Have ya Heard?! New Trail in West Texas!


WWW.FUNDTXTRAILS.ORG

Our goal is to establish a trail professionally designed and built by an accredited trail building company. This trail will be utilized for mountain biking, all-road cycling, hiking and trail running within the Big Spring State Park for recreational use.

We are very excited to move forward with this project! We believe that outdoor activities like cycling and hiking are fundamental to healthy and happy lifestyles and community. West Texas is limited on outdoor recreation activities and we are confident that this project will improve the Big Spring community as well as neighboring communities and businesses looking to attract and keep talent in the area. Trail building has already been approved by Big Spring State Park and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

ABOUT BIG SPRING STATE PARK

Big Spring State Park is a 382 acre park that offers dramatic views off of a 200 ft bluff. Joggers, walkers and cyclist can enjoy scenic views on the paved road that circles the park. The park offers great elevation variances of 160-200 feet which would allow for some great multi-use trail potential.

THE TRAIL

  • We are projecting approximately 8-10 miles or more of bikeable trail.

  • The trail will be single track where ever possible with a width of 24 inches to 36 inches maximum.

  • We would like help plotting the route in conjunction with the state park representative in an effort to achieve maximum trail flow and increased fun factor.

  • The Terrain will be mostly caliche type rock and will require removal of brush and cedar branches.

  • With 382 Acres contained within one rectangular block. The trail will serpentine around the park, possibly crossing the blacktop main road and the existing hiking trail. We will limit road crossings and trail crossings to a minimum, Right of way will be given to the hiking trail and pavement road crossings.

Trends - Evolution

Trends - Evolution

by Cosmos

In the early 1800s a German Baron threw a leg over a board with two wheels connected in-line and rode it like a preschooler's kick bike.  It could travel as fast as a runner, and it became a sensation.  Within a few years a Scottish blacksmith devised a treadle and connecting rod system for this velocipede, creating the first pedal bicycle.  

Like Darwin’s Finch, the two wheeler began to morph into many different forms, most of which are now extinct.  In 1885, the chain-drive Rover brand safety bike was invented in England.  Dunlop's 1888 pneumatic bicycle tires provided a smoother ride (the older high wheel bikes were called “bone crushers” for a reason).  Soon bicycles were found all over the world, offering faster access to points farther away.  They cost more than a horse, but you didn’t need to feed or stable them, and they didn’t leave messes on the streets.  Conflicts with horses started almost immediately with cyclist mostly on the losing side.   

Throughout the first-half of the 20th century, bikes increased in popularity in Europe, but in the US the internal combustion engine was the choice for transportation.  When road access issues came up between the cyclist and the automobile, the bike lost both the physical and legal battles.  Bikes were relegated to child’s toys.

Then came WWII.  American GIs were introduced to the multispeed English and Italian racers, and they brought them home for weekend rides.  Still the bicycle was more of a novelty in America.  Their children, the Baby Boomers, rediscovered physical fitness in the 1960s, and the joy of riding Dad’s fast bike.  New styles of bikes evolved for the Boomers’ pleasure and their children.  When the oil embargoes of the 1970s hit, the bicycle market found a renaissance.  In response to the high gasoline costs, desire for energy efficiency, and a want to rediscover this great nation's vast treasures, bike routes and bike tours across the country were used by the young and old alike.  

In the 1970s a group of California hippy road-racers started to look around for places to explore.  The mountain fire roads called, but the 10-speed bikes of the day were ill equipped for the dirt.  The balloon-tired paperboy bikes could handle the rough stuff better, but most didn’t survive but a few days of abuse.  Where there’s niche, evolution will specialize to fill the need.  Almost as soon as the Breezer clunker filled the downhill mountain bike need, the cross-country mountain bike also evolved.

With the freewheeling nature of the off-road crowd, a cyclist schism developed between the new dirt and lycra-clad road bike culture, who looked down on the new sport as an abomination.  Conflict again arose between the new mountain bikers and “HOHAs”, hateful old horse/hiker associations, with the mountain bikers on the all too familiar losing side.

Still, the mountain bike flourished, with many communities embracing the influx of money brought in by city slickers looking for a civilized outdoor experience.  Now the mountain bike has diversified to fill niches from the long-distance cross-country market, to bikes designed for jump parks, up-and-down mountain trails, shuttle truck and ski lift down-only trails, and downhill race courses.  

But the evolution hasn’t ended.  As the Baby Boomers age, a new market niche has opened.  E-bikes have a battery-powered energy booster for those with bad knees, bad hearts, bad diets, or other ailments of aging.  These e-bikes don’t have a throttle, but require you to pedal, giving your legs a helping push to let you feel the freedom that you felt with your first bike.  The e-bikes are evolving to fill same niches as the traditional bike and are spreading into new niches.  E-bikes are the fastest growing cycling segment in Europe, Asia, and in bike-friendly US urban area where new versions are used for local delivery or by street vendors.  Conflict again is rising.  This time from young cyclist who haven’t yet experienced the ravages of aging.  This too will pass as the bicycle continues to evolve.

 

 

 

Trends

By Cosmos

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In the early days of mountain biking, rubber block pedals and Ashtabula cranks were standard for the converted Schwinns.  When Joe Breeze made the first purpose-built klunker, the French TA half-step and a granny triple crankset need the bigger 9/16” axle pedals.  Campy Record quill pedals fit that bill, as did Pierre Lyotard’s No.45, at a third the cost.  I still have a pair of Lyotards that are in good, usable condition.  The grip of the quill wasn’t great, so steel Christophe toeclips and leather Alfredo Binda straps were added to keep your feet firmly planted while bouncing over rocks and logs.

In 1982, Suntour made the first MTB pedals, the XC, given the nickname of “beartraps”.  My shins have the scars of the deep incisions these pedals inflicted.  

My favorite pedal of the era was the Shimano DX that appeared in 1983.  It was solid aluminum with stiff axles.

The bearing seals kept the grease in place better than most the other players.  BMX cranks shifted to the 9/16” English axle size, and brands like Bullseye, Hutch, and MKS all joined the components game.  Even Campagnola entered the MTB pedal market with the 1990’s Euclid, their classic Record quill mated with a toothed cage.  Suntour and Shimano both had similar offerings.

With all the pedal innovations, the toeclip morphed into the Zefal double-eyelet version made of high-impact plastic.  Power Grips were introduced in the late 80s, giving you a flexible strap that cinched by twisting your foot into it.  I have a set of these bouncing around my obsolete parts box too.  

The first off-road clipless pedal, Shimano’s SPD smashed into the market in 1990, and have reigned ever since.  The mechanical advantage was obvious.

Again a slew of copycats followed, some good (and still have a loyal following like the eggbeaters and frogs), and some not-so-good like 1993’s Onza HO, christened “death pedals”, because the elastomer cleat springs made their own decision of when to hold and when to release.

Pedalling oddities like the magnetic cleat have appeared and disappeared several times.  In the 20-teens, mountain bikes evolved and diverged into several riding styles.  No longer is it just cross-country or downhill frame options, but trail, enduro, and all-mountain designations are between those bookends.  

Mountain bikes are specializing for different terrains, yet pedal styles have reverted to their earlier forms.  Clipless pedals are still around, but flat pedals with adjustable pins, which look a lot like the Shimano DX of the early 80s, are back in style.  I can’t wait for the next generation of toeclips to appear.

 Even with sharp teeth, the XC needed clips and straps to keep your feet planted.  Still, the XC and a hundred knock-offs were the standard into the 90s.

Even with sharp teeth, the XC needed clips and straps to keep your feet planted.  Still, the XC and a hundred knock-offs were the standard into the 90s.

 (from  A Mountain Biking Way of Knowledge  by William Nealy)

(from A Mountain Biking Way of Knowledge by William Nealy)

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butcher paper: low tide

WHEN THE PASSION TO RIDE EBBS OUT OF REACH

There's a part of the ride we don't normally talk about–not in polite company or over beers at the pub.

It's the part between the awesome. We're not talking about the moments of suck either. Take enough trips around the sun and we discover sensations far worse than the hurt of impromptu pain or the suffering of masochistic machinations. We're talking about something far worse than feeling pain–feeling nothing at all.

There are times when our passion for the ride fades until its last remnants slip between our fingers, leaving behind empty hands that question whether they ever held anything in the first place. We stop loving the ride so much so that we can't even hate it. All we can do is nothing it. Like a canary in a coal mine, the feeling of nothingness suffocates the ride first, then creeps forward enveloping everything in its path.

The haunting ghost of depression is the monster that hides under the beds of adults, sending shivers down our spines when we glimpse the demon's face and recognize its tired eyes and forced smile as our own. At some point, we walked beyond the forest of pleasure and pain, until we found ourselves teetering at the edge of the empty crevasse that once housed feeling. We want to scream into its empty expanse, if only to hear an empathetic voice yell back, but the currency of wrath is feeling–and our bank account is long overdrawn. So we curl up into a ball at the precipice's edge, clasping our hands over our ears trying to deafen ourselves again the call of the void.

The transformation begins deceivingly small, the way a monsoon starts with a few clouds offering sweet respite from a hot day. It starts with a skipped ride, then a few more until our ride-to-bullshit-excuse ratio is downright deplorable. We have reasons. We're tired. Tired of the same old trails, the same old promises of more, the same old everything. Too little time. Too much work. Broken bike. Broken body. Broken heart. Broken.

Our bare feet sink into the once-moist sand of a deserted island where we stand powerlessly watching passion's tide recess into the horizon. If we looked around, we'd see we're not alone, but standing amid a crowd all fixated on the skyline, awaiting the sea's return.

For so many reasons or for no reason at all, our escape stops being an escape. We're not up for the ride anymore. We try, dear God we try. The doctor tells us to take two rides and call her in the morning. It takes all the energy we can muster just to air up tires that mock us with their slow leaks, but defeat washes over us before we get past the front door. We put down the pump and pick up another excuse–we can't face the nothingness today.

Our energy gets funneled toward other activities. Like jogging. (Just kidding, jogging sucks.)

In bits and pieces, other interests start occupying the void. Other people. Other vices.

Time's passage ramps up to the Mach speed of life grandma always warned about, as the ebb of passion is counted in weeks, months and years. But the moon always rises. The tide always returns. And tomorrow keeps coming right up until the moment it doesn't.

Just as the downward spiral began with a solitary skipped ride, the crawl back is marked by a single sojourn. Sometimes apathy's anecdote appears in the form of a person whose anachronistic bike, denim shorts and ego-free stories of grandeur remind us that it's not about the numbers but the experience. It surfaces in wordless conversations about life that take place while pushing bikes up hills with friends who know when it's time to walk, when it's time to talk and when it's time to shut the hell up and ride.

‘Our bare feet sink into the once-moist sand of a deserted island where we stand powerlessly watching passion's tide recess into the horizon.’

It can be gifted from an old steed and its creaking soundtrack of bygone times when every trail was as exciting as it was intimidating. It manifests as a shiny new bike that was saved for, scrutinized and finally splurged on–and it's the swankiest damned thing we've ever owned. And sometimes the moment hits halfway across the country exploring trails with new colors and textures amid the realization that home is no longer a place, but a memory.

With a quaking grip that lasts a little too long and not long enough, we embrace the awesome and the suffering. We hate the climbs with the special kind of loathing normally reserved for well-done steaks drenched in A.1. Sauce. Our clenching hands turn white around the handlebar as our front wheel creeps beyond the point of no return. Sweat hides the tears and tears hide the sweat. Grimacing smiles are woven during the ride with the knowledge that we love it and hate it. We loathe it and embrace it. The rollercoaster's safety bar is locked down tight, and we feel … It doesn't matter what we feel. All that matters is that we feel it.

It's just the smallest of sparks, not enough to provide anything more than a glint of light. And we could ignore it, walk away and neglect the burgeoning flame until it returns to nothingness. But we don't. We cup our hands around its fragile flicker and frantically search for kindling. We breathe in deeply and exhale life into the flicker until it grows into a full-blown blaze capable of lighting the night sky.

We wallow in the warmth, moving closer to the heat until the piercing shock of being burned causes a smile to scurry across our face. We lean in, not because we're masochists–not right now anyway–but because feeling something is so much better than feeling nothing.

A moon-shaped hole finally emerges from the painted-black sky and begins its march toward tomorrow. We share an understated greeting between old friends where we don't ask the moon why it stayed hidden for so long and it doesn't ask us why we stopped looking so quickly. Instead, together we bask in the soft lunar glow and listen to the beautiful sound of crashing waves.