The Angry Singlespeeder: Stop whining about cost of bikes

Nobody cares whether or not you can afford that new bike that so-and-so just released. So please stop your whining.

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  • Chicken_Rider says:

    Irony: Whining about people whining about the price of a mountain bike.

    I would have loved to see you compare the Raleigh to the “middle of the road” mtn bike in ’93, vs. the S-Works and it’s “middle of the road” bike for today. For example, was the Raleigh that much better than a basic mtn bike than the S-Works is today, to justify such a huge increase in price.

  • Dane says:

    “Below a certain price point, performance drops off considerably.” So true. Also true that there are considerable diminishing returns above a certain price point. I think $3.5-5k is the sweet spot for most of us.

    • joe says:

      I agree – however I think the point of considerable diminishing returns starts somewhere around $499 to $899 depending upon your riding needs. Then really starts dropping off rapidly around $2,000

  • ziscwg says:

    One of these days we have to get the A.S.S. on a Lefty so he can compare it to that Rock Shock thing. We already know which one is lighter. With both needing special hubs, it comes down to what performs better.

  • jay says:

    This is not factoring in the increased growth in the sport as well as the internet. There are more voices (increase in the sport) and more outlets and louder megaphones for them to use (the internet).

    I bet you the ratio of price complainers back then is the same as it is now. You just hear about it more because of the afore mentioned changes.

  • Russ says:

    ASS rides a lefty too. He’s a connoisseur of fine suspension. I saw his bike in Downieville a week ago. He’s on a Lefty Ripley.

  • Bokchoi Cowboy says:

    Kurt, I get your logic, explanations, and reasonings in your article.I understand cost, price, and value of what you can buy. Many of your points are valid. Nothing to complain about on the majority of your article.

    I do take exception to this line: “…what really pisses me off is when someone complains about not being able to afford even a $2,000 mountain bike”…this strikes me as very insensitive and elitist.

    There are many people who simply cannot put $2,000 down on a mountain bike who are avid passionate riders. They have a variety of reasons for this to be, all legitimate. There may be family costs, limits to income, other responsibilities they must attend to with their hard-earned money. They may wish to be able to purchase bikes and parts in excess of your $2K threshold, but their reality just does not allow it. They want to ride, they wish for performance or durable parts, but they just cannot afford it.

    And you are pissed off by this? I know, Angry Singlespeeder…it is your shtick.

    Your comment of: “Can’t afford it? Then either get a better paying job, get an industry hookup, or keep your mouth shut.”…goes a bit over the line as well.

    I like you Kurt, and your usual take on the world of mountain biking. I enjoy reading your articles when they come out, knowing I will get to read something that is not bound by the usual marketing influence, something that shies away from hawking the “latest big thing”. A bit of appreciated honesty seasoned with vitriol.

    But there is too much of the vitriol this time my friend. Perhaps the mirrorball is getting a bit too tight?

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Bokchoi – I’m not talking about those who want to get into mountain biking and can’t afford a $2,000 bike. I’m talking about those people who get pissed off and spew the same vitriol you speak of when presented with the fact that a solid performing full-suspension mountain bike costs at least $2,000. Sure, you can easily find a used mountain bike for half that, but price and performance have a direct correlation to a certain point (for me its about $5,000, above that, the correlation drops off quite a bit).

    And yes, I’ve been known to dabble in hyperbole. If you think I went over the line, then that means I’m hitting the mark I aimed for.

    – ASS

  • Aaron says:

    I don’t think the problem is that bikes cost so much. It’s the problem of the newer, better, lighter, stronger, faster bike that comes out next year, and all of a sudden, your $9,000 bike that was the cream of the crop last year is now a relic in industry terms, and you’ll be happy to get half as much from it in the used market. The value of Mountain bikes (bikes in general) depreciate worse than even the worst possible investments. Asking people to drop $10,000 on a bike that won’t be worth half that a year later, AND technologically “obsolete” is absolutely ludicrous and is going to leave people isolated and frustrated with the industry. The industry shouldn’t get in the way of its own progress.

  • Lummox says:

    The same “you NEED to spend this much” has been going on for 25 years that I know of. Mountain bikes are like computers there is a price point people will pay and not bitch and there is everything over that. FOREVER bike elitist have looked down on people that don’t pay 2.5K or higher for a bike, well guess what 2K seems to be the historical amount people are willing to pay for a TOY, like it or not this hobby is just playing with really cool toys.

    If you can afford a 3K or higher bike good for you, but I find if funny when a noob with more money than skills shows up with a 9K carbon 29er and can’t even do a creek crossing.

    • Lukas says:

      “2K seems to be the historical amount people are willing to pay for a Toy”…you apparently don’t know anyone who goes fishing in a boat, or has an ATV, or a gaming computer, or a track car, or a nice bicycle. It’s only funny when a noob has a nicer bike than you and less skill because if it weren’t funny it would be infuriating. So just admit you’re jealous, stop snickering, and give the guy some pointers. You’re living proof that everyone is elitist is some form or another.

  • turbodog says:

    I’m afraid single speed riding may in fact cause brain damage.

    Aaron Gwin is certainly not riding the same 29er Special-ed bike that the average dentist buys for $10k. It’s at least been modified and tweaked by pro mechanics, and in all likelyhood was built from scratch in the first place with a custom frame.

    Plenty of people won’t spend $2000 on a mountain bike. In fact, I would argue that someone walking into a shop and dropping $2k on a bike is either stupid, or stupid with their money. You can pick up a lightly used bike for under $2k and set it up well quite easily.

    I’ve built custom built a sub 28 lb, 6″ travel bike for about $3k, that will completely out ride that POS 29er specialized (and its typical owner) any day of the week. Just because a bike is shiny and high tech, doesn’t mean it’s well set up and fast.

  • professor says:

    All I have to say is learn how to build-up your own bikes and purchase slightly used equipment. You will save thousands and yield the same, if not better, build.

  • Phil says:

    Another point is the middle class has shrunk and real wages have dropped since 1990 thanks to NAFTA, etc, while the cost of living and everything else, including bikes, has gone ever upward. Fortunately for the high end bike market, the target demographic is as fanatical as ever so there is enough disposable income, or the will to spend, to obtain the equipment. There are also enough of them, the target demographic, because companies continue to have the budgets to innovate and bring these wonderful products to market. Perhaps the main gap, and this was the gap I remember, was being young drooling at the fantastic bikes on the showroom floor that I could not afford as a teenager or collage student. I worked all summer in 1992 to pick up a Giant ATX 760 (my first real mountain bike). Not the bike I wanted, but the bike I could afford. A year later, I sold the Giant and picked up a Klein frame and landed a bike shop job so I could afford to build it (at a discount). There is a noise gap though. When Specialized et. al states the MSRP of their S Works whatever there is always a collective groan. Truth is, no body but a handful of extremely well healed dorks buys this bike for full price. Most go as pro deals to shop employees or to sponsored riders, etc. The rest of the folks walking onto the showroom floor (I’ll say uneducated) have no idea the place an S Works bike hold in the lineup and are not really the customer for that bike. The rest of the folks educated about the state of the market say “Yeah, but you can get this or that, or do this or that, to achieve the same or similar level of performance.” So there is the groan; that is what the groan is. My personal case in point is I just built my wife a Turner Czar with custom everything off the shelf for $4,700. That is crap load of money, but nearly half of what Specialized is asking for a full carbon race bike. My wife’s bike is no slouch, either. Hope hubs and brakes, Race Face Next SL cranks. 2 x 10 with X9 Type II, XO twist shifters, hand built wheels, etc. There was a discount on the frame, and a few of the parts I got a good deal on, but that is the point, who is paying full price for anything anymore when if you are moderately savvy you can piece together what you want for a much better price than MSRP. MSRP in the high end has always been bravado anyway. Like the high end audio systems I used to look at when I was a kid “Investment $20,800”. Hubris calling anything retail an investment, but it certainly is a ballsy flag to wave and signals just the same that at least you think you have the complete confidence in the product to back up the claim.

  • Heffe says:

    I agree with the comment above, that mountain bikes are in essence really cool toys. Really expensive cool toys. In that light and slightly off topic, I’m considering purchasing either a Rockshox RS-1 27.5, or a DT Swiss OPM ODL RACE fork for my XC hardtail. Any thoughts about these 2 forks, ‘mano a mano’?

  • scott says:

    Writing about people whining about how expensive bikes and bike components are only makes you look like a(n uninspired) bitter and begrudging schmucktard.

  • Maromaco says:

    How much money did you receive from Specialized and Rock Shox?

  • dave_f says:

    I built up two bikes last winter, a 160/160 travel bike that does everything I would want for about $2700 and a dirt bike that got most of the parts from my old bike for about 1/5th of that. Fun factor of both is about equal. You just have to ask yourself if that raceface next crank performs that much better than an SLX to justify making that decision, if it’s really performance you’re looking for. There is no technology in the piece of aluminum with two holes in it that is labelled “Chromag Ranger” that makes it worth $100. I would like to see a follow-on article about women’s shoes.

    If you want to, you can just say no. Vote with your feet.

    Don’t get me wrong, my wife thinks she needs a new handbag. That’s fine, I like to see her happy. Just don’t expect me to empathize with people that think they need a new Prada (or was it Specialized) bike to have fun.

  • Dee Zee says:

    Where were high end bikes / components sourced in the 80’s 90’s? Where are they sourced now?

    Labor and material prices have come down (adjusted for inflation) so yea……..$10K for that Specialized is a rip off.

  • Wills says:

    In 1991 I built up a Fat Chance with at least 75% American made parts that was about $2400. Last year I built up a Yeti with maybe 10% American made parts for over $4500. The manufacturing has mostly been moved offshore where labor is a small percentage of American labor costs. The new carbon wonderbikes have a very limited lifespan compared to the american made 90’s bikes. You’re paying top dollar for a bike that will last a quarter as long. I’d really have to consider a FS titanium and have it last 10+ years vs carbon.

  • Gambit21 says:

    Points would have been better illustrated if ultra high end/high priced bikes were left out of it. Instead the piece should have concentrated on mid-range and entry level models and what we’re getting for our money vs 1993. As it is, it went off the rails, especially with the silly CR 450 analogy.

    Motocross bikes are expensive for what they are, bikes are even more expensive for what they are. You can throw around “adjusted for inflation” all you want, but with wages and the cost of living being what they are now – it’s an expensive hobby. Period.

    It’s an ironically whiny piece, and I think the A.S.S. got in his own way with shtick this time around.

  • tyrebyter says:

    Bikes, cars, yachts and horses cost what they cost because people will pay it. It’s called capitalism. It has NEVER had anything to do with utility, durability, performance or manufacturing cost. $10k bike? Sure, why not. $10k for a bike with a Horst Link… have you lost your mind? That’s some awesome marketing.

  • Smitty says:

    I’m happy with what I have and I like new stuff too. But my biggest issue is that everything I buy for the bike has to be bargained and negotiated with my CFO wife. I know, “don’t care” and “stop complaining” but when I see something I like/want (RS-1), and I see the price, I know I have no chance to justify the price to someone who does not ride a mountain bike. I just built up a new wheelset, so I have no negotiating power currently.

  • Frosted Flake says:

    My rebuilt 2003 Ironhorse Rouge Race is up to about $650 now. What with the NOS Manitou Mars Super. The new ultralight bar &stem &foam grips.The new WTB Rocket V saddle. The Mavic 819s on Swiss 370s with 500 gram tubeless tires. the 180mm XT 751 crank. The XT 765 shifters and brakes. The XTR 953 cassette. And the XTR 952 &953 derailers. Can I wine about it just a little?

    Okay, thanks.

    The damn thing weighs 23 pounds ! I could get (make) light wheels, get under ten kilos, but that’l bring the price of admission to over $800 !! I can’t afford that !!

    Okay, I’m done. What does that brand new $10,000 techo-marvel atop the page weigh in at? 28 pounds? Well I GUESS that’s okay. If you are racing DOWN hill

  • singletrackmack says:

    @Aaron makes a good point. Standards change so quickly that your whatever K bike will be worth less than half what you paid in a couple of years.

    What do you think that 1993 John Tomac Championship Edition Titanium Raleigh is worth today and what do you think that spec enduro will be worth in 5, 10 or 20 years? Hmm…….

  • tl1 says:

    Let them eat cake. The bike industry has spoken.

  • JD says:

    Mr Ass –

    you are quick to jump on others about the economy of scale issues, but look at your own examples.

    How many special edition Tomac’s were sold back then? How may did you see in a magazine vs actually ON the trail? I’ve see an handful of these live in my life. ……now think about your Enduro remark…..how man of those do you see on the trail? I see a handful every day

    Bike culture has changed a lot – its become more mainstream – and theres good and bad associated with that for sure, but the volume of high end bikes being sold is a ton, and when you factor that economy of scale in, yes – prices are too high.

    companies should stratify their lines less, and have fewer models that are solid values. they’d sell more bikes, and more people would be on bikes. and more people on bikes is better than one of your articles.

  • Cracker69 says:

    Dear Provocateur et al.,

    May I direct you all to an earlier article by the ASS where there is plenty of whining about prices:


    The ASS is not immune to the niggles of the hip pocket nerve – he just enjoys pushing our buttons.

    High end bike prices were and are laughable & the ASS knows this. The performance return per extra dollar beyond the middle of the range is astonishingly low. As objects of beauty there is something to be said – personally I don’t care for jewelry, I prefer no-nonsense performance.

  • Lew says:

    It’s not about the consumer cost as much as the environmental and manufacture costs. When you have slaves putting together disposable consumer electronics that are $200 of parts and putting a $1000 price tag on because you market it to saps as being ‘good’, that is a business strategy that every money capitalist will love. There being the temptation to copy the likes of Apple inside the cycle industry. An industry that should be sustainable industry done for the love of it, for a modest income. If you want to make serious money piss off and work in the mining, automotive or consumer electronics industries and stop darkening my door with overpriced and pointless new standards every five minutes that make hardly any difference and ruin any chance of interchangeability and cause landfill.

  • Sun says:

    Thank you thank you thank you. For the record the same asshats complain about prices on car websites, motorcycle websites, and I’m sure on knitting websites as well.

  • Colin M says:

    The ASS is such an industry brainwashed bicycle fan boy. I hope you wrote this to generate clicks because your comparisons are such shit it is laughable. Keep that well oiled machine running and us regular Joe’s will keep working to get this arrogant industry to stop the madness.

  • shawn says:

    I don’t care what anybody says. These companies are price gouging like crazy just because they can. Carbon fiber is a nice material but it is still not as durable as a metal frame. They complexity of designing the frame is a hazy barrage of technical talk that leaves consumers believing in anything they say. The fact of the matter is, once you develop it and mass produce it, the price goes down. These companies like carbon fiber because its new and a way to justify these ridiculous prices without ever stating the actual cost to actually produce a frame. Other materials work just as well and are more durable. The real problem is its getting harder to find a decent spec bike that’s not made out of carbon fiber at a reasonable price. And just because a bike is a 29er or 650b, that does not mean that it cost the company more to make it. They want to sell you a bike for $2000 with below SLX or Deor level components and always with a weak wheelset.

    However, there are good deals out there for those who know how to shop for deals and build their own bikes. You just have to ignor all the hype. Depending on your riding style, size, and other needs, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with an aluminum 26er that fits you well and is well spec’d for its use. I think they should still be made available for those who do not race but just want to enjoy a nice bike at a decent price.

  • w says:

    Kurt knows his mission and his audience well.

  • lazyMe says:

    Because the market is always innovating for innovation. Prices will always be up. With basically three options to choose from SRAM Shimano and Camp the market is artificially inflated. keeping a good bike price outside of the Average beginner increases sales because they will have to buy several cheap bikes to test the sport instead of getting on a machine 2k+ and loving it from day one and holding on to it for years. 500 first bike + 1k of upgrades (wheels rubber broken stuff) + new bike 2k + 1k upgrades. a person will destroy any bike thats to cheap and will only last a year or two. so the consumer can pay one time fee of 2-3k for a one time buy or 7k over a ten year span including all bikes plus upgrades + 2.5 -3k (bike that’s made to last should had been bought the first time). what do you think the markets going to do? Keep being angry but dont spit apple and oranges to people its not the 80s.

  • Sun says:

    You guys/ gals act like someone else buying a $10K bike precludes you from buying a $400 bike. It seems like your mad that you can’t afford the $10K bike more than anything. At the least you should realize that you are able to buy the technology in that $10K bike, in 5 years for a fraction of the cost. In that way, you should be thrilled that someone can buy these products.
    Skill level has nothing to do with the bike you deserve to ride either. Maybe you should have spent less time riding your bike building your skills and instead have spent more time building your career?

  • Kevin Gorzny says:

    I can’t stand it when people claim that they comparison from a motorcycle to a mountain bike isn’t valid. It sure as hell is.

    I can buy a FACTORY EDITION KTM 450 SXF that is “based” on, for example., Ryan Dungey’s personal KTM 450 SXF – for about $9500. Yes of course it is not the same as Dungey’s – his suspension is “full factory” and other elements are different / better / more exotic or impossible to get.

    But guess what? I don’t NEED that factory bike – NO ONE DOES! For any mere mortal, their regular production-based motorcycle (the KTM 450 SXF in this example) is more motorcycle than any normal rider can even remotely utilize to its fullest, for about $8800. The production suspension is fantastic as-is. Set it up for your weight and with the possible exception of aspiring professionals, it is more than enough for 99% of the consumers out there.

    There are numerous great options for even less. KTM is king and has a ton of incredible motorcycles in the 7-8k range.

    Don’t compare a 10k bicycle and say its a great value because you’re getting the equivalent of a factory machine. Who cares – its totally ridiculous that they are reaching that price-point.

  • Lukas says:

    Wow…whole lotta nonsense in this thread. Run what you brung, people. I don’t care if it only cost two hundred bucks on CL. Rock it.

    @Aaron — if you’re worried about the resale value of your bike on the used market, you have no business buying a $10000 bike. People talk about fricken $10000 bikes like they’re the only option. I once rode with a guy at a local trail center…he was on a full rigid Huffy that he got at the police auction for $15. He rode everything I did (black diamond loops included) and had more fun than you do. We have this annoying assumption that bikes are mechanically simple and therefore should be “affordable,” so we freak when they’re not.

    @Kevin Gorzny — seriously? You don’t need the factory 450 SXF, you’re right. You also don’t need (and won’t know the difference afforded by) an S-Works. So buy a cheaper bike…it’s all you need. You say it’s ridiculous that bikes reach the prices they do…is it also ridiculous that cars can cost over a million bucks, homes can cost dozens of millions?…capitalism and “ridiculous price” are mutually exclusive. Get over it, and ride your bike. The one you have.

    I am reminded of a friend I had in college…completely owned me in every sport, mountain bike, snowboard, whitewater kayak…all on the crappiest, most garbage equipment available…he had not a care for the equipment and he had 10 times the fun I did, too. Capitalism, folks. There will be stuff that you want but can’t afford. There will also be serviceable options at more attainable prices. Praise the Lord.

    All that said…the “get a better job” bit was a low blow, Kurt.

  • FSR.Dude says:

    Ride whatever you can afford, look for the same bike with less chi-chi’ed components, or look on Craigslist for a used one. You don’t NEED a $10,000 bike. Many years ago, I consistently beat my friend in DH races when he was aboard his $5,600 Foes LTS that was spec’ed out to the max, and I did it on a $750 DBR V-Link 1.0 spec’ed with a 2.5″(?) travel RS Quad-21R and 3.18″ of rear travel. A buddy did an XC race at Big Bear on a beat-up 30+ pound rigid Trek, and half-way through his rear derailleur cable broke, and he still finished in the top 1/2 of the field despite being terrible on all of the descents.

    I own an FSR, but am equally as happy riding my 1998 and 1997 M2’s. Just Do It. You don’t NEED a super-expensive mountain bike to have fun or get into great shape. It does you no good complaining about the price of bikes. Just ride whatever you can afford.

  • Scotch Hennessy says:

    I too slobbered over that Johnny T machine back in the day! Over the past 25 years I’ve owned too many bikes to count. Each bike held a bit of a rush when purchased new..and each lost it’s importance once held as the next one took its place. I’ve really enjoyed the trip the industry Engineers have taken me on over the last 25 years. Can’t wait to see what I’ll be riding in 2030!

  • duder says:

    Its funny watching the transition of people from casual biker, to full on enthusiast. I for one am a prime example. Bought a Rockhopper for my first bike was in the $800 range and felt that was expensive, and the FS they tried to get me on for $2000 was down right absurd. A decade later, I have an HD3 and a Hakkalugi Disc that sticker in the $3-5000 range along, with a commuter and fully rigid 29er both in the $1500 range. I’ve noticed it with a couple friends that stuck with cycling too. We all wished we’d bought more bike to begin with than we did, hindsight. Funny that the ones that ignored my advice to get all the bike you can afford upfront end up going cheap, and then eventually give up riding as the bike craps out or they just cant keep up.

  • Shane says:

    You’re way off, here’s a real comparison of bikes normal people actually ride just in the past 7 years. All xt/lx bits, similiar suspension, almost double in price from 2008-2015.
    2008 Trance x1: msrp $2,300-$2400



    2010 Trance x2: msrp $2,725


    2012 Trance x1: msrp $3,150


    2015 Trance x1: msrp $4,050


  • Ryan says:

    This thread is hilarious, I’m pretty sure Kurt is another elitist who has no problem dumping what would afford the rest of us mortals reliable transportaion into a bike, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a little about the value of a decent bike. To say that these big bikes from the S-works lineup aren’t worth 10k is equally bad. In auto racing there’s a saying, you spend 10% of your money to get 90% of your speed and you spend 90% of your money getting the last 10% of your speed. And it’s true, that that is the difference between the 6k FSR Carbon Enduro and the S-Works. So you me, and anybody else probably would be fine paying 3k for a 2014 FSR Carbon Stumpjumper (or more xc oriented machine for those of you who are into that).

    Gotta love it when two extremes come together for a hilarious internet debate!

  • Thomas Locher says:

    Wow, the “financial” elite argues on high cost…

    You cannot tell that a bike is worth its money when you don’t know about the development and production cost. Just compare Retail and OEM prices of certain components.
    Paying for a brand name and other marketing tools is in my eyes not worth its money.

    As I’m more a fun biker and believe in the riders abilities first, I’m quite good off with a 2500 – 3000$ bike. Brings me up and down everywhere I dare to ride.

  • T-Bone says:

    Great article Kurt, got a few people talking. You have done well.
    I don’t know why people get wound up by bike prices. Spend what you want to on your sport of choice. Just take a look at what a boat,ATV, Horse, Track car, motorcycle can set you back.
    I just want to have fun riding my bike & see others doing the same, doesn’t matter what you got. Just ride

  • Swim Dad says:

    I totally agree with ASS. Personal experience, I have always had top end rides – as a kid, sponsored and rode the very best bikes. As an older middle aged guy, older and a lot slower now, I still love bikes. Two carbon MTB’s, and planning to get a new one this year.

    I think bikes are articles of beauty and have no problem spending lots of money for them. Took a lot of work training when I was a kid, and then it took a lot of effort and risk starting and running a business – both which allowed me to own great bikes. Trying not to be a jerk about them either, I just really like them, like the way the way they look, and really enjoy riding them. I would own a nice bike, even if I was the only one that ever saw it. My kids and wife also ride nice (but not carbon) FS rigs too, so we are sharing the bike love in our family.

    Also drive older used cars, and have very little interest in driving an expensive car, which helps greatly in affording a great bike.

    A fact for the complainers out there – did you know that according to the IRS, that 5% of folks in the US make OVER $159k per year? And 10% make OVER $113k per year? There are a lot of people that make enough to be able to splurge every once in a while on a really nice mountain bike. In sports and business, it is productive to look at the folks who are better than you and ask yourself, what do I have to do to be like them? If you are not in the top 10% – what will it take to get you there?

    ASS is right – get a better job, start your own business, learn how to invest – if you can’t afford a nicer bike, then you might have money problems in other areas of your life too.

    Or wait and buy that sweet bike next year used for half price – but sheesh – quit whining about prices! $3-4k today buys you a WAY better MTB than the very best top end ride of just a few years ago. Mountain bikers at all price levels have it really good today.

    Quit whining, ride your bike more, enjoy the bike you have, and figure out how to generate more income if you want a better bike.

  • Krash670 says:

    I paid $1,000 for my SS Karate Monkey. Best grand I ever dropped on a bike. Fully rigid, heavy, plain, no whiz bang doo-dads, and tons O’ fun. I’ve outridden many a men on their full suspension $5,000+ bikes in 6 and 9 hour races. I’m not the fastest. I just like riding, and I can can ride longer than they can.

    I tell my 16 yo son all the time, a crappy rider on a $10,000 bike is still a crappy rider, and a great rider on a $1,500 will beat him every time.

    For me it’s not about keeping up with the Jones’s. I just like to ride. I’m not going to win anything significant, if anything at all. I’m just out to enjoy being in the woods. I’ve switched to a Surly Krampus now set up as a SS. At about 33 lbs., and fully rigid, it’s nowhere near a Specialized 29er super bike. It’s just a big old steel bike that I have a blast riding, and that’s what it should be all about. If you need to spend $5,000+ to enjoy mountain biking, then you’re doing it wrong.

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ASS Does Downieville: Broken bars, busted wheels, bruised egos

The Angry Singlespeeder checks in from his summer home to report on a weekend filled with wrecked equipment, stitches, and a big fall off a steep cliff.

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  • Tom K from VT says:

    Granted, the Downieville trails are rough, but a lack of technical skill is what causes crashes and broken equipment, not the merciless terrain.

    • joey007 says:

      Tom , I agree with you. Sure there is a good line and a terrible line, I’ve ridden DV on rigid SS, I pick my lines.

      Sure follow someone with terrible lines and you too will slice tires, get flats and get bucked off the bike…..

  • The Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Tom K from VT – Come on out to Downieville and I’ll show you how wrong you are.


  • Joe says:

    I know exactly where that handlebar cracked. I cased that same backside on a rented Tallboy LT a few years ago when I started taking bigger risks due to the confidence it was giving me. I couldn’t believe the wheel/fork/bars/frame took that impact undamaged. Instead they gave all that energy right back to me and threw me farther than I’ve ever been throw from a bike. My Camelbak took the brunt of it, but my helmet did not survive.

  • TahoeSteve says:

    When I went there I would leave my SS at home and rent a bike, haha!

  • oldmtb says:

    Have to partially agree with Tom K from VT. Skill does wonders for crash prevention, but speed is the biggest factor. Skill and not “blasting” it even when you’re tempted to can give you a 100% no crash rate… if you can resist

  • Jim says:

    I’ve ridden Downieville several times with no problems, I ‘ve done both Butcher Ranch and Pauley Creek, I’ve never crashed there. BUT I don’t fly down the mountain either , a 67 year old guy doesn’t heal that fast.

  • CW says:

    I finally spent an extended group weekend riding Downieville a month ago.
    After reading many posts like this over the years, I was expecting at least some carnage, but not one of the six riders in my group had any mechanicals or tire issues, despite our well above average speeds bombing down all of the most challenging trails.
    In fact, four out of six riders in our group were riding hardtails. My bike is a modern XC bike with 100mm rear travel and 120mm front, with a more ‘Enduro’ build and cockpit. I was running light XC tires, Maxxis Ikons, front and rear, the tires were 7 months old. I was charging hard on every inch of trail and didn’t have one gear issue the whole trip.
    Clearly, Downieville is a place where a rider can easily get severely injured, but I just wanted to mention my experience as a contrast to the usual lore of blood and broken bikes.
    If you are a highly skilled + fit rider and your bike is in solid working order, you can have at least a 50/50 shot of making it out unscathed.
    Then a few weeks later, riding my ‘everyday trails’ near my house, I witnessed my friend, a skilled rider, break his neck on a simple trail element. After surgery, he is on the road to recovery, but we really cannot predict where and when something scary might happen.
    We always need to be alert and on our game in this sport.

    • dr.zeek says:

      Funny how it’s always the trails close to home that cause the most serious accidents. I fell and completely stuffed two of my fingers on a trail near my house that I’ve ridden dozens of times.
      Simply put, I wasn’t giving the (fairly simple) trail the respect it deserved and I paid the price.

  • JimmyDee says:

    Looks like that handlebar is snapped clean. That’s almost always an indicator that the bolt has indeed been overtightened. This is because it creates a tight spot on the carbon which flexes just a tiny bit and over time creates micro-fractures in the carbon fiber, which snaps clean off when given a bit of a jolt.

    Carbon that breaks when it is correctly tightened usually tears with jagged edges with lots of bits of carbon that have broken in different parts along the length of the fiber.

    But I agree that carbon really isn’t the wisest choice for a hardcore trail when injury is just a fall away. I save that for my ultra-light multi-purpose XC bike and stick to quality aluminum for the gnarly stuff.

  • randycpu says:


    I rode Downieville with the shuttle several years back with me on my new Intense Uzzi and my brother on his old FS Kona. He got three flats, and I had no troubles. I could pick any line because I had so much control.
    Recently I’ve followed your “advice” and moved to wider (ibis 741) wheels and lower pressure.

    My question: Are you still using the wider rims with lower pressure in DV? Could the low pressure be why you get flats?

  • st santa clarita says:

    Jamis Dakar… DV classic… 1 flat tire for not lifting my ass end over the foot bridge lip. was riding mythos 2.1’s on richey rims…nothing special… It was a race…so I was
    I wasn’t just floating down the hill either. If you don’t flat a lot, take your normal back ups. You gotta hit these trails if you’re an experienced rider… awesome. Take ur beater to launch in the river !

  • Art says:

    OK guys, as much as this downhill run is fun it must be acknowledged twice as much in my opinion how dangerous it is and how quickly it can get from ecstasy to agony, especially for those who have not done it yet. I was on my way down to a 150 ft drop after falling off the bike with nothing to hold on to, the only thing that saved me was a rope that someone from Yuba tied between two small trees. It was a vertical drop with no slope and the rope saved my life, plus I wasn’t even going fast. Please be careful!

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Singlespeeds aren’t dead. They just smell funny.

The ASS’s fellow scribe and mountain biking buddy Eric McKeegan said “singlespeeds = dead”. According to Eric, what used to be a thriving tribe of counterculture misfits is misfits no more. They’ve moved on. The ASS retorts “Singlespeeds aren’t dead. They just smell funny.”

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  • Eric Davis says:

    Nice article Kurt, I have and ride a SS much of the time but also have geared bikes. IMHO, rides like the Whole Enchilada are just more fun on a FS geared bike.

  • Mdub says:

    There is a bike for every trail. I ride to have fun and enjoy the ride and push my personal riding envelope. Sometimes, the most fun bike for the trail is a singlespeed. It’s a personal preference on both the bike and definition of fun.
    Riding full rigid or a hardtail makes you smoother and helps you appreciate a well-designed full suspension. Riding single makes you faster and helps you appreciate when gears are necessary. It’s all bikes and it’s all good!

  • Alan says:

    SS with rigid fork —-all the way!
    I cant certainly understand the merits of a full suspension in rocky, big downhill or mountain areas. The number of people i see riding them in the flat lands where I live is insane. Even plenty of downhill bikes around here…so….so stupid.

  • Peper says:

    Alan I couldn’t agree with you and the ASS more. I live in Northern Utah right up again the Wasatch Front and trust me your SS will Strava faster times than 80% of the riders up and down.
    Kevin F York I have to disagree with you. If it doesn’t happen on Strava weather you have witnesses or not. IT DIDN”T HAPPEN!

  • Tom says:

    The two SS guys I know would die quietly under torture before they logged onto Strava!

  • Joe Paluch says:

    I have started tinkering with SS style riding on my geared HT. I just pick SS worth gear ratio and never shift. It is not as pure as a proper SS, but gives me what I am looking for. Which is not being “cool”, but trying to get faster overall by working new muscles and new skills needed when you have no gears, but only legs to get you over the trail.

  • Alan says:

    SS is no where near dead.
    Every few years Its always something: suspension will kill hardtail, 29er will kill 26′, 650b will kill 29er, 1×11 will kill 3×10. Now the new thing is wide rims will take over the world. These cycling companies will make sh.t just so they can market it and charge an enormous amounts fort it. VERY little of it is true innovation with purpose, its just making the newest something so little gullible Johnnie can fork over his credit card.

  • Don says:

    It’s alright Alan. The first stage of grief is Denial. Go ahead, let it all out.

  • Natalia says:

    I ride SS because I still haven’t grown out of my BMX days back in the 80s. I have gears, but SS is more fun. I do cheat with a dingle-speed setup though, a bailout gear for when my legs are whipped, so I can make it back home.

  • I'mRight says:

    I ride a SS – Because I can.

  • Thub says:

    Ok ASS enough with the fat bike hate. You take the time to pen this article because some buddy of yours offended you with his article about SS death. Your always ripping the fat bike, guess what bro for those of us that live in cold climates the fat bike enables us to enjoy cycling year round. I think the whole point of your article being about different bikes for different purposes applies equally to fat bikes. Just because you don’t get it doesn’t mean others don’t. Spend a winter up north and you’ll see the utility of the fat bike. Anything that gets anyone outside on a bike is good.

  • David says:

    I ride both gears and single speed and have no intention of going exclusive with one or the other…ever, For me, the SS is a fun training tool that I can hop on to blast around the local trails. It teaches me to climb faster and carry momentum better so that when I’m on gears, I’m faster across the board.

  • Dave_f says:

    Why would you wear ski goggles on your forehead on a hot 8 mile climb?

    Do BMX and dirtbikes qualify as SSers?

  • Felton Flyer says:

    I SS therefore I am

  • egggman says:


    I have ridden singlespeed MTB since a friend set me up on my first one. It is fun, enough said.

    I prefer my cx to have gears but with blown everything it is a mish mash Singlespeed for now…

  • Juan Grande says:

    1st picture – might want to use a better picture to promote the merits of single speeds than a guy spit out the back and dropped in a cross country race. There’s not another racer in sight he’s been dropped so bad. BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Enough with the elitist single speed attitude.
    Who the fuck cares what you’re riding as long as you’re outside riding and having fun.
    Like @Thub and @Tiger Martin said…any bike that gets people outside riding is the best.

    Now quit being such an elitist SS douche bag and spread some good vibes…You’re not that important.

  • Scot says:

    It’s like telemarking. There was a core group for decades, then someone decided it was cool and trendy. All of a sudden everyone is on tele’s. Soon it will revert back to the core group. Same with singlespeeds- there will always be a core group carrying it through the fads.

  • Robert says:

    I ride my single speed when I feel like not shifting. I have one set up for a road ride and one for the trail. My favorite trail bike is now my fat bike. 🙂 I know what A.S.S. might think about that. Hey, ride what you like and like what you ride no matter what it is.

  • MorbidGreasespot says:

    ASS, fsck facebook — get on here: https://ello.co/
    And I couldn’t agree more, I ride whatever the hell I want to ride, including my ancient rigid — geared or singlespeed depending on my mood.

  • MBR says:

    Time for all the SS riders out there to HTFU, if you’re going to continue and try to ride the trendy SS wave. Get rid of all those high-tech materials on your bike. You selectively turned your back on an adjustable drivetrain, why do you need all that carbon fiber, Ti and high strength aluminum and steel alloy parts. Front fork? Who needs that? Disc brakes? Suck it up and ride a fixie, bro. BTW, real men ride a penny-farthing!

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ASS Does Downieville: Bear chasing and more from MTB Mecca

The Angry Singlespeeder checks in from his summer haunt in Downieville, California, with tales of bears, rampage and romance.

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ASS Does Downieville: The rider who cried wolf

The Angry Singlespeeder checks in from his summer haunt with a message about accident reporting protocol. He also rode his bike a lot.

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  • Michael A says:

    Difficult scenario to say what is the right and wrong thing to do. Its also not entirely advisable to broadcast the notion that only “qualified” people should make a call on whether or not something is an emergency. That is not realistic and far from always being an option. Could the rider have done more due diligence to determine how severe the situation was? Yeah of course. But, if you change the series of events for sake of discussion, I would still argue that the uninformed but concerned individual did the right thing. If the person had severe head trauma, or a truly severe laceration as the person had believed, then his decision to inform someone would not have been questioned. In both scenarios the injured person would appear to be in the same condition to someone unable to entirely diagnose the severity. Given the circumstances, a qualified EMT might have made the same call to play on the safe side. The person was unconscious, unresponsive, and what probably appeared to be bleeding a severe amount. If the concerned individual had heard a whisper in the back of his head saying, “You dont KNOW how severely hurt this stranger is, and cannot confirm one way or the other” so I think I will ignore them for now and go on my merry way and hope for the best. And then come to find out this person had later died and you did Nothing!!?? That is not a good mentality to instill in the community. It happens enough in crowded cities where people will ignore someone who is injured or in danger because they figure someone else is more qualified, or someone else will come along and help and they in turn ignore the situation. I would say it is more advisable to strongly encourage people in the MTB community to go out and get certified in basic wilderness first aid, so they are more prepared and can have at least a little better understanding of what to do in situations like this, and that they are likely to encounter at some point in their lives.

  • Peper says:

    I have to see your single speed propped up in the foreground of these senic shots or I have doubts and shifters might be imagined:) Plus the mtbr faithful would like to see what reviews we’ll be expecting. Nice looking ride, and sounds tough. As for calling the medics…meh “he’ll walk it off” .

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:


    I will fully admit that I am not doing rides like that on a singlespeed. There’s a right tool and a wrong tool for each job, and honestly, when I go off into the backcountry on trails I’ve never seen or ridden, especially in Downieville, I do it on my Ripley with gears. Makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Then if I find trails that are reasonably SSable, I’ll go back with the SS and ride ’em.


  • GeorgeHayduke says:

    Really disagree with the assessment on how the alleged emergency situation should have been handled – basically, better safe than sorry. Better to over-respond to a non-emergency than to under-respond to a real emergency.

    Yes, the helicopter flight cost taxpayers money, but most of those operations fly X hours, emergency or not, to stay sharp. And you think they won’t take the next call as seriously because of this??? If that’s the mindset of any emergency medical professional, it’s time to find a new profession.

  • Scott says:

    Another agreement that it’s better to overcall these situations. I’m an emergency physician and yes I do get annoyed when obvious non emergencies come into my department but I tell all my patients that I’d much rather see them too early and be able to say nothing is wrong then too late and not be able to do anything for them.

  • SteveSteveson says:

    What a silly way to put it. No one cried wolf. Someone was badly hurt after an accident (a concussion is a bad injury) and needed medical attention. The person who called it in feared the worst. As a non medic that is the right thing to do. He probably should have been taken to hospital if he passed out, concussion is not something you should walk off. You can’t force medical treatment on someone, but it was not someone “full of shit”. As others have said, if an emergency responder is thinking like that, or delaying a response because of past call outs they should probably be looking for another job, and if someone is complaining about the cost because the emergency was not as bad as first thought, well, I hope they are never in the situation where they have someone injured as they may not make the right choice and cause someone to die for fear of wasting time or money.

    If you have a crash and pass out ALWAYS go to hospital. Even if you feel fine you may have a serious injury that may not have any symptoms for a few hours. Do you really want that to be in the middle of a sharp corner, or driving at 60mph, or at 2am when your fast asleep?

  • TDI Rex says:

    There is a constant tension in the world of wilderness SAR. On one hand, there are those who believe SAR should always be free; on the other, there are those who feel costs should be borne by the rescued (person’s insurance…) similar to ambulance and emergent care.

    The argument for the former is that if someone feels they will be charged $100K for a backcountry rescue simply because they think they only sprained their ankle or bumped their head, they will delay seeking help and end up in a truly life-threatening situation anyway. The argument for the latter is pretty much the same – discourage people from taking up expensive state or volunteer resources for things they can handle themselves.

    Personally, I feel rescue should always be free except in the case of extreme negligence (someone who perhaps goes out straight into the teeth of a storm) or obvious frivolity (“I’m going to be late…”).

    As someone certified in Wilderness First Aid, a head injury with signs/symptoms of a concussion is ALWAYS an immediate evacuation – because head/spinal injuries are tricky things that don’t always manifest all symptoms right away, and some symptoms may mask evidence of a far worse injury. Some might recall the case of Natasha Richardson who just thought she had a headache after falling on a ski slope in Quebec, and she ended up dying from a major hematoma many hours after the injury. I myself have had to evacuate someone who developed HAPE, who, by the time we met rescuers, was likely within an hour or two of death with an O2 saturation of under 50% – and that was barely above 10,000 feet.

    Now I don’t condone someone exaggerating the extent of the injury when reporting it to make people scramble faster to get to the patient…but untrained people going to get help can’t be faulted if they get a few things wrong when they report an incident.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Has Sea Otter gotten too big?

The Angry Singlespeeder believes that if event organizers want to keep Sea Otter healthy, strong and relevant moving forward, they have to keep in mind the old adage, bigger is not always better.

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  • AC says:

    “If it has two wheels and is pedal powered” or electric power… Seriously, that’s what I’d rant about, the intrusion of the epowered mopeds taking up space at the Sea Otter.

    I didn’t even consider racing the XC. First, it was a FUSAC event, plus, it was sure to be expensive and crowded, with a substandard course. Not surprising. Good to see you call them out on it. Looking at XC results doesn’t support the 4K of racers though.

  • d. ferko says:

    kurt i think that small town is getting to you 🙂

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    AC – I think that 4,000 included all MTB racers and Gran Fondo riders.


  • AC says:

    ASS, that would still have required a shf!t ton of gran fondo riders. Though, I was only there Thurs and Fri, and there were lots of people preriding and taking demos out (including us). 4k total rider laps I could possibly see. Looking at results, I was surprised how small the XC fields were, what with FUSAC growing the sport and all.

  • FBS says:

    Couldn’t they just get rid of the road and cyclocross events? Those were the most recent additions… or split them off to a separate event at least.

    • Gears 4 Good says:

      Not entirely true. As for the road events, I competed in the circuit race as a junior in 1994. The CX stuff is pretty new though.

  • LRA says:

    Having hundreds of XC Cat 2 and 3 riders converge onto a narrow singletrack at the end of the race was a huge mistake.

  • DEK says:

    I have to agree even though I did have fun riding the MTB fondo the whole event has gotten out of hand. I think it was 1990 when I went to my first sea otter classic wow what a difference like night and day the venue was nice and small one could actually step up and talk to the venders now they seem to huddle all together in their tents like some sort of click-ish circle jerk. No thanks since I’m not into purchasing $10,000+ bikes, or looking at a ugly as* Magura car, and what’s with that 5 ten rock climbing shoe tent how does that fit in with MTB? I say get rid of the road, and cycle cross events, and limit the venue to MTB products only that might help take some of the stress off the event.

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    I’m in the “experience” category myself. Since I live in Santa Cruz and ride Ft. Ord trails on a semi-regular basis there’s not much incentive for me to pay $100 to ride courses I can ride for free the other 51 weeks of the year. Agree that the course designs are often less than optimal, but understand the challenge organizers are up against. As for prizes I could care less, especially with the way more talented and experienced riders drop down in category just so they can say they made the podium at Sea Otter. I typically take a day off from work and attend Friday to make the rounds, check out the latest and greatest gear, and schmooze with friends from all over the Western U.S. No complaints … it’s a fun and convenient event. Plus the local singletrack around Santa Cruz is a lot less crowded on Saturday and Sunday.

  • AC says:

    If there’s something at Sea Otter to be gotten rid of, it’s the electric bike BS. The road and cross stuff is ok, and doesn’t impact the singletrack.

  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    Seems just about everything in this Country has taken the same path. Excess and more excess. Until they kill it!

  • 2TurnersNotEnough says:

    I gave up on racing SOC a few years ago, due to a whole bunch of sandbagging and the single track getting clogged with the slow riders that started 3 waves ahead of you. I love riding the trails at Laguna Seca/Fort Ord, and have been really with the MTB Gran Fondo. More amenities, fewer riders on the course at the same time, and the option of going as hard or as easy as you want.

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ASS Does Downieville: How to not get shot or pissed on

Whiskey drinking, tall tales, gut busting climbs, and the search for an abandoned jeep. Just another day in Downieville.

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  • Paul says:

    Welcome to Downieville. You should have gone into the bar, the locals take awhile to warm up but they’re all pretty damn nice once they do. The bar is a good place to make that happen. D’ville isn’t my favorite place on earth. Glad you’re there. Robin, Feather, Granny, Brad, Dale….all awesome.

  • Gregg Kato says:

    Dammit, ASS, you made me have to look up yet another word.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: The Happy e-Fat Biker

Our resident hater of all things modern and fun may have turned over a new (electric) leaf.

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  • too much angry single speeder says:

    No, I think he would post this any day of the year

  • oldmtb says:

    There are two ways to bike. The hard way and the fun way. Unfortunately most mountain bikers and the mountain bike industry for that matter fall in the latter category. Carbon fiber? So your bike can be lighter to get up the climbs easier and have more fun on the descents. Suspension? So you can have more fun on the descents and pay less attention to technique (because that would be hard). Big wheels? So you can feel fewer obstacles in your way so the trail riding isn’t as hard on your hands. (Which makes it more fun I guess) So Kurt is right… this is a game changer. It’s an equalizer. Now everyone can mountain bike, no more discrimination based on fitness. Now everyone with enough power gels, battery and suspension can Rail the Trails. (Especially the wide and bermed ones that every trail organization likes to make these days)

  • Opiate665 says:

    Hahaha awesome.
    Best one all day.

  • Joe says:

    This was a hilarious writeup and I believe every bit of it. Now….to find one of those bikes…..

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Opinion: Stop hating on race promoters

Bike race promotion is one of the hardest and most thankless jobs around. It doesn’t pay very well, either. The author ask that we not cast the first stone but rather be the one to offer a helping hand.

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  • peter knight says:

    This is why I choose to support and assist (very minimally though 🙁 ) the local race series. Races are under $50 (or $5 midweek) and proper XCO format. Courses are marked properly and the leftover cash goes to local clubs and buying beer/food for the organizers. No fancy finish line arches, event “tech T’s, participation medals or little bits of flagging tape for course marking you see on the $150/day stage races. Life is too short to race every weekend anyways.

  • papally says:

    No races for profit on public lands!

    • murphy says:

      No trucking for profit on public roads!

    • Joshua Chambless says:

      That’s just silly. Why shouldn’t someone profit off a race because it is on public land. Private land or public land they do the same job and have to pay the same people

    • AC says:

      Extremist much?

      How about for profit events required to do maintenance to leave the trails better than they found them. Same with shuttle operators. And for enduros, ‘better than they found them’ means fixing the damage from months of shuttling the course prior to the event.

    • Downhill Mike says:

      Then who would put up the money and time to host a race if no profits can be made. Do you think this service should be supplied by the government, or sanctioning body?

  • WTF says:

    Yes, don’t pay park rental fees that help pay for parks! Idiot.

  • AC says:

    Good article. Some promoters are providing great events and value. Others not so much. It’s clearly not a get rich deal when the business model typically requires asking for volunteer labor to pull it off. Promoters using active.com should be flogged though. And in general, the enduroization of the sport is not good for the trails. I cringe when I see trails maintained by volunteers get used by for profit events and for profit shuttle outfits (and I’m as far from a left wing anti capitalist as you can get). Definitely a fan of lower key events, lower entry fees, couldn’t give a damn about a large $ purse that I’m not going to win anyway. Focus on the course, and the participant experience. Quality singletrack is the number one criteria for a good event.

  • papally says:

    I’ve seen public trails that were completely destroyed by races, and where never repaired by the race promoter or the local the trail club. All just so a racer can have some bragging rights and a promoter doesn’t have to get a real job.

    • AC says:

      @papally That can definitely happen. OTOH one of the best events I’ve attended is put on by and is the primary fundraiser for the group that maintains the trails used, and the event is a showcase for those trails. I think the for profit shuttle outfits do more damage IMO, though again, some are better than others.

    • josh says:

      You must have lost a race or two in your past.

  • J-Flo says:

    Several references to USA Cycling, but they are almost irrelevant here in NorCal. Except for Sea Otter, it seems nobody around here bothers with USAC. I don’t know the real story but assume it is because USAC charges too much and provides too little in return. What the heck is the matter with them that they cannot find a way to work with local promoters? It is a major hassle for those who want to compete nationally and end up forced to drive down to smog city (Los Angeles) just to get in a qualifying race. Bottom line — If USAC can’t be relevant in the birthplace of mountain biking, then why does it deserve a monopoly on national and international competition qualifications?

  • papally says:

    Josh..”You must have lost a race or two in your past.”

    Or I’ve had several trails destroyed, that I put hours of work into. I’m sure that there are promoters that give back to trail groups and communities.

    Also, I fail to see how trails built by volunteers relates to highways that are funded by tolls,license and registration fees, and fuel taxes.

  • Dr Dre says:

    When promoting a race on public land they should have a trail work days after the event. Granite Bay State Park just lets promoters like Total Body Fitness hold races without any thought of who is going to fix the mess after the race. So the toll on the trail system is heavy. I know their is very little money is grassroots racing but the promoters have to think of the trail system.

  • sg says:

    Folks – as a race promoter, I just wanted to point out a couple items…

    1 – First off, we pay fees to the land managers for special use permits – anywhere from $10-20 per participant. If you are talking about a 500 person race, we are paying $5,000 to $10,000 to the land manager.

    How much trail work does that support? I know of 100+ person volunteer trail work days that are funded with $750 for food and supplies. I know that is an unusually large trail work day – but it gives your some prospective what these efforts cost, and how much the permit money can support.

    And that $5-10K is beyond what the race promoters also donate to local clubs to help support trail maintenance.

    2 – Many race promoters I work with are local clubs that build and maintain the trails they race on — for these clubs, the races are used to raise their operating budget for the year.

    That is not always the case – but it is more often the case than you would think – and something I am trying to encourage more. Organizing races can help a local club raise money to support trail work and other projects.

    3 – In a place like California, where we are fighting for more legal trails to ride, economic incentives help drive the local and state politics – and revenue injected into a local economy from a mountain bike race is a great incentive to help convince local politicians and businesses to support more legal mountain bike trails.

    4 – Races are fun – and are a great way to attract more people to our sport — which means more people getting involved, more people voting to support mountain biking, more people doing trail work.

    It’s been great to see more folks (and families) rallying around support for our races. We had a young rider that was injured prior to our race, not too serious if I remember correctly but he couldn’t race – so what did he do, the young rider himself along with his mother and father came out to volunteer as course marshals – and they were some of the hardest working volunteers that weekend.

    Races are good for our sport.

  • Carlos says:

    I agree that the races are good for the sport, however, I still think that the prices have gotten much higher lately, past the inflation cost. I don’t have lots of means to race every weekend or at least to every major event and fees as high as $120 seem like a lot to me, specially considering that the races that charge the most are also the ones sold out much sooner.

  • chasejj says:

    At $120 for a fee to race it will surely end my racing career before it ever started. In 40 years of moto racing I have only seen one entry fee greater than that and it was the Baja 500.

  • Will says:

    Racing is a luxury. Not a right. Fortunately, we still live in a country that is free enough, that nobody forces you to race. That being said,
    The more profitable racing becomes for event organizers, the more events are going to be organized. More events means more variety and higher quality events. In reality, it’s a win for all. Except, you may have to hold off on that $600 brake upgrade for your bike a few more weeks.

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ASS Does Downieville: Documenting season of work & play

The Angry Singlespeeder is posting up in one of world’s most unique mountain bike locales for the summer, and for better or worse he’s going to tell us about it.

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  • AC says:

    Seems like an Angry Singlespeeder would heckle shuttlers, not chauffeur them. Regressing to lamestream…

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Who says I wasn’t going to heckle them?

    – ASS

    • AC says:

      If that’s the case, props to you!

      I’m envisioning EnduroBros getting in the van, you locking the doors, and subjecting them to ridicule and flogging with old tubes and chains for not earning their turns.

  • Alan says:

    Well, I’ll see you in a few weeks, I’m road trippin’ for the next month or so, and Downieville is definitely on the list of stops!

  • Tim says:

    Always enjoy having my time wasted by your musings, so share away. And thanks, now I know where to settle if I ever emigrate.

  • Justin says:

    “Earn your turns!” <– what guys who suck at descending always say.

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    You will be working on my Tallboy LT soon it would appear. As a longtime reader look forward to finally meeting you. (Will miss Andy, tho.)

  • Bill says:

    i wouldn’t mind some extra cash playing bootleg shuttle driver, but i won’t. :-))

    Getting Downieville turned into a loop instead of a shuttle ride was the best thing i’ve done in a while. Comes out to about 35 miles for the entire loop and is much more rewarding, plus saving the $ not shuttling. Think i’m going to head up there very soon with the camper and the Bronson

    What Downieville really needs is to make sure there is plenty of WiFi for us to upload our Strava rides,

  • Tom says:

    Kurt, this sounds like a great experience, but really, a little more anger, please!

  • Russ says:

    See you up there ASS! You might be our ride June 20th weekend. Watch out for the Clampers…you need to document some of their antics. We’ll be staying in the Chalet above the shop.

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Opinion: Confessions of a trail dumb downer

Creating and maintaining trails is a difficult subject. Who decides how difficult the trail should be? How do we balance the needs of the many forces pulling the trail quality in all different directions?

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  • Kevin Woodward says:

    I don’t have a problem with good trail design and anti-erosion work to ensure a trail holds up over time. What I do not like is those who without a second thought take a saw to a perfectly nice 6-8 inch log that any rider who can fog a mirror can roll or bunny hop over, or dump a bunch of mud and dirt on a pile of well-placed logs or rocks that have been a familiar feature for a year or longer. We need to keep the term “dumbing down” a trail in context and not confuse it with proper maintenance.

    • Michael Linehan says:

      “We need to keep the term “dumbing down” a trail in context and not confuse it with proper maintenance.”

      Exactly. Well said, Kevin. There might be overlap in some cases (that people might then argue about) but I have seen dumbing down that was NOTHING to do with sustainability. I have been ticked off several times to see features I was looking forward to riding someday just destroyed. By all means, make a ride-around — but don’t take away a perfectly good and interesting feature just because you can’t ride it.

      I’m 63 and I want to grow as a rider. I don’t want trails dumbed down to my current level. For those doing that kind of dumbing down, please find simpler trails to ride.

      • RM says:

        The obvious answer is that people shouldn’t do unsanctioned trail work. Locally we’ve had a couple of situations where well meaning rogue volunteers made changes to difficult trails that avoided the very difficulties that gave the trails their character. The legit trail builders had to spend their time undoing the changes instead of working on new projects. Contact your local mountain bike assn before changing any trails.

    • reallyoldguy says:

      I miss mountain biking trails that used to be true singletrack, 1 tire width wide. I also miss multipurpose hiking trails, that were narrow enough for hikers, roots and obstacles that were easy for hikers to step over but needed a bit of skill to bike over. I believe trails should be left as natural as possible, not paved dirt highways for roadies like Lev Stryker. You have the maximum derision I could possibly express. Disguising trail dumbing as “trail maintenance” is despicable. And who is this derision coming from? A person who was there when “Mountain Biking” was invented. Someone who still believes bikes and riders should adapt to terrain, not the other way around.

    • Kevin Woodward says:

      Couple more thoughts to add. Remember these are mountain bike trails, not sidewalks. Hikers and horses are always welcome, of course. Also not every trail is a flow candidate where all obstacles should be removed and/or smoothed out. The author of this story mentioned the trails above UC which *used* to be fun but have definitely been “dumbed down” in the last year. I actually saw a skateboarder on Mushroom Hunter yesterday. Mountain bike trails should not be optimized for a beach cruisers, either. The changes made to these great, classic trails by a misguided and well-intentioned few has opened them up mostly to out-of-town groups of 20-30 riders that ride at high speeds in pace lines with no sense of MTB courtesy to others. Some don’t even wear helmets. Remember these are “illegal” trails and over-use is a real threat to eventual closure to everyone. The author also mentioned trails like Whoops in Bend he has worked on. Note that many of those are now one-way trails to minimize danger of Strava-induced collisions. Berms and erosion control yes, taking the fun and challenge out of the sport no. Before you grab that shovel, consider the difference and impact on other riders. Please.

    • dorse says:

      I’m with you on this. There is a difference. Say good bye to IMBA trails.

  • taletotell says:

    Good and bad can come of this. In NY there are no remote places for challenging trails. The result of following this approach would mean only manacured flow trails. Local authorities kill jumps and drops there. The land managers need to allow technical features or there simply won’t be any.

  • Brian says:

    Great, well written article, and I agree 100% with maintaining trails to prevent erosion and maintain sustainability. That said, there are a few points I disagree on.

    First, “made mandatory drops rollable”. Why, other than if said drop was an edge eroding back every rainfall and crumbling from use? Reasonable mandatory drops (reasonable being relative to the difficulty of said trail) are fun, challenging, and part of the sport. If a rider rolls up and feels that drop is beyond their skill or comfort, they can dismount and walk it. Sure, make it sound and sustainable, but don’t make them easier just to increase perceived access.

    “Trails close to town should be the easier trails, with the more technical advanced trail further out and harder to find.” Why? Why should riders desiring a more technical ride, perhaps a quick loop while they have an hour of daylight after work, or at lunch, have to go further out, either using more time to take easier trails to access, or burning more fossil fuel to get to? Sure, mark the trail as the difficulty it has, but don’t punish the technical rider because someone might make a poor decision and ride a trail they aren’t up to riding. As well, if the more technical, “fun” (by the author’s own admission they are more “fun”) trails are harder to locate, that discourages those who are advancing to those levels from advancing and staying with the sport. I realize, the idea is such riders would network socially and join the community to find them, but what of introverts? What of those who don’t want yet another social circle for whatever reason?

    “The trails that are on the maps and in guidebooks, have an established trail head and have a trail rating, and need a bit of homogenizing to serve the masses.” This ties in with the last, really, but again, why? Yes, beginner trails are a good thing, and flowy trails are a blast, but why homogenize all trails that appear on maps, and in guidebooks? Especially given that such publications have the easy ability to give a rating for each trail, I say that making them all easy is a disservice to the sport. Sure, there will always be the secret (ish) local trails that those who know and love it work hard to keep out of the general knowledge. That is great too. But why not have advanced and expert level tech trails that appear in guidebooks, maps, and on countless forums and apps? Why not allow the rider passing through or visiting for a short time to find the technical trail they crave, ride it, and make it back to the hotel to change for dinner with the in laws?

    Again, I think combating erosion, improving sustainability, and addressing issues that arise concerning both are important, but homogenizing all the trails, including those close to town or ride/park centers is a step backwards. There is a place for both easier, smoother trails, AND technical, difficult trails, even close to home.

  • Mark Flint says:

    Brian, regarding trails close to down, it’s a matter of numbers. Riders with advanced technical skills are a small percentage of the riding public. Add in the casual hikers, dog walkers and trail runners likely to go to these trails and it makes sense to provide the most miles for the largest numbers of people. When there’s room and it’s feasible, there’s no reason not to add technically challenging routes to a system that has beginner/intermediate level trails.

    That said, when terrain/topo allows it — and biological and cultural concerns are addressed — providing more technical lines adjacent to the easier trails makes good sense. We do this where it’s possible, especially if we can put them on rocks. Rocks don’t erode. Well, they do, but at such a slow rate we don’t need to worry about it..

  • John says:

    Who made this guy the end all, be all authority on the subject? I appreciate the proactive approach towards sustainability, but determining on one’s own, through some misguided, self-anointed authority what my local trails should be like. F*ck no. You shove that…

    The fact that he’s been riding longer than most doesn’t make him some monarch over trail building. I understand what he was trying to accomplish with this article, but tonally, this guy got it all wrong.

  • jeff says:

    maybe you touched on this. I didn’t read the whole article, but as far as dumbing down goes I think the best approach is to build an alternate “easy” trail around the feature. If theres no eroding, or other environmental issue it’s a shame to take features out of a great trail. It’s often the features that make them great.

    • shredchic says:

      Your suggestion to cut an easier go-around does make the trail footprint wider, so it does create additional erosion. Please don’t do that!

  • Bill says:

    You can build a trail for both beginner and advanced riders. 10 ft tabletops can be cleared by advanced riders and ridden over by novice riders. What needs improvement is trail guides and markers. Riding is fun but maintaining is hard and upkeep not fun but we need more riders to help out on maintenance.

  • Tony Lapinskas says:

    Thanks to God, the USFS and Pisgah Sorba, here in western NC, we are blessed with a variety of trails that anyone can enjoy, Three years ago we started riding the fun trails at Bent Creek then as our skilld progressed, moved on to Dupont and Pisgah. When we came to a part of a trail that was not in our skill level, we’d yell “chicken” and get off and walk around it or down it. We found that with wider bars, shorter stems and riding with your butt crack a half inch from your rear knobby allowed you to do. The trails didn’t change, we did. I can see “dumbing” down a trail for preservation or maintenance or to prevent a serious injury or fatality, otherwise, please leave them alone.

  • shredchic says:

    There’s a few separate types of “dumbing down” issues brought up here:

    1) Unmanaged social trails:
    Ultimately these trails are not managed and are not supposed to be there. It’s basically the wild west. Trail builders seem to get a little OCD with adding fill dirt over roots and log overs, etc. which isn’t hurting anything. But in my neck of the woods, some hack down trees or manzanita just to avoid going around or between them. Some cut through vegetation to make straighter go arounds to avoid curvy parts of the trail and then fail to renaturalize the old route. I give my 20 hrs./year toward legal trail building work days, have read the IMBA trail building handbook, and I’m not uneducated about what it takes to build sustainably. None of those mod’s are done for the sake of sustainability, but purely for faster downhill times and they are destructive to the environment. This has got to stop.

    2) Land manager rules:
    In CA state parks for instance, you can’t even casually cut back the poison oak, let alone bank a turn. These are stupid rules, but that’s what we’ve got and at least they give us some trail access. Get involved in your local advocacy group to lobby for rule changes when they come up every once in a blue moon.

    3) Flow trails:
    Not all trails need to be chunky and harsh. It requires skill to clear doubles and navigate berms well, but beginners can also ride them and still have fun. It can be a nice addition to a trail portfolio which includes old-school technical trails.

  • DrDon says:

    Mountain bikes cause erosion in varying degrees depending on topography. My perspective on sustainability has changed since I started riding in my mid-twenties over 20 years ago. Pisgah, Gambrill, Canaan and Rothrock are east coast examples of trails that have relatively less erosion than flat and water basin trails but they too can erode. I don’t like dumbing down trails but I dislike erosion and loss of access even more.

  • jh says:

    mixed feelings. Sustainable trailwork is great. You are doing us all a service by armoring up the trail here and there. However, making obstacles rollable for no other purpose but roll-ability does us all a disservice. When I was learning to ride, the parts of the trail that I thought about the most were those bits I couldn’t clear. I would look forward to the drop, or the big rock, and try to clear it each time. For new riders, getting off and walking down/up these obstacles is not a big deal. And, I bet most of those riders will think about that section as the gnarliest part that they wished they could ride. It becomes an ideal, something to strive for. Keep trails sustainable, but don’t take away the exciting parts that are just a little too hard and help us all grow.

  • Doobi says:

    That rock rock you removed because you pedal strike it, well you could have learned to time your pedaling, Maybe others used it a make or to bounce their tyres of mid corner. That ditch you couldn’t quite wheelie, others could. That tight switchback, if you spent half as much time learning to ride it clean as you did widening it out maybe you’d be a better rider.

    In the age of instant gratification too many riders want to dumb down a trail instead of spending the time to smarten up their riding,

    I’m all for erosion proofing work but dumbing trails down just to make it easier or faster now is short sighted and lame. To do it on a trail someone else has put the effort and time in to build is just a slap in the face of the trail builder.

    Not every corner needs to be bermed, Just because it’s not bermed doesn’t make it “off camber”
    Not every step needs to be rollable. not every rock needs to be dug up and removed. Not every trail needs to be 1m wide….

  • Steve says:

    Only thing that sucks in MN is the dam trails close when gets a tiny bit wet or rains! Leave em open!! If you wanna ride smooth trails go ride on pavement! Or maybe leave a few trails in the Twin Cities open when there wet! I thought mountain bikes were made for dirt and mud?!! Frustrating and very weird! Let me say this… I do appreciate all the hard work that the MORC puts into the trails locally!

  • eb1888 says:

    The IMBA Trail Guide and DVD are far too simplistic. They lack instructions and examples on how to create and maintain high quality technical trail sections.
    There is one example of a switchback around a tree.

    Trail design and construction is an art like a 3D sculpture with movement.
    There can be a flow to a technical trail with different complex features one after another using the natural terrain. Each part has to be sustainable and the whole thing drain quickly. But each feature has to be thought out to be the right radius and angle and type of surface. A rock garden here to slow down the rider before tight trees and a switchback into a drop and off camber curve with a ditch and fall away on its side. Followed by some whoops to fly if you can carry speed through that off camber curve.
    Building and linking with a rider’s skill and speed factored in takes an artist and a lot more time and effort. That should be rewarded.

  • Dano says:

    You want a smooth ride, buy an eBike and tool around the paved trail outside your old folks home. Otherwise, leave the trails alone.

  • derby says:

    Brave contribution Lev! As a 20+ year occasional volunteer trail builder and maintainer, I want to say “Thanks!” for your expert trail builder perspective and leadership. The large majority, thoughtful riders, from beginner to expert ability, respect your knowledge and hard work 200%!

  • Brete says:

    Nonsense. The men & women who’ve invested the time, money and bruises to develop their skills are MORE deserving of close-in, after work trails — not LESS deserving.

  • bb says:

    The problem most of you seem to have is weird. Around here several times people have make artificial challenges in the middle of trails and then try to block any way around them. Another problem is that people make shortcuts and straighten trails. I guess they’re so lazy they don’t want to waste time on the curves. I say do a quick lap around the parking lot and go home, your best time ever!

  • Fleas says:

    We’ve had people come out and cut out narrow tree gaps (rather than finessing their handlebars through), and lever large rocks out of the trail (leaving a big mud hole). I like the idea of a “filter” at the entrance to weed out underskilled riders – or at least give them an idea of what they’re in for, but in the case of difficult trails…

    How many people are riding them anyway that trail wear is even a passing concern?

    If traffic counts demand it, sure the trail needs to be armored and drained properly, but if the trail is a top 10% of riders sort of thing, then how much wear is it really seeing? I think sometimes the man-hours are wasted in “fixing” something that almost no one wants fixed, while maybe they should be spent making some easy trails for others to build their skills on (and flow trails are not building those skills).

  • ThatGuyOnABike says:

    I fully understand the need to armor roots and troubleshoot erosion, but here is what I don’t understand– There is a section that is going to get covered in large rock for armor; why are the rocks arranged on so many trails to provide and easy path and roll over? Large rocks could be arranged to be more technical and challenging while still providing root armor. I’m no fan of pedal strikes, but the way rocks can be arranged to make the rider raise a pedal, or strike it, is just another feature that nature has already produced. We can preserve those types of features by simulating them with natural armoring techniques, in order to keep that Double Black listing!

  • Bryan says:

    That camper-safe trail is one of my all time favorites! THANK YOU!

  • tony says:

    Our local public forest has several relatively new, IMBA-approved-design trails that all get crushed gravel on them for sustainability. One of the unforeseen consequences is a great increase in the potential speed these multiple use trails are ridden, often by less experienced riders. I have seen and heard of (and been present for a few) more very close calls with hikers and other bikers in the last year than in the previous 15 years. This doesn’t make Lev right or wrong, but it is worth noting.

    I do also agree with some of the less vitriolic posters above that “sustainable” and “dumbed down” don’t have to be the same thing. One of the questions trail builders need to ask themselves is “how will this trail be used”? A backcountry “social” trail that maybe 10 people will find and ride in a year (yes, those exist) doesn’t need the same treatment that a trail does that starts literally on a college campus.

  • duder says:

    Completely disagree with this: “Trails close to town should be the easier trails, with the more technical advanced trail further out and harder to find.” Really no reason you cant have a mix of both.

    I am pro sustainable trails, sustainable trails can also be technical though. Definitely not a one size fits all argument here.

  • evilbeaver says:

    Wow you just admitted you are the worst type of trail builder out there. I can’t wait to meet you.

  • Steve says:

    One thing appears forgotten in modern trail design. The infinite satisfaction that comes from finally conquering that part of a trail that was beyond your skills for a long time. That feeling used to be part of the definitive mountain biking experience. Now it’s being washed away by a wave of “accessibility for all” advocates. True mountain biking is not an activity for the masses, to try and make it that way just destroys its very essence.

  • Tom says:

    Lev, thanks for all your hard work. I concur with most of your points, but would 1) also like to see technical trails that are not far away, and 2) like you to guide me towards the “unmapped” more tech trails near Bend (my wife and I come down twice a year, and she loves the Smooth Groove of Bend, and I do too, but also wish for a little more challenge while there). Personally, if I could add one thing to Bend, it would be to make a 10 mile trail that duplicated the feel of the first 1/4 mile of COD!

  • fasterjason says:

    This story plays out all over the country. My trail building philosophy has changed a lot the past 25 years. While we still face challenges, mountain bikers have more respect these days compared to the late 80s and early 90s, evidenced by the vast number of trail systems. This is due to countless volunteer hours and improved building techniques.

  • Jennifer says:

    Trails should be left as designed unless there is a chance the trail will get ruined by use or erosion.

    Smoothing a drop or out ramp or a step up, if not needed because of the 2 reasons mentioned above is needless..

    Not everyone will be able to ride every trail.. Not everyone is going to be a race car driver though they can drive a car down the paved road.. Not everyone is going to be a professional base ball player because they got a home run in Peewee..

    I want to be a professional downhill racer.. I know I will never be.. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t dream and practice at it..

    I am a fairly new rider (my 3rd year) and I am happy to walk a section that is to tough and in doing so I can build up my skill set so at some point I will be able to ride it.. If someone comes along and dumbs it down then I will have no reason to get better at my skill set since I won’t need better skills..

    Why should talented riders be moved from the trails they have been riding because they are closer to access for everyone..

    Being forced to search or build elsewhere because the trails have been deemed to difficult for the masses and dumbed down, This just leads to more illegal trails and more bitterness between land owners, trail builders, riders and others that see new trails popping up where there were none before..

    There is no shame in walking a bike if I feel it’s unsafe or I am not capable enough of a rider to make it.. I just get back on after the obstacle and ride again. No biggy.

    If I find the trail is to tough.. (of which I found many my first year of riding, which now I can ride and really enjoy and get a major sense of accomplishment) I don’t go back to it for a time ( avoid it) and I have found when I do go back it’s not nearly as monstrous as I first thought since now my skill set is much better and it’s actually a fun and challenging trail..

    Other big thing… If you are lacking skills.. Go and take a class on bike handling.. Ride with people who take you under their wing and allow for you to mess up but still keep asking you to come back and they give pointers.. Pick the area to ride in that is challenging you… Ride there often and you will get better.. I ride at LSF which I found super tough to ride but each time I go it gets a little easier.. I pick better lines.. I GET BETTER…

    If you are a rider who likes rolling trails or smooth terrain then ride it, but don’t change other trails to make them easier.. Get more practice in.. Work at getting better.. And unless you have major resources where you can build a separate “easy line” next to the main trail then leave them alone..

    Some trails are built to be tough.. They were built by someone who had a vision of what they wanted in that trail.. Almost like a painting.. It’s artistic.. So how would you feel is you painted a picture and someone came along and painted over it?

    Trail building take a really long time and building a proper trail that takes into consideration erosion, landscape, elevation, flow, climb angle , secondary access, passing zones, etc, etc is huge work and while some of these trails maybe prone to erosion because of bad design these trails could use some TLC.. and some need to be diverted for sustainability..


  • Ron says:

    Two of my favorite trails have some very technical sections. These sections are marked with signs warning of the difficulty. There are also bypasses built around these sections for riders of lesser ability. This makes the trail more enjoyable for everyone and gets more riders out there to enjoy the trail. I think this is an excellent alternative to ‘dumbing down’ a trail and should be implemented wherever and whenever possible. Further I, believe this shoudl also be a method to improve the no challenge trails that less experienced riders enjoy but that are generally avoided by more experienced riders due to the boring nature of these trails. I know this is not an alternative for all trails but the potential is there for improvement on most trails I have ridden.

  • fasterjason says:

    I want more technical trails, if I had my way you would need a trials bike to clean some sections. What are the options? Alternate lines and augmented features work, as well as technical loops off the main trail. If you don’t challenge riders, their skills won’t improve.

    If you think the trail is too easy, volunteer and make your voice heard. Better yet, buy some property and build whatever you want.

  • Bryan says:

    As others have said, there is good dumbing down and bad dumbing down. All depends on the specific trail. People try to simplify the issue and call it all good or all bad. Love that warning sign!

  • Danna says:

    don’t roots help to control erosion? doesn’t it make the trail LESS sustainable to cut them out? He lost me there…

    I see a lot of “maintenance” that just looks like scraping out all the rocks and roots and building a couple of rollers out of red clay. The trail then needs constant maintenance and makes land managers think allowing mountain biking on trails is an added expense.

  • Pablo says:

    Wow, Lots of comments! I agree that we need technical features, but if a trail sees a rider badly injured, just watch the authorities destroy your trail completely along with any other trail encompassed by their property rights. It won’t matter if they are a newby or a veteran rider, liability is liability, so some balance is needed… Just don’t give in the the strava bypass crowd trying to save .1 seconds by eliminating a challenging feature!

  • Scott Hubbs says:

    I am the trail coordinator for the trail system where the sign is posted. these trails were built by myself and my younger brother and they have been a work in progress for 27/28 years now. They were built because we didnt have anywhere else to ride and also to practice so when we went riding is Pisgah we were able to transfer our skills to the mountains. We started in the mid 80’s building these trails and have a hell of alot of people who like what we do and yes some who dont. We built them for us and not the masses. A few years ago we got the chance to open them up to the public and have many riders come from all over the country and ride. We currently have 17.5 miles on the ground and will be putting in more in the future. We didnt build these for flow and worked to keep the sustainable by bending IMBA rules. We work hard with our local Parks & rec and have a great relationship with them. They often ask us if we would like more land to work with and know us by name as we do them. So my words to the author of this article is that you are not in my shoes and dont know what I know in bending the rules to make it work. So why dont you come to Charlotte N.C. and ride the BYT or any of our other trails in the area. We have all types of trails to suit you and your riding style no matter what it might be. Proud member of the Tarheel Trailblazers and one of its founding members.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Just Don’t Get Hurt

The Angry Singlespeeder: Go big or go home? Maybe not. The ASS lays down his thoughts on the Affordable Care Act for the mountain biker.

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  • jack says:

    Great musing here. Lots of great points that are so so true. This piece also reminded me of a recent article in the AARP magazine that said that even active people with healthy lifestyles can get type 2 diabetes – due to genes and family history. Of course, I try to lead a healthy lifestyle and lose weight, so I don’t get dropped on the next bighill ha ha

  • crewjones says:

    of course there is always illness. An apendectomy cost over $12,000. Luckily i had insurance so i paid just a fraction of that. Then there is supplemental insurance which is really like roulette. You choose what you are covered for and then get paid based on that. C’mon broken arm.. better yet.. broken leg pays more

  • Mike says:

    Talk to an expert. Silver plans, if you qualify financially, include an additional reduction in the deductible/co-pays. Bronze plans do not qualify for this additional reduction. Seriously- find out who the health navigators are in your community and talk to them. Every other insurance includes agents, use the ones the ACA offers too…

  • Robot says:

    I suffered a badly broken finger this past summer in which I destroyed the second joint in my right pinkie after slipping on some rocks in a non-biking incident . The injury required surgery, an overnight stay at the hospital, many x-rays, at least ten follow up visits to the orthopedic surgeon, and a few months of physiotherapy.

    Aside from fairly low monthly premiums (about $150 per month for a family of three), my out of pocket cost for everything was $26 (for a Capner splint) because I live in Canada.

    You Americans can say that socialized medical services are anti-choice, but you are getting absolutely screwed on the price of your health care.

    $6000 deductible? OMFG.

    • Angry Singlespeeder says:

      Yeah. $6K. Its insane, but that’s what you gotta do to keep monthly premium costs at about $100. I could have opted for a plan that was maybe a $1500 or $2000 deductible, but it would be an additional $100-$150/mo. So this is where the law of probabilities comes in. I’d be saving myself $1200-1700/year with the cheaper plan, and with a track record of being in the hospital once every 5-10 years, that savings could pay for a $6000 deductible in about only four years. That’s why I went with the cheapest plan. Our system is so broken, even with better coverage, it would still be a shitshow. Might as well pay as little as possible to be covered in the case of an emergency. I don’t want to pay any more than I have to into this shitshow.

      – ASS

  • joe says:

    Your’e an entitled twat. And if I could stop paying the portion of my taxes that go towards your health insurance I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  • Rob says:

    As a hack mountain biker, and a health insurance professional I would like to add my two cents. Kurt makes several good points and observations, but one glaring mistake. Health insurance companies are not wildly profitable, modestly 3-5% annually on average. There are plenty of industries that are much more profitable, i.e. mountain biking industry. Health insurance becomes increasingly necessary when you have more assets and financial liabilities ( mortgage, family etc.). Insurance by design is a pool of risk where young healthy folks pay premium to subsidize the older sick folks. Insurance premiums rise relative to the cost of healthcare, which in many instances is exorbitantly marked up. I know because I have worked on both sides. Next time you are sick or injured, ask to pay the “no insurance” cost, which most times is half of what healthcare providers charge if you file with your insurance carrier. I also have a $6000 plan, and this year I broke my collar bone and dislocated my shoulder smacking a tree at my local trail. Costly mistake.

  • DaveRider says:

    Insurance is high because doctors jack up the prices knowing insurance will pay…and because of the American way of suingat the drop of a hat.

  • Pegleg says:

    Good article, though (probably intentionally, given the focus) it doesn’t mention that the likelihood of injuries isn’t the only factor you have to think about in deciding on your coverage. The unfortunate fact is that, as you get older, the likelihood of having some other kind of debilitating and expensive health condition goes up. I have many friends in their late 30s and early 40s who have always been healthy and injury-free, and suddenly now are dealing with unexpected or chronic conditions like cancers, infections, joint failures, back surgery, etc. Even if you’re careful not to go over the bars, there’s still a chance you’ll need that insurance.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Joe – Entitled twat? Really? That’s a new one on me, but if that’s how you feel, then go with it.

    And yes, I would HIGHLY encourage you to figure out ways so that your tax dollars don’t go to paying my health insurance. I’m not gloating about it. I find it just as ridiculous as you do, but hey, those are the rules to the game, and life is about making the game work to your advantage.

    Rob – I get what you’re saying, but you’re making one glaring mistake – the mountain bike industry is far from highly profitable. Seriously. Where do you get that information from? Half my salary comes from the bike industry, and it pays roughly half of what my going rate is outside the bike industry. There may be a couple brands that kill it, but that is the distinct minority. For profits, I’d much rather be in the insurance game than the bike industry.

    – ASS

    • Rob says:

      Ahh ok I don’t know details of cycling industry it was just my assumption companies like SRAM make parts for $$ and sell for $$$.

    • chasejj says:

      Joe-I hear you. I agree with your sentiment. I think most of those commenting do not understand the injustice of those who have been financially successful are supplementing those who aren’t with the ACA.

      SS- The reality of the economics of Health care are we are heading to a cliff. If you truly have to be accountable for your healthcare costs then you will not be able to buy all your fun goodies like MTB’s, Motorcycles, Skii gear, Electronics. To be responsible you really have to stash away about $500K to properly cover each person in your family. Anything less and you become essentially a welfare recipient.
      The more involved you allow the government in this area of your life the more they will eventually rstrict your access and ability to enjoy the activity that they will now identify as a risk. Once you pay them taxes they think it is their money not yours.
      Just look at football right now. It is not a stretch to se that MTB’s are very near the next sport that the Liberals in Government will attack as too risky and expensive for their dollars to support. I know I will be flamed for making this political , but it is.

  • Tim Walsh says:

    The ACA is great if you are 33 and don’t have a six-figure income. If you are 63, like me, not so much. I pay a big monthly premium for the bronze $6000 deductible plan. Last year, my insurance company paid for nothing – not even a flu shot. By not having a public option, in essence being able to buy into Medicare at any age, we have guaranteed profits to greedy insurance companies.

    • chasejj says:

      Tim- The insurance companies are not any more greedy than the Hospitals and doctors. In fact the Insurance companies are the ones fighting to keep costs down. I can guarantee you it is not the government doing it. The Insurance companies fight with the hospitals and doctors to reduce their costs to a competitive and reasonable level. This helps them keep their premium and deductible costs down making their product more attractive to you the buyer. You are blaming the wrong player, which is what the MSM is trying to deceive you with when they cover this stuff.

  • Ben L says:

    The ACA may be subsidized by the middle class, but who pays for care for the uninsured? A hospital closed in my neighborhood mainly because of the costs of caring for uninsured people– a hospital once filled with middle class workers.

  • Rob says:

    ASS- And trust me, I know enough about you at this point to know you would HATE a desk job!!!

  • William Comer says:

    ASS, now i am angry. You don’t have to play the game that way. You make upwards of $47k per year and I have to subsidize your healthcare?! Seriously?! What is even more ridiculous is that you admit it…wow.

    I pay my own way. My monthly premiums have increased almost 175% since Obamacare and my deductible increased from $2.5k to $10k. As a man I will take care of myself and not expect the taxpayers to carry me on their backs.

    • BW says:

      Not calling out anyone’s manhood, but I do understand your frustration. Obamacare canceled my family’s $600 per month/$6000 annual deductible policy. My second-best option included tripling my premium ($1800 per month) with a notably higher deductible. My best option was coercing my wife back into the workforce for the insurance benefits. Not sure which I detest more – the fact that I am forced to subsidize others’ lifestyle choices, or that my wife is forced to work a job she’d otherwise not.

    • William is a shitbag says:

      William, why must you Parrot the Republican BS talking points? I don’t want my tax dollars paying for this or that, waa, waa, waa. I don’t have kids so I’m not paying for school taxes. I don’t drive on that side of town so I’m not paying for those roads. Ive never been to that National Park so I’m not paying for that either. It goes on and on with you people. If the author gets injured without Obama are then he goes to the emergency room. When he doesn’t have the money to pay YOU and the rest of the taxpayers pay for his medical costs anyway. I hope you never get in a situation where you need assistance from the gov’t, whether it be medical, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, better roads, inspected foods or anything. I will personally tell you to F off. You are on your own.

      • chasejj says:

        Hey William-I wont ever need those things. Because I make sure it wont happen.
        The problem with the government assistance thing is people like you appear to make decisions that depend on it being there. Us conservatives (not really Republicans) make decisions that make certain will never need it. See the difference?

      • William Comer says:

        I will tell you to — Off first. I never said I was against taxes?! Where did I say that? Actually I support the Fair Tax, please do not comment if you have not read the entire proposal, because it would be the best system. I have three kids. I paid school taxes and sent my kids to private school, I love my kids so there is no way the government was going to educate them. I could go on and on, but no need. You are a person that needs the government to subsidize your way of life, I am a man and can take care of my family and myself.

    • chasejj says:

      William Comer-You are a good and responsible man.

  • Shane says:

    Let me first state, I think America is a remarkable country full of wonderful and caring people, but your health care system is a joke. All working Australians pay a 2% levy to fund medicare, this enables us all Australians to access to our healthcare system. if your break your arm mountain biking you go to hospital and get it fixed without having to worry about losing your house. It’s is one of our most cherished institutions, and considered a right not a privilege to have access to medical services.

  • DrDon says:

    “Insurance is high because doctors jack up the prices knowing insurance will pay…and because of the American way of suingat the drop of a hat.”

    My 2 cents. Doctors, now more so health care organizations because more physicians are employed, inflate prices because reimbursement is not 100%. Try paying your plumber 60% on his bill and see what happens. There are unscrupulous physicians that abuse the system, but they are in the minority. Frivolous lawsuits are a cost, but some say its over stated. That being said, states that instituted a policy of lowering the frequency of non-legitimate suits have made themselves more attractive to physicians. It is true – the middle class is paying for the bulk of the ACA. The middle class was paying for the bulk of the uninsured and under insured previously. Hospitals cannot legally turn away patients in need. Many knew this but none had a solution to care for those that are unable to absorb the cost of medical care. What many did not know is that the insured diabetic conservative (disclaimer – I have voted Republican) with multiple co-morbidities that is upset regarding the ACA, is being subsidized by the healthy 90% within his insurance pool. Our society has to make a choice – to continue to provide care to lower economic classes or not. At some point we are going to have to choose between a health care system like India’s, a system like all the other first world nations have, or continue with the chaos we have now.

  • Raoul Duke says:

    The point that we are missing here is why are the middle class bearing the brunt of the ACA costs when the upper 1% of the the country controls at least 75% of the wealth?

    This is how they win, where we have middle class people bickering about who is more reponsible or worthy while getting endlessly screwed by the wealthy.

    Also, for the record – $47k in the Bay Area is practically minimum wage with the cost of living, just sayin.

    • Chris Streeter says:

      The “rich” are paying more than their fair share. Upper 10% of income earners pay BY FAR much higher taxes than the rest of us. The reason the middle class has bear the brunt is simple math–they are the bulk of the population. If you took ALL the wealth of the upper 1% it would not be enough money to pay the bills. Therefore, the largest segment of the population (middle class) has to be socked.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        This is patently false. A person who is worth $100 million will surely pay more in tax dollars than someone making $50k, however I guarantee that they are paying a far lower PERCENTAGE in taxes relative to their wealth. Add in advantages such as Carried Interest, tax shelters, etc… and they are absolutely not paying their FAIR share.

        Seriously, the middle class pays at least 50% of federal income taxes while the rich probably cover around 25% or so – and that is the top 1% of earners, who statistically control more wealth than the bottom 80%.

        I absolutely have no problem with people making $$$, but I also believe that all people should have a decent quality of life regardless of what they make.

        • Rich says:

          Raul is exactly right. Fact: top 1% pays a lower % for income tax when compared to the middle class. Their income is taxed at only 15% thanks to George Bush Jr. By the way, the poor don’t pay income tax, however they pay payroll taxes, sales tax, gas tax, booze and cigarette taxes, and lottery ticket taxes. Bottom line, if the author didn’t have insurance through the Affordable Care Act and went to the emergency room, the tax payers have to pick up his bill if he can’t pay it. The hospital can’t refuse to give him medical care. Republicans, wake up! You can’t live in a world where you only pay for what you use. Move to a deserted island if that’s your utopia. The rest of us live on the real world where there is poor and rich and we all have to get a long and take care of one another.

    • Woofer2609 says:

      THANK YOU! Raoul Duke, you nailed it. The whole point is get the middle classes fighting amongst themselves whilst the very top income brackets sit back and reap profits. If corporations were taxed at 1972 levels, you’d have free healthcare by now. There is more than enough to go around.

  • jon says:

    ” Insurance is high because doctors jack up the prices knowing insurance will pay” ?

    This shows a total lack of understanding in how the insurance companies work. My wife is a physician in private practice and deals with insurers constantly. Physicians bill at a pre-set negotiated rate that they and insurance companies have agreed to. Most insurance companies follow the cost set by Medicare, since they are the largest provider and negotiate the lowest rates per procedure.

    Since ACA came into being, insurance companies have forced reimbursements to physicians lower to cut their own expenses and increase profits. A physician can not charge more than the contracted price that the insurance company sets. To do so equates to fraud. Yes, their are physicians that are guilty of doing so.

    Physicians are not the ones driving up costs. That’s what the insurers would like you to believe. Since the ACA has come into being, a lot of physicians income is down 30-50%.

  • Tim says:

    Hi ASS, while I think your choice of coverage should hopefully work for you for a few years, consider this. I live in South Africa and have had hospital insurance for over 20 years now. Prior to 2007, the only time I used it was for the births of my two children, we’re also pretty healthy and look after ourselves.
    In 2007 (at age 45) I broke a bone in my hand and took a chunk out of my shin-bone falling of my mountain bike – Insurance covered 90%. In 2012, I got hit by a speeding car, commuting home on my mountain bike. I managed to break 9 ribs, the hyoid bone in my neck, my jaw in 3 places, 8 teeth and shattered my larynx. The hospital plan only covered 75% in that case, and nothing for the dental work, which wasn’t cheap. A week ago I had to have a kidney stone removed, which my wife blames on me not drinking enough water on endurance rides.
    My point is, perhaps in about 5 to 10 years you may want to up your coverage! I also used to think I was bullet-proof. Somehow as I’ve got older, the evidence seems to be suggesting otherwise!
    Ride safe!
    And on the subject of drinking and riding – I’m a Yeti fan. If they’re listening – Please figure out somewhere to put water bottle mounts on your new bikes! I hate hydration packs and would rather not have another kidney stone.

  • Ben says:

    Exchange single for married and you and I have a very similar situation. However, despite the fact that my wife has her own insurance through work, her income is added to mine(?) for calculating assistance. This means that I am solely responsible for my entire premium, and after having insurance since May, ALL available plans have gone UP 15-20% for this coming year. I thought the idea of all of us having insurance meant that the pool of payees like you and I would drive down the cost of health care. Trust me, I WANT insurance, but am and always have been in the situation where I have been unable to qualify for any assistance, and don’t make enough $ to be able to pay for a plan that would actually do me any good. I feel like I’m just flushing money down the toilet every month and never getting enough down there at any given time to plug the damn thing up and need to mop up some poo-stained dollars off my bathroom floor.

    Oh, and as usual @William Comer, Kurt says that me makes LESS than 47k, not more. ASS, don’t people ever actually read your articles before jumping down your throat?

    • William Comer says:

      Ben, I don’t care if makes more or less than $47k per year. The government should not subsidize his health care at tax payer’s expense. You can suck up to ASS all you want, sometimes the truth hurts.

      Plus, the truth be told the ACA has zero to do with healthcare.

  • Tom says:

    “Entitled Twat”. Do I see a custom logo t-shirt in your future?

  • Catmando says:

    I was very impressed by the article and I think Mr. Angry S. has come very close to hitting the nail on the head. However I don’t think that the average person is going to like the effect the new ACA laws bring. I work for a company that provides health care for it’s employees. This company is also related to the health care industry. Sadly it seems the options being offered to the employees is becoming increasingly more expensive with higher premiums and less choice of health care provider. Prescription costs have increased as well. Not to mention more and more limits are being added to help bring the costs of these premiums down. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is not to take stupid chances while mountain biking. I started mountain biking about twenty years ago ( while just entering my 40’s ) and I’ve had many a mishap while doing so. Undoubtedly if I had not had insurance I would of had a really hard time paying those hospital and doctor bills. Like what was said in the article, “Getting hurt is no fun”, nor is the pain that is related to it. Oddly though in my case most of those serious injuries were a result of “poor bike fit”, and poor bike equipment. Since I now ride a very nice bike that is well fitted I rarely find myself taking a spill. I also have a very good sense of judging my own skill level which when combined with a good bike means I shouldn’t be breaking any bones anytime soon. Like Eastwood said in one of the Dirty Harry movies, ” A man has to know his limitations”. After dislocating both of my shoulders during those years and pissing blood on one really bad endo that ended up involving a CAT scan, I’ve woken up to the facts of what my own limitations are. Pain and experience are very good teachers.

  • Mark E says:

    If there’s one message I hate seeing on the mountain bike, climbing and other outdoor sports sites I visit it’s the ones that go, “Joey X is an awesome athlete who was trying to make it as a pro when he FUBARed himself. His health insurance won’t cover most of his injuries so please chip in to his recovery fund today.” Ugh — so sad and frustrating! In this regard, I’m glad that the ACA is helping get rid of a bunch of garbage policies that have been on the market. I used to have the logic that some insurance was better than none, but after learning how pathetic the old “coma policies” were I’ve changed my tune. And don’t forget, kids, if you think you might roll the dice and go without insurance it’s your parents that end up selling their house and cashing out their retirement funds to keep you on that ventilator.

  • Grant says:

    I worked a landscaping job over the summer and at one point we spent 6 weeks working on the clubhouse of an insurance company’s golf course. After doing $3 million of landscaping including 38 pallets of brick in a patio, a staircase made of 20 slabs of rock that cost $2000 each, and 8 semis of sod along with other things, I would have a hard time believing that insurance is not extremely profitable. This is especially true because the clubhouse itself was getting a $30 million dollar renovation. I don’t think any bike companies have money to blow like that.

  • Ryan says:

    Nice read ASS. I currently changed jobs and have been told by several family members to not ride until I get back on an insurance plan. I’ll be 6mo contract to hire until I get on with the state. I’ve contemplated not using the Contractors insurance and going with “BroBamaCare.” I’m kind of in the same boat as you, I rarely get hurt but I do have a wife whom is med dependent. Paying out of pocket for meds sucks!

  • shredchic says:

    There are preventable injuries which can be avoided using a little bit of common sense, and just really bad luck. Like a stick getting stuck in your fork, propelling you OTB. No matter how many skillz you have, you can still get in a freaky accident MTB’ing. Health insurance is a good thing.

  • Stos says:

    So your deductible is $6000, which is the amount you pay before your insurance starts covering a percentage (Maybe 40-50%), before then you are paying for everything, just at a negotiated rate.

    But isn’t your max out of pocket $13000?

    Might want to change your sticker.

    Other comments:

    – The federal tax credit is absolutely crazy, and some people (Singlespeeder, sorry making an assumption, but $47000 or even $30000 is a lot of money for a single person, especially if you ride a single speed, and paying the full premium should not be a big issue) are reaping benefits from a faulty system. I assume it will be revised in the future, and until then I will pay my full price premium(no comment on my income), along with my wife’s, and my child’s and happily take full advantage of the benefits and piece of mind that all (even Bronze level) insurance plans offer.

    – Taxes are confusing and there is a lot of info floating around out there as to who pays what and how unfair things are. I am not an economist, but just talking about taxes does even begin to properly asses economic reality. The 1% or 10% (whatever) spend money, on products and labour, chances are they also invest a lot money in companies that employ a lot of people, they may own companies that employ a lot of people. To complain about their federal tax contribution without examining the overall economic impact doesn’t make any sense. If you want more than go get more.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: I am so over the road

The ASS trades his knobbies for skinny tires and finds out he’s been missing absolutely nothing.

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  • John says:

    The key point in this article is that road riding is boring. Besides the danger, that is why I haven’t been on my road bike in several years.

    P.S. – that bikes not singlespeed? Get with the program dude.

  • Sun says:

    Amazing terrain. Wish we had anything like that around here.

  • Ian Y says:

    Fair point, here in the UK the roads are rammed with cars, albeit small ones, but narrower roads to compensate and we haven’t got a daft 50 MPH limit either so its even more dangerous….
    joking aside and fear of being squashed by a car aside, roads are a bore, their only use is for some exercise when i can’t be bothered to drive 15 minutes to anywhere decent with the bike to go XC.

  • TahoeSteve says:

    Agre, agree, agree. I know lots of people into roadie. I got a roadie when I moved from tahoe to WA to make it easier to ride (no drive to the trails). Even a 25 mile ride is tedious, and dangerous. I only got hit by a car once, but that was enough.

    I got a gravel bike and have a lot more fun on little used suburban and semi-rural trails than the road ever was.

    To each his own, but I don’t get it.

  • TFinator says:

    The perfect bike would be carbon or ti, disc brake, and take wide tires. Mounts for a rack and fenders would be great. Then just have 2 or 3 wheelsets and you have 2 or 3 bikes! I agree!

  • mj says:

    I hate riding my road bike. But so few trail choices forces me to. So today I rode my mtb spesh epic on the road. Found some sort (:

  • Rick says:

    The road bike serves its purpose, wet trails, rainy days. An iPod changes the ride completely.

  • M-S says:

    I got into road riding to get better mtb fitness. Now I spend 9 our of every 10 rides on the road bike. Several reasons for this:
    1) I have to drive 15-30 minutes for trails.
    2) The trails that are closest to me I’ve ridden a hundred times and they aren’t exciting anymore.
    3) I’ve got two small kiddies, a full time job, a side start up company, and a couple of novels being published. Time is really stretched thin. I can normally only squeeze a few hours of saddle time out every week and road riding seems to maximize my fitness.
    4) There is a great road info structure where I live, and I’ve got a group of guys around my fitness and competition level to ride with every weekend.

    If I lived somewhere with hundreds of miles of mtb trails near me I would choose the dirt easily, but road riding gives me a good fix for now.

  • KISE says:

    Like your riding style.

  • barrian says:

    Roadies are people with no real skills, a lot like marathon runners.

    • Seneb says:

      You couldn’t be farther from the truth. Does the name Dave Mirra ring a bell? BMX icon turned competitive triathlete. How about Peter Sagan? Amazing skills with both road and mountain bikes. Your real skill seems to be that you don’t know shit about shit.

  • Greg says:

    I love riding my Hakkalugi Disc anywhere, but it sings its perfect song on gravel and trail.

  • FastWayne says:

    I ride both. I am closer to the road than the trail. When I switch to trails, it takes a little while to get back into my mt bike skills mind set. It is more challenging to ride mt bikes. Road bikes have another set of challenges, like racing the train so you won’t be trapped at the RR crossing (Torrance has trains all day and night;p) race
    the 18 wheeler to the first curve coming off of Palos Verdes, racing the soccer moms camry to grab the lane so she won’t pinch me to the curb again, dodge opening car doors, dodge trash cans on trash days, bunny hop railroad tracks. So fun; )

  • Shawn says:

    This article is a waste of time. The rant is a rant against what? Usually a good rant it about a personal experience; this is just a generic ‘road boring, cars dangerous’. If you thought it was that dangerous, you’d never ride on the road, not this goofy ‘well if it’s point to point I’ll risk it.’ And didn’t you just rant against people who were against racing, now racing isn’t your idea of fun. So whatever you like at the time is good, whatever you don’t is bad? You have the opinions of a child. If you have miles of dirt roads and trails in your back yard then good for you, ride what you want, it’s all good. But not everybody does. If you’re simply trying to promote the idea of doing this alternative form of ‘gravel grinding’ riding, there would have been so many other better ways to construct the article and the thought than a ‘rant’ against riding on the road.

  • Joe says:

    You have those options and you choose the road, I’ve gotta just come right out and say it, you are stating the obvious. Oh and I’m jealous you lucky bastard!

  • Doug says:

    Pretty narrow minded rant. Kinda goes with the territory – US attitudes in general. Everybody has to pick a side.

    When I lived in the US I rode to work everyday, raced on weekends, mountain biked for fun in the off season. Enjoyed all of it. But yeah lots of a-holes behind the wheel.

    Now in Austria I ride 50-50 mtb-road, plus commuting to work year-round, sometimes on a Fat bike in the snow. Roads in Austria and northern Italy are amazing. So many mountain roads and trails to explore. Far from boring and since bikes are a lifestyle here for young and old, cars are a non issue, even in the cities.

  • john says:

    I got hit by a Jeep on the road, so now I not only find road riding boring but also unnerving. Getting out on the trails really clears my mind 🙂

  • rain says:

    Spent last week in NV. Understand your position. First car on 395 north at bordertown was ubiquitous CHP. Then the fruit checkpoint. . . Road riding is much better in police states like Cali and Oregon from which I’m relocating next week. Dank long winters and increasingly smoke infested summers have fouled that Ashland koolaid you wrote about awhile back. One taste of AZ and NV opened my mind. So many dirt roads criss crossing the desert in southern NV, that cross bike and hardtail will come in handy.

  • Brad says:

    Great article- about a roadie who now only rides road bikes on dirt and doesn’t have a USA cycling license anymore cause that is for dweebs- but don’t hate on racing cause that’s not cool- based on the last article. Huh?

  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    Thus the reason my roadbike has cobwebs in the spokes! I love the lack of resistance when pedaling…although the idiots in cages scare the crap out of me. I feel safer riding my Kawasaki Concours motorcycle than my roadbike. I’ll stick to my So Cal singletrack!

  • Don says:

    If you really want to be deterred from riding road, stop next to an F250 at a red light and wait for them to coal roll you into a dark, carcinogenic oblivion.

  • just another rider says:

    i’ve been riding both dirt and road for over 25 years, so to each his/her own. but regardless of whether we ride dirt or pavement, we all swing a leg over a saddle and pedal ’cause we like it. as cyclists, we have far more in common with each other than we do with the vast majority of those who don’t ride.

    so why all the devisiveness? is mountain biking better than road riding, DH better than XC, beer handups at the local ‘cross race better than televised euro pro UCI events, brand X better than brand Z? are we so insecure that we need to bash anyone/anything who thinks (or looks or acts) differently so we can inflate our egos and feel better about ourselves?

    you’re better than that A.S.S., so step it up and write about shit that really matters. we face the constant onslaught of potentially dwindling trail access from any number of local, state, and federal agencies and/or special interests. 71 cyclists have died (mostly from collisions with motorists) in SoCal this calendar year alone. yeah, seventy-fkn-one, and that’s 71 too many.

    hopefully this site pays you enough to rant so that you can make your ends meet–and if so, then more power to you. but let’s be constructive and aim the water cannons at the fires raging out of control, instead of at each other.

  • RM says:

    Sounds like there are too many people where you live. Riding a road bike in traffic is about as much fun as riding a motor cycle in traffic. Road bike on open country roads and enjoy the great outdoors. Rent a road bike and ride the West Maui Loop and tell me you don’t like it! I ride the MTB about 2/3s of the time and enjoy both. My wife and her girl friends have started road riding when the trails are too wet. It’s a different kind of fun. We don’t live in a city by choice. Also as aging riders the road offers an easy alternative to rougher experience of Mountain Biking. ASS has obviously stirred up a Bee Hive here. Mountain Biking has lots of polarizing issues as well as trails. Having just returned from Moab I was surprized to read on MTBR Forums advice not to go to Slick Rock because it’s so boring! Get out and enjoy it all !

  • chef says:

    I live on the north shore in vancouver MTB mecca.
    Surprisingly there are lot of roadies here. I can’t for life of me understand why.
    When I lived back east with miles country roads and no cars road bikes made sense. Kinda of meditational.
    Here however with cars and trucks belching exhaust on narrow streets while texting and stoned it makes zero sense.
    With the elitist attitude of roadies, the hipster douchebag fixies and people wearing no helmets and never obeying simple road laws there is no way I would ride on the road here or seven be associated with them.

    Mountain biking here is quiet and beautiful and very good exercise with the technical “enduro” style trails we have here.

  • Mark says:

    Now all the hipsters are going to read this and develop ‘all mountain cross’.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Legendary Kamikaze returns as awesome, inclusive festival

The legendary Kamikaze makes it’s triumphant return with something for everyone.

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  • scott says:

    Kurt: Do you even SS??

    Am I just slow, or do my tires have too much grip??? I ride Mammoth almost weekly (pedal up and “bomb” down) and I rarely drift.

    Did they have 80mm of suspension in the early 90s??? I remember when the Judy DH came out and had an amazing 3″ of travel, must have been in 94-95???

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Foaming at the mouth about CrossVegas

Beer and foaming in Las Vegas: The Angry Singlespeeder throws down on over-the-line fan behavior at CrossVegas

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  • Hotep says:

    Now if we could only get John Watson to admit he had a part in the douche-baggery.

  • Aaron W says:

    Our squad is planting enforcers around the field. Go ahead and try something.

  • Jason says:

    So in EVERY OTHER RACE IN RECORDED HISTORY, the winners spray champagne on each other and get sprayed by spectators… and yet you whine when someone opens a refreshing (and cooling!) beverage a little too close to you DURING A CELEBRATION???

    No wonder everyone makes fun of cyclocross. I hope everyone everywhere quits racing CX so that we don’t have to hear babies crying anymore.

  • trailsnail says:

    I have to disagree with getting rid of the ANGRY. We escape to our bikes for many reasons, all of which are OK .

  • Black out the windows says:

    No shortage of beer throwing fools in Europe, either. However, Sven may just stop and say something about it:

  • andy says:

    I agree with you again, Angry SS. Now, back to dealing with the e-bike trouble, as it is fairly easy to avoid people racing in circles. But on the trails?

    Would it be ok to spray beer on an e-bike racer?

    Wait, would these entitled kids be racing e-bikes? Makes sense, as it wouldn’t take any effort.

    “Mommy and daddy gave me this bike…I need more battery,” in an appropriate whiny-voice.

  • Shawn says:

    OK, so the topic of this article is pretty much low-hanging fruit; I don’t think it is much of a controversial opinion that assaulting people with beer or anything else in any context is stupid and unwarranted. And I can see why one would be angry about it. But then there came this bit of ‘wisdom’ from the ASS:

    ‘I don’t know where this kind behavior comes from, but I’m sure it has something to do with today’s entitlement culture. This is especially prevalent here in the United States where certain individuals believe they have the right to do what they want because their mommy and daddy always told them that they’re special and that everyone’s a winner; which is probably what has given birth to the whole “racing is for losers” phenomenon.’

    So, ‘entitlement culture’ that is ‘prevalent’ in the United States? First, as someone who has children, and is around other people who have children, I don’t see any entitlement culture. Certainly this is not how I raise my children, and not how I see my friends raising their children. I know there are certain conservative ‘journalists’ talking about ‘entitlement culture’ in the news, but where’s the reality? Believe me, I’m no fan of ‘every kid gets a medal’, but I don’t think the fact that little Suzy gets a medal for partipating at the ‘Little Gym’ is going to make her think ‘racing is for losers’. There always has been and always will be people that think they are better than everyone else, for whatever reason. But this idea that ‘everyone feels entitled now’, is just so dumb and media-hyped. Are you telling me that before the advent of this ‘entitlement culture’, that there were never any a-holes in the world, especially where alcohol is involved? And, why do you say ‘I don’t know where this comes from’ and then follow up by ‘I’m sure it’s because of’? So you are saying you do know or you don’t know? Because you pretty much just contradicted yourself in consecutive sentences.

    The problem with this kind of thought is that you just paint a entire group of people with one stroke and then assign blame to them w/out one shred of research or proof that the BS you’re spewing has any merit. ‘All parents today all coddle there kids so now all these kids are a-holes spraying beer on me at CrossVegas.’ One, you don’t know what most parents in this country do to raise their children, two, you don’t have any expertise parenting techniques or sociology, and three, you have know idea of the upbringing of the offenders to begin with.

    So way to yet again prove what a mental midget you are. Bravo.

  • Dan says:

    At least they opened the can before they threw the beer.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Will e-bikes short circuit mountain biking?

The Angry Singlespeeder asks a pertinent question—Will e-bikes short circuit mountain biking?

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  • Greg says:

    If I see you on one of these I’m giving you the one finger salute.

  • Brad Trent says:

    I’m old…and I hate climbs as much as the next guy…but what’s the point of a motor on a mountain bike? Man up and walk if you can’t climb, just like the rest of us!!!

  • Tim Walsh says:

    “E-mountain bikes are motorized bikes, just like motorcycles. Period.”
    Well said, and that should be the end of the discussion. Period!!!

  • cobi says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  • Jeff says:

    Full-suspension bikes should be banned for the same reasons. I don’t hate FS bikes. I think they’re fascinating and a terrific way for people to recreate. But the line in the loam needs to be dug deep and firm. If your bike has suspension, beyond this line you do not cross.

    • Brad says:

      That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. How can you compare a FS bike to an e-bike? That is like saying, disc brakes should be banned also.

    • Mark says:

      Jeff. You sir, are a troll. Make an outrageous claim, and then make no effort to back it. GFYS 🙂

    • RP says:

      Jeff you’re bad at trolling. I FS bike doesn’t tear up the trail any more than a HT does.

      Now if you don;t see the difference and are too short sighted to see how we might satrt losing trail access because of this, when then you aren’t a troll, just a moron.

  • Preston says:

    Totally agree with ASS.
    Jeff I don’t see the correlation of your analogy at all.
    Motor bike != Full suspension bike.
    The core term for me is “muscle powered”. We can have off road skateboards and pogo sticks as long as there is no external power source.

  • Chris Killer says:

    Good point Jeff. Motors like this one can be completely hidden within the seat tube and only result in the equivalent of a slight increase in fitness.
    To say theres some sort of step change between a bike and an e-bike is bollocks. A maximum power level for trail use should be introduced, somewhere around 250W I reckon.

  • Ryan.Derkson@gmail.com says:

    Fantastic Article and I couldn’t agree more.

  • Marcus.arrowsmith@gmail.com says:

    People have told me in the past never read forums on something you want because you only get the negative people on it.
    I have an e bike and a standard mtb and find now I am useing the e bike a lot more, simple reason it’s a lot more fun.
    To the point of trails, you get far better traction on a e bike so less churning up of the soil.
    Let’s just embrasse them as extension to our sport, stop moaning and let people choose what they want to ride and all be friends.
    People need to get a life and worry about more serious things than being e bike haters.

  • awfukkanawful says:

    Comparing these motorized frankenbikes to bikes with suspension/gears etc is so inane it makes my blood boil. I saw a yahoo ripping at my local trail on one of these things (that he hot rodded) and he could immediately summon enough torque to absolutely annihilate the trail WITH UNCONTROLLABLE WHEELSPIN! Sand, ruts, erosion etc will be the price the trails pay. Just wait until Wallywart starts selling them for $150…seriously ponder all the fantastic outcomes. TAKE YOUR MORONIC MOTORCYCLE TO THE ORV TRAIL WHERE IT BELONGS. If you manufacture these things, get ready because this is WAR

  • RP says:

    I was recently traveling for work and stopped into an Ibis dealer hoping he had a Ripley to ride. WhenI got in, the gentlemen behind the counter asked if he could help me and I said no thanks, looks like you’re a road shop and I’m looking for a mountain bike.

    We started talking and he told me of how a XC race organizer in the area didn’t cancel a race when it was wet, it destroyed large parts of the trail, the mountain biker haters got what they wanted. Complained to the County and got mountain bikes banned fro the trails, so there is no demand for MB in his shop.

    Manufacturers need to look at themselves and realize this fade they’re feeding, will help kill the core business in many areas. If Ebikes get my trails closed to me, I have no reason to buy Mountain Bike(s) and the related gear.

  • awfukkanawful says:

    This article does not take into the X factor of people hot ridding these things to unsafe and unholy weight to power ratios that will DESTROY SINGLETRACK AND OUR ACCESS TO IT!!! Not to mention all the unskilled idiots crashing into everything (here come the trial lawyers and jackpot justice for the hellbilly on his $150 Wallywart special) who will now be able to beat the pants of the Strava rider WHO EARNED IT. These things are going to KILL our trails, our trail access, and our sport. IMBA ITS TIME TO MAKE A STAND LOUD AND CLEAR!

  • GH says:

    These will certainly cause excessive trail damage compared to a human powered bike.

    Bike trails should be marked “human power only”.

  • Greg Beardslee says:

    I might be on one someday out of necessity. As I continue to fall apart, I am contemplating bringing out my motorbike. But it’s heavy, and if it tipped over, I’d need help to pick it up. Not so with an e-bike. I greatly respect advocates efforts and have no intention of setting back the hard work bicyclists have put forth. An e-bike should only go where allowed. Period. If someone wants to cheat and ride non-motorized trails, then be man enough to face the music when caught. Will I cheat and poach trails on an e-bike someday? Dunno. I hope not.

  • Nate says:

    When I can no longer peddle I will get a KTM. E-bikes are lame…

  • daniele says:

    There are 2 types of e-bikes:
    – the ones with ASSISTED pedaling, i.e. if you don’t use your pedals you don’t move and with limited power (250W in most EU Countries)
    – the ones with an ACCELERATOR (like a motorbike), where it is not a real bycicle anymore 🙁
    The first type is legal in Europe, the second one it is not (unless you have an insurance and a plate like a motorbike)
    I believe that a mtb of type 1 wouldn’t be of any harm on a trail for anybody.
    But the type 2 should be considered as a MOTORBIKE, with all related consequences on mountain trails 🙂

    • Shnozz says:

      So Daniel, you’re saying that one bike with a motor should not be considered a motor bike, but another one should. Because in one you use your hand to increase torque, and the other you use your foot.

      It doesn’t matter how the motor is activated, it’s a motor, thus it’s a motor vehicle.

      That’s like saying my car isn’t a motor vehicle because I have to push it to 5 mph before I can get it started. I’m starting it with my feet, it won’t work without it, must not be a motor vehicle.

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Daniele, do you make it a habit to express an opinion with regard to topics you know nothing about? Ebikes will have drastically negative affect on the trails because electric motors can instantaneously spool up exponentially more amounts of torque than the most beasly strong human could. This will cause rutting, erosion, sand, and the general destruction of trails. This is just one tiny example of the negative affects our trails will suffer if Ebikes are allowed free reign. Please educate yourself next time before shooting off your mouth, and that goes for the rest of you idiots pressing for Ebike access to NON-MOTORIZED TRAILS….TAKE IT TO THE ORV TRAIL!

    • IBM says:

      Daniele. There is no way to check. People will modify their e mopeds immediately You will have 60 mph on those trails in no time. It has to be black and white. No motors

    • JESSE JAMES says:


  • Shark says:

    Trails are already being shut down to due outdated laws regarding “mechanized travel”….E-bikes are not going to help this fight.

    Sure, they are good to help disabled/injured/old/lazy riders, but ride in designated areas that allow motor vehicles. There is no fair way to draw the line of what is allowed & what isn’t, speed, wattage, age, doctors note? If it has a motor, electric or otherwise, it should be treated as such. End of story.

  • Motored says:

    To claim one form of sport is better than another is seriously lame. 2 people make it to the top of a climb, one with a motor and one pedal powered and you think one doesn’t have the right to be there? Really? Wow cant even imagine whats next with that train of thought? I think it’s awesome to see advances in sports of all kinds. Pick your passion! Enjoy it, and quit wasting time hating others because they are doing something different.

    • IBM says:

      Motored- wrong logic. I can not believe I m not allowed to ride my Ducati on a sidewalk in Ny . That is outrageous. All we are saying is separate the traffic. If he can get to the top on a motocross trail then he can use a moped

  • Jon V says:

    I am A dirt bike rider, motorcycles, mountain bikes, don’t like to see the 4 wheels tearing u the landscape. mountain bikes with or without an e-motor are different than motorcycles. If I ride a dual sport motorcycle I can ride more than the restricted trails it has a plate and can go on street and off road. The restrictions for off road have to do with green or red stickers (time of year it can be used on BLM areas) Some of the bike selling now have large wheels close to the size of motorcycles but there is no danger of starting fires from a gas motor. the e bike will be restricted as to how far they can travel on battery. I think we all can ride on same trails the ebikes won’t make up the tough mountains and those guys will pay the price heavy to push. with that said, enjoy your ride no matter if it pedal or ebike

    • David P. says:

      I’d like to see all who make arguments for e-bike use on non-ORV trails out there maintaining the trails. It’s bad enough with the 10% of hikers that cut switchbacks and bikers that lock ’em up for fun. Illegal features, users that don’t stay home when it’s all soaked… now you want to add heavier machines that generate more torque? Expect to see a lot more trail closures while the land managers and volunteers try to deal with the ensuing mess.

  • agmtb says:

    I’d worry about the non-technical trail savvy rider getting hurt. A unexperienced rider on a medium tech trail is asking for injury, pads should be required for the inexperienced. Rocks, snake, cactus! I fall off my mountain bike.

    • David P. says:

      I’m not sure there’s any subtance to the argument that inexperienced e-bikers will be crashing all over tech trails. The assist only strengthens your forward motion, it does not improve handling skill or confidence, so I think most will stick to easy trails for awhile.

      My concern lies in e-bikers moving at speeds beyond their ability that is dangerous to other users on the easy trails. Multi-use trails are designed with pedal power in mind. eBikers can and will move at speeds above these designs, whether they have 250w or 2500w on tap.

  • Mark says:

    You know, I’m not a very strong swimmer, which is why I’ve asked time and time again to be allowed to jetski in the public pool. If I’m still enjoying the water and having fun outside, what’s the big deal? You people lucky enough to be good at swimming, quit hogging all the fun, surely there is room for us motorized users as well.

  • John says:

    To say that Dirt Rag’s article was objective is simply not true. I don’t care if e-bikes have a place in the discussion and/or at the table, so long as their place is a different place than lumped in with mountain bikes.

  • redbeardpete says:

    IF IT HAS A MOTOR, IT IS NOT A BICYCLE, NO MATTER WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLE IT IS MOUNTED ON!!!!! I see self-righteous people with no bicycling experience riding around the city, weaving between the road, sidewalk and designated bike lanes. Accidents between cars and bicycles have a predictable consequence…bicyclists usually lose. I can’t imagine what kind of chaos e-bikes would cause on our dwindling mtb trails. Giving the average person open access to trails is like giving a gun to an out of control Idiot. Bike trail advocates and users are not Haters, we are protecting our rights to safe trails…

  • Bob says:

    Where I live the kids used to get about on mini motor bikes, or monkey bikes as I think they are correctly termed. Obviously the police don’t like this, so being the bunch of smart arses that they are, they started putting small two stroke motors on mountain bikes so they can say “It’s just a bike”…. so if I retrofitted a small two stroke motor, probably equivilent in power to one of these e-bikes, what do I have? a motor bike…

    I think the pedal assisted thing is critical in this case, and it would piss me off no end if I saw someone on an e-bike throttling up a steep climb and chewing it out, like our good friends do on their motos…

  • Sun says:

    This is isn’t complicated. My first love will always be dirt bikes. But dirt bikes, electric or otherwise, have no place on mountain bike trails. That’s obvious.

  • J.D. says:

    Back in my day we didn’t have these fancy two wheeled dohickies, when you needed a lift up a hill you would have to lasso a wild donkey and grab it with your bare hands, and that’s the way we liked it, we loved it!!!

  • Mary says:

    Mountainbikers have had to struggle for years for trail access, have worked tirelessly building trails, and have finally either convinced or elbowed a place at the multi trail use table. Ebikes threaten all of the decades of work we have successfully executed for our sport. If you want to ride an Ebike, that is just fine, but don’t think that you are entitled to ride the coat tails of all the state and local chapters who have paid the price for advocacy and access, it’s bad enough that you’re to lazy to pedal a bike. Ebikes can go and build their own trails and ride on the many more miles of ORV trails thy are already available to them without destroying our precious few mountain biking trails. I find it to be nothing short of comedy hearing the arguments posed for ebikes not being classified as a motorized vehicle…and all the other argument being mAde on Ebikes behalf are equally as factually incorrect and ludicrous. I you are truly disabled, you probably shouldn’t be on a two wheeled vehicle to begin with, and I’ll bet the SSD you are receiving would be in serious jeapordy if you were caught zooming around on a trail, but again, there are thousands of miles of ORV trails available for you to ride already. The selfishness and ignorance I’ve read in the comments section from those who would have ebikes on non motorized trails is shocking and disgusting beyond all belief.

  • Tyler says:

    I’ll start respecting all the comments of all these high and mighty bicycles when I see one stop at a stop sign, or walk their bike across a cross walk. When you start following the laws on motorized trails (roads for all you idiots), I might give a sh!t about your stupid bicycle only trails. Talk about DANGEROUS, all you people who fly through stops, don’t signal, ect., you are the dangerous ones. And don’t use the excuse that those are “road bikers” because you are all the same, and when you ride to the trail, you are doing the same crap.

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Tyler the wee little troll, how droll

    • Mtbr says:

      Tyler, why don’t you just replace the word “bicycle” with the word “car” and see how lame those same, tired broad brush arguments are?

    • Denny Rue says:

      Old and tired argument for the simple-minded. You’ve never seen a car run a light/stop sign, turn without signaling, or ignore a crosswalk? Not all bike riders are sinners. Not all car drivers are saints.

  • Mr. Inke says:

    If we have electric cars out there in a world of combustion road beasts what makes this “bike” different from a dirt bike? It’s basically a dirt bike that you can pedal and I feel it should be treated as such. I don’t even know why that industry thinks old people are a justifiable market at all. If you’re too old to ride a bike maybe it’s time to find a new hobby. I don’t see any special mountain bikes for toddlers.

  • bob says:

    I’m very interested in the technology of ebikes and may build one soon. They are similar to MTB’s in that their popularity is increasing as newer, better materials become available as with MTB’s years ago. However, when used on bike, hike or equestrian trails, I THINK they will eventually result in bikes being banned in SOME areas where they are permitted currently or prevent access to new areas which may someday be available to MTB’s. There are off road ebikes capable of 50+ mph speeds. I’m pretty sure these will be on the trails at some future time if we don’t act to thwart ebikes now. The thought of a 7-10 mph top speed on level ground ebike in the woods might be palatable.

  • AL says:

    Electric Bike are “MOTORIZE VEHICLES” and should abide by all laws under motorize vehicles.

  • alex says:

    Cycle + Motor = Motorcycle.

  • Alan says:

    I’m 52 yrs. old & really enjoy both my Pedego City Commuter & my KHS XC 104 MTB. I’m in Florida semi retired & ride 2 hours a day on the MTB & do 3k miles a year on the E-Bike. The E-Bike has bags & I pack my fishing rod & hit the snook hot spots up & down the Gulf, no parking charges, I get 45 miles out of a charge with it’s 15 AH battery option, it just saves me $ leave the car @ home. I need real exercise for high blood pressure condition so the KTM gives me a good work out every day .
    I wouldn’t ride my E-Bike on MTB trails, mines a road bike with Big Apple 235’s.
    { I removed the Pedego emblems & put KHS decals on the puppy !! ha ha. }.
    I’ve built a few E-Bikes as well, but never would encroach MTB trails, that’s what my KHS is for. . that’s my story, the article seems to me a troll is this really an issue where E-Bikes are pissing off MTB ers ?

    • Mtbr says:

      Alan- Many people see what you’re doing as the ideal application for e-bikes–essentially using it to replace car trips. That’s awesome! Where it gets irksome to some is the push by some in the industry to use e-bikes on trails where they’re currently not allowed, threatening the hard-fought non-motorized mountain bike access to those same trails.

      • Alan says:

        MTBR, thanks for the reply, the issue of e-bikes on non motorized trails is clear enough as stated in the article sorry for venting there seems to be a lot of e-bike haters out there & as you noted I was trying to illustrate they can co-exist as long as these specific trails designated for non motorized vehicles are respected.
        These mtb style e-bikes can be used in many other areas much like a motocross bike is, one wouldn’t bring a dirt bike to mtb trails .For me e-biking is mainly a street thing, it is a fun hobby that saves money on gas & the electrical engineering aspect is interesting. There e-bikes do get middle aged & people recovering from injuries back into shape, some people get back into cycling with an e-bike then go to a regular road or mtb bike, I’m one of them.

      • Saul says:

        Um, I know you have seen the pictures of these e-crap-bikes because you posted several stories about them. Did you actually look at the pictures, they are Mountain Bikes with a motor. All I have seen is Fat Bikes, Full Suspension bikes, bikes with 4+ inches of travel and knobby tires all with a MOTOR. The intention for that kind of bike is NOT to replace your car (I am all for that BTW). IF the intention was to replace your car, these would look more like beach cruisers or hybrid / comfort bikes. The pictures and reviews I have seen are all bikes that WOULD be using the trails I ride which are designated as non motorized traffic.

        I am all for electronic bikes for short trips to replace my car. But electronicly powered mountain bikes NO. The riders (the target customer btw) are SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS – WE. DO. NOT. WANT. E-MOUNTAIN-BIKES.

        The manufacturers may not be listening to us know, but once they have sunk millions into R/D and find that they can not sell these $1000 pound hunks of junk they will scrap the idea and say to themselves “Where did we go wrong?” – Well, NOT LISTENING TO YOUR CUSTOMER is where you went/are going wrong. Can we please just get back to the whole 29er vs 27.5 vs 26er vs 32er vs 96er vs 69er vs Electronic shifting, enduro seats blabble, oh never mind I want an e-mountain-bike SOOOO BAD. NOT

        • Mtbr says:

          Saul- We feel your rage…to a point. The truth of the matter is e-bikes both on- and off-road are widely accepted and legal in other parts of the world. YOU may be screaming at the top of your lungs, but Europe, for example, is not as bothered.

      • rynoman03 says:

        MTBR you hit the nail on the head with your response to Alan. I don’t hate e-bikes but they have no place on the MTB trails.

  • Mike in Cave Creek says:

    Your ‘frame with two wheels’ either HAS a motor or DOES NOT HAVE a motor. If it HAS a motor then it does not belong on non-motorized trails, period. There are plenty of areas to ride a motorized bike off-road where you don’t have to be bothered by us lactic acid-addicts. I really think the ASS makes a great point when it comes to IMBA and all the hard work they’ve done. If entities like IMBA embraced and lauded for e-bike inclusion, that might all the excuse some BLM bureaucrat would need to further restrict human-powered bikes from trails altogether.

    Let’s face it. There’s a lot of people who already don’t like mountain bikers and introducing motorized transport (onto non-motorized trails) into the mix isn’t going to help this cause. I don’t really care what someone thinks about me, individually, but if something further compromises the collective (like e-bikes could) then it has to stand on it’s own. Who want’s to start Ie-MBA?

  • DrDon says:

    I am willing to extend tolerance for these things for the disabled and elderly on designated trails. I don’t think these vehicles are going to be an issue. I suspect they are expensive on the front end and also to maintain. Like the author pointed out, when the first mechanical occurs, the e-bike will end up in a corner in someones garage. The reason for this goes beyond repairing a mechanical out in the field or walking out. True enthusiasts realize doing so is part of the sport and the unexpected can occur at any time. I didn’t read all the posts, but I’m assume someone pointed out how hard it is going to be for the unfit to transport heavy bikes and if carriers are strong enough to support them. Are there going to be enough qualified mechanics to fix them? It kills me when I see kids on motorized vehicles in my development and this is a further comment upon the laziness of our society. I also hate when people can’t walk 30 feet to return a shopping cart:}

  • Jeff says:

    I have zero problem with e-bikes on trails. The ones I’ve ridden, you still have to pedal, they make zero noise, they don’t damage the trail any more that a standard mt. bike, and they don’t go any faster down hill…. The average hiker won’t be able to tell the difference between a e-bike and a regular mt. bike. It is up to the rider regardless of what they are riding, to be responsible stewards of the sport; to yield to hikers and equestrians, be courteous and let everyone enjoy the trails. An out of control fully h-bike (human powered) can do just as much damage to the image of the sport as any e-biker can. Just my opinion.
    Now don’t everyone take this the wrong way, but isn’t it a little bit elitist to say that if you are less capable of a rider, then you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the trails? The fact that someone is older, or not an elite young athlete shouldn’t preclude them from the land…

    Furthermore, I think the more folks that use the trails then better. The bigger the pool of citizens aligned for a particular interest, the larger the political power the “collective” has to open more land to bicycles.

    And to say, there are “plenty of places” for motorized trail use for bikes to use is completely false. If any of you all live in the SF Bay Area, you probably know there are exactly 3 places to ride motorized OHVs, two are about 2 hours away, one of which the terrain is not e-bikes friendly as it is mostly hill climbs. And trail access is worse in some other states.

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Jeff, people are already hot ridding these things to power to weight ratios that will be 1000% unsustainable to the trail systems and there will be no way to police the power output of these rigs….so guess what? When you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t.

  • awfukkanawful says:

    Dear angry single speeder ….thank you so much for writing this article and being on the CORRECT side of this issue….you and Jimmy McIIvain are both heroes and I commend you both for taking a stand for what is a definitive threat to our trails and our beloved sport. If either of you are ever in Kalamazoo/Southwest Michigan hit me up and I’m buying at whatever fine craft brew locales you desire!

  • awfukkanawful says:

    To Rob Sims and Michal Grau posting all the Farcebook nonsense; by all means, please keep running your mouths because with each implausibly inane statement after the next you both spew you further prove the point that Ebikes have no business on our trails, and only further discredit yourselves and all others pressing for Ebike access to non motorized trails. There is no refuting or debating these FACTS; There would be no way to police the power output of these rigs, and if you’ve never been to an ORV trail or a motocross track; go take a good look, because that is what will happen to the trails we have fought and worked for and on FOR DECADES….and you think you can just come along and destroy all of that BECAUSE OF YOUR BREATHTAKING IGNORANCE?! As for those making the “my freedumbs are gettin took by the gubmint” nutball argument ….there are thousands of more miles of ORV trails than there are no motorized SINGLETRACK for mountainbikes that you are FREE to shred all you want, dummy….PART OF FREEDOM MEANS NOT IMPINGING ON THE FREEDOM OF THOSE THAT HAVE WORKED SO HARD AND SO LONG FOR THEIR OWN SLICE OF ENJOYMENT YOU SELFISH DOOFUSES

  • chasejj says:

    awfukkanawful -FYI. It is not YOUR land. 99.999999% of everybody on this comment section or trails ever lifted a freakin finger to build a trail, attend a Use meeting or contribute one single dime. We own the land (all of us) including anyone wanting to ebike it. Your pathetic rantings only prove the ignorance of land use and the politics involved.
    The type of vehicle is irrelevant.You as a MTBer will NEVER be on the favorable side of a landuse argument., because you are a fringe element..The political forces will only tolerate your need until they can gain an advantage by appeasing your enemies and in todays environment their will always be an enemy to create and appease.
    MTB access is decreasing and will continue and when their are enough of us crammed into a small enough area, they will invent a creature that is being threatened or imagine some environmental purpose to restrict you. I have seen this trend for 30 years. Thank the Enviro Industry for this (Sierra Club and others).

    • awfukkanawful says:

      chasejj, I have been very active in my local chapter and I’ll have you know that we (The Southwest Michigan Mountainbike Association) have taken on the hikers, and won. We took on a very powerful Equestrian lobby and WE were able to get the trails at Fort Custer separated….ya,that’s right pal, Equestrians don’t ride on the trails that we maintain. But by all means, keep flapping your gums about my “pathetic rantings” while you flail away with your delusional blather. Mountainbiking has gone mainstream, and our local chapter are nothing but the finest of trail stewards and the DNR LOVES US. So when you, or anybody else shows up on our NONMOTORIZED TRAIL with your Ebike, enjoy the hefty fine and having your bike impounded. We have EARNED THE RIGHT to be stewards of our trails…aside from blame environmental groups for not granting you access to the wholesale exploitation of any and all public lands and publicly humiliate and discredit yourself here, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, BUB?! You want to ride on trails on your Ebike?…start a chapter, build some trails, and ride all you like

  • Graham Spenceley says:

    Hey guys
    . I read all the coments and wonder where the anger comes from. Must be something to do with the high pressure demands of modern living? Or is it jealousy?
    “I worked so hard to get up that hill and the e-biker had it easy”. “not fair”
    Get real – e bikes are here to stay. Like the 29er, 27.5, electric shift, fat wheels, $12000 bikes, $120 bikes, dirt bikes, quad bikes, horses on trails, dogs on trails, helicopters, paragliders.
    Yippee more choice, more fun!
    Enjoy the opportunities and more importantly let others enjoy themselves. It’s what makes a civilised world.
    E-bikes in general may actually help us all by reducing the demand for petrol,
    E-bikes on the trail may increase usage and so actually enable better access (in the long term). Why? Well because we will bicker and argue, but in reality we have another user group to apply pressure.
    Here in NZ I usually ride on tracks that are not dedicated mtb tracks. I often meet dirt bike riders and horse riders. We stop we chat, No problem. They are like me – enjoying time away from work!
    thanks for allowing me to comment
    Spen NZ

  • chasejj says:

    Graham-you’re refreshing approach to recreation is indicative of why NZ is such a desirable place. There are places like NZ in the US. Some of Idaho is like this. But sadly most of the rest of it is like the majority of posters.
    The politics of the landuse industry (make no mistake it is an industry) have made a fortune off pitting user groups against each other and you can see by these posts they have succeeded in converting many who would take our approach to heart , but cannot resist the peer pressure driving them to conform. They actually think they are being “enlightened”. Sad.

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Idaho….explains a lot; impotent myopic idealogues with all the answers but no solutions to real problems. Why don’t you try critical thought, chasejj, or is reality just to scary for you and your baby rattle?

      • awfukkanawful says:

        With apologies to all the righteous cats in Idaho…..we have our fair share of Mcveighs here in America’s pymp hand

    • awfukkanawful says:

      chasejj, please enlighten us oh great and brilliant one…show us the empirical data that supports your premise that motorized vehicles should be allowed on NONMOTORIZED trails because you subscribe to a narrow political view rather than cold hard facts.

  • EpicAndy says:

    Looka that. ASS is starting to sound like Mike Vandeman, dictating who can use a trail and who can’t.

    Is that a saw in your hands, ASS? Oh wait, no. It’s an axe. And evidently it’s not sharp yet.

  • too much angry single speeder says:

    Help me understand the argument against ebikes on mtg trails. Is it the damage they are doing? Are there really enough ebike riders to degrade the trails so badly? Is it the unfair advantage a motor gives a rider? Are geared bikes competing with ebikes and there is a sense of being offended?

    • awfukkanawful says:

      The guy I saw at my local trail “modified” his electric motor to twice the power. Do you know what power to weight ratio is? Imagine a mountainbike that goes 0-60mph in under 4 seconds, because if we don’t DESTROY the idea of these things on NONMOTORIZED trails, they will turn the trails to ABSOLUTE MUSH….exactly what is posing for grey matter for those pushing to allow these things on our trails.

      • too much angry single speeder says:

        “Modified” bikes that that go 0-60 in 4 seconds is not the norm. They are the equivalent of riders (of normal bikes) that don’t yield to hikers or horses, an issue that has hurt or sport in the past. There will always be assholes but let’s base it on the majority.

        • awfukkanawful says:

          It is oh so early in the product cycle of Ebikes….faster is always the evolution of any motorized vehicle. Bikes and Ebikes are simply not compatible for a good many reasons. First and foremost, Ebikes will destroy trails that were never designed nor intended for their use due to uncontrollable wheel spin. Imagine fat tire bikes w/1000 watt motors….or greater power, spooling up instaneous torque on command because they are coming. Even if they aren’t manufactured with that much power, there will certainly be “tuner” setups for Ebikes and the trails will be shredded beyond use for those of us who fought for access, built and maintained trails, and have advocated and paid our dues FOR DECADES. Imagine the trails littered with overpowered rigs piloted by underskilled riders and how much faster they will be riding than the real mountainbikers….barging their way around on skinny single track interrupting both riders flow….that will be fun, won’t it?! Guess how often I’ll yield or move for an Ebike? There are more than enough ORV trails and carving new trails out with Ebikes will be a cinch since the powerful ones churn up fresh dirt like a rototiller. There is more than enough land in our country for each and every user group to have their own purpose built trails. So start your own chapters, funding and advocacy efforts AND STAY THE HELL OFF OF OUR NONMOTORIZED trails. I really can not believe the gall, the selfishness, the appalling ignorance of those of you who simply think that you are ENTITLED to access of trails that have been so difficult to secure for NONMOTORIZED use…this mentality is a POX on our sport and if you are unwilling or unable to comprehend this then good luck, bud, because you obviously are coping with one seriously challenged intellect along with the rest of the ilk pushing for the destruction of our sport.

          • too much angry single speeder says:

            Seriously challenged intellect… Despite my challenges I believe there is room on the trails for a variety of riders.

  • andy says:

    I’m with you Angry. 100%.

  • Jamon says:

    Yes, Downieville area is a great place for an ebike…Mills Peak was a blast (it makes the up hills very entertaining). The Bosch mid drive that I rode is a 29 er hardtail, so the descent down Mills Peak wasn’t as fun as a full suspension, looking forward to installing a Bafang kit on my free ride bike. The new full suspension off the shelf ebikes are still pricy for me. No one notices on the trail, it’s pedal assist only, and nearly silent. I lucked out on the deal, $1700, otherwise it’s 4k new.

  • Rich Adams says:

    Let’s face it, the e-bike is not going away. Don’t pretend that all the amazing singletrack across the US will not be used by e-mtbs. It will.

  • Lee Curry says:

    Are you kidding? Interbike is jamb packed with e bikes, the industry has decided. you will comply, but on another note Go J Mac!

  • dandy says:

    Some of yall need to calm down , especially one of yall. Its not like everybody and their momma is gonna buy a $4000 dollar bike and all of them supe them up to throw dirt on all of you. I rode a high end one and it could not spin a tire if it had to . Calm down . I could see one of yall maybe assaulting a ebike user if he came across you on a trail . Remember , this is for fun .

  • awfukkanawful says:

    Dandy…You pipe down, sonnyjim…..I’ll calm down when peeps quit talking about desecrating our sacred stomping grounds. Furthermore, your assumption that I would square off with someone is unfounded and wrong….I am polite to a fault when I educate people out on the trail as I stress stewardship. This forum is an outlet to express my devotion and unbridled passion for a pure sport, mine and many others that is about to be utterly defiled by dummies and greedy swine if they aren’t kept in check by righteous bros….. You are on the wrong side of history, dandy sonnyjim. I have yet to field one fact that supports the premise that Ebikes deserve to undue decades of trail advocacy in one fell swoop. ME WIN, YOU LOSE! NEXT?!

  • Mike says:

    All of this ranting about ebikes…I wish that energy was put to better use to get the horses banned from the hiking and biking trails. Horses do real damages, the owners don’t cleanup after them and I have never seen the equestrian clubs make a contribution either through volunteer work or financial to help the trail system in the USA.

    When I see an ebike though, I can’t help but think of it as a moped. If I were a land manager of a property I could envision charging a daily trail access fee to fund trail improvements.

    Here in Indiana our state laws prohibit anything with a motor from all state trails and multiuse pathways except those specifically designated for off road vehicles (in plain English: a mountain biker will never cross paths with an ebike).

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Mike, you are 1000% correct regarding equestrians. We fought that scourge for years here in Michigan, and through the efforts of our many state chapters, we have been able to get equestrians either separated or outright removed from certain trails that were never intended for their use. Some of the Equestrian folks were actually helpful in this process as the reasonable ones finally came to the conclusion that the two user groups simply are not compatible, and for the most part should be on separate trails. That said, I am going to focus my ranting on Ebikes, because this is an unprecedented and unique threat to our sport which most ironically comes from within a certain thick skulled, entitled, blame the victim mentality within the biking community which would only seek to undermine our access to trails and threatens to catastrophically degrade our trails. Make no mistake, Mike, Ebikes may seem innocuous, but they are not…they will become Trail Queda if they are allowed access to NONMOTORIZED trails. meaning they will destroy the sport….your state chapters need to come together and do what we did in Mchigan which is to hire a lobbyist….you must fight fire with fire. There was/is an extremely large, well funded,and entirely unreasonable population of equestrians who we went to war with….lots of writing local and state government, and amazing efforts through the various state chapters. Good luck to your efforts, you will need it because the equestrians tend to be well organized and well funded, but it is easy to discredit them because they do nothing but destroy trails and leave behind enormous stinking piles of manure as a thank you….just like the comments posted here in support of Ebikes on NONMOTORIZED trails!

  • KGR says:

    I can live with electric drive being banned from the trails if we can get horse drive banned as well.

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Granting access to Ebikes on NONMOTORIZED trails would further embolden an argument to allow equestrians access to trails they shouldn’t be on….yet another ancillary travesty to fall on our sport that would be rewarded by the efforts of the DROOLING SIMPS supporting Ebike access to NONMOTORIZED trails.

  • Capt says:

    This is an idiot article. Are you kidding me? At one point, we had to fight for the right to ride on ANY trails. Now you all are NIMBY’s (not in my back yard)?!? How weak and pathetic. If we thumbed our noses at new technology once apon a time, we would still be riding single speed, suspension-less bikes! I find this a very weak, narrow-minded attitude. These bikes cause no more damage than any others. You all have no more right to stop this than anyone else has of stopping us from riding. Grow UP! If I chose to ride an e-bike, no one better get in my way. Period. DON’T TRED ON ME!

  • awfukkanawful says:

    Capt…you are the one treading on everyone and you don’t have any idea what you are talking about. By all means share more of your politics with us and TELL us why your nut job idealogical views should undue decades of hard won and hard fought trail advocacy…..the more you imbeciles run your mouths the more you discredit yourselves and your insipid position….”and please make sure you use this when you run into a DNR officer; “no one better get in my way”. BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHH…..LOOK OUT EVERYONE, HERE COMES CAPT. INTERNET TOUGH GUY. YO CAPT. STOOPS….GO TREAD ON THE ORV TRAIL WHERE MOTORIZED VEHICLES BELONG, CAPT. PIP-SQUEAK, CAPT ENTITLED, CAPT LOUT, CAPT TRAIL QUEDA, CAPT. MOPED, CAPT. DRAMA QUEEN, CAPT. SELFISH, CAPT. BABY RATTLE, CAPT. PRECAMBRIAN PROTRUDING BROW….

  • IBM says:

    What I don’t understand is – where were all those arguments and debates during Motocross bikes and old mopeds era having access to MTB trails. What changed? There is really no technological breakthrough. We had motors on bikes for the past 50 years, including electric. But everybody understood about traffic separation and not having motorized vehicles on non motorized trails. Similar to not riding Mopeds on sidewalks..
    All of a sudden the motor becomes a bit quieter and smaller and is turned on by different switch hidden in pedals – and it is an argument? Is it just easier to sneak it onto the trail?
    Why not just ride it on motocross trails like it used to be. Power level does not really matter since it can be easily changed. Will you let me bring my 1 HP gas engine moped on a MTB trail….or a sidewalk? I swear t it has no speed and barely moves…I even have to pedal it when I run out of gas

  • ken says:

    It has a Motor, it is not a bicycle. And should not be on the trails. At all.

  • Ron says:

    I think that there is too much emotion/machismo/misinformation going on when it comes to trail access in the United States. I just finally brought myself to do an extended test ride on one, and I’m of the opinion that I don’t care what it is, if it can get on the trail and not cause any more damage than what we already allow on the trail, including horses, then let it be.

    I’ve been mountain biking since 1988. Sure, a far cry from the “forefathers” of the sport, but I’ve had my share of dealings with trail access, IMBA management, race promotion, and the list goes on. Some of you weren’t even born when I the original Mag21 caused discussion amongst us old farts about the degradation of the sport and the slow decline of “our” sport into a lighter pedal powered version of motocross.

    The “trail damage” argument is bunk–the most powerful of these pedal assist only models stops the assist at 20mph. You can go faster, but it’s on your own two legs. Back when I raced XC on a hard tail, I can for sure tell you that big-ring, out of the saddle, rear-tire breaking traction intermittently uphill as I try to fight to stay on a gear is clearly visible, while as one of these things even on the highest level of assist will allow a rider to stay seated and not break traction.

    The most dangerous user out on a “non-motorized” trail are equestrians, the most destructive trail user on the trail is are equestrians. Anyone who argues otherwise has no scientific or logical ground to stand on. Why must ALL trail users be schooled on how to approach and act around equestrians if they are so benign?

    I think there is a fine line, but e-assist bikes, while I surely won’t go out of my way to show all my non-cyclist friends how great they are, do not deserve the hate that it is getting now, based on the “perception” of how they could be used.

    Look at yourselves in the mirror: if you oppose e-assist bikes, you should also oppose suspension, gears, disc brakes… All the things that allow you to go farther, faster, with more comfort and less effort. You see, it’s all shades of gray. The only thing that e-bikes offer is the ability to be assisted up to a certain speed. Oh, and all you angels out there don’t go past the 15 mph or less posted (or other wise generally agreed upon) “civl” speed limit right?

    • awfukkanawful says:

      Ron, were you at Fort Custer this summer when some clown showed up on his modified Ebike? Lemme answer that for you; you are are a fool and don’t know what you are talking about. I too have been mountainbiking since about 88, I’ve raced bmx, and I’ve broken more bones than you would ever survive, somImgot yr machismo right here bud. I have shredded the gnarliest of the gnar and I always go balls out…and I have never seen a rider who could come anywhere near being able to roost and gouge a trail the way that over powered moron scooter defiled the trail. So please, when you don’t have the slightest inkling as to what pollution is leaking from your vapid maw, muzzle it and keep your Ebike and god forsaken horse dung strewn pock holed trail misinformation the hell off the boards.

  • JD says:

    What the heck makes all you guys think the power will not increase on these? A rider is about 0.3 H.P. IN 10 years we could see 5-10 H.P. electric motos. So what is too powerful? When is a moped a motorcycle? Because the on switch is part of the crank that means it’s a bike? These are all BS distinctions, groping desperately to rationalize a conclusion they have already come to, that electric motorcycles should be allowed where gasoline versions are not. Limit the power to 1/3 HP and you might have an argument, but that won’t sell. Think e-bikes are so different from motos? Bull: https://www.electricbike.com/10-fastest-electric-bikes/

    15,000 Watts, 20 HP, 58 MPH.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: A comic tragedy – thoughts on Robin Williams

The Angry Singlespeeder reflects on the passing of comedian, actor and fellow cyclist Robin Williams.

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  • NSBM says:

    Riding has been my antidote to depression for a long time. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Scary to think that it might not always be enough though.

  • cobi says:

    I like your articles but I find it a lot sadder that you could care less about school shootings, plane crashes & wars than a actor/comedian you only ever saw on the TV.

    Frankly it’s disturbing to see the attention celebrity deaths bring in the news and social media in comparison to actual world events.

    God forbid a Kardashian dies, the US will descend into chaos.

    • PatT says:

      See that you don’t get how Robin Williams’ death has touch so many so deeply, but that is ok. You are probably saving yourself from a lot of grief that the rest of us are experiencing.
      Just please don’t compare Williams to a Kardashian. Sure both were/are celebrities. But the similarities stop there. Williams was able to reach literally hundreds of thousands of people not only through his manic comedy and brillant acting, but also through his generosity and compassion. Williams spent untold hours volunteering for hosts of causes. He visited children’s hospitals, went overseas on a regular basis to entertain the troops, spent hours on his sets getting to know everyone going out of his way to try to fix their problems and make their lives better. It is the fact that this wonderful, giving, brillant man died which gives us pause to grieve, not merely the fact that another celebrity has passed from us. Knowing that someone who could make everyone so happy died in such a lonely, ugly way should give us all reason to truly understand the demons which plagued not only him, but many folks around us.

    • clarkrw3 says:

      Why? Can you change those things? Can you control those things? Dwelling on those things in your day to day life, allowing them to fill your subconscious with negative thoughts will only bring you down and temper what you can accomplish.

      Focus ONLY on the things within your control and do them to you utmost, then you can have a truly positive effect on the world.

      I fully agree with the ASS!

    • AllMountaineer says:

      @cobi – Apparently you don’t realize it’s all relative. School shootings, plane crashes & wars are a product of a lack of human education and self-understanding. Many great tragedies could be avoided in more subscribed to the intelligence shared in this article about science, philosophy, exercise and our role in the universe. This context is why biking helps us be even keeled in the face of a cruel world… If the human race better understood itself then activities like running/biking/exercise would probably be much more prevalent if not mandatory… at least until we evolve from the physical needs that keep us chemically/emotionally balanced in our current context.

  • m says:

    Fantastic thoughts and writing on this one. It’s events like Robin Williams’ suicide that I think SHOULD provoke this kind of reflection, and that’s the silver lining. There are no answers, no reasons, and we’re all pieces of dust on a rock spinning through the galaxy. Our insignificance can be freeing if you look at it that way. Consider yourself lucky to bea ble to draw the next breath, put wheels to dirt, find inspiration in the world, and be aware you aren’t taking if for granted – because we all have demons and get the blues and cross the street in front of buses driven by other fallible humans. The only thing you are guaranteed is the moment you are living right now.
    Thanks ASS. Keep the good words and bike flowing.

  • Old Gringo says:

    Just do me a favor. Don’t yank that bad boy in front of my semi, as I’ll be looking forward to my next ride, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to keep me from that.

  • Gregg Kato says:

    I believe Robin DID know the power of a bicycle (just in this case, it wasn’t enough). In this video, Conan O’Brien talks about the time Robin gave him a bicycle to cheer him up.

  • DPB says:

    May Mr. Williams R.I.P.

    Personally, I think that all the publicity he has got is wrong. Sure he was a great entertainer, but his illness, because that is what depressions is, is shared by millions of Americans that do not have the financial resource to secure even the most basic care to help them cope with this problem. The fact is, that these people suffer and other people are sometimes not aware. Just saying, “pull yourself together”, isn’t a solution for those unfortunate souls that are affected. I just hope this sad affair sheds light on the subject so as to make people better understand this disorder. I used to be that guy that said get it together, but now having seen people endure this sad existence I can have empathy for what he went through.

  • John says:

    I was caught up in the vibe ASS was putting out until the shock of thinking of taking your own life by maybe taking someone else with you via the 18 wheeler daydream. I’ve thought about a lot of things, but never that I’d take an innocent person with me. “Would I accidentally kill anyone else in the process”? No. You would do so deliberately.

    Re Robin Williams, I believe it is impossible for people in a sane state of mind to truly understand what is happening in the mind of a person that is suffering from mental illness. The best you can do is mourn the tragedy in whatever way works best for you, and be thankful that you do not suffer from mental illness.

  • Shawn says:

    Uugh… seriously ASS. Robin Williams was clinically depressed, and likely manic. This is not the equivalent of someone with normal brain chemistry ‘having a bad day’. He probably actually DID need the meds you so unilaterally dismissed. Williams had during many stretches of his life heavily used and abused cocaine and other substances, and this messes up the dopamine receptors in your brain so they don’t function correctly. You cannot just ‘ride away’ this condition. He had a disease, not ‘demons’. Let’s just stop pretending that bicycles have magical powers and make it seem like Williams’ fatal mistake was just not understanding this. Certainly biking can be a positive way to relieve stress, have fun, stay in shape. And it can be a good for someone who lacks direction in their life to find focus and something to care about, but no more so than any other sport or hobby or charity or relationship that someone can get excited about. But neither biking nor any of these other things are going to cure mental illness, and suggesting this sounds plain ignorant. It’s like a fundamentalist Christian saying, ‘If he had only prayed to Jesus those demons would have been excorcized from his brain.’ Just replace ‘prayed to Jesus’ with ‘ridden his bike’. And if you truthfully contemplate turning your car into an on-coming semi just to see what happens, maybe your ‘biking cures all ills’ hypothesis isn’t working quite as well as you think, because that’s messed up.

  • Niven says:

    Good day ASS,
    Would you ever have imagined that your thought provoking and heartfelt observation of a tragic event, would elicit the response that it got? Obviously, there was always going to be a response of a religious nature. A response intolerant of the viewpoint of others, who do not believe in a god or divine intervention. Yes, as wrong as we may be, we do not believe, but for us there is no need to be militant about it.(This statement alone will elicit a hefty reply, no doubt.) Sadly, as humans, we have no tolerance for the different viewpoints of others. I get what you were trying to say, ASS and happen to agree. Perhaps if your article is read again without a literal interpretation, we would all agree that you are not saying that riding a bicycle is a cure for AIDS, depression, cancer, Penile Erectile Dysfunction and the like, but merely a figurative observation and a way to express our feelings of despair at a talent lost unnecessarily.
    The fact that Robin could not find a solution in religion, riding a bicycle, his family or the laughter that he brought to others, is what disturbs me. I hope I never have to experience that feeling of helplessness. To all the people of all the different religious persuasions, I have no beef to grind about your beliefs. Please allow us the same luxury.
    Kind regards

  • luis says:

    Being a believer in the intelligent design of our being, I take refuge in the fact that even the most perfect man that ever lived came and suffered deeply. I’m far from perfect and know that I too will suffer deeply. Taking refuge in Gods wisdom gets me through most my strugless. If I was a none believer I could take the scientific route and try to find slutions to my problems. Unfortunately their in lies the folly of our circumstances. Thinking we are wise enough to find a solution. We have been trying this to our own demise for millenea. I hope we are wise enough to realize we should try new and wiser avenues!

  • luis says:

    Would like to add that I’m not against science or scientific advancement. This is all beneficial. Our innerselves though requires more. Even when we seemingly have everything!!!!If we dig deep enough and long enough we could all realize this. Just what do you all think we are missing?

  • Catmando says:

    @ Angry SS, I understand where you are coming from. Yes, it’s great to have time to yourself and to be able to ride whenever and where ever you want. Yes, the world is full of bad things but you can’t change that fact nor can you be fully at peace by sticking your head in the ground and ignoring the bad stuff. Nope, the bad stuff doesn’t go away. That said we all handle the bad things in life in different ways. Just the other day I watched a show on the life of Stephan Hawking. Being trapped in a body that can’t move is something I don’t even want to think about. Even though I’m a Christian it doesn’t change the fact that I can only handle so much bad crap. If I had to live my life in a body that didn’t work I really wouldn’t want to live because it would drive me insane and I’d rather be dead than insane. As a man entering my senior years I have my own demons and I understand that people ( in general ) have limitations. Robin apparently had his own demons and his own limitations. For whatever reason he couldn’t cope with life any longer. Perhaps if he had ever had the chance to meet Stephan Hawking he might have found that with the right perspective on life he might have been able to continue and perhaps find a way to live his life in peace. I’m not judging Robin Williams. I’m not going to do that because I believe Someone else has that job and knows more about Robin than I ( or anyone else ) ever could. CAt

  • Craig DeGroot says:

    I totally agree with ASS 100%, especially true how insignificant we are in the overall scheme of the universe. I too find the onslaugt of negative reporting in the news media to be non-productive to my well being. Having suffered from depression all of my life, I was fortunate enough to find that exercise and especially mountain biking was the antidote to offsetting my depression. Having said that, I must also say that when depression takes a turn for the worse, seek help! I live to ride my bike because doing so replenishes my spirituality in no other way possible.

  • Jim says:

    If a person is so depressed that they are definitely considering suicide, I would recommend getting down to the ER and tell them what you plan to do. They can administer anti-anxiety meds that can bring a person back to a non-suicidal state.
    If a person can just reach out and ask for help that’s a big step. Part of the problem of mental illness is needless shame, Most cases of clinical depression are treatable to enable a person to live a normal life.

  • Damo says:

    Thoughtful piece, thanks. I know exactly what you are saying, get on your bike, step into the moment and come back a couple of hours later with the sun setting and the feeling of being at peace with the world. I’ve suffered from depression before and the feeling of utter hopelesness is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Leading a simple life involving lots of family, friends and excercise works for me.

  • Scotch Hennessy says:

    You couldn’t be more spot on regarding our minor existance on this planet. I feel very much the same way. Ignore the negative and focus on the fun and positive aspects of life while were here. Hey..no one gets out alive anyway.

  • Gator says:

    I truly believe we are all here to help one another and in a way his death has helped me realize how even the most money in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t love yourself. God for me comes first, through him I can do anything. I don’t even go to church, but I believe!! My conversation with him is what I believe. I also feel drugs were the start of Williams problems, its been 25 years for me.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Does Levi Leipheimer belong in mountain biking?

The Angry Singlespeeder looks into complaints about confessed doper Levi Lepheimer racing at Downieville. His perspective might surprise you.

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  • brian says:

    I think you touched on one of the biggest take aways the parents poo-pooing his involvement from this whole ordeal should be focusing on: owning up to your mistakes, admiting when you’re wrong, and working to make yourself and the things around you better. Their kids will be better off for it, and not just in cycling.

  • Guido Capparelli says:

    Well… doping in pro cycling is not a mistake. It’s the only way to go. Wanna be clean? Stay out. Well, at leat it was such at Levi’s time. Apparently, things have changed, even if, being malignant by nature. I still have plenty of doubts. For sure, Levi cheated, but, with his victories, robbed no one. When Armstrong was disqualified, Basso and Rumsas got second. Both riders received in the past heavy disqulifications for doping. Who was a virgin at the time? Ok, Everybody was doing it cannot be an excuse for anyone, but pointing at a guy as a criminal and as a potential danger for growing kids is so anti-dogmatic to sound hypocritical.

  • Steven Clubb says:

    While the promotional and sponsorship work are great and should be applauded, I still don’t think he should be allowed to compete EVER. He cheated and it’s as simple as that. Drug cheats should be banned for life. What would the reaction have been if Armstrong had competed along side him?

  • tyrebyter says:

    Forgiveness is fine. It suites my pseudo-Christian sensibilities, but cycle racing? That would be like letting Bernie Madoff run a bank if he’d just come clean or a repentant child molester teach first grade. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetfulness. Levi can do his penance outside the sport.

  • the-one1 says:

    Once a cheater, always a cheater

  • Bryan says:

    Remember, this guy can kick your ass because he can afford to ride all day from the riches he made cheating. I’d really rather he stayed home.

    • Max Power says:

      No, he can kick your ass because he’s genetically more gifted than you. Even before doping, these athletes have to show they are talented and of a physical make-up that allows them to perform at the highest level, right from Juniors through to Pro. None of us ‘normal’ people could juice up and make it to Pro level.

  • Jen says:

    There are a bunch of points well made here in the article and the comments. As a former road pro who scraped by on prize money and didn’t dope while watching others take short suspensions and then get good contracts, I’m slightly bitter. But to me these are the factors:
    1. He is strong now because he had years and years to spend riding and being paid lots of money to ride. And he was doping for much of that time. Remember, he was suspended in the US for a small infraction before ever getting to Europe.
    2. Now he lives better than most of us from those earnings (see 1) and can totally afford to ride all day and give his money away.
    3. You never totally lose the effects of doping; because he was able to train harder and recover better before, he is still reaping the benefits now.
    4. When he wins a race, even when he gives away the money, he is taking away a result from someone who is probably being supported marginally who needs results to move up and needs that first prize cash to pay rent or get to the next race.
    5. He doesn’t have to race to be charitable. He could help set up the courses, ride as support in the back as a course sweeper, or otherwise volunteer. So he is riding somewhat for himself since there are plenty of other jobs.

    I agree that forgiving him and the others is the right and classy thing to do. But I think the right and classy thing for the riders to do is give back without taking anything else; stop racing and let someone clean win.

  • Roger says:

    Some of you guys are truly amazing.
    So what he doped big deal.
    Once a cheater always a cheater?
    There are clean riders but I will bet you most of them dope and that is never going to change whether it is cycling or some other pro sport it happens every where.
    Cycling just happens to be in the spot light for the last few years.

  • Gmoney says:

    He is welcome in my pit box any day at any race!

  • EJ Inigo says:

    Are you kidding??? What is up with the continual Levi positive propaganda??? Jeez, I don’t think he had this many fanboys when he was racing. The point is this. He is a CHEAT. He didnt have to give ANYTHING BACK for getting caught. “Forced to retirement”??? He was getting old anyway. It’s not like he came clean. He got put in the pinch, and he couldn’t even be a MAN, and take his medicine alone. Instead, he rolled on Lance (who is NO better) in order to minimize his consequence. He donated the money??? How about that 26-28 yr old, who still thinks there’s a chance to make in this sport, living in a Dodge van and WISHING he could donate his winnings….instead of living off them to the next race. Levi STILL gets to go to his gigantic house, with his charity function wife, all paid for with money STOLEN with his doping, and you media guys don’t think they KNOW it?!?! Just like the Madoffs and the Lances, and Bushes, I really think they have a special room in the house that they go to just to laugh at the gullibility of public. So, in the end, it’s not even about his doping, it’s the fact that he’s not even a MAN, and THAT is what is so sad for this sport, and what this whole world had become. Almost makes me miss the Mob.

  • Liberty555 says:

    To the crime, do the time. He’s done the time so let’s move on. Life is too short… move on. Frankly I think he’s more of a man than many of the posters above. People in glass houses and all that.

  • DT says:

    I don’t care if pro’s dope, it really has no effect on me. I don’t think all pro’s today are clean, mtb racers, Tri, etc. Their health, their careers, their risk. The guards can’t keep drugs outa PRISON, how can anyone expect racers fighting for their careers to be clean! But, I don’t think those that were busted should be allowed to race bikes again, anywhere. Doping is against the rules and they got caught. USAC/UCI sanctioned races or not, promoters need to say no to dopers. Levi has taken money from hopefully clean racers in several races now and that ain’t cool to them. If he wants to ride his bike, great. But a cheater he is and should be banned so that guys like Jason and Craig at Dville and Jamie and Tyler at the Crusher can race for the big money. Forgive, yes nothing personal, have a great ride! Forget? No way. Levi is a cheater of the highest level.

  • Steve R. says:

    Riding bikes on dirt is fun.

  • mtb says:

    Nice work bringing this up publicly. Up at D’ville, this question comes up a lot, last year also. The question doesn’t seem to be disappearing over time.

  • Aaron K says:

    I would say that Levi made the right decision, here is how I see it:

    Levi used an illegal drug that enhanced his performance, allowed him to focus on his career and allowed him to make a good living at it while hurting no one.

    75% of mountain bikers choose an illegal drug that wipes out motivation, decreases performance, ruins many lives and supports numerous criminal activities. (although the majority of people here will disagree with me.) Is it Levi’s fault that the people he is currently racing against most likely smoke pot on a semi regular basis.

    So who is a better role model for our kids.

  • Jim says:

    Who cares, I drank beer before I was 21, I knew it was wrong but I also knew it would make me a better dancer. These are hard choices that we have to make

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    The world is filled with cheaters. I’ve cheated before. I’m sure many of you have too at one time or another. For me, the worst part of cheating is the hollowness felt inside. You may have felt like you gamed the system – and you may have – but you also gamed yourself. That to me is the most painful part of cheating; the hollow feeling inside and having to live with it every day. Being a human is a complicated thing. Sometimes cheating seems to be the only viable way, especially when all your peers are doing it.

    I’m not saying that cheating is acceptable, but I am saying that it’s reality. It’s understandable. For people to get outraged by what Levi and others did is naive at best. Welcome to the real world. Look at our leaders, our politicians, our business moguls, the society we live in. Do you think they’ve never once cheated in their life in order to get ahead? C’mon.

    I can forgive a person for cheating, but I won’t ever forget. There’s a difference. To me the clean racer is always the true hero, and will always hold the most respect in my eyes – even if they never win a race. But to outcast someone because they made a mistake and are trying to own up to it – even though you might think is for selfish purposes – is childish.

    There have been a couple suggestions here that guys like Levi be allowed to race, but their result does not count. That seems like a reasonable and fair solution to those who’ve strived their whole career to be clean racers.

    – ASS

    • Everything Motorcycles says:

      I can forgive. But nowhere did I see where he was tested after this race. These drugs have a high psychological addiction. We are assuming he’s clean (like the other racers).

      He should have been tested 2 weeks prior, 2 weeks after.

    • Shawn says:

      Just saying ‘everyone has cheated’ is a cop-out. One it’s not true, it’s just rationalization for anyone who has cheated to get ahead. But whether it’s cheating or doing anything that one feels bad about that was truly a mistake, a good respectable person will learn realize the mistake when it happens and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not like Levi doped once or twice or even for just a single season, won some races, felt dirty about it, and stopped and confessed in the prime of his carreer. Someone that does that, I would think may be deserving of a second change. But what Levi did was systematic cheating over an entire career for personal gain and glory, and then he confessed because he had to. That’s not a mistake, it’s a characeter flaw. I’m not saying he should go to jail or become a social pariah, but when you systematically commit fraud and undermine the sport you supposedly love for years, then your done in that sport. Period. Riding is a right, but racing is a privelege to those that compete fairly. Speaking to kids, raise awareness, etc, etc for someone like this is positive and great… if you still do this even when your not allowed to race and will never be allowed to race. That truly shows that you know what you did was wrong and you want to make ammends. HE should be the one to know he doesn’t deserve and should not race anymore. What he’s doing now proves and shows nothing; of course he’s going to talk to kids and be all nice; otherwise no one would be defending his racing, he’d just be that prick doper. He lied for years to get what he wanted; is it unreasonable or hating to think that the same person would just put on a show to be able to keep racing? Maybe he is a great guy, I don’t know him, but I have no idea why anyone would give him the benefit of the doubt for competing in cycling events just because he’s doing what quite frankly the least of what should be expected. Guys like him and Lance were willing participants in a culture that destroyed professional road cycling, and you just want to welcome them into MTB racing because ‘he’s paid his dues, now he’s clean now’? That’s not being forgiving, it’s being gullible.

  • trailsnail says:

    I believe he has paid his penance and in time the MTB community will forgive. Keep coming to the events and fans will always follow a good person who does good things. I honestly think he has something to offer the off road community.

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    Why can’t we all just shut up and ride.

  • GoGo says:

    1st a Doper now a Cheater.
    He should have volunteered or something else besides race.
    Like sponsored the race or paid for people who couldn’t get in the race.
    That would be giving back and not stealing from tho the real pro bros who do this race as part of the circuit.
    Not a Giver.
    Carry on cubicle clones.

  • Kris Tilford says:

    Levi literally steals millions of dollars of salary from clean riders by doping, then comes to this Podunk MTB race for dorks, yuppies, and hipsters who have 200 bucks to drop on entry fee, and donates his minuscule prizes to buy some “good karma” and it works! (for angry people). Angry people have almost no critical thinking skills. I’m not angry with Levi. I can forgive him someday, but balancing the scales of justice in his case is extremely difficult. He needs to grovel and pray. He’s got about 20 years more good karma deeds to do, and none involve racing bicycles ever again. Every time he races, he adds to his mountain of bad karma. Truth.

  • rich says:

    as stated above….

    he doped, which allowed him to train harder and longer….

    his body is used to that now,

    he took prize money away from somebody who deserved it…

    go away levi, and take your stupid grand fondo with u

  • mtb says:

    Two observations:

    1) So far in this article about Levi Leipheimer the word “cheat” shows up 26 times. Searching my name across the entire internet, the word “cheat” comes up 0 times. As such, I would take my present standing over his.

    2) Several comments take the approach that “It is acceptable for some pros to cheat because others did it too”. However these people seem to not be competitive cyclists and were not affected by it personally. Bike racing has been around for a long time, and cheating has always been a choice. Some chose to cheat, and at minimum they should be separated into a separate class. Frankly I have no interest racing against Levi and don’t care if he beats me. If he can climb quickly, great, compare his scores to other dopers but not those who chose to have chosen to hold their integrity.

    In my industry if I was found to be a cheat I would be out of a job and not welcomed back. Why is he racing competitively against MTB’ers?

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Kris – you can hate on Levi all you want, but calling Downieville a race for “dorks, yuppies and hipsters” automatically negates any kind of credibility in anything you say whatsoever. Get an f-ing clue.

    – ASS

  • Rick says:

    Well…aren’t you all perfect! This guy made a mistake, just like all of you have somewhere in your lives. You probably felt that you deserved a second chance. Did he hurt anyone, besides himself? We’re all human people.

    • mtb says:

      Don’t forget some of the people with opinions on this topic actually race, actually lost to dopers, and think that doping on some people’s part wasn’t a ‘mistake’. It was a deliberate effort to gain unfair advantage.

  • shredchic says:

    I can see all sides of the argument and I can’t make up my mind which part of this controversy to rally behind. I think the real truth is, I don’t really care. Can we get back to things that actually matter to most of us, like, what tires to run on our local trails?

  • dave says:

    There is more to life than riding bikes in the public eye. Like a disgraced politician that just wont’ go away quietly, I wonder what the hell is wrong with this person? If they love biking so much, why can’t they just go enjoy it out of the limelight. That’s what would be the best for the sport.

  • Storm Ferguson says:

    Cheated, got caught, get out. Forgive mistakes? What about school kids who break rules an are expelled? Are they forgiven? No. Send Levi to work as a trail builder not a rider.

    • jpre says:

      Storm wrote “What about school kids who break rules an are expelled?”

      Sometimes they go somewhere else with a fresh start and make something of their lives.

    • KeBEAN says:

      His reputation is ruined. He has to live with that for the rest of his life. His career and the poor choices he made during that time, now and forever will define him in the eyes of the public as a cheater. His name is in the history books as part of one of the biggest sports related doping scandals in human history. No matter how much good he does it will always be overshadowed by his past until the day he dies. He will get sneered at and booed in every race he enters ever again.

      If he still has the guts to show up on two wheels, and show up clean and ready to compete, let the man ride.

  • NSBM says:

    By “avoid his pitfalls” you mean avoid getting caught.

  • BD says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t cheat on my wife or on a bike, nor would I participate in a sport where cheating was the norm. But, that’s me, quite content to judge a millionaire cheater. But, consider that my son (Colorado high school Mtb team captain) feels road racers are all cheaters, and now (in part because of Levi being allowed to participate), laughs that “cheating has obviously moved over to Mtb.”

    He sold his 29er race bike, quit racing, and bought a big travel bike upon graduation. There was no drama, just no interest in racing with cheaters and crazy people who will do anything to win. It’s called the bad vibe of racing, and Levi sounds like a classic…nice guy off course, but a complete asshole if he wants to win…So, ironically, race promoters who would like to see more participation, would appear to be making some bad decisions in out there in California. With that said, let ’em all dope…!

    • Mtbr says:

      The race sells out in a matter of hours as it’s field size is quite limited, so the race promoter has no reason to use Levi for promotional purposes…and perhaps they have no basis to legally exclude him.

  • Dale Burton says:

    Forget turning the other cheek. This guy cheated and cheated in the biggest scam in cycling. So, now he’s allowed to compete again…! What a joke…! Ban all dope users for life. Give them something to dwell on prior to cheating….

  • mojoronnie says:

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game! That was the culture.. and he played by the rules everyone played by at the time.

  • Gshock says:

    He’s paid the price, let him move on. Plus he is good for mountain biking like Lance Armstrong was and is. Look at Leadville 100. It was a big race turned HUGE once some of the roadie stars got in it. The MTB industry could use a booster shot in popularity.

  • Shawn says:

    majoronnie – that argument is just plain dumb, and by the way how do you know ‘everyone’ was doing it? You don’t, so please stop.

    Gshock – 1.) Lance was a cultural icon not just a cycling icon which Levi is/was not, and 2.) Lance did Leadville before he was busted and exposed as a fraud. Are you really saying Lance entering a MTB event would have the same effect now? It would add publicity to the event, but for all of the wrong reasons and would not be a positive for the sport of MTB. The average joe doesn’t even know any other ‘roadie stars’. And what do you mean, ‘let him move on’. The problem is that he isn’t moving on. Granted, Levi doesn’t seem to be a major DB in his personal life like Lance, but that really shouldn’t matter that he is a ‘nice guy’. If Levi respected racing, then HE would be the one to take himself out of racing; HE would understand that he should not race anymore, that it is not appropriate, that it doesn’t set a good example for younger racers. He would move on by focusing on generally promoting cycling and fitness and telling kids how he RUINED his racing career and reputation by doping and that it is not acceptable to just ‘go along’ with the culture (now THAT would be a message). It’s not like this stuff happened 10-15 years ago; it was last year. When did being embarrassed by getting caught start counting as having ‘paid the price’. It’s like if my son does something really wrong and I ground him for a week as punishment, and 5 minutes into it his friend calls asks him if he can come over to a pool party, and my son really loves pool parties. Should I let him do it because they love pool parties? No, because they won’t learn squat from that. And it’s not that I wouldn’t feel bad that he is missing out, but that’s not a reason to let him skirt on a punishment. And what example would that set for his sister? For the same reason, Levi should not be allowed to race bikes simply because he loves it. Levi may love racing, but he didn’t respect it, and he should have to live with the consquences of that for the benefit of the sport. So yeah it sucks for him and I can empathize why he would still want to race, but that doesn’t change my opinion on whether or not he should be allowed to do it.

  • G.C. says:

    Levi came down here to New Mexico to help support our local cycling initiatives, all the way from CA on his own dime. We are in an extremely poor part of the country and cycling is a small sliver of hope in an otherwise pretty bleak place. Levi raced our local XC race and took second in a close battle with a local pro. It was an awesome race and I know the local pros that raced against him thought it was great that he came to support us. None of them had any kind of remark or felt they should have won b/c of his his doping past.
    Of course there were people from around the state that were not happy with Levi being there and openly objected to it online and by boycotting the race. I just disagreed with them.
    Personally I found Levi to be a great guy. Move on, its not worth it people.

  • Jack says:

    Death sentence might be the only way to make cycling clean again, if it ever was. Then we wouldn’t have these sort of problems anymore. Just kidding (but seriously…)

  • Roo harris says:

    I whole heartedly support your essay here on the merits of moving on from Levi’s past transgressions. Having worked with Levi in the last two Nor-Cal Training camps, I have great respect for him as a man and competitor. His contribution to mountain biking is enormous. I for one would like to see the biking community move forward from this waste of time effort from a few poor sports. I think Levi has a place in mountain biking competition and those who think otherwise sound like winy victims who just need to train harder. Get over it!

  • Erik M says:

    Interesting that people hate so much, especially when it’s in their sport. Cheaters are everywhere and we rarely create a fuss when a NFL/MLB/NBA player (paid millions of dollars!!) goes to jail/suspended for XXXX and gets reinstated – game goes on, jersey is still worn. Seems to be place of normalcy. But in OUR sport, heavens!! Levi was competing against no one on this thread (I hope, I ain’t reading them all), but we bitch like he was in our class. Now that he is clean, he is STILL better than you. That’s what upsets people. Tour riders are that much stronger and the competitive level is incomprehensible to us, so it will be a place less that 0.05% of us will ever know, therefore, we can’t understand the pressure to succeed through cheating (dope) in any way possible. To see an ex-druggie (ex-con!) turn a corner in life and be a good person should be applauded, but if he is successful again, well, then the American way it seems is to tear that person down and trample his remains. Reverse the role, and you’d be pleading that it’s right to give a person a second chance at life. It’s good to see Levi competing in our sport, because outside our sport, not many people know the names, and if it brings in the story of his past, then someone besides MTBR is talking about our sport. Good job Levi, and great job to everyone else who competed.

  • Rick v says:

    ASS and Levi’s jeans set bad examples for the new kids on the block. They should make him ride a bmx bike and a clown outfit if he races anymore, once a doper might be a doper again…and who will know? Doping for fun is inderstandible but doping to win is as gay as it gets.

  • Dan O says:

    If Levi Leipheimer wants to get into mtn bike racing maybe he can volunteer at events. Help set courses, clean up trash, work the timing table, or man an aid station.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Why the Downieville Classic is my all-time favorite

There are many mountain bike events that capture the essence of our sport, but in my mind, the Downieville Classic does it best.

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  • Lester Luallin says:

    Baling wire, not bailing wire.


  • Adam Nuyens says:

    I don’t understand why you didn’t put a tube in and RIDE down the hill!!

  • Tom says:

    Nice article, but where is the anger, ANGRY Single Speeder?!


  • Angry Singlespeeder says:


    You know the deal man…top of the mountain…giant slash in tire…no boot….one tube….hardtail….15-mile descent….lots of anger…you can probably guess the rest. I was there to win or nothing. Girlfriend was driving away in my truck, so I hailed her before she disappeared. If I was halfway down the mountain I would have changed the flat and figured out a way to boot the tire. But 100 feet in? Sometimes things are simply not meant to be.

    Of course your boy killed it in the river jump again this year!


    • Adam Nuyens says:

      OK Kurt,
      I can see where that might have made the most sense under the circumstances. Not the best bike for a pleasure-rip down the trails. Especially as cluttered with racers in all states of bad-luck-induced disrepair, suck as you were. Better luck next year!

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The Angry Singlespeeder: We need primitive trails

With all the world seemingly abuzz about manicured flow trails, the Angry Singlespeeder pines for a more primitive, raw trail experience.

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  • Greg says:

    Absolutely agree that we need a variety of trails including primitive ones. In spite of 30 miles of excellent local trails lovingly maintained by local riders, one of my best recent rides was the “discovery” of a few miles old, unmaintained, singletrack horse trail on National Forest land. That was a fun ride. Various local trails get more maintenance than others but ALL of them are fun to ride — even ones that haven’t been “cleaned” in a couple of years.

    I just had the opportunity to ride at Dupont forest for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s important to recognize that the geography, weather, and the number of people using the trails play a role in whether a primitive trail will last long enough to be enjoyed. It’s hard to compare San Diego to Asheville – SD trails are more accessible to more people and more sensitive to rain than Pisgah or Dupont. Without either lots of maintenance or access restrictions, I don’t think SD trails would withstand use after rains that NC trails shrug off.

    Primitive trails have their place, but use, weather, geography, soil, etc. all have to be considered as to whether they will last 100 years like in Pisgah or just a few months like in a rainy El Nino winter in SoCal.

  • rain says:

    My recent Sierra experience is that even horse friendly singletrack is much better than navigating ATV/OHV moondust. As their budget dries up, USFS is forced to ignore maintenance of abandoned roads. Some of these are being re-branded as trails while mother nature seals ’em back to singletrack with succession growth. Unfortunately, if any such trail happens to connect OHV routes, juvenile ATV users will inevitably work around intended obstacles and churn it to shreds. . .
    I’m gonna say it politically correct or not. ATV crap needs to be banned completely before we have to admit it was too late. Nothing but destruction.

    • Jamie Whalen says:

      I agree with you. But notice how the term ‘politically correct’ has been successfully been made to mean shorthand for things that conservatives don’t like?

      In an area where the predominant opinion is I reserve the right to ride atv’s or 4×4’s wherever and whenever, that is in fact the ‘politically correct’ opinion.

  • trailsnail says:

    I like a groomer here and there. However riding single speed and rigid it seems like the rougher it gets the bigger my smile gets and the faster I ride.

  • John says:

    As my skills improve, I seek out and enjoy rough trails more and more, and am increasingly bored with smooth flow trails. I know I’m not alone in that thought in the areas I ride most often. There needs to be variety. As mentioned, what is needed is more trails, not the dumbing down of the existing trails.

  • clarkrw3 says:

    Totally agree!!

  • Dispatch says:

    You want raw, ungroomed, primitive trails to ride in Tahoe? Check out Northstar Bike Park.

  • HEMIjer says:

    Only been to Pisgah once loved it and hope to be back soon. Just wriitng to say this is one of the best pieces you have written, I agree 100% long love backcountry riding.

  • Raym says:

    I totally agree

  • Brooks says:

    Trails should be roughed in only and then ridden to a point where maintenance is only minor. Initial route selection is everything. Machine built trails give too much weight to the fact that a “Machine” must navigate them in order to be built. Think highways versus Forest Service Roads.

  • guy.spiher@gmail.com says:

    Where I ride has become almost all groomed and bermed. There are still a few holdouts jealously guarded from the machine built trail craze but not surprisingly they are also the least ridden of all the trails. I find it ironuc that with the latest crop of super bikes that riders continue to clamor for ever faster and easier flow trails.

  • Juan says:

    I agree, or at least that’s what we are used to here in Colombia, raw, eroded and constantly changing trails.

  • Cheese says:

    Some say horses & bikes can’t ride the same trails, but I say nay.

  • RP says:

    Ironic, I can’t remember where my brother in was at the time, but asked about trails like that and the guy looked at him and said, ” oh you want the old school trails”

  • Banjo says:

    I live in AVL and ride Pisgah weekly. It is truly awesome trail. My worries are that it will be changed and dumbed down to make it sustainable. Its already started happening. Not every trail should be massive boulders and drops…but not every trail needs to be grade dipped, pavement smooth dirt either. High use = maintained… Gnar should be left to Momma Nature to decide what is right…

  • KTMrelic says:

    Its like what happened in skiing: The masses come up for their perfectly groomed trails while the gonzos look for off-piste adventure.

  • Kurt Kurtz says:

    I like the old school trails and seek them out. It hurts when an area has become popular and some self-appointed trail boss starts removing the roots rocks and logs. I have heard the excuse that its for safety but usually its because the lack any skill. A primitive trail is fun and sometimes a real challenge. When I first started riding that’s all there was take it or leave it. I have found a lot of newer riders over the last couple of years do not like to ride primitive trails but seek out flow trails or bike parks like Whistler and Duthie, good fun without a doubt, but they are missing a great experience.

  • tyrebyter says:

    Apples to oranges. Leave a trail alone in North Carolina and the forest reclaims it. Ignore a badly built trail in New Mexico and it can be seen from space in a few years. As for $100k/mile, I’m not sure you understand the word ‘volunteer’, or I’m missing a lot of burritos on trail days. Nice article, all the same.

  • Andrew says:

    Interesting timing for this article.

    Our local ride (Manly Dam, in Sydney, Australia) is having substantial trail stabilisation performed. Largely I see it as a very good thing. The trail is heavily used and sections can be sensitive to traffic erosion when wet. Plus it’s great to see the authorities putting dollars into the trail. However, some of the personality/challenge has been sterilized from a couple of primitive challenges.

    There is definitely a balance to be found. A distinction need be made between sanitising and stabilising a trail. Authorities can quickly turn ‘maintenance’ into sanitizing as a means to ass-covering. It’s nice when the work can honour the primitive aspects of the trail – if they are stable, leave them be. Particularly with an iconic trail.

  • andy says:

    angry, most trails are primitive junk. have you lost your mind? this column is way, way ,way off track.

    that said, why don’t you go ride off track? it’s the same as riding junk trails. which, probably make up 99.999% of all trails on this planet.

    kudos to all the guys out there who make kick ass trails. i appreciate your work.

  • Cheese says:

    Exactly tyrebyter! Whoever decides what is “sustainable” seems to beleive all terrain and topographies are the same. East coast, rooty, rocky greenscapes are not as fragile. In PA, I’ve seen well established trails get closed and by the next riding season, there is little to no evidence that it was ever riden. Invasive plants and deer probably do more harm than a little erosion from a rustic trail.

  • RK says:

    Great Article ! You should print this out and staple it to imba’s front door and glue it to the employees foreheads.

    Machine built trails are kind of a joke. Like taking a powder run and grooming it into sterility. More primitive trails please ! Ride rowdy and loose on thin trails !

  • IrieOutdoors says:

    Having grown up riding on a rigid bike in Asheville, I absolutely agree. I live in Seattle now, and while I think Duthie is amazing, I really love mountain biking for the experience of being in the wilderness. When there is too much management of the trails, they get a bit sterile IMO.

  • Tom says:

    We need both kinds, and I love both kinds!

  • JD Dallager says:

    At the risk of sounding firmly ambivalent, I think all kinds of trails have their place. Why do MTB skills instructors start you off in the parking lot? Why do groomed pump tracks encourage people of all ages and skill levels to improve? Why do ski/MTB runs/parks have bunny trails, Blues, Blacks, and Double Blacks? Because to grow a sport, you need to provide challenges and performance-stretching opportunities for all levels of ability…..from beginner to experienced, young to old, reticent to aggressive. I’ve jumped out of airplanes, flown fighters in combat, ridden moto enduro when younger, done road cycling for many years (I’m 67) and am now into my third year of MTB’ing. The challenge for me at my age is to continue MTB’ing for at least another 20 years, to encourage and introduce others to the fun I have MTB’ing, and to challenge myself on a variety of trails. Some days those are sketchy trails, some days those are at bike parks, some days those are at 10,0000 feet in the Colorado mountains. They’re all good…….because some days I “have it” and some days I don’t.

  • Bob says:

    Couldn’t agree more heartily, and I’m so glad that the primitive trails were available for years until the “do-gooders” homogenized them. Well, what can one expect in socal? At least there are a few trails that haven’t been raped and are far enough off the radar that they’re probably safe from molestation.

  • bryan says:

    This article is spot on IMO. Although a fast smooth flow trail on occasion is nice, it’s on the rocky rooty unmanicured trails where I cut my teeth. I have volunteered trailwork duty from time to time, and at times I have questioned why we were cutting and removing the downed trees and embedded rocks. The answer was something like “what, are you a downhiller or something? We have to make it ridable for new bikers too”. I think there is a little too much sanitizing of some local trails, but the old trails are still around for a thrill if you’re so inclined. Around here old school bike parks like Plattekill mountain still build the gnarly rocky, loose, off the back of your seat fall line trails that scare the crap out of you, and Mountain Creek builds a trail for any style rider.

  • Bryan says:

    I think the article implies that sustainable trails are easy and non-sustainable trails are technical. I would consider a 12′ wide, well designed, hand built trail through rock gardens to be more sustainable than a machine built, 3′ wide trail benched into a hillside-if your idea of sustainable is minimal environmental impact and minimal sediment transport over time. But I do agree with the underlying message of keeping trails primitive and not over building them.

  • bicyclezero says:

    Yeah – engineered trail are great fun but miles away from the original spirit of the sport. Whenever I’m on a new NEMBA trail up here in New England I think to myself, its a NEMBA trail – they won’t put anything in here that could get me killed (not without a chicken chute). What fun is that?

  • sharon says:

    I like the machine built trails cause that’s where the masses stay, leaving the natural trails to those who can find them.

    Unfortunately, once they are found, at least in our populated trail network, they do require maintenance so they don’t become too eroded and loose their ‘primitive’ nature.

  • Gary Hartman says:

    Depends what you refer as primitive trails, wild animals,lions elephants, come to S.A, you can do that here.We have a few nice trails at night, dodging the odd Blesbok,impala..Zebra,

  • Paul Tannahill says:

    “Down in my old stomping grounds of San Diego there are primitive trails everywhere. Old moto and jeep trails dating back to World War II that have rain ruts so deep and wide that your entire bike can disappear beneath you; loose, rocky and rutted sections of trail that shoot you to and fro like a pinball in an arcade; trails so rocky and loose they earn nicknames like “Collarbone,” “Bowling Alley” and “Hail Mary.” All of them would be considered unsuitable by most trail advocacy standards. So what are you going to do, pave them?”

    That is exactly what is happening in my current home town of Lebanon, Oregon, and it breaks my heart. Time to find a new home town.

  • Catmando says:

    Okay, I can agree that primitive trails can add to the MTB experience but it very much depends on the type of terrain and where that terrain is. Keep in mind everything has it’s limits and that includes “Primitive trails”. If a trail is too primitive ( too many dead falls, loss of visible trail, dangerous stream crossings, multiple boulder hike-a-bike sections, then the experience is no longer just challenging but dangerous, scary and a complete PITA. I’ve ridden trails before just like that and they were some of the more dangerous things I’ve ever done in my life. Nothing like hopping over dead fall every 50ft. for 500ft of trail with a bike over your shoulder, very annoying. Nothing like being in the middle of nowhere ( before the days of GPS ) navigating ( by map ) a trail you’ve never been on when suddenly the trail just disappears in the middle of a dark forest strewn with massive dead fall and rocks. Not to mention with the sun going down and getting darker and colder by the minute. I still don’t know how I found my way out. Luckily I had a compass and a single halogen lamp or I might have spent the night back there. ( Somewhere in remote West Virgina ) Took at least 20 minutes to pick up the trail again and another 20 minutes to get back to the car. Without the lamp ( and basic intuition ) I don’t know what I would have done.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: The Trans-Sylvania Epic – Death by rock

The Angry SInglespeeder takes on rocks, ruts and raucousness of Pennsylvania’s Trans-Sylvania Epic.

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  • GW says:

    Impressive write up. My ass hurts now.

  • Tom says:

    Another good one. Any article about that much suffering and fury that makes me desperately want to be at next year’s version gets an “A” from me.

    Maybe you should think about a Milk Money for next year’s event. Keep the SS religion going, while allowing for the creeping onset of age (and widdom?).

    From your description, I’ll be the guy there next year on a 140mm 29er!

  • tyrebyter says:

    Truely, you’re an angry guy. I like that. And a fair piece of writing too.

  • rynoman03 says:

    Looks like you had a good time. I feel your pain riding technical trails on a 26″ Hardtail. You are absolutely correct when you say it will shake the teeth out of your skull.

  • Learux says:

    That was an enjoyable read.

  • Gary says:

    Maybe next year you should ride the 2014 Salsa Spearfish you reviewed,
    but as a SingleSpeed

  • GOOAAALLL! says:

    Good write up, matches my experience riding in PA. A 29er SS will still knock out your fillings, but not as bad and you’ll have a lot more line options opened up.

    A lot of the trails in that area always look underused or not riden, but mostly that’s just the nature of the forest. In some places, if a trail goes unused for over a week, the forest will reclaim it and swallow it up with thick brush and thorny stuff.

  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    Great article! I couldn’t imagine putting my body through that mental/physical torture. I’ve found myself getting pissed and screaming out loud during a race myself. Although, no where near the punsihment you were experiencing. Props to you my friend!

  • Guy Smiley says:

    Great read. Well done, especially on a SS HT 26er. We ride Rothrock a couple times a year, definitely soul crushing after a 60+ mile weekend, can’t even imagine 7 days. No wonder you got sick on the flight home that level of punishment on the body would send anyone’s immune system into the toilet.

  • jezik says:

    great article, I could not help but laugh out loud. i tend to get that pissed off when racing courses that just beat you up like that. definately inspires me to work harder,…and go on a ride!

  • some guy says:

    Excellent write up, ASS. I can’t even imagine riding in that event. Congrats on the hard-earned win!

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Think you’re hardcore? Think again

Think you’re hardcore? Think again. ‘Blind Bobby’ McMullen defies odds and redefines the word.

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  • bob says:

    Great story. and couldn’t agree with you more; thankfully, I’ve never accomplished anything that was hardcore.

  • Rydeordie says:

    Words do not do justice to the level of inspiration one could take from bobby. I believe he said ” yeah I got a little bit of cancer and just had open heart surgury.” The man isn’t just stAying alive but rather thriving! I can imagine how the conversations about this will go.”oh yeah cancer and open heart surg huh? How did you hear about him? ”
    “Uhhh I read about him in an article about how he is a legally blind downhill mtb racer!!”
    Much props Bobby I’m gonna tell people your story thank you. And thanks ass for bring this inspiration to the people.

  • Scotch Hennesy says:

    Damn straight! The mental picture that went through my head when you mentioned Bobby raced the Megavalanche blind! Crap! 20/20 vision would kick your ASS while trying to complete that race!

    After what this guy has had to deal with while on this spinning ball in space, should make everyone that is “healthy” reading this article feel blessed that we can wake up every day, go to work and ride our bikes without limitations.

  • shawn says:

    Sorry, that’s not hard-core either, I know this dude who was blind and deaf with one arm and one leg (both on the same side of his body) who did a century race on a handcycle towing a bike trailer with a bear strapped to it that he killed in self-defense with the knife on his Park multi-tool (he still had two arms at the beginning of the race). Oh, and it was only 20 F and in the middle of a blizzard. Seriously, though, Blind Bobby is the balls, but can’t this author quit trolling to get reactions by self-appointed definitions of ‘what is/what isn’t’ and ‘who is/who isn’t’? I know I’m not hardcore, but if you are racing solo 50 milers or centuries, then I think you can say that’s pretty hard-core. Bobby is what you would call ‘extremely inspirational’ and perhaps the most incredible of the hardcore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be hard-core if you don’t have a disability.

    • Regan says:

      Nailed it. I’m pretty sick of lifestyle sports media trying to dictate who is or isn’t trying hard enough. This is an inspirational story,
      But don’t take away from others who work hard to accomplish their goals.

  • Tony says:

    This is a good one. More of this!

  • trailsnail says:

    Nice article.

  • Highway68HIllbilly says:

    Kurt from Reno!

    Nice article. Anyone that has or does race mountain bikes in norcal knows or has seen Bobby. I definitely don’t give myself credit towards my own accomplishments without first giving thanks how fortunate I am.

    I for one wish Bobby all the best riding in the world and hope he gets in as many turns as he can. Definitely looking forward to Bobby calling the awards in Ashland in a few shorts weeks. Even though he can’t see jack, I’m still not giving him any time off the line! Guy is still f a s t!!


  • Luis says:

    Inspirational for sure. A man that does not allow physical limitations to dictate what he can do. Now as far as hardcore…to each his own !! I don’t much worry about what others are doing. I give props and work on getting better myself !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • crashnbash says:

    Unbelievable! He has shown the world a ‘Jedi-ish’ method of thrashing a mountain bike( using the ‘Force’ as he rides)—Hail BOBBY!

  • Roger says:

    So I guess anyone who’s phsically challenged is hardcore? How bout people who died Mt.Biking, are they hardcore?

  • GOOAAALLL! says:

    I decided against any attempts at hardcore being for 2014. I’m just regularcore. I probably even regressed a little. I usually ride in the winter, but winter was being hardcore instead.

    Cheers to guys like this, everybody knows at least one.

  • K Amir says:

    Less Hardcore attitude may have lead to better diabetes care and no blindness or dialysis. People don’t need to lose vision to diabetes.

  • Jack says:

    Trully inspirational history. But what’s the deal with being “legally blind”? I know people with albinism is considered legally blind, although they can see better than some “normal” people.

  • EpicAndy says:

    Classic ASS. “Here’s another reason you all suck.”

    Know what’s hardcore? Not posturing like a cock.

  • S.G. says:

    When I took a trip yesterday, I bought some pizza afterward (Peppes Pizza), a very sour women worked there, it’s ironic, she is young and beautiful, nice hair/body/eyes, have all of her five senses (I am deaf, fat, bald and ugly), but she still choose to be sour, being a dark shadow in her own life?

    I became uncomfortable, and fortunality I have learned to mirror other peoples energy-level, as I have suffered too much with sour/wrong peoples, finally learned after 30 year that its’not my responsibility to make other happy.

    The male one there seemed to be uncomfortable too, and I know how it’s to not have confidence to tell someone to cut out the crap, to leave me alone, to not be emotionally drained.

    The little fun is that my bike is a Surly, but it makes me very happy, since I can do something who are absolute on my own terms.

    Life are difficult, but where would the fun be if it was’nt? 🙂

  • Lloyd Lemons says:

    I’m so glad I came across this story! I’m a 61 year old roadie and randonneur, and I’m also a mountain biker when I get out west. I’ve had 4 spinal surgeries, and innumerable surgeries on my eyes. My left eye is virtually useless and my right eye has started deteriorating with the same type of retina problems. I’m planning a solo trip across the Southern Tier.

    Bobby, you are an inspiration to me! You give me a lump in my throat and a tear of determination in my eye. I hope my future is as bright as yours.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Shontsy says:

    Handicapped people who continue to ride ARE hardcore, but they also have no other choice due to their life circumstances. So if I backflip off a mountain and break my neck, I’m not hardcore because I can’t ride anymore? That’s what this article implies. I’m only hardcore if I continue to blow into my wheel chair tube and try again. Maybe I’m a smart enough rider to NOT get hurt in the first place, or have not been so misfortunate in life to loose a limb or an eye. Does that make me an inferior rider?! You can tell an inspiring story without insulting every other rider to throw a leg over a bike and coming to ridiculous conclusions about what an arbitrary word means. I say, anyone who sticks with riding over the long term is hardcore. People who don’t continue to ride were never really riders in the first place. If you love it, you can never give it up. That’s hardcore whether I have all my body parts functioning or not, or can do a backflip or not, or can win a race or not. We don’t ride to impress other people, we ride because we have an inner need for whatever riding gives us, and that varies from person to person. I couldn’t spend 10 minutes on a road bike without wanting to shoot myself from boredom, but other people win the Tour de France, and they still impress me. Whatever… I reject your definition of hardcore. It’s as much a state of mind as it is an action.

  • KeBEAN says:


    That’s the literary use of overstatement of the word “Hardcore” zooming over the heads of the readership. ASS isn’t saying why this guy is better than you, or downplaying what you think is hardcore.

    He is using a word everyone recognizes and overuses IN GENERAL to introduce a very inspirational story. Seriously, why does everyone cling on to something so semantic? It was a good article, and a really awesome story.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Dear Europe

The ASS bleeds enduro blue—red, white and blue, that is—as he challenges the claims of someone called “Europe.”

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  • brian says:

    ‘MURI-F**KING-CA !!

    *smashes beer can against skull

    **drops half crushed beer can and puts ice on new lump on forehead

  • John Symonds says:

    For me Enduros were how I spent my youth in the 70’s and 80’s riding Husqvarna and KTM motorcycles on 100 mile plus courses throughout the US. These were often brutal events that destroyed man and machine. They were enduros simply because one had to “endure”. I don’t get the new application of the word since even in Europe there were similar events called the ISDT and later the ISDE.

    • Steve says:

      Exactly John!! Enduro’s have been around for a loooong time in the moto world, both here and abroad. It always feels like “aggressive mountain biking” or “enduro” or “big air” or whatever, is just trying to move closer to what people have been doing on dirtbikes for years without the need for a name classification. Though, this whole enduro movement has been good for the industry, we are getting some great bikes these days.

  • Art says:

    Don’t drink and write.

    That was like listening to some drunk red neck ranting about how much better Nascar in than rally racing.

  • Jay says:

    Art: Chill out – maybe you need the drink.

  • Stevie says:

    Don’t really disagree with too much in this column, except – “Full-face helmets are a pain in my ass, and anything that requires it I consider to be downhill racing.” Uhhhh what about BMX and 4x racing? We all wear full-face helmets, even the little guys. Just think before you write haha.

    @Art, that is one of the funniest responses I’ve ever seen on the ASS’s column. Keep it up, both writer and haters of said writer. I always look forward to new ASS rants.

  • J.Bullfrog says:

    Yeah good point. I like my midgets on stripper poles not sweating on my back trying to strangle me.

  • Jasper says:

    Usually these articles are funny, sometimes thoughtful even.

    This one was just WTF?

  • Bruno says:

    Where are we going with this kind of discussion? Europe know that MTB was born in the US – no doubt about it. US know quite well the enduro racing was born in Europe (France, Italia mostly). At this very beginning, some enduro bikes was coming from some US brands. So MTB is a big melting pot where every people / champion / nation bring his stone to build our fabulous & exciting sport : MTB. So leave our sport like it is…Peace, Love and Mountain Biking for all!

  • Shawn says:

    I don’t understand nationalism at all from any side. People are people no matter where they come from. Who gives a crap who did what first or the best. Just like people are people regardless of race or creed. Where you are from or what god or lack there of that you pray/don’t pray to or the color of your skin rarely defines who you are as a person. Or whether you do or don’t ride a bike, or if you do ride a bike how you ride it. Most people in any group are typically good with only a few fringe a-holes/fanatics that always ruin the party. Pissing match like this are a waste of time. The best response would have been, ‘It’s all good man, let’s just enjoy the ride.’

  • DJB says:

    This article makes me happy, specially about the full face helmet thing… This new workd “Enduro” for me is just Mountain Biking for people with skills and lungs.

  • DJ says:

    Alway’s interesting to see which ASS comes out to write!

  • Jimmy says:

    If they do not time the climbs, isn’t it just a downhill race? And last time I have actually seen someone wear a fanny pack in public, he was European.

  • Brian says:

    Well, that was rather pathetic in my opinion – triggered more by national pride rather than good sense. I can’t believe you’re standing up for fanny packs! And what about the rant against 1x drivetrains? You’re supposed to be a singlespeeder, but 11 speed are not enough for you? Dude…
    It feels to me like you just validated everything “Europe” said in the other article.

  • dK says:

    Exactly half as funny as the original article on pinkbile put still one of the better ASS productions.

  • Peper says:

    That article hits the forums right in the teeth. For some reason I find it hard to disagree with anything that Kurt has to say. With that disco ball helmet swagger and his keen verbiage describing Jerry Seinfeld-esque observations of the MTB industry and community. I, like many, just seem to get it.

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    1) I didn’t write this because I am a rabid nationalist. The original article on PB just annoyed the shit out of me, so I decided to respond.
    2) Saying “It’s all good man, lets just enjoy the ride” is BOOORR RRINGGG.
    3) The heavier the bike, the less 1×11 makes sense – even for a dude who primarily rides singlespeeds. Remember – right tool, right job.
    4) Fanny packs are more comfortable and less intrusive than hydration packs.
    5) I don’t care who invented what or where Enduro started.
    6) BMX and 4x – yes, you wear full face for those because those events don’t involve climbing a gigantic mountain for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.


  • Tsunami says:

    Ughhh, although there are some valid points, with all the bickering and bantering that already exists in mtbing, this is just one more lame argument that makes me feel like the mtbing scene is becoming too much.

    When can we stop worrying about what’s best or whose better, and just ride our bikes?

  • EpicAndy says:

    Good job responding to the 13-year-olds on Pinkbike. I’m sure they’re in their place now.

  • JK says:

    To those Americans bothered by the article, why are you so annoyed by an American showing a bit of nationalistic pride, even if a bit tongue in cheek, yet perfectly content when someone from another country does so?

    It’s like this pathetic self-loathing from a child coming from a privileged family resenting said family simply because they are privileged when others may not be.

    The problem is first world guilt. Other symptoms include becoming hipster douche bags, pretending to enjoy urban gardening and a brain storming ironic names for some shitty beer you brewed with your home brew club.

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The Angry Singlespeeder: Singletrack Summer Camp

Gearing up for the Trans-Sylvania Epic, a seven-day mountain bike stage race in Pennsylvania that’s becoming known as the ultimate “singletrack summer camp”.

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  • Red says:

    Hope your PA racing experience lives up to what you remember. If you get a chance come ride Michaux State forest outside Gettysburg. Hundreds of miles of single track. Similar to TSE trails, maybe rockier though.

  • Tobias! says:

    Smart move on the Maxxis tires. Those trails are where sidewalls go to die. Maxxis has stood up for me better than average.

  • bikeorski4me says:

    Way to many shaved legs and an awful lot of lycra????

  • Slohr says:

    Hey ASS, sorry you’ll miss Dirt Rag’s DirtFest next weekend at the Allegrippis Trail system at Raystown Lake. The trails are a total blast, and the event is loads of fun. Have to try to get that on your itinerary for next year.

  • Motivated says:

    Stay away from the Ikon – packs up and holds onto mud until scrubbed under high pressure wash.

  • EpicAndy says:

    One can only hope the disco ball helmet is your pick for the race. Not only will it shed copious amounts of rain and mud, it also repels cool.

  • Pop says:


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The Angry Singlespeeder: Whiskey on Ice

The Whiskey Off-Road is a race designed to lure riders from colder climates for a little spring thaw in the perpetually 70-degree town of Prescott, Ariz. As our Angry Singlespeeder can attest, someone spiked this year’s Whiskey with a little dash of polar vortex.

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  • TacoBeer says:

    This was the best Whiskey ever, I enjoyed the suffering and watching so many faster riders bail because they only have 2% body fat. None us was really ready for the full force of mother nature that day, even those who watched the weather channel daily. I am glad to be on that finished but my pinky finger and couple toes are still numb and my bottom bracket is shot. Glad I didn’t have gears to mess things up.

  • Rick says:

    Another awesome post by ASS! Keep them coming Brother.

  • rynoman03 says:

    Sounds like this race\ride was truly EPIC. I like you believe that word is overused as much as the LOL in texting but there’s no other word for what you and the other riders endured. WOW!

  • JoePAz says:

    Nice ride ASS! 4 hrs is an amazing time. This is really was an EPIC race. The word is overused, but in this case it really applies. It was my first 50 mile race (Did the 25 last year) and a real mental challenge. I am very proud of my 50 Proof finisher’s pint glass. I will Probably never earn one so sweet again. Endurance racing is not just about riding fast, but riding fast and surviving against the conditions.

  • J.Bullfrog says:

    Man that’s so cool, sounds like good ol’ fashion mid-west riding but in Arizona. If you tried that here in CA everyone would be crying “Stop the race. Your going to ruin the trails!” When really they’re just worried about their vaginas showing.

  • Sno4Rent says:

    Way to kick Mother Nature’s @ss, ASS!

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