Russ’s Bike Camping Adventure

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West Virginia’s state motto is “Wild and Wonderful”. It certainly lived up to it last weekend. Three bike packers set out on an adventure in Pocahontas County WV. Durbin, a tiny town with no stoplight, 1 restaurant, 1 bar and a coal-fired steam engine, was our starting point. We rode the West Fork rail trail for 19 miles steady climbing at 1 or 2% the whole way. The trail followed West Fork Greenbrier River to the headwaters. It was very scenic and enjoyable.
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The High Falls Trail was next up in our plan. The trail is pretty, but it is not really bike suitable. The vast majority of the 1 mile climb was not suitable for mountain biking. However, the descent was mostly suitable. It took us an hour and a half to conquer the mountain. The pay-off was the High Falls of the Cheat River, an amazingly beautiful waterfall. We arrived late in the afternoon and that resulted in quick camp site selection. That is unfortunate because later exploration revealed a few really nice waterside campsites just far enough from the falls to dampen the roar of the falling water.

 

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I awoke early on Saturday and enjoyed the stillness of the deep woods with a hot cup of coffee and watched the water. To quote an Eagles song “I had a peaceful easy feeling”. We decided that a return trip over the mountain was undesirable. That left us with following the train tracks to the town of Bemis. We tried to leave before the first train of the day but we were too late. The engineer waved as the train rolled by and he did not seem to be annoyed with our presence. About ¾ of the way down we saw a very scenic section of the river and decided to take a break.  We walked down the hill to the river bank and enjoyed the water for about 45 minutes. Mike fished a little and we all swam in the swiftly moving water.  We finished the train track and faced our first steep road climb out of Bemis. Even though it was steep, the smooth surface was welcome after the track side trail. We stopped in Glady and ate lunch in a picnic shelter by the road, thank you Glady Church of the Brethren!  The next section turned out to be much nicer than I had anticipated. The road was free of traffic, smooth, shady and at a reasonable grade. We then descended right back down to the Laurel Fork Campground. Our next leg was to the Sinks of Gandy. This ride was gorgeous! The hills were a little steep but still rideable. It felt like we were in Colorado above the tree line, except we could breathe! I have never seen a creek that flows into a hill before, it was really cool and creepy. The birds were circling in the cave and it was difficult to know they were birds and not bats.
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Our final day started with a climb of 1.5 miles to the top of the ridge. We were rewarded with mostly descent for the rest of the trip! The road was shady, smooth and again, rarely traveled. We stopped at Middle Mountain Cabins, a rustic setting in the Wilderness area that would be a great getaway for a group of friends desiring solitude with a roof over their heads. They are managed by the Forest Service if you are interested. We investigated all of the intersecting roads for possible detours. We settled on route 17 which followed a river through a beautiful forest. This road ended at the West Fork Rail Trail mile 7. A downhill finish makes the memory sweeter. We stopped at one of the two restaurants in town to reward our efforts with a burger, some fries and two pitchers of beer. We all appreciated “chairs with a back” one of life’s underappreciated pleasures.13450961_10209954952053822_2218187690506137048_n

For this trip Russ rode an Shimano 8 speed internally geared Surly OrgeThe Bike Lane helped Russ choose from a variety of touring and frame bike bags to carry his supplies.  If you are looking to go on a bike camping weekend, stop by the shop and we can assist you in getting everything you need for a great adventure!

 

 

Trek and 650B: Wheel change is on the way

Trek Remedy and Slash 650b

Trek Remedy and Slash 650b

  Bike models change every year, but the last few years have seen some big changes in mountain bikes, specifically in wheel sizes.

From the early days of the off-road sport, 26-inch wheels have been the default size. Then riders found that a 29-inch wheel had advantages, mostly in speed, over the old standby.

Twenty-niner bikes flourished. Trek even designed and sold a unique “69er” mountain bike with a 29-inch front wheel and a special front shock coupled with a 26-inch rear wheel.  But the “69er” never caught on.

Over the years, the sport began to branch off from its original disciplines of downhill and cross-country racing into Enduro, free-riding, dual-slalom, big air jumping, etc.

The 29ers are now dominating cross-country racing and recreational riding while Enduro and free-ride enthusiasts have flocked to long-form, multi-day trail events and jump-fests.  The 29er just doesn’t work for those Jack-be-nimble riders.

Enter the 650b wheel, a.k.a. the 27.5-inch wheel.  Smack between the 29er and the traditional MTB wheel, the 650b is proving to have performance characteristics that work well for Enduro and other trail events that require both speed and nimbleness.

Wheel Size

The 650b also allows small-to-average size riders of both genders to enjoy the benefits of bigger wheels without having to grapple with a much bigger frame.  What’s not to like?

The 29er has built its army of followers and bike makers have been keen to build dozens of 29er designs.  But many have also been hesitant to go with the 650b/27.5 wheel.  Companies built some limited runs of 650b compatible bikes, but everyone has been waiting for the next shoe to drop or be put back into the history bin.

But now, the next shoe has dropped, and dropped from a very high place. Trek has announced that it is making two new lines of 650b compatible mountain bikes:  A six-bike line of 650b Remedy bikes (three carbon and three aluminum frames) and three aluminum Slash 650bs.

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Trek influences the bike market and the market will have to respond.  But the market better act fast.

“After a decade of alternative wheel-size development, testing refining and debating, it has become clear that for trail riders wheel size is primarily about riding style,”  Trek global MTB brand manager Travis Ott told BIKE Magazine. “29 will be fastest for XC racing , but as we get into more trail riding, 650b and 29 can both excel on the same trail. Then it really comes down to how different riders tackle the same trail in their own way. So the Remedy now has the confidence-inspiring 29er option and the more playful 650b option.  The Slash gets the new small-wheel treatment with a ground-up 650b chassis.”

The 26-inch wheel isn’t disappearing, but it will be just one of several options for mountain bike riders.

Let The Bike Lane know how you feel about the 26-27.5-29 evolution.

How do you ride?

How do you ride?

Introducing the All New Speed Concept: Beyond the Wind Tunnel

Trek Speed Concept

Fastest just got faster.

Speed Concept keeps its position way out in front with a new frame design, insanely clean front end, next-level integration, game changing storage solutions, and kinder, gentler setup and adjustment.

The new Speed Concept rules the wind tunnel, of course, but the biggest innovations were born in the real world. Yaw conditions on real courses, aerodynamics that get better and better as you add a rider and storage, simpler design that radically improves setup and adjustment times… real-world advantages with real-world results.

The Bike Lane Trek Tour de France Update

Team RadioShack-Leopard 2013

After the ninth stage of the 100th edition of Le Tour de France, it is a good time to see how Trek — the world’s best bicycle brand — is fairing at the world’s most-important cycling race.

The RadioShack-Leopard-Trek squad got into the mix early in the Tour with Jan Bakelants winning stage two by just one second and also  capturing the overall leader’s yellow jersey.  The team also took over the lead in the team classification. It was also the 27-year-old Belgian’s first time in the Tour and the first win in his five years as a pro racer.

“I see in the final that it’s going to happen and I knew I would probably also take this yellow jersey,” he said after the podium ceremony.  “I told myself, ‘Come on, hold this. It’s going to be the nicest day of your life!’ ”

Bakelants got the win riding a Trek Madone 7.9 with Bontrager components and Aelous wheels.
Trek Madone Project One Team Radio Shack

“It is so incredible for me to take this jersey and to give something back to the team after all the misery I’ve had this year,” he said. “When I crossed the finish line I was overwhelmed with joy.”

RadioShack-Leopard-Trek’s best placed rider going into the first rest day is Andy Schleck, 15th place overall, four minutes behind race leader Chris Froome of TeamSky.  He is riding a Trek Domane 6.9. The team is in fifth place in the Team Classification, 14:07 behind leader Movistar Team of Spain.

Andy’s brother Frank is sitting out a one-year ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency for using a banned diuretic in last year’s Tour.  Frank Schleck has not been asked to rejoin the team when his ban ends July 14.

Spartacus returns to the arena: 

Winning the Paris-Robaix

Spartacus celebrating his win at Paris-Robaix

Former world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara has announced that he has signed with Team Trek for the 2014 season.  The RadioShack-Leopard team ownership has sold its racing license to Trek Bicycle Co., effective January 1, 2014.  The Swiss time-trial and classics specialist extended his contract with the team for three years and expressed an interest in staying with the brand following his retirement from racing.  In the spring, he rode a Trek Domane 6.9 to victory in the two biggest cobblestone classics: the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and Paris-Roubaix.

Luca Guercilena, who will remain as team manger, confirmed the news. “Fabian signed a contract for three years, to 2016,” he told website sporza.be. “With Trek we want to score especially in the classics. Fabian plays a crucial role, he is the heart of the team. Now that Fabian has chosen for Trek, we can start to talk and negotiate with the other riders. We hope to make a nice and great team with Trek.”
Fabian Cancellera

The Surly Krampus: A little fat and a lot of fast

Fat Bikes

The Surly Krampus- the perfect Fat Bike.

The Fat Bike phenomenon is growing, and with it some new bikes that have all the pluses of going Fat (cushy ride over rocks, mud, snow, roots, sand and looks cool) with some added speed on singletrack.

The Surly Krampus is big but not fat: Think of it as a 29er+.  Its 29 x 3” Knard tires on 50mm Rabbit Hole rims get you rolling fast off the start line while providing high-volume cushion without waddling in tight turns and switchbacks.

When you’re ready to relax, the Krampus burrows through beach sand like an otter and will glide down snowy hills like a two-wheeled sleigh  with disc brakes.

If you’re looking to add a new bike to your quiver, the Surly Krampus will scratch your niche with versatility and lots of eye-catching style. And with an MSRP of  just $1959, you wallet will still be fat.  The Bike Lane has the Krampus in stock today!

Trek adds mountain bikes to Project One

Annie Last

Project One has been one of the brightest jewels in the Trek crown, offering dazzling custom parts and paint schemes for road and triathlon bikes. Now the exclusive service has expanded to cover the new Trek Fuel EX 9.9 29er, the Superfly 9.9 SL and the Superfly Pro FS 100 9.9 SL.

Tracey Moseley' Fuel EX 9.9 29

“Customization is at the core of what mountain bikes are all about since Gary Fisher and company first created them in the 1970’s. Project One is the modern embodiment of that,” said Trek Mountain Bike product manager John Riley. “Project One mountain bikes are something that our customers have asked about for a long time and to be able to offer riders so many options is awesome.”
Emily Batty Superfly 9.9 SL

Here’s what you can customize:

Saddle: Pick one that’s just your size and just your style.

Seatpost: Dropper or rigid with choice of offset.

Rear Shock:  Pick your favorite and it will be tuned at Trek’s California Suspension Shop.  Remote lock-out is standard for Superfly FS.

Drivetrain: Custom gearing from Shimano and SRAM: 3×10, 2×10, 1×11. Your pick.

Tires: Choose from Bontrager Tubeless Ready suited to where and how you ride.

Color Details: Fork decals, headset, spacers.

Fork:  California tuned, remote lockout standard on Superfly models; no lockout on EX forks.

Wheelset: Choose a Bontrager wheelset from hardy to featherlight.

Frame color:  Choose from Select Series or Signature Series.

Ross Schnell Fuel EX 9.9 29

Trek now has 13 bike models in its Project One program.  Designing your own is easy.  Start your Project One design today! Need help figuring out the right specs to choose from?  The Bike Lane has a Project One design center at each location.  We can help you choose the right components and show you the full range of P1 paint schemes.  Your dream bike is only a few clicks away.

The Bike Lane's Project One Center

The Bike Lane’s Project One Center

Todd’s TBL Bike Maintenance Classes

TODD’s BIKE MAINTENANCE CLASS

There’s a right way to maintain your bike, but for many of us, it’s a complicated and messy job.  Now there’s the “Todd Way.”  Todd Mader is co-owner of The Bike Lane and also an accomplished mechanic, racer and comedian.

Comedy and the art of bicycle maintenance is unusual, but Todd will keep you smiling in his “Basic Maintenance Class” held in the Springfield store every last Sunday of the month at 10:30 a.m.

You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, you’ll learn how to fix a flat, clean and lube your bike, and do minor trailside adjustments! Bring your bike if you like and get Todd to address your maintenance issues.

Todd makes technical issues a snap with his funny stories and easy-to-remember tips about keeping your bike running smooth. 
Space is limited 
so sign up now!

The Bike Lane requires a $25 non-refundable deposit to sign up for our maintenance class. However, as our gift to you, you will receive a $25 gift credit to use towards any purchase when you attend the class.  That makes it essentially free.  And the laughs are on us!

Register here