Tag Archives: MN Bike Guide

Back in the mountain bike saddle after a long holiday weekend, here is our bike pic for the day.

Bike Pic Sept 5, having fun post holiday with another adventure

Back in the mountain bike saddle after a long holiday weekend, excited for the next challenge, here is our bike pic to start your week.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

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

Bike Pic Aug 29, many trails are drying, check before mountain biking

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be open after all the rain, the last couple days.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Biking’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

In this Bike Pic, a student from Washburn High School tests his mountain bike skills on the Jail Trail, near St Cloud last year, on a Minnesota High School Cycling League competition.

Theodore Wirth Park, a gift five minutes from downtown Minneapolis

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the western part of the Twin Cities, nestled between Golden Valley and Minneapolis is Theodore Wirth Park.  A space almost as large as New York City’s Central park. With in Wirth (as it’s known to the locals) you will find several scenic, natural areas around Birch pond and Wirth Lake, plus two golf courses and a fabulous mountain bike trail system.

For Twin Cities cyclists, it’s a natural playground you should be exited too explore.

Theodore Wirth Park History

What would become Theodore Wirth Park started in 1889 when 66 acres were purchased and established as a park. Now Theodore Wirth park (named after the park system’s superintendent from 1906 to 1936) has over 750 acres. The Central to the park is the Wirth Chalet, a stone and timber structure that offers events, and product rentals for snow sports.

Where to go in Theodore Wirth Park

If you are interested in riding the mountain bike trails of Wirth park, I find it easiest to park at the beach  house off Glenwood avenue. From there it’s a quick spin west over to the trailhead. If your interest are in the golf courses or Grand Rounds and Luce Line trails, the Golf Clubhouse on Theodore Wirth Parkway is your best starting point.

What are the trails like in Theodore Wirth Park

The trails at Wirth are predominantly designed for the intermediate rider. As you enter the trails at southern entrance you are greeted with a twisting climb up thorough rolling prairie and into well established woods. The trails themselves are well manicured and smooth with ample bermed turns. Expect to see narrow ribbons of brown winding through ample green surroundings. When you find your way into the northern trails, more rocks get introduced. The majority of the rocks are well embedded into the trails and act as exciting obstacles to manage. The northern trails also exist in denser forests, with far fewer field areas. Overall, the Trails at Wirth are fun and flowie, offer challenges for the most advanced riders while being accessible to casual riders.

Grand Rounds Trail

The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is one of the countries longest continuous urban parkways. It is a connecting trail to more than 300 miles of regional trail around Twin Cities Metro Area. It also acts as the connecting trail between most of the parks in the Twin Cities area. That said, you can enjoy a day trip on the Grand Rounds Trail all over the Twin Cities via protected and paved bike lanes. The Grand Rounds travels through 7 districts:  Chain of Lakes (13.3 miles), Minnehaha (12.6 miles), The Mississippi River (9.2 miles), Downtown Riverfront (1.2 miles), Northeast (6 miles), Victory Memorial (3.8 miles) and Theodore Wirth Park (4 miles). Additionally, this trail is cleared by 6am every day through the winter if you choose to use it for commuting.

 

Luce Line Trail

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Luce Line trail is a 63 mile limestone path stretching from Cosmos in western Minnesota to Wirth park. It is available for Biking, hiking, running, jogging, and snow activities in specified areas. This trail is an exceptional way to explore neighborhoods and destinations west of the city.

How to help

If you ride and enjoy the trails at Wirth, consider volunteering for trail maintenance. The Minnesota Off Road Cycling organization (MORC) schedule trail work sessions on Wednesdays through the summer. Consequently, the group meets at 6 O’clock and welcomes anyone interested in helping. Wear long pants, boots, and work gloves because you will be doing hard labor. Moreover, you will find that the hard labor is enjoyable because you are giving back to fellow riders.

Winter riding in Wirth

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

While the trails are open through the winter, Fatbiking is not the only sport you can enjoy at Wirth. Therefore, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, sledding, skating, and, ice fishing are all available within the park. When planning a ride in the fall and spring, be sure to check the MORC website for trail conditions.

 

See how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

How to adjust your front derailleur for perfect and silent shifting

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the late 1920’s, in France, there was a bike race under way and it wasn’t the Tour De France. Instead, this race was a technological race that brought the derailleur into the light. Before 1928, bicycles had a maximum of two speeds, and you needed to remove the rear wheel to change those gears. As there was need for quicker shifting, the bicycle derailleur was born. Initial derailleurs consisted of nothing more than paddles that were actuated by steel rods located between the rider’s legs. Needless to say, there was a lot of finesse that went into shifting those bikes. Then after the second world war parallelogram derailleurs, what we use today, were developed so riders could shift their gears with ease. Read on to see how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

Front Derailleur

Early “Rod Style” Benelux front derailleur – Yikes

Front Derailleur parts

Limit screws (A) – The front derailleur needs to work within the largest and smallest ring. Limit screws work to stop the front derailleur from shifting outside of its intended range. They are adjustable as to match different types of cranks.

Derailleur Cage – The cage is what holds the chain on gear and what presses on the chain to move it from one gear to the next. The outer portion of the cage (C) is what helps the chain move from larger gears to smaller ones. In contrast, the inner portion of the cage (B) forces the chain from smaller gears to larger ones.

front derailleur

Common parallelogram front derailleur found on Hybrid and Mountainbikes

Derailleur Fixing Bolt (D) – The bolt that holds the derailleur in place on the frame. By loosening this bolt, you can re-position the derailleur for angle and height.

Cable Pinch Bolt (E) – The Cable that controls shifting needs to be held firmly in place. The pinch bolt does that job.

front derailleur

Different Pinch bolt and fixing bolt position for MTB/Hybrid (above) and Road (below) derailleurs

Location, location, location

You guessed it, the most important part of adjusting the front derailleur is its location. If the derailleur is not positioned properly, you will never achieve proper, noise free, shifting in all gears. The reason location is so important is that the front derailleur cage is formed to position the chain in very specific locations.

First step in adjusting the front derailleurs location is to set its height. You need enough room to fit a Nickel between the teeth on the largest chainring and the bottom of the outer cage when they are lined up. Any more clearance than that and the derailleur tends to have issues pulling the chain down from larger gears.

front derailleur

you should be able to fit a Nickle between the derailleur cage and chainring

Once you have the height set, adjust the angle of the front derailleur so that the outer cage and chainrings are parallel. Any misalignment will result in poor shifting and excess noise.

front derailleur

Proper alignment on the left, and misalignment on the right

Lower Limit

Set the lower limit by adjusting the screw marked “L”. To do this, shift the rear derailleur all the way up into the largest cog. Next check to see if there is clearance between the chain and the front derailleurs inner cage with the chain on the smallest chainring. If the chain is running on the inner cage, thread the limit screw out until you have 2-3mm (that nickel distance again!) between the chain and inner cage. When the opposite is true and you have too much clearance between the inner cage and chain, thread the limit screw in until there is 2-3mm of clearance.

Cable tension

Your Front derailleur should be properly aligned and the lower limit should be set at this point. The next step is to attach the cable to the Pinch bolt. Attach that cable by first making sure your shifter is in its lowest gear, Then pull the cable tight, and finally tighten the pinch bolt onto your cable. Usually, you can shift smoothly up from the smallest ring into the next gear right away, but if there is hesitation going up add cable tension either through a barrel adjuster or by loosening the pinch bolt, pulling the cable tighter, and tightening the pinch bolt down again. If the chain wants to shift up from the small ring over the next ring, release some tension. You know you have it right when the chain can pass from one gear to another smoothly and confidently without any banging or skipping noises.

Upper Limit

Setting the upper limit is as easy as getting the chain onto the largest chainring and threading the limit screw to offer 2-3mm of clearance between the chain and the outer cage. While shifting, ensure the chain cannot be shifted over the large ring and off the crank.

Trouble shooting

This guide is great if all the parts are new, but won’t overcome many issues related to worn or dirty parts. The most common shifting issue with older gears is poor upshifting. Chainrings are built with ramps on the inner surface to easily guide the chain from smaller to larger rings. As chainrings wear, these ramps wear as well. If you are having serious issues going from smaller to larger gears, but the gears are silent and problem free otherwise, you may want to consider replacing the chain, chainrings, and gears in the rear.

front derailleur

These Praxis Works chain rings have some of the best shifting thanks to carefully placed ramps.

Another key wear item is the front derailleur itself. Derailleurs are designed to pivot off a parallelogram design that requires each pivot run smooth and precisely. As the Front Derailleur wears, these pivots can begin to bind, while they generate play, leading to poor shifting.

Finally, dirty or corroded cables are a key cause in poor shifting. Replace cables once a year and lube them intermittently to keep them running smooth and freely.

When is enough, enough

Working on your bike is fun, but can be frustrating if things aren’t going according to plan. When things get out of hand, don’t be afraid to start from scratch and go back to step one. Any missed initial steps will make further steps impossible to complete. Also, remember that if it gets too tough, your local bike shop is happy to walk you through the process. You will pay a fee, but the one on one instruction is well worth it.

 

I am happy to say that Sealskinz recently sent us a care package of product right in time for winter. Take a look for details on the Super Thin Pro Socks.

Bike Pic Aug 19, many mountain bike trails are closed, check first!

Saturday morning and this mountain bike rider finds a dry trail along the Minnesota River bottoms in Bloomington MN. to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be open after all the rain, the last couple days.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Bike Skills’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

AAA announced that it was extending its popular AAA Roadside Service to include bicycles, offering cyclists and added peace of mind.

New AAA Roadside Service adds peace of mind for your next bike ride

by, Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

As more people take to bicycling for recreation and transportation it is nice to know there is someone to come to rescue if a bike breaks down. In a move to support bicyclists, AAA is now offering support. Recently, the company announced that it was extending its popular automotive AAA Roadside Service to include bikes. Here at HaveFunBiking.com, hearing the news is exciting. This is a perfect service that will assure cyclist, someone will be there if they breakdown.

Any bike you are riding is covered by AAA Roadside Service

With wheel bearing going out this cyclist wouldn't be carrying his bike hope if he had a AAA Roadside Service membership?

If this rider had AAA Roadside Service, he wouldn’t be carrying his bike home because of a mechanical issue.

How the program works? For as little as $49 a year you can purchase a AAA membership that offers Roadside Service for both your car and bike. If you are already a member you are now covered when bicycling. Just call your roadside assistance number on the back of your membership card.

Like the automotive Roadside Assistance Program any bike you are riding (road, mountain, recumbent, e-bike, tandem bikes, bike rentals and bicycle trailers) is eligible. Coverage applies to any qualified bike a member is riding at the time the bicycle becomes disabled. A member should be with the bicycle and have their AAA Membership Card in hand at the time of service. Keep in mind, the Roadside Service is provided only for the rider whose bicycle has become disabled or inoperable. However, any accompanying minors of a member is covered.

When a quick fix isn’t an option, AAA Roadside Service is there

The second most common mechanical problem to a flat tire, is a broken chain. Read on to learn the causes of and quick remedies to fix your chain.

The second most common mechanical problem to a flat tire is a broken chain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If a quick fix isn’t an option, (examples: you blew a tire; some spokes broke; or the chain busted) first call a family member or friend. Then, if no one is available to assist, AAA Roadside Service may be your best option.

It’s like “Having a SAG Wagon in your back pocket,” especially when you are touring away from home, on vacation, etc. This roadside service is something that will give a cyclist peace of mind.

Three levels of SAG (service and gear) support for you and your bike

Under the new terms of the roadside pickup service. AAA will transport you and your disabled bike to any point of safety within the limits of your coverage. This is based on three available levels of membership below:

  • The Classic: Gives you up to four transports of your bike or car, within a 5-mile radius of the breakdown per year
  • The Plus: Gives you up to four transports of your bike or car, within a 100-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown
  • The Premier: Gives you one transport of your bike or car, up to a 200-mile radius of the breakdown; remaining transports are 100 miles.

This is exciting news if you are a casual, touring cyclist or a bike commuter! Mary Miller, from South St. Paul was ecstatic to hear the news. She stated, ” now I feel comfortable riding my bike more often knowing that I can call AAA to come and get me if I breakdown.”

What You Don’t Get

The service is strictly a pickup and delivery service and does not offer any repair amenities or supplies. If you are capable of fixing a flat, repairing a broken chain or spoke and continuing your ride, please do so. The service is designed when you have run out of quick repair options. In fact, there is a laundry list of “services not included:

  • Airing or changing a flat tire
  • Pickup from anywhere not reachable from a paved, “regularly traveled” road
  • Parts, including tires
  • Pickup of bicyclists who are physical unable to continue with the ride
  • Locksmith services, in case you accidentally lock up your bike and lose the key or combination.

AAA Roadside Service is available in many states across the U.S.

“We are tremendously excited about this great new bike benefit program available to AAA members across most of the upper Midwest, Southeast and much of our country,” stated Gail Weinholzer, Director of Public Affairs, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

The new bicycle service is available throughout the entire territory served by AAA. The Auto Club Group which includes all of: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.

For bicycle coverage outside the above states and for full details on AAA Roadside Membership visit AAA.com/Bicycle.

 

Beyond Laws and rules, we should work to employ some common courtesy toward each other while riding our bikes on the road and trail.

Riding Courtesy; Great Ways to Consider Others on Your Next Adventure

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Did you know that bicycle traffic laws are different in many states? While these laws guide how you should operate on your bicycle, they also regulate how drivers should treat you. Laws are designed to keep both drivers and cyclists safe. Then there is offroad riding and most trail systems have guidelines that match up with the published list of rules from IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association). Beyond the laws and rules, we should also employ some common courtesy toward each other on both the road and trail.

Offroad Courtesy To Other Riders

Courtesy offroad is all about sharing the trail, leaving the environment as pure as possible, and not negatively impacting others experience. The simplest way to share the trail is to maintain control. Careening down a trail at Mach 5 with no ability to stop in time is a quick recipe for disaster. If you can’t control yourself, you are more prone to run into others or at the very least scare them. In order to maintain the environment, consider the trails off limits when wet. Trail systems that are wet are far more susceptible to damage from riders by leaving deep ruts in the dirt. In addition to leaving ruts, leaving any trash behind is unacceptable as well. Take care to pack any trash, like powerbar wrappers, inner tube boxes, or gel packs out with you. Finally, be concerned with others experience. There is nothing easier to reach that goal than to yield the trail when appropriate. If an overtaking rider wants to pass, slow down and make room for them to get by. When others are climbing up a steep grade, wait at the top of that trail for them to pass, before heading down.

Trail Courtesy To Other Riders

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

While riding on the bike paths, small amounts of courtesy can go a long way to keep you and those around you safe. To begin, always pull off the trail when stopping. Making yourself a big roadblock in the middle of the trail puts all those who must get around you at a risk. Don’t assume others know where you are going, hand signals help for those looking, but also feel free to tell people (especially people you are passing) what is going on. A simple “on your left” can make a pass far safer.

Road Courtesy To Other Riders

While stopping along a road pulling off to the shoulder is being courteous to motorists and the safest thing we can do.

Road riding courtesy is most needed when riding in a group and drafting. Safety in a group is about two things – Consistency and communication. For Consistency, be sure to ride a steady line, don’t swerve from side to side. Also, try to keep a consistent pace, If riders are drafting behind you, it can be difficult and tiring if you constantly speed up and slow down. For communication, be sure to signal If you are stopping, where debris in the road is, and what direction the group is turning.

Trail and Road Courtesy To Traffic

Courtesy to traffic is as easy as being predictable. Try to ride at the same distance from the curb as consistently as possible. Also use hand signals when turning, and be clear when stopping (by placing your open palm down at your side). Using a bell is also a great way to signal your approach to parked cars. Ultimately, you want drivers to know where you are and where you are going so they can make safe choices as well.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Riding courteously is just another way to keep you and those around you safe while riding. Once you begin to employ these tips, and make them second nature, you will find that your rides become less stressful. Eventually, I hope you help remind others what courteous bike riding can do for everyone.

Please pass this information on to friends and family – Thanks!

Bunny Hop and Wheelie Hop: A How to, Step by Step Guide

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Not all trails are smooth and flat. Many time’s we encounter large rocks, roots, ledges, and logs. The bunny hop and wheelie hop are simple moves that you can learn to traverse these obstacles with speed. Below, we have spelled out a step by step process to learn to hop.

Bunny hop

The Bunny hop has been around forever. While there are a few ways to pull one off, the basic motion of the bunny hop is to lift the bike without pedaling. Specifically, a bunny hop motion is to lift the front wheel, lift your legs and weight, and roll your wrists (and by extension the bicycle) over an object. The bunny hop is great move to clear obstacles at speed and while heading downhill.

Wheelie hop

The wheelie hop is similar to the bunny hop, except, rather than using your body motion to lift the front wheel, you use the pedals. Once that front wheel is up, the wheelie hop uses all the same motions as the bunny hop. The wheelie hop a is great move to use on uphill obstacles and low speed situations.

Pull up

The first motion in the bunny hop is to lift the front wheel above the height of the obstacle. To start this, stand up on the pedals, bend your knees and elbows, and lower your center of gravity. Next, spring your arms and knees, propelling your weight up and slightly backward. As your weight is traveling up and back, your front wheel should begin lifting off the ground. The basic concept is to rotate your weight and use the point where your rear wheel touches the ground as a fulcrum.

bunny hop

Prepare to spring up by bending your knees, elbows, and lowering your weight

Pedal up

The pedal up is slightly different from the pull up, but, still ends up with your front wheel in the air. Start in a seated position with your arms locked. Make sure you are in a relatively easy gear and jab your pedal through the pedal stroke as you pull the bars into your body. In about one pedal stroke your front wheel should be off the ground. Your weight should be centered over the rear wheel, your arms should have a good bent to them, preparing to spring your weight up.

bunny hop

Wheelie hops start by pedaling the front wheel up.

 

Lift your feet and weight

Although the first part of the Bunny hop and Wheelie hop are different, the rest of the motions are the same. Once you have the front wheel in the air, begin lifting your own weight up and off the bike. To do this, focus your weight on the rear wheel and move your body up, unweighting the bike.

Spring your weight up.

Roll your wrists

Once, both your front wheel and your weight are moving up it’s time to get your rear wheel off the ground. This is done when you roll your wrists and bars forward while your momentum is moving upward. Basically, your weight is moving up with the front wheel leading the way. Rolling your wrists forward redirects that upward momentum forward, leveling out the bike, and clearing the object in your path

Roll your wrists forward, leveling out the bike.

Practice on a curb

A great place to practice these hops is on a curb. Approach the curb at a slow speed, pop the front wheel up and onto the curb, then complete the motion and try to get the rear wheel up without hitting the square edge of the curb. Begin with a very low curb then work your way up to something higher. Once you are comfortable with the motion, try moving faster.

On the trail

There is a new variable that gets introduced when you use your bunny hop on the trail. That variable is the landing. While practicing on pavement, you can be confident that your landing will be onto a flat surface. On the trail, landings can be rocky and rough, couple that with your weight moving around the bike and you can get bucked off the bike rather easily. Therefore, try to keep your weight back on the bike while landing on the trail to resists getting bucked.

Slab Jab

So, while a slab jab is not technically a bunny hop, it does use a similar movement. Basically, a slab jab involves getting your front wheel up onto a tall object (like a rock or log) then pivoting the rest of the bike up onto the object using your front wheel as the fulcrum. Just like a bunny hop or wheelie hop, get your front wheel into the air, but unlike a hop, plant that front wheel onto an object. Next, while lifting your weight and rolling your wrists aggressively jab the bars forward. If done right, the jab motion will force your front wheel over the object and lift your rear wheel up onto it. With the front wheel over the object and your rear wheel on it, let off the brakes and simply roll on.

Like learning to descend, ride rocks, or any other riding skills, the bunny hop is a skill you should slowly build. Start on small objects and work within your comfort zone, maintaining control all the time. After a few months of practice, you will find that you can bounce around the trail like a bunny.

With hundreds of custom bike builders in the US, and hundreds more spread across globe, how do you pick the right builder?

MinneCycle: Show Review and Why Buy a Custom Bike?

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

With hundreds of custom bike builders in the US, and hundreds more spread across globe, how do you pick the right builder? Start with shows like Minnecycle, and when possible and have a conversation.

Minnecycle enjoyed its fifth year this past weekend in the world headquarters of Peacock Groove. Peacock Groove, in Minneapolis, is home to one of Minnesota’s most prolific bike builders, Eric Noren. Minnecycle displayed handmade bicycles from over a dozen other custom builders. Although the location is not a showroom, but rather a basement workshop, the setup created a gallery feel while still being welcoming. A location like this would be a hindrance for many groups but those who run Minnecycle are not your typical group. The workshop displayed bikes in every state of assembly, as a visual lesson on how a custom bike is built. Minnecycle can only be described as an unmitigated success. The attending builders were friendly, the feel was casual, and the work was outstanding. With a show this good, the only question left is “why buy a custom bike”?

Great Space, Cool custom bikes, and even Eric in mid-build

In Custom Bike Considerations, Size and Specificity

Custom bikes are great for riders that need something custom. I realize that statement sounds redundant and silly, but it really is the best way to define it. For instance, riders who have unique body types don’t fall into standard sizes bikes. As an example, it’s common for some riders to have a longer torso than the prototypical body type. These riders need a bicycle with a longer top tube than what is available on a standard bike.  However, a custom bike built with a longer top tube gives them the proper reach. Additionally, if a rider has unique needs, custom builders can make a bike to fit those needs. Many custom builders focus specifically on bicycle types not available through mass production. Great examples of these bikes are Cargo bikes, Adventure bikes, and utility tricycles, Hand Trikes, and Recumbent bicycles.

Quality and Craftsmanship

Being a professional custom builder is as much a calling as it is a profession. Although builders come from widely varying backgrounds, a few traits seem to be universal. Most builders are mechanically inclined, problem solvers, and are exceedingly detail oriented. Outside of those traits, a professional builder has the experience of building hundreds of bikes. So, when buying a custom bicycle, you are getting the cumulative experience and natural talents of a builder. Additionally, through every step of construction, your bike will be painstakingly reviewed for quality and alignment. That level of quality is not possible at a mass-produced level. While massed produced bikes are great, the attention to detail, quality control, and experience of a custom builder adds up to a truly uniquely riding bicycle.

Appleman builds custom bikes by positioning each piece of carbon fiber by hand to ensure the best possible ride quality.

Finding the right builder for you

Like Minnecycle, try reaching out to them digitally if you can’t meet them in person. Most builders are very accessible through email and social media. Find builders who are already making bikes similar to what you want. Ultimately, you are looking for a builder that you can get along with.

John Brown and Andy Ellis on the Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride April 30, 2017.

A Short Review of the 2017 Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The morning of Sunday, April 30th started early for me. I hit the road heading to Waconia for my first ever Minnesota Ironman. The temperature was in the high thirties and there was an overcast with a high probability of rain during the day. But, it is Minnesota and the Ironman is a 51 year spring time biking tradition here, right?

The Weather was Still Dry for the Minnesota Ironman Upon Arrival

About a half hour drive from Bloomington, I was in Waconia around 6:30 a.m. I unloaded my bike and was greeted by thousands of riders and several bike shops in front of the Waconia High School. After checking in, the weather was still holding dry at 7 a.m., but where was my riding partner?

Starting the ride early these Minnesota Ironman cyclists made it back in before the rain began.

Starting the ride early, these Minnesota Ironman cyclists made it back in before the rain began.

Once inside the High School, I was met by the Waconia Chamber and several exhibitors including the Waconia Brewing Company. Past the vendors, the registration table was packed with riders excited to embark on the new ride routes in Carver County.

While waiting for my co-worker, Andy, to arrive before finally getting onto the course, I visited with Penn Cycle, Erik’s Bikes, VeloFix, Gateway Cycle and Park Tools.

The Minnesota Ironman Ride

As Andy and I set out on the tan pavement of the route, we were pleasantly surrounded by the pastures and fields of Waconia’s rural area. With excellent road conditions and wide shoulders, the beginning of the ride offered a bike path feel. Our planned route was to head out on the 25 mile course (purple). We would decide after the rest stop if we wanted to tack on the last section of the 100 mile course (orange), to make the whole ride around 40 miles for the day. This flexibility is one of the best parts of riding in Carver County out of Waconia.

Andy has only been riding a bike for a few months, using the Minnesota Ironman as his inspiration. To his credit, he didn’t get an easy ride to conquer this year. Both the amble route and the weather took a left turn. Heading west on County Road 32, we saw its beautiful and quiet charm flanked with tree farms, horses, open fields and the largest goose I have ever seen. The bad news, while on 32, it started to rain.

The largest goose I have ever seen

The largest goose I have ever seen

The Weather Soon Became a Factor

The misty, gentle, northeast wind we started off with became a stinging cold gale once we crossed the Crow River and headed north. The constant headwind and freezing rain combined to make for the most painful type of exfoliation as we approached route 30. Now heading east, riding parallel with the Dakota Rail Trail, the damp wind was cruel. While the Dakota trail was not part of the official Minnesota Ironman course, some took to it due to the stand of trees that would help break the winds that were attacking from the north.

Thank Goodness for the Rest Stop in Mayer

At the end of County Road 30, we hit Mayer and found the Community Center there where the rest stop was located. The volunteers were simply amazing. The food was ample and tasty. Plus, Penn Cycle and Spokes Bike Shop were there to handle any mechanical issues that may arise. Andy and I grabbed a quick snack, warmed up, had the pros at Penn check our bikes and rolled out before the cold set into our bodies. We decided to stick with the standard 25 mile route, concerned that the weather would be getting worse.

Now on route 7, crossing the Crow River again, there seemed to be no end to the beautiful scenery of Carver County. My focus was to get to County Road 10 and enjoy the tailwind as quickly as possible. Any discomfort we felt over the last several miles would soon be rewarded once we turned south on 10. Now the hero, the wind at our backs allowed us to enjoy the gorgeous rolling hills that were breathtaking. Thanks to the tailwind helping us, we flew toward Waconia High School with relative ease. The farms made way for the Wahibo Marsh, home to dozens of beaver dams and countless feathered residents.

Andy Ellis Completing his first Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride in Waconia

Andy Ellis Completing his first Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride in Waconia, MN.

Soon, we spun back into Waconia High School with the wind still at our back. The finish line and Red Bull arch signaled our completion of the 2017 Minnesota Ironman. This also secured our our well deserved bragging rights.

Overall, the only complaints for this ride was the weather, which no one could control. As for the course, support, organization and camaraderie, I give this ride nothing but accolades. I know I will be riding this area throughout the summer. When organizing my 2018 calendar, I will be sure to leave the last week of April open for the next Minnesota Ironman.