Tag Archives: #FindYourNextAdventure

Here on her mountain bike is a MN High School Cycling League team member practicing in Lebanon Park, in Eagan, MN.

Help the MN High School Cycling League with their fall events as a volunteer

Help our youth grow with cycling a part of their childhood, volunteer at one of the Minnesota High School Cycling League events this fall. The Minnesota League is a volunteer-based organization and can always use more help!

Why volunteer? The MN High School Cycling League is a volunteer-based organization and can always use more help!

Without volunteers the League cannot hold the races for the kids. For each of the following races, they need about 130-160 people for each. They value all those who give of their time and energy to help the participating student-athletes succeed.

2018 Minnesota High School Race schedule needs your help:

Race 1 – Aug 25 Austin Spam Trail
Race 2 – Sep 9 – Lake Rebecca
Race 3 – Sep 16 – Game Haven
Race 4 – Sep 30 – Detroit Mountain
Race 5 – Oct 7 – Welch Village
Race 6 – Oct 14 – Spirit Mountain
Race 7 – Oct 27/28 – Mt Kato (State Championship)

Get Ready for Season 5! | 2015 Mt Kato, MS Boys Photo Credit: Todd Bauer, tmbimages.com

Get Ready for Season 2018! | 2015 Mt Kato, MS Boys Photo Credit: Todd Bauer, tmbimages.com

What you can do as a volunteer to help!

As part of the Race Day Crew, help out with scoring, hand out water, course marshal on the race course, be a crossing guard or choose the popular “sweep” position. All of these positions are important!

Meet the racers parents, members of the H.S League staff, and have fun at the same time.

If you have a family member racing, volunteer to help when they are not racing. Be a part of the excitement and still be able to watch someone you know race!

Tip: As a course marshal or a crossing guard, you are able to get right on the race course where there is exceptional viewing of the course!


Learn about the needed race day volunteer positions and how to register on the Leagues  online registration site called Sign Up!

Eleanor Dolan (7005), Mpls Southside MS G7 | Mt Kato 2015, Photo Credit: Todd Bauer, tmbimages.com

Eleanor Dolan, Mpls Southside MS G7 | Photo Credit: Todd Bauer, tmbimages.com

About the Minnesota High School Cycling League

The Minnesota High School Cycling League was organized in 2012 to provide competitive mountain biking programs for students in grades 9 to 12. With the cooperation of local race organizers, their partners, and their sponsors they are able to provide a high quality mountain racing experience. They believe that mountain biking is the ‘T-Ball’ of cycling and several League alumni athletes are now racing on professional teams at events like the Tour of California and the Sea Otter Classic. Due to the rapid growth and participation, the MN League has expanded to now allow middle school aged students to race. Minnesota High School Cycling League

If you are in the Twin Cities Gateway, north of Minneapolis this summer and near Blaine, here are a couple events you may want to consider jumping on your bike and riding too. The Blaine Festival is family fun!

The Blaine Festival and bicycle races are two fun events to bike too

If you are in the Twin Cities Gateway Area this summer, the Blaine Festival, north of Minneapolis, is only a week away. From June 27th to the 30th you will find several fun events over the weekend. While there you may want to consider jumping on a bike and riding the velodrome track at the National Sports Center.

The Blaine Festival is family fun!

You will find the parade and a whole lot more to bike too.

You will find the parade and a whole lot more to bike too.

un for the whole family, the 2019 Blaine Festival (June 27 – 30) is a community event now celebrating its 50th year. The fun kicks off on Friday at Noon, with a medallion hunt and festivities that runs through Sunday, at 6 p.m. for a weekend of fun.

Stack the Oreo cookies always gets grins, young and old.

Stacks of Oreo cookies always get grins from both young and old.

Pig races and a “Not So” ugly contest are just a few of the fun events

Events throughout the three-days include carnival rides, crafter/business fair, civic tent, petting zoo, magician, recreational activities, food, and live bands. Along with the traditional parade scheduled at Noon on Saturday event, other highlights include: pig races, a pedal tractor pull, an Oreo stacking contest and the “Not So” Ugly do contest!

Join the fun, the festival is located in Blaine at Aquatore Park (northwest of Highway 65 & 10). With free admission and parking, there is a wide variety of entertainment with something for everyone.

The Blaine Farmers Market

The Blaine Farmers Market is easy to get to by bike.

The Blaine Farmers Market is easy to get to by bike.

One of the many joys of summer is to savor the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. However, not all of us have the time and space to raise our favorite produce. That’s where farmers’ markets come into play and the Twin Cities Gateway (TCG)has you covered. Along with the Blaine Market, TCG offers six other farmers’ markets, on different days and locations to choose from.  A great place to pick up a couple of things you want for a healthy snack on that next bike outing.

In Blaine, each Wednesday in the city hall parking lot stop in at the farmers’ market, throughout the summer.

Visit the Blaine Market, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday’s at 10801 Town Square Drive NE, Blaine, MN 55449

Don’t forget two-wheel racing at the velodrome in Blaine

Every Thursday and some weekend offers you the option to participate or watch the racing at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine  – see more here!

Need lodging for your visit to Blaine?

You can find a complete listing of lodging opportunities in Blaine and neighboring communities Twin Cities Gateway communities here.

Have Fun!

Pedaling along the Mississippi River Trail, north of Minneapolis, takes cyclists through the remarkable art community of Fridley. With the annual '49er Days, live theatre and a stunning gallery everyone will be inspired biking or hiking in Fridley.

The art of biking and festivals in friendly Fridley Minnesota

Pedaling along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), north of Minneapolis takes cyclists through the remarkable art community of Fridley, with the annual ’49er Days,  June 14 -16. One of the nine communities in the Twin Cities Gateway the city offers a one of a kind experience for art and bike lovers alike. From live theatre, a stunning gallery and a festival with many craft artist, everyone visiting will feel inspired after taking a look at the creative scene in bike-friendly Fridley.

Craft art is one of the highlights at the ’49er Days Festival

Come for the 49er Parade, stay for all the fun activities and food scheduled throughout the day.

Come for the 49er Parade, stay for all the fun activities and food scheduled throughout the day.











The Fridley Lions Club, ’49er Festival starts with a parade on Thursday, June 14.
Then throughout the weekend, the festival hosts many fun activities. In a family-friendly community tradition celebrating the year, Fridley was incorporated as a city!

Banfill-Locke Center for Art



Just off of the MRT the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts makes a great rest stop on your bike ride. Stop in to cool off and admire the works in the gallery. Maybe pick up a gift for another art lover in their gift shop. If seeing all the collections that will inspire you, consider making the trip to Banfill-Locke regularly and sign up for a class. You can find a class that would best fit your schedule, from a single lesson to an eight-week workshop. The Banfill-Locke Center offers classes in literary, visual, and self-discovery arts. The center also allows brings in local poets for poetry enthusiasts to appreciate.

On Thursday, June 21 from 5 – 8 p.m. the Banfill-Locke Center celebrates the impact the arts have on the Fridley community during our Summer Solstice Soiree.

Fridley Community Theatre

Along with wonderful art, Fridley also has a renowned community theatre. With three productions a year, the community theatre works hard to bring wonderful live theatrical performances to its audiences. For this year’s summer production “Sister Act” is the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that had audiences jumping to their feet!

There is still time to get your ticket, the show opens in July with performances on July 20, 21, 26 at 7 p.m. and a matinee performance, July 28 at 2 p.m.

Also playing is the Fridley Community Youth Theatre Production the Lion King, June 29 through July 1, check it out!

Natural art can be found at the Springbrook Nature Center

After walking through Springbrooke's Interpretative Center take a stroll down one of the many trails there.

After walking through Springbrook’s Interpretative Center take a stroll down one of the many trails there.

There are two parts to Springbrook. The inside contains information about the center and interactive section in the back. You can learn about the different kinds of trees, see live snakes, frogs, turtles, wild turkey, and more. It’s a great place to prepare for a hike on the Nature Trail.

Once you get outside there are a couple of access points to the trail – and this is where the real adventure begins. Everywhere you go you will be surrounded by nature. You’ve got trees of different kinds everywhere, small and large bridges that will take you across all kinds of creeks and wetlands. There’s even a large walkway that takes you across a semi-large pond where you’ll have the best chance to catch some bird sighting.

So bike on over to Fridley to get your fill of all things art.

The best way to verify you are buying the best bike for you is to test ride a lot.

Buying a new bike? Test ride tips to make the most of your time

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The best way to find the right bike for you is to do some research on models you like. Then verify their size to your body and test riding your choices a lot. With so many choose, how do you make the best use of your time while test riding these bikes? Read on for a complete list of how to test ride efficiently.

Test ride bike plan research

Any good test ride begin with research. First, review what type of bicycle you would like, then check out the websites of some popular brands. Pay close attention to the prices of each bike and what it buys you. A few things to look for are, the amount of gears, what type of suspension it has, tire size, frame material, and brake type. Once you have gotten a general sense for what is available, you can plan a trip to the bike shop.

Pick a shop

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

Before looking further call a shop closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Once you have researched a few bikes you like, give some local dealers a call. Most brand’s websites have a dealer locator to help you find the closest shop. Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to ride. Because shops can’t stock every possible model in every possible size, call to ensure they at least have the right model in a size that is close to what you are looking for.

Make a date to test ride

Check the weather and your schedule, then pick a good time to head into the shop. Keep in mind that shops and roads are less busy during the work week. Therefore, Monday thru Friday is the ideal time to test ride bikes. If you need to go in on the weekend, call the shop and see when they are least busy and make an appointment if possible.

Dress appropriately

It makes no sense to test ride bicycles if you are not dressed for the occasion. Wear your Jersey, Shorts, bring your helmet, and bring shoes and pedals if you ride clipless. Another helpful thing is to bring your existing bicycle with you. The way your current bike is setup can be replicated somewhat for test rides.

Bring your ID

When test riding bikes, you are potentially borrowing thousands of dollars from the shop. Therefore, it’s expected for shops to ask for some form of collateral. At the minimum, bring your ID and a major credit card.

The test ride

Test rides don’t need to take hours, but a three minute spin is rarely enough time to make a real impression. Expect to take at least 15 minutes on each bike, with more time spent on the first few bikes you ride. When riding, try to focus on how the bike accelerates, how easily it changes direction, and how stable it feels. A great way to do this is to pick a set route that has some flat area, some climbs, and at least one good descent. Riding the same course with different bikes makes comparing them easier.

Narrow it down to bikes

Once you get the feel for a few bikes, you can start narrowing down your choices. I find it best to pick two and then ride them back to back, concentrating on fit and comfort rather than speed and stability. Have the shop begin dialing in your fit on these two bicycles to see which one really is the best for you. Once you have a bike that rides well and fits well, you are ready to buy.

Buy everything you will need

A bike that rides great is the key ingredient in a great bike ride but it’s not everything. Remember that your new bike needs things like a water bottle cage, kickstand, lights, and maybe clipless pedals or a better fitting saddle. Consider all the situations you may run into on your new bike and buy the products you need to be prepared.

Hopefully your next bike purchase will be fun and informative

“Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you plan to stop pedaling.” ~ Claude Pepper. No matter what you do in life, keep on pedaling. The destination is worth all the roadblocks and forks on the trail.

Bike Pic Dec 1, Pedaling Through Life, Reach That Destination

“Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you plan to stop pedaling.” ~ Claude Pepper. No matter what you do in life, keep on pedaling. The destination is worth all the roadblocks and forks on the trail.

Planning your #NextBikeAdventure? View the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and remember to register for the Root River Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour.

Thanks for viewing Today’s Pedaling Through Life Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our picks with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with one of our camera’s ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next Pic of the Day posts.

Have a great day!

While we cant stop the cold from hitting soon, get out and discover how fun it is to fatbike.

Learning to fatbike for fitness and fun as winter soon returns

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

As the winter winds begin to shift and blow into our office, here in Minnesota, thoughts turn toward the snow covered trails. We are lucky here to enjoy a massive amount of trails that are designed for winter riding. But if you are like me and new to the whole fatbiking thing, how do you get into it and what should you expect?

The fatbike

Fatbikes are more like normal mountain bikes than you may think. As an example, the only parts unique to most fat tired bikes are the crank, tires and wheels. Other than those things, all the other parts are interchangeable with you normal mountain bike. That being said, the parts that make a fat tired bike different are responsible for their namesake. The large wheels and tires give these fatbikes their flotation on soft surfaces like snow and sand. There are now several brands available at most price points so getting into the sport has never been easier. Plus many bike shops offer rental programs.

Interbike E Bike

The Surface Boar is as versatile as it is cool fatbike

The fatbike ride

The best part about a fatbike is that it extends your season with an all new cycling experience. For the most part, when snow was falling, people were kept from riding. Now, with so many fat tired bike options, a thick layer of the white stuff simply means more riding for all! With 4”-5” wide tires and pressures as low as 4psi, a fatbike can easily navigate deep snow. The only issue you will run into is ice. An icy surface doesn’t really care how wide the tire is, it’s still slippery. Once a trail gets slick it’s best to either change your tires to studded versions, or install studs in your existing tires. With studs below you, the game is back on.

Studded (left) and standard (right) fatbike tires

The Gear

I find the hardest part of fatbiking is dressing properly. I am no stranger to winter riding, but most of that has been commuting. Once I got off road, I found that I was chronically overdressed. Off road riding is slower than commuting, so there is less wind chill to contend with. Additionally, I find it is a higher effort (more calories spent) to fatbike than to commute. When winter riding make sure your feet and hands are warm with good gloves and winter shoes. I also find you should wear warm cycling clothes that will wick the moisture away and resist the urge to wear too much clothing.

While I can’t stop the cold from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for winter riding. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the winter.

While we cant stop the cold from hitting soon, get out and discover how fun it is to fatbike.

Having Fun

The most fun part of riding a fatbike is experiencing an existing trail you may have used before, in a new way.  With a fresh coat of snow on the ground, features that may normally be difficult get smoothed out and sections that are typically easy, can become difficult. That change in perspective gives all new life to trails that may have become old and commonplace to you. So get out there and try fatbiking this winter.

For some of us, there is an undeniable call to immerse ourselves in fun moments, in outdoor activities like mountain biking,

Fun moments mountain biking and the gadgets to keep us connected

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

For some of us, there is an undeniable call to immerse ourselves in fun moments in activities like mountain biking, that gets us out in mother nature’s natural settings. As we experience the thrill of off road trail riding we search out stunning vistas while enjoying the feeling of life around us, craving the type of solitude only found in wooded areas and rocky terrains. Now, as the explosion of mountain biking continues there is a wide array of new bicycles, gadgets, gear and trails that we want to share with you.

Fun moments for a mountain biker

When an outdoors person is introduced to life on two wheels, fun moments are had and a mountain biker is usually born. In fact, the mountain bike revolution began 35 years ago by road riders who loved to be in out in nature. That group of riders from the San Francisco Bay area quickly shared their passion which spread across the globe.

With Mountain Biking’s explosion, we have seen the development of, bicycles that offer better control, clothing that keeps us comfortable, helmets to protect us in our moment of need, countless gadgets to keep us informed,  and all types of trails.

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions before heading out

The latest in mountain bikes for better control

As Mountain Biking developed as a sport, people developed different interests and capabilities which have developed into different types of bicycles. Most commonly, people begin on a cross country bike, which is usually a bike with a suspension fork and a rigid frame.

The Norco Challenger is a great example of this type of bike, with an aluminum frame, Shimano Disc brakes, RockShox Suspension fork and Highly versatile WTB tires. It’s ready to explore any trail a budding mountainbiker could imagine.

Mountain bike gear

Now that you have found yourself on the back of a two wheeled wonder machine, the real fun starts. I remember my first rides in jean shorts and a t shirt, just blasting through creekbeds and rocky trails at what felt like breakneck speeds. In retrospect, I realize that my relative speed was substantially lower than it felt, but fun was had. What wasn’t fun was how I felt on the bike. As an example, my propensity to rocket through creeks in jean shorts resulted in a lot of time pedaling in wet denim (uncomfortable and bordering on masochistic). In time, my clothing transferred into more traditional bike gear, and my body loved the change. I learned that something like the Endura Singletrack short and BaaBaa jersey made long miles more comfortable.

When comfort stops being the factor limiting your ride time, you start doing whatever is necessary to ride with greater efficiency. With that in mind, no accessory offers more efficiency than shoes and pedals. As an example, Lintiman Adjust Comp shoe offers a stiff sole to transfer more effort to the pedal, while reliving strain on your foot.

Couple those shoes with a pair of Egg beater 2 pedals and you can now drive force into the pedals throughout the entire pedal rotation (both pressing down and pulling up).

Mountain bike gadgets to help determine when to ride

I will admit, after a few fun moments and the mountain bike bug bites pretty hard. In fact, it can become difficult to find time in the day to fit everything you have to do with riding your bike. As a result, you can either slough off all responsibility and ride your bike (not too likely), or start riding at night! Ride at night you say…. yes! Night riding is one of the most fun parts of mountain biking. In fact, if you have traversed your local trails ad nausea during the daylight, they will look and feel completely different at night. Simply strap a light like the Nightrider Lumina Oled to your helmet and enjoy all the features night time trails have to offer.


Where to ride for fun moments

There are plenty of places to learn where to ride. For instance, if you live in the State of Minnesota, I would recommend paging through the Have Fun Biking Minnesota Guidebook . Regardless of how you find the trails, knowing where to go can be a concern. That’s why many riders are taking to using GPS cycling computers like the Wahoo Element.  With a GPS computer you can track where you are going as well as where you have gone.

If you are headed out of town, a great way to ride unknown trails is through organized rides. An annual pilgrimage to British Columbia for the BC bike race is the highlight of thousands of riders seasons. Additionally, you can ride at many of the same locations you ski at, as lift service for bicycles is a growing attraction to mountains around the world.


This year's Interbike show had a ton of great new bike helmets. Read on to learn about this year's best options for Comfort, Connectivity, and Visibility.

Bike Helmets showcased at Interbike featured comfort, connectivity and visibility

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike helmets are more than a good idea in this day and age, they are a necessity. This year’s Interbike show had a ton of great new options in multi-functional head gear. Overall, The helmets listed below are some of this year’s best options for comfort, connectivity and visibility.

The Bolle bike helmets

Bolle is a company born in France in 1888. Through their first 70 years they worked almost exclusively in industrial production before launching their first tinted eye wear product in 1956. From that point forward they have pioneered the world with sunglasses, goggles and now cycling helmets. Bolle’s newest helmet, “The Trackdown”, is a prime example of their innovative approach to bike helmets. Within the Trackdown, they use a MIPS system to protect against rotational forces during a crash, offer ample ventilation and incorporate a clever “Sunglass Garage” into the helmet. Additionally,there is also a fleece liner designed to replace the helmets pads during cooler months.


Bolle’s “Trackdown” helmet, Fleece liner, and “The One” helmet with liner and vent covers

Stay tuned because we plan to review “The One” helmet from Bolle in the coming months. Like “The Trackdown” it uses a fleece liner, but they also add vent covers to make it even more cold weather sensible.

The Coros Omni Helmet offer hands-free connectivity to your ride

Coros is a new brand on the scene with a unique approach to helmet connectivity. By connectivity, I mean a hands-free connection to your smartphone while riding. Make no mistake, there are plenty of ways to answer your phone or listen to music while riding. Where Coros has completely changed the game is they allow you to listen to the world around you while still being connected to your device. How Coros achieves this is through Bone Conduction Technology that activates your eardrum through vibration applied to the cheekbone. This leaves your ear open to receiving all the surrounding noise, while still listening to your favorite music. Additionally, the new Omni helmet incorporates LED lights into the rear to aid in visibility. Furthermore, those lights have a photoreceptor to turn on automatically when light levels are low.

Bike Helmets

Coros Omni Bike Helmet

Bike Helmets

The Omni Bike Helmet, with photo receptor covered and lights on.

Bike Helmets

Coros Omni bike helmet and Bone Conducting device (inset)

MagicShine Genie adds lights to its helmet

While talking about integrated lights, it would be impossible not to discuss the MagicShine’s Genie helmet. This helmet is the brainchild of one of the leading light makers on the market. They have integrated a 350 lumen headlight into the front of the helmet with a 20 degree swivel. For the back of the helmet, MagicShine uses 32 LEDs to light a rear blinker mounted to the helmet. The most amazing thing about this helmet is the fact that beyond the headlight and tail light, this helmet has handlebar activated turn signals, allowing you to easily signal your direction without taking your hands off the bars.


MagicShine Helmet and remote (inset)


Left turn signal, Right turn signal, and Both lights on

In the next few years we will be seeing more connectivity, more visibility and greater safety from all bike helmets. Based off the recent developments from the brands above, I think they will be leading the way.

The Patrol 672 mountain bike was well worth the ride

Testing mountain bikes at Interbike’s Dirt Demo: Review Patrol 672

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking,com

I have to admit it, Interbike was more fun before the internet. The reason for this is that you would walk isle after isle and see all the new, awesome products. In the age of digital media it becomes a lot harder to find something new and even harder still to find something new and awesome. Well, I’m happy to report that I did find a diamond in the rough (more specifically desert) while I was out there. That diamond was Patrol bicycles, specifically the Patrol 672.

The Patrol 672 bike

The Patrol 672 is a 160mm travel mountain bike, equipped with 27.5” wheels. In the landscape of today’s bike market, it is relatively normal. It uses the tried and true Horst link suspension design and an all aluminum frame. Throughout the build kit you will find Rockshox and Shimano parts. What all this means is that Patrol hasn’t cut any corners. Overall the bike felt light and roomy in the cockpit with the suspension easily adjusted through air pressure.

Patrol 672

The Patrol 672 I rode in Bootleg Canyon

The Patrol ride

By the sound of the spec and design this bike should be unremarkable. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This bike just begged to gobble up rocks and loose sandy turns. While the top tube (and by extension wheelbase) isn’t as long as some other bicycles on the market, it was still sure footed and stable when things got hairy. I think that shorter overall wheelbase is what lends to this bikes snappy handling and playful demeanor. With any long travel bike like the 672, climbing is almost an afterthought, so I really didn’t expect much. Fast forward to the first loose climb and I was taken aback by this little goat. With the suspension set into its “full open” position (meaning that the suspension moves freely and is not stiffened to make for more efficient pedaling) there was some slight pedal bob under hard effort, but nothing that would be considered inefficient. With the suspension set to its climb mode, the bike shot up hill. My feeling is that for loose climbs, this bike works best in full open, but for extended smoother climbs, the climb mode eliminates any loss of effort.

Patrol 672

The Rocky and loose trails of Bootleg Canyon, served as a perfect test track for the Patrol 672

The Patrol 672 components

For this category of bike, short stems, wide bars, and single chain rings have become the standard. The 672 checks all these boxes with some really nice house brand aluminum bars and stem. For the drivetrain, they use a Shimano SLX group which will perform flawlessly for a long time.


At $2,900 the Patrol 672 is really reasonable by comparison. If this were a bike from a larger name, you could expect it to cost well over $3,000 dollars. Now, why do you ask does this bike justify what seems like a hefty $2,900 price tag? Let’s start with the frame. Patrol uses sealed ball bearings and oversized hardware throughout all of it’s suspension. These features lead to better performing suspension that will continue functioning smoothly for seasons to come. Additionally, the 672 uses carefully manipulated tube shapes, created through a process called hydroforming, that allows the bike to be stiff, durable, and exceedingly light. Finally, Patrol has equipped this bike with parts that are as durable as the are functional, This ensures a lifetime of happy riding (even if you crash a few times along the way).

Why is it a diamond in the Rough?

Simply put, this brand is considered rough only because of their distribution. Take a look at their website and you will see Patrol offers bicycles across all categories, and at affordable prices. The bikes themselves are as polished as anything you will see coming out of a major brand. The only difficulty is you probably won’t see them at your local bike shop. But, I have a feeling as more people discover this diamond, it will become more available. In the meantime, if your interest is piqued, contact them directly and they can help you out.

With 20 years in development your disc brakes are more powerful and serviceable than ever before. Read on for some simple steps to keep them working well.

A simple look at your bikes disc brakes function and maintenance

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Disc brakes were introduced on bikes as early as the 1950’s with Shimano making an actual hydraulic disc in the mid 1970’s. There were versions of the Schwinn Stingray series (released in 1971) that came stock with a rear disc brake. Let’s fast forward more than 25 years to the first market acceptable disc brake -The Hayes Mag disc. From its release in 1997, disc brakes have found their way onto most mountain bike, hybrids and now road bikes. With 20 years in development, disc brakes are more powerful and more serviceable than ever before. Read on to learn the basics on how your disc brakes work and how to keep them working well.

Disc Brake

Original Schwinn disc and 1997 Mag brake, both made by Hayes

How Hydraulic Disc Brakes Work

At their most basic, the brake lever moves fluid through a system and that fluid flows to the pads that press on the rotor. There are more details that make one brake work better than another. However, at the root, all disc brakes are very simple. The reasons the system is so simple and works so well is based on the following. Both the pad and rotor materials produce excellent friction. Additionally, the natural properties of fluids help transfer lever force without compression and absorb excess heat.

How Mechanical Disc Brakes Work

Mechanical disc brakes share the same pad materials and rotors as hydraulic systems; Therefore, they have very similar stopping power. Where mechanical system differ is they use a standard brake cable to actuate the brake instead of hydraulic fluid. Mechanical discs have a small lever on the brake caliper that is pulled by the brake cable, moving the brake pads and stopping the bike. The benefits to mechanical disc brakes is a larger lever shape choice, lower cost, and easier adjustment. On the other hand, because mechanical systems don’t use fluid, they are not as powerful and don’t manage heat as well as hydraulic systems. For that reason, on longer descents, mechanical brakes can under perform compared to their hydraulic counterparts.

Why disc brakes are more efficient

Unlike rim brakes, disc brakes don’t rely on a wheel being straight and round. Even if you were to accidentally dent of bend your rim, with a disc, you can still brake confidently. Another reason disc brakes are more efficient is that they produce a massive amount of friction. That friction, in concert with the venting on the disc rotors clears debris off the rotor and allows the brakes to work through all conditions. Ultimately, disc brakes are more efficient because they require less maintenance. In fact, hydraulic disc brakes self-adjust for pad wear they don’t require you to adjust them.

Why adjust the disc brakes caliper

Adjusting the brakes caliper is necessary if you hear the brake rubbing, or if they aren’t helping you stop well. Before adjusting a hydraulic brake, squeeze the lever to determine if you system needs to bled. If the lever feels spongy when you squeeze it, you need to bleed the system. It’s best to take it to your local shop and have the pros handle it. However, If the lever moves freely through its range, then has a firm feel once the pads hit the rotor, you can proceed without bleeding the system.

How to adjust the caliper to eliminate noise on hydraulic brakes

To adjust the caliper, loosen the two fixing bolts on top of the caliper (they may be under the chainstay on road bikes or in front of the rear quick release). Then snug both bolts up until the caliper stays in place, but is still move able with some effort on your part. WARNING! The rotor can be sharp and cause serious injury to your fingers. While spinning the wheel, keep your fingers clear of any spinning part.

While looking into the caliper, try to position it so there is equal space between each pad and the rotor. Once the caliper is centered spin the wheel slowly – in a perfect world there is no noise. If you are hearing the rotor rub on the pads, readjust until you get no noise. In some cases, you may need to straighten the rotor, this is a job best left to a bike shop professional. Once you are happy with the calipers position, tighten down the fixing bolts and you are done!

disc brake

Here you can see equal between the rotor and pads on both sides.

Adjusting mechanical brake performance

If your mechanical disc brakes have recently lost power, or the levers pull too close to the bar, you can easily adjust them for better performance. Before you adjust the brake, inspect the rotor and pads for any contaminants. Usually, contaminants come int he form of chain lube splattered from an over lubricated chain. If you see any oily residue on the rotor, the rotor needs to be cleaned, the pads will also need to be cleaned or replaced before you can proceed (denatured alcohol works well).

Most mechanical disc brakes have a fixed pad, and a moving pad. The moving pad pushes the rotor into the fixed pad, and creates stopping power.  Because these brakes operate differently than a hydraulic system, they need to be adjusted differently. First, you want to align the caliper so the rotor is as close as possible to the moving pad without touching. Next, thread the fixed pad in until it is as close to the rotor, but not touching. With both pads in place, loosen the cable pinch bolt on the side of the mechanical brake, pull the cable tight, then snug the pinch bolt again. Continue to adjust until you get the performance and lever feel you prefer.

disc brake

The Lever (green) is pulled, pushing the moving pad (also green) into the rotor (red). The Rotor is then flexed into the fixed pad (blue).

Trouble shooting disc brakes

Lever squeeze

Hydraulic brakes have a mechanism built into the master cylinder that auto adjusts for pad wear. It’s a great little valve that eliminates the need to re-bleed the brake continually as the pad wears. This valve can also lead to problems if you squeeze the brake lever without the wheel in your bike. The brake will adjust as if you just wore through 3mm of pad material (the thickness of the rotor) and not leave enough room between the pads to fit the rotor back in. To solve this issue you can either take the bike into a local shop or find a wide, flat, clean, metal tool to fit within the pads, and pry them apart again.

In cold temperatures

In temperatures below freezing, hydraulic discs that use mineral oil as a fluid can behave differently. As the mercury drops, the mineral oil can thicken and make the lever feel sluggish. You will find that once the temps rise, the brake will feel normal again.

Overall, disc brakes are the next step in brake evolution. They are more consistent, more powerful and easier to actuate than any other type of brake on the market. With every new evolutionary step, there will be some hesitation to try “the new”. Even though there may be some hesitation, you should not fear buying a bike with disc brakes. Thanks to years of iteration and market demand we now have disc brakes that are inexpensive and functional.