We love bicycling as a lifestyle, culture, and sport. We love to ride, build, restore, oggle and sometimes race bicycles. We also love to talk on at great length about our ideas, opinions and exploits involving all of the above. Welcome to our BLOG!

Abandon Your Car is not a slogan or ideology so much as a reminder to all of us to get away from our petro-mobiles as often as we possibly can and embark on life as an adventure by bicycle.

We'll keep you current on the important road and trail beta from our home base in Palisade, Colorado and shower you with our .02 cents about the ongoings of bicycle tribes the world over.

Be sure to tune in for Danny, AKA: the Young Apprenctice, providing the ever important perspectives of a college-bound bike geek and all around brainiac in his NORCAL Updates.

We're glad you're here- look around, drop the Bike Master a line and then get out and ride for awhile- you'll be glad you did!

go to our most recent posting here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the non-structured phase

the best and, arguably, most important thing about bikes is that they are fun. indeed, our mission here at ABANDON YOUR CAR is to demonstrate how much fun can reliably and consistently be had when one gets as far away as possible from an enclosed, 4-wheeled vehicle and takes to the streets, roads, and trails on a self-powered conveyance- AKA: bicycle
natually, when i think of fun and bicycles, my mind wanders to France, which represents to me a Nirvana of sorts for cyclists. they seem to really enjoy their cycling a great deal, (in fact, almost to the point of nuttiness) and when i was last there, observed that the motorists were extremely polite and quite happy to share the road with cyclists. at least in the regions that i visited.

at any rate, here is a cool video with some smooth beats to go with it... from France, of course.

Paris à Vélo (Paris Remix)
Uploaded by Noart7. - Watch original web videos.

uh-oh. now what the heck is going on here?

back in the "olden days" of american cycling, we, as cyclists, often seemed to struggle with our ability to blend with the "social fabric" of the time.
here, this wayward hipster has apparently taken a wrong turn on his way to an early "tweed ride" and now finds himself JRA lost at the local swimming hole. fortunately, it appears that an attractive sun bather is able to get past the ridiculous "cyclist out of context" issue and offer some directions to get him on his way.
what i find most troubling about these images, however, is that the bike's manufacturer felt that in order to sell this fine racing bicycle they were not going to show the guy in wooly racing kit ("tight clothes") at the races with a bunch of other sweaty dudes riding around in circles. instead, they put him at the pool in seersucker slacks w/matching colorway shirt, shoes and beltway in the company of an attractive, scantily clad young woman.

obviously, we were still trying to assimilate the two concepts of "fun" and "bicycle" into a unified theme.

i own a red 1973 Schwinn Paramount very similar to the hipster's above. totally beautiful and original vintage bike. but not once has taking that bike for a ride led to a friendly conversation with a member of the opposite sex, so i sort of doubt the veracity of the ad content. of course, never while riding have i found myself lost at the swimming pool, either.

over the years, so much worry about matching colorways and fashionable tweed has turned some of us into fat, bored and complacent vinyl record curators... like our poor friend in the above photo; Jabba the Cat. (image: fixedgeargallery)

i still want to have fun when i ride and not be too serious about being fashion-conscious all the time. i wear a helmet when riding on the road or trail, but seldom do when urban riding, in the best european tradition.
recently, i was reading one of the blogs that used to be in my favorite blogstack and the writer had a 9 or 10 point code of conduct- a couple of which severely scorned "tight clothes" and expensive bikes and was all on about something called "the slow riding movement".
that was just too annoying, pompous, and self-important for me. they got eighty-sixed from the blogstack because i simply can't abide by such intolerant attitudes and also find that, admittedly, and from time to time, i enjoy riding expensive bicycles at high rates of speed while wearing tight clothes and a helmet.

kinda like this guy: Dr. Fred Rompelberg

well, except without the car, that is.
but 268.831 km/hr is still pretty impressive- even if quite possibly it qualifies him as the biggest wheel sucker of all time.

maybe more like this guy: Steve Gaskey.

fun, fast and dangerous. fast as you want to pedal.

i saw this machine at the great annual gathering of the cycling tribes (AKA: Interbike) a few years back and the owner/builder had a video showing how the thing wound up through the gears and when it reached top speed, the rider hit a button and the pneumatic lift dropped the bike onto the pavement... and the subsequent rubber burnin', tire screeching launch. freekin' awesome.

this week coming up i am looking forward to being out of the snow, some great riding in Fruita, and spending a good deal of quality time with my best buddy. that's right, having some fun and being out on the bikes. not worried about heart rate or intervals or tapering or spending enough time at altitude or fashion or anything like that- also known as the "non-structured phase" of the yearly calender.

i hope all of you will indulge yourselves in a bit of the same.

Monday, October 25, 2010

NorCal Life/Bike/Ride Update 10/25/10

Well, hey there AYC patrons! It's been awhile since my last post, and for good reason. The chaos is ramping up here in Cali, and it's definitely been putting a damper on the amount of riding I'd like to be doing. However, you live with what you get, so I've been taking advantage of every opportunity I have. Anyway, despite the distractions and disturbances -- a few include: debate, huge course load, and the freaking weather -- I have been able to get out there some and do what I really enjoy. Also, that weather thing really only applies to getting out for a road ride because I don't like riding with crazy California drivers in the pouring rain.

These are the results of the last ride I embarked upon, last weekend. Two friends and myself got out onto the trails near my house and by the time we were done tending to several technical mishaps (none pertaining to my machine, I'll note), the weather had turned and the temperature had dropped. However, as a group we decided to acknowledge Rule #9 and power through the next 24miles. Some light rain during a mountain bike ride is appreciated around here, as it makes the fire trails hardpacked and especially fast. However, the last 6miles or so were a little less than fun with sheets of rain, but I actually didn't mind that much. Sometimes, such a huge change to the norm is refreshing...

(It was a lot more sludged up before we decided to ride
an extra three miles to my friend's house to warm up
and feast upon the glorious PB&J's awaiting us.)

Plus, with the arrival of Winter I've been able to catch up on some projects, including replacing my trusty Specialized road shoes. They were great while they lasted, but when you can see the toes of your socks staring out from the toebox, it's a good indicator that they need replacing. So, with the help of $15, I was able to pick up some very lightly used Sidi Genius 3's, that despite their age, vent far better than my previous shoes. The real test will come this weekend, when the same two friends and I embark on a 50mile slog into the foothills. They're not in the best shape either, so we've all allotted a longggg time for the ride. Plus, I don't think I've ever ridden more than 35miles in a single ride. Adventure time!

Some of the other things I've been able to catch up on recently are actually pretty important. I've been able to move several sets of tubular rims onto eBay to fund important acquisitions, such as a quality repair stand and a load of tools to complete my shop. Furthermore, more parts for the Mercian have arrived, have been cleaned, and mounted. That's for another day though. Let's see here, what other bike geek projects am I contemplating? Well, a mountain bike build is in the works, and I'm also soon to acquire another frameset which I might make into a beater fixie for school commuting. However, that's dependent on how I can organize the garage and if one of my friends rides to school as well (buddy system).

Other cycling-related projects currently on the table include all of Bishop O'Dowd High School's cycling club needs and requests. I took on the role of being the spokesman of the club, and, thus, have been requesting sponsorships from a very few select companies. So far, we're receiving a tremendous amount of support and we're very lucky to have such awesome manufacturers backing our racing team this year. I'm also working hard on a logo and jersey design to be completed soon. It certainly is turning out to be a huge amount of work, but it's going to pay off in the end.

So, for Monday November 25, 2010, that's all that I can pull out of my overpacked noggin. Some may call it stress, but I call it life. All that matters right now is that this weekend is looking like prime weather for lots of bike riding, and I encourage everyone to get out if they can. Never underestimate the physical and mental benefits of some good ride time!

And with that, I'm off to bed. Oh, sweet, sweet sleep... Keep the rubber side down AYC patrons!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for saturday 23 october, 2010

riding the Great Western Rim on a beautiful autumn day.

looks pretty nice, eh?


hold your line...

long socks and retro-style wool jerseys are the latest hot fashion trend for fall.


J.P. was definitely enjoying his first excursion out onto the Western Rim.
The Eriksen 29er hardtail singlespeed outfitted with 2.35 Kenda monster tires was the perfect rig for today's wet, sandy conditions- just ask him!

heading for home and avoiding the rain

whenever possible, stay to the left

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fruita, usa trail report for friday 22 october, 2010

fall weather has imposed it's presence upon Colorado once again, and the seasonal pilgrimage of westward-bound cyclists has begun in earnest as well.

one of our Routt county friends and singlespeed 29'er fast guy, J.P. Pougales, is visiting this weekend to take advantage of more favorable riding conditions further to the west.

here's what he looks like putting the suffer on at the races:

image: Joel Reichenberger/steamboat pilot

fortunately, J.P. left his plaid slacks and "race face" back at home, so the ride tempo was a bit more relaxed and definitely more conducive to plenty of smiles amongst the participants. Jen demonstrates here how to enjoy singletrack properly.

recent rains have caused some erosion and "scouring" of the trails. expect to encounter some mud (and once again it bears mentioning; please ride straight through it when you do), but otherwise, conditions are surprisingly good. if you are caught out in a rainstorm miles from the trailhead, the saturated clay will stick to your bike and things are likely to be "not so good" on the hike out.

plan your ride accordingly.

riding into clouds like this might not be problem in places like British Columbia or NorCal, but riding towards an afternoon gulley-washer in the desert
is probably not the best decision one could make. the riders were feeling a bit of weather-related uncertainty at this point on Mary's.

Jen heads towards a hot shower and a cold beverage.

we were quite satisfied with the day's outing, having avoided the rain showers and bagged Rustler's, Mary's, Horsethief Bench, Steve's and a return blast on Mary's to top it all off.

image: GJmountainbiking.com

avoiding the connector back to the frontage road was the best move we made, as another cyclist told us later of his brutal 25 minute slog with a 40 kilo bike portaged on his back.

it's still raining now (friday, 11:30 p.m.) but hopefully the clouds will lift enough for the trails to dry a bit before tomorrow's next adventure.

check these resources for the latest beta:

local radar image


local 10 day forecast

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

autum day on Emerald Mountain

Jen and i went out for a ride on Emerald Mountain the last time she was here in Routt county and a couple of days before the snow started falling for the season. the trails were all open, so we took the opportunity to ride to the summit via the new Quarry Mountain trail (AKA: Steve French's) .

WARNING! above link is NSFW and/or school!

we started calling it Steve French's last year after an adult mountin lion was spotted on the trail by locals and in close proximity on more than one occaison.

all the beetle-kill mitigation has opened up some large swaths of the mountainside. that will be a prime area for some schussgemachen in a couple of months, tell ya what.

after we summited and took in some nice views from the top, we dropped back into the forest. as we were making our way down, i spotted these fresh marks in the damp soil on the side of the trail:

look closely at the bottom and top center of this image and one can clearly see the prints. i'm no wildlife expert, but it ain't no 130 lb. yellow lab from middle Routt that laid those tracks down. just to the left of the prints is the mark of a rider who passed by and probably didn't see the tracks at all.

no doubt about it; after a summer of heavy logging and a year later, there's still a big cat patrolling the trails up there. watch your back and keep the pooches close when you are riding on Steve French's, folks.

apologies for the cell phone images as i didn't carry the camera with me today. just goes to show what you see when you don't have the good camera along with that one time.
the camera we have been using has served well and has documented many adventures. i'm not entirely happy with some resolution issues and shutter delay
while attempting to capture the fast moving action shots. i like to know that if i am taking the time to compose and capture good images, the equipment is going to perform properly and deliver the goods.
having made all of those excuses and disclaimers about the camera, i am hoping that my sweetie will remember me on my birthday coming up (and all of the times out on the trail when i am cussing the shot that i just missed) and perhaps slip a gift certificate for a new one under my pillow before i wake up. or maybe we can at least go together and just look at 'em.

that would be cool, too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

24 hours of moab, etc 2010

For the first time ever, we made it down to Moab for the big hoopla- yee-ha!
We got a bit of riding in before the madness began and then dug our heels in to help the boys from Mesa State and LiveTrainRace.com giterdun.

always in pursuit of rides less ridden, we made sure to do a hotlap on the beautiful "babysteps" before making our way out to the 24hour festivities.

This trail represents a new trend in Moab - bike trails designed as bike trails. The single track is super flowy, the scenery epic and the slickrock is SO MUCH fun...

...all without motos.

This is where we come to escape the noise and the dust and the chaos and still get all that Moab goodstuff. MMM! MMM! Goodstuff!

Enough with the site seeing and lollygagging...
we arrived at camp LIVETRAINRACE.COM and got down to the real business of the weekend- keeping our 3 teams on the go for 24 hours of brutacious desert riding.

Keith and Tony and Dave worked around the clock tuning and cleaning and lubing and retuning, recleaning and relubing (Repeat) the steeds of our 12 riders.
in the midst of their 24 hour mechanic marathon, Dave and Keith were unchained from the workstand and commissioned to fill in for riders unable to complete their laps. They rode like the wind and came back ready for more. Now that is full service!
You guys rocked
Just after 12 noon on Saturday Justin stepped it up for the team. After the spectacle of the Le Mann's style start he is back in the comfort of the bike and finding his groove in lap numero uno. So many miles and so many hours yet to come...the pandemonium of running 1/2 mile through desert scrub to reach the bikes and the startline will be all but forgotten before it is done.
Hours later, 3/4 of the MESA STATE boys (the other 1/4 is, of course, out there ripping through his lap) take advantage of the late afternoon light to figure out the whole helmet light operation. None of these guys had ever raced at night before this weekend. They kept the heat on for the entire 24 hours and earned 3rd place in the Men's Expert division! An amazing first ever trip to Moab!
(i am still a little annoyed they did not stay for the awards ceremony and take the podium in honor of all of those they competed against and all of those who supported their effort, but that beef is for another day gentlemen (-: we'll talk later)

And nearly 24 hours after it all began, as Dave tries to come off the rush of his hotlap (just about 1h 10m on the single speed...smokin'!), we watch the final racers make their final laps.
Within an hour or so this entire tent city will be packed up and carted off. The desert of Moab's "outbackofbeyond" will be quiet again and we will be back home in Fruita looking for a shower and a nap.

Without success, I have tried over and over to share with people the brilliant analogy Rich Geng coined after we were a good 16 hours deep in it and I will try once again:

24h mountain bike racing is like eating a donut- except the opposite. When you are eating a donut it seems like such a good idea, but afterwards, you feel so bad and you really wish you hadn't. When you are racing in a 24hour mountain bike race it feels so bad. Then when its all done, you feel so good and you are really glad you did. Exactly!

**I'm sure there is something lost here without Rich's German accent and a good dose of sleep deprivation...but it works for me. We know we will be back for more (24hours of moab that is- and maybe more donuts too)!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

south routt trail report: new riding area

the Garrity ranch is located just off c.r. 27 (1st driveway on the left, sign says "private") north and west of Oak Creek, Colorado. several kilometers of fresh, alpine singletrack are open to the public already- all you have to do is sign the guest register located in the birdhouse at the end of the driveway. be sure to thank the owners for allowing access to their property and be good emissaries of our sport as well.

the trails are open to hikers, equestrians and cyclists.
no motos.

please leave your dogs at home unless permission is received from the owners ahead of time.

start the ride in Oak Creek. please do not drive to the trailhead- it's an easy, 1.5 km warm-up before the climbing starts.

Colorado white oak is abundant in the area.

the view of south routt and the upper Yampa valley. note the many vocanic cinder cones that remain on the valley floor.

almost looks like California, except that this will be a ski/snowshoe trail in about 6 weeks time.

our good friend John checked out the trails with me on a fine autumn day.

expect to do a bit of climbing. it is called mountain biking, after all.

mm mmmm- singletrack

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ride report for September, 2010

Here is a bit of a rundown on some of the tremendous late summer/early fall riding we have been fortunate enough to get after-

The week before labor day with spring still trying to unfold at about 10,500 feet we made our way to the top of Storm Peak in Steamboat via the sunshine loop and Cathy's cut-off.
We were in a training conundrum as Dave attempted to wind it down for the Steamboat Stage Race just days away and I attempted to keep the focus on getting my altitude on for the Breckenridge Fall Classic still 2 weeks out. It seemed to work since a brutal fullscale effort on my part pretty much allows Dave to noodle along, enjoy the views and "stretch his legs".

DAVE: (La, la, la, aren't these flowers pretty? Oxygen, schmoxygen. La, la, )

(Oh, look, some crazy tree mushrooms...La, la, la, la)

JEN: ( I think this is a great spot to lay down and die, okay?)

We kept it together, had a lot of fun over our back to back weekends of stage racing (visit our blog posts about the Steamboat Stage Race and the Breckenridge Fall Classic), both rode well and without injury. YEAH!

And now that we are mostly finished racing for 2010 (of course, we will head down to the 24hours of Moab next week as support crew for our LiveTrainRace heroes- GO!GO!GO!) we are making more time for ambling adventure rides.

This is last weekend up on the Grand Mesa- overlooking the Grand Valley in the distance. We had a magical day exploring the alpine singletrack with cool fall temps (nearly 20 degrees cooler than 30 minutes away at the house in Fruita). We rode a 20 mile out and back to the very end of the Mesa in the background- (this, of course, means going into the Area 51/ X-Files zone with all those radio towers and antennae you see twinkling in the night) AWESOME.

The West Bench Trail that travels along the top of the Powderhorn Ski Area and onto the Mesa is super varied, passing through pine forests, glowing Aspen groves, lava fields and alpine meadows ...

and, at times, nearly disappears into the sorrounding landscape the way leave covered Autumn Trails often do...spectacular.

Hooray for adventure rides!

We got so pumped up on "non-structured ride" goofballs, the next morning we got up early and rode the Zion curtain/Western Rim mini-epic out at Rabbit Valley (this is a cool Garmin link far beyond our luddite ways...). We haven't ridden that whole loop since early spring.

The rainy summer has certainly left its mark- but the trail was in great shape overall. I love this ride- even with the stupid old-school dirt bike portages- because of the juniper forest and the old burned out juniper forest, the vertiginous views of Rabbit Valley, the rock ledge descent and the long ride back to home base along the Western Rim.

Note**Don't try to ride this alone if you haven't been out there- even though the BLM has recently put up some signs at the Zion trailhead, the connection to the Western Rim (using part of the Kokopelli trail) and/or the boresville-snoresville jeep road return to the I-70 are often missed and it just isn't that fun to be out there alone in the bentonite jungle trying to sort it out.

All in all, we have had a great close to a challenging summer. There is a ton of "non-structured" autumn riding yet to be done, the light is fantastic, the evenings are cool and we are off the training train for awhile. Yee-ha!

(and don't believe the hype- troy rarick did not singlehandedly envision, build and put these great rides on the map. As you no doubt know by now, I find the guy to be a boring megalomaniac and a CRAPPY builder of unsustainable trails with little regard for the environment or anything outside of his EGO and self centered profit mongering. Yeah, that's a brilliant idea- we'll all just build trails wherever and however we like (huh, nothing like the lowest common denominator out there tearing up the desert). Don't get me started on his pathetic "bike shop" where they stock shot glasses and pink thong underwear, but no actual bikes...what a jag)