Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Ride of 2006

    So I tried to make plans to ride with a few people today, but that fell thru today, no biggie. So instead, I rode at Mercer by myself knowing that I won't be the only person out there, trying to squeeze one last ride in for 2006.

    It was brisk out today, partly sunny because I had gone out so late in the day. I wore shorts with my De Feet wool Kneekers on and 2 long sleeve shirts, one which was my new Hoss freeride shirt and a bike jacket over that. On my feet, i had my regular bike socks on and over that was my WoolEator bike socks, on my hands, were my full finger Fox gloves and under my helmet was my skull cap.

    I met someone doing some trail maintenance to the area where the bmx jumps were. That guy told me a bunch people had actually put together some CAD drawings and wanted to build skinnies in that area. I told him good luck with that idea, because I doubt the park rangers would allow something like that and that they should first get in touch with SMART first. Imagine all the hard work and effort put into something like that and is ripped down quicker than it was put up?

    I also saw the new mini bridges put up along the back-end of Quaker Bridge Rd. Nice stuff but you can tell they weren't built by SMART. SMART builds there bridges solid and big, unlike the some of the few skinny bridges that were in there. It's a great effort by whoever took the time to do them but it would have been a greater team effort if it was done thru SMART and more recognizable thru the parks. Anyway, nice work, whoever did them.

    So I rode for a short 2 hours and had a great time. I was sad that it was getting dark, pretty quickly but that was my fault for being so lazy and not going earlier. I'm glad I got to ride and was planning to go tomorrow, but I see on the TV, it's suppose to rain tomorrow. Hopefully it will stop at some point and I'll be able to squeeze in another 2 hr short ride.

    See you next year!

~dirty bert

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Winter Gear: What to Wear.

    I was going to write about, what to wear this winter and how to stay warm but it's hard to talk about the weather when for the past couple weeks it was above 40. I figured the weather gotta bust sometime soon, you know the drill 50 one day and then the temps drop 20 degrees and the snow is falling. In any case here's what I learned over the years.

    Winter tights are an excellent choice, because you will find that regular sweat pants or nylon running pants are difficult to ride in and once wet they are very cold. I have been using these Performance tights. They have been so warm and as an added bonus, they have leg zippers which made it easier to get yer wool socks streamlined under the tights. These tights aren't padded, soI wear my loose bike shorts over them for padding and for the pockets. You can also wear long johns under the tights but I'm sure you'd have to buy a larger size tights to accommodate the extra material otherwise you'll look like a sausage riding a bike.

    Breathable fabrics are key here. The newer Polartec (and similar) fabrics are really great for high-exercise activities. You can work hard, but still vent most of the moisture and it's not unusual to be out on a cold crisp day and see frost forming on your jacket from all the vented moisture.

    Shoes are the single biggest problem area. My feet freeze in the winter and cramp so easily. I have wool socks, a gortex liner soxs and the shoe booties. There are only a couple brands of cycling shoes that are warm enough for real winter use. Some can be expensive like the Sidi GTX Winter shoe or you got the Answer Kashmir winter shoe. It looks like Shimano has there own winter shoe, SH-MW02 All Weather Off-Road shoe. I might bite the bullet and buy a pair, I figured they gotta be cheap to buy right now, since most of the country has warm winter weather. I was just wondering if it's wise to buy a size larger, to accommodate 2 pairs of soxs or wool socks? Some winter cyclists may switch to toe clips and straps. There are all sorts of other combinations of overbooties, neoprene underbooties, plastic bags and duct tape (i have tried the last 2). My advice is to either spend the money and get the winter cycling boots which are compatible with clipless pedals or just switch to clips and straps and use winter or hiking boots.

    Studded Tires are expensive, but last 3 to 6 winters. I hear they make a big difference on icy roads, or hard packed snow and I'm sure your confidence level is higher with studs than without.

    Fenders are good to have to keep the slush spray off yer back and butt. They will still cake up and cause the the slush/snow to build up in certain areas. But for preventative measures, I spray the underside of the fenders with WD40 or Pam, cooking spray or RainX (a windshield product) to avoid the build-up on the fenders.

    Lights are another key item because darkness comes fast. Cold temperatures will affect battery performance. Lead Acid batteries are more affected by cold than are NiCads. The amount of power a lead acid battery can produce is greatly reduced by the cold. I don't have any lights, so my knowledge is very little about lites and I'm sure just talking about lights can be extensive and expensive.

    Camelbacks supply tube and bite valve will freeze. After you take a swig of water, you should blow air back into the bladder, keeping the tube clear of water. Also I have seen people put the camelback under their jackets and rout the tube up and under the collar. I also know Camelback sells an insulator cover for the supply tube.

    Gloves are a personal choice. I just use wool gloves under a gortex liner glove or the wool glove with bike glove over that. Nothing to bulkly for me, i don't need to have any problems trying to shift or brake while riding.

    Well i guess all this information isn't important right now. As I look at the 10 day forcast i see it's only going to be cold at night with the lowest low at 32 degress and the highest high at 53. It's just crazy.

   Thanks Global Warming!

~dirty bert
happy "snowless" trails

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Fists Of Fury Stem

    I'm looking for a new stem, the one I got is to short (insert jokes here). I thought it would be fine until I noticed the front end lift up alot when i climbed up a hill. Originally I thought that was my fault for not balancing my weight between the front or the back of the bike. When I looked at my other bike, the stem was much longer and but more comfortable and basically, less cramped.

    Here's what my choices were...
  1. Hope stem
  2. FSA OS-115 stem
  3. Thompson Elite X4 stem
  4. Ritchey WCS 4AXIS stem
    It's a nice selection of quality stems but how will I narrow my decision down, is there anything else out there, that will stand out, ahead of these choices???

    Well I did find something that stands of the crowd. It's called the Fists of Fury stem. It certainly looks like it would grip well and it's so blue. Is it because it's gripping so hard? I just wonder if I need to use bike grease to make it easier to slide the handlebar in.

    Also here was the runner up to the Fists of Fury stem, the Skull stem!

    Where the hell can I buy these stems. That anadozing on the fist stem resembles the Hope stem. Do a google search and try find these stems because i can't.

~dirty bert
happy trails

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bike Online Coupons and Deals

    Shocker, I got more bike coupons and here they are...
  1. Bike Nashbar: FREE Ground Shipping, No Minimum order. Use coupon code: SHIPDEC. Now thru Friday, December 15th.

  2. Performance Bike: FREE Ground Shipping, On all orders. Now thru Friday, December 15th.

  3. Cambria Bicycle: 20%. Off, on all in stock items. Tuesday, December 12th ONLY! Use coupon code: CB0X20.

    It's been 52 degrees in December, in New Jersey AND I still haven't had the chance to go riding. Saturday, I was planning to go to 6 Mile Run but the xmas lights took longer than I thought. So I'm gonna try real hard and push for this Saturday, I'm sure with the rain due on Wednesday, it will make anyplace muddy. And an added bonus, it's hunting season for most spots in NJ, so you won't see me wearing my white gloves or my brown jacket on the trails.

happy trails
~dirty bert

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let's Make a Deal, Part 2!

    So the emails continue. Here are 2 more 15% off deals from Cambria.
  1. Cambria Bikes: Offer good for December 8th on all Headsets & Stems. Use coupon code: XMAS0608 during checkout to save an extra 15%.

  2. Cambria Bikes: Offer good for December 9th on all Helmets and Hydration Packs. Use coupon code: XMAS0609 during checkout to save an extra 15%.

  3. Jenson USA: A 2005 Manitou Splice Super Oe (original equiptment) Fork, for $49

    So that's it for now, I'm sure I will have more tomorrow or this weekend. Good luck with finding time to ride, there aren't many days left to do sum xmas shopping.

happy trails.
-dirty bert

Monday, December 04, 2006

Let's Make a Deal!

    Lately I have been geting tons of emails regarding coupon codes for bike mail order. Some aren't really good deals, like spend 500 hundred and get 15 percent off. I don't have 500 hundred to spend nor do I really need that much to upgrade on my bike.

    So this post, is dedicated to a listing of codes for certain online bike sites that I ordered from. I figured, if I'm not going to enjoy using them, maybe someone will put them to good use. So here they are...

  1. Nashbar: 3 days only. Now thru Dec. 6th. 20% off. Coupon code: NASHMAS. (what a original code)

  2. Performance: 3 days only. Now thru Dec. 6th. 20% off. Coupon code: 6001742. (Performance owns Nashbar, so they usually have the same sales)

  3. Cambria Bike: Good till Dec. 4th, 15% on all drivetrain. Coupon code: XMAS0604. And till Dec. 5th, 15% on all forks. Coupon code: XMAS0605

  4. Universal Cycles: Receive 10% off orders over 150 bucks. Coupon code: DEC1005. And receive 15% off orders over 300 bucks. Coupon code: DEC1506. They all expire on 12/31/06 at midnight.

    If anyone has any codes to share, please do so in the comment section, if not I know you can find more here in the MTBR forum: Where are the Best Deals

    happy trails
    dirty bert

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tubes All Around!

    60 degrees, you can't beat that for a day in late November. The few days prior gave us a lot of rain, so no matter where we went to ride it was going to be muddy. We all met at Mercer, 6 people came out in total, Keith, Kerry, Phil, Jen, Sam and me.

    The trails were squishy in the turns, as my rear wheel slid around the turns but I think my ever, slow leak in the rear wheel contributed to most of the sliding. I got torn up with the most stickiest thorns, my legs are covered in scratches from my ankle to upper thigh and i think i took the worst beating because everyone was smart enough to cover there legs up.

    Mercer trails can be tight in spots like handlebar forest section and most of the tree trunks have marks of people's handlebars scraping them. When the leaves drop on the trails making it more impossible to follow the twisting trail, I have watched others, make their own temporary trail by trail blazing thru the leaves and vines which just leads to a flat.

    One time Barry and I were out at Mercer, he blazed thru some thorns and quickly learned that going off the trail isn't a good idea. Instant flat. No tube for either of us. I know, i know, not wise to ride without a tube or a patch kit nor a pump. But instead, i took the bad tube out and stuffed the tire with leaves, it worked just enough to ride the bike back to the parking lot. When we took the tire off the rim, the leaves completely shredded to practically nothing, it was like instant mulch!

    Well 3 out of 6 got a flat, I was spared. Then again I put them big, bulky Slime tire liners in there and i got that crappy, Slime tube as well. I'm hoping Santa brings me Stan's, No Tube's system.

    So what's the advantages of going tubeless you ask, here are some benefits...
  • Yer wheel set can be converted to a tubeless without having to purchase a new wheel set and no modifications to your existing wheel set

  • No more pinched flat

  • Maybe NEVER having another puncture flat again

  • The sealant can also be used to seal punctures and slow leaks

  • The sealant will usually last from 3 weeks to up to 3 months. Add more, when needed.

  • this is not a commercial for Stan's No Tubes, nor am I paid by them

    Well I hear from some friends and people on the MTBR forum, that it works well althought some tires work better than others, so check the forum out.

happy flat-free trails
dirty bert

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Belated Turkey Day!


    I hope everyone didn't over-indulge with all that starch but maybe you were thinking of burning it off today and tomorrow with all this beautiful 60 degree weather we are having.

    Thank You Global Warming!

    I'm hoping to go riding Saturday, some place not so muddy, HA!. I remember the days where I LOVED riding in mud but then again, i didn't care so much about my bike or the way it handled after it was covered in it. Nor did i care or even think about the effect it was having on the trails.

    So tomorrow, I'll be huffin' and puffin' up some small hill that I would have flew on when I was in my twenties BUT never would i have done it, in the end of November, in 60 degree weather.

happy muddy trails.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New & Improved Allaire!

    First things first. A BIG CONGRATS, goes out to Frank and his whole crew at ATUG that builds and maintains all of the trails at Allaire. The trail systems consist of the orange trail which is about 4.6 miles long, the blue trail which is about 3.1 miles and the white trail is about 2.3 miles. The trail systems were fast and fun and still moderately challenging.

    What a day, we gathered a total of 13 people for Saturday. 6 from my crew and 7 new people from Mtbr forum. It was, Jen aka "Jen Jen", Mike aka "Bud", Barry aka "BEC", Dave aka "Datadude68", Mike aka "beefy jerky", Keith aka "EtsxTeam", Kerry aka "Kerrybelle", John aka "Ice25gt", Sam aka "Skygrowscold", Brian aka "Idbrian" and Brian's gurlfriend (sorry, i don't know how to spell her name), Phil aka "the 13th man" and me Jim aka "Dirty Bert".

    We roughly started the ride around 12:30 and Keith and John guided us thru 12 sweet miles of trails. This was my second trip to Allaire, my first was about 10 yrs ago when the trails were deep sand and mounds of horse land mines littered the trails. I tried to stay in mid pack where my friends were at and also kept a distance from the person ahead of me. Keith did a great job, waiting for us at certain intersections, telling us what the trails were like ahead and what to except or how to avoid the trail and what to take as an alternate route. I also liked when a turn was being made, and "RIGHT" or "LEFT" continuously shouted as each rider made that turn. Despite it not having many huge climbs, ther were still times where i walked. I'm never one to be ashamed of that. I noticed it more at Allaire, that my front end lifted off the ground a lot. So it may be time to get a new stem, a longer stem will keep my front end down. the trails were twisty but not as twisty as Mercer or even 6 Mile but they were still decent. Despite where we were, ther wasn't much sand on the trails as there is at Hartshorne. Hartshorne always has sand in the turns, it's always nice blasting into a corner and burying the front tire in 4 inches of soft sand. "Tiger's Woods" was cool. It got it's name from the trail being alongside a golf course. "FORE!"

    In all, I had a great time and i got to meet more new people. I wish i got to take sum pictures but I was to selfish to stop and take them. Hopefully next time, I will have sum pics to post, more names to talk about and all the good times we had.

happy trails
~dirty bert

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Masta Is Home!

6 Mile Run
It's been a long time, since I rode with John, maybe 10 years give or take. We all met up at 6 Mile Run. It turned out to be Mike, Anthony, John and Me. (betty bailed!) The day was brisk and very windy and I knew the trails were going to be muddy after all that rain we had all week.

yoga standBad cell pic of a yoga headstand.
It became apparent early, that John hasn't ridden in a long time because he busted out his yoga headstand within the first few minutes. It was fine by me, that we rested alot because it gave us more time to catch on the lost years.

mike and me in 6 mile runMike and me

If you ever been to 6 Mile Run you would know this section, it's right after the "Wet your Pallet" section, the concrete crossing. Well with all the rain, the concrete section was under about 6 inches of water.
concrete crossing at 6 mile run
Mike went thru first. Usually there's a lot of jumbled rocks in the beginning and at the end but this time Mike powered thru the water and found the big hole. the front wheel sank in and the rear end came way up, in what it looked to be a very wet endo. But Mike, somehow, saved himself and ended up stepping off to the side of the bridge. See the pic below...

concrete crossing at 6 mile rundouble click on this picture to see a great shot sequence!
Mike made a great effort and the rest of us continued on our ride.

Here are some great shots Anthony took the rest of the day...
tree tunnel at 6 mile runTiny tight pine forest in 6 Mile Run

wet your pallet section at 6 mile runProof of me, actually riding the pallets

a skinny bridge in 6 mile runJohn, riding the skinny bridge, right before the muddy marsh

(L to R) Me, John and Mike

(L to R) Me, John and Anthony

Well the ride ended quicker than I thought, no problem, it was still great to be back riding with some good friends. We would have gotten back a lot sooner, if we didn't take my "short cut" but that was ok because it extended our riding time.

BIG, thanks to Anthony for all those great pictures! ( Check out Anthony's site ) You took the risk carrying that big camera around yer neck all day. As always, I still marvel at Mike's ability and confidence to ride up and over things, maybe one day, I'll have that confidence. And for John to come out and ride again, like we use to, in our "younger" days, when we cut Pete's class to ride Watchung or South Mountain with Barry. This has become my second favorite ride, this year!

Happy Trails!
~Dirty Bert

Monday, October 09, 2006

6 Mile Run

    Total time: 4hrs.
    Sunny, a lil humid about 80
    Miles: 6 miles?

    So I have been riding at 6 Mile Run lately. It's fairly close, probably less than half an hour from the home. The trails remind me a lil of Mercer but it has more short steeper climbs, tons of mud, some stream crossings, a muddy marsh crossing, skinnies, teeter totter and bow hunting.

    It became a mud fest last Sunday, with the 2 Mike's. Mike 1 is riding his Mary and Mike 2 was riding his Intense. Mike 2 rode over all the large, scary high log build ups. I wish i had pics to post, but i was lazy and didn't bring a camera nor did i have extra batteries for Mike 1's camera.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TM and Haro Mary 29er!

    So I helped SMART build a new bridge at Mercer. I got there a little late because of the heart walk going on at Mercer but I found the secret spot where they were meeting anyway. The bridge was built and laid across the stream and I helped gather rocks to widen the approach to the bridge and dig up the ground to cover up the rocks. I went back to the bridge, this past Sunday, it looks great and I'm thankful it was built because the skinny to the left of it was to scary for me to go up or down it. Puss!

    Speaking of riding, I was planning to ride Hartshorn, Sunday, but my crew had other plans and couldn't join me until later that day. So instead of riding alone, I waited till later and met Mike and Mercer and we rode for an hour until Betty showed up.

Haro Mary 29er SS bike and not Mike holding the bike.

    Mike was sporting his new Haro Mary 29er SS bike, a pretty sweet looking single speed. Copper in color with Avid BB5 disc brakes and bash guard and I finally got back my DLW from the shop and I was trying out the new Nokon shifter cable. We headed to the other side of the park because I wanted to see that log that mugged me a few weeks ago. Well we found the log, it stuck out about a foot into the trail and partially covered up from the weeds. Mike & I pulled the log off the trail and then I proceeded to kick and stomp on the log for mugging me.

    An hour later, Betty finally showed up and brought the rain with her but she impressed me by changing her flat front tire in a little over 10 minutes! She has had plenty of practice this past summer with all her flats. I'd say, she had more flats than Berry has been riding this summer!

    So I think we squeeze in 3 hours of riding on a late Sunday. The highlights of the ride were... Mike getting to squeeze his Mary bars thru the trees, getting to ride over the new bridge I helped build, sloppin' thru the mud, getting lost AGAIN on the blue trail, stepping shin deep in the marsh/stream, watching Mike power over the logs wit that 29er, Betty not falling and hurting her knee and no flat tires!

    Hopefully this weekend, the weather will be as sweet as last and I get to ride 2 days instead of one. Where should I go... Six Mile Run? Hartshorne? Huber Woods? Chimney Rock? Clayton, naw, maybe Hartshorne and maybe I can get Mikey to come out as well.

happy trails,
dirty bert

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

And This Lil Piggy Went...

my dislocated finga

    So i rode at mercer yesterday, it a nice way to end the day of working. i rode by myself and headed towards the dam and i zipped thru the woods and made my pit stop at the stuff animal shrine (kinda creepy there), i noticed an abundance of deer. i noticed the deer aren't scared of you here. They are more curious and it takes longer for them to scoot away from you. Anyway, i almost collide with what i thought was a deer but another rider. In short, the new rider, John, was new to the park and i agreed to show him around.

    So as we were making our way back to the parking lot and i decided to take one last small trail. I zipped around the turn, the weeds covering the trail were pretty overgrown, allowing me to see about 6" wide of the trail ahead. All I can remember is hitting something with my right pedal and waking up laying on the ground with the bike on my head! i seemed to clip a log, that was well hidden in the turn and i was catapulted over the handlebars. i landed on my face & shoulder area (my jaw was sore for 3 days) and I also put my right hand out as a reaction, thus making my pinkie twist and turn to the east (see photo). Anyway, i think i knocked myself out because I remember so lil of the crash. My legs were cut up a lil but my finga was throbbin at this point.

    We headed back to the car, John put my bike on the roof rack and I drove home, hoping the wifey would accompany me to the hospital. 6 x-rays later, a slight alignment of the finga all turned into 2 hrs. at the hospital and i was told my finga was dislocated. A week later, a letter came in the mail and said that the x-ray was re-evulated and it's now a fracture. GOOD JOB!

    The finga is in a splint, still swollen and it doesn't bend, 2 weeks have past and tonight i rode the bike around the neighborhood. i should be fine, as long as i wrap, just the pinkie, in the splint and not wit the buddy finga. I can grip the bar, brake and shift if I do it that way. I'm hoping, weather permitting, I can return to Mercer for a "nice" ride. But then again, the greater powers may have a different say.

    THANKS again to John, for helping me and hopefully soon we can ride at Fairmount Park (before the sno comes) and for an extended tour of Mercer and the surrounding areas.

(like he's gonna read this OR anyone else OR anyone finding this BLOG!!!)

- dirty bert
"happy trails without me"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Betty's Back!

    So I met up with Dirty Bert tonight at Chimney Rock around 6. He's always so dependable...not like Warren who comes up with a ton of excuses or Crash who goes to the beach and nurses her poison ivy. E Daddy got a kid and an entourage to worry about, and Java...well...he's Java. One never knows when he'll come riding.

    Anyhoo, we started the same way we always start. Over the bridge, into the small creek, and up the first tight incline. We headed the way we went last Thursday with E and Warren. Man—one storm and 5 days makes a helluva difference. The wood plank bridge shifted and a couple of planks were missing. We kept going, cut through the park and back into the woods. Lots of other girl riders out there tonight. DB made a point of bringin it to my attention, but puhleease...there is only room for ONE Betty.

    When we got down by the river, some young buck on another Cannondale Jekyll came down and showed off for us. A couple of older guys came down from the other side and across. What a friendly bunch. It's folks like them that make mountain biking such a pleasant experience. LOL.

    At this point, we turned around. We weren't really in the mood to climb that much. We tried to find another trail before crossing back into the park. Instead, we found lots of rocks, lots of mud and I found lots of thorns. I won't be surprised if I get yet ANOTHER flat. See DB's blog from last Wednesday for details.

    Back to the parking's only 7:50. So not time to go home yet!! We trekked across the street. By this time, my shins are beggin for mercy. My clipless haven't come in yet—I ordered them over a week ago—that guy on eBay is SOO getting negative feedback. So anyway, with all the mud, roots and rocks in that place...I've had more than my fair share of shin bangin. Just think about how great it feels to have a sharp piece of aluminum smack you in the shin when you're pedalin hard—it is NO FUN and it's hindering my ability to wear skirts!!

    At the top, we saw a couple of fox. It's nice to know I wasn't the only fox in the woods—ha ha, just jokin. I took a picture, but I of course waited till the last possible second, so the fox was already disinterested and headin back into the woods. Oh well, next time. I also took a nice picture of DB's blood...lucky!!

    There's a wide creek there that was pretty deep due to all the rain...Hey DB has a great idea—let's go through it! We went through—phew, we made it. Now it's time to turn around and go back through. DB makes it across, pedalin hard, but he makes it. My bike by this point has sooo much gunk in it and my gears are slippin all over the place. I can hardly pedal because of it, so I'm thinking going through the water will clean it up a bit and make things a lil easier?? I should be so lucky. I'm almost to the end, so what do I do?? I get stuck in some mud, lose my balance and put my right foot down. Right down into about a foot of water. YAY!! I love when that happens. One soaked foot later, it's time to get back to the lot.

    Now it's 8:25, that's more like it. In the lot, I ran into the guy that tuned my bike last Thursday from the bike shop again—Fancy Frank is what DB called him. I think he was feelin a lil left out and like I'm gonna forget him and the rest of the group, and run off with Frank and his riot gear—clad clan on his weekly runs at CR, but I don't think so. Although, I will have to bring my bike back to the shop for Franky to fix. After all, I can't keep up with my boys if my gears don't shift!!

    I got home around 9:30 to see that Warren and E text messaged me while we were riding, bustin my chops about mountain biking, telling me it's gay and inappropriate...THEY RIDE!! They're just jealous cus they spent the night in some joint in Hoboken with Java watchin Langhorne Slim belt out lame tunes, when they coulda been riding with me.

;) betty
...Thanks Betty for contributing to this wonderful, well read blog with her view of mtn biking and i'm sure there's plenty more you can write.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Welcome To Mud Fest 2006 !!

from left to right: db, betty, warren and edaddy.

    I got the usual crew last week to ride. The weather felt great until we started to ride, then the sweat began. I can't recall a summer where I have sweated as much as I have, this summer. I look and feel like I just stepped out of the shower.

    Speaking of a shower. From all the sweating, my helmet smells. I once washed the helmet pads in the washer and ripped off some of the felt of the pads. Yesterday i read a blog about someone getting rid of the smelly helmet by wearing the helmet in the shower. Just lather up yer hair with shampoo and then put the helmet on and proceeded to rub the helmet, side to side and back and forth on yer nogging and then rinse. YES, i did try it and the sweaty smell is gone. AND if I happened to slip in the tub, well at least I know I wouldn't have had a concussion but can u imagine the sight, if someone found me on the floor.

    The crew was assembled. There was no farting around, get the helmets on, gloves, camelback and lets go! We started around the lake and up into the forest, across the wooden bridge that spans across the swamp and up the hill (I'm surprised i got up it!), rode behind the yards, up along the fence to the road, across the road, past the baseball fields, thru the grass and chasing the rabbits, down the rutted hill and thru the stream, up the rocky hill that continually climbed and then thru the slop fest of mud. CR doesn't drain well, it's a sponge wit water and these mud puddin' puddles were thick and sloppy. Warren, my newest gurl rider was complaining about the mud and rode or walked around them, avoiding to get mud on his bike and skirt.

    I finally got betty to go down the OS hill, in fact edaddy went down, i think four times. we all got a pic snapped so there's proof. that hill is steep near the top, more doable on the left side. the right side is doable but it has more rock & root to negotiate which can be distracting. i tried the right side, more fun i think and a blast when the back tire bounces over the rock and you feel like like yer doing a baby size nose wheelie.

    It was a great ride. It felt like a Saturday ride where we were out all day but really we were out for 2.5 hrs. not bad for a weekday and for the amount of trails that we covered. Thanks for the great ride, edaddy, betty and warren.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Curse of the Rear Tire...

    Riding at Mercer you need extra protection for yer tubes. I have flatted here, more times there than any other park. In order to ride here, you do need heavy duty tubes and a tire liner like this. Yes, it's expensive but if you wanna change yer tires less, than it's worth the money.

    Betty & I rode Mercer tonight. It was a good time, nice weather, cooler and still early, we had plenty of time. She needed the floor pump, for extra air in the rear tire but the tube released more air than what went in. I personally HATE changing the rear tire. There's so much you need to watch for, where and how to get off or on the chain, watching the rotors going safely back into the capliers, aligning the dropouts to the wheel axle and all by doing this with 2 hands! Anyway, I changed the tube for another slime tube and after 10 minutes we were ready.

    So we went out of the parking lot, across the marina, thru the woods, around the back of the tennis courts, thru the mud, on the road, across the wooden bridge, back on the trail, thru some thorns (bad idea), over a log and then she kinda flatted. I mean, her tire was low, you could tell but I figured, pump more air into the tire and it will be alright, i hope. We began again, so it was over the roots, thru the mud, onto the fire road, over a bridge, over a log, over another log and this time she had a real flat. This time, i changed the tube. Pumped that dam tube up until my arm hurt (my pump sucks) and prayed to god it would work this time and IT DID! Back on the bike, over a bridge, over several more logs and back out on the fire road to the boat house. I think at this point our legs were covered in mud, sweet!

    In all it was a great ride despite the tire changing which was fine because it gave me good practice to change that dreaded rear tire and it didn't take so long each time I did it. Thanks, Betty!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Trail Wish List...

    There's 1 month left for this summer. I know september can be as hot as June but the way these seasons go, we'll skip the fall weather and shoot right into the november weather.

    I have put together a wish list of places that I would like to ride before the year ends. Originally I was going to say the summer, but with 1 month left, it's going to be difficult to hit all of these spots. So here's my list...

  1. Allamuchy: been ther a long time ago, maybe I'll got and watch the 24hr race.

  2. Diablo Freeride Park at Mountain Creek: not that i'm a big freerider nor have the skill to ride the skinnies but to be able to rent a downhill bike, wit full pads and helmet for 100 bucks. it beats spending over 2k for all of that and not liking it or not doing it often, (poser).

  3. Estell Manor Park: i'll go when i'm at sea isle and bring lotsa bug spray.

  4. Hubber Woods: i have been there a long time ago, i remeber the fine sand in the turns but i ignored going there because Hartshorne was closer, bigger and better. i still like hitting the smaller parks as well.

  5. Mahalon Dickerson: been there 2 summers ago and raced. i wanna go back, i didn't have enough time to stop and look at all the beaver dams.

  6. Ringwood: i've been there about 3 summers ago, lotsa rocks and technical riding AND very easy to get lost. but i do remember it's a place where i broke my steel frame.

  7. South Mountain Reservation: yes, these trails are illegal, but i hear hikers never seem to mind as long as you are polite and yield to them and i also know a local bke store's team trains there. this is the place where i donated alot of blood to, back in the day and it's one of the best in the area.

  8. Waywayanda State Park: i heard it's big and beautiful here, so we'll see.

  9. Wissahickon Valley, PA: lots of technical climbing, descending, roots and rocks. it sounds like fun!

  10. Fairmount Park, PA: i heard it's another great trail but i need a local who knows the park.

  11. Blue Marsh Trail, PA: it was voted one of the top 10 trails in the US some time back. it's not very technical but fun to ride nontheless

  12. am i missing any???

    So we will see how many i can actually hit from now to the end of the year. i have a few loyal friends that will share my experiences there and hopefully one of us can remember to bring a camera!

happy trails,
dirty bert

Monday, July 17, 2006

A repost of Mercer

    I don't live that far from Mercer County Park and I read alot of negative reviews about this park. I think if they just peddle harder and ride faster thru the trails, it would be a challenge. Try not to dab thru "Handlebar Forrest". I think a lost a lot of skin on them trees, it's very, very twisty thru them trails, there about handlebar width, if that. The trees are mostly 3 inches thick, so you could forcefully bang your handlebars thru them. Although this park may not have any steep downhill sections to please the downhillers, but the trails are fun and not boring at all. There are enough log and stream crossings and trees to avoid hitting to make for some fun riding. Beware though, there are tons of deer. I have seen at least 20 in some spots and a dam herd (maybe 30 deer) crossing the road, for a split second you'd think, yer driving thru the safari park at Great Adventure.

    THANKS to SMART for maintaining this park. I have joined them, this past year to give back to one of my favorite riding spot. Give back and do trail maintenance at yer one of yer favorite riding spots.

happy trails, (corny, huh?)
dirty bert

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Trail Maintenace

i did trail maintenance last saturday. i like "giving back" to the park i ride mostly in, but this time, it gave me back more.

i wish i could return it...

and get a refund...

or exchange it for something else.

but i think i got poison ivy again!


next time, it's jeans and long sleeves and gloves and i'm sure it will be sweltering out.

dirty "scratchin'' bert

Friday, June 23, 2006

Rain Rain Everywhere

i wanna ride.

i'm going to try tomorrow.

they said it's suppose to rain till wednesday. friday didn't look so bad, i think could have squeeze a ride in for an hour, instead i went to the dreaded gym. dreaded because i haven't been there in a 2 weeks and for me it's hard to get back into that routine.

at the gym, i was watching some trainer, show some chunky guy, the proper way to lift weights. what I really wished he was taught, was to not to wear black dress socks pulled up to his knees while wearing bright white sneakers or the white headband around his pale forehead or not to wear lycria to the gym. UGH!!! my rambling about the gym attire maybe another blog for me.

back to biking. fenders are great in this crappy weather. SKS or Headland, makes great fenders and realatively cheap. But for more style and color, nothing can beat T.H.E fenders and sometimes you can find them under 12 bucks. see blue sky cycling they have a nice selection of both. i made fun of betty & her fenders, the last time we went out. teased her about the stream crossing an how good it was to have them on. i have fenders, i use to carry it with me all the time, look arounf in the parking lot to see, if peoples bikes were muddy. i think my front fender is broke and my rear fender is somewhere in the garage.

they sell tires especially for the mud. wider spacing, less caking of the mud. speaking of caking, i have heard, about spray the downtube with cooking spray, so the mud doesn't stick to the bike. i really hate changing that rear tire. i could do it in a snap before i got my disc brakes but now, there's so much to look for, "is everything aligned?". i seem to need 3 hands to get that rear wheel back on! im so mechanically challenge. thats 1 thing is wish to change this year other than building my endurance up.

happy muddy trails!

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Quickie

So the crew & I got a quick ride in yesterday. Betty & I waited for Warren & Java to show but they were stuck in traffic. So Betty & I rode a lil loop. A nice lil warmup and a introduction of what is expected of Chimney Rock. It was a quick run and back to the parking lot and waited. Still no Warren. So we went back for another quick loop, a lil larger this time and I'm riding thru and up, what I didn't do, just 10 minutes ago. Just as we were finishing up, we get a call that Warren is at the parking lot.

Alright, we are all together now, finally, lets begin. I figured it's going to be a rough, bumpy ride for java since he's riding a suspenless huffy (kick stand and all and wearing jeans) but no, this rides up and over and smashes over things. It goes to show you, it doesn't matter, how much you spent on your bike, what kind of components yer sportin' or what kinda of clothes yer wearing, it's all about YOU! Anyway, we climb and get to the top. I hear thunder. Not so loud but loud enough to make you wonder, how soon is it coming. I figure, lets do a loop, somewhat challenging and by the time we are done the rain should start. Well we continue on, the thunder gets louder and the trail gets more rockier. I somewhat happen to fall and I'm so thankful that for that football size rock, help cushion my hip when it kissed it. DAMN, that hurt. THAT has to leave a mark. At that point we needed to turn around and head back where we came from because the thunder was getting louder and louder and more frequent. Well we made it to the parking lot, loaded the bikes and nothing. Yea there was lots of thunder but no rain, until we left the park.

Well what normally takes me an hour and 15 minutes to drive home took me 2 and half hours to drive thru the most torrential rains and wind and scarriest lightening that I ever witnessed nor drove thru. It was so windy, that my wiper blades stopped in mid wipe from the wind. AND what's even more fun, is stopping to get gas when it's lightening all around you. I reached out the window to check if my bike was still on the roof.

Oh well, it was still kinda fun, despite the long drive. Next time, I think Betty and I wont be waiting and hopefully I'm not late myself.

dirty bert

Sunday, May 07, 2006

4 of us and 9 Crashes.

Well today we rode for 3 hours.

It was a beautiful day, a lil hot, probably in the 70's, not a cloud in the sky, one of those perfect days to ride.

There were only 4 of us today. Betty (only her 3rd ride and first time on her new bike), Warren and his squeaky bike, Speeder-Man and his downhill bike and me with the 5 spot. Out of the 4 of us, we only crashed 9 times!

The first was Betty, she endoed over sum logs. We taught her, if she falls to get that bike away from her, because it will only hurt you (*see Speeder-Man's fall). Then not to be out done by Betty, Warren did a sweet endo over the same log pile and landed on his shoulder. Then I washed my front tire out and decided that it would be cooler to dismount off the bike backwards and to put my knee down to stop my fall, good job! AND thank god it was only the left knee.

Then Warren decided to fall into the brush next to a series of logs to determine where the thorns were. Thanks buddy!
I think Betty toppled a few times in between, I didn't see them because Speeder-Man and I were in front of them clipping trees with our handlebars.

Next stop were the bmx pit. *Speeder-Man decided to do a jump on his DH bike but didn't see the hole on the other side of the jump. So the bike's front tire dug into the hole, he endoed and his head dug into the ground and tumble saulted over and sat there, for a second or two and then WHAM! His 40 pound bike landed sideways on the back of his head, neck and upper back. I sat there stunned because where I was at, all I remember is his head digging into the ground and that bike wailing on him in the end. Speeder-Man got up like it was nothing, not scratch nor cut on him but a lil dusty to say the least.

Now I didn't see this fall but Betty fell down this HUGE dip. I think she gave it to much brake, since she just got the new bike wit disc brakes, a Cannondale Jekyll 500 few days ago. But Warren said she looked like she was continuously was falling down this dip. Finally she got some war wounds (cuts) on her legs.

The last crash was me, I endoed over a log pile and the handle bar jabbed me into my hip. I think that hurt more than flipping and falling over. Oh well, not a bad day, I got a few scratches from the thorns, a cut on my knee from kneeling down for a fall and that's about it. I'm sure I'll awake tomorrow with a flat. This place is notorious for thorns and flats, so I wont be surprised by tomorrow.

I doubt I'll ride tomorrow but I might eat my words. My knee is pretty sore right now, I have been icing it and I should really start to do my exercises again. Maybe the gym tomorrow or just lay in my hammock out back, what do you think I'll do?

Till the next ride!
Dirty Bert

Thursday, May 04, 2006

All done...

So it's almost 2 weeks now and I'm back to riding. I have been out of the game for 4 months with my knee surgery.

swollen knee

Yes, I did have to write "YES" on the knee that needed to be operated on. Kinda funny to see now and a bitch to get off.

Anyway, back to more important things, I'm back on the bike. It still hurts to climb on the bike as well as going up and down stairs. I was told this is natural and is to be expected. I think I have about 7 rides in since I got the green light back in late April. I have been riding Mercer a lot because of the flatness of the park. I don't mind it, the park really hasn't bore me and I got a nice lil circuit I do each time I go out.

The thorns are back in full force. As you can see here, this pic is my shin with 2 scrapes from a thorn bush, I love these natural tattoos but to bad they don't feel natural when it comes time to take a shower.

a lil shin cut

Here's a pic from a ride just recently. God, I can't believe how great it feels to ride that bike again and words can't describe how nice the bike actually rides.

5 spot under a tree

More pics to come...

–dirty bert

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Wish List

Turner 5 Spot

So here's what my completed 2005 Turner 5 Spot looks like and it's about 26 pounds!

~Dirty Bert

Monday, January 30, 2006

It's Dropped Off!

    So it took me 3 trips to load the car up tonight. The car seats were down, the frame was in, the box of wheels and the other box of parts were packed away.

    I trucked over to the shop and asked if they were to busy to build a bike up but if they could have it built by this Friday. "Sure, no problem" just the answer I wanted to hear. I had someone help me carry the items in. they checked my inventory to see if I had everything, all the correct sizes and parts. Everything seemed ago.

    So Wednesday there closed. Kinda odd but then again they are open Sundays. Isn't Sundays the day bike shops are closed? Or even I seen Mondays.

    I need to have it for Saturday, it's maiden voyage. I'm thinking either Hartshorn or Chimney Rock, all depending on trail conditions. I hope the weather cooperates for this weekend as much as it did for last saturday. 60 degree weather in January on the east coast is a dream. Thanks Global Warming!

    So this weekend I'll have pics to post of my new ride and I'll post them in the Turner forum on MTBR.

    Remember... RIDE NOW work later.
    –dirty bert

Saturday, January 21, 2006


A muddy Trek Liquid

A muddy Trek Liquid

    It's funny to think about the time when I was younger and first started to mountain bike. I had a beater of a bike, my 1990 black giant iguna, probably less than 300 bucks. Nothing was advance technology as of today. I think the only cool upgrades I had on it was my Panaracer Smoke tires and my Onza bar ends. I use to beat the hell out of that hardtail. Now, a hardtail is a bike with front suspension and a rigid bike is well what I rode back then.

    I remember when the girvin-flex stem just came out and the Scott fork. The white Scott fork had just a coil spring inside the legs and the Frank-en-stem, I mean the girvin-flex stem was a hunk of metal clamped onto yer bars providing somewhat suspension for the front end. That big blob of metal scared me, I thought it would eat my knees.

    Then the first set of bar ends came out. I had a pair of silver Onza bar ends. Wow, they seem to make a big difference in my climbing, I seemed so much faster, they were awesome! So awesome until they started to hook onto the the trees or better yet lock together with another friends bar ends on a trail (that resulted in a sprain wrist).

    That first summer I had my bike, George and I would ride literally 7 days a week for the entire summer. A ride would be no less than 12 miles a day. Hell, I was 20 at the time, so I could do it! We would ride in and thru everything. Mud! hahahaha, hell I'm not going around it, I'm going thru it! "I got this far in here!". Stopping and standing in a puddle that was past my ankles. "Let's see how far you can peddle thru it!?" George seem to always do a little better than me but that was ok, it helped me push myself even harder to do better. But I would always smoke him going uphill. I guess weighting in at 125 pounds helped me out.

    We never worried about trail conditions as I do today. I can't ride here, it rained to much there, we'll cause to much damage, we don't want to piss the rangers off. This was never an issue back then but then again we rode thru coal stripping fields of Pennsylvania where houses have bloomed onto my favorite riding trails.

    Thanks George for introducing me to my most favorite and loved sport, hobby and passion. And thanks to Pennsylvania, especially Nanticoke, Wilkes-Barre (old Kirby park, where I learned a lot. WATCH out for that green monster puddle!!!), Kingston and all over that area (and I still glad I didn't ride over that train trussle!). I'm hoping that this summer I can come back to rekindle my memories and even get George off his quad and come for a ride with me.

Thanks Whibbles!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dirty Bert & More Dirt

sperm soxs
Here I am resting by the lil lake/pond at Chimney Rock. See my sperm soxs!

Chimney Rock, NJ
This was last spring. It's always muddy here, it holds the water here forever.

dirty Trek
Them Time ATAC pedals are awesome in the mud as well as the snow/ice weather. I got a leaf stuck in the rings.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Winter Riding at Lewis Morris

    Yea that's Burger King. He does have a big head and that is snow on the ground. Not a new pic because it's like 50 degrees outside. THIS isn't January but I'm not complaining, I LOVE IT!!!

    It sure is muddy out there. Beautiful wheather and muddy trails, just great! It's awesome to ride in this weather but if you do, you'll ruin the trail by riding in the mud! What to do!?!?!?!? I'm glad I didn't buy studded tires this year or even spend a wad of cash on them Sidi winter shoes.

    HEY, since no one reads this blog I'm going to shout out my favorite places to order from...

1. Speedgoat: My favorite site and a good bike blog to boot!

2. Universal Cycles: Good Prices wit always 10% off.

3. Jenson: Good Prices wit good mtb cartoon people.

4. Performance Bike: Get the team membership, earn points and Free 2nd Business Day Delivery Upgrade. I haven't had a problem with delivery and always matched prices.

5. Price Point: I like their site, easy to navigate and good prices.

More to come...

yer friend,
dirty bert

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Yellow Klein

My 1992 Klein Mantra Comp

    My first full suspension bike. My Klein Mantra Comp. I went from my black Giant Iguana to this. The poor Iguana, cracked at the bottom bracket area after 6 years of a hard beating and I only weighting 125 lbs. (whew those days are long gone, i'm taking about that weight!). I think I paid $1200 for the Klein, it was yellow. I had a friend who had the same year bike but it was with a black swing arm. He claimed they ran out of yellow swing arms and they just used black instead. I liked the full yellers instead. It was a great climber, it felt a lot lighter riding it, although it wasn't great going down a rocky hill. But then again it wasn't meant for the rugged trails of Ringwood. Incidentally, Ringwood took my Iguanas' life away.

Mantra & Me at Allaire

    Anyway, I must have upgraded the Klein near the end of it's life. See what happened, it didn't have a replaceable hanger and I bent the rear swing arm. So I had to get the bike aligned every Tuesday at the shop. At this point, there was no more swing arms avaiable thru Klein. Everytime I rode, the chain skipped like the cassette and chain were bad. They replaced the cranks, the bottom bracket and the rear hub bearings. Finally after the bike store sucked all my money, they called Klein to get some answers and possibly a new swing arm. No swing arms, instead they offered a trade in the frame and a reduced price for a new bike.

    So my choices were a Trek, Klein and a Gary Fisher. They gave me a a paltry 150 bucks for the frame and I got the Trek Liquid 25 for $1200. Jeeze what different ride that is. Sitting upright, so heavy compared to the Klein but it handled downhills much better. BUT that front fork, RS Psylo sucks. It's been rebuilt twice. It tops out with a clang. I don't need a bell to warn the other bikers or hikers, this thing clangs loud enough to hear me coming!

    I still have it. Still riding it. But shortly I'll be moving on to my next ride my new DLW.

-dirty bert

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mercer County Park, NJ

dirty bert dabs
Dabbin' at Mercer County Park

    Well this pic wasn't today but it could have been. It's 50 degrees, in January and in New Jersey. I know it's gonna happen real soon, we'll get use to this weather, we'll all be loving it and all and then BAM it will drop 30 degrees and snow. Well that's life on the east coast.

    I don't live that far from Mercer County Park and I read alot of negative reviews about this park. I think if they just peddle harder and ride faster thru the trails, it would be a challenge. Try not to dab thru "Handlebar Forrest". I think a lost a lot of skin on them trees, it's very, very twisty thru them trails, there about handlebar width, if that. The trees are mostly 3 inches thick, so you could forcefully bang your handlebars thru them. Although this park may not have any steep downhill sections to please the downhillers, but the trails are fun and not boring at all. There are enough log and stream crossings and trees to avoid hitting to make for some fun riding. Beware though, there are tons of deer. I have seen at least 20 in some spots and a dam herd (maybe 30 deeer) crossing the road, for a split second I thought I was driving thru the Safari at Great Adventure.

    THANKS to SMART for maintaining this park. I have joined them, this past year to give back to one of my favorite riding spot. Do you do trail maintenance and where?

happy trails (corny, huh?)
dirty bert