Gearing up for summer cycling season |

Gearing up for summer cycling season

Forrest Huisman
Spoke n' Word

A stunning event happened in Tahoe this week. It stopped snowing for a few days, giving us sunny skies and a chance to rub elbows on singletrack just east of Truckee.

Being a fervent snow monkey, itand#8217;s mighty hypocritical to complain about our upper snowpack and delayed mountain bike season. But riding dirt and launching rock drops again was like and#8220;Whoa Nellie Deliand#8221; after a week of backpacking fare.

Along this ribbon of dirt, we charged and carved. With occasional regroups, conversation spun into notable equipment and technology advancements. From a diverse cross-section of cyclists with individual preferences, here is a sample of memorable gear and accessories that may very well accelerate our future:

WHEELS: Crank Brothers continues to push the universe in new directions, with newer favorites such as lightweight carbon Cobalts and the freeride Sage. Watch out for that Bunyip!

DRIVETRAIN: Riding is made easier with the good stuff. E-13 hive cranksets and SRAM XX groupos keep it stylishly efficient. Very spunky.

COMPUTERS: Lightweight yet powerful, units like the GPS Garmin Edge 500 provide stats by wirelessly collecting speed, distance, heart rate, power, altitude, ascent and descent data. Once an activity is uploaded, one can analyze his or her performance with software such as Strava or Garmin Connect, allowing one to network with local and worldwide enthusiasts to compare statistics on favorite routes and trails. Movinand#8217; on up!

VIDEO: Mounted on handlebars, surfboards, seat posts, auto bumpers, helmets, backpacks, ski poles and even dogs, cameras like GoPro and Contour are great for reliving epics, movement analysis and for improving your mad skills. Visualize greatness.

FRAMES: Carbon is increasingly prevalent as it is light, stiff and compliant where necessary. Santa Cruz shows off with a Carbon Nomad and the new 29er Felt successfully combines speed and stability. Very green.

TOOL KIT: A mechanical issue 10 miles away from civilization quickly evaporates with the foresight of bringing a tool kit, tube and pump. Unless you already own a PARK-63 tool kit, local bike shops make it easy to find the very best essentials.

TIRES: They really do make all the difference. WTB and Continental have long been local favorites, and with a rise in the world of freeride and 29ers, extreme tires can now match any condition, taming the wild and making all of us superhuman, or at least rock stars.

and#8212; Team rider Forrest Huisman is the author of this weekand#8217;s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column, Spoke nand#8217; Word. For more information, results and upcoming events, visit

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