A request to take my 5-minute mountain bike skills survey

MTB skills surveyAmong the features I plan to offer on my new Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills website is an online community of mountain bikers interested in mtb skill development.

Before I do that, however, I need to better understand people’s experiences with it, what deters people from engaging in it, what their rationale is for wanting to do more or not, etc. Stuff I need to get through my Thick Skull.

So I’ve developed a quick online survey to help me and I’m asking you to take it. It’s at:

http://www.surveymoz.com/s/119999PETWJ

It should only take 5 minutes or so to complete.

UPDATE: The survey is now closed.  150 responses with hundreds of helpful comments. 

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Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills: a new venture for the Mountain Bike Geezer

For those of you on my email list, it’s not news that I’ve launched my new venture, Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills.

But it’s time I announced it for the rest of you who visit this site regularly or occasionally.

Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills - home page

See my blog post on Thick Skull for details on the venture.

I’ve also set up a Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills Twitter feed (@ThickSkullMTB) and a Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills Facebook page.

I’ll still be posting here regularly on the Mountain Bike Geezer blog. But anything to do with skills or learning to ride I’ll either post on the Thick Skull MTB blog or provide more details about it in my revamped email newsletter.  Continue reading

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Photo album: Cottage Grove Bike Park grand opening

Last night’s grand opening of MORC‘s Cottage Grove Bike Park was a big hit.  Props to Trail Steward Chance Glasford and his crew of Dirt Bosses for building an amazing facility, and to the City of Cottage Grove for its involvement.

Pump track, Cottage Grove Bike Park 4x track, Cottage Grove Bike Park

The bike park currently has a 4X race track and two pump tracks. Phases 2 and 3 will include a tot track, slopestyle course, mountain bike skills course and dirt jumps.  Construction for some of those additions will begin soon, as the bike park won the 2014 Bell Built contest, Midwest regionContinue reading

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How to get my new video: Light Hands, Heavy Feet – Developing the Habit

If you’re a subscriber to my Mountain Bike Geezer news email list, you’ll receive an email this week with a link to a first draft of a new video I’ve created titled:

New Mountain Bike Geezer video
Light Hands, Heavy Feet: Developing the Habit

I’m changing the nature of the Mountain Bike Geezer news email list as part of a new online venture I’m developing.

Up until now, I’ve only used the the email list as way to alert people to new blog posts. I’ll still do that but I’ll also be using it to distribute some exclusive how-to-ride related info.  And when my new venture launches, people on the list will be the first to know.

Subscribe button

So if you’re reading this blog post on the website but you’re not on the list,  click here to subscribe.  It only takes 30 seconds or so.  And if you’re not happy with what I’m sending you, one click gets you off the list.

 

 

Gilly gets a city bike from Erik’s because Rob knows how to sell

Erik's Bike Shop, Highland Park Rob Stepaniak and Gilly Wigley

When my grown and gone daughter Gilly told me a couple months ago that she was in the market for a new bike, I told her to consider shopping at the newly opened Erik’s Bike & Board Shop in Highland Park. When she gave me thumbs up, I called the store and manager Rob Stepaniak answered the phone.  Continue reading

Jeff Dowhen and Eric Crouthamel

Two guys who help make Ray’s Indoor Bike Park special: Jeff Dowhen and Eric Crouthamel

When I rode Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee the first time last year for the  two-days-for-the-price-of-one weekend for IMBA members (see my four blog posts tagged with Ray’s), I met Marketing & Sponsorship Manager Jeff Dowhen. He was quite appreciative when he later saw my blog posts about the weekend and we’ve kept in touch a bit since.

The Friday April 25th Lee Likes Bikes one-day skills clinic I signed up for was scheduled to take place at the Capitol Off Road Pathfinder (CORP) CamRock trail near Madison but trail steward Chuck Hutchens closed it late in the day on Thursday due to the all-day rain. I put Lee McCormack in touch with Jeff to see if Ray’s could accommodate the clinic and fortunately, Jeff answered his cell phone at 10 pm and gave the thumbs up.

Jeff Dowhen and Eric Crouthamel, Ray's Indoor Bike Park, MilwaukeeWhen I brought both my X-Cal 29′er and Scott 24 park bike into Ray’s on Saturday to practice what I’d learned on Friday, I was frustrated because I’d been having brake issues with both bikes that I wasn’t able to solve. (I’ll spare you the details.)  When I saw Jeff and off-handedly whined about it, he pointed out the on-duty bike mechanic for the day, Eric Crouthamel, and said to ask him to take a look.  Continue reading

Lee McCormack

6 weeks after taking a Lee Likes Bikes clinic, what have I learned?

I attended a Lee Likes Bikes one-day skills clinic in Wisconsin back in April.  (See the page on his site with more detailed information about his one-day clinics.) The clinic was scheduled to be held at Capital Off Road Pathfinder’s (CORP) CamRock trail system in Cambridge, WI but heavy rains forced a change of venue to Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee which I think worked out well for us taking the clinic.

Lee McCormack at Ray's Indoor Bike ParkFirst, Lee paid Ray’s daily admission fee for each of us, so that was cool.  Second, by not having to ride a trail to get to sections appropriate for teaching, I think Lee was able to pack in more instruction in the same amount of time.  And lastly, Ray’s has two pump tracks and many different sizes of table tops; CamRock doesn’t. I definitely needed work on those skills so that was good for me .  He’d never been to Ray’s and I think he was pleased with how it turned out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him offering a series of clinics at Ray’s next season.  Continue reading

Park Tool School at Erik’s Bike Shop: basic bicycle maintenance from JJ and Brad

When I signed up to take IMBA’s Level 1 ICP course a few weeks back, I noticed that one of four Level 1 prerequisites was:

Ability to perform basic trail side repairs (flat tires, broken chains, and shifting adjustments)

I’m not bad at fixing my flat tires but I’ve got zero experience with broken chains. And it takes me forever to properly adjust my derailleurs.

Park-Tool_banner

So I decided to register for the Park Tool School novice bike maintenance class offered by Erik’s Bike & Board (one of six different courses available), as I’d heard good things about it from my buddy Curt Benson here in Northfield who took it last year. (He’s been generously loaning me his Park Tool shop repair stand and tool kit.)  Continue reading

The new Energy Kick drink: just the right shot of caffeine without the other junk

Energy Kick 300wMy wife Robbie is a marketing exec with a wellness company, and early last week she returned from their annual convention in Salt Lake City with some of their new products, including a few bottles of a caffeine energy drink they call Energy Kick.

I’ve never been a fan of the various energy drinks (eg, Red Bull, Monster, etc) because of the amount of sugar and other questionable ingredients they contain. I do like my morning coffee but avoid it the rest of the day as it disrupts my sleep.  Continue reading

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IMBA’s Level 1 Instructor Certification Program: intense, fun, valuable

If I could only use one word to describe my experience as a student in IMBA’s Level 1  Instructor Certification Program (ICP) course over the weekend, it would be ‘intense.’

The feeling of intensity began building several days prior when a packet arrived in the mail with the 80-page Level 1 Ride Guide. It included the instructions:

ICP Level 1 course materialsEnclosed is your ICP course manual along with a pre-test for your upcoming certification event. Please complete this open book test and bring the completed pages with you to the course along with your manual.

Pre-test? I was a little bit annoyed. WTF is this, high school? But as I did my homework, I noticed a degree of seriousness kick in as I realized that I wanted to not only perform well and get whatever passing grade was needed but that I really wanted to learn this stuff.  Time to put on your big boy pants, I told myself.

Jake Carsten and Kat Sweet at Valley Bike and Ski Lebanon Hills MTB park, west trail head Mike Holme, Kat Sweet, Jake Carsten

Continue reading

Singletrack, gravity, bicycling issues & more