Category: blog

City’s Youth Tryathalon

What a great event!

Some events you just need to be there to get the full feel, The City’s Youth Try is one such event. Go once and you will be motivated to put it on your calendar for next year. This is the 4th year the City has put on the Youth Triathlon, a unique event, designed to introduce kids to Triathlons. With age groups ranging from 5 to 17, there is a spot for any kid. There is no emphasis on winning or losing but just getting kids to finish and try something new.

SBC has participated each year making sure the kids two wheel machines are ready to take them from the swim leg to the run leg of the event. Supporting local events like this is an important part of the SBC business. The event is held each year at Westover Park. A big “THANK YOU” to the City Parks and Recreation Department, the HPD and all the volunteers who made this such a memorable day for the kids and the parents.

-Thomas

Confident City Cycling Class

Hello everyone!

The Confident City Cycling class will be held on Saturday, May 20 at Westover park. It will be led by League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructors. I took this class last year and it was an awesome experience. I had just bought my bike and I was still nervous about riding it around town.

This class gave me the confidence I needed to get out of my shell and to make good use of my beautiful bike. I was a beginner, but the amount of experience each student had varied. The instructors were very helpful and answered all my questions.

Among other things, we learned about the importance of checking our bikes over before each ride to make sure everything is ready to go. We did exercises that prepared us for situations we may face while driving in traffic and in trails (such as roadkill, angry drivers, and rocks). I was also taught how to change a flat which helped me feel less anxious about riding long distances.

Take this class! It’s freaking awesome. Here’s a link with more info!
http://svbcoalition.org/bike-education/classes/#CCC

Night Riding

Don’t let the couch eat you this time of year

With the days being shorter this time of year, sneaking in a post-work ride can be tricky. Luckily, bike lights have drastically improved over the past decade. With the bursts of spring-like weather we’ve been having this week, night riding is a very viable option to prevent the beer belly from growing too much. Here are a few more reasons you should consider snagging a light and heading out under the stars this year.
Reason #1
The ability to ride year round here is a major bonus to living in Harrisonburg. It’s not uncommon to find yourself getting burned out at some point though. Take a trail you’ve ridden hundreds of times during the day and it will completely change at night. The same features are there, but it’s incredible how different the trail appears when the only light you have is much more focused. If you find yourself getting tired of the same rides, grab a light.
Reason #2
There’s no better vantage point for a sunset than on top of one of the many ridge lines west or east of town. It’s hard to beat cruising up a mountain as the sky changes colors without feeling rushed for time. Sunsets around here worth watching and some of the best places to enjoy them aren’t accessible by car. Grab a light for the descent back down the mountain.
Reason #3
On a clear night the sky puts on an incredible show of stars. I guarantee it’s much better than the latest Netflix drama. Hone Quarry was my destination of choice last Wednesday night with a great wide open view above the reservoir. At some point in your ride turn your light off and look up.

A Few Tips

If you’ve never ventured out onto the trails at night, here are a few tips:

  • Get a reliable light. There are many cheap lights out there that are very bright; however, the batteries are generally unreliable. I use Light and Motion’s Imjin 800 on my helmet and have been more than happy. It’s super light-weight and relatively inexpensive compared to other lights out there.
  • Depending on what type of trail you’re riding, it doesn’t hurt to have two lights…One on the helmet, one on the bars. Your helmet light is crucial for scanning ahead into upcoming turns. I typically put my brightest light on my helmet, but that’s something to play around with. The bar light is helpful with depth perception because you can direct it downward more to fill the gap where you’re helmet light doesn’t hit.
    This time of year especially, bring extra layers. As the sun sets, the temperature drops a good bit.
  • Find some friends to ride with. Motivation is much easier to find with a group of people. Thomas leads a night ride from the SBC parking lot every Monday night around 8:30. If you don’t have any night-riding experience this ride would be a great intro. Massanutten is another great place to start. Don’t let the lack of sun get you down.

– Andrew

Winter Riding — learning by years of mistakes

When the window to ride is open I have to jump in with both feet, regardless of the weather. My window to ride was open this past Sunday morning. Even though the temperature was reading 8 degrees at the house I was motivated to grab my Salsa Horsethief hit the snow on Shenandoah Mountain. A last minute connect with Andrew from the shop and I had a motivated riding partner

Over the years I have made a lot of mistakes when it comes to winter riding. What I have learned through these mistakes is something I would like to share so hopefully you will get to experience a beautiful winter riding day on the mountain.

Thomas’s top ten tips to making the winter ride a little bit better!

  1. Taping the brake levers: I run a thin layer of cloth tape on my mountain & commuter bike brake levers to help insulate my hands from cold metal. Constant touching of the cold levers will sap your hands of heat.
  2. Warm clothes: Make sure all your riding gear is warm when you go to put it on … a riding bag in the trunk does not count.
  3. When to get dress: Don’t get dress in a parking lot, you will lose all your body heat. If it is a close drive to your riding destination then get dress in the warmth of the house. If it is longer drive I like to get partially dress at home then do a quick pull off 5 or 10 minutes from the destination, this will allow me and my cloths to get acclimated, I am also ready to roll when I arrive.
  4. Gloves: Very seldom am I doing a ride with only one set of gloves. I usually have two pairs to cover a temperature range, doing a quick swap out before my hands get too hot or cold. I will sometimes store the extra gloves under my vest to act as a warmth layer and get the second pair of gloves warm (putting cold hands in cold gloves does not help). Bar Mitts – there is nothing better for days like it was today! On cold mornings our family even uses them on the trail-a-bike for taking the 5 year old to school.
  5. Shoes: I sometimes use toe covers but most of the time nothing is better then a good pair of winter shoes. This is not low cost purchase, but when I did the math the two pairs of winter shoes I used over 14 years cost me less then $40 a year (just got my 3rd pair last year). How many times have you told yourself on a cold ride you would do anything for warm feet! Decision time … “freshies” either way!
  6. Helmets: Do you ski or snowboard? If you do you probably have a warmer helmet. When the weather gets really cold I grab my snow board helmet instead of my bike helmet. It has great coverage and warmth.
  7. Neck gator: We don’t put enough importance on keeping our necks warms. So much of our daily living (and riding) tension is held through our next and shoulders. Keeping this area is key to a healthy ride and life! I love a merino wool multi tube that goes around your next. It keeps this area to warm and is easy to pull over your face as needed.
  8. Good wool base layer: A good merino wool base layer should be what you have covering your top half. A merino wool base layer is comfortable and keeps you warm when it gets damp from sweat. Just remember to gentle wash in cold and never put in the dryer.
  9. Vest: No matter if it is in the 50’s or single digits I am always wearing my vest. A vest is a great way to keep your core warm and preventing you from over sweating.
  10. Adjust & eat at the right time: Adjust your cloths and eat before it is too late: Almost every ride I will have a few “time to adjust” break points. Make this clothing adjustments before you are a slightest bit too cold or too warm. If you get too cold it takes your body way to much energy to try and get warm again. Our bodies also consume a lot more calories when it is fighting to stay warm so remember to eat when you are not hungry yet. When you take these adjustment brakes do them in sunny and wind sheltered spots.

A recap of a ride we all should think about doing!

Our good friends Paul and Owen Johnston spent part of their summer vacation riding bikes together. We always love hear our customer stories of their riding adventures, this is the first, but not last, of Owen’s bike riding tours.

My Dad and I started our journey on the Cumberland Gap trail on 7/26/2016. The Cumberland Gap trail is a 150 mile rails to trail from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a great ride for the family. The trail is well maintained with great places to eat and camp. On the way up the mountain to the eastern continental divide, I was surprised at the gradual grade going up. Although it’s not a big grade, you can still feel the downhill after you get to the top. When you’re on the trail you can see some of the best sites I have ever seen.

There are many beautiful bridges and big tunnels. Big Savage tunnel was one of my favorites, it is the longest tunnel along the trail, over 3,000 feet long! This particular tunnel was in built in 1911. Each day my Dad and I rode about 45 miles. Except for the last day, because we didn’t have to set up camp, we road about 60 miles. On this trip we decided to camp with a tent but we now realize it’s easier to camp with hammocks. We decided to camp the two nights in Adelaide and Husky Haven campground in Rockwood, PA. When biking through neighborhoods, I was surprised about the generosity of the people who live along the trail. Although there were lots of them, two families stood out to me. In Rockwood, one family turned his dog’s play space into a camp ground and provided showers, water, and bathrooms along with fun games like pool and darts. He even had a phone charging station. The other family who lived along the trail in Van Meter, PA offered us home grown vegetables, cold beverages, and made us bacon and eggs for a good price.

The first two days were nice, sunny, and cool. However, on the last day there was a terrible rain and trust me, when the rain stops, you will feel so much better if you change your clothes. It may seem like a waste of time, I was skeptical too, but do it. It is worth it. We finished the ride on 7/28/2016 at Point State Park in Pittsburgh where we were met by my mom, my brother Peter, and my Grandmother and Dave. We had a great experience on the Cumberland Gap trail and would love to do it again.

Owen Johnston

New Ride With Old Friends

Even though I have had my Salsa Horsethief for over a month I finally have it set up and riding perfectly. With the addition of my new Industry Nine wheels and Shimano brakes the Thief is dialed! No better place to test the updated Horsethief then Lookout Mountain and Timber Ridge. No better crew to ride these trails with then your buddies who you first explored this forest with over 20 years ago.

The Thief taking a break after the might Sand-springs climb

It is always a treat to showcase the work on Lookout, the reroute of 6 years ago has now blended perfectly with the old ridge line sections. I remember riding this trail the first time with Adam Krop in 93′, except we did it “backwards” in the rain. Lookout is usually enough to satisfy most folks but yesterday’s crew wanted to hit some old school trails so we ascended up Sandsprings to Timber Ridge in the hottest of conditions. The down hill on Wolfe Ridge was rolling fast even with the summer growth that is coming in from every side.

A bear was hungry.

This might be the last time riding Wolfe in it’s current state, the next phase of improvements is about to start next week. More to follow soon!

Enjoy the summer heat with good friends!

-Thomas

A year of a improvements to the George Washington National Forest

Almost 2 miles of this on the Lower Hankey Project

This year is going to be an exciting year for trail projects in the George Washington National Forest (GWNF). Our friends with the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) have been working hard for years to line up funding which is all going to fall to the ground in 2016. The first and probably the largest project for 2016 is in the books, the Upper & Lower Hankey project. If you have not been able to get out and experience all the work done by our friends at Elevated Trail Design we encourage to you grab your mountain bike and head to the GWNF.

We have been talking about the Upper Hankey Project for the past two months, and a lot of folks have experienced this new mile of trail that replaces the “death shot” on The Wild Oak Trail (TWOT) near the upper portions of the Dowells Draft Trail.

Map of the Upper Hankey Project. Red = New, Blue = Old
The Lower Hankey Project will open people up to a whole new trail experience, as most folks in the mountain bike community have not ridden this portion of the Wild Oak Trail . This portion of the TWOT had numerous steep sections which kept most mountain bikers away from this area of the National Forest. The improvements to the lower slopes of Hankey Mountain has created a great trail loop that will allow folks to enjoy the Dowells Draft Trail with less road!

Lower Hankey Project
A unique thing about these the Upper and Lower Hankey builds is that they are connected by a hidden gem of the trail called the “Besty Trail”, AKS “Magic Moss”. The Betsy Trail is a short 1/2 mile trail but is what I commonly refer to as “half track”. Half track this is when the tread is so narrow that you can’t quite call it single track.

The thin trail of the Betsy Trail….with moss everywhere.

So what are the other projects in store for the National Forest this year?

  • Carr Mountain (30 North/West of Harrisonburg): six miles of new trail in a very remote part of the GWNF. The Carr Mountain Trail will be part of the larger Great Eastern Trail.
  • Wolfe Ridge Trail: Over the years this trail has seen numerous improvements, this time expect another mile of tasty trail to be built. Work will also include small improvements on the ridge section of the Wolfe Ridge Trail.
  • Chestnut Ridge (TWOT): This trail descending from Little Bald Knob is always a highlight for the SM100 event, these improvements will keep the trail in top shape.
  • Camp Todd (TWOT): Probably one of the longest continuous sections of single track on the TWOT is between Camp Todd and Little Bald. This beautiful section of trail will see much needed maintenance.
  • Southern Traverse: This 17 mile section of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail will see much needed love. The trail became popular after is was designated an IMBA Epic Ride.

See you out on the new improved trails.
-Thomas