New rider in Calgary- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New rider in Calgary

    Hi all,

    Would appreciate tips for where to ride. Are there guide books or sites that list good trail rides in K Country/Cochrane/Banff?

    Basically, I know nothing and would like to fix that.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Backcountry biking in the Canadian Rockies b Doug Eastcott. Should be able to find it at the MEC.
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  3. #3
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    Awesome, will pop into MEC when I get my bike from its tune up at The Bike Shop. Thanks!

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    Chances are The Bike Shop has the book to. FYI I think Bike Bros in Cochrane in the best shop in the area, well worth the drive. Check out http://www.mbpost.com/object_list.ph...te_province_2= for some free info.
    It's go time

  5. #5
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    Cool, thanks a lot for the link! I went to The Bike Shop because its a short walk home for me, only now have seen its reviews--and I can't dispute them! It took forever to get someone's attention. Will check out Bike Bros for the next tune up.

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    Sorry, nothing much to add here as you've got some good info from the other responders but had to comment on your user name... that is awesome. Coming from medical background; not that some might not remember this from high school biology or something of the sort.

    What brings you to Calgary? Where from?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamer19
    Sorry, nothing much to add here as you've got some good info from the other responders but had to comment on your user name... that is awesome. Coming from medical background; not that some might not remember this from high school biology or something of the sort.

    What brings you to Calgary? Where from?
    Thanks! The truth to the nickname is that, while in graduate school in Montreal I got sucked into playing Quake. When the game prompted me for a name, this popped out, having just seen a seminar on pesticide impact on frog development. (it was either this or Beri Beri )

    I teach anatomy at the UC, and came here from a school in southern California, and before that Toronto. My office is in the Foothills complex--you a doctor there, or in EMS? Lots of folks bike to work--including me shortly.

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    When you are going for ride you should mention it on the forum here and I'm sure one of us will be able to take you out for your first ride in the mountains.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu
    When you are going for ride you should mention it on the forum here and I'm sure one of us will be able to take you out for your first ride in the mountains.
    Thanks a lot! Its very much appreciated.

    Going over the trail page hizzity posted, what does "medium aerobic/technical" really mean? I think I'm in reasonable shape aerobically, given I run 4 km 1-2 times per week and play hockey and soccer still. Technical? I assume this is related to the climbing discussion on the beginners forum. Is a medium technical route too much for someone with lots of bike experience but little off road?

  10. #10
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    try out Nose Hill it is almost all rideable now, if you do hills there for a month the mountains will be easy.

  11. #11
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    Just commuted to work today for the first time, basically from the Ship and Anchor to the Foothills Hospital. The pathway along the river is prettier than it appears to be while driving, and I took a short stretch of single track to connect me up to the 29th St hill, which was grand fun. That climb did my legs in pretty well, so I think some training at Nose Hill is definitely in order before hitting the mountain trails (I did manage to score a bike rack for the car for $5 off Kijiji).

    After having ridden road bikes all my life (other than my 10 year hiatus), its going to take a bit to get used to the different gearing ratios on the mountain bike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    Just commuted to work today for the first time, basically from the Ship and Anchor to the Foothills Hospital. The pathway along the river is prettier than it appears to be while driving, and I took a short stretch of single track to connect me up to the 29th St hill, which was grand fun. That climb did my legs in pretty well, so I think some training at Nose Hill is definitely in order before hitting the mountain trails (I did manage to score a bike rack for the car for $5 off Kijiji).

    After having ridden road bikes all my life (other than my 10 year hiatus), its going to take a bit to get used to the different gearing ratios on the mountain bike.

    Yup I ride from the north west down that path to work....The South Side ride is also nice you could cross the river at Crowchild Tr Bridge or at Edworhty Park bridge as well.

    Don't worry do that commute every day for a month, you won't even notice the riverbank hill.

    Do Nosehill a couple of times on the weekend and you will be ready for the mountains in May.

  13. #13
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    Thanks Jeff! I got to the river via alleys to 10th ave, which has a "bike lane" (more theoretical than real), and met up with the river at 14th street (and so took the south path to the Crowchild crossover). Are there better routes I should be considering?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    Thanks Jeff! I got to the river via alleys to 10th ave, which has a "bike lane" (more theoretical than real), and met up with the river at 14th street (and so took the south path to the Crowchild crossover). Are there better routes I should be considering?
    I come down from the North Hill Mall cross Memorial at 21 st, then east on the North side of the river to 14 st then south to 10 ave then down 10 av....

    You probably got the shortest route there....when it gets warm the stay on the south side and ride west past Crowchild in a couple of k you end up at Edworthy Park, cross the bridge there, and ride back east to the Foothills....

    Edworthy has some really steep dives in the trees, great riding, but it doesn't dry up for a while cause it is north facing.

    You can follow the memorial path on the north side of the river west past Edworthy and you end up at Home road which is the start of Bowmont park, also great riding at a place called SideShow BOB.

    if you continue north that path system eventually ends up a Nosehill Park....

    I ride home that way on nice days in the summer.

  15. #15
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    Rode in again, and made that hill this time without stopping by spinning in granny+3. Also remembered the GPS and learned the ride is somewhat longer, at 6.8 clicks, than I had guestimated.

    I also learned a valuable lesson: do not drop into granny under a load. I dropped my chain for the first time this morning

  16. #16
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    Welcome to Calgary! I see you're getting excellent advice. For more of the same, check out http://bikecalgary.org for bike commuting info.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    when it gets warm the stay on the south side and ride west past Crowchild in a couple of k you end up at Edworthy Park, cross the bridge there, and ride back east to the Foothills....

    Edworthy has some really steep dives in the trees, great riding, but it doesn't dry up for a while cause it is north facing.
    I gave that route a try this morning since I had to put a few hours in at work, and it was a beautiful day. Sadly, the Douglas Fir trail was closed at the rail road crossing so I had to double back and cross at Crowchild.

    Still, I seem to be getting my riding legs and lungs back. I almost made the steep single track path up the 29th St hill, but too much torque and loose dirt had me alternating between spinning my hind wheel or popping my front, so I had to walk the last 10 feet because I didn't want to rut out the trail. I think a (much) shorter stem would help too.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    I gave that route a try this morning since I had to put a few hours in at work, and it was a beautiful day. Sadly, the Douglas Fir trail was closed at the rail road crossing so I had to double back and cross at Crowchild.

    Still, I seem to be getting my riding legs and lungs back. I almost made the steep single track path up the 29th St hill, but too much torque and loose dirt had me alternating between spinning my hind wheel or popping my front, so I had to walk the last 10 feet because I didn't want to rut out the trail. I think a (much) shorter stem would help too.

    Yeah they put a sign up there but people ride that all winter long, just go around it.

    There is also a path right down the river side of the RR tracks, that is what I ride...

    I'll take a ride out there and see, probably today???

  19. #19
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    The river side trail was fenced off so I didn't go down it. *shrugs*

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    The river side trail was fenced off so I didn't go down it. *shrugs*

    I'll ride out there there is a little slot through the fence....

    See what they have done now.

    I rode the trail last night...it is fine.

    When you get to the railway crossing (second one) you have three options

    The upper trail (no good).

    The middle trail with the gate down and the lower trail on the river side of the railway tracks.

    If you take the middle trail with the gate down, ride around the gate about halfway down the trail there is a big ice jam across the trail about 100m wide...easy to ride across..two dog walker and two bikers went down the trail at the same time as me. At the far end they have a closed fence gate, just take the dirt path to the right about 30 feet before the closed fence it goes around the fence and back to the trail.



    The lowest trail is single track just on the river side of the railway tracks it is also fine.
    Last edited by jeffscott; 03-30-2010 at 07:54 AM.

  21. #21
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    Cool thanks!

    Rode to work this am against a strong frigid headwind. The final hill is no longer an issue for me, as you predicted. I am now taking it on the single track at the end of 26th (or maybe 27th..whichever the crosswalk across Memorial is located at) ST, ride straight up to the middle path, over a nice trail of rocks and roots including a dry stream bed in the woods, then around to the crosswalk. No problem. Its nice to have the legs and lungs coming back so quickly!

  22. #22
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    Finally made it to Nose Hill today--beautiful even considering the headwind. The opening climb sucked though--I had to pull over for some folks coming downhill and lost all momentum. Shifting down to low granny gears, I wound up battling front and rear tires--front would pop up, and when I leaned forward rear would spin out, and I would fall over. Would a shorter stem help with this or am I lacking basic technique?

  23. #23
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    shorter stem would make it worse, practice practice practice, I'm crap at clinbing too

  24. #24
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    Thanks. My thinking is that with a shorter stem I'd be able to put my seat back a little further to the rear wheel. That would probably not help the front wheel pop issue I suspect.

    The other issue is that my tires are the stock 1.5"ers. What tires do folks out here in Calgary usually run with?
    Last edited by Bilirubin; 04-04-2010 at 10:22 AM.

  25. #25
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    A decent full size 2.1" or 2.2" is what you want for trails around Calgary and the XC stuff in Kananaskis/Canmore, something like a Kenda Nevegal 2.1. It'll work well in the dry and do well in the loamy mud. Nothing helps with the clay mud when you find it, especially once it becomes peanut butter consistency or stickier.

    If you're having trouble balancing centre of gravity during climbing, just hover your butt off the saddle and climb bent over to keep your weight low and way down on the pedals, and that will allow you more dynamic flexibility on managing your CG. That will also boost your core ab strength (or show up a need to boost your core strength).
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  26. #26
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    Cool thanks! I'm heading back to Nose Hill later today to try, try again. I'm already doing core strength exercises (and upper, and lower body...)

    Does Bow Cycle have a good selection of tires, or should I order them online? I've seen some worries about the soft sidewalls on the Nevegals--that a real issue or is it overblown?

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    a lot of people here seem to run maxxis to from what I've seen so far, tyres in town seem really expensive to me, the sharp rocks up in Kannanaskis have caused a lot of damage to my panaracers so I imagine some of the light thin tyres will get cut to ribbons, I was fancying some advantage or crossmarks next but tyres are really personal

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee p
    a lot of people here seem to run maxxis to from what I've seen so far, tyres in town seem really expensive to me, the sharp rocks up in Kannanaskis have caused a lot of damage to my panaracers so I imagine some of the light thin tyres will get cut to ribbons, I was fancying some advantage or crossmarks next but tyres are really personal
    Cheers again lee. I've been doing a bit of a tire crash course, and see Maxxis High Rollers, Ignator, and Ardent are frequently recommended.

    Lots of options make the learning curve a tad steep at the beginning, but the Nevagals seem a decent place to start (and for a reasonable price at Calgary Cycle).

  29. #29
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    The Maxxis tires run a bit small in that 2.1" size, where the Nevegals are a full size 2.1". Because the Nevies are fairly large you can drop your pressures quite a bit. If you've been running 1.5" tires at 45-50+ psi, you could run the Nevies down around 30-32 psi so they are less bouncy, conform better to roots and trail irregularities and have a bigger foot print.

    They'll have a little more rolling resistance than what you're used to, but if you go with the DTC (Dual Tread Compound) you'll get the harder knobs in the centre and softer knobs on the sides for cornering grip.

    Other choices might be Continental Mountain King 2.2 or Vertical Pro 2.3, both of which are about 2.15" wide.

    If you're riding a hardtail, those 2.1" tires will be pretty solid choice and should fit the chainstays. If you're riding a FS bike, then you might even look at 2.25" to 2.35" tires like the Maxxis Ardent or Mountain King 2.4 tires.
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  30. #30
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    Just back from Nose Hill, and all of your suggestions really helped--especially the suggestion to sit on the front of the saddle. I only had to stop once on the single track climb because my legs lack conditioning!

    rockyuphill, I really appreciate your post on tires. It turns out that bikepedia was in fact wrong--the tires I have are 1.95", not 1.5". I was running them around 35 psi, so I dropped the rear to around 32 and the front a little lower again and the ride (my hardtail) was much smoother. The tread is not very aggressive so I am still considering the tire upgrade.

    Found some fun rolling singletrack and a couple rocky technical bits up there, and was briefly in the middle of a larger group of bikers, and was pleased I managed to keep pace easily enough. Grand fun!

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    I have to be honest I choose my tyres on price, the newer models of maxxis come up bigger in size, as Rocky say's older ones ala highroller are pretty thin in width compared to others, never tried a Kenda

  32. #32
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    What do you think of the Panaracers? I had the ones they sell at MEC (the Firexcpro) recommended to me on PinkBike, but you don't think they are rugged enough for K-Country?

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    I've got a pair of Maxxis 2.1" Ignitor Exceptions that struggle to get to 1.9" in width. They need too much air pressure to keep the rims off the rocks and roots, about 40psi, so they end up being really bouncy on rocks. An Advantage would be better as they are a bigger volume tire in the 2.1" size.

    I really like Conti Race King 2.2 Supersonics, the Black Chili rubber is super grippy, they are huge carcass volume so you can run 3-4 psi lower air pressure, but they have very light sidewalls so sharp edge rocks are not their friends.
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  34. #34
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    IMO kenda nevegals are "the" tire to be used in k-country, firexc are good but I would only use it as a rear tire. What bike are you riding? hardtail? full suspension? I like to run a wider tire in the front like a 2.35 and then a 2.1 in the rear and around 30-35 psi
    It's go time

  35. #35
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    I'm riding a hard tail Kona Lana'i, which is all stock at the moment. The plan is to upgrade parts as they break because this frame is really nice and light. I'm fussing about the stem because I think its a little long (not knowing a lot about proper fit of a MTB), but so far I have had no pain or discomfort while riding it so who knows--it might be ok.

    (the reflectors are now gone)

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    So that looks like a 2003 Lana'i either a 19" or 20" with an odd combination of a very short seat post extension and really long stem length. Do you have an unusually long torso and arms or unusually short inseam?
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    So that looks like a 2003 Lana'i either a 19" or 20" with an odd combination of a very short seat post extension and really long stem length. Do you have an unusually long torso and arms or unusually short inseam?
    No and no. Its a 20" frame, I am 5'11" in normal proportions. It came this way; I bought it off Kijiji for a very good price, which is why I don't mind spending a little to on parts to bring the fit to more normal proportions.

  38. #38
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    I really like panaracer cinders, they are much better than the fire xc but I haven't seen them over here yet{very popular in the UK}

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    No and no. Its a 20" frame, I am 5'11" in normal proportions. It came this way; I bought it off Kijiji for a very good price, which is why I don't mind spending a little to on parts to bring the fit to more normal proportions.
    Just to add a little...the stem is 110mm, and its forward placement makes it hard to pop the front tire to, say, go over a log or start a bunny hop. I'm thinking of replacing it with a 90mm. Anything else I should get? Bash guard? What is that strip I see people wrapping the right chainstay with--is that just an old inner tube or special rubber tape? Because I'm already seeing the paint get nicked and scratched there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    Just to add a little...the stem is 110mm, and its forward placement makes it hard to pop the front tire to, say, go over a log or start a bunny hop. I'm thinking of replacing it with a 90mm. Anything else I should get? Bash guard? What is that strip I see people wrapping the right chainstay with--is that just an old inner tube or special rubber tape? Because I'm already seeing the paint get nicked and scratched there.
    Welcome to Alberta.

    Yeah, I think you would definitely benefit from a shorter stem... With that being said, do whatever feels the most comfortable for you... Yep, some people use an inner tube, some electrical tape... You can even buy specific protectors (Lizard Skins, etc.).

    Buy yourself some clipless pedals. One of the best upgrades in my opinion.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    Just to add a little...the stem is 110mm, and its forward placement makes it hard to pop the front tire to, say, go over a log or start a bunny hop. I'm thinking of replacing it with a 90mm. Anything else I should get? Bash guard? What is that strip I see people wrapping the right chainstay with--is that just an old inner tube or special rubber tape? Because I'm already seeing the paint get nicked and scratched there.

    Forget the Panaracers, the mountains will cut them up....

    Forget the bike upgrades, ride Nosehill hard for the next 4 to 6 weeks....the mountains will cut you up.

    Tires pick up some Nevegals, Maxxis Ignitors, or some Conti Verticals....Nev on the rear and Ignitor or Vertical on the front, (or front and rear).

    Pick up a spare tube and an air pump and start carrying them....

    In about 4 to 6 weeks go ride Sulphur Springs trail, it will be dry first....or you can try Canmore benchlands....

    Then start thinking about what you want for a bike....

  42. #42
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    I have to disagree with the Nose Hill "training". You can have fun in the mountains at any skill level. There are trails for everyone. Go out and have fun. It's recreation, not a job. Having said that, you may find Sulphur Springs a little discouraging based on your description of your fitness level. Benchlands has a good variety though, and it's probably mostly dry right now.

    Also disagree on the Panaracers, I got many good years of service out of them. Good bang for the buck, and I don't think you will damage them riding beginner trails

    I live right by Nose Hill, so I'm out there pretty frequently. Hit me up if you want to go for a ride.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by spsoon
    I have to disagree with the Nose Hill "training". You can have fun in the mountains at any skill level. There are trails for everyone. Go out and have fun. It's recreation, not a job. Having said that, you may find Sulphur Springs a little discouraging based on your description of your fitness level.So go train on Nose hill for 4 to 6 weeks Benchlands has a good variety though, and it's probably mostly dry right now.

    Also disagree on the Panaracers, I got many good years of service out of them.Well if he rides something other than beginners trails he could certainly do better than Panaracers Good bang for the buck, and I don't think you will damage them riding beginner trails

    I live right by Nose Hill, so I'm out there pretty frequently. Hit me up if you want to go for a ride.
    Be sure you don't do any training up there.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by spsoon
    I live right by Nose Hill, so I'm out there pretty frequently. Hit me up if you want to go for a ride.
    Awesome, thanks! That would be a big help. On Sunday I started finding where the more rolling trails are located by shadowing a larger pack of riders but still need to find the trails that would be good training routes for the mountains (other than that initial single track climb out of the John Laurie parking lot that is!).

    ETA: bloody lot of mule deer up there eh?

  45. #45
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    On my up to Spy Hill today I stopped by Bow Cycles and checked out their tire selection. After a chat with one of the bike equipment guys about my riding habits he suggested I consider a Specialized Captain in 2", with possibly a 2.2" in front. The harder center lugs would help with the pathway riding I'd still be doing in town, which makes a great deal of sense to me. Anybody have any experience with these tires?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin
    On my up to Spy Hill today I stopped by Bow Cycles and checked out their tire selection. After a chat with one of the bike equipment guys about my riding habits he suggested I consider a Specialized Captain in 2", with possibly a 2.2" in front. The harder center lugs would help with the pathway riding I'd still be doing in town, which makes a great deal of sense to me. Anybody have any experience with these tires?

    Consider a Maxxis Crossmark very good pavement tire, pretty good tire for the mountains, mud will overwhelm it.

    Definately go big in for the front tire.

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    For Bilirubin,

    I've used the Captain UST and it's decent enough. I think the suggested Crossmark is a pretty good way to go for pavement and occasional mountain use. Maybe not the best choice if you are going to be in the mountains a lot in the early season due to mud (as mentioned).

    Perhaps start looking at joining a club and riding/hanging out with some of the other riders to get a feel for what they are riding on and what they are doing to get ready for a good season of riding/laying the smack down with their buddies. I live down in the SE near 130th, if you are nearby I can take you out for a ride on a trail nearby.

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