#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 8

One Finger On The Brakes

Last week we talked about the merits of learning to use both your front and rear brake together. This week we’d like to remind you to use only one finger on the lever while braking. Just like you wouldn’t use two feet to brake in your car, you don’t need that much lever pressure to slow your bike. Braking with one finger allows for better modulation and allows you to brake smoothly without locking up your wheels. With today’s bike technology and hydraulic disc brakes, you’ll have better braking sensitivity using only one finger. The key to feeling comfortable using only one finger is to move your levers in so that your one finger lines up on the end of the lever. This creates maximum leverage, giving you the confidence and power to use only one finger.

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We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 7

Don’t Fear Your Front Brake

Maybe you’ve come out of a corner, overusing your front brake, and washed out. Maybe you’ve had the dreaded “over the bars” crash – you decided then and there to never touch your front brake again. It might be tempting to rely solely on your back brake for stopping power. However, not utilizing 100% of your stopping power can create an out of control sensation and encourages skidding. Your front brake accounts for approximately 70% of your bike’s stopping power. If you’re only using the back brake, you’re not taking full advantage of all of the control that your bike has to offer. The key is using both brakes together with a smooth touch as well as making sure to shift your hips and bottom back under braking. By moving back under braking you make it safe to use the front brake and make the back brake work better. Practice this out on the street and down gentle hills to get more comfortable and then start trying it on your favorite trails.

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake1Many riders fear the front brake

LB2015.08.13.frontbrake2However, if you learn to use your front brake together with your back brake, your bike (and riding) will thank you.

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Doug demonstrates riding back under braking. This position provides a secure place from which to counter the stopping power of your front brake. Practice getting here from cruising in neutral position by slowly applying pressure to both brakes and bringing your hips and bottom back.

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You’ll feel the same after mastering this simple and powerful skill

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 6

Soft Pedaling

Soft pedaling is what we refer to as making your feet feel light in order to pedal into a clean gear change. When approaching a steep incline we want to make as many gear changes prior to the hill. However, when that inevitable gear change happens on the hill you want to focus your weight onto your seat and bottom and not mash down hard on the pedals while shifting to an easier gear. Clean gear changes are important in maintaining your bike’s longevity and not wearing on its drive train. You shouldn’t hear harsh noises or gears jumping around while shifting, keep it light and smooth.

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Here Doug exaggerates mashing all of his weight onto his pedals by standing while biking uphill. Soft pedaling as a concept is more of a feeling, which is hard to illustrate through a photograph. It’s a tool you’ll find useful in correcting that awful crunch sound of an abrupt gear shift. You know the one I’m talking about, the sound that makes you cringe thinking you’ve just broken your chain.

LB2015.08.06.soft.editAgain, it’s hard to describe this week’s concept with a photograph. Here Doug bikes uphill and focuses his weight on his seat and bottom, making his feet feel light, like a feather. This allows for a smooth gear shift, one that’s music to your ears.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 5

Low

Rounding out the “Four Ls” is remembering to ride low through corners and technical terrain. You give yourself a more stable platform when riding with your ankles, knees and elbows bent as opposed to standing tall and rigid. Think about how high off of the ground your bike already is – adding height by standing too tall can lead to tipping and general instability. Keeping your chest down low with your elbows out creates a stable, low center of mass. Remember to corner like a Porsche, not a monster truck.  LB2015.07.30.lowcropped

Doug demonstrates how the neutral position is a good starting point from which to get low.

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Here Doug gets low from turn initiation through it’s belly, keeping his center of mass closer to the ground, which allows for stable steering.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

 

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 4

Level

The third of the “Four Ls,” “level,” refers to keeping your torso and shoulders relatively level to the ground and not letting them dip into the turn and/or inside the bike. You want to move your bike laterally under you, leaning your bike, not your body. Riders often get into trouble when they lean their bodies into a flat non bermed turn causing a loss of traction and/or balance. Remembering to stay level will help you avoid this pitfall. Of course, there are times when leaning your body can be useful, but in general there are few negatives in staying level.

LB2015.07.73 goodlevelcroppedIn the above image Doug is letting the bike move laterally under him, keeping his torso “quiet.”

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The image above is an example of tipping into and being inside of the turn. Doug is demonstrating incorrect technique in this image.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

Summer is all about trails! 

I started hiking and biking in early May this year, and to keep my excitement high through the rest of the summer, I recently chatted with Charlie Sturgis, Executive Director of the Mountain Trails Foundation. This organization is involved with everything trail related around Park City. Charlie told story of his Foundation, its current projects and its future goals.

JF: How did you get involved with outdoors sports and activities?

Charlie Sturgis: I’ve always been an outdoorsman, I grew up in Chicago but was always involved with hunting, fishing and skiing. I remember visiting Snowbird in 1974. That’s when I fell in love with the Wasatch Mountains and declared then and there: “This is really cool!” That is how I made Utah my home. I finished my college education at the University of Utah and went to work for Mountaineer Sports and then Wasatch Touring in Salt Lake City. I had a ball! I skied, rock climbed, ice climbed, mountain biked and kayaked wherever and whenever I could.

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JF: What brought you up to Park City?

Charlie Sturgis: Contrary to what many people believe, I didn’t actually start White Pine Touring. I came in when it had just begun in a teepee near the old Park West. The original owners asked me to manage the business for them and they eventually sold it to me. The timing was perfect and that’s when I added biking to winter sports, and we became a year round outdoor shop. My wife and I made Park City our home in 1985.

JF: How did you get involved with the Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: Jan Wilking and I started establishing the Mountain Trails Foundation, a non-profit organization, to promote trail development around Park City. In 1993 we hired Troy Duffin, our first executive director. Mountain Trail Foundation has been around for 22 years already! I eventually sold White Pine Touring, stayed on for a few more years, and as the Mountain Trail Foundation executive position opened up in 2009, I seized the opportunity.

JF: What was your vision at the start?

Charlie Sturgis: My vision was to make this nonprofit organization work and run more like a business that would become financially sustainable. At first this wasn’t the case, but today memberships represent 40% of our income, 20% to 25% comes from corporate sponsorship, another 20% to 25% is the product of races and events we organize, and the balance comes from special grants. This allow us to make decisions because we have money in the bank.

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JF: Did you find inspiration at other resorts?

Charlie Sturgis: Not really. From the get-go, things have really worked out well for us. Our growth has been organic, and when success came, we decided to share our best practices; IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) is the “mothership” of an organization like ours, but we really stand as the good example out there. We’re in assuming a leadership position in the outdoors community and remain willing and ready to share our expertise and mentor other organizations.

JF: Who was your audience then, and what is it today?

Charlie Sturgis: Based on surveys, we seem to have as many hikers as we have mountain bikers. We support and advocate for non-motorized recreation. Our audience is everyone from grandparents to their grandkids, hardcore athletes and casual weekend recreationists.

JF: Non-motorized? Then tell me, how do electric bikes fit in the picture?

Charlie Sturgis: The dust has yet to settle on the use of e-mountain bikes. At this point, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts: Besides some legal issues related to the way conservation easements are written, the electric assisted bike offers an opportunity to someone who wouldn’t normally be getting out, to enjoy the outdoors. It provides an option to easily leave one’s car home. These two goals can easily be accomplished. If today, someone on an e-bike is straying on a trail by mistake, the overall good outweighs the occasional incursion.

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JF: Over time, has your work evolved or is it still the same?

Charlie Sturgis: My job has become more administrative, something I’m not too crazy about, and more regional, in the sense that our influence reaches beyond Park City which is a very good thing.

JF: What are the opportunities for your Foundation in the greater Park City area?

Charlie Sturgis: We’re working on plans to connect all seven adjoining ski areas by trails, so bikers and hikers can go from town to town and use all lifts in between. I’d like to see the Great Western Trail be completed, but at the same time would like to see a more organic growth to our programs, so we don’t get carried away by doing too many things, too fast, and lose control over the users’ experience.

JF: Is the local business community supporting what you do?

Charlie Sturgis: Yes, they are supportive and they would be foolish not too!

JF: How do you see Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension fitting into the overall picture?

Charlie Sturgis: Anytime someone is willing to let us build a trail across their land, as it is the case with the Bald Eagle Homeowners Association, we should jump on the chance! Steve Graff, Deer Valley’s Ski Patrol/Mountain Bike Manager, wanted us to get involved with the build. Deer Valley’s Mid Mountain extension is going to provide an easier way down the mountain for the typical family, a gentler trail should make it a lot easier for mom, dad and the kids to get down in confidence. No matter what the size of trail infrastructure a resort can offer, it is important to think of easier access and egress points.

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JF: How can readers of this blog help Mountain Trail Foundation?

Charlie Sturgis: All non-profit organizations often go unnoticed and the Mountain Trail Foundation is no exception. Any contribution, no matter how small, is always meaningful and in the long run, contributes to the non-motorized cause!

 

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 3

Loose

Our second “L,” “loose,” is all about letting the bike work under you. As in any athletic endeavor, it’s important to keep your body loose while biking. In allowing your arms and legs to move long and short you gain more suspension than just what’s on your bike. Having a death grip on your handle bars and riding rigid will only leave your body fatigued and you will constantly get thrown off balance. The looser you ride, the more fun you’ll have moving with the terrain, not bracing against it.

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Doug allows his body to work with the terrain, flexing and extending through the trail’s rollers.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 2

Look

“Look” is the first of what we like to call the “Four L’s.” For both inexperienced and experienced riders a common tendency is to look just ahead of your front wheel.  This does not allow you to anticipate what is coming next and makes us ride defensively. Being able to anticipate line choice and braking zones as well as the looking through corners and technical zones of the trail are the keys to a successful ride. So keep your chin up and your eyes down the trail.

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Doug demonstrates how to look beyond your front tire. His bike is turning but his eyes are already looking to the next part of the trail.

We hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

#DeerValleySummer Mountain Bike Tip Series – Week 1

Hi! My name is Lara and I am the Senior Communications Coordinator for Deer Valley Resorts. Each Thursday of the #DeerValleySummer I’ll be sharing a mountain bike tip from our Mountain Bike School. Today we kick it off with the “Neutral Position.”

The neutral position, also known as the “attack” position, is an effective tool used in handling the more technical aspects of mountain biking. In the neutral position you should be standing on your pedals, both feet parallel to the ground, in a loose athletic stance with elbows out and chest low. This allows for movement of the bike under your body and can be especially useful when going downhill, coming to a change in pitch or terrain, or any rough or technical section. In this position you are not pedaling, but already have momentum to propel you forward on the trail. Think of the neutral position as a foundation for being able to do more on your mountain bike – staying seated limits the possibilities.

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LB2015.07.15.dougneutral1croppedWe hope you enjoy our weekly mountain bike tips. Please remember that they can help but will not eliminate risks, as mountain biking is a dynamic sport. These tips are meant to help you build skills and progress for a more enjoyable mountain biking experience.

 

This Bike Doctor Makes Housecalls

Troy Michaud started Flying Sprocket, a mobile bicycle repair service a few years ago. I have used it for the past two seasons to my utmost satisfaction. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Troy to learn more about his unique business.

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JF: Troy, what brought you to Park City?

Troy Michaud: I came from the East Coast; I was working as a technician in a bike shop, then I traveled to Utah on a ski trip and decided to stay. First in Salt Lake and now in Park City; I’m still here seven years later.

JF: What got you into the bike business?

Troy Michaud: I was road bike racing, I was busy “chasing points” all over, east of the Mississippi, holding a semi professional license, and having fun with it. I was training, exploring and meeting all kinds of new people. I took it as far as I could while I was still holding a 40-hour a week job on top of it; a lot of work, but definitely well worth it!

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JF: How would you describe Flying Sprocket?

Troy Michaud: It’s a mobile bicycle repair service.

JF: How did you come up with the idea?

Troy Michaud: While I still was in Salt Lake City, I was wondering what could I do for myself, be my own boss and still stay in the bike industry? I was afraid of a brick and mortar business and of the seasonal nature of a ski town, but I wanted to do something very unique. After seeing mobile dog grooming services and mobile car detailing around, I thought why not the mobile bicycle service? Here I am, four years later, with more work than I know what to do with.

JF: Which services do you offer?

Troy Michaud: Three quarters of the work I do are tune-ups. This means all gear adjustments, brake adjustments, bike cleaning, checking all the nuts and bolts. Then, if the bike needs parts, I’ve got plenty of wear-and-tear products on my van, like chains, cables, brake pads, tires and tubes. I can special items within 24 hours, just like your typical bike shop would.

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JF: How far do you go to service your clients?

Troy Michaud: About seventy-five percent of my clients are located within the Park City  general area. I’ll occasionally do some work in Salt Lake and I even have a client in Bountiful.

JF: How does your service work?

Troy Michaud: First clients set up an appointment. I follow up by calling them to make sure all needs are covered. The only down-time for the customer is the time I’m working on the bike in their own driveway.

JF: Do you go on trails?

Troy Michaud: Not really. I’ve done it on occasions when I wasn’t busy elsewhere, but it’s only an exception.

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JF: What are the most overlooked maintenance steps by riders?

Troy Michaud: It definitely is the wear-and-tear aspect of the bike. Brake pads, drive train including crank, chain ring and cassette. Of course, keeping a bike clean is very important.

JF: How often should people bring their bike for professional service?

Troy Michaud: It depends on riding frequency: If they ride one or two days a week, they can get away with one tune a year. If it’s four times a week, about two hours each time, it should at least be twice a season. More than that should be scheduled even more frequently. Mountain bikes will require more frequent servicing than road bikes.

JF: From your own standpoint what are the advantages of using your services?

Troy Michaud: Convenience is by far the greatest advantage. There’s hardly any downtime with your bike. All shops have great technicians; you can have a great experience with one particular person, but if you bring your bike back, it might not be the same individual working on it. With me, you know that I’m the same person, each time, working on your bike.

JF: How can people contact you?

Troy Michaud: A few different ways. There’s my website FlyingSprocket.com, email me at troy@flyingsprocket.com , or call or text me at 435 640 1006. If I cannot take your call, leave a message or send me a text at this same number, and I’ll get back to you that same day!