Monday, November 12, 2012

Singlespeeding: One Year In

About this time last year, I wrote a blog post about my then new singlepseed. One year later, I find myself drawn more than ever to this bike. Out of my collection of rigs, it is certainly my favorite.

How did this happen? How did a bike which delivers one gear, exponentially more pain on climbs, and zero rear suspension become my first choice for fun?

There are a number of reasons, some of which are easier to understand for those who already attend the Church of One True Cog:

SIMPLICITY: The shifting system of modern bikes is precise. It is also heavy, complex, expensive and prone to misfire and even self destruction in mud and weather. I choose to ride this bike frequently in the colder months partly because of its simplicity. After a ride, just hose it off, wipe it down and hang it up.

CHALLENGE: This is the part that non-singlespeeders find most confusing. They shake their heads as they see us standing up, grunting away at climbs on which they can gear down and ascend with relative ease. But here is the thing: I don't want "relative ease". Twenty years into this mountain bike thing, I look for different experiences, including hard ones that test my stamina and determination. I already know that my uber plush bike can zip down rock gardens with ease. Question is: how can I perform without all this technology?

WEIGHT: This point is easiest to understand: the bike is six pounds lighter than my full suspension pig.

TRAINING: When I compare my times on my usual local loops, the singlespeed almost always bring me in faster. Why? Because you have to go faster/work harder on climbs, there is no choice. See aforementioned Challenge section.

My singlespeed does not work well for all rides, I would never take it to Grouse Ridge, nor would I choose it for rides with exceptionally steep, prolonged climbs. But this bike has found a place on my local trails. And in my heart.

See article from last year.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Starting in on Cyclocross

Yesterday, I participated in my first cyclocross race, right here in Grass Valley. I went into this event with a wide open mind and low expectations of myself, which allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the experience.

The Condon course has a reputation of being very challenging and technical as far as x courses go. The dry weather and late start time for my category left the trail very beat and loose. Sections were like the moon surface, allowing those skinny cross tires to kick up dust and blanket the faces and lungs of racers.

After the start, I quickly settled into a too-fast pace that I could only maintain for two laps. It took some time to acquaint myself with the intensity and speed of everything. I fouled up my first obstacle crossing (too many distracting cowbells) and was too conservative attacking some of the tight turns. But it is OK: I get to be a rookie!

I placed rather poorly (18/24 in B45+), but that I am OK with this. I'd like to blame my time on crashes/handling/mishaps, but honestly, my fitness is not yet up to the standards of my crazy fast SERT/SHOAIR teammates. I am amazed at how you racers can redline it lap after lap!

I have a long term plan to become fast enough to be competitive and it was good to check in and see where I currently stand. I hope to race additional venues in the Sacramento Cross series soon.

THANK YOU: My daughters (who screamed encouragement on every lap), Duane Strawser (who put in many hours making this terrific event happen), volunteers and everyone who cheered me on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Improved Bridges on the Tribute Trail

Recently, Eric Newman and the NU miners mountain bike ream worked with BONC to improve a bridge on the Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City.

Because of original restrictions on design, the bridges are tough to navigate for cyclists and trail users with strollers. Under Eric's direction, the volunteers worked to widen the entrances of the first bridge. Soon, they will continue to do the same for the remaining two wooden bridges on this popular trail.

Eric Newman is an excellent contractor, in addition to coaching the NU team and being an all around great guy. A big shout out to him and Terry Hundermer of BONC who coordinated to make this happen.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

MTB Specific Trails - Better as the Exception, Not the Rule

There is a movement in mountain biking to build MTB-specific trails. As with other fashions I've seen come and go (remember the freeride craze of 2001-2003), I'm not especially excited by this trend. Instead I feel that mtb-specific trails should be the exception, not the rule. The North Umpqua Trail (NUT) makes my case perfectly.

The NUT is arguably one of the best trails in the Western United States. It snakes along the North Umpqua River in dense forests of Douglas fir in central Oregon for over 60 miles. It is a mountain biker's dream: challenging climbs, technical sections alternating with fast flowing ones, incredible scenery and switchbacks that are ridable. All with great camping and swimming nearby.

Here is the thing: the NUT is great for ALL kinds of non-motorized users. Hikers, equestrians and cyclists alike can enjoy its entire length without having sections segregated by either trail design or closure. No one is excluded by the demands or preferences of another group.

Rather than mountain bike specific trails, it often makes more sense to advocate for trails that are mtb friendly. This means trails which include features enjoyable to mountain bikers, but not at the expense of other trail users. These features include berms which are not crazy off-camber, navigable switchbacks, grades which exceed 10% for only short periods, turns with open sight lines where possible and choke points that calm speed before a blind corner.

I've seen many trails which follow these conventions that are MUCH more fun to ride than certain mtb-specific trails, which are often over-built with mechanized equipment that make them ride like pavement. Having said this, I have ridden and enjoyed well built mtb-specific trails. The Fruita and Grand Junction area offers such trails, including Holy Cross and Freeride. Note that these particular trails rely more on existing terrain and onsite building materials to make them special, not an earth-leveling dozer.

Don't get me wrong: a properly built mtb-specific trail can offer a fun experience. I just don't think it should be the default ask of mountain bikers. Put the shoe on the other foot: what if you were a cyclist interested in an exciting new trail but local equestrians demanded it be designed with only horses in mind (wider trails, extended steep grades, perhaps gravel surfaces, etc.) it might come off as a bit selfish.

It takes a large volume of support from a community to build legal trails, often more than the local bike contingent can deliver. Many people need to unite to make it happen and only a few people are needed to derail it. Rather than pitching for a trail geared for only one user group, it is a more attractive offer to build a trail that works well for everyone, including cyclists. With this approach, we can get more trails on the ground and more options for cyclists to ride in the local trail inventory. Which is the best possible outcome of advocacy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wetherall Trail Impressions

Recently, I had the privilege of hiking the Orene Wetherall Trail. Thanks to the Bear Yuba Land Trust, this trail is now a complete loop which begins off the Cascade Canal on Banner Mountain. The trail meanders down into the beautiful Woodpecker Preserve, which is protected open space managed by the Land Trust.

As someone who has volunteered to build and maintain many local trails, I am struck with the challenge successfully met by constructing this trail. Like many areas of Banner Mountain, the terrain is highly irregular and quite steep. As with the Hirschman’s Trail, historical mining activity can make planning trails on local lands quite complex. The resulting Wetherall trail route is thus very twisty and narrow as it winds its way through the preserve. The Land Trust trails program did a great job creating a trail that is fun to hike and bike while not too steep for either activities. Plus, trail users get to experience first hand the varied wildlife and plants featured in the preserve.

The Cascade Canal is a very popular destinations for trail users who seek out its beautiful vistas, forest shade and pretty canal water. The Land Trust has expanded this wonderful destination for the community by providing connectivity to the Wetheall loop, which unlike the canal trail offers a bit of climbing and descending. The Land Trust plans even more trails in this general area, so stay tuned for details!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Looking Down from the Black Buttes

Grouse Ridge continues to have a special place in my heart. Just up the road from Grass Valley, it features some of the most beautiful vistas, lakes and granite landscapes anywhere in the Northern Sierra Nevada.

My love affair with Grouse began on my mountain bike seventeen years ago as I tackled its relentless rocky trails. But like all exceptional networks, it is often best enjoyed on foot where you can take in its beauty at a slower pace. With this in mind, I set off yesterday with my border collie on a trek between Grouse Ridge itself and the Black Buttes.

The hike itself is a 7.5 mile journey out and back. I decided to scale the broken rock of the stunning buttes above Glacier Lake to take in the exceptional views atop this 8K foot set of peaks. It is a short, somewhat strenuous ascent, but well worth the investment once you absorb the 360 degree views from the Tahoe Basin to the Sacramento Valley and beyond.

I noticed that the Forest Service and Eagle Scouts teamed up to place desperately needed signage at trail junctions in the area.  BONC and IMBA plan a weekend of riding and trail maintenance starting on September 14th. All this is wonderful, as Grouse never quite gets the volunteer attention it deserves. All things considered, I think it is the far and away the best trail network in our area.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Maps and Trails

I received a lot of positive feedback regarding my earlier post/Union article about sharing the trail with my daughter. I suppose the timing was right with Father's Day coming up. Still, it was nice to hear that the article touched the hearts of some friends.

I am focusing on a number of extremely promising projects these days with the Land Trust and American Rivers, including:

Maps Portal - I hope to create a web-based maps portal of all trails in area served by the Bear Yuba Land Trust. This would be modeled after this Park City map. This tool allows you to draw trail routes, see elevation profiles and trail descriptions and even export tracks to take with you on your next trek. Currently, there is no such overall map service to aid us as we search for such information. No doubt local business could point visitors to this resource.

Existing Maps - Land Trust volunteers have amassed a great set of descriptions of BYLT trails which I hope to help them get online as soon as possible (this would use the existing format at least until the aforementioned portal is done).

Diamond Arrow - This long term project was skunked again (albeit briefly). We had planned to walk through the proposed alignment with the BLM on the one day in June when it could not happen: after the big hailstorm! Will schedule this again soon.

Working with the Land Trust is a bit different than mountain bike advocacy. Discussions and efforts are more project-oriented. Everyone is kind, supportive and there are more professional resources available to accomplish trail related projects. These days, my heart is really with making new trails happen close to town and I find that the BYLT the best place for me to do it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Father's Perspective on the Trail

11 years ago, it was much simpler.

I was a mountain biker first and foremost. The standard by which I judged all trails was simple: how rocky and technical is it? The more obstacles and challenges a trail had, the higher I valued it.

But yesterday, everything was different as I walked along Hirchman's Trail in Nevada City. My 1/2 mile trek to the pond was not about navigating a tight switchback or cleaning an uphill root section. Yesterday, it was about spending precious and all-too-rare time alone with my beautiful 11 year old daughter as we set out to catch some fish after school. The kind of experience that make memories for years to come.

I challenge anyone to point to a prettier spot in our small town than this the first portion of trail off Cement Hill Road. It meanders though riparian woods one hundred plus years after mankind tore apart the area with hydraulic mining cannons. In the heart of the ecological carnage, nature has since reclaimed the land where now birds serenade you as you pass by thick green vegetation approaching the pond.

Like the land itself, so many things have changed with me. I am a now father of two girls who want nothing more than to spend time with their dad on outdoor adventures. Life is busy and there is never enough time to dedicate to my children and their aspirations.

But for a few short moments yesterday, time did slow down as my daughter and I took in the beautiful trees, sounds and forest. The pond itself was esquisite and serene as we sat by each other on the rock-lined shore. School, work and worries were a million miles away. We would have never experienced this amazing evening without the vision and hard work of Bill Haire, the Bear Yuba Land Trust and Nevada City officials, creators of this trail. In fact, few in our community would even know this gorgeous spot existed just outside of town.

Such trails are now different and much more meaningful to me. Sure, they still represent fun on a mountain bike, but they also provide a gateway into the peaceful magic of the forest with my daughter. Soon she will be grown and perhaps not want my attention so much. But for one beautiful evening this summer,  we relished our time together, caught some fish and took in the splendor of a small Sierra Nevada foothill wilderness. While my bike sat in the garage back home, completely forgotten.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Trail Happenings

This blog has been quiet for a while, largely because I recently started in on a new exciting job which occupies much of my time. However, here are some very unofficial trail-related news bits:

The Wetherall Trail extension on Banner Mountain is complete. Local mechanized trail builder Bob Hale cut the trail under the supervision of the Bear Yuba Land Trust. I have not seen this work first hand, but I hear nothing but good things about the new section.

The Land Trust continues to plan for a trail along the Bear River. This is a ginormous project that involves multiple agencies and landowners. I am helping the Land Trust move this endeavor forward. Now we are in the delicate, never-ending stage where we obtain buy in from the powers that be.

Work on the Tribute Trail continues. The BLM brought in Americorps to help complete the section on BLM property on the south side of the creek, while Bill Haire and Land Trust volunteers continue to cut a beautiful new section near Jordan Street.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tribute Trail Construction

Today, I joined other Land Trust volunteers to work on a new portion of the Tribute Trail in Nevada City. This section traverses a beautiful forest on city-owned land near the sewage treatment plant on the south side of Deer Creek. This is a very exciting project which will establish important new singletrack that you can access from downtown.

Today's work focused on rock cribbing and establishing a berm on a formerly tight switchback. We harvested rock from the immediate area to build up the downhill side of the trailbed, which occurs on a steep sideslope.

The volunteers are wonderful group of skilled, enthusiastic people who contribute regularly to these trail building events. Sarah Frietas and others focused on widening the radius of the turn to accomodate cyclists. I peeled off to work on a choke point to prevent skidding. Bill Haire led an effort down trail to build the cribbing. It was very collaborative process and I thank Bill Haire for organizing this.

The trail will see some mechanized construction in the near future. The Land Trust has hired Bob Hale, a licensed, insured mini excavator operator who has helped build other local trails.

I look forward to contributing to future Land Trust trail building days. Here are some pictures; unfortunately, some of them are blurry, as trail dirt found its way on to my iPhone lens:


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Land Trust or Bust

As many of you know, I recently transitioned my trail advocacy efforts from BONC to the Bear Yuba Land Trust. I've had a good long run with BONC since joining the organization in 1999. But 13 years is a long time to be invested primarily with one non-profit, so I am excited about this new direction.

In this time, I served as BONC member, vice president, president, chair and director. I feel proud about what we've accomplished in this time, especially in raising BONC's strategic partnerships with other important entities, such as the Tahoe National Forest, BLM, Land Trust and others. For a full list of BONC accomplishments, please visit

My future plan is to devote much of my time to Land Trust trail projects. Frequent readers of this blog have long heard me extoll the virtues of Land Trust trail endeavors; BYLT continues to be the premier creator of trails in our greater area. They've planned trail projects for every part of the county, involving hundreds of miles of trails. And I want to help make these trails happen. But I won't forget my mountain bike roots, as I'll continue to advocate for bicycle access and features on area trails.

Look for me to be a fixture on Land Trust projects in the future. I want help them hire contractors, plan and design trails, you name it. I'll be sure to invite BONCers to participate in these projects and support the Bear Yuba Land Trust. See you on the trail!

PS. Be sure to see the latest BYLT newsletter for my article about BONC trailwork on the Hirschman Trail.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

RTP Funding Restored

A big thank you to everyone who chimed in to save the federal Recreational Trail Program (RTP). Congress heard trail advocates like you loud and clear and restored funding for the next two years. Advocacy works!

It is very inspiring to know that all of us made a difference here. The RTP is at the heart of many important trail projects in California.

Locally, my hope is that we can finally move forward with an RTP grant for the South Yuba Ridge Trail.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Hirschman Trail Opening and Ride 3/24

The City of Nevada City, Bear Yuba Land Trust and BONC will celebrate the opening of Hirschman's Trail on Saturday, 3/24/12 at 9AM. BONC will lead a ride at 9:30AM. Helmet an waiver signature required, all levels welcome.

Come show your appreciation for the people who made this important community asset a reality!

E-Waste Fundraiser for the SFT

BONC is co-hosting an e-waste fundraiser on April 28th. It benefits the creation of the Scott's Flat Trail. Check out details on the event page on BONC's new website.

Get rid of your e-junk and help us build a new trail!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Articulating Ourselves

A number of BONCers worked quite hard on the new BONC website. Our objectives included giving a fresh look to BONC, enable online membership and donations, and make managing the club's business much easier for our volunteers.

The new website also gave us the opportunity to re-articulate what the organization is all about. It is a healthy exercise for any organization to step back and examine its missions and how it defines itself. Personally, I think we did a great job of this with the new site, but of course, there is always room for improvement. Such efforts are never ending and iterative.

I am very proud of the map we've created that shows BONC's achievements since inception. It is remarkable to see all we have done in so many corners of Nevada County. I am fully convinced that BONC can do far more in coming years. There are BIG projects in the pipeline that will make riding here much, much better.

If you have any comments or feedback about the new website, please pass them along.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Protecting the Future of Our Bike Clubs

There is a lot of speculation about the REI-funded Culvert project contract work at Auburn State Rec Area. Thought I would share some thoughts and background. Note that this message is from me personally and is not from the BONC board.

I was and continue to be VERY concerned with inadequately insured trail improvement projects that leave local mountain bike clubs exposed to lawsuits and possible liability. As a BONC director, I am personally concerned with protecting my family, assets and future. Organizations like FATRAC and BONC do so much good that it would devastate the trails community to see these groups shut down because an injury that results in a lawsuit. For this reason, I have been a strong advocate for adequate insurance protection for clubs I've worked with for many years. I am also close friends with several of FATRAC's board members.

Those involved with the Scott's Flat Project know that I continue to have these concerns about liability. I brought this directly to the attention of Zachi Anderson, FTA leader in November 2011. He responded that insurance was unnecessary for such trail work (see excerpt of email below dated 11/3/11). Other colleagues of mine have heard FTA representatives also question the need for insurance.

I completely disagree with the stand that proper insurance is unnecessary. Because of my years as a bike club president and California IMBA State Representative, I know that liability for trail work with heavy equipment, axes, sharp tools, rock, etc. very much leaves us exposed to risk. I personally know of someone who was sued because of a volunteer trail lawsuit. It was a nightmare.

In 2011, FATRAC won a grant of $10,000 to improve sections of the Culvert Trail. Various professional contractors (including Randy Martin and Forest Trails Alliance) expressed interest in this paid work. Late last year, I expressed my concern to FATRAC and State Parks management that uninsured paid contract work could leave FATRAC exposed to lawsuit. I therefore urged both State Parks and FATRAC to make sure that paid contractors have proper insurance so the projects can move forward without risk. I now regret contacting State Parks directly about this because it led to a number of misunderstandings about my intentions. I also regret not making it clear to State Parks that I was not speaking on behalf of BONC, but myself; I never said I was, but I think this was taken as implied.

Last week, I contacted FATRAC leadership to address unpleasant rumors circulating in the community about me. During this call, I never mentioned insurance or spoke on behalf of BONC.

To be clear: the Culvert rehabilitation project involves paid contract work and the recipient of this money is FTA. This is not a bad thing at all, but it may shift the insurance requirements. Standard RJF (IMBA) trail volunteer insurance may not provide coverage for project partners if any payment is made beyond material reimbursement as it was to FTA. RJF is currently investigating this.

In the meantime, Forest Trails Alliance should publicly provide evidence of:
  • Exactly what insurance coverage they have
  • Precisely when this coverage began
This evidence should be forwarded to BONC and land management agencies as soon as possible so that it is clear whether proper coverage exists for these organizations for our projects. The issue can be resolved and we can get back to building trails in a way that does not leave us liable.

dated 11/3/11

"While insurance may be a good idea, this community project is just like all the trail work that has been done since I started the first bike shop in the area in 1986.  No insurance demanded of volunteers.  While some of our groups may have insurance, this will only cover members and not volunteers.  In addition, the focus should be on good management, planning and trail building BMP as insurance does not repair wounds or injuries."

Trails With A Friend

Willie is a one year old border collie I adopted late last year from Border Collie Rescue of Northern California. Those of you who know this breed understand that they come quipped with endurance that most of us wish we had. After a longish Round Mountain ride, he watches me intently, bewildered why I would be throwing my bike on the rack and driving home. What? But isn't this fun? WHY ARE WE STOPPING?

One of the many things that I adore about Willie is that he loves trails just as much as I do. In fact, you could argue that his passion exceeds mine. When I go for a 15 mile ride, he puts in 20 miles from sprinting ahead, chasing a squirrel, investigating a sound, etc. When I am about to head out on the trail, I don't jump up and down ecstatically like he does.

At trail volunteer days, he seems even happier. And why not? What is more exciting than trail construction? He isn't particularly versed in the use of a Pulaski, but he does know how to dig. And he does a great job of cheering up my fellow volunteers.

My heart was broken a few months back when my long time border collie friend Phoebe died. She was also an incredible trail enthusiast who kept up with me until her later years. After her passing, I decided to find another friend and found an amazing one in Willie. Look for him on our next BONC trailwork event at Bullards Bar on March 17. He'll be the one looking fresher and happier than anyone else at the end of the day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Example Letter for RTP

I wrote the following letter below which urges Congressional support for the Recreational Trail Program (RTP). Feel free to use any of the language or ideas to create you own letter, but please submit it as soon as possible. Thanks:


Dear Senator Feinstein,

Please support funding the Recreational Trail Program (RTP) for next year's federal budget. The RTP provides support for key trail projects throughout our nation which result in opportunities for healthy outdoor activities for all American citizens. The modest RTP budget allows non-profits and government agencies to leverage volunteer contributions to produce trails for everyone. As national obesity rates and healthcare expenditures continue to skyrocket, we need such recreational facilities.

As a trail advocate and volunteer, I am quite familiar with the crucial role the RTP plays in new community projects. Each year, local organizations look to RTP funding as they seek ways to make our home towns more livable and healthy. The United States should continue to look for ways to encourage people to get out of their cars, away from the TV and out exercising instead. Personally, I cannot think of a more cost effective means of achieving these objectives than the RTP.

Thank you for your consideration.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

RECAP: Scotts Flat Trail Day

This afternoon's trail event at Scott's Flat Lake was fun, rewarding and successful. A big thanks to  BONC, AmeriCorps and Land Trust volunteers and NID for allowing us to improve this BONC-adopted trail. See pictures.

With a solid showing, we continued to rock armor a marshy section and installed small culverts to allow water to drain away from the trail bed. We also rebuilt rock cribbing where the trail started to erode away, re-established a bench cut where the trail was disappearing, pruned the entire length of the trail and planted some posts with BONC signs. Ride or hike it soon and see what you think.

Next up: Bullards Bar Trail Day on March 17th.

Want to support important efforts like this? Become a BONC member today!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Save The RTP

IMBA has issued an action alert in support of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The RTP funds many key trail projects around the nation. The RTP has effectively leveraged volunteer efforts and other community resources to create new trails throughout California. The South Yuba Ridge Trail is one such project that would suffer without RTP support.

Please contact Senator Diane Feinstein to express your support for the RTP program. The time to act is now!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Trash at Round Mountain

Recently, vandals burned an illegal camp fire and dumped a lot of garbage in the parking lot off Trailhead Road near the Round Mountain Trail. It was ugly and sad.

Please keep an eye out and inform the BLM at 916-941-3101 if you see such activities . Fire is a huge concern for Round Mountain area residents and rightfully so.

The re-routes BONC volunteers proposed to the BLM will relocate the RM and Up-and-Over Trails such that they intersect this parking area, which hopefully will bring more presence and scrutiny to this location.

In the meantime, we can be good neighbors and keep an eye out.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Scott's Flat Lakeside Trail Day

Please note the start time of **1:30PM** Join us as we volunteer to improve the lakeside section of this trail! We will trim back brush and improve drainage to keep this trail dry and minimize erosion. Ride afterwards. Free beer for participants! Meet inside Gate #2 (the boat launch) at 1:30PM.


We have some worthy objectives for Saturday's trail event at Scott's Flat Lake (see below). We need the following supplies to make these improvements. Can you help?:

Two 4x4s, pressure treated, 7' long
One 2x6, pressure treated, ~6' or longer (or two shorter sections)
4 sections of rebar, about 2-3' long each

We plan to install posts and signage, rock armor a swampy section, reinforce a culvert installation, repair a bridge, prune overgrowth  and cut some drainage dips.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bear Yuba Land Trust and Future Trails

Nevada County has no county parks system. Local government (and the voting populace) has seen fit to avoid creating such an entity for many years. They seem content to let the adjacent federally-managed public lands serve as our default park and trail system.

Regardless of how you feel about this, this de facto policy has left many areas of the county not near federal land void of trails, particularly in the south county. In other parts of the nation, local land trusts will acquire property with the intention of turning it over to a regional park system. For example, the Peninsula Open Space Trust has an exemplary record of doing this in the Santa Cruz mountains (I've volunteered with POST on such a project). Since this approach is virtually impossible here in Nevada County, the Bear Yuba Land Trust ends up managing open space lands and trails within.

There is also the need to establish public trail easements on private land. The Land Trust has an excellent record making this happen by working cooperatively with property owners on projects which are often close to town. This results in permanent trail access, not trails that are built only to be closed later.

As trail user, I've long advocated support for our Land Trust and feel stronger about this more than ever. I serve on the trails committee of the Land Trust and am aware of the incredible amount of acreage the organization will manage in the near future. We are talking about tens of thousands of acres, from the lower Bear River to the Sierra with new trails that will extend 20-30 miles. They will be building or managing more local trails than anyone outside of federal government agencies.

Huge opportunities await for advocates of new trails. It is very exciting. To make this happen, our local land trust will need the support of us with fund raising, trail stewardship, organization, membership and otherwise. Find out how you can help the Land Trust with these endeavors.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

RECAP: BONC Trail Day at Hirschman's

I am always impressed with the skill that BONC volunteers bring to local trail projects. We have some serious talent within our ranks and it was on display Saturday at Hirschman's Trail.

About 15 of us rebuilt the first three switchbacks on the northwest end of the trail. We increased the radius of these turns such that they are more navigable and enjoyable to cyclists. Be sure to check it out. We built berms by excavating the uphill side and installing rock cribbing on the downhill side. The soil was almost perfect, though the rocks were just as heavy as always :-)

Additionally, Bill Haire and Terry Hundemer laid gravel at both approaches to a bridge where the soil had settled.

A big thank you to Bill Haire and the Land Trust for supporting this effort. My hope is that this is just the first of many BONC trail days at Hirschman's where we do similar work. We ride this trail frequently and it feels great to help improve such an important community asset so close to home.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trails on a Different Kind of Bike

Yesterday, I poked around on local Grass Valley trails on my first ride ever on a cyclocross bike. I bought this ride some time ago, but the amazing weather kept me riding my mountain bikes thus far this winter.

I kept my expectations in check. I've logged countless hours on both road and mountain bikes, but had no idea how this contraption would fare on either the road or trail. On pavement, it performed exactly like a road rig: fast, efficient and smooth.

On the trail... well, it was strange. It worked much better than I expected, providing great traction and steering. On the technical sections, not some much. But I think this is the point of a cross bike on trails: it makes sections we might find unremarkable on a mountain bike challenging, even very challenging. Thing is, I can't rip on a rocky section with 5" of comfy suspension. I have to rely on what skills and tenacity I have.

This bike makes a worthy addition to my quiver. Like my singlespeed, it isn't an every day ride, but something I pull out when I want to push myself. Soon I plan to explore many of the endless fireroads we are blessed with in Nevada County. Want to join me?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Auburn Gala Ride - 2/4

Join BONC and FATRAC as we ride the Forest Hill Divide loop at Auburn State Rec Area! This route features some of the great singletrack FATRAC has built and maintained for many years. No Rider Left Behind! Everyone from racers to beginners are welcome.

Meet Saturday 2/4 @ 10AM at the trailhead parking off Foresthill Road near Drivers Flat. Map. Hope you can join us!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grouse Ridge 2012 - Save the Date!

BONC and IMBA will host a BIG trail event at Grouse Ridge on September 15-16th. We hope draw a big crowd of volunteers to improve this outstanding trail system. Objectives include:

Taking out ALL of the downed trees blocking important trails

Re-route of the Lindsey Lakes Trail

Implementing water drainage features and more

Of course there will be riding and hiking as well! Do you love Grouse? Want to learn the amazing trails in this GORGEOUS area? Please plan on joining us on 9/15 - 9/16!

Hirschman Trail Day - Sat 1/28

Volunteer with BONC as we improve sections of the Hirschman Trail. We will build some features to help make this important community trail more cycling friendly. Free beer and hot coffee for participants. Waiver signature required. Meet @ Indian Flat Road @ 10AM. Map.

In case of inclement weather, please check 530.205.DIRT or this forum in case we need to reschedule.

Want to support these BONC events and endeavors? Become a member today!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Donating to NU Miners

Donating bike clothing and equipment to the NU Miners mountain bike team is easy, benefits our aspiring young athletes and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I learned as much today as I handed off five MTB jerseys and a new pair of Peal Izumi shoes to Sam Raymond, one of the dedicated Miner's coaches.

Please consider donating such materials to this great youth organization. Here is an related article in the BONC October newsletter:

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Trail Events for January

BONC is hosting some great events this month: 

GALA RIDE - Saturday 1/7/12
Join us as we ride Pioneer and perhaps Burlington Ridge in this crazy warm weather. No Rider Left Behind. Everyone from slow pokes to racers are welcome; we'll break up groups based on ability. Free beer and hot coffee for participants. Waiver and helmet required. Meet @ the Old 5 Mile House at 1OAM. Come ride with us!

BONC GATHERING - Sunday 1/15/12
Our featured speaker will be an archeologist from the USFS. Participate in the future of mountain biking in Nevada County! Meet at the Old 5 Mile House at 6:30PM

HIRSCHMAN TRAIL DAY - Saturday, 1/28/12
Volunteer with us as we improve sections of the Hirschman Trail. We will build some berms and make this important community trail more cycling friendly. Free beer and hot coffee for participants. Waiver required. Meet @ Indian Flat Road @ 10AM. Map.

Want to support the BONC events and endeavors? Become a member today!