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  1. #1
    Retro Grouch
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    Demo Forest on a Fixed Gear

    Today was the day. Spike showed up in his van with his new Sette 29er dingle speed and I had my SASS fixie. In case you didn’t see it, here’s another pic; I added the rear brake and lever. SASS frames are disc only, but my plan was for a fixed/free, so a disc would not work. The plan was a Demo Forest ride (Santa Cruz, CA). The ride is about 13 miles, starts with 1000 foot climb on apaved and fire road, 2000 foot downhill singletrack (we road Tractor), and 1000 foot climb back out to the lower trail head; difficulty is somewhere between medium/expert to expert. The first climb was not much different than usual, perhaps a little easier because of the fixed gear. In the middle of the climb there is a single track, which gave me my first real taste of off road fixed gear riding; very awkward at first. When setting up for an obstacle, once tendency, especially on a flat or down hill, is to stand up and momentaarily coast; this of course is not possible on a fixie. I have read the technique is to lock up the rear wheel just before the obstacle. My first inclination was to just go for broke and hope I wouldn’t catch a pedal; this worked exactly 5 times. Number six didn’t result in a fall, but convince me I needed to start working on locking the rear wheel; the technique is easier than you would think, especially with a rear brake. After 3-4 tries, I found when the release point was and after that I started actually looking forward to the numerous log crossing on the trail.

    There were also a number of ruddy downhills. I first tried to stay seated, but that was too painful and unsteady. The trick is to standup, brake and pedal at the same time; again something that takes some practice, but is picked up fairly quickly. By this time we were at the top entrance to Demo Forest and the Ridge Trail. It’s pretty much downhill after this and my original plan was to switch to a freewheel at this point, but I decided to continue on with the fixed gear. Using my newly acquired skills I continued on and found I was able to negotiate increasingly more difficult terrain. On my mind however, was a small patch of downhill baby heads after the helipad. Again I had planned to switch to freewheel before the baby heads, especially since I had crashed the last 2 times I had ridden them. But, again I had already negotiated the trail to this point, so I again decided to continue. The baby head section is very rutted, so you really have to pick your way through without the front wheel washing out. I took the section to the right, which is less rutted, by requires a quick right at the bottom. I put my mind in “I’m going for it” mode and before I knew it, the front wheel dropped down at the bottom and to my surprise I made the turn and rode to the second section. This section is longer but not as steep and I made it through feeling very good about myself (especially since Spike took a minor spill in the first section).

    We finally reached the trail head to Tractor. Of the 5 main trails at Demo Forest, Tractor slightly less technical than Braille or Sawpit, but has a number of long sweeping turns and can be ridden a very high speeds. I picked it because if I did fall, I would do less damage to myself then the other two, which have some very steep downhills and no safe place to land if you fall. The ride was a hoot and I actually found myself wishing it was more technical (next time). Once I got to the bottom I was pretty much done, but it was a great ride. I expected my legs would be toasted, but it was my upper body that was feeling worse for ware. I pretty much crawled back to the lower trail head (a 1000 foot climb out). I was left with the realization that a fixed mountain bike is very rideable (if I can do it anyone can) even over technical terrain. It was a HOOT and it’s something I want to do again!
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    Last edited by aka brad; 07-22-2009 at 11:59 PM.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  2. #2
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    Nice! Did you have to hycle out? That's not an easy ride. I don't really understand the technique you described while riding on the pig track single track though. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

  3. #3
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    great job I love demo on a single speed

    You should next time go for sawpit just take your time and milk the sweetness.

    Bonzai

  4. #4
    Retro Grouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding
    Nice! Did you have to hycle out? That's not an easy ride. I don't really understand the technique you described while riding on the pig track single track though. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!
    What is the pig track single track? I know of the Pig Trail but that's lower down in Nisene Marks. Do you mean the single track that connects the two sections of fire road past the first gate?

    Quote Originally Posted by bonjules
    You should next time go for sawpit just take your time and milk the sweetness.

    Bonzai
    Demo Forest is in my backyard, so I've ridden pretty much everything it has to offer. But, yes Sawpit's a good ride on a SS, maybe next time.
    Last edited by aka brad; 07-23-2009 at 12:06 AM.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  5. #5
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    nice....
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    What is the pig track single track? I know of the Pig Trail but that's lower down in Nisene Marks. Do you mean the single track that connects the two sections of fire road past the first gate?
    I can't say for sure, but yes, I think so. Don't know what its called. Does it have one really rocky section, and long curvy section with a deep rut the whole way?

    Doesn't really matter. I'm impressed anyway.

  7. #7
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    Oh, by the way, my legs have been so sore for the last two days I barely made it out of the house. The last time my legs hurt this bad was when I decided to try a 60 mile ride on my fixed gear without brakes (there are no flat rides in Santa Cruz). Yes, my fixie off road ride turned me into a next (a next?). Well, I got better.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  8. #8
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    Doesn't suprise me...

    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Oh, by the way, my legs have been so sore for the last two days I barely made it out of the house. The last time my legs hurt this bad was when I decided to try a 60 mile ride on my fixed gear without brakes (there are no flat rides in Santa Cruz). Yes, my fixie off road ride turned me into a next (a next?). Well, I got better.
    Yep, fixie off road is a complete full body experience. I rode the local trails fixed a couple of days ago (after a 2 month layoff, dang surgery stuff) and was feeling some deep core muscles that just don't get activated even by the SS. And it was a mellow ride with some old friends.

    If I may, a little advice about lockup before stuff to get the pedals just right. I'd encourage you to "flow" more over obstacles without locking up the rear wheel. Know and accept that pedal strike happens. It is possible (and even desireable) to let that pedal strike and let the bike lift up under you and just keep pedalling through it all. It has helped me to lower my seat just a bit for fixie riding from the efficient position you are used to on SS and especially geared FS (you sound like a strong climber already). A bit lower seat (1/2"?) gives the bike a bit more room to float around under you when pedal strike happens.
    I'll usually give the back wheel a little backwards motion once I'm up on an obstacle (kind of a little rear wheel hop), but it has to be something that both tires are up on (say >2'), anything smaller and ya just pedal through it.
    Granted, I've not ridden your trails but I hope to someday. You can take my words with a grain of salt as necessary.
    I still think mtb fixie is my favorite ride, but I hope to put some good miles on the Flux FS I'm finishing the build on too. As Sheldon says "Coasting is pernicious!"

    Enjoy the ride!
    bike oN
    bob
    red-haze
    The more I know the more I know I don't know.
    Let the bike ride the trail, you ride the bike.
    Look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

  9. #9
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    great post, sounds like you had fun.. welcome to the looney bin.
    no chain no gain.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by red-haze.com
    Yep, fixie off road is a complete full body experience. I rode the local trails fixed a couple of days ago (after a 2 month layoff, dang surgery stuff) and was feeling some deep core muscles that just don't get activated even by the SS. And it was a mellow ride with some old friends.

    If I may, a little advice about lockup before stuff to get the pedals just right. I'd encourage you to "flow" more over obstacles without locking up the rear wheel. Know and accept that pedal strike happens. It is possible (and even desirable) to let that pedal strike and let the bike lift up under you and just keep pedaling through it all. It has helped me to lower my seat just a bit for fixie riding from the efficient position you are used to on SS and especially geared FS (you sound like a strong climber already). A bit lower seat (1/2"?) gives the bike a bit more room to float around under you when pedal strike happens.
    I'll usually give the back wheel a little backwards motion once I'm up on an obstacle (kind of a little rear wheel hop), but it has to be something that both tires are up on (say >2'), anything smaller and ya just pedal through it.
    Granted, I've not ridden your trails but I hope to someday. You can take my words with a grain of salt as necessary.
    I still think mtb fixie is my favorite ride, but I hope to put some good miles on the Flux FS I'm finishing the build on too. As Sheldon says "Coasting is pernicious!"

    Enjoy the ride!
    bike oN
    bob
    I probably should have explained 95% of the obstacles are logs. Generally the logs are 6-18" with ramps on the front and drop off the back. If you do not time your pedals, as the front wheel drops, a pedal strike is enough to stop the bike, and/or throw you over handle bars. It's also not unusal for the trailing pedal to strike under the top lip of the ramp. But thanks for the input. A fixie mtb is generally not your second bike, nor third of fourth; you don't get there until you've gone through enough bikes that most your obstacles are no longer in your head.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Oh, by the way, my legs have been so sore for the last two days I barely made it out of the house. The last time my legs hurt this bad was when I decided to try a 60 mile ride on my fixed gear without brakes (there are no flat rides in Santa Cruz). Yes, my fixie off road ride turned me into a next (a next?). Well, I got better.
    That is hilarious. Thanks for posting the follow up.

  12. #12
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    One word

    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    I probably should have explained 95% of the obstacles are logs. Generally the logs are 6-18" with ramps on the front and drop off the back. If you do not time your pedals, as the front wheel drops, a pedal strike is enough to stop the bike, and/or throw you over handle bars. It's also not unusal for the trailing pedal to strike under the top lip of the ramp. But thanks for the input. A fixie mtb is generally not your second bike, nor third of fourth; you don't get there until you've gone through enough bikes that most your obstacles are no longer in your head.
    Wheeliedrops!

    Know what I hate the most 'bout fixie mtb? When my toe catches under a root! The full momentum just crushes into that member till I fall over. Almost always bruises my whole foot. Ack, that just hurts thinkin' bout it!

    bikeon
    bob
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    Let the bike ride the trail, you ride the bike.
    Look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

  13. #13
    Retro Grouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by red-haze.com
    Wheeliedrops!

    Know what I hate the most 'bout fixie mtb? When my toe catches under a root! The full momentum just crushes into that member till I fall over. Almost always bruises my whole foot. Ack, that just hurts thinkin' bout it!

    bikeon
    bob
    There are those that can wheelie and those that can't; I think it's genetic. I have tried endlessly and the front end slams down the moment I get the front wheel off the ground. I figure a man needs to know his limitations, so I consentrate on the things I can do
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  14. #14
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    I bow to
    a man who knows himself. I can only encourage the concept of flow, like water in a stream, like a leaf on the wind (cue scene from "Serenity" ) LOL
    bike oN
    bob
    red-haze
    The more I know the more I know I don't know.
    Let the bike ride the trail, you ride the bike.
    Look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.

  15. #15
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    visit info

    Demo Forest is in my backyard, so I've ridden pretty much everything it has to offer. But, yes Sawpit's a good ride on a SS, maybe next time.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Was reading that much of the riding in Nisene Marks is closed to MTB and just road riding is legal. Is that true or just old info?
    Be visiting around Labor Day so wish to learn what I can ride, bringing the Turner Burner for tasty rides.
    agmtb

  16. #16
    utilitarian biker
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    hmmmmmm, demo on a ss. hmmmmmm, might have to try it...
    Long live long rides.

  17. #17
    metrotuned WoS
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    I rode demo forest on a Bianchi SASS with 32:18 and it was hard enough as it is freewheeling. I was riding the forest with a group of unicyclists - one wheeled fixed gears. Props akabrad for going through with it and surviving!
    #willofthesun and author of the most viewed MTBR thread: Platform Pedal Shootout

  18. #18
    Retro Grouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by abegold
    Was reading that much of the riding in Nisene Marks is closed to MTB and just road riding is legal. Is that true or just old info?
    Be visiting around Labor Day so wish to learn what I can ride, bringing the Turner Burner for tasty rides.
    The riding in Nisene Marks is the same as it's been for 20 years. There was an attempt to change the rules about 3-4 years ago, but after a lot a hubub, nothing changed. You can ride the single tracks before the bridge, but you have to stay on Aptos Crk Rd until you past the second gate, just before the Demo Forest trailhead. .
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

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