Cube Stereo 160 Super HPC Race 27.5 review

If you want a competent, tackle anything all-rounder that’s great value but still comes from a proper shop, rather than some rule breaking handling experiment that’ll get you weird looks, the Cube Stereo 160 Super HPC Race 27.5, What Mountain Bike Trail Bike of the Year runner-up, is the runaway winner.

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Video: Cube Stereo 160 Super HPC Race 27.5
Frame and equipment: thoroughbred credentials
Given that the Cube Stereo’s appeal is in its total tick-box perfection, it makes sense to go through what those boxes are. The carbon frame isn’t just another jelly mould semi-carbon or compromised weave unit made with one eye on cost. It’s class.
The mainframe is bonded from two halves to form a very stiff and light keystone; the rear stays are similarly structurally impressive, the rocker linkage is carbon and the extra, diagonally angled guide for the semi-internal dropper post and rear brake hose – gear cables are fully internal – is a masterpiece of practical detailing. The only thing it’s missing is a set of chainguide mounts, but the neutrally smooth rear end sucks up punishment so well we never rattled the chain loose.

The Stereo has a top quality carbon frame for the price of an alloy bike
The geometry is properly on point for a 160mm bike. The 66.5-degree head angle gives easy self-correcting steering, and it’s backed with real authority from the stiff front triangle when the hits get random. While the suspension rides naturally high, the low bottom bracket and top-spec TrailStar compound Schwalbe tyres keep it surefooted whether you’re railing washed out ruts and grooves or trying to surf a turn through gravel.
The wide-rimmed Sun Ringle Radium wheels and Schwalbe tyres are tubeless compatible if you want to add even more traction. There’s no lack of leverage through the wide Easton Haven bars and 70mm stem, and the Stealth Reverb drops the saddle out of the way when you need to throw your weight around.
Big-rotored Formula brakes, RaceFace cranks and SRAM X0 gears are all parts to be proud of, and faithful friends however hard you’re riding.
Ride and handling: keeps on trucking
While the rear end generally rides high enough to make the Stereo feel sharper than its head angle suggests, hit something hard and it opens up and rushes through its travel. This effectively slackens the steering all of a sudden, leaving it a little vague – and in Descend there’s nothing to push against for pumping and popping – but then little seems to stop it simply thundering straight over whatever it encounters. Even the Evolution-damped Fox 34 fork couldn’t render our worst lines sketchy or scary.
Masses of pedal-neutral travel plus stiffness and low weight mean it climbs efficiently on smooth fire roads and random rock steps alike, and scientifically speaking the Cube is close to ticking every box.

Low weight and neutral pedalling action make any climb a cinch
Emotionally speaking, its exceptional ability to plough through or up anything does mean it may lack an edge for more dynamic riders – it can feel disconnected, uninvolving. The Stereo is a best friend to get you out of trouble, not a bad influence to get you into it.
This article was originally published as part of What Mountain Bike magazine’s Trail Bike of the year awards. What Mountain Bike is available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Tuesday Treats 88: Ace Components

Your once a week dose of retail therapy from Singletrack’s Premier Dealers, stockists and advertisers, Tuesday Treats gives you a quality serving of independent bike retailing and a chance to win big in this week’s prize draw.
This week, we’re exclusively introducing: Ace Components

Tuesday Treats is handing the controls over to Chris Lawson and the fresher-than-spring guys at Ace Components, to talk to us about their company launch and the exciting plans ahead…

We are Ace Components, a new mountain bike company based in the North West, supplying products aimed at modern trail riding and the enduro race scene.
How did this joint-venture start out?
As joint owners and riders, Jonny Calvert and myself actually became friends through Singletrack’s website, tackling a VERY windy Snowdon ride that had been arranged on the forum last year. The ride was less than successful; the weather resulting in little riding being done on the way up, and one wrong turn on the decsent resulting in a 50 quid cab fare back to the cars!
Still, we realised we had a similar focus in the riding we enjoyed and over the following months, riding our local North Wales trails, the conversation turned to current products on the market, and the companies that supply them. We realised we could do things differently and Ace Components was born.
Tell us about the products and what marks you guys as different?
We are very much focussed on components born out of the recent evolution of the trail bike and so we supply narrow/wide chainrings, our ‘Dinner Plate’ 40T and 42T rear sprockets, a really nice set of wide, hookless carbon rims (in all three size flavours) and these offer improved tyre retention, all the obvious weight and rolling resistence gains.

32 teeth and narrow wide… for your riding pleasure

Lots of other products are on the way which are born out of the same conversations, namely “Does that really have to be that expensive?” and “I wish I could get one of those that didn’t do that!” and so on.
Where we really think we can be a benefit to the mountain bike community is by being your local online retailer. We are happy to talk about our product range and which of our products are most suitable for your style of riding, locality and fitness as a start.
It wasn’t so long ago we were all riding around on a triple chainset and losing two front rings can seem pretty daunting, even to more experienced riders. We’d like to offer riders the opportunity to drop us a line and we’ll offer you honest, objective advice.
What else is in the production and service pipeline?
We have also produced a mini 1×10 groupset which consists of our narrow/wide chainring, a 10 speed chain, shorty chainring bolts and our dinner plate rear sprocket. We will customise the ratios to your needs so it all works together nicely. A one stop shop for 1×10 drivtrains! The future.

Ace Components 40T ‘Dinner Plate’ Sprocket

We also offer a wheel build service on our carbon rims. There is a lot of myth and mystery surrounding wheels and wheel building so we can offer sound advice on spoke/nipple/hub arrangements and hopefully debunk some of those myths. On the service side, you can send us your old wheels (or drop them off and have a nice cup of coffee) and we will rebuild your existing hubs and spokes (if they are the right size and condition) onto new rims and tape them up, so you can go tubeless and we’ll send them back to you.
Are you involved in any competitive events?
We are both keen on the Enduro racing scene too, it’s great to have a format of racing that closely mirrors what we would be doing when we ride with mates anyway. Ace Components will be heavily involved in the race scene too. We will be at Enduro races throughout the country with a trade stand and also offering technical support to riders using our parts.
How best can we keep up to date with developments?
We will be a continually growing our product range in the near future (new bars/stems, including ultra short lengths and our new chain guides for starters) and with ideas for future clothing and accessories ranges, we’d love to keep you in the loop via Facebook and Twitter . We love talking bikes, so call us for a chat on: 07960 525 589.
What’s the local riding like on your doorstep?
We both live in the grand city of Chester and tend to ride North Wales regularly. I’m Cumbria born and bred, so often get to ride the Lake District and also love annual trips to the Alps. We’ll ride anywhere to be honest, its always good to ride new trails and offers of from local guides are happily accepted!

Chris and Jonny in the office… talking tech

Tuesday Treats Prize Draw
Click here to win this week’s prize!

GT Sensor Carbon Expert 27.5 review

It’s been 17 years since GT unveiled its I-Drive suspension in a glam rock-style cloud of dry ice, but it’s still a good way to get a bike up and down techy trails. Especially if you make the bike out of stiff, light carbon fibre, then hang good kit off it.
Frame and equipment: stiff, light and finely detailed
GT calls the latest incarnation of its ‘floating’ bottom bracket system Angle Optimized Suspension, rather than I-Drive, but it does the same job. That job is squeezing the shock between the mainframe and the top of a third, ‘Pathlink’ frame section. The Pathlink carries the cranks, and it pivots in relation to the mainframe and the rear swingarm at the bottom. By doing so it removes a lot of the chain stretch, which in turn means the top of the swingarm can pivot higher than normal on the mainframe without causing excessive pedal feedback.

Impressive value kit comes from RaceFace, Formula and Shimano
Why does that matter? The higher pivot position lets the back wheel swing up and away from impacts really easily, effectively amplifying the suspension’s ability to handle shocks.
That was a surprise to our testers who hadn’t ridden the system before, and found it rode more like a 150mm bike than a 130mm one when walloping down stuff. Also, all these parts are buried down in the bottom of the bike and, despite the host of joins and moving parts, the frame is impressively stiff from screw-thru Maxle to Maxle.
The top-value SLX front and XT rear gears are direct-mounted for crisp shifting, the clamped bearings are easy to replace and there’s a sag indicator to make setting up the well-hidden shock possible.

SLX front and XT rear gears are direct-mounted for crisp shifting
Ride and handling: traction control
Consistent wheel connection and the backward ‘trapdoor’ swing mean impressively tenacious, reasonably bob-free climbing traction in any of the three rings of the Race Face cranks. Despite the complexity, overall weight is impressively low, even with an internally routed dropper post fitted as standard.
There’s plenty of authoritative steering leverage in the 740mm bars and, while the RockShox Sektor fork might not have the car-park kudos of a Fox, it outperforms every Evolution or Performance-series Fox and is stiffer too.

Fashionistas may gasp, but RockShox’ Sektor easily beats budget Fox forks for consistent control
The only trouble is that – again – we wish it was either longer or the head angle was slacker. With its climb-friendly weight – and GT’s own Force offering raked-out geometry and a burlier build – we can see what it was thinking, and indeed the 68.5-degree head works well on tight trails and techy climbs.
However, if GT didn’t want the Sensor hammered as hard as the rear end clearly likes, why has it got wide bars, a dropper post, big rotor Formula Enduro brakes and a 2.4in front tyre?
The good news is that the frame is warranty-safe for a 150mm fork, so if you do want to get fast and loose, all you have to do is remove the spacer on the air spring and you’re there.
This article was originally published as part of What Mountain Bike magazine’s Trail Bike of the year awards. What Mountain Bike is available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Rider Report: Builth Wells Spring MTB Festival 2014

Last week Matt Jones took part in the Builth Wells Spring MTB Festival in Wales, and he’s put together a report for us on his experience of the racing. Sounds like fun!

Matt Jones with his swag.

Words: Matt Jones
The Builth-Wells MTB Festival lured a mass of mountain bikers (500+!) to the ‘home of MTB marathon’ to partake in races spanning Saturday day time, night and Sunday. Although entering just one of these races would be enough for some, for others, including myself, it seemed like a good idea to get some early season miles under my belt and do a mini stage race by taking on the Exposure Lights Big Night Out followed by the first round of the MTB-Marathon series. Some nutters even took on the triple, entering the Welsh XC race on Saturday as well (and placing more than respectably at each!).
With the Welsh XC race out of the way it was time for the Big Night Out. Exposure lights were then on hand, sorting out many a punter with super bright setups which were required for the wide open 30mph grassy descents that awaited them that evening. The guys hooked me up with a new Maxx D, which was an upgrade from my old faithful model. I found that the advantage of the newer lights was the ability to set lots of different programme modes depending on how long you are going to be riding for. The guys set me up with a mode that would be best for the evening activities. A 2hr High and 6hr mode was the perfect setup for the scheduled 2hour or so night time adventure in the hills, and come to think of it probably perfect for the mid week night rides as well. The space age lights on the back also showed the battery level indicator in increments, simple but very handy. Me likey.
With most of those at the sharp end of the field booked in for the marathon the next day, some might have expected that the pace on the Saturday night might go off a bit steadier than the usual 100mph red line starts of shorter endurance races. That went straight out the window as the lead vehicles accelerated up what turned out to be an absolute monster of a first climb. Neil Crampton set the early pace with Nick Craig close behind (some might say he was there just to have someone to capture on his go pro!) with the seasoned endurance riders of Matt Page and Ant White amongst those forming a small group in pursuit. I was in the next bunch formed of myself and the Clee Cycles boys. Nick Craig inevitably cracked the field and was first back in.
I was enjoying being out in the big hills and glad that my last minute swap out of a seized bottom bracket bearing for a random one that I found in the tool box actually worked! The silence and surrounding darkness was amazing and clear skies made it a spectacular outing. The course was full of big moorland climbs followed by super fast grassy descents with time to be made up by the brave. Mostly following narrow and at times hard to find lines through sheep tracks. Although my lights meant I could see really far ahead (did I mention that I quite liked the lights?), shadows are always a risk (real or imagined) and a hidden ditch could certainly make things interesting, thankfully one didn’t appear.
My race went pretty well after recovering from some fairly serious fatigue in the last month or so. Unfortunately the Clee boys pulled ahead on one of the last climbs and not having my bike computer on meant that the end came around before I had time to realise that a last ditch effort might have got me back on term (perhaps). Still pleased with a top 10 finish though.
Rolling back in to the event area, I quickly realised that getting food and a shower quickly then heading off to bed to rest up for the next day would be key to making a decent effort out of Sunday’s event. However the great atmosphere fuelled by the awesome band kept me chatting to fellow riders, sharing stories and generally having a good time so I got to bed later than someone heading out there to do it all again the next day should have.

Ah, the wonders of compression tights

Ah, the wonders of compression tights, the next morning the legs didn’t feel too bad. Perhaps not realising the finish was nearer than I thought the previous night meant I didn’t have to put in the usual red line end of race effort so the legs weren’t pushed too hard, maybe a blessing in disguise.
Blue skies ahoy, it was booming sunshine all day, brilliant. Smiles all round for those entering the three different distance courses of mini, half and full (68km) marathons. Again a serious climb from the off strung out the field. I was keen to not get too carried away too early so tried to keep smooth and steady. The course was classic mountain biking, big open moorland, a little lumpy at times making it a real physical challenge. Climbs were rewarded with more of the fast open descents featured in the exposure big night out. They guys at USE1 had hooked me up with an Atom 710mm flatty bar. It’s wider than what I’d previously used for xc but the stability on the downs was very welcome and also being super light at 169g perfect for the weight weenies amongst us.
The course included some sections of singletrack to mix things up and was mostly dry and fast. Some pretty epic/hairy fast and narrow off camber traverses kept you on your toes. The climbs were cramp inducing and towards the end required some walking. Their sharpness was relentless in the spring sun. Parts of the course were repeats of the previous night but somehow things seemed a lot faster and fun in the dark, well certainly more terrifying. Just when you thought the last of the big climbs were done, round the corner was another beast ready to punish you
Lee Williams put in an impressive ride but the story of the weekend would be the endurance of the ‘old guard’, old in the sense of age but the top 10 was host to both Ant White and Matt Page who had both already done two races that weekend, fair play.
My race went pretty well. Many of those around me during the race hadn’t ridden the night before so it was satisfying to be keeping pace with those guys. The fatigue started to kick in hard at the 3 hour mark with the sheer length of the climbs and little rest possible on the downs due to the concentration and full throttle required to make up some time that I had lost to the quicker and fresher climbers out there. I was in a group that took a couple of temporary wrong turns through not looking far enough in to the distance so a few minutes were lost there, a little bit frustrating but the standing around was a welcome, if not short, rest. The food stations were always a pleasant sight and all the event staff were super friendly. Coming in to the last few km I could see another rider closing in making me inevitably want to hold my position but to my surprise I found I still had a little bit of kick in the legs which felt good. I finished inside the top 30 out of around 250 riders doing the full marathon. Need to start some interval training now to get some higher end speed going.

The fatigue started to kick in hard at the 3 hour mark with the sheer length of the climbs and little rest possible on the downs due to the concentration and full throttle required

All in all a fantastic weekends riding. Massive thanks to all the support crew and especially use/exposure lights for hooking people up with lights and other shiny kit over the weekend.

Man charged after bike-part thefts

Man charged with stealing bike parts from Skyline Plaza
8:00pm Monday 14th April 2014 in News

Man charged after bike-part thefts

A MAN has been charged with four counts of burglary following a series of bike-part thefts from the landmark Skyline Plaza flats in Basingstoke.
David Sims, 39, of Regent Court, Oakridge, has also been charged with one count of going equipped to steal, and has been bailed to appear at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on April 22.
A 16-year-old boy who was also arrested over the thefts, has not been charged but has been released on bail until the same date.
The charges relate to thefts of bike parts from up to 50 bikes parked securely in the underground car park of the block of flats, in Alencon Link, in the early hours of Tuesday and Wednesday last week.

Some of the bikes targeted were high-value mountain bikes and parts taken included bike levers, gears and frames.

5 Favorite Spots for Mountain Biking in South-central Idaho

TWIN FALLS • Looking for an outdoor thrill? Maybe a peaceful outing with the family, or a way to blow off some steam in solitude?
Mountain biking can inject adventure into your outdoor excursion, and south-central Idaho is home to ideal trails for cyclists of all skill levels. Check out some of the best local trail systems, as suggested by members of south-central Idaho’s robust cycling community:
1: Auger Falls
Dive into the Snake River Canyon just below Twin Falls to find this day-tripper’s oasis. Trails fit for riders of varied skill levels snake around boulders and over pop-up hills, striping the rims of sheer cliffs that plummet into the Snake River.
Plenty of overlooks along the way let riders take in the white, churning waterfall that gives the area its name.
First-time riders can get their feet wet on this trail system, but that doesn’t mean it’s all easy. Twin Falls’ Epic Ride Cyclery owner Lee Greer said some trails closer to the north side of the canyon offer real technical challenges, so beginners beware.
Work on the wastewater treatment plant will cause access issues during summer 2014. The road west of the plant to Auger Falls will be closed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
How to get there: In Twin Falls, turn west onto Canyon Springs Road from Blue Lakes Boulevard North. Follow the grade down into the Snake River Canyon and continue toward your left as you pass the Centennial Waterfront Park entrance.
Continue on Canyon Springs Road past where the pavement ends and along the river. The road ends at the parking lot for Auger Falls.
2: Indian Spring
A favorite of local mountain bike enthusiasts, parts of this trail system offer more technical challenges. The trails are mostly out in the open through sagebrush country, but inclines and rocky rides make navigating them interesting.
Greer said night riding is a favorite thrill at Indian Spring. He said strapping on a headlamp and following a familiar trail can be fun as long as riders use common sense and caution.
The higher you climb, though, the more advanced the trails become, said Nathan Fuller, Southern Idaho Mountain Biking Association president.
“If you’re just out there just learning, I would stay on the lower trails,” Fuller said.
Fuller suggests Sweet ’n Low or Brennan for starters.
Also, beware of horseback riders. Alert them as you approach so you won’t spook the horses.
How to get there: From Twin Falls, take Kimberly Road east to Kimberly. Veer south on 3500 East, and continue on after the pavement ends to reach Indian Spring. Click here for a map.
3: South Hills
All right, this sounds like a repeat. Indian Spring is part of the South Hills. However, a deeper trip into the forest, heading south to the area around Magic Mountain Ski Resort, will give you an entirely different experience.
When the summer heat rears up and Indian Spring starts getting dry and dusty, Greer said, getting out of the desert sun is definitely the way to go. Greer heads farther into the South Hills, careening through the woods and taking on some steep climbs.
A relatively short drive from Twin Falls, this is a scenic trip you could knock out in a weekend afternoon.
How to get there: Take Rock Creek Road south from Hansen and through the South Hills to get to Magic Mountain Ski Resort.
4: Sun Valley
Another warm-weather favorite, Wood River Valley-area trails also will get you out of the sun and into the mountains for a scenic ride.
Some of the trails in the area share access with motor vehicles, so some issues can arise, Greer said. Watch out for deep tire ruts in the trails, which could send a biker flying if he or she isn’t careful. But, Greer said, all parties get along fine, so visitors should just be prepared and respectful.
How to get there: From Twin Falls, take U.S. 93 north to Idaho 75. Head toward Ketchum. Pick out a trail at and stop along the way.
5: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
If you’re looking for a longer adventure with just a bit of luxury mixed in, this route along multiple central Idaho trail systems might be for you. Winding through forests and the Boulder-White Clouds area and covering more than 500 miles at its longest loop, as mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association, this route might not be fit for the day-tripper.
Setting aside the heart-stopping scenery and the long-distance challenges, this trip has perks. Take breaks in the ride to soothe your stressed muscles in the hot springs along the way.
How to get there: South-central Idaho riders can pick up the route in Ketchum and head north toward Stanley. Click here for a map.

First Look: Rocky Mountain Blizzard

The Blizzard comes with RockShox’s new 100mm travel Bluto fat bike fork.

Wade Simmons points the Bizzard down the steeps.

A New Class of Fat Bike
With suspension-specific design, agile trail-bike geometry, and a truly capable parts spec, the Blizzard delivers legendary Rocky Mountain ride quality on snow, sand, and anything else you get yourself into. Ride out the storm!

Gully getting sideways in the snow.

How RTC™ is Applied to the Blizzard
The overall goal was simple: create a true “mountain bike” feeling fat bike for fun in soft conditions.
It was no easy task to design a frame that clears the huge 4.7” tires while maintaining the playful geometry that Rocky Mountain is legendary for. With a suspension-corrected 68.5° head tube angle, neutral chainstays, and shorter-than-average top tube, we were able to make this goal a reality.
Our signature FORM ™ aluminum was applied from the Vertex for rugged, lightweight construction.

Key Features
• Wide 4.7” tires provide optimized traction and stability across snow, sand, and soft trails, giving rider the opportunity to climb steep terrain and navigate Mother Nature’s natural terrain park• Agile geometry keeps the Blizzard feeling like a true mountain bike, following the legendary ride quality Rocky Mountain is famous for• Frame Bag (sold separately) designed specifically for the Blizzard by Porcelain Rocket, Strapless system helps keep all your gear safe and dry with water resistant fabric and waterproof zippers. Main compartment allows for jacket or food, with expandable pocket for tools and other needed items• RockShox Bluto RL 100mm suspension fork with 15x150mm thru axle• 2 x Anything Cage mounts + extra bosses allowing additional custom frame bag options.• Custom designed Race Face 24T narrow wide single ring, featuring drive-side offset for optimal shifting performance while maximizing climbing ability• Custom designed Race Face bash guard mounted outboard provides ultimate protection while allowing for easy 2x conversions to expand versatility• Front derailleur mount allows for rider conversion (optional)• Sealed bearing 6-pawl heavy duty freehub system handles increased torque on steep climbs in soft conditions• Internally routed full length housing• Internally router dropper post compatible

PricingCANADA:Bike: $2,849.99 CADFrame/Susp. Fork/Hubs: $1,599.99 CAD
US:Bike: $2,6699.99 USDFrame/Susp. Fork/Hubs: $1,399.99 USD*Bag sold separately (MSRP): $149.99 USD/CAD

Mountain bike park takes back land once know for drug deals

Published: Sunday, April 6, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Thomas Soerenes / The News Tribune
Marcus Pitts of Tacoma races down the more advanced parts of Swan Creek Park’s new mountain bike trails Wednesday.

By Craig Hill, The News Tribune
TACOMA — Deep in Swan Creek Park’s Douglas fir forest is a new mountain bike trail with a meaningful name.

Braking Bad.

There are two ways to interpret the name, and both are right.

First, a good mountain biker on a good trail rarely bothers with the brakes. Second, it’s a reminder that not so long ago these woods could have been a set for the popular AMC drug drama “Breaking Bad.”

“The name represents that we’re kicking that kind of activity out of here,” said Joe Brady, natural resources manager for Metro Parks Tacoma.

In its place is Tacoma’s first official mountain bike trail system.

“It’s nice to finally have an area in the South Sound we can rally around,” said Silas Smith, a Tacoma mountain biker and trail volunteer. “And it’s not going anywhere.”

With the first of two phases complete on the 50-acre forest, Swan Creek Mountain Bike Trails consist of 1.5 miles of beginner trail, a half-mile of intermediate trail and a technical skill-building area.

“There is something there for everybody from little kids to full-grown rippers,” said Glenn Glover, director of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

The way it was

Before Swan Creek, when Tacoma-area mountain bikers wanted to hit the trails, first they had to hit the road.

They’d travel to Olympia’s Capitol State Forest, to trails near Port Orchard or to Tiger Mountain on state Route 18.

Sure, they found places to ride in town. There were unofficial trails near Salmon Beach, China Lake and even Swan Creek Park. But they built features only to find them bulldozed or destroyed.

“We always wanted a legitimate place, but there was nothing,” Smith said.

Unorganized and saddled with a reputation in some circles for being dangerous and environmentally unfriendly, the mountain bikers faced a long, uphill pedal.

But during the last decade, things started to change, thanks, in large part, to a nonprofit group known as the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

Founded in 1989, the group for many years mostly helped maintain local trails, paying its dues and waiting for a day when landowners saw the benefit of their efforts.

In 2007, the organization still had just 1.5 employees.

In 2008, it finished its first bike park, Colonnade, a small patch of technical terrain under Interstate 5 between Seattle’s Eastlake and Capital Hill communities.

Colonnade started to change the way some people thought about mountain bikers as the sport displaced the drug deals and prostitution that used to frequent the area.

“It doesn’t solve the social ill,” Glover said, “But it returns the area to the community as a place where they can go and have fun safely.”

Colonnade was used in the 2011 documentary “Pedal-Driven” to illustrate the positive impact of building mountain bike parks. The documentary also highlighted the organization’s next big project, Issaquah’s Duthie Hill Bike Park, and showed how sustainable bike trails could blend nicely into a forest.

“Mountain bikers are environmentalists,” said Jeff Ostenson, a Wenatchee resident who produced the documentary. “They are about sustainability. They want to build trails that are still there after the storms. And I think that provides a huge environmental education for kids.”

Evergreen’s success stems not just from lobbying for, designing and building trails, Glover said, but remaining involved once the trails open.

Today, Evergreen has seven permanent employees and hires as many as three seasonal workers each year. It coordinates more than 7,000 volunteer hours from more than 500 people annually.

So, in 2011 when Metro Parks started drafting its master plan for Swan Creek, Brady knew exactly who he needed to call.

The project

At 373 acres, Swan Creek is Tacoma’s second-largest park. The land around Swan Creek Canyon is co-owned by Metro Parks and Pierce County.

“300 acres near downtown in good ecological shape,” Brady said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”

The park includes hiking trails and a community garden, but it was the 50-acre forest that showed potential for becoming Tacoma’s first mountain bike park.

And for all the work that’s been done to build the trails there in recent years, it seems more pristine than it used to be.

“Four years ago you could park out there and, almost like clockwork, you could see people going into the woods and doing transactions for what looked like drugs and who knows what else,” Brady said.

There were portable meth labs, signs of campfires, encampments and motorized vehicle use, he said.

Cleaning up the park would require an army of volunteers and thousands of hours of work.

Starved for a place to play, the local mountain bike community was happy to get its hands dirty.

The volunteers

Smith is one of an estimated 300 volunteers who worked on the Swan Creek Trails. He logged more than 1,000 hours, Brady said.

While he was initially intrigued by the project as a place to ride, he’s stayed motivated by a deeper purpose. There are schools— Lister Elementary School to the north and First Creek Middle School to the south— packed with kids he wants to give a safe place to play.

“The kids on the South Side need their own Point Defiance,” Smith said.

“Silas has my vote for volunteer of the year,” Brady said. “He’s not doing this for himself. He’s doing it for his kids and his grandkids and the kids (in the area). . He’s a classic Tacoma guy.”

The trails, designed by Evergreen’s Mike Westra, keep those kids in mind, Smith said.

“It’s not just for old men on $6,000 bikes,” Smith said. “It’s for kids on $100 Walmart bikes.”

The idea that the trails are for future generation of mountain bikers is also woven into the trail names. An intermediate technical trail was christened Joyride.

It’s named for Smith’s 8-year-old daughter, Joy.

The future

If all goes well at Swan Creek, Metro Parks and Evergreen hope they can soon start building more trails in the forest.

“We’re just scratching the surface,” Brady said.

Westra said continuing to build is important to reach a critical mass where mountain bikers feel they have enough terrain at Swan Creek to keep them satisfied.

“We need to offer them a reason to keep coming back,” Brady said. “Otherwise it will slowly die on the vine.”

Smith said he and other Evergreen volunteers are ready to get working on the second phase.

“A lot of sweat equity has gone into getting to this point,” Smith said. “And we’re ready to keep pushing forward.”

Story tags »  • Biking

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Clitheroe’s Rachel to take on world on her mountain bike!

Clitheroe’s Rachael Walker is out to take on the world as she flies out to South Africa at the weekend for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 1.

The former Clitheroe Royal Grammar School pupil works and races for the bicycle component manufacturer Hope, based in Barnoldswick, and hopes to qualify for the final of the first World Cup of the season on April 13th in Pietermaritzburg, near Durban.
Rachael flies out on Sunday to begin her preparations.
She competed at the World Cup in Canada last year, finishing 18th after qualifying in 15th, and is aiming to finish in the top 20 to reach the final, which would be a big achievement against full-time riders.
Rachael studied at Durham University and was in London as a corporate lawyer with Addleshaw Goddard LLP, before returning home to follow her dream.
She said: “I liked the job but had a moment when I realised I had a few years to pursue my interests, and wouldn’t have a chance again.
“I was told by people I was riding with that I should have a go at downhill.
“I did a few races and I was hooked! I still do legal work at Hope, managing teams and marketing, but I get to ride more now.
“I’m not a full-time professional, so I’m up against elite girls in South Africa, so to qualify for the final would be amazing.”
Daredevil Rachael admits the sport is a big thrill: “It’s like downhill skiing – you’re up against the clock.
“But training for it is difficult – the nearest tracks are in Newcastle, Scotland and Wales.”
The World Cup series continues to come thick and fast, with Rachael set for the second stage in Cairns, Australia between April 24-27th, before the event moves to Fort William, Scotland on June 7-8th.
Leogang, Austria is the next venue the following week, and from July 31st to August 3rd, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada is the host of stage five.
Stage six is between August 7-10th at Windham, USA, before coming to an end between August 21st-24th at Méribel, France.
She was on the podium last weekend ahead of her trip toSouth Africa.
Rachael, 29, was competing in Scotland in round one of the Scottish Downhill Association at Innerleithen, where she finished in second place.
While Rachael competes around the globe, back home it is a big year for Hope – the second-most successful British manufacturing company in the cycling world – as they celebrate their 25th anniversary, and hope to win planning permission for a 200m Velodrome at the site in Barnoldswick, a shorter track for sprinters to match ones in Manchester, London, Glasgow and Newport.
There is also a Tour de Lancashire planned in the area to coincide with the Tour de France, which begins in Yorkshire and will skim parts of East Lancashire.

Arrests made after bike part thefts at Skyline Plaza

1:23pm Friday 4th April 2014 in News By Chris Gregory, Senior Reporter

Arrests made after bike part thefts at Skyline Plaza

A MAN and a boy were arrested early this morning after a series of bike thefts from Skyline Plaza.
The 39-year-old man and 16-year-old boy, both from Basingstoke, were arrested by plain-clothes officers in the underground car park of the Alencon Link flat complex, at around 2am today, The Gazette understands.
It follows thefts of bike parts from up to 50 bikes parked securely in the same car park, in the early hours of both Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Some of the bikes targeted were high-value mountain bikes and parts taken included bike levers, gears and frames.

The man and the boy were arrested on suspicion of burglary and going equipped to steal and are currently in police custody.