Tag Archives: bike rides

Springtime is coming and some great rides and races are coming with it. A Bike & Barge cruise in Europe is another fun option .

Great rides you may have never heard of will be this summer’s fun!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Springtime will soon be here and some great rides and races are coming with it. We all know about the standard rides and races. These rides start when you put your feet on the pedals, follow a leader and finish a few miles later. What you may not know is that there are heaps of other ride and race types out there and they all are really fun.

Food and drink are great rides

Riding to dinner or the bar is a great way to integrate a bicycle ride into your weekly habits. If you want to take that concept to the next level there are guided rides that will help. I recently wrote about a doughnut ride I went on which fits this category and it was a blast. Other such rides include the Sojourn, Sonoma wine tour or the H+I Taste and Trails mountain bike tour of the Scottish Highlands.

bike rides

Mountain biking through Scotland at day, and touring distillers at night.

Poker rides

Unlike the food and drink rides, a poker ride isn’t a tour of underground high stakes poker games. Sadly, you won’t be rubbing elbows with mafia kingpins while donning Lycra. Instead a poker ride is a mountain bike ride, with checkpoints. The checkpoints (5 or 7 depending on the type of poker) gives out a playing card to each rider as they pass each station. At the very end of the ride, hands are compared and a “winner” is declared. Because of gambling laws these rides often generally offer products as prizes and are fun for all, because the “winner” doesn’t have to be the fastest rider.

bike ride

The fox hunt rides

The most popular version of this ride is the Redbull Fox Hunt (check out the video). Basically, all the riders start down a course at once (the foxes). After a few minutes, the “hound” (a really fast rider!) is let loose down the same course. The “foxes” job is to not get passed and the “hounds” job is to try and pass everyone. While still small in numbers, because they end up being so fun, the amount of these rides are growing.

Bike and barge are another type of great rides

Popular in Europe, bike and barge rides are just what they sound like. Sleep and stay in a barge on a canal and ride different portions along  the canal during the day.

Sleep on a barge at night and then ride your bike, passing windmills during the day is a fun way to see Europe.

Sleep on a barge at night and then ride your bike, passing windmills during the day is a fun way to see Europe.

Many of these rides (including one in our Amsterdam review) are similar to food and drink rides in that they dock the barges near great locations.

Enduro Races

An Enduro is probably the most popular new race type in mountain biking. The basic idea here is to ride and race at the same time. How it works is you ride up the hills within a pre-set time then race through timed, downhill sections. At the end, all the timed sections are combined, with the lowest time being the winner.  Overall, these races have a fun and cordial environment, with lots of conversation and community during the un-timed sections.

Grinduro and Gravel Grinders are another option for great rides

Like an Enduro, the Grinduro events have ride and race sections. Unlike an Enduro, Grinduros are ridden on gravel bikes rather than mountain bikes. Gravel bikes also find a home in gravel grinder events. A gravel grinder is either a bike tour or race that covers dirt and gravel roads. Events can be as short as 20 miles and as long as a few hundreds.

bike ride

A scene from 2016’s California Grinduro.

Mountain biking  stage races

Mountain bike stage races are events that take place over a series of days. Each day is a different course and each course often starts and ends at approximately the same place. For most, the Idea of winning one of these races is not the reason they come out. With so much downtime each evening and because most of the lodging or camping is close together, these races take on a sort of festival atmosphere. Additionally, these events are often run in family friendly locations so the whole family can come along.

Hopefully this is the year you will find yourself at a new ride or race. With so many options the fun you and your family can have is nearly limitless.

Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Winter in a bike shop is a great time to visit and learn!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The winter months are the perfect time to visit a bike shop! Other than just enjoying bikes at a time when you may not be riding, there are many benefits to visiting your bike shop during the ‘down’ cooler time of the year. In the slower winter months you can learn more, get better deals and faster service.

See faster turnaround time on repairs at your bike shop

Most shops operate on a “first in / first out” repair schedule. This means during the busy summer months there will be dozens of bicycles ahead of yours in line to be repaired. Those dozens of bikes could equal weeks of waiting before your bike gets fixed. Through the winter months there are fewer bikes in for repair. That means you can expect a really quick turnaround time. Plus, with fewer bikes in the shops to be worked on, each seem to get more attention. That’s not to say your shop won’t do a great job in the summer months. I’m just saying that it is always a good thing when service isn’t rushed and the mechanic has more time.

Bike Shop

Quiet time in the shop is the best time for quality service.

Bike shop discounts and deals!

As fall turns into winter, bicycle brands change over from one model year into the next. Because of that change, the transition becomes a sweet spot for buying a bike. In some cases, you can get last year models for a discounted price and if those aren’t available, the new models are readily available. Along with the new model year shift, many shops also run sales through the winter to maximize store traffic.

Worth more than Discounts

It’s no secret that winter in a bike shop is slow. Why not take advantage of that slow time to talk with both the sales person and mechanics? Need to know more about all the different bike types? Where is the best place to ride your fat bike? How do the new shorts differ from the ones you already have? These individuals in the bike shop can help.

If it’s a question about the service or adjustments to your bike, the mechanics are likely to spend more time with you and not be rushed. Even better, at this time of the year some shops will allow customers to watch and learn as they fix their bike in the winter. Due to the time added to teaching, this is not an opportunity that would be considered or offered through the summer.

Learn more at your bike shops clinics and classes

As many bike shops have evolved from normal retail locations into community cycling centers, most have adopted a strategy of education and involvement. Because shops have far more time in the winter, most schedule their programs during this down time. In the most basic cases, you can enjoy trainer rides at most shops. Typically these rides are a “bring your own trainer” affair, where customers come and ride together.

Bike Shop

Park tool School in full effect.

More ambitious stores are running classes on home bike repair as well. Usually those classes focus on one pat of the bike, like wheels, or derailleurs. Finally, the most forward-thinking shops are doing classes and clinics as well as inviting speakers to come and give presentations. Many riders have questions about subjects like bike packing or fat biking and shops will schedule professionals to come talk about those subjects.

Bike Shop

Minnesota’s Angry Catfish runs a bikepack presentation.

Just to show the love

If for no other reason, stop by the shop and say hello. Depending on how quiet the shop is through the winter, things can get pretty boring for the staff and they would love to share their knowledge. Storage can only be cleaned and re-organized so many times after all the boxed bikes get built. After that, the friendly face of a customer is a welcome sight.