March 2010 Archive

When dropping rocks over 18 feet, always have a Patroller present.

Highway, or clear empty path. You decide.

The Belted Sled of Love at rest, for the moment

Yes, yesterday, forgive me father. I did not ride. A bike, that is. When nature calls in the form of almost 20 inches of snow overnight it’s time for the ‘other – other’ single-track: The steep, heavily forested ‘kind of inbounds’ places we love at Eldora: God’s Postage Stamp. Yesterday was epic, and my legs were ALL junky this morning from 4 hours of knee deep powder. What better way to cleanse than a spin to work, where I am always struck by the serenity and calm of the bike path….and the cluster of angst and pollution that is the ‘highway’. I am so fortunate that I can literally ride into my building here, and my bike (s) can sit right outside my door…..calling to me all day….they are like horses for the barn in the afternoon hours wanting to get back to the woods. We’re a minimum of three weeks out on trails up high. Probably more like 6 weeks. However, this is a great time to spin and warm the legs up and remind them of the stage race called summer that is about to begin.

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It all starts here

 

Yep, snow's just about all gone!

 

First post in the Mutant space, and I gotta say, I am glad to be here. After 9 days off the bike, pneumonia, 2+ feet of snow, I was able to ride all the way to Boulder today. Yes, the rumors are true: You can actually connect from the highlands of Mongolia. You may need a sled, parachute, snowmobile, boat, whatever….but with diligence, It is possible. A perfect day for a belt. Temperatures starting out in the mid-20′s and into the mid-40′s by the time I hit Boulder. Surfaces ranging from sheet ice and snow, to mud and slush and finally plain old puddles in Boulder. It felt amazing to get out, and roll, silently, under my own power. It is Spring here in The Rockies, and although we are expecting another 15+ inches of snow in the next 24 hours, the cold and the dark are fighting a losing battle and before we know it, we will be rolling through fields of green, blissfully watching our world come back to life here in the high country.

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A good day for a ride and a cold Chub

Last Spring, we deployed some Gates Carbon Drive bikes deep into the mountains and woods outside of Boulder, Colorado. The Mountain Mutant Project was born. Our purpose: put these bikes and their belt drives through the ultimate torture test. In the coming weeks, Dave Kingsbury and his team of misfits and mutant riders will thrash their bikes hard in rough conditions on the rock-strewn trails and singletrack that rise to the Continental Divide. The bikes will traverse from 5,000 feet to 8,500 feet nearly every day, and they will go even bigger on weekends. Don’t be surprised if the bikes are broken down and thrown in boats, strapped on backs or otherwise manipulated in the name of  adventure, discovery and stoke. Call it science, R&D, product testing or just plain old mountain living, mutant style.

Mountain Mutants Project is Kingsbury’s running dialogue about his trials and tribulations from the saddle of his singlespeed Spot 29er equipped with Carbon Drive. There may be musings on life and mountain biking. There may be beer. There will be blood. And it will never be boring. Tune in for future installments from Colorado’s ever changing and always beautiful high country.

Now let’s pass the mic to DK.

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Los Angeles Times bicycling writer Roy Wallack has written one of the most comprehensive reviews of Carbon Drive bikes to date. And he’s impressed: “The system offers a number of benefits over the 150-year-old chain,” Wallack writes. “It’s lighter; doesn’t use grease; requires no maintenance; won’t break, stretch, rust or fall off; and, best of all, it offers a pronounced improvement in ‘engagement’ — the millisecond it takes for the bike to react to your pedaling forces.” The article notes that Greg Martin won the single-speed division of the grueling 24 Hours of Adrenalin Solo World Championship this past July on a Carbon Drive-powered bike, leading Wallack to conclude that belt drive bikes are “ready for prime time.” The article included reviews of the Spot SS 29er, the Trek Soho, Co-Motion Americano Rohloff and Globe Live 3. Read the article here

Globe with belt drive and cargo platform

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Bike messenger Jason Maurer of Denver Boulder Couriers was screaming down Baseline Avenue in Boulder when a car parked on the right side of the road suddenly pulled out into traffic. “I was hauling,” says Maurer, recalling his worst crash while working. “It was a college kid. He didn’t have his blinker on or anything.”

A sunny day on the streets of Boulder

Maurer tried to avoid the car but he had nowhere to maneuver, so he slammed into the vehicle and hit the pavement hard. Lesson learned: motorists are knuckleheads who don’t look out for cyclists. “I’ve gotten better at predicting what cars will do and to be more defensive. Now I just assume people don’t see me when they’re driving.”

Call it the messenger school of hard knocks. But one thing is certain, working as a courier in Boulder is much more pleasant than in a major city. Maurer, 31, landed in Boulder after a stint in the U.S. Marines, and he has been a messenger for three years. Aside from dealing with bonehead drivers, it’s a sweet job for someone who grew up mountain biking. “You’re outside every day. And I get to ride all the time. I hate getting into cars.”

Like most couriers Maurer has an eye for cool bikes and new technologies. He loves riding the two Carbon Drive bikes that are available for workers to use at Denver Boulder Couriers—a custom Primus Mootry and a Trek District belt drive. “Having the Carbon Drive really lightens up the load. I never get passed. And it feels effortless when pedaling.”

The belt drive is also super quiet. “It’s totally stealth, like a hybrid car. You come up behind people and they don’t even hear you coming.”

Maurer puts 30 miles or more on his bike per day, dropping off paperwork at architecture firms, law firms, City of Boulder government employees, banks and making pharmacy deliveries in all weather conditions.

Maurer even took one of the belt drive bikes out into the snow during his rounds last winter. Winter riding requires some straight up messenger style–gators to keep the road slush off his clothes. “It saves your pants from getting all sloppy at the bottom.”

Gators--and a lube-free Carbon Drive--keep the pants clean in winter riding

What’s the best part about being a courier in Boulder? “The people are less stressed than elsewhere. All the receptionists that I deal with are in a good mood.”

Just watch out for college kids who don’t use their blinkers.

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