Mountain Bike

Meet The Newest Fastest Woman In The World :: Rising with Kate Courtney

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For years, everyone talked about her potential. It was always a year or two away; her first World Cup podium, her first national championship, her first win. Well, it’s here. 

Kate Courtney ended two decades of disappointment for American mountain bikers on the sport’s biggest stage. The US went twenty years without a World Cup cross country win, and for the country that invented riding bikes in the dirt, it hurt. We’ve had some incredible riders and personalities and plenty to watch and root for, but at the end of the day, nothing speaks louder than standing on the top of a podium at a venue like Nove Mesto or Albstadt. 

Enter Kate Courtney. Rumored to be the next next big thing, Kate was never the breakout star some cycling outlets would have you believe. Her 2018 World Championship win didn’t come out of the blue; dedicated, less dramatic followers of mountain biking always saw not just her potential, but a work ethic to match. Her win wasn’t so much revelation as it was confirmation, and that’s a confirmation she’s repeated with a consistent spring and summer on the World Cup. Wins, podiums, even a few handy wins in the short track prove she’s done everything right in 2019. 

Her move to Scott-SRAM has put her in the same team as living legend Nino Schurter, perhaps the most dominant mountain biker in a generation. Being able to draw on his knowledge and support crew as played a role, but it’d be remiss to think that the information exchange didn’t go both ways. When it comes to putting in the work both on and off the bike, few can keep up with Kate. Scott has unveiled a new series, Rising, to highlight the process fans usually don’t see; before the start line and the podiums, there are hours and hours of riding and nearly equal time in the gym. 

See what it takes to be a World Cup mountain biker, and more; see what it takes to be Kate Courtney


Traverse City Trails Festival Recap: Podiums and Plenty of Fun!

The City Bike Shop Racing Team had a huge turn out this past Saturday to support Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association at the Traverse City Trails Festival.

At the start of both the 40 and 25 mile race, the blue kits of City Bike Shop were everywhere! Our squad had July 20 earmarked for months. We’ve been looking forward to the TCTF since last year, and a big part of that enthusiasm comes from how involved some of our members are. Tom White, a trail-building legend, runs nearly every aspect of the TCTF and plays a big role in trail development with NMMBA. Our own Mike Walters has grown into Tom’s right-hand man and has put in countless hours creating and maintaining the trails that make up the course.

Our riders wanted to make all that hard work count. On the grueling 40 mile race, we had a tremendous showing! On the Expert 50+, John Duby nabbed third just ahead of Vince Mack, giving us two riders in the top five of one of the most competitive fields of the day. Meanwhile, Dan Packer Jr. took the singlespeed win and really impressed by finishing under the three-hour mark, while his old man was second in his category with a time just over three hours! We also had Alex Pina go for second in the Sport 30-39, with DJ Kenney and David Haapala second and third in the Sport 40-49.

In the 25 mile race, Beth Grassa took on some of the best singletrack riders in the state and came home fourth with a time of 2:02 in the Expert category. Nate Farran put months of Norte coaching to good use and may or may not have let one of his pupils, Brody Day, edge him out on the line. He slid through for 9th in the Expert field in a time of 1:52:53. Eric Grassa also broke the vaunted two hour mark with a time of 1:56:20, good enough to be in the top thirty overall!

Dave Walston kept the team’s singlespeed street cred alive in the 25 mile race, too. He put down a second place finish, just behind a flying Matt Fain. Matt won the 30-39 category in 1:55, one of our team’s top times of the day. We also saw top tens from Scott Kuhns, Sue Welton, and an on-form Jim Hills.

Check out the full results from TCTF and give your pals some kudos! We had a ton of fun catching up with riders from Traverse City and across the state this weekend, and we’re already looking forward to the even in 2020!

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!

"Silly Ka-Neg-Its" :: City Bike Shop's Wild Wednesday Knights

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"Silly Ka-Neg-Its".

City Bike Shop is certainly a cast of characters, and there’s no better example of that than our Wednesday night team rides. Sometimes on the road, often on the trails, occasionally on the gravel; the rides are decided on a whim and decidedly whimsical. They are always fun. Sometimes, we share Captain Bradferd’s recaps here on the blog, and this one is a can’t miss. Don’t know who he’s talking about? It hardly matters.

"Beware ye that show up to a Joust with a pen knife."  Searching for the West Side Grail required the right bike as was evident when guest leader Tim the Enchanter arrived sitting atop his mountain bike. In fact all Mud Lake residents arrived on them. The quest started out civil enough , at least terrain wise, with a mixture of actual gravel and pave. However, shoot outs began early as Pac Man Jr flexed his muscle on the first climb. Throughout the knight, Pac Man Jr rained hell on all-comers much like Sir Lancelot . Charges were made by Vlad the Impaler ( formerly Vicenzo ), the Dead Pirate , The Admiral, Deano ,Contador, and Tim the Enchanter. Not far off the back, tapping out a steady Tempo, was Cindy Lou Who  and off in the distance Roy silently pulled Steve O and Jeff "Rube" Hall back to the quest Caravan. Speaking of Rube he was no  brave Sir Robin as he suffered intensely throughout the quest.

For approximately 30 miles Tim the Enchanter led flyers, throwing one mile gaps within two mile distances. The logging road from Hell known as " Bad Naughty Zuet" took a serious toll as experienced sand master Steve O was forced to throw it in into a 130 rpm spin at the start. The Admiral was able to throw a flyer in at the end of Bad Naughty Zuet however his valiant effort was thwarted by a neutralized peloton.  The final shoot outs were initiated by Tim the Enchanter; however Jr Pac Man bridged huge gaps to lay siege on the rest of we Ka-Neg-Its. As most of the Ka-Neg-Its laid over at Camelot de Duby for grog, Contador , Rube and Insano made their  way through the forest of 'Ni" as twilight settled in. As fate would have it Rube decided to take his own route back to the lot as we crossed the Spillway of the Black knight and ended up making a horrid Sandy* trip back,,,, one more pineapple for the road.

So Here you go the best Quest players. Special thanks to Tim the Enchanter for kicking our coconuts.

Sadistic Rider-                          Tim the Enchanter  Llama

Masochistic Rider-                    Rube Hall  Llama

High RPM in Sand-                   Steve O  Llama

Team Player-                             Roy  Llama

Agitator-                                    The Admiral  Llama ( a trend is a foot)

Chase Group-                           Dead Pirate  Llama and Deano Llama

White Jersey-                            Contador  Llama

Best Mt Biker-                           Cindy Lou Who Llama

Best Sr Rider-                           Vlad the Impaler Llama

Best Rider-                                Jr. Pack Man  Llama

Backyard Bucket List: Three Places You Need To Ride in Northern Michigan

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It’s finally starting to feel like spring, and with warm temps and superb trail conditions, we’ve got three places you need to ride….and soon!

One of the best parts about riding in northern Michigan is that there’s always someplace new to roll. All over the region, both new trails and old favorites are always improving, adding mileage, and offering new experiences to locals and visitors alike. We’re spoiled, and all these opportunities come thanks to organizations like Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, Leelanau Conservancy, and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. We’ve picked one trail from each for you to put your northern Michigan bucket list.

Glacial Hills. NMMBA, the GTRLC, and Antrim County have turned Glacial Hills from a neat network of trail into the destination trail it seemed almost fated to become. Professionally designed and machine built, Glacial Hills offered the region its first glimpse of a unique blend of natural and flow trail. Using the natural terrain of Antrim County, just outside of Bellaire, and retaining the wild, beautiful views, Glacial Hills draw thousands of riders north each and every season. The trail is in peak bloom through May, with a wide array of wildflowers lighting up the trail side.

Open to bikes, hikers, and runners, the trail boasts one of the most dedicated trail crews around. Nearly two dozen volunteers take care of the trail on a bi-weekly basis, responding to downed trees within a few hours, and offering a manicured place to shred no matter what. There are three trailheads to choose from, and you’re going to want to stop by and support one of the trails biggest advocates, Short’s Brewing, after the ride.

Palmer Woods. For years, there just weren’t many trail opportunities in Leelanau County. With the footpaths at the Leelanau State Park off limits, most riders stuck to hot lap at 45 North Winery’s 3 mile trail. All that changed with the addition of Palmer Woods. The Leelanau Conservancy unveiled the first phase last fall, with all machine-built trails, rock gardens, drops, and plenty of beginner-friendly lines as well. It’s a place where riders learn new skills with a massive smile on their faces, and a great way to work a bike ride into your trip to Glen Arbor, the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore, Leeland, all points north.

Arcadia Dunes. This is really the crown jewel in the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s growing collection. Arcadia has been compared to Glacial Hills, and vice versa, thanks to the flowing, ribbon-like quality of both networks. Perhaps Arcadia in particular, it’s the sort of trail that sends riders up over 1,000 feet of elevation 11 mile lap, but you’re never really quite sure where or how, because it never felt that hard. Like Glacial, the Arcadia is awash with wildflowers through May and often into June. It’s also a wonderful place to simple slow down and enjoy the trails. If you come to a stop, you’ll be surrounded by peace and quiet, with the trail often completely to yourself!

Arcadia is also just across the road from Lake Michigan. Take a second after your ride to peek over the bluffs and enjoy some incredible views, and perhaps even catch sight of a freighter or two!

Looking for more places to ride…and a bike to ride them with? Stop by City Bike Shop and we’ll point you in the right direction for the perfect road or trail.