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BIKES!

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Hopefully at least one person thought of the Tom Segura bit about how he yells “Bikes!” when you saw the thread title because that was completely intentional.

This is the thread where we talk about bikes. I know at least 1 or 2 of you are into bikes as much as you are into BMWs.

what do you ride, where do you ride, what do you want to ride? 
 

@GunMetalGrey better post some pics.

 

Growing up in Utah I was big into mountain biking. I had a great trail that went up the canyon along a river that I could ride from my house,  a few trips to Moab, and then just some dirt jump/street type riding.

From age 16 to 28 I rode this 1998 Raleigh M800 hard and broke plenty of parts, but the frame held up really well.
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17 year old me^

After moving to WI I rode the Alpha Trail in Franklin and decided mountain biking here was lame,  and when it came time to get something new, I bought a 2015 Trek DS 8.3 which I usually ride on the rail trails/Glacial Drumlin trail for a quick 12 mile Saturday morning sprint or a 30-45 mile “man I really gotta burn off that pizza I ate last night” longer ride, or sometimes I run errands with it and am the only dickhead rolling up to Target on a bicycle with a backpack on to go shopping (no shame).

I like it because it is a lot more efficient to pedal but I can still drop off of curbs and not have to think too hard about avoiding bumps in the road. The mechanical discs are really weak and I have broken a ton of spokes/ had to upgrade wheels, but it has been a great bike for exercise 

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Over the years I have heard people mention that there are mountain bike trails at Minooka Park and I have quickly dismissed any thoughts about them being any fun based on what I remember about my less than stellar Alpha Trail experience years ago. I got curious earlier this year and looked it up on Youtube. The Minooka Park trail looked like it might be kind of fun so I tried it out very cautiously on my Trek DS 8.3 (skinny tires) along with my wife who was on her Schwinn from Target that I bought her when we were dating ~ 15 years ago. It was great!

I wanted to pursue mountain biking here more and decided to pick up a cheap trail bike to see if I would actually use it enough to justify spending money on something decent. This Trek 4500 (2001-2003?) was $300 and while the frame is a little undersized for me, I have taken it our on a few different trails in the area just about weekly. Mostly Minooka Park, bur a few visits to the Alpha Trail, Hoyt Park, and Oak Hill.

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@m42b32 went on a few early morning rides at Minooka before work which I have enjoyed and hope to do more of this next year.  Now that I know I will get my moneys worth out of a better bike, I have spent the last few months shopping, test riding, and not having much luck finding what I want. Looking into ordering what I want new, and it might be May/June at best for delivery.

I finally found what ive been looking for on the used market. Its a 2021 Giant Trance 29, only a few months old. It should arrive this week.

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Trails on the list for 2021:

Camrock

Little Switzerland

Alpine Valley

John Muir/Emma Carlin

Eventually I’d love to make it up to Copper Harbor but that is unlikely this year.
 

Re-discovering mountain biking has been the highlight of my 2020

 

 

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Bikes are awesome!! I'd say my interest in bikes is about on par with my interest in cars. Those early morning Minooka laps were a great way to start the day, definitely doing more of those next year. That Trance looks awesome!!

 

I'd say my bike interest lies squarely in mountain biking now, but I've been all over the place.  I had a 2005ish Trek 4300 disc that I basically rode the wheels off of as a teenager. I had that bike for 14 years until I traded it to my brother to use as a commuter in Boston and it got stolen. I never really rode trails regularly as I just didn't have easy access as a kid, though my dad and I did take a trip out to John Muir a couple times. I did get the opportunity to ride some single track out in Oregon when I was in high school, that was awesome and I'd love to go back some day.

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For whatever reason my attention transitioned to vintage road bikes/fixed gears during late high school and through college and while mountain biking didn't fall off my radar it sort of took the back seat. Notable bikes from that time period (these pics aren't of my specific bikes):

1985 Raleigh Team USA. It was basically NOS, even had the original Raleigh tires on it. Fun to ride but too small for me. 

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1984 Trek 560 (I still own this, it fits me perfectly and I've upgraded a few things with parts I had laying around)

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1991(ish) Pinarello Veneto, I had this set up as a single speed. This color was cool, really nice frame, but again too small. 

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Once I got through my 'steel is real' days I realized that the most fun I've ever had on a bike is mountain biking, and so I ended up buying a 2018 Whyte T130S to get back into it. Here's some pics from when I first got it:

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I rode it completely stock for about a year, but have since upgraded a bunch of stuff as it wears out or breaks. Also because I can't leave anything alone and building things is fun. I crashed and bent the handlebars/broke the dropper remote so I replaced the bars with some answer pro-taper 780mm bars, ergon GA2 grips, and a wolftooth light-action dropper lever/sustain cable conversion for the rockshox reverb dropper post (the reverb is originally hydraulically actuated and is a giant pain in the butt). The original brakes were sort of meh, so I changed out those for a magura MT trail sport setup with 180mm rotors front and rear. Most recently I started having problems with the stock rear hub coming apart on rides, so I built a new wheelset with DT swiss EX511 rims, DT swiss comp spokes, hope pro-4 front and rear hubs, and maxxis minion DHF/DHRII tires. Building wheels is actually really satisfying. I'll post up a more recent picture of it at some point. My plan for this winter is to take it all apart and clean/service everything since it probably really needs it. 

 

The trails I frequent most are Glacial Blue Hills and Minooka Park, but I'll occasionally make it to New Fane, Pleasant Valley, John Muir, and Nordic Mountain. I'd really love to make it to Little Switzerland, Alpine Valley, Camrock, and the brand new trail system being built at Heritage Trails Park for next season! 

 

Another thing I was hoping to jump into this season is winter fat biking. Minooka, Pleasant Valley, Glacial Blue, and Heritage Trails are all reasonably close to me and are groomed for fat biking by the local trail organizations. I've been collecting parts to build up a fat bike but the frame I pre-ordered (RSD Mayor V5) is now delayed until the end of January, so hopefully there is still some winter left by the time I have it put together... 

 

 

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i got into biking for a hot second because my late wife was into biking. 

i completely rebuilt/restored/modified three bikes, all of which I got for free. (old bikes people were giving away)

some old chinese steel frame knock-off thing for her to ride. (blue one) 

a schwinn twinn that i inherited from my grandparents for us both to ride (yellow one)

a cheap mongoose hybrid steel frame from the 90s that i turned into a cyclocross style bike. (couldnt find a picture)

i stopped riding because of numb feet and threat of personal harm to man bits. i do really enjoy it though, and thought cyclocross might become a hobby. 

 

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4 hours ago, B C said:

I like it because it is a lot more efficient to pedal but I can still drop off of curbs and not have to think too hard about avoiding bumps in the road

....

I have broken a ton of spokes/ had to upgrade wheels

Hmmmm

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Trek told me they were having high failure rates on those particular spokes, then enlightened me on the wild world of spokes and how very stressed they are. I had never thought much about the fatigue life of spokes before then.

 

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3 minutes ago, B C said:

Trek told me they were having high failure rates on those particular spokes, then enlightened me on the wild world of spokes and how very stressed they are. I had never thought much about the fatigue life of spokes before then.

I had no idea how stressed spokes were until I started reading about building wheels. I always thought they were just a metal stick, nothing special. Its crazy how much of a science you can make it with balancing spoke tensions, all the different types of spokes, nipple material, lacing patterns, etc.

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1 hour ago, straight6pwr said:

i stopped riding because of numb feet and threat of personal harm to man bits.

I've wondered if there is a magic combination of proper frame size and seat construction/positioning that can make things more comfortable?    

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2 hours ago, Boris3 said:

I've wondered if there is a magic combination of proper frame size and seat construction/positioning that can make things more comfortable?    

I tried some of these adjustments. I even lost some weight, which i assumed would help, but I was still having the issue on long rides.  i could have probably got a different, less aggressive bike or a big ass comfy seat, but both would defeat the point of riding quickly for exercise.  after that amount of tinkering, reading about long term issues, and not really being 'in love' with biking, I threw in the towel and started running again for exercise LOL 

 

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I spent my formative years on a BMX bike. Was very reluctant to transition to mountain bikes, but finally bought one in 2000. Diamondback x2. Not my pic, but this was the bike:

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Destroyed the wheels straight away. Upgraded those. It was never a great bike, but I kept the cycles of abuse and repair going. Did some Wisconsin trails back in the day. Mostly Baird Creek in Green Bay.

Ended up at the shop for a while... Ben before he went pro:

The rear suspension was pretty trashed, and I'm out of shape, so I switched out the frame for an early 2000s Gary Fischer Marlin hardtail. Still the original fork, handlebars, crank arms, rear derailleur, brakes... that's about it. Mostly a city bike these days.

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Brian: I've been to Camrock a couple of times, but I don't get why people seem to like it so much. Quarry Ridge is more fun IMO.

 

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Oh man, this is a thread I can get behind! 
As a kid I worked on dirt jumps at a friends house and reworked all kinds of weird mountain bikes to make the most suspension travel possible out of the cheap Walmart bikes I found or was given. 
The real stuff all started when I was working in the Scheel's service shop. I built / repaired bikes and a whole variety of other things, it was honestly one of my favorite jobs (outside of the dismal pay) and I have debated doing a similar job again on the side. I worked with a lot of high end road bikes and decided to try my hand at that, and with the employee discount of Scheel's (cost +5%) it was an easy decision to pick up a Fuji Sportif and I started riding that with a friend.
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It was amusing but one day he and I were standing in my parents garage looking up at a pair of vintage mountain bikes and decided to take them for a rip around the gravel path near the house. We had more fun doing that than any other road riding session we had ever encountered. We started riding High Cliff right before winter, always returning coated in mud and cold, but it was so much fun. 
The summer after that I started riding with a couple friends from school at Riverview Gardens in Appleton, and was introduced to the Reforestation Camp in Green Bay. I also started seeing a friend in Marquette riding some really cool looking trails that I had a desire to go see. I went to The Recyclist in Appleton and traded in my road bike for a Giant Talon with an air sprung front fork and hydraulic disc brakes. It was miles better than the Specialized Hardrock circa 2000 that I had been riding as a loaner from a friend, and it was what lead the same friend to buy a Fuji Nevada for his first MTB. 
I started riding more with school friends and their friends, and that's when things really took off. We rode various places in WI (standing rock, a place in Tomahawk, Baird's, Refo) and at one point a friend of a friend asked if I wanted to do a skills clinic in Copper Harbor. I had ridden with him a couple of times and figured why the heck not! 
We headed up and stopped at Michigan Tech and rode the DH trails they had there, which was the first time I had ever ridding a solely downhill trail. I am not one to make exclamations above standard volume, but Cory was in front of me hooting and hollering as we tore down the trail and I found myself matching his style and yelling in excitement as gravity took hold of the situation. The weekend in Copper Harbor was eye opening and was where I met even more people I still keep in contact with. A few weeks later a friend rented a full suspension bike in Copper Harbor and we both rode it and bought full suspension bikes in the following weeks. It was a massive upgrade from the hardtails that our legs and butts learned to hate. 
Copper Harbor skills clinic lead me to do things that I never saw myself doing, I was always afraid of falling as a kid, but for some reason that fear was leaving me. Sadly it is coming back and I have been working on that as much as possible. A nice rock roll from Copper Harbor on my first FS bike. 
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Shortly after all of this I started talking more with the guy in Marquette who I had been in Highschool with. We started visiting Marquette more often and riding the trails out there, and if you have not gone, you absolutely must. The trail network out there is insane, and there are miles of unmarked trails that will knock your socks off. 


I'm losing track of timeline here due to the overwhelming good times that are coming to mind. I have met so many awesome people due to MTB, it is the main reason I moved across the country, the reason for staying in shape, and also a great source of frustration. I'll never forget the time we got big talking @HipMF
 to come ride the stuff we always talked about, and in the first 2 days he lost his wallet and broke his bike and body. I've been to CO, Whistler, Duluth (another amazing place to ride), Little Switz, Marquette, Alabama, and Washington all just to ride bikes.  



When we moved to WA we quickly violated the lease terms with our bike rack
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Our typical bike chaining in Marquette


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It was always a game of how many people and gear you could cram into one truck

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I now have a two bike fleet. My 2017 Intense Tracer trail bike (165mm front and rear travel) and 2018 YT Tues (200mm front and rear travel). In Washington the trail bike is king, and I've quickly learned how to pace out (4) 1,300ft climbs in an afternoon to get some laps in on the trails. There are a couple of spots that are viable to shuttle and ride trail bikes yet though. 
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The one thing I've missed greatly this year is the ability to go into Canada. BC is absolutely insane, the trails are perfect, the views are stunning, and Whistler bike park is astounding. 
A simple stop in Squamish for some Tim Horton's is picturesque 
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Riding the chair up at Whistler knowing you've got almost an hour of descent (with breaks) coming up if you go up high enough, just insane. This picture is of the second chair up, you cannot even see the first chair, and you start the the town that is behind the cables, not the dirt area to the right of them. It is 4,000ft of rideable mountain, and I don't know where else to get that kind of thrill, all 3.5 hours away from our house in WA. That was the amount of time I used to spend driving to Marquette. 
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But it all doesn't come without damage. Among the amount of blood and skin I've shed on trails, there was a particular day in MN when I overshot a jump and thought I hit my helmet on the tree that I landed into. The ski patrol couldn't see any marks on my helmet, but I sure did do a number on my lip and teeth. I re arranged my teeth, cracked one, and put a couple of said teeth through my lip. A memorial day trip to the urgent care was fun, and I still chuckle about it. The Urgent care people took all my info and then took one lip at my lip after uncovering it, and walked me over to the ER to get it taken care of haha. 8 stitches inside my lip, and that nice one on the outside. 
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If anyone is looking to ride and travel let me know, I will gladly provide transportation, a place to crash, and guide services to have a blast on bikes, regardless of skill level. 
Sadly my job has me on the road a lot so I don't spend as much time on the bike as I would like, but I plan to start flying with my bike more often and  not worry about the dark or weather and just start riding more. 

Lots of good memories and good friends, and I hope to keep that rolling! 

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