The Eric Mickelson and the Big and Floaty

May 31, 2017 at 9:20 am

IMG_0247

 

A friend on Instagram asked me what I liked best about this photo of me on the Big & Floaty on Grasshopper. It’s too much for an IG post which is why I’m putting it here.

Reasons I like the photo:

  1. The light in this shot is amazing. Eric has a great eye for light. The light creates this amazing visual drama.
  2. It shows this thing works. People have said that my jumps wouldn’t work since I first started building on Grasshopper. but guess what? They do. And here’s your proof.
  3. It’s showcases how nice the area around the jump is now. This spot was a logged out demilitarized zone, before work began. There were stumps everywhere, slash piles and nothing much growing except briars. We replanted ferns and worked around the native plants that were there to bring it back to life. I replanted 20 or more sword ferns from the planned route of the trail to the sides including the area on riders right of the set-up jump. It was a pain in the ass, but the fern in the foreground, silhouetted by the sun makes it all worth it. This area was so terribly ugly before and now it’s beautiful!
  4. Light is amazing in this shot. When I look at the picture, I find myself half expecting a velociraptor to poke it’s head out from behind that fern. It’s the light and I love that!
  5. It makes the jump look otherworldly. The shape of the dirt is very square and obviously not natural and this shows so clearly in the picture. One of my goals with building jump trail is to have dirt work that is smooth and square and intentionally shaped sitting in the middle of in a beautiful natural setting. To get this, I replant ferns and did a ton of weeding and relocating slash piles while doing dirt work. When finishes theres this contrast between the angular man-made looking dirt shapes and the natural vegetation that makes it look as if the jump is made of stone and dropped there by aliens. There is a scene in Stanley Kubrick movie, 2001: A Space odyssey at the beginning of the movie where the apes are crawling towards a perfectly smooth and angular rectangular door shape that is stuck straight upright into the earth. This photo captures this better than any other. Pretty sure it’s the light.
  6. It captures how relaxed the jump feels. It took me a long time to be able to ride something this size and to be able to build something like it as well. The jump is slightly hipped with a hard right hand turn right after it. This could have made it awkward to ride, but because the time put into tuning and good spacing, it feels totally natural. It just puts you right where you need to be. I dubbed it the Big & Floaty the first day we started building on it. I declared what it would be before building had really even begun. Definitely the funnest jump I’ve every built. I think this shows through in the photo.
  7. The light is amazing.
  8. Pride in my style. It took me a decade to ride the way I do. I tend to be a bit critical of myself riding, especially with jumping. But when I do see a photo of me that looks like, it’s pretty gratifying. This picture does that. I look relaxed and stretched out. It looks like I’m having fun and I most certainly am! It so great that that translates.
  9. Also, the light is pretty sweet in this shot. I think I may have mentioned that at some point, but hey. It’s true!

 

Thanks for you eye and hard work on this picture (and many others), Eric! If you haven’t checked out his pictures, check it his website at ericmickelson.com. Thanks to Coast Mountain Culture for publishing this shot in their summer 2017 issue. I’m really stoked.

Mike

GRASSHOPPER T-SHIRTS!

March 3, 2016 at 7:29 am

The time has come, my friends. The Grasshopper signature T-shirt are ready to order now! If you would like to get one for yourself, now is the time! Use the donate button and note in the description your desired style, size and color.

Shirt Style, Size and Color Options:
1) Unisex or Women’s
2) Sm, Med, Lg, XL, 2XL
3) Grasshopper Green or Gray

Include your email and physical address when you order. Price will be $27 including shipping and tax with PayPal. This is a preorder. Shirts should arrive on March 7, 2016 with individual orders will go out after.

Proceeds go toward trail building efforts on Grasshopper Trail at Galbraith Mountain here in Bellingham, WA with a percentage going to Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition for trail advocacy in greater Whatcom County.

DEADLINE for preorders is MARCH 5, 2016!

Here it is, the Grasshopper Trail T-Shirt! LEFT PANEL -  FRONT of the SHIRT including illustrations of features built during the last 3 seasons. And in the center is the trails namesake. RIGHT PANEL - BACK of the SHIRT including the names of all volunteers that have come out to help since November 2013. Names are in alphabetical order, of course.

Here it is, the Grasshopper Trail T-Shirt! LEFT PANEL – FRONT of the SHIRT including illustrations of features built during the last 3 seasons. And in the center is the trails namesake. RIGHT PANEL – BACK of the SHIRT including the names of all volunteers that have come out to help since November 2013. Names are in alphabetical order, of course.

New Video on the New Entrance

January 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

I have an update coming soon for what we’ve been doing on Grasshopper sometime this week. Until then check out this time lapse video of building a jump on the new entrance which is scheduled to open this coming May.

 

Grasshopper Entrance Jump Building (Time Lapse) from manualmike on Vimeo.

Local Shred

December 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

I’m about to have a lot going on around here, but in the meantime feast your eyes on some local shred. This is video of local rider and builder Drew Trimakas laying down a path of destruction. on the Galbraith Mountain trail, Orient Express. I do like a good “Boy and His Dog(s)” edit. Anyway, here ya go…

Life On The Edge

May 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

I love jumping my bike with friends and I love following or leading one or more people down a trail or a jump line. There is this incredible since of connectedness that I feel when jumping my bike in close proximity to another rider I know and trust. It’s an amazing. But every now and then, things take a turn and I get an up close and personal look at how close I can get to the edge without actually falling off. Here, Fred Phillips leads a run on Grasshopper Trail that I don’t think I will ever forget…

 

Getting RRAD at Roosevelt

May 18, 2015 at 9:31 am

You just gotta get rad sometimes and this local program to get kids on bikes and caring for the trails is one hell of a good start. This is video from one of their recent bike rodeos for kids. Good fun for a lot of kids. Can you imagine this as your school day?! For more information on the RRAD (Ride, Run And Dig) Program see their Facebook page here. Thanks to Chris Mellick for heading for inviting us out!

Working Out The Kinks

May 18, 2015 at 6:47 am

This has to be one of the most challenging features that I’ve ever tried to integrate into bike trail, in the most challenging zone that I’ve ever tried to build it. It’s been a rough build season with plenty of setbacks, but the testing has begun on the Lewis Brothers Rhythm Method. In this video Scotty Savo and myself test it out.

 

End of the Building Season

April 25, 2015 at 5:51 pm

April is the official end of the trail building season for me and my dedicated crew. I’ll have pictures and a write-up of what we’ve been working on for the last 5 months within the next week. I will also have an official trail opening (for the season) coming up in mid-May. If you thought that you might like to try riding some of the features, but wanted to see someone do it first, then this would be your opportunity. If you have no desire to ride it, but you want to see it done. That’s fine too. This is your chance. Either way, it should be good fun. If you would like to attend, use the contact tab and send me your phone number and email and I’ll make sure that you know about it when it happens. Be sure to include “Trail Opening” in the notes field.

And if you came out to dig this past winter, thanks! I could not do this with out people like you!

Mike

Grasshopper Update Fall 2014

January 8, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Here we are, back in the trail building season and working on year two of the Grasshopper rebuild on Galbraith Mountain. After two months of work, I think it’s a good time to put together an update on what we’ve done so far and share my plans are for the rest of the season.

The freshly packed dirt on the Alexis Step-Up landing and exit berm. This is what the rider sees upon landing the Step-Up. (There's just something about freshly packed dirt that makes me feel all giddy inside.)

The freshly packed dirt on the Alexis Step-Up landing and exit berm. This is what the rider sees upon landing the Step-Up. (There’s just something about freshly packed dirt that makes me feel all giddy inside.)

 

Read More…

Sponsor

December 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

John JohnstonSuccess in life doesn’t just come from within. It comes from the people that believe in you. I’m lucky enough to have a growing short list of people that do. John Johnston, owner of Chuckanut Engineering, is one of the original backers of my trail building efforts as well as this website. Thanks for all your support, John!

 

 

 

 

 

Chuckanut Engineering Logo 2