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Of course you hurt, it's supposed to hurt. So keep pedalling!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Part 1: A Bicycle is a Unicycle with a Training Wheel

When I was 14 years-old I decided I wanted to work on my balance. I bought a Schwinn unicycle with proceeds from my paper route. I had no idea how to ride a unicycle. I had even less of an idea on how to learn to ride a unicycle.

My older brother taught me how to ride a bike, which in retrospect, would constitute cruel and unusual punishment in any court in the land!

I was on my own trying to learn how to ride a unicycle. I spent many hours pedaling my unicycle back-and-forth across the driveway using the garage door for support. I fell off a lot!

Slowly, very slowly, I started to get the hang of it. At first I could do just a few peddle strokes without leaning against the garage door. Then all of a sudden I felt a surge of confidence and I took off down the driveway. It worked! I could ride a unicycle!

I learned how to pivot the unicycle, balance without moving, backup, hop sideways, and jump over stuff. I could stand up, move the seat out of the way, and pedal just standing on the wheel.

The coolest thing I could do was go up and down stairs! I used my unicycle to collect from my paper route customers. The tips rolled in! I could almost always get to the door on my unicycle, ring the doorbell, take the money, make change and give the customer a receipt, without getting off the unicycle!

In the last 40 years, unicycles have become really cool.

This is an Nimbus Oregon 26" Mountain Unicycle with a Surly Nate "Fat" tire. This bad boy has a hydraulic disk brake and downhill pedals. For the modest price of $830 you get an all-terrain unicycle that can take on any technical terrain.

But wait a minute - I already have seven really cool bikes. How much trail time is this killer unicycle going to see? It already takes me a week to ride all the bikes I have. I decided to pass on the ultimate unicycle.

Part 2: One of The Best Bike I Have Ever Been On

Earlier this year I attended the Bike Junkies Fest hosted by the Golden Bike Shop. Here is link to my blog about the event:


One bike I demoed really stood out. I fell in love with the 26" Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon XT/XTR PRO.

This bike is a rocket and has 150mm (6") of trail gobbling suspension travel. Although the Mach 5.7 climbed well, the descent was where it shined! When I hit the lower part of Chimney Gulch I just let the bike go!

Here is the lower part of Chimney Gulch. This trail segment consists of anti-erosion timbers, big rocks and steep drops. I hit this nightmare going over 20 mph. I just relaxed and let the bike do the work. The Mach 5.7 floated over the obstacles. Even to glance at the brakes during this rough segment was certain death! At the end of the bumps was a 90 degree corner. I threw the bike into the corner pretty much thinking I was dead meat. The bike tracked through the corner like it was on rails!

I was in love.

But the Pivot Mach 5.7 is really expensive. Even on sale this bike is $6,000. To afford this bike, I would have to part with my Specialized Camber "Little Cam", Specialized Allez road bike, Surly cross bike and my Honda CRF230 dirt motorcycle. I am already selling my Suzuki DL1000 street motorcycle to get a bigger down payment on a new car for my wife.

I already have plenty of great mountain bikes. I had to pass on the Pivot Mach 5.7.

My best bike is a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Expert. This bike is fast! I installed bigger disc brakes to help control speed. "Ultra-Stumpy" is an endurance racing bike. The Pivot is an enduro bike designed for steep technical terrain. However, Ultra-Stumpy has 130mm of travel and can handle bad terrain. I think I am set.

Part 3: Better Ride Mountain Bike Training Camp

I decided to attend a three day mountain bike training camp that will be held in Evergreen, Colorado, on August 15th through August 17th.


I find mountain biking more strenuous than road biking. When I ride my road bike, I pretty much stay in the saddle and pedal. When I ride a mountain bike, I am rarely on the saddle. Mountain biking takes more upper body strength than road riding.

The uneven and loose surface can knock the front wheel all over the place. Even though mountain biking can result in some spectacular crashes.

I consider mountain biking safer than road riding since I regard careless drivers to be a lot greater hazard than a few rocks.

This is a mountain bike trail near Golden called Apex Trail. This trail has a few rocks here and there.

I have a month to get in a lot better shape before the camp. My ankle is healed and I am increasing my running and riding. I have a mountain biking specific strength workout that I have just started.

Even better news I am down 15 pounds!

Thanks for reading my blog.

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  • PDQ1203
    1717 days ago
    "Bike Junkie" Yup, that's you :-)

    Rocks versus drivers? Well, in ordinary circumstances, I'd agree that drivers are way more hazardous. But honestly, Bruce, you put yourself in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances all the time. Are you sure you weren't the model for the Epic Failure poster? Looks plenty hazardous to me!

    emoticon for 15 lbs! Excellent!
    1719 days ago
    Great to see you're back in the saddle and enjoying those rides. You are a beast, enjoy the training camp.
    1720 days ago
    I agree with you about the mountain being safer than the streets! My mom used to get upset about my hiking in the Gila National Forest when she was alive. I told her I stood much more chance of getting run over in town (even on the sidewalk because sometimes people leave the road ha ha) than I did in the mountains! I remember Evergreen, because we lived 35 miles outside of Denver towards Evergreen somewhere (I was 6 when we left so don't remember much) in the mountains and I remember my parents taking us to Evergreen sometimes. Don't remember too much about the town because my memory is fuzzy about my very young childhood LOL but the name sticks in my mind. We moved to New Mexico the summer before I started 1st grade. Kindergarten was an option you paid for back then (dating myself I thing). Glad you get to go to this! I loved the unicycle story. It remind me that I had forgotton that I had a friend in high school who could ride a unicycle. She didn't do it a lot by then, more before I met her I think. She rode it in a local 4th of July parade one year. Small town and I think I only saw 1 or 2 others over the years on unicycles. However lots of people riding street or mountain bikes. Mountain bikes were often seen on the trails when I was in the mountains. I miss those mountains! Love to read your stories!
    1720 days ago
    Just looking at Chimney Gulch makes me nervous. Thanks for an entertaining and informative blog. Have a great time at the camp. I hope you blog about it. It's fun to read about things I would never do but look like great fun when others do them. I could hike those trails, though. emoticon

    1721 days ago
  • BA5454
    Bruce you make me hurt, lol. I loved the trail that had a 'few' rocks! Mountain biking is something I've never done, but I can see why you think it's safer than street/road biking. Hope you have a great time at bike camp! P.S. Too bad the unicycle is out of the picture, it's kind of a neat thing. Had no idea they even made them anymore.
    1721 days ago
    Have fun at camp! Sounds awesome!
    1721 days ago
  • KA_JUN
    MUNI, nice! Good to hear you're out there sending it on the trail! Ride on!
    1721 days ago
    I have a 2013 specialized stump jumper and adore it! Was always a Trek girl up to that point.

    And recently did a 100K Tour de Cure and there was a guy who did the entire thing on a unicycle! What a stud!
    1721 days ago
    I will bet learning how to ride that unicycle has helped you tremendously with riding your bikes on that tough terrain. I haven't ridden a unicycle, but can imagine it's all core.

    Congratulations on your weight loss. I am so happy for you to be back on your bikes! Can't blame you for staying away from cars. That was a very long year for you!
    1721 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/7/2014 10:16:27 PM
    A true bike junkie! Don't ever quit!
    1721 days ago
    Wow…a unicycle! I'm totally impressed!!
    I'm glad your ankle is letting you get out to run and ride. Yay for 15 pounds!!
    1721 days ago
    Down 15 lbs! Nice!
    Yup, just a couple of rocks here and there on the Apex trail :)
    What little (hybrid) off road experience I have, I can't even imagine riding a trail like this.
    I'll stick to hiking for the crazy terrain.
    Training class sounds like fun.
    Ride on & spark on.
    1721 days ago
    emoticon emoticon

    You and your bicycle adventures are an incredible look into the life of an extreme enthusiast. Love it!

    You'll get into shape and you'll have a blast at the camp.

    Congrats on the weight loss. That is awesome!
    1722 days ago
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