The Amer­i­can South­west is one of the most adven­ture-endowed regions in the world, and when it comes to moun­tain bik­ing, few oth­er places can com­pare. Whether you’re look­ing for down­hill, sin­gle­track, or just an excuse to see some awe­some scenery, the Amer­i­can South­west won’t leave you disappointed.

moab utahThe Whole Enchilada—Moab, Utah
If you hap­pen to find your­self in Moab, you can basi­cal­ly point your moun­tain bike in any direc­tion and find some amaz­ing rides. Con­sid­ered one of the best moun­tain bik­ing des­ti­na­tions in North Amer­i­ca, if not the world, Moab con­tains the right com­bi­na­tion of out-of-this-world scenery, a wide range of high-desert rid­ing and canyon cruis­ing, and a wel­com­ing com­mu­ni­ty that real­ly ties every­thing togeth­er. Throw in all the oth­er excite­ment that Moab has to offer, includ­ing two near­by Nation­al Parks and plen­ty of pub­lic land for camp­ing, and this South­west des­ti­na­tion can keep your wheels turn­ing and your wan­der­lust sat­is­fied for years to come.

While routes like the Slick­rock Bike Trail and the Moab Rim Trail are worth check­ing out dur­ing your vis­it, if you want to get a taste of every­thing Moab offers, the Whole Enchi­la­da Trail encom­pass­es mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent trail sec­tions and scenery for an incred­i­ble ride. Includ­ing more than 25 miles of rid­ing, span­ning the dis­tance between the top of the La Sal Moun­tains and the banks of the Col­orado Riv­er, the Whole Enchi­la­da is not for the light-heart­ed or first-time rid­er. Shut­tles are near­ly a must to access this trail, and win­ter rid­ing atop the La Sal Moun­tains is pret­ty much out of the ques­tion, mak­ing for late shoul­der sea­sons and sum­mer the best time to take a bite out of the Whole Enchilada.

Turkey Springs / Brock­over Mesa Area—Pagosa Springs, Colorado
While it might be up to some debate whether south­ern Col­orado can be con­sid­ered the Amer­i­can South­west, if one thing can be agreed upon, it’s that the south­ern foothills of the Rocky Moun­tains con­tain excel­lent moun­tain bik­ing. No bet­ter exam­ple of that can be found than the town and com­mu­ni­ty of Pagosa Springs, about 50 miles north of the New Mex­i­co bor­der, which boasts an impres­sive num­ber of trail sys­tems near­by. If you are new to the Pagosa Springs area or are just look­ing for a well-test­ed clas­sic, the Turkey Springs / Brock­over Mesa area in the near­by San Juan Nation­al For­est is right for you. Fea­tur­ing more than 100 miles of trails to explore and link up, even if this isn’t part of the Amer­i­can South­west, this lit­tle slice of Rocky Moun­tain rid­ing is well worth exploring.

black canyonBlack Canyon Trail—Phoenix, Arizona 
Tout­ed as the Ari­zona Out­back, the Black Canyon moun­tain bike trail sys­tem entices many rid­ers from Phoenix and beyond to explore the trea­sure trove of trails found at the base of the Brad­shaw Moun­tains. Par­al­lel­ing the bound­ary of the Prescott Nation­al For­est, the Black Canyon trail encom­pass­es more than 60 miles of trail, with plen­ty of access to explore the whole thing over a hand­ful of week­ends. Rid­ers on the Black Canyon Trail can expect to cruise by saguaro cac­ti, sprawl­ing sage­brush and many oth­er dis­tinct fea­tures of the Sono­ran Desert, giv­ing rid­ers ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to stop and enjoy the scenery. With so many miles to choose from and a seem­ing­ly end­less desert envi­ron­ment to con­tend with, it’s best to car­ry some knowl­edge of the area or the appro­pri­ate guid­ance to help you nav­i­gate the desert land­scapes safely.

white mesaWhite Mesa Bike Trails—Albuquerque, New Mexico
Locat­ed just about 50 miles north of the bike-friend­ly com­mu­ni­ty of Albu­querque, the White Mesa bike trails await with oth­er­world­ly sur­round­ings to explore. Fea­tur­ing a daz­zling dis­play of desert geol­o­gy, rid­ers can expect to nav­i­gate through an envi­ron­ment of vibrant col­ors, rocky out­crop­pings and fast-flow­ing sin­gle­track. With just over eight miles of trails to explore, expe­ri­enced rid­ers can make the White Mesa a quick morn­ing route, but if you have time, the entic­ing ter­rain and far-away feel­ing of this remote rid­ing will encour­age you to stay longer. White Mesa is an excel­lent win­ter rid­ing option, as opposed to the sum­mer months when the heat can be sti­fling and dan­ger­ous, mak­ing these New Mex­i­co moun­tain bik­ing trails a great way to bat­tle the win­ter blues.

Odessa Moun­tain Bike Park—Odessa, Texas 
Cre­at­ed and oper­at­ed by the Per­mi­an Basin Bicy­cle Asso­ci­a­tion (PBBA), the Odessa Moun­tain Bike park pro­vides a slice of sin­gle­track heav­en amidst a desert land­scape. To explore the nine miles of trails found at the Odessa Moun­tain Bike Park, you must wear a hel­met and you also must be a mem­ber of the PBBA ($25/year). Pay your dues though, and you’ll quick­ly see the val­ue. Fea­tur­ing two aban­doned caliche pits that define many of the sprawl­ing inter­me­di­ate routes, and some flowy ele­va­tion changes, the Odessa Moun­tain Bike park also has a begin­ner loop that encir­cles the entire prop­er­ty. Con­nect­ing from there, more expe­ri­enced rid­ers can hit obsta­cles like rock gar­dens and ridge­lines, show­ing every­one who vis­its the Odessa Moun­tain Bike Park a good time.

bootleg canyon

Boot­leg Canyon Moun­tain Bike Park—Boulder City, Nevada
Locat­ed not far from the glim­mer­ing lights of the Las Vegas strip, Boot­leg Canyon Moun­tain Bike Park is an inter­na­tion­al­ly known des­ti­na­tion for down­hill, cross-coun­try and some of the most fun you can have on a moun­tain bike. Fea­tur­ing more than 36 miles of inter­con­nect­ing trails that mean­der through desert land­scapes, with occa­sion­al glimpses at the sparkling waters of Lake Mead, all lev­els of rid­ers can find some­thing to chal­lenge them­selves at Boot­leg Canyon. Boul­der City’s full-ser­vice bike shop, All Moun­tain Cyclery, pro­vides shut­tles to the top of the down­hill sec­tions through­out the year, mak­ing for a fast way to under­stand why the Inter­na­tion­al Moun­tain Bicy­cling Asso­ci­a­tion has dubbed Boot­leg Canyon one of their EPIC Rides.

 


 

San Luis Obispo County’s (SLO CAL) stunning scenery is best taken in slowly. Whether you prefer to take in the sights on foot or in the saddle, SLO CAL has no shortage of opportunities for every experience level.

 

SLO CAL’s abun­dant hik­ing trails pro­vide end­less oppor­tu­ni­ty for expe­ri­enc­ing the land­scape up close. The rolling hills are a vibrant green in spring, and turn to gold in the sum­mer. A chain of vol­canic peaks, known as the 9 sis­ters, tran­sect SLO CAL’s most promi­nent val­ley and paint a strik­ing land­scape from San Luis Obis­po to Mor­ro Bay. Many of them have well-kept trails and we high­ly rec­om­mend you take advan­tage of the bird’s eye view! 

For south-coun­ty hik­ers that want to gain some ele­va­tion and ocean views, you can’t beat the Avi­la Ridge trail or the new­ly-opened Pis­mo Pre­serve. Avi­la Ridge starts in Shell Beach and climbs the tow­er­ing oak-filled hill­side that sep­a­rates the small beach towns. For those will­ing to make the trip to the peak, the tree swing at the top will make you feel like you’re swing­ing on the edge of the world. The Pis­mo Pre­serve to the south offers hikes that will take you through some of the most pris­tine coastal hill­sides. While it’s cur­rent­ly only acces­si­ble with a guide, the expe­ri­ence  is well worth it and expect­ed to be open-access in the near future.

If moun­tain bik­ing is more your style, you’re in luck. SLO CAL is home of some of the most awe-inspir­ing sea-side moun­tain bik­ing trails in the coun­try. Take a dri­ve just south of Los Osos & Bay­wood Park to Mon­taña de Oro State Park and you’ll find your­self climb­ing hills of sage and descend­ing with sweep­ing views of dra­mat­ic seas. The mel­low bluff-top trails pro­vide great options for begin­ners and those seek­ing an up-close view of the crash­ing tides below. Pack a lunch, you’ll have a hard time tear­ing your­self away from this dreamy single-track.

Adja­cent to Mon­taña de Oro is Mor­ro Bay’s South Jet­ty. The long sand­spit is home to oth­er-world­ly dunes and is a must-see if you’ve nev­er had the expe­ri­ence. Sev­er­al trails wind between the bay and the sea and are acces­si­ble only by foot or kayak. This human-pow­ered expe­ri­ence is one you won’t for­get any­time soon.

Of course there are more than enough impromp­tu-oppor­tu­ni­ties to stretch your legs and enjoy the SLO CAL beau­ty. The north coast of High­way One is flush with all-access board­walks. Pull off near the famous Piedra Blan­cas Light Sta­tion and take a walk around the 19th cen­tu­ry grounds, or make a stop just north of Cam­bria at the Fis­call­i­ni Ranch Pre­serve. The untouched bluffs and drift­wood sculp­tures offer a unique view of the entire coastline.

Wher­ev­er the trail takes you, from the hill­tops to the sea, we’re sure you’ll find what you’re look­ing for. 

 

G e t t i n g    T h e r e
Now with direct flights from Den­ver, San Fran­cis­co, Seat­tle, Los Ange­les and Phoenix, get­ting to SLO CAL is eas­i­er than ever. Come stay and hang out, we dare you to get bored in this explorer’s paradise.


Ray Petro
Ray Petro

For hard­core moun­tain bike rid­ers, Ray’s MTB Indoor Park in Cleve­land is a leg­endary des­ti­na­tion. Built out of the neces­si­ty for a place to ride dur­ing the long Ohio win­ters, the park is the brain­child of Ray Petro, a man who saw the poten­tial of such a facil­i­ty, and pur­sued that dream even when every­one around him said it was a fool­ish endeav­or. The sto­ry of how this place first came togeth­er is the sub­ject of a new book enti­tled Ray’s: The Inspi­ra­tional True Sto­ry of the World’s First Indoor Moun­tain Bike Park by Johnathon Allen; it shares the tale of how Ray was first saved from sub­stance abuse and addic­tion by his love for moun­tain bik­ing and lat­er came up with the con­cept that would even­tu­al­ly become the MTB Indoor Park. It is an inspi­ra­tional sto­ry filled with wit, charm, and humor that is sure to enter­tain read­ers – whether they are moun­tain bik­ers or not. Recent­ly, we sat down with the author.

Johnathon Allen
Johnathon Allen

THE CLYMB: How did you orig­i­nal­ly meet Ray? When did you become friends?
JOHNATHON ALLEN: The first time I spoke with Ray was in 2008 when Moun­tain Bike mag­a­zine asked me to write a pro­file on him. But we didn’t meet until 2010 when I went to the Cleve­land park to do a sto­ry on Women’s Week­end for Bike. We’ve always had a nat­ur­al rapport.

THE CLYMB: What ini­tial­ly drew you to Ray’s sto­ry? What made you want to write a book about his life?
ALLEN: He’s had such a crazy unique life. He’s real­ly one of the last peo­ple you’d expect to change moun­tain bike cul­ture. I think that’s what makes his sto­ry inter­est­ing. When I did the pro­file for Moun­tain Bike I knew there was a great book there—one that would be appeal­ing to addicts and entre­pre­neurs alike, not just moun­tain bikers.

THE CLYMB: What did you find more interesting—the sto­ry of Ray’s life or the tale of build­ing the world’s first indoor moun­tain bike park?
ALLEN: Giv­en the sor­did cast of rock stars, mob­sters, coke deal­ers, and FBI agents … this is not your typ­i­cal moun­tain bike sto­ry. The two are almost one and the same. But if I have to make a dis­tinc­tion, the sto­ry of how the first park mate­ri­al­ized is pret­ty amazing.

THE CLYMB: What traits do you see in Ray that you believe helped make him a suc­cess­ful per­son? 
ALLEN: Ray is relent­less at what­ev­er he sets his mind to. And he’s very com­mit­ted to his vision. Once he gets an idea in his head, he obsess­es about it in a way nor­mal peo­ple don’t. It’s a qua­si-man­ic trait com­mon to a lot of the suc­cess­ful cre­atives I’ve known. 

THE CLYMB: You’re a moun­tain bik­er your­self. What was your reac­tion the first time you heard that some­one had built an indoor moun­tain bike park? 
ALLEN: Actu­al­ly, a friend in Cleve­land told me about Ray’s the first year it opened. My friend sug­gest­ed I come out and do a sto­ry on it. But I just shrugged it off since I live in Ore­gon. We have world-class trails. Why would I want to ride inside a fac­to­ry build­ing in the Mid­west? How inter­est­ing could it be? I was very wrong.

THE CLYMB: And when you rode the park for the first time? What were your thoughts?
ALLEN: Wow.

THE CLYMB: In writ­ing this book, did you dis­cov­er the secret of what makes a suc­cess­ful indoor moun­tain bike park?
ALLEN: I like to think so. But there’s some­thing inef­fa­ble about Ray’s. If you’re going to reach the kind of cult-like sta­tus that entices peo­ple to dri­ve cross-coun­try, I think you need more than just a cool prod­uct peo­ple real­ly want. You need soul.

Ray Petro
Ray Petro

THE CLYMB: Why do you think no one else has been able to repli­cate Ray’s suc­cess? Is he the secret ingre­di­ent?
ALLEN: I wouldn’t rule it out. But the fact is, usu­al­ly oth­ers try­ing to do the same thing set­tle for a build­ing that just isn’t big enough. The Lum­ber­yard in Port­land is a good exam­ple. You can only pack so much bike wattage inside a for­mer bowl­ing alley. Ray was very for­tu­nate to hap­pen on the Cleve­land ray­on fac­to­ry when he did. It gave the idea the room to grow.

THE CLYMB: What is the most inspir­ing aspect of Ray’s sto­ry for you per­son­al­ly?
ALLEN: If a crazy, off-the-rails coke­head par­ty ani­mal can change his life so rad­i­cal­ly that it changes the world, then any­one is capa­ble of anything.

THE CLYMB: What has the response from read­ers been over the book so far? 
ALLEN: Peo­ple love it. It’s a great story.

THE CLYMB: What mes­sage do you hope read­ers take away from the book?
ALLEN: I guess that depends on who they are. If they’re an addict, I’d want them to real­ize they have the pow­er to rad­i­cal­ly change their lives for the bet­ter. If they’re an entre­pre­neur, I’d want them to feel inspired to keep pur­su­ing their crazy dreams. If they’re a moun­tain bik­er, I hope it makes them want to ride the parks. There’s noth­ing else like them.

THE CLYMB: What’s next for you? Any oth­er books in the works? New projects?
ALLEN: I have some fresh pitch­es mak­ing the rounds. We’ll see what catch­es. I’d love to do anoth­er non-fic­tion biog­ra­phy. Few things are more intrigu­ing to me than telling real sto­ries about real people. 

You can get a copy signed by Ray him­self on the book’s offi­cial web­site

Dan Lucas and daughter

Dan Lucas and daughterDan Lucas is a fam­i­ly-man, a walk­ing bike part ency­clo­pe­dia, and a pre­vi­ous Air­borne spon­sored rid­er. A few weeks ago I asked Dan to help me build a moun­tain bike for less. Here today is a write up of his process for get­ting a bike-shop wor­thy ride for a blue-light spe­cial price.

Brad Lane: Before you start buy­ing, what are some of the first things you should con­sid­er?
Dan Lucas: There are a ton of things to con­sid­er, the first thing you want to do is decide just what type of rid­ing are you plan­ning on doing (cross coun­try, down­hill, all-moun­tain, etc.) It might be a lit­tle daunt­ing to fit it into a cat­e­go­ry, but the bet­ter you can nar­row it down the eas­i­er it will be to pick the right frame to start with. Where you live may play into what kind of frame you buy, but bud­get will be the biggest fac­tor. Sus­pen­sion is flashy and will make you more con­fi­dent. But it’s not always the best course to take for a new rid­er, or for a bike on the cheap. Looks for a sol­id hard tail. You will save a ton of mon­ey and learn some valu­able bike han­dling skills that will trans­late into a full sus­pen­sion bike when you upgrade in the future.


BL: What are some of the online resources you need to keep an eye on?
DL: The inter­net is an excel­lent source of clas­si­fied ads for used parts. This is where you save your mon­ey, but you need to know the right ques­tions to ask and what to look for. The first thing you will want to look for after deter­min­ing what kind of bike you want are the big things. The three I usu­al­ly focus on first are the frame, wheels and fork.


Dan’s Tips for Buy­ing used parts on the Web.

  • If it looks too good to be true… It is.
  • Be patient, don’t buy the first one you find.
  • Watch out for scams. Trades are nice but can often be means for a scam. Set up the trade through your LBS and pay it for­ward by buy­ing a part in-shop or pro­vid­ing a six pack.
  • NEVER buy sight unseen. Ask for detailed pic­tures and if they don’t deliv­er, do not buy.
  • Hag­gle! Most peo­ple have for­got­ten you can ask for a low­er price.
  • USE PAYPAL. Do not send a check or mon­ey order, most peo­ple won’t take that any­way. Pay­pal will guar­an­tee a pur­chase up to a cer­tain amount. You can also get a Pay­pal receipt, fur­ther avoid­ing you from get­ting scammed.
  • Bun­dle. When you offer some­thing like “150 bucks,” include ship­ping in your offer. “150 bucks plus shipping.”
  • Buy Local! Craiglist.

BL: Do you need in-depth bike mechan­ic knowl­edge to suc­cess­ful­ly build a bike for less? If so, where you can obtain this? Are bike shops will­ing to help?
DL: Yes and No. You can find most info you will need online. But noth­ing beats using a real life per­son to help you along the way. Most areas will have some sort of bike club, if not more than one. Look them up on the web or stop by the local bike shop (LBS) like Under­dog Bikes (shame­less plug!) and talk to the guys behind the counter. Chances are they know some­one or will be will­ing to help in their off time in exchange for liq­uid pay­ment and greasy piz­za. Search for clubs in your area on Face­book. This is a great way to extend your net­work of friends in the sport, find rid­ing part­ners and learn the ropes. Your LBS is a great way to have your bike put togeth­er for the first time. They will install it right, make sure the bolts are torqued prop­er­ly, grease the things that need grease, and have it rid­ing smooth. Some parts are tricky to install like head­sets, or a crown race, these are impor­tant parts and if installed wrong will cost you mon­ey and time. Take it to your LBS, make some friends, and sup­port local.


BL: Will a bike built from ran­dom parts ride dif­fer­ent­ly then a bike pulled out of the box?
DL: Once again a tricky ques­tion. I will say that yes it can ride dif­fer­ent­ly, but if you’re patient and make smart choic­es it can ride just as good or bet­ter than new. I don’t rec­om­mend buy­ing every part used. Some things are just nev­er the same after a hard sea­son of rid­ing like cas­settes, chain rings, and wear­able items. Beware of used things like derailleurs, they may “work” but  may be bent or bro­ken. If you do buy some­thing used that’s tech­ni­cal­ly impor­tant, like a set of brakes, have your LBS bleed them and install new pads. They will feel like new regard­less of the scratch­es and miss­ing paint. A fork is also a place where you can save some mon­ey. I like Rock­shox as a brand to start with. You can find them used for a steal and they are super easy and one of the most inex­pen­sive brands to have ser­viced. A fresh set of rings and wipers on a fork will do wonders.


BL: So if you do every­thing cor­rect­ly, what kind of sav­ings can you expect?
DL: I would say by doing it this way you can save hun­dreds. A brand new mid­dle-of-the-road trail bike will set you back two to three thou­sand dol­lars. A basic used build for a ride can run any­where from $1,200–1,500, with the right choic­es. 


Take it from Dan the Man, who has built more bikes then his wife can count, Franken­stein bikes done right can ride hard and won’t drain your check­ing account. All that’s left to do after you’ve assem­bled your mas­ter­piece is put on your hel­met and fly through some sin­gle track.

 

DAKINE Reveals What Girls Really Want

Since 1979, DAKINE has held their fin­ger on the pulse of the action sports and out­door lifestyle scene. They spon­sor some awe­some girls who kick some seri­ous ass in their respec­tive sports.

What Girls Want is a video series put togeth­er by DAKINE Europe, and they ask that exact ques­tion: what do girls want?

Curi­ous? Peep this video, the answers will inspire you to get out and do the things you are pas­sion­ate about.

Dan­ny Mac has done it again with the release of yet anoth­er amaz­ing edit that is sure to top the Inter­net video charts.  In this video Dan­ny turns a young boys imag­i­nary, action fig­ure bike park made of toys into real­i­ty. Watch Dan­ny ride this life size toy land on his trusty steed. Dan­ny MacAskill is tru­ly a real life action fig­ure that knows how to “play bikes”.

The bike that’s being rid­den in this video has no sus­pen­sion, no hydraulic disc brakes, no car­bon fiber, and def­i­nite­ly lacks a drop­per seat post. Back in the day, it all began with beefed up cruis­er bikes being pushed to the top of hill by a bunch of Cal­i­for­nia hip­pies. They called it “Klunk­ing,” and this was the birth of moun­tain biking.

Tech­nol­o­gy has come a long way, but it’s safe to say that these OG’s were hav­ing just as much fun play­ing in the dirt as we are today on our high­ly engi­neered rigs. Check out this video of UCLA foot­ball play­er Carl Hulick get­ting back to his roots, and prov­ing that hav­ing fun on the trails is not all about rid­ing the lat­est and great­est gear.

On June 1st and 2nd, moun­tain bik­ers from around the world will gath­er at 16,000 feetincabikes above sea lev­el on the back­side of one of the sev­en won­ders of the world, Machu Pic­chu, Peru, for the ulti­mate test of moun­tain bik­ing prowess. When the start­ing gun fires the mass chaos begins as 100-plus down­hill rac­ers descend 5,900 ver­ti­cal feet to be the quick­est to the fin­ish line.

Rid­ers take to the course for three runs over the course of a week­end. Qual­i­fy on day one and you’ll get a chance to com­pete in two timed runs on the sec­ond day. Who­ev­er gets the low­est com­bined time of those two scores claims victory.

incadhThis will be the sixth iter­a­tion of the Inca Avalanche and some of the biggest names in the sport will be present, includ­ing moun­tain bike street guru Aaron Chase and Red Bull Ram­page com­peti­tor Wil White. This race has attract­ed some of the fastest down­hillers in the world as well, such as Cedric Gra­cia, Bri­an Lopes, and Chris Van Dine to name a few. You don’t have to be a top dog to com­pete though, because this race is open to anyone.

Test your met­tle on this gnarly course and expe­ri­ence Machu Pic­chu in a whole new light. Reg­is­ter here. Or, if com­pe­ti­tions aren’t your thing, check these guys out to expe­ri­ence Machu Pic­chu and its sur­round­ing areas in style.