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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.


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.