From the Skunkworks

November 29, 2014 at 10:09 pm
Illustration of new Step-on/Step-off Banana Feature planned for Grasshopper Trail.

Illustration of new Step-on/Step-off Banana Feature planned for Grasshopper Trail.

I’ve got a whole gaggle of new ideas in the planning stages for Grasshopper Trail build season this year. Here’s a taste…

 

…and Yes, it is to scale.

Big Start to Grasshopper Build Season

November 17, 2014 at 8:52 pm
Angus Campbell pushing rocks on Grasshopper Trail

Angus Campbell pushing rocks on Grasshopper Trail

Saturday was the first trail work day of the 2014/2015 build season on Grasshopper Trail at Galbraith Mountain. We roughed-in a very looooong berm just after the Alexis Step-Up. We also removed two stumps that were in the way of the intended future route and threw a hell of a lot of dirt. Everyone put in their time and worked hard, but if I had to nominate someone for trail builder of the day, it would go to six-year-old Angus Campbell. I had mentioned to the group that we could use rocks as fill for the berm and the next thing I know Angus is pushing sandstone chunks 50 feet up the hill one right after the other, most which are larger than the size of his head! (see picture on the left). And he did this for pretty much the entire afternoon!
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It’s That Time Again

November 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm

It’s that time of year again. when the rain falls, the ground softens and the weather is right to dig. It’s when I start to feel that irresistible urge to pack up the shovels and saws and return to Galbraith Mountain to build. It’s time to work on Grasshopper Trail…

View of the last berm turn before the Alexis Step-Up.

View of the last berm turn before the Alexis Step-Up.

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Gettin’ His Klunk On

November 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Fred Phillips is a local bike wrench by day and one hell of a shredder when the weekend rolls around. Here, he recounts his experience at the Klunker Worlds race. Haven’t heard of it? Good, that’s just the way that Klunker promoter and rider Kevin Hall likes it. -Mike

Klunker Racing in Western Washington

    by Fred Phillips

    Klunking can be a hard sell. Why would a normally sane person with perfectly reasonable bikes want to sacrifice 40 years of technological evolution to skid mostly out of control, possibly in costume, down a mountainside?

    Klunker Worlds Flyer
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Grasshopper Trail Days for Fall 2014

November 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

Fall is trail time. Me and my friends (that means you if you live in or near town) will be continuing work started last fall on Grasshopper Trail on Galbraith Mountain here in Bellingham, WA. We made some significant progress in tuning older, existing features as well as building new jumps last season and we’re going to continue that down the hill by building feature after feature, jump after jump, one right after another until the whole hill is covered in roller-coastery, bermy, jumpy, flowy goodness. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, come help! All are welcome and appreciated!

All work days start at 12 noon and go for 3 to 5 hours. Bring gloves and a snack. I provide the tools. Just ride up on your bike and meet me at the Alexis Step-Up Jump (see picture below). You can’t miss it! Take Fire Circle trail at the top of the Wall fire road climb, turn left on Grasshopper (There is a sign now) and ride down the trail until you see the jump.
The Alexis Step-Up Jump on Grasshopper Trail

Grasshopper Trail Work Days

  • Saturday, November 15, 2014
  • Sunday, November 30, 2014
  • Saturday, December 13, 2014
  • Sunday, December 28, 2014

I will also do additional days as time allows. Click on the contact tab and email me your name, and phone number and I’ll make sure you get added to the email and text lists.

Thanks!

-Mike

It’s All a Blur at Shoot The Trails

October 20, 2014 at 3:50 am

Riding Shots

I was unable to attend the WMBC’s Shoot the Trail’s, but I was able to be there in some small way. Burke Hovde was nice enough to come up to Galbraith Mountain and take some pictures for the event. In about 3 hours of shooting, he put together some really sweet motion blur shots of myself, Alex Lewis and Fred Phillips. If you went to Shoot the Trails, then you probably saw me there. Well, not me in person, but you know what I mean. Thanks for coming out Burke!

Volunteers

August 26, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Anyone that has put in any significant amount of time in building bike trails or dirt jumps can probably tell you that there are a variety of reasons to come out to help. There are the social reasons – Volunteering to do trail building is a great way to meet people who like to ride mountain bikes. There’s the guilt – Using a free resource that someone else has made and you do nothing to help build or maintain sometimes feels like eating from someone else’s cookie jar. But in my experience, there are two main reasons that people come out to work – personal satisfaction or they just want to help. Self-satisfaction is a powerful motivator, of course, but the purest of reasons is – in my opinion – just wanting to help. Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to see plenty of the latter and I thought these amazing people could use some credit for going above and beyond in their efforts to do just that.

 

The Early Morning Crew

Shaping dirt requires getting up pretty early in the morning sometimes. Freshly built berms and jumps require lots of tamping to get everything hard-packed. So, after each weekend build day I would go up before work to put in two hours to shape and tamp. I have to do this before I go to work because of my schedule at the bike shop, so I start riding up the mountain to work at, or before 6am. You would think that I would spend a lot time doing this sort of thing alone. I mean, who wants to wake up at 5am and climb out of bed on a rainy, dark winter morning to ride up a mountain with shovels on backpacks to do strenuous manual labor by headlamps? Fortunately for me, Dan Froula, Chad Anderson and Finn Hopper all do. On the wettest of days, in the worst kind of weather, these guys came out to help.

Dan Froula and Chad

 
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A Date with Schwalbe’s Magic Mary

July 22, 2014 at 5:55 am

This week begins a new feature on the website – gear reviews!  The first of the series is brought to you by local multi-discipline cyclist and bike-nerd, Dan Benowitz. Dan loves nothing more than turning knobs – or tearing them off  for that matter –  to get to the bottom of what works and what doesn’t in bike technology. Here he reviews the Magic Mary Tire from Schwalbe.

 

Dan Benowitz Picture Dan Benowitz

- Rider Weight:170 lbs
- Experience level: Expert
- Test Bike: Specialized Demo 8
- Tire Pressure (tubeless):Wet F/R: 20/23,  Dry F/R: 25/28

 

 

 

Tire Overview
(Tires used for review were 26×3.35 Vert Start compound with super gravity casing)

Schwalbe Tire Company has been making bicycle tires for over 40 years. In the last few years, they have stepped up their game by introducing the new super gravity line of mountain tires. The much-awaited Hans Dampf, Magic Mary, Dirty Dan and Rock Razor tires for 2014 were at the top of my list to ride and put to the test. In this review, I will be focusing on specifically the Magic Mary. As a rider I primarily enjoy riding trail and downhill terrain with an emphasis on the descending aspect. I am an expert level rider with a knack for speed on descents. I ride everything from steep tech to super-fast flow trails.

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Grasshopper: Version 2.0 with Matt Durand

May 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I’m not the first guy with a vision for Grasshopper. I’m actually the third. Here is video of Matt Durand shredding it 3 years ago after tippled it’s length and then added wood and dirt work. Back then he called it Sloppy Seconds, but it was still Grasshopper. It’s fun to see how it’s changed.

Sloppy Seconds from Brad Walton on Vimeo.

One Month in 3.5 Minutes

April 21, 2014 at 9:23 pm

We spent four days building it in February and March. Here it is condensed down to 3 and a half minutes of video.

Building the Alexis Step-Up from manualmike on Vimeo.