Throwback Thursdays: Long Term Advocacy

11 December, 2014

Effective bicycle advocacy isn't something you do in the short term.  It takes time.  You win some, you lose some, you don't lose sight of focus nor goal.  In 2000ish, Deb Hubsmith, executive director of MCBC at the time, and Richard Olken, executive director of Bikes Belong joined WTB and TAM shredders on an outing.  A field trip if you will.  Like all good field trips, there was a group shot:

The WTB employee on the left is smiling because he is riding a Marzocchi Z1.  When you ride a Z1, everything is fun.  Whatever happened to the Z1s of yore?

Where the sidewalk ends, it turns to dirt.  Where the dirt ends, it turns into closed tunnel.  That's exactly what they were after.  Richard Olken was kindly providing input and recommendations for the Transportation Reauthorization Bill, the hope being that one day the Alto Tunnel would open to cyclists.  Like any good cyclist, Olken spent some time also perusing WTB's finer bikes hanging around the shop:

Yes indeed, Mark Weir's shred sled.  From bike paths to big drops, it's all about two wheels and a grin.  WTB and TAM have been devoted to bicycle advocacy for quite some time, shortly before these photos, TAM and MCBC wrote the white paper describing the Safe Routes to School Program as well as Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program, based on the Delft Experiment of 1998.  Later, Deb Hubsmith went on to run the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a multi-million dollar federally funded program with inspiration and pilot programs taking place right here in our home town.  Long term advocacy never rests, just like long travel bikes never disappoint, here's to bicycle futures.

Rad People Who Ride: Jon Pritchett (Dr. P)

09 December, 2014


Mention Dr. P or Dr. Pritchett to anybody who shreds trail in the greater Nevada City area and you'll immediately elicit a smile, perhaps even a laugh.  Every associated story following then seems to involve Poison Oak or some sort of equally unpleasant irritation or pain being addressed in a borderline humorously direct manner.  Following that, you usually receive some sort of tidbit or encore that is so compassionate it's heart meltingly thoughtful.  Stories that come to mind - Cortisone shots, a prescribed beer before a shoulder reset during the past TDS, which Dr. P kindly supported, a take not one or two but five Advil prescription, and the never-ending riding buddies story that began with broken Enduro meets broken finger at Jon's local shop, Tour of Nevada City.

Dr. P believes in bikes and believes in helping people - any tale irrefutably confirms this and in this day and age of health insurance squabbles, premiums, deductibles, carriers, HMOs, preferred provider networks, and past due bills, it's refreshingly sincere to find a doctor that can't help but... help.  It's rad.

You'll find him at The Dirty Sanchez Enduro, at the bike shop in a state of disbelief over yet another part disintegrating beneath him, towing his kids around the neighborhood on his cargo bike, helping someone in need, or, shredding - he definitely does that.  So enjoy Jon's responses, he's incredibly deservingly rad and sure does shred.

Name: Jon Pritchett

Home Shop and City: Tour of Nevada City, Nevada City California

Favorite WTB or Freedom product: 3 here:

#1: the Volt Saddle is as good as it gets (period.) I use one on my MTB, same saddle on my road bike and same on cross bike. It's perfectly designed. It allows you to stick to the saddle on the sweet spot on long climbs without ever putting pressure on the wrong areas. My favorite attribute, its tough as nails. I've never broken one. This is a huge compliment. I break EVERYTHING, so whenever there is a product that I can't break, I'm loyal forever. I've broken 9 bike frames, countless components, and just about everything in between in the past 10 years, including a titanium road bike frame.

#2: WTB made a tire a few years ago called the Weirwolf LT 2.55 29'er. It didn't look like much but it had a giant contact patch and I could run them at 20psi in front and 22psi in back (tubeless of course.) They were amazing for all around conditions. The big bulbous shape made them float through mud, sand, loam, duff and they were stout enough to bomb big nasty descents. I still have a few I'm hoarding!! PLEASE make more!! 

"...float through mud, sand, loam, duff..." Dr. P is not one to worry over conditions that would deter others.

Or, favorite WTB or Freedom related memory (please elaborate):

Last year, 2013, at The Dirty Sanchez Enduro, I was working Medical Support for the event. I'm a physician and take care of most of the local cyclists. They all know I'll help 'em in a pinch and they know I'll never tell 'em not to ride, regardless of the injury. I also carry a big ass medical bag into the backcountry on all day epic rides. Anyway, working the TDS event and made it through the whole race without having to do much of anything. Then I got to the afterparty, just parked the Jeep and someone said, "Hey Doc you got any bandaids?" I turn around and 'someone' was bleeding from their forehead via a big gash. I had dropped all my doc stuff at home, so I had to go back home and get my goodies. I came back and it was dark and everyone had been hydrating copiously with hoppy beverages. The only place I could find to work was a picnic table out back. I got my patient prepped for the suturing but it was clear I needed help. So, I casually said out loud, "I need some assistants out back." The first two volunteers.........Jason Moeschler and Mark Weir. Yup, the two WTB stud pro racers. Mark did flashlight duties and Jason was my scub tech, clipping sutures and blotting away excess blood. They both did an outstanding job. Our patient is well healed and completely normal (well kinda normal) to this day.

Favorite Ride: Bowman Mtn trail, Grouse Ridge non-motorized area, Tahoe National Forest

Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?

I played D-1 college football and was a lineman (6ft, 275lbs). I finished my college career and went to medical school and started getting really fat and un-fit. I tried running but my knees were kinda shot after football, so I bought a Mountain Bike and biked my way down to 200#. Then I got into racing, and then it just became part of my life.

Tube or Tubeless, why?

Tubeless, With regular tube tires I'd have to run 40psi to avoid pinch flatting (with my weight above 200#.) I jumped on the tubeless bandwagon the first year they came out. I run tubeless on Mtn, road, 'cross, everything.

3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?

Cell phone, multi tool, air source (usually CO2)

Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?

I rolled a 3 foot rock drop and blew out both of my chain stays at same time. Have no idea how I didn't die. My bike was converted from a 4 inch travel bike to a 10 inch travel bike in an instant. There was some serious exposure to my left with sharp nasty rocks everywhere. Didn't even wreck, was able to unclip and bail off the back. 

Most important lesson to teach the groms?

The Art of Suffering. I coach a grade school mountain bike team (Grass Valley Charter School) and the first 1/2 mile of the ride is 250 vertical feet climb to a trail system. It looks like the trail of tears, with children in all sorts of anguish, some walking their bikes, others grinding it out. They're REALLY tough kids. I love 'em all

Left my wallet in… (fill it in): my Nissan Xterra with my dog to 'protect' it. Someone came in and stole it, with my dog in there. Could only imagine how it all went down???

Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?

My Family. They are always supper supportive. Being a doctor, a dad, a husband, and a cyclist is a precarious balancing act. My wife uses the term "bike widow" and "bike orphans" to describe some of our weekends and 'vacations'. And a shout out to BONC (Bicyclists of Nevada County,) it's our local IMBA advocacy club. They do a ton of work to keep existing trails open and help get new trail on the ground.

Make Skids, Grab Cans, Perform High Fives, SMSW is HERE

04 December, 2014

BAM.  All you need to know above.  Go there, have a good time, don't even feel badly about having a good time... cuz the good time, is for a good cause.  Those that skid the most, get tires for... errr.... those that skid the most.  Yes, Thickslicks.  Econolines too.  Get some.

Throwback Thursdays: 1987 Price List & Mailer

04 December, 2014

I stumbled across this today, totally intact, haggard staple still holding pieces together along with another added to cobble more now to it.  The pages have an oh so nice aging color to them, I hoped the scan would translate the yellowed orange color.  Listed above you see the entire of WTB's product offerings for 1987.  You also see prices, not so worried about that, it's from 1987 and we're onto 2015 prices now.

What's fun to see is the 35 Locke Lane address in the top left.  That's about 2 or so blocks from where we sit right now, on the other side of the creek.  The penciled in phone number from 1988 is the best part - that's when WTB moved again to Corte Madera.  Same sheet, new location.  The Locke Lane address was Mark Slate's rented house, WTB resided in his garage.  Above, in the house, Joan, Mark's first wife, ran the books.  Listed right below here in the instructions for ordering you get a hint at this:

A series of printed pages stapled together, it was one of WTB's first catalogs.  It was simply folded in half, stamp applied, away it went:

We sit about two blocks from where WTB began - yes we have offices around the world, product development elsewhere, but we still love riding bikes and making better bike parts, that will never change.

Throwback Thursdays: 1979 Appetite Seminar

26 November, 2014

 1979 illustration by Pete Barrett, from Chalie Kelly's Hubsite, the BEST website you will ever find.

This Thursday marks yet another Appetite Seminar as throngs of mountain bikers will congregate in downtown Fairfax before heaving (ok, speaking for myself here) up Bolinas-Fairfax Road to complete the Pine Mountain loop in an annual event that has occurred since 1975.  You can read about the history of the event HERE on Charlie Kelly's Mountain Bike Hubsite.  

Read the recap of last year HERE and check back next week for a potential recap of this year.

So, why choose the 1979 illustration?  Well, aside from being drawn to comic style, depictive storytelling, I also found this on Mr. Kelly's stellar website:


I'd encourage you to read it on the website, but I'll do even better than that.  You should buy this:

And you should buy it HERE.  You can find Darryl Skrabak's clever article tucked within Kelly's pages.  Charlie Kelly's recent book is the best gift you can give to a mountain biker of any level.  Scratch that, it's the best gift you can give to a person of any level - bad person, kinda ok person, slightly good person, good person...  It's the best $29.95 you can spend on a gift this season, it just came out this fall.  Intoxicating words and tales, stunning, captivating photos of mountain biking's beginning - a time period even before WTB's official start in 1982.  I open my copy and each time I marvel that it could cost $100 and still be an exceptional value. You have your holiday gift instructions.

If you check out the article on Charlie Kelly's website, you'll find very clever musings - that klunker shouldn't have been the appropriate term for the finer dirt worthy trail steeds of 1979 (Kelly and Fisher had started MountainBikes just before,) that bike parking lot ogling and part scrutiny has been a staple since apparently forever, that the spirit of adventure has always been there, and finally, that there's an exponential merit to misery riding, especially when recounted.  History seems to have caught up with us.  So go out, get some, pay your homage to the longest running annual mountain bike event and buy Fat Tire Flyer as a holiday gift - be it for yourself or others.  Happy Turkey Day.


Fresh Tracks

24 November, 2014

The Downieville parking lot.  Empty.

It's that time of year.  Road trips seem an afterthought or their destinations creative, daylight becomes scarce, charging lights becomes as second nature as taking one's shoes off at the door, and there's always that re-realization that I still don't truly have any real winter riding clothes.  Doesn't mean you can't shred though, you're just faced with a slightly different landscape.

A winter wonderland awaited us, transforming Downieville's Packer Saddle parking lot view from the usual too hot, dusty, looming crag of forlorn terrain to a serene, blanketed playground of empty, silent beauty.  Enough transfixing, we had business to attend to:

Shredder McFadden ahhhem, Heather McFadden following Jeremiah's Breakpout tracks.  Did I mention berms are fun in the snow too?

2" layered everything.  It's amazing how smooth and inviting everything looked - every twist now appeared tilted and soft.  I couldn't fixate on every pebble, had to see long sweeping turns, must be how people who know how to ride ride.  As we descended, it only became better.

Jeremiah O'Riordan, WTB Industrial Designer, putting his Breakout tires and a prototype saddle to the test. Oh yeah, our smart people shred too. Oh yeah yeah, Breakout 2.3s are in stock now, snow-tested, shred-approved.

Slippery rocks became less slippery, confidence built, sloppy became tacky, tacky became better, better seemed to get perfect.  More perfect.

Shredder McFadden searing the best berm on Third Divide.  Yep, you all know that berm. 

So next time there's a little dust on your crust, swap out your frumpy pants for your happy face - it's lurking somewhere, probably beyond the next muddy berm or snow covered roll over.  Here's to a good season of winter riding.

Just like in Batman, when the WTB wolf head logo hits the winter sky, it's time to heed the call.

Breakouts, come and get your Breakouts, Breakouts HERE.

Supermarket Street Sweep Approacheth

21 November, 2014

Sho' enough, one of the raddest charity events to happen all year will happen, yet again Saturday, December 6th at the Embarcadero in SF.  So, skid your Thickslicks, grab some cans, win some Thickslicks.  Simple.

Throwback Thursdays: Wilderness... It's Our First Name After All...

20 November, 2014

Adventure isn't exactly something new to WTB.  Getting out, exploring, taking the path less traveled, finding your own way, thinking differently... that's what WTB is all about.  I found these photos while digging in my greater mess area and it was crazy.  I had just been there.  Well, near there - poking around in trucks on ridge lines wondering if there was bikepacking potential.  I could have sworn I even passed the same house:

Same once was semblance of a stoop, dilapidated siding, roof now with greater... ahh yes, ventilation.  There's even the same shack in the back, now just viewable from the front of the house.  Think I'm kidding?  Above is from the early 90's.  Below is from October.  October 2014:

The shot is from further to the right when facing the house, but you can still see the shack, now through it, all a little worse for wear but not bad.  Fine, it could be another identically built ramshackle.  Either way, it's all still there, waiting for you:

Ready for adventure:


So what are you doing sitting around for?  Go get some.  Same spirit from the beginning, same for today:


Grab a set of Nano 40s or a pair of Trailblazers once they're back in stock, think they'll get you there, wherever that may be.

Wilderness... it's in our name.  The same quest for adventure, from the beginning, now just as much as then.

Ooops, Brett Did it Again...

19 November, 2014

Brett Bellchambers taming Scotland, WEMBO 2014.  Beautiful Photo Credit: Anthony Pease.  Want more beauty? Peep his jaw-dropping gallery HERE, my favorite, Seascapes

Another WEMBO (World Endurance Mountain Bike Organization) 24hr Championship went down in Scotland this October and what do you think that means for our man with the big beard and bigger sense of humor?  Yes, yes, Brett Bellchambers, yet again crushed the solo single speed class, claiming another victory while finishing 7th outright, pitted (yes, I said pitted in the real, less fun sense) against those with gears.  Brutal doesn't even begin to describe it:

Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

Even big, tough guys have to push too.  Gotta love the single speed.  At this point, having ridden 22 hours straight, Brett had already amassed more feet of climbing than Everest.  Brett finished with over 36,000 feet of climbing under his belt... errr... bibs.  There appeared to be fun too:


Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

Dark beer, mud on chest, and a hat that says No Fuss (event organizers) on it.  Life's good - what's better?  Well, with the race is over, onto the goody schwag bags, Scotland style:

Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

In Australia, apparently you get energy gels in your schwag bag.  In the US, you definitely do.  In Scotland, you get Scotch bottles, two per racer.  There was ripping trail:

Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

Beautiful scenery:

Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

Bag pipes:

Everyone I know who's raced Scotland, all two people including Brett now, tell me there are bag pipes at the start of the race. I can only assume that's true for all races. 
Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

Bright Lights:

How does he capture it?  Pure magic, yet again, Anthony Pease.  Stunning Photo Credit: Anthony Pease 

Race banter:

"My beard. It is as big as your head," must be what Brett is smiling about. Jason English (Merida/G8 Performance) is a stud - wins and won this WEMBO. Brett has never seen him finish fewer than 400 km (+/- 250 miles) in a 24hr race.  Last year, 460 km.  He won Scotland outright by a solid 42 minutes but amassed 347 km / 215 miles, very low for him. Everyone seemed to agree this was the hardest course yet. Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

And family:


Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

Brett's awesome wife, laughing and making it happen.

And that was it, a monster of a course that the guy cracking jokes with the course marshals at the start of the race won in the single speed class, even if he didn't get the memo that this was a long sleeves race:

Photo Credit: Russ Baker, Mountain Bike Australia President

 Brett described the course as a sleeper in the hurt department because it was so fun to race with slow and technical descents that Brett favors.

Brett's a champ, our hats are off to him yet again - another victorious feat defying both pain and rain aboard a single speed.  No flats, no worries.  7th outright, first in SS.  Brett ran a Nano 2.1 29" front with a Nine Line 2.0 29" TCS rear tire on Frequency i19 29" Team rims and a brand new Volt Team saddle that was comfy right out of the gate.

Almost crazier to me is Brett's return.  He arrived home at 1AM, shredded to work - Brett is a super commuter, and had to cover doing his boss' job as well as his job, which he faces for four weeks.  No skimping on single speed commuting be it sleepless morning after WEMBO SS title, double work load... anything.  Brett is unreal.

Get some rest... some day.  Until then, keep shredding trail.  Congrats, yet again, from all of us at WTB.

Yet another beautiful photo from Anthony Pease - check him out HERE


Throwback Thursdays: Biopace... Ewwww

13 November, 2014

It happened.  I can't believe it actually happened.  I swore it wouldn't.  It couldn't.  It shouldn't.  By what stroke of misunderstanding... by the Hammer of Thor.

BioPace is back, da na nun nun na naahh.

NooooOOOOOooooOOOOOooo you say.  But yes, dan nun nun na nahhhh.

You don't believe me, you must, behold:

It's green so that means it's cool this time.  You still don't believe me, I must have distorted the photo.  Fine, here's one you can't argue with:

Q Ring style too, made for the burgeoning fantasy racer boy segment.  Okay, more than enough trash talking on my part, that's a waste of a perfectly good idea repurposed again.  Apparently, round chainrings give you a dead spot, fewer watts bro, and though round, actually give you a less smooth pedal stroke.  There are claims of more traction and better looks too, in your kit that is...  That was more or less the premise of BioPace and it must still apparently hold true.  Where did this BioPace you speak of exist?  Well, here:

Yes, this lovely 1989 Kona Fire Mountain is from my absolutely rad KONA R.I.D.E. 2015 trip this past summer. Remember, the trip went like this:

There was also more beer, super rad bikes, humu-pump trackin', donette slammin', suggested tequila, curious outfits... man, still miss that trip.  Anyway, I guess the moral of this story is that if something originally is a good idea, like lots of the things covered in Throwback Thursdays - early monster cross and gravel tires, Grease Guard press-fit style bottom brackets, mutiple width saddle shapes, wider hubs... it comes back around again.  If it's a bad idea... I'm just kidding, BioPace must be a good idea, right?

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