Tag Archives: Ride My Bike

Take a look below at some of the most common and damaging cycling mistakes and solutions made by newbies and seasoned riders alike.

Common cycling mistakes and the ways you can solve them today

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Mistakes are something we as humans can’t escape, but nobody is perfect. That said,  what we can do is try to eliminate some of the simple errors we may might make without ever realizing we are proceeding down the wrong path. Consider taking a look below at some of the most common and damaging cycling mistakes made by newbies and seasoned riders alike.

Cycling Mistakes #1 – Wear your helmet only when you think it’s needed

Many riders make the mistake of thinking “I don’t need to wear a helmet, I’m only going around the block with the kids”. This mentality is often responsible for catastrophe. The truth is you never know when an accident can happen, so you should always be prepared. As an example, the worst crash I have ever had was when riding from a campsite, down a straight gravel path to the wash room. Before I knew it, I was smack dab on the ground faster than I could get my hands up to catch myself. Moral of the story Is to wear your helmet any time you ride your bike.

mistakes

Helmets are always in style

#2 – Believing you have plenty of air in the tires without checking

Frequently, I see riders headed down the trail with tires so low you can hear the rim bouncing off the ground with each pedal stroke. Low tire pressure can lead to pinch flats, and more importantly, loss of control. The innertube that holds the air in your tire is naturally porous and loose air naturally over time. In fact, a tube can lose between 3-5 PSI a day. At its extreme, your tire could go from full pressure to less than half pressure in the span of one week. Be sure to protect your ride by checking tire pressure before each ride.

#3 – Lube the Chain After Every Ride

Believe it or not, an over lubed chain is more damaging than an under lubed chain. While I am not recommending that you ride around with a dry chain, knowing when to lube is important. Having a ton of lube on your chain will not protect it any better. In fact, too much lube will attract dirt and debris, creating a harsh slurry that covers and wears your drivetrain. The best way to lubricate your chain is to apply lube to the chain, allowing it to soak in for a minute and then use a rag to wipe off as much excess as possible. When done, the chain should feel almost dry to the touch.

The right amount of lube is a great thing

#4 – Use the water hose to clean your bike

After a dusty or wet ride, many riders reach for the hose to spray dirt off the bike. Sadly, while the bike may look clean, the bike will be in worse shape than if it hadn’t been cleaned at all. Pressured water that comes from a hose, can displace grease and leave nothing behind. Now, with no grease, the bike wears out at an accelerated rate. Instead of using a hose, try instead a warm bucket of soapy water and a big sponge.

#5 – Bring water along only on some rides

Many times, riders will assume that because the weather is cool, or a ride is short, they don’t need to bring water with them on a ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy while riding can be related to dehydration. Stay hydrated by bringing water or a sports drink along on all rides.

mistakes

Yay Water!

#6 – Assume cycling shoes are only good for clipless pedals

If you don’t want to ride clipless pedals, I get that. There are tons of reasons clipless pedals are great, but at least as many reasons why they aren’t right for everybody. What you can do is use a cycling specific shoe with your flat pedals. A cycling shoe has a stiff sole and additional arch support to disperse pedaling forces over the entire length of your foot. Therefore, you have more efficiency and less discomfort.

Mistakes in general

Overall, it is a good idea to think about what you are doing before you ride your bike. Make sure your bike is ready for the ride, be equipped to take care of yourself during the ride and be sure you are prepared to reach out for help if needed. Once you go through that mental exercise you will see the common cycling mistakes melt away. Have Fun!

Is mountain biking in the snow season really here in the upper Midwest?

Bike Pic Oct 28, mountain biking fun in the snow is here again!

Is mountain biking in the snow season really here to stay in the upper Midwest? With temps hovering in the low 30’s, including rain and snow over the next several day. it maybe time to get the fatty out and prepare for some winter riding fun.

What better way to continue your fall 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 our 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!

Based on our quick MTB review at Interbike’s Dirt Demo, we have a demo Marin B-17 2 for a long term review. Read on for our "out of the box" review.

The Marin B-17 MTB review – out of the box and ready for the trail

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Based on our quick MTB review at Interbike’s Dirt Demo, we have been extended a Marin mountain bike demo for a long term review. This week, a big brown box showed up at our office. What was inside was a Marin B-17, a full suspension trail bike just waiting for me to put together and ride. However, before I ride it and give you a full MTB review let me share with you what is actually coming out of that box.

The Marin B-17 MTB review out of the box

The first thing I have to note about this bike, is that it isn’t a brand new bike. While it’s new to me, It has been to a few demos before. That being said, I have to note the immaculate condition this bike it arrived in.  Whereas the tires show signs of wear  the frame and components were cleaned to a level I have never seen before. Overall, the bike built up quickly and easily for a quick spin around the block.

Marin B-17

The Marin B-17 2 in all its glory. It won’t be so clean soon.

The Frame

The B-17 is an aluminum trail bike that uses Marin’s MultiTrac suspension system for 120mm of travel. The MultiTrac system is tuned to absorb large and small hits equally, while still maintaining pedaling efficiency. It accepts both 27.5” x 2.8” wheels as well as standard 29” wheels. On first inspection, the frame design is clean, with the cables running internally within the frame. The rear shock is tucked neatly in line with  the seat tube allowing for the use of a normal water bottle cage. For additional stand over clearance, the Top tube is welded low on the seat tube and uses a jack brace for strength. Overall, the B-17 frame looks like someone sweat all the details.

Marin B17

Here you can clearly see the cables enter the frame. Also, take a look at how each tube is shaped specifically shaped to its intended purpose.

The Parts

The version of the B-17 I am riding is an early production demo unit. For that reason, the parts are slightly different from the final retail bike. Most notably, my demo unit uses a Rockshox Pike rather than the Rockshox Revalation  suspension fork. For the most part the two forks will ride similarly, with the Pike being a bit smoother in operation. The rest of the bike uses Shimano parts for shifting (SLX) and brakes, which ensures great shifting and stopping. This model B-17 also uses a dropper seatpost, to let me get my weight back and low on the trail.

Throughout the rest of the bike, Marin uses house brand components for the rims, bar and stem. While this may have been an area of concern in the past, most brands are sourcing some exceptional parts. Any remarks of the house brand components would be incomplete if I didn’t remark on how well Marin has tied these products into the rest of the bike. The same graphic touches that make the frame look classy are carried through to the parts. The graphic are clean and understated, without overstating the bicycles brand name.

Marin B-17

Some Classy details as seen on the Marin B-17

What I am looking forward to

I really want to see if this bike handles as well on my home trails as it did in Las Vegas. Our parks have limited climbing and smooth features, so it will be interesting to see if the plus sized tires have the same dominance on these trails as they did in the steep, rocky terrain of Nevada. Finally, I can’t wait to really tune the suspension and see what it is capable of. Stay tuned for the long term review in the next few weeks.

 

bicycle maintanace

Riding through the fall, a great way to spend time with your kids

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

For many, fall and the beginning of the winter signals the end of bike riding, especially kids. But why should the fun stop just because the mercury drops? Instead of ending the rides, get your kids excited to ride through the fall foliage. Here are some tips for encouraging kids to keep the fun rolling.

The Right Clothes for Fall Riding

There are some easy ways to keep your kids comfortable while riding but none as important as clothing. It’s easy to make the mistake of just bundling them up in heavy pants and hoodies, but that will only lead to them being cold in the long run. It’s better to reach for synthetic fabrics that wick moisture while insulating. Cotton will insulate, however it also absorbs sweat and will quickly leave your kids wet and cold. With a synthetic material, sweat is carried off the skin and allowed to evaporate quickly.

Fall

This ride might get cut short thanks to a cotton t-shirt and a lack of gloves. Keep warm and dry for fun fall rides.

Once you have your kids dressed well, take a moment to consider their hands and feet. Even if there is no wind, riding a bike at any speed will create a wind chill for the rider. Take special note of fingers and toes by wearing gloves and socks that are a bit heavier than the weather would normally call for.

The Right Trail Conditions

I know how tempting it is to try and squeeze every last moment of riding time out in the fall months. With that said, no kid will have fun if they are wet and cold. It’s best to avoid the trails if you have recently had rain. For one, the trails are more susceptible to damage and all that water is sure to find it’s place on your kids. A better idea is to enjoy the local bike paths that are paved and dry out quickly.

Wet pavement dries far faster than wet trails. Keep your kids happy and dry, by staying off wet trails.

Wet pavement dries far faster than wet trails. Keep your kids happy and dry, by staying off wet trails.

The Reward

I found the best way to encourage riding in less than perfect conditions is to shamelessly bribe my kids. If you can plan a destination, like a favorite burger joint or ice cream shop, your kids will usually be really excited to head out. If a destination isn’t possible, I like to put together a reward like hot chocolate once they get home. You will see that the Pavlovian effect takes hold after just a few tries.

Its Ice Cream Smiles Sunday around the world. Here in the Netherlands these young bikers stops along the canal route to enjoy a creamy cool treat before resuming her bicycle ride..

These young bikers stops along the canal route to enjoy a creamy cool treat before resuming her bicycle ride.

The best reasons

Finally, the best reason to enjoy the cooler months is that most others won’t. Having trails and paths to yourself is safer and allows everyone to focus more on each other. So whether you are heading into the woods, onto the roads, or just around the block, the fall is a perfect time to be with your family.

The Genie Helmet is a revolutionary helmet that boasts a headlight and tail light as well as remote activated turn signals. Read on to see some more detail.

A first look at the revolutionary MagicShine Genie Helmet

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Recently, we reviewed a light from the wizards over at MagicShine, the MJ-900B. Along with the light they also included an amazing Genie helmet. The Genie is a revolutionary helmet that boasts a headlight and tail light as well as remote activated turn signals. Read on to see some more detail.

Genie Helmet out of the box

The Helmet is packaged in a relatively sturdy cardboard box with a foam liner to keep things stable. Within the box is the helmet, remote, instructions, screwdriver, battery cell, and a wedge shaped device. Once I read through the instructions, I saw that I needed to install the battery cell. In order to install the cell, I had to remove the battery cover on the top of the helmet. Removing the cover is done by loosening a single Philips head bolt and using the wedge device to pry the cover off.  With the battery cell installed, activating the light is as simple as pressing the power button once.

Genie

The MagicShine Genie out of the box

Genie Helmet functions

You can tell the helmets system is activated by looking at the rear blinker. Once the system is on, the rear blinker will be lit. In order to power the headlight or turn signals you simply press the corresponding remote button once. To change mode, you press the button again. Here is the only tricky part, In order to turn off the headlight or blinkers, you need to hold the button down for between 2-3 seconds.

Genie

Front light and turn signals with inset of remote

The Genie Helmet fit

The helmet is a one size fits all variety with a dial type retention device. The overall fit is a bit round for my head, so I felt a bit more pressure on the front of the helmet than I would prefer. That being said, I run into the same problem with Giro brand helmets, so I think it’s more an issue with my head than the helmet. It has ample padding throughout so the feel of the helmet is soft.

Genie

Ample, soft padding in the Genie helmet

How it feels

With so much going on within the Genie helmet, there is some added weight. Wearing the helmet feels just like when I attach a GoPro to my standard helmet. That weight can be a little strange at first, but like the camera, you will get used to it.

More to Come

Because there are many different head shapes, there will be more than one person trying out this helmet. We want to give the fit a thorough review. For the function of the helmet, I am really excited to see if cars respect the turn signals, how warm the headlight gets, and how long the battery lasts. Stay tuned for more info.

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.

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.

Prepare for winter riding with these fun, easy cold weather tips

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

I can’t fight it any longer, my powers of denial are only so strong. Despite my best efforts a change is coming and there is nothing I can do to stop it. That’s right, winter is right around the corner. While I can’t stop the cold from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for winter riding. Here are a few tips to prepare your bike and body for the change of season.

Is your bike set for winter riding?

Even though your bike will function perfectly in cool weather, there are things you should do to protect it and you from the elements.

Lubricants

Not too much care needs to be taken for the sealed parts of your bike, like the hubs, bottom bracket, or headset. Those places are well greased and sealed from the elements, so no need too change the type of grease. What you do need to be concerned with is the chain. It’s best to switch from dry or wax lubes to a synthetic oil (like Park’s CL-1) ifor winter riding.

Lubing your chain is easy with a wax based lube or synthetic oil.

Frame

For most of the United States winter roads mean salt. That salt can play havoc with your frame and components. The best way to protect your frame from salt is to install fenders. A plastic fender is impervious to salt damage and can stop slat from ever reaching your frame. Additionally, Fenders keep you dry when there is moisture on the road and clean from any debris your tires kick up.

Tires

Thanks to rain, snow, and less road maintenance there is an elevated amount of debris on the roads during the winter riding season. Coupled with lower temperatures that make tires stiffer, flats are more prevalent in the winter months. For these reasons, I encourage you to get some “winter tires”. By “Winter tires” I mean something that has a pronounced tread and a puncture resistant feature. With a little more tread, and protection against flats you can confidently ride through he winter months. If you live in an area that gets below freezing and stays there for several days, investing in studded tires is also a good plan. For Fatbikes or Mountain Bikes you can also invest in aftermarket studs that thread into your existing tire.

This tire has a reinforced layer (orange) that prevents most flats

Lights

Winter is as dark as it is cold. Therefore, having some additional visibility is important. If you are riding on well lit roads or paths, blinkers that make you more visible are perfect. In contrast, if your route is not well lit, I recommend getting a headlight that has at least 100 lumens. That light will allow you to see safely.

Your Body and winter riding

For you, dealing with winter riding is simply the basics of keeping you comfortable. As the winter rolls on, you will need to use different amounts of insulation to keep you warm. In early fall, knee warmers and a long sleeve jersey will offer ample warmth but as the temperature drops, knee warmers make way to tights and long sleeve jerseys are eclipsed by jackets. For a complete overview of temperature vs. clothing, check out our article on winter clothing.

prepare for winter riding

This “Rider” has his arm and knee warmers (blue) on

The ride

Riding in the winter is amazing if you are prepared. It’s incredible because there is a calm and quietness to winter that cannot be replicated during any other season. While it may sound difficult or unenjoyable to ride during the cold days of the winter, it is that fear others have that allows you to have most of the trails, all to yourself. Start slow and build up. As an example, try to ride until the temps reach 40 degrees. That temperature requires little additional clothing, and will keep most others off their bike. For the following season, try riding down to freezing and so on.

If all else fails

AAA Road Service now includes bicycles, it like have a SAG in your back pocket and a call away.

AAA Road Service now includes bikes. It’s like having a SAG in your back pocket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because winter riding puts you out into the elements, breaking down can be dangerous. Rather than getting yourself stuck in a bad situation, make sure to tell others where you will be and have a contact you can call for a ride home. If you don’t want to rely on a friend for a ride, you can always buy a AAA road service membership, with three-inexpensive options, that includes your bike. Its like having a SAG service in your back pocket, if you have a flat or break a chain, call and they will come a get you.

Since the development of cycling nutrition, there has been amazing advancements in sports drinks

Cycling Nutrition Review: a clean, smooth approach to sports drinks

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

As you begin doing longer rides like the MS150, Minnesota Ironman, or any other charity ride, sports drinks (cycling nutrition) becomes really important. The basic rule is to replace electrolytes and calories after riding for an hour. Considering most of our rides are longer than one hour, there are many nutritional products designed help. The popular cycling nutrition products are sports drinks, gels, and bars.

Sports drinks, the problem and solution

No doubt you are familiar with the stories of Powebar and Gatorade, both companies were born out of a need for in-activity nutrition and electrolyte replacement. Since their development, there has been many amazing advancements in sports nutrition. Read on to see how Tailwind Nutrition is moving the science forward.

The issue with sports nutrition comes from the fact that in many cases sports drinks have replaced soft drinks and nutrition bars have replaced snacks in many people’s diets. This evolution has led to nutrition that is to sweet, too heavy and resistant to quick digestion during activity. Therefore, most readily-available nutrition products force your body to expend too much energy attempting to digest it. Additionally, because they take so long to digest, they often times cause a stomach soreness.

Tailwind Nutrition’s story

That problem of heavy nutrition is a big part of why Tailwind came into being. The Idea for Tailwind came when Jeff (one of the founders) had trouble keeping his breakfast down when he was competing in the Leadville 100 (a one hundred mile mountain bike race in Colorado). He was struggling with the heavy nutrition products, available at the time. In an effort to fix his own nutrition issue, he used himself as a guinea pig. He consulted nutritionists and then developed a sports drink that fulfilled his calorie requirement, adjusted for electrolyte replacement, that had an incredibly light taste.

After sharing it with friends and selling the new product out of the back of his car at events, news spread fast. Soon the story of a customer who finished a 100 mile mountain bike race, for the first time after a decade of trying, solidified the company into being.

Jeff at Tailwind mixing some new cycling nutrition products to test

Jeff at Tailwind mixing some new cycling nutrition products to test

How it tastes

After my twenty years of drinking different sports drinks, Tailwind is a refreshingly light drink. The taste is a great mix of sweet and savory (my guess is that’s the carbohydrates and salts natural flavor). After the initial taste, I was amazed to find that there was no syrupy aftertaste. The aftertaste is really important because as you exercise and increase your breathing rate, any residual flavor can become overwhelming. It is so light that when I finished the bottle of Tailwind, I then filled that bottle with straight water and didn’t detect any aftertaste.

How it works

The best part of the Tailwind products I feel is its consistency. In my experience most nutritional products do a great job of bringing your endurance level up temporarily, then sadly your energy level drops off drastically as you continue on. What I found with the Tailwind products, they deliver consistent energy with no severe drop. Additionally, as the temperature goes up and electrolytes are more important than calories, this product offers salts that are quickly absorbed into the body.

Why use Tailwind

I know what you’re thinking, why shouldn’t I just grab a Gatorade down at the ole’ Circle K before my weekend ride? Well, the answer is as easy as comfort, results, and cost.

First, I have tried most sports drinks on the market and all of them left me feeling the same way – sick. Those heavy drinks sit in my stomach and sometimes, attempt to come back up again. By contrast, the Tailwind stuff never made a peep in my belly. Additionally, Tailwind offers 200 calories per serving rather than the 150 calories from Gatorade. That’s not only more calories, but I found they were better calories. Typical sports drinks gave me an initial energy boost, but then dropped off severely. By contrast, I found Tailwind to give sustained energy, but no harsh drop off. Finally, Tailwind is way cheaper. Tailwind can be as little as $.75. When compared to Gatorade at more than twice that per bottle. To me Tailwind makes good sense.

All in all, nutrition is a personal preference. While I may like one product, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee it is the right product for you. With that being said, I feel that Tailwind offers a great product for even the most sensitive stomachs. Give it a try, I think you will like how it works.

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.