat height to fit appropriately. The best way to find the right seat without an expert measuring your body dimensions is to fit the spot where your leg is almost fully extended when the pedal is in the down position. To better explain, sit on the bike seat with one leg fully extended to one side. If you have a noticeable bend in your knee, the seat needs to be raised. If you are fully extended, you will want to lower it a little. When most people do this, they find they can’t touch the ground with both feet. That is a good thing. This means that the seat height is adjusted at the right height to where you  get the most power out of each pedal.

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Finding the right size is the most important thing in choosing a bike for you. Without the right fit, you won’t be able to utilize the bike to its full potential.

How to choose the right bike for you!

Hello two wheel enthusiasts,

In this blog post, I will be talking about the foremost important thing in biking, choosing the right bike for you. In today’s world, there are many different styles and brands, which can be very confusing to the beginner cyclist. The best thing to do if you are looking to get a new bicycle is to go to your local bike shop and talk with an expert.

The first step in getting a new bike is to figure out what type of riding you plan on doing. The main types of riding are road, mountain, or hybrid. In each of these categories, there are several different styles of bikes.

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For instance, when choosing a road bike, you can go two ways. The first is if you plan on racing or wanting to ride at a faster pace. These kinds of bikes have a carbon frame, which is significantly lighter than aluminum or steel. The second is more of a touring type. These bikes can either have the drop bars or regular bars, which most people are familiar with, and either aluminum or steel frames. These bikes also have brackets throughout the bike that allow the rider to “trick” out the bike with racks and other things for long trips.

The next type of bicycle is a mountain bike. Like the road bikes, there are different styles of mountain bikes that are better for certain types of terrain. The first style is a cross-country bike. Cross-country bikes are either going to be a hardtail, just front suspension, or a full suspension, which is front and rear suspension. The amount of suspension on these bikes isn’t much compared to other styles. These bikes generally have bigger wheels (29 inches) compared to other styles of mountain bikes. With having big wheels, these bikes can roll over objects at slower speeds. The next style of mountain bike is an all-mountain/enduro bike. These bikes are only full suspension and have significantly more suspension travel than cross-country bikes. Many people use these styles as one bike to do it all. It can handle the cross-country riding and the downhill riding. These bikes usually run at a 27.5 inch wheel size. The last style of mountain bike is a downhill/freeride bike. The best way to describe these bikes is a dirt bike without a motor. They have lots of suspension travel and are made to handle any kind of rough terrain you throw at it. Generally, these bikes have the traditional 26 inch wheel so the rider has more control at faster speeds.

The last type of bicycle to choose from is a hybrid. These bikes have more of an upright position and are meant for casual riding. The majority of the riding done with these bikes are on tow paths or rails trails. These trails are generally smooth and not hilly at all.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next two wheel article!

Just Me and Two Wheels!

Hello everyone,

I’d first like to start by saying I am very excited to create a blog on bicycles. Bikes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I hope my passion for bikes will have a positive impact on you and get you out riding!

For me, biking originated in my life when I was a little kid. I can still remember to this day being pushed in the grass for the first time without training wheels. Just like most kids in their childhood, I continued to ride my bike with friends building little jumps and seeing who could wheelie the furthest. It wasn’t until the eighth grade when my passion for mountain biking really began. The first real mountain bike I got was a Trek 820. My dad and I would ride almost every weekend, whether it was near my house or traveling to other states’ trailheads. For the next few years, my passion for mountain biking would grow. Two years later after getting the Trek, I saved up money to get a nicer all-around bike. This bike was called the Jamis Dakar XC. This bike was a full suspension bike, whereas the Trek was a hardtail, or just suspension in the front. Now, since I had more suspension I got more into jumping or what is called in the bike world “freeriding.” I progressed more and more and kept building jumps and trails all around my house. From there, I once again upgraded to a bigger and better “freeride” bike, the Cannondale Judge. Once getting this bike, it opened up a whole other genre of riding for me. This type of riding is called “downhill” and can be done at ski resorts. To this day, going to the ski resorts during the summer and riding the trails is my favorite thing to do. Some might think I am crazy, but I once again upgraded to another bike, a Specialized Demo 8, that is meant for the ski resorts and very steep, gnarly terrain.

Another huge reason why my passion for biking is still so strong is due to the fact that I worked at a bicycle shop for over two years. Not only do I get to be around the things I enjoy the most, but also getting to help others get involved in this great hobby. While at the bike shop, I did everything from selling bikes, gear, and parts to working on old and new bikes.

I look forward to future blog posts and hope everyone enjoys them!