Our Traverse City Trails Festival Tips

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Ready to race or tour this weekend? After a few big recon rides, we’ve got a few tips to make this Saturday’s Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing as fun as possible. 

In just its third year, the TCTF has grown into one of the can’t-miss, won’t-miss events of the season. With a wide range of distances and the choice to race or tour, it’s a way to enjoy the trails while you support them! It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, which means every race entry goes right back into creating and maintaining a world-class trail experiences in Traverse City and beyond. 

Whether you’re racing or touring, a few things remain the same. After getting out to pre-ride the course a few times, we’ve collected a handful of tips worth considering before Saturday that will make things more fun and, just maybe, a little faster, too. 

Low Ain’t Slow. Nearly every single one of us stopped to lower our tire pressure over the course of one or more of these pre-rides. Seriously. With so much singletrack, traction is vitally important. Not only did dumping a little air help us with more grip, it also did a lot to make some of the roughest sections of trail feel a bit smoother. 

Adjust Your Fork (And Shock). The bike for the day is definitely full suspension, but even if you’re on a hardtail, it’s worth making a few adjustments. If you can hit the woods this week, use the O-ring on your stanchion to see how much of your travel you’re using. The goal should be to use all of it, with the O-ring being pushed all the way up the stanchion to within a few millimeters of the top of the fork leg. If you ride full suspension, do the same on your rear shock, too. If you need help getting set-up, make sure you stop by and ask Nate for some tips and learn how to make smart changes to get the most out of your travel. 

Bring Water (And Snacks). The 25 mile route is a big effort; the 40 miler, even tougher. Bring enough water to stay hydrated and make sure you have a way to get to it. It’s a great race to use a hydration pack so you can quickly take sips in the singletrack without having to reach for a bottle, ride on handed, and stab the bottle back to the cage in tight turns. The same goes for food. Try to unwrap your gels, bars, and food so you can get to them quickly if you plan on eating on the move. There are a few aid stations, but it’s always smart to plan on being self-sufficient, just in case. Plan on one bottle of water per hour of riding, and try to eat between 40 and 60 grams of carbs per hour as well. Race day isn’t a good time to experiment, so stick to drinks and snacks you’ve had before. 

Look At The Map. Try to identify specific sections of trail to use as landmarks throughout the race. Use wider sections to eat and drink; parts of the Muncie Lake Pathway, Vasa Pathway, and some more open singletrack are the best spots to fuel up. Use mile markers or familiar sections of traill as reminders to eat or drink, check in on how you’re feeling, and see how far into the race you are. NMMBA has route files that you can upload to a Wahoo Elmnt or Garmin Forerunner right here.

Online registration closes Wednesday night, and you can save yourself $10 by getting signed up.

We’ll see you at Ranch Rudolf Saturday for one of the most enjoyable days of the summer!

The Perfect Cycling Weekend In Northern Michigan....

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The ultimate cycling weekend in Northern Michigan is coming up quick! 

This July, there’s one weekend that offers riders of all abilities a chance to get out and experience the diverse offerings for cyclists in our region. On July 19, 20, and 21, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing cycling events. 

It all starts on Friday with the Tour de TART. It’s one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Traverse Area Recreational Trails, an organization that’s dedicated to offering paved rail-to-trail routes, advocate for non-motorized transportation, and get moving! The ride is a one-way, 17 mile adventure along the Leelanau Trail. Make the most of the numerous food stops, meet new friends, and stick around for a treat at the end before getting a ride home. Proceeds go to support TART programs and projects like the proposed trail to Elk Rapids. 

Save a little something for Saturday, though. Saturday cranks that adventure up to eleven with the Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing. As we’ve mentioned, it’s a really unique event that offers 40, 25, and 15 mile race routes, as well as the option to tour the 25 and 15 mile courses at your own pace with all your friends. All proceeds go to Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association to support their mission to build, maintain, and protect mountain bike trails across the region. The 40 and 25 mile routes utilize miles of unmarked trails; this is the only day of the year you’ll find them marked and easy to follow! Add new singletrack to your repertoire the rest of the year by learning it on July 20! 

If you can’t make it Saturday or if you’re looking for a fun ride to spin out the legs. Sunday is the Cherry Capital Cycling Club’s Ride Around Torch, one of the most beautiful rides on the Midwest. Take in views of Torch Lake and choose from 20, 40, 60, and 100 mile distances and don’t ride past those food stations; if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you won’t want to pedal by! The ride offers a great mix of flat roads on the 20, 40, and 60 mile routes, with the 100 mile option tying in a few fun climbs to the north and east of Torch Lake. 


Do one, do two, or tackle all three rides and make experience the full menu of riding we have to enjoy here in Northern Michigan. Each event supports programs that help our cycling community thrive, and we all benefit from these organization’s hardwork.

First Look: Scott Addict RC

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We’ve been watching and waiting for the new Addict to drop, and it was well worth the wait!

While we haven’t been able to swing a leg over one yet, we’re really excited to get a few of the all-new Scott Addict RC rigs on the shop floor. Scott was looking to update one of the most succesful bikes on the planet over the past year, and they’ve timed their release to come just ahead of the 2019 Tour de France. One of the riders participating in this week’s Grand Tour, Simon Yates, gave the Addict it’s most famous win at the Vuetla a Espana in 2018.

At first look, what is most striking about the Addict is how many aspect of it’s sister bike, the Foil, its adopted. The Foil was Scott’s aero road bike, and its disctinctive integrated stem and bar shift over to make the Addict more aero as well. Those aerodynamic touches also tickle the top tube and downtube, with the forks looking just a bit more thick as well. That’s all apart of the mission to make the Addict even more well rounded, adding a new element to its reputation as one of lightest climbing bikes in the world.

And that aero touch hasn’t hurt its weight, either. The new frame is 14% more stiff than previous models. They didn’t add weight to the frame, and left no stone unturned in trying to save a few grams. Even the seat clamp gets an update, reducing the mechanism to just 12 grams and offering a secure closure that won’t stress your carbon frame.

One of the biggest changes and things we love about the new Addict doesn’t make the press sheet, but it’s not lost on us. Scott has always done a great job offering a wide range of models, but they’ve never done as good a job in offering options than with this model. There are a full DOZEN specifications to choose from, each with a different colorway and unique groupset and build. Any budget and any preference, there’s an Addict for you.

To learn more about the Scott Addict line-up, check out Scott’s info sheet or stop by to see us!

Gear Up For The Traverse City Trails Festival on July 20!

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We’re a bit partial to the woods. With so many incredible trails, awesome events, and wonderful people to ride with, being a mountain biker in Traverse City is kind of a no-brainer.

We have a lot of people to thank for all those trails and races, but Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association deserves a lot of the credit for giving us so many great places to ride. For over a decade, NMMBA has led the way as our local trail stewards, advocates, and now, race promoters with the third edition of the Traverse City Trails Festival presented by Short’s Brewing.

The TCTF is a special event for a number of reasons. First, it’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for NMMBA, a vital way to support their trail efforts across the region. It also offers rider a chance to ride up to 40 miles of unmarked trails; for 364 days of the year, this singletrack has no signage due to DNR regulations. Just one day a year, you can explore the trails with arrows and a group of friends! And that’s another plus; in addition to 40, 25, and 15 mile races, you can also opt to tour the 25 and 15 mile courses at your own pace with friends, without worrying about competing.

It’s extra special to City Bike Shop because the TCTF is the labor of love of long-time team leader and racer Tom White. Tom has dedicated so many hours of his life to offering others an incredible trail experience. His mountain biking and trail building efforts span over three decades and have served as the basis for nearly every inch of riding we enjoy in Traverse City. His efforts to spearhead the TCTF, on top of his every day trail work, is a massive investment of time and we all owe him a ton. Want to say thanks? It’s as easy as signing up for the TCTF.

This past Saturday, riders took an early look at the 2019 TCTF course, including our own Bryan Warner, John Duby, plus Tom White led the 25 mile ride. The word on the 2019 route is really encouraging. Some of the rougher, newer trails from 2018 are ridden in and much faster, and the way Tom has woven in a great mix of old favorites and new places to ride, like the Strombolis Lake Loop, really make for a fun day in the woods, whether you’re racing, touring, or just rolling around the woods.

To learn more about the TCTF, head here. Make sure you get signed up and we’ll see you on Saturday, July 20!

The Most Useful Tool In Your Garage....

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It has zero moving parts, costs less than $15, and can save you thousands in repairs over the life of your bike. Do you have one?

There seems to be no end to the number of tools on offer. With a wide range of ‘standards’ making mockery of the very word, your tool box is always growing. There is one tool, however, that works with ever brand, every speed, and any bike, and it could save your a ton of money each season. It’s the chain gauge.

The chain tool, the chain checker, call it what you want. This handy tool can do more for your bike than you think. By checking your chain once a week, you can track the wear of your chain and your drivetrain, helping you replace parts early to get more life out of every link and cog.

The chain gauge will offer you two different numbers, .75 and .1. With a wear indication of .5, most parts manufacturers recommend replacing your chain. Doing this on time and consistently means you’ll only have to replace the chain without suffering a decrease in shift performance. Some riders can get two, three, four, even more chains without having to address any other drive train parts!

If you wait until 1, you may need to replace your chain and cassette together. This is because those parts wear together, and installing a new chain might cause skipping and the dreaded ‘mystery’ shift when you’re putting down the power.

Just how long and how many miles you get from each chain can vary widely based on your type of riding and conditions. A single ride in the rain and sand can eat away your chain’s life span quickly; each fall, an especially wet Out’n’Back can be enough to knock the life out of a relatively new chain! Based on our experiences, checking your chain once a week is enough to identify wear patterns. Road bikes ridden in dry conditions can usually get 500 miles or more; mountain bikes, however, can wear in half the time due to dust, sand, and the unique torque they face on the trail.

Stop by and we’ll grab you a chain tool and show you how to use it. By staying ahead of your repairs, you’ll save a lot of money in the long haul and face fewer big repairs, which means your bike spends less time in the shop and more time out on the roads or trails!

Summer Threads: New City Bike Shop Kit Just Arrived!

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Freshen up your wardrobe and show the world who keeps you rolling! 2019 City Bike Shop kit is here.

You loved it when the City Bike Shop Racing team lined up in it last year, and now it’s your turn to rock what we’ve been told (and, full disclosure, we agree) is the best looking CBS kit ever. Designed by our very own Nate Farran, the kit is hitting the shelves just in time to break out shorts sleeves and bare those knees!

Made by Sugoi, these fit relatively true to size for an athletic, race-ready fit. Our current stock includes bibs, jerseys, vests, and jackets in a wide ranges of sizes. Because it’s single order, smaller and larger sizes might be more limited and could go quick…but when the stuff looks this good, it all is going to fly off the shelves.

We’ve stuck with our game plan of unveiling our team’s new kit and offering the previous year’s duds without sponsor logos. Let’s just say you are DEFINITELY going to be able to spot the 2019 City Bike Shop Racing kits once the guys and gals get out there wearing them!

Stop by and check out the new threads, show your City Bike Shop pride, or find a gift for your pedaling pal.

Gravel Rubber: WTB's Nano 40

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In northern Michigan, girth matters. We’ve been riding the WTB Nanos, and they’re the right tire for a lot of local riding.

With more bikes blurring or erasing the line between gravel, road, cyclocross, and even mountain biking, the importance of rolling the right tire to handle it all makes more of a difference than ever. We’ve all been there; riding a fast tire on pavement that slides all over the place in the dirt, or a heavily treaded dirt tire that rolls like a slug on anything hard-packed or paved. It’s a lot to ask of a tire, when you think about it. For decades, the demands of each tire was relatively narrow. Slicks stayed on pavement. Treaded tires stayed on dirt, usually on a completely different wheel size. Today, tires have to do more.

Finding the tire for your style of riding and where you ride is key. Here in Traverse City, we have a lot of rough, cracked roads, so a supple tire is important. Our gravel isn’t really ‘gravel’ as other places would have it. Here, we have sand. With sand, width is the biggest factor for a tire, and we’ve found that a 40mm tire serves as the best benchmark for anyone mixing pavement, gravel, and trail. In other parts of the state, the clay base mean 28mm or 32mm tires are fine; up here, you might as well back a towel, because you’ll be spending a lot of time with your butt in the sand.

Enter the Nano. We first started riding this tire three years ago, and with thousands of miles on them and plenty of other tires tested, we keep coming back to these. The deep chevron tread offers a firm footprint for dirt and an almost paddle-like impact on the sand. It’s a low enough profile that it doesn’t hum or feel slow on pavement, either, which is a good thing; they ride so well on so many surfaces that you’ll spend a lot of time on these on the roads getting around town or riding up to the trailhead.

And yes, these are darn good on the sandy Vasa Pathway and the flowy Singletrack, too. The key for these tires is finding the right tire pressure. We never have them over 40 psi which, to the thumb-press, feels rather firm. On a tubeless rim, 20-25 is a good range, and between 25-30 psi if you’re using tubes.

That tube or tubeless decision is a bit of an important one. While not heavy per se, they’re slightly on the heftier side for a 40mm tire, though the ‘race’ version, which require tubes, might save you a few grams.

We’ve got black and skin wall Nanos in stock to suite your flavor.

Got a gravel tire you dig? Let us know!

2019 Bike Benzie: A Can't Miss Tour (Or Race!) In Northern Michigan

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There are plenty of events that pop up throughout the summer, but Bike Benzie is one we never miss.

Northern Michigan is home to an endless calendar of fun races and rides. It’s tough to find a weekend without at least one or two really unique events on the agenda, so much so that it’s hard to choose which ones to to hit. One we always show up for is a small little race and tour that gives us a chance to enjoy the roads of Benzie County and the lake shore, plus ample slices of pie. It’s nearly June, and that means it’s Bike Benzie time!

Bike Benzie is a fundraiser for the Benzie Sunrise Rotary. Over the years, the ride has shifted shapes to meet the interests of riders from all over the region. It’s current form offers a little something for everyone; there’s a 100 mile tour, 62 mile tour, 62 mile race, 62 mile team time trial, plus a 30 mile tour to get newer riders out for a stroll. The start and finish at Crystal Mountain Resort puts all over those routes onto some beautiful, low-traffic roads that even locals just don’t get a chance to ride nearly as much as we’d like.

Those 62 mile events are the real favorite. While a lot of riders head on to enjoy a 62 mile tour, there are two chances to get a little competitive, too. The 62 mile race is a grand fondo-type mass start event that suits riders who want to go hard. The team time trial offers teams a unique chance to combine four-man and three-woman teams to take on the same 62 mile course.

No matter if you race or ride, everyone gets a delicious meal once back at Crystal Mountain, complete with live music, plenty of pie and cookies, and a very friendly group of people to relive the action of the day with! With so many great food stops, make sure you leave room for after; they’re going to try to feed you as much as they can!

For more on the Bike Benzie, and all the good work the Benzie Sunrise Rotary does for the community, head here. Online registration ends May 30 at 8 pm, so get you and your pals signed up!