From our crew to yours, have a great and safe Holiday Season. Bring on 2013!
And yes, we elf’ed ourselves…
From our crew to yours, have a great and safe Holiday Season. Bring on 2013!
And yes, we elf’ed ourselves…
Why would a community with a listed population of 6 have any notoriety? When it is home of an internationally famous destination for driving enthusiasts, such is the case with Deals Gap. Deals Gap is located along a stretch of two-lane road that has been known as “The Dragon” since 1981. The name is given to the 11-mile stretch because it is said to have 318 curves, resembling the tail of a dragon. Some of the Dragon’s curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner’s End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; it was reduced to 30 mph in 2005.
Riders and drivers from around the world come to test their riding skills on the Dragon. Most of the time there is very little traffic and the vehicles that use this road are primarily motorcycle riders and sports car drivers looking for the thrill of their lives. Each year the number of motorcycles and sports cars testing their meddle has increased. In 2011 more than 1200 vehicles traveled the road per day. Unfortunately Dragon enthusiasts sometimes let their audacity exceed their capacity and more than 30 people have died on this stretch since 1995.
Bikes N Beers was commissioned to produce a video for one very skilled Dragon rider, Jared Barnes. Jared is a competitive street bike racer sponsored by US129 Photos and he rides the Dragon on an almost daily basis. Now we aren’t sure, but could guess that he may be pushing the speed limit a little here…Because he is the most skilled rider on the dragon, Jared is referred to as the Dragon Slayer. Below is the BnB Dragon Slayer video. We hope you enjoy and remember kiddies, don’t try this on your own.
What do you get when Bikes n Beers gets 11 people together to ride for charity? Apparently a nearly flipped bounce house but more importantly $3500 in donations to the American Diabetes Association. We were proud to be part of the 2012 Tour de Cure in Knoxville TN which to date has raised $90,000 for the ADA. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Tour de Cure it is a series of fundraising cycling events held in 44 states nationwide to benefit the American Diabetes Association.
This years Tour featured rides appropriate for the novice to the expert with courses from 10, 28, 43, 63, and 100 miles. Various members of the Sin City Geezers team rode in all but 100 miles course. All the courses started at the Worlds Fair Park in downtown Knoxville and took us through some beautiful east TN countrysides before ending back at Worlds Fair Park. The routes were supported by numerous rest stops stocked full of goodies to keep you fueled for your ride. The courses were also supported by a number of local bike shops including Harpers Bike Shop, Bike Zoo, Cedar Bluff Cycles, and Fountain City Pedaler, to keep everyone on the road and in good repair.
The base camp at the Worlds Fair Park was also well supported with food and entertainment from Carrabbas Italian Grill, a DJ, and even belly dancers. The event Manager Wendi Mullins did a great job creating a fun atmosphere and was warm and welcoming. If you’re local to Knoxville I highly suggest you get involved next year or look for your local Tour de Cure most likely coming to your city. You can search for your local event here: Where We Ride.
As for the Sin City Geezers, we of course had a great time and never miss and opportunity to get some video. Please check out our events calendar and joins us at our next event. Our next event is Knoxville Brewfest where we’ll be sampling some great local, regional, and national craft beers. Until next time keep your beers frosty and your rubber down.
On Saturday (May 7th) Bikes n Beers rode in the Ft. Yargo Mountain Bike 6/9 hour race hosted by Dirty Spokes Productions Inc. The race is part of the Chain Busters Mountain Bike Race Series presented by Maxxis Tires and consists of 6 races all over the southeast. This is the second year we have ridden this race and as always we had a great time. The race attracts over 500 racers from all over the southeast. We finished as we normally do, towards the bottom but got some great race footage and had some tasty beers to finish.
The topography at Ft. Yargo is fairly flat which makes for a fun fast-paced flowing ride.
The course is primarily a hard pack single track with gradual climbs and fast flowing downhills. The course was an 11 mile loop around the lake and has 1,147 feet of combined elevation. The conditions were nearly perfect with weather in the 70’s and a modest humidity. The first lap is a bit of a cluster since the entire field is set off together and skips the first 2 miles of single track as they run you down the asphalt road. This creates a bottleneck as everyone flies to the single track where the novice riders will definitely slow you down. Usually by mile 4 you can get past those folks and then the rest of the day is fairly clear. The first five miles of the course is composed of rolling hills and has a few downhills with jump sections the will
definitely raise the adrenaline and give you some Yee Haw moments. Somewhere around mile 5 is the only real sustained climb of the course but if fairly modest in nature. Following that the course goes back to rolling hills and a few down/up features that a just a hoot. The last miles of the course is a very fast downhill which brings you back the main area. The main area is a fun atmosphere with families and support crew littering the landscape with canopies, BBQ’s, and a few vendors.
Following the race we had a good time listening to Scarlet Stitch and knocking back a few
cold ones. As always Bikes n Beers has video documented the race and experience. You can check out this video here.
This past Saturday Smoky Mountain Endeavors put on a ATV/MX time trials events for the benefit of the Cosby High School soccer team. Smoky Mountains Endeavors is known for their creative events and include the regionally popular Navy Seal Extreme Off-Road Challenge and the Race from the Devil Fat Tire Shootout. Bikes n Beers was a proud sponsor to this past weekend’s event and was thankful to be involved. The forecasted rain may have kept some folks away but the few that showed up had a great time tearing up the Tennessee hillsides. Dan Schreder, owner and president of Smoky Mountain Endeavors, put together a 2.1 mile track full of hill climbs, fast straightaway’s, technical turns, mud bogs, and all out fun.
The categories included 4×4 utility ATV, 4×2 utility ATV, Sport ATV 399cc and under, Sport ATV 400cc and over, Motocross 249cc and under, Motocross 250cc and over, Enduro, and youth categories. The riders were allowed to continue to run laps to either improve their times or to settle a grudge match, of which there was a few. The Sport ATV 399cc and under category saw such a battle between two young local gentlemen (Sean O’Brien and Jordan Norris) where their virtually tied 6:24 times were decided by a few hundreds of a second. Sean O’Brien won out in the end but the rivalry continues. The fastest lap of the day came from Levi McDaniel on his Yamaha 450YZF with a time of 5:08. In the end everyone involved had a great time and Smoky Mountain Endeavors gave out monetary prizes to all of the
category winners. Additionally, Levi McDaniel received two passes for white water rafting courtesy of Dan other great sponsor “Rafting in the Smokies”. Additionally, Colleen Schreder, vice-president, managed the grill and provided delicious food for all of the participants. The Cosby High School Soccer team also played a pivotal role in providing parking assistance and course marshalling.
The event proved to be so successful that Smoky Mountain Endeavors is hosting the event again, this weekend on Saturday March 12th 2011. If you’re interested in joining this great event and would like a
great day of racing or just a day out with the family, I highly recommend this event. I am sure the aforementioned grudge match will be revisited this weekend. If you would like to see some pictures from last weekend’s event you can view some pictures here. You can find information for this event on the Smoky Mountain Endeavors website or you can call Dan directly (423)200-9935.
They’re pricey, they look stupid, they reveal your religion, and there are hundreds of different kinds. You got it, they’re bike shorts. Ever wonder why bike shorts have padding in them? Well it all started when black knit wool was the primary material that made up bike shorts. Now imagine pedaling your bike for hours at a time with that nice wool seam rubbing in your nether regions. And you though dry humping your high school girlfriend gave you a bad chaff. Well many moons ago someone decided to put something a little softer in that area, and, Voilà, you have the bike short pad. Originally cyclists used the skin of unfortunate sheep which provided a nice smooth surface.
Now I suppose the sheep may have been opposed by this practice but since they never bothered to unionize, it’s obviously their own damn fault. Nowadays we have pads made out of everything but animal skins. Most of today’s bike shorts are made out of Lycra which is so soft that the chance of chaffing your undercarriage is pretty minimal. So why do bike shorts still have pads? Most people think they are there for padding purposes but they actually serve another purpose. Today’s bike pads are actually a superabsorbent material to keep sweat off of your skin. Now in some situations having a moist crotch may be a good thing, biking is not one of those occasions. These days the bike pad merchants are even trying to sell the community on customized configurations that would best conform to your body style. I’m not so sure about that one….first how to you determine your conformation?
Here’s a thought straddle your ass over two chairs and ask your girl to sketch your structural arrangement on tracing paper…..if anybody attempts this please let me know how that turns out for you. Which brings me to the next topic; I accept the norm for wearing Lycra when road biking but when it comes to mountain biking do you prescribe to wearing your Lycra with or without a baggy outer short? Coming from the west coast, you would be ridiculed if you wore roadie shorts on the trails. The jeers and hollering can be heard a half a mountain away. However, here in TN it seems to be much more accepted. Now considering that very few of us gain any real competitive advantage in terms of aerodynamics or weight, why would you want to subject the rest of us to a sausage casing display of your bollocks. The exception to this is you ladies out there. Please continue to wear those painted on Lycra pants, they are very functional and provide tremendous support to reduce muscle fatigue.
Will the future of biking contain padded bike shorts, you bet. In fact there is even some bike shorts with dimples on them. The technology behind that based on the concept of the golf ball. Those dimples create a greater aerodynamic surface. So we can all look forward to a day when our ass will look like a giant black diapered golf ball, Great……..
One of the niceties about a ride at Tsali is that it is fairly well developed. There are camp grounds just by the trailheads. Other amenities include bathrooms and most important a bike washing station. This becomes especially important when riding the Left Loop as there are many creek crossings. You will get a little muddy. The rinse station includes a hook that allows the mountain biker to hang the bike by a tire and a hose with a spray nozzle attached. After a ride it is common to see people who have also finished lined up to spray the mud off of their bike as well as their bodies. The lower legs do get fairly muddy. As a consequence there are a few old dirty stinky socks laying about the bike washing station that have been discarded by the owners.
It is these socks that got my attention while I waited for my son to spray off his mountain bike. He was doing a meticulous job and was giving the task at hand his full attention. I couldn’t help but wonder what those socks must smell like given the time they spent in the humid environment, continually moistened by the spray station, with someone’s fermenting foot sweat getting funkier as time passed. I decided to flop one of the socks around my son’s face and wait for his reaction. What better way to satisfy my curiosity than give someone else the chance to smell the sock. This video link documents the occasion. The lesson….keep an eye on your riding buddy when using the bike washing station or you may get a taste of the stink socks of Tsali.
Just over the hill in North Carolina Tsali offers great trails for us Mountain Bikers. The lake views from the Left Loop, Overlook and Mouse Branch Overlook are nothing short of spectacular. I took my family for a long weekend. We rented a cabin near Bryson City just a few miles down the road from the Tsali Recreation Area . Most of the reviews I read before going talked about the challenging trails and indicated that they were not for beginners. After riding the trails I disagreed. Both my son and I were a little underwhelmed. We did however still have a great time and I would recommend the trip. The Tsali trails alternate horse/bike every other day , so you can only ride one side of the park on a given day. Tuesday, Thursday and Sat are Mousetail and Thompson while the remainder of the week is Left and Right loops. On any day you can ride 20+ miles of good to great trails regardless.
More Difficult, 11.9mi, Hilly, Some Obstacles
Longest Tsali trail. Starts with a roller coaster ride along the lakeshore that you can control! Trail dips into a cove, crosses a creek, then emerges to zoom along the lakeshore time and again. Toward the overlook, the trail moves into the interior hills of the peninsula. Here, there are rolling sections, and 2 relatively long climbs, followed by 2 steep downhills; the second downhill has several great jumps. Further on, a very muddy creekside climb is followed by a fast, rolling cruise that connects to Overlook Loop (see top of map). The Left Loop is completed with a ride along County Line Road (doubletrack/gravel) which is shared with Right Loop. This part can be a bit of a yawn. The good news is that it is mostly slightly down hill and has intermitent water bars that make for good jumps.
Mouse Branch Loop
Moderate, 6.5mi, Hilly, Some Obstacles
Has one long, fast singletrack downhill, with a gradual climb up to it. Good views, trail passes over neat clearcut hills–in one spot, you can see the trail snaking over on the next ridge. Watch how quickly the forest can change as you go in and out of coves and along ridges. Connects to Mouse Branch Overlook Loop
Mouse Branch Overlook Loop
Moderate, 2.5mi, Climbs Moderately, Some Obstacles
A new addition. One way trail (counter-clockwise). Good view from the overlook, not as spectacular as the one from Overlook Loop but well worth the ride out there. You can see some neat islands down in the lake. This extension also has some great downhills, which makes it even more worthwhile.
More Difficult, 11mi, Hilly, Few Obstacles
Shorter loops possible using connector trails. Some lakeshore riding, lots of hilly interior riding with a few steep, challenging spots. Has lots of great jumps. Has a few creek crossings, one of which is done on a brand new bridge. Sections are fast, buffed, winding, narrow, sidehill singletrack that clings to the side of a mountain. Be sure to keep a finger on the brakes in those outside curves–to avoid a trip off the side of the mountain! Intersects a side out-and-back trail to Windy Gap overlook–worth riding for the trail itself, not really the “overlook”. Also intersects Overlook Loop and Left Loop (see descriptions below). Loop is completed with a fast, smooth ride along County Line Road (doubletrack/gravel) which is shared with Left loop.
Moderate, 7.7mi, Hilly, Few Obstacles
Some stream crossings and old logging roads. Mixed pine and hardwood forests at Tsali are easily recognized on this trail. Some old homesites. Neat part of forest with tall hemlocks and rhododendron, not typical of the heavily logged areas at Tsali. More great lakeshore singletrack riding with long, gradual hills. Some really great fast gravel road sections.
Go to the picture section of BikesNBeers Facebook link to see more photos of Tsali. Happy trails!
How many bikers do you know who only have one bike? I venture to guess your answer would be not many. I like most of you have a multitude of bikes lined up like eager little soldiers waiting to attack the trails like Marines at Omaha Beach. Now how many times have your non-riding friends question your reasoning for having so many bikes? I feebly justify mine by saying there different bikes for different riding (cross-country, freeride, all mountain, single speed, etc).
Do I actually need all those bikes, no, but I choose to spend some of my discretionary income on them. Now hoarding is a dangerous practice and one that many bikers are prone to. However, for many of us bikes are nostalgic and remind us of our childhood. I know that when I was child I had friends who seemed to have all the toys and of course I wanted them too. When it comes to bikes, don’t you wish you had one of those early FUJI, Klein’s or Ritchey’s? Or maybe some ARAYA or Campy hoops? Hoarders love to collect stuff and the more stuff we have the better, but do I actually fall into the category when it comes to bikes? Maybe. Do I plan to thin the herd? No. With 5 mountain bikes and a road bike I pale in comparison to many bikers out there who not only have more bikes than that but also have boxes of parts, frames, wheel sets, etc. So my question is to you is how many toys are too many? Do you have a garage full of bikes you never ride? Do you have that classic MASI racer or equivalent? I would love to hear your story/opinion.
First off ladies, get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not the “bigger” I’m referring to. I’m talking about 26’ers vs. 29’ers. I’ve been riding Mt. Bikes for close to 20 years now, and for the most part 29’ers back then had not caught on yet. Geoff Apps, an English off-road cycling pioneer, had created an early 29’er prototype in the early 80’s but it never really caught on due to lack of available tires. Then in the early 90’s companies like Bianchi, Diamondback, and Specialized dabble with 29’ers, but again a lack of variety of tires and forks doomed those early pioneers. Then in the late 90’s the White Brothers created the first production suspension fork and companies like Surly and Karate Monkey introduced accompanying framesets. Finally Gary Fisher was the first major manufacturer to come out with 29’er, and hit it big with their single-speed “Rig” in 2004. Since then nearly every bike manufacturer has at least one 29’er as part of their lineup. As for myself I continued to ride 26’ers until 2008 when my riding buddy, and co-blog author, Throttle had been riding Gary Fisher 29’ers for about a year at that point and convinced me to take the plunge. My first impressions were that they were somewhat large and cumbersome, kinda like the first time you were with a “Big Girl”. Sure they seemed to roll over obstacles easier but the tradeoff for agility didn’t seem to be worth it. But as I rode that 29’er more over the next year I grew to handle it better and the differences seem to fade away. The one major drawback I saw at that time seemed to be the limited suspension travel that came with 29’ers. Most at that point had a max of 3”-4” and it did not seem to be very deep. I guess I should qualify that my previous bike was a freeride bike with a very deep 5” of travel. Hence going back to a pure cross-country bike was a bit of an adjustment particularly with my riding style.
I purchased two 29’ers that year, a Kona Hei Hei 2-9 full suspension and a KHS Solo One SE single speed rigid. Both are tons of fun when it comes to pure cross-country. But of course after that year my yearnings for more freeride style riding returned. So in 2009 I purchased a 26’er all-mountain bike (Kona Coilair Deluxe) with 6.5” in front and 7.5” in the rear. As I started to ride that bike I realized how much more nimble it was compared to the 29’ers. And the increased suspension made up for the roll-over capabilities of the 29’er. Plus the 26’er, being an all-mountain bike, gave me many more options when it came to mixing it up on the trails.
So I am now convinced there is a place for both. The 29’er is lighter and for cross-country racing makes more sense. But for pure fun on the trails I have to go with the 26’er. The debate within the mountain bike community still rages on and the advantages/disadvantages of either have not necessarily been objectively investigated. Other than a few studies with very little scientific rigor there seems to be no clear proof as to which is better. If you’re like me you might just find there’s a place for both in your arsenal of toys.