Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself. Graphic by Stephen Johnson
Cracked skulls, brain damage, and death are some of the things that can happen from not wearing a helmet, and many new or inexperienced riders still choose ride without one. Most do so following the example of several professional riders.
Professionals have an uncanny way of balancing. They know where they are in the air and it seems as if they can easily catch their falls with their hands and feet.
A large majority of those professionals have also taken major crashes resulting in various types injuries, even they aren’t invincible.
Within the past five years, we have had many of our fellow riders killed or permanently injured due to accidents involving riders not wearing helmets. Just go talk to an emergency room trauma nurse about the severity and number of injuries that could have been prevented if the victim had been wearing a helmet, it is appalling.
Watch some videos on the Internet of kids hitting their heads and you will see some pretty graphic images, you might just get scared into wearing one.
Wearing a helmet shows a sign of intelligence. It shows that you are smart enough to want to protect your brain. If younger kids see you wearing a helmet they will be more likely to wear theirs, especially if they look up to you. This means you could potentially be helping protect the lives of young riders.
I went to the skate park recently and there were a total of three of us wearing helmets, and about 15 kids not wearing helmets. About six of those kids had brought helmets, but left them on the side with their stuff while they skated. Some of them were doing some pretty fast, big tricks. It was unclear to me whether they would decide to actually put it on.
If you have ever attempted to ride a skateboard down ramps, or even your driveway for the first time, then you will know that if your balance is a little of you are in danger of flying back and hitting your head. Keeping your balance is not as easy as it looks unless you have many hours logged on board.
Most professional extreme sports athletes do not don helmets, and set extremely terrible examples for riders of all abilities, mainly young newcomers. After all, you don’t want to stand out as the new kid when you’re young. You want to be like your favorite skater and be exactly like them.
There are multitudes of skate, snowboard, BMX, and rollerblade videos with sponsored professionals not wearing helmets. In the videos they pull off tricks that are extremely difficult, making them look easy. So easy, that after watching it, an attempt might be made, leaving you to find out how difficult it actually is.
Protective gear is especially important for inexperienced riders, or people who are pushing their limits; trying something they haven’t done before.
Frankie doing the right thing
Losing your balance can easily happen with any extreme sport, and unexpected elements can come into play at any time.
It is always good to be prepared for the worst, and wearing a helmet while participating in these activities is a great way to accomplish this. After all a crash isn’t usually something you’d expect or want to happen… it just does. – Leecifer
Rock drops, boulder gardens and birms snaking down the side of the mountain are just some of the things riders had to deal with and navigate through up in Southridge Park (Fontana, Ca) for the SRC Southridge Winter Series # 3. The event is a super grassroots event that attracts tons of riders of all different ages and skill levels.
The event lasts 2 days with various types of racing happening. Saturdays consist of a XC Race a Super D race and a 4-cross race. Sunday is the Downhill Race. The race is broken up into several different age groups and within those they have riders competing in different classes. They have a beginner, amateur and pro division. It is also seperated into men’s and women’s divisions.
Trucks full of bike equipment and riders filled the parking lot and vendor booths were set up offering anything from handlebars to bike jerseys to pictures. The hustle and bustle of the race, I was in some type of new world. A mountain bike world of racers and I did not know what to expect.
I hiked the race course to check it out. Practice was going on and riders were shredding the course to pieces. I did not know how much abuse and how much terrain a mtn bike could navigate through but I hiked past boulder garden after boulder garden. Riders hucked there bikes into the air boosting themselves over boulders and rock quarry’s. There was a rock drop and several different types of birmed corners some snaking down the mountain. I was impressed. The course seemed pretty gnarly.
The race was freaking awesome and it made me want to get a mtn bike really really badly. Not that I didn’t already want one. Anyways I will definitely be at future races. Until next time adrenaline junkies. – Leecifer
Hucking into the last steep drop. Photo By: Leecifer
Coming into the final drop towards the bottom of the mtn. Photo By: Leecifer
Hucking off the rock drop section. Photo By: Leecifer
This is kinda what it looks like going down this rock drop section. Photo By: Leecifer
Leaving a wake of dust and about to huck over one of the challenging rock drop sections of the course. Photo By: Leecifer
Taking the fast line hucking over the boulder into the downhill slope. Photo By: Leecifer
Barely hanging on and staying in the course coming around the corner. Great rcovery. Photo By: Leecifer
As extreme sports addicts we also become adventurers, explorers and outdoors enthusiasts. We are always looking for a new place to shred through exploring maps, or driving aimlessly towards a shreddable looking location.
The breathtaking places our sports take us, the adventure’s we have. Told to those who were not there through pictures and video’s but epic memories which will not be forgotten are engraved into our brains. It’s engraved in that special spot reserved for the best times of our life.These memories are not forgotten and they become stories to share with your grandchildren. Yea, Grandpa used to be cool.
The search for the next biggest, most fun road is always on. We challenge you to go out and explore your town. Search through Google Earth for a road that could potentially be fun, then go shred it. The most important thing about skateboarding or whatever adrenaline fueled activity you partake in is the fact that it’s fun.
We do this because it is an escape from reality. It is our real life video games. The things we do where we don’t have to think about what we left behind in our lives, we don’t have to think about work. The peace, the serenity. We aren’t crazy like most people think. We are adventurers who take calculated risks. Life is dangerous. Go out and live life to it’s fullest.
Manufacturer –Specialized Bicycle, Morgan Hill, CA Model –Stumpjumper FSR EVO Price -$4,100
With a Sram 2×10 drivetrain, carbon cranks, Fox Shox suspension and a 67 degree head tube angle – Specialized’s Stumpjumper EVO is a swiss-army-of-a-bike meant to handle many different disciplines of mountain biking. Offering a laterally stiff frame, Specialized also took into consideration the EVOs aesthetics and design, making sure the bike looked beautifully mean on all angles. While the build from Specialized is technically sound and should please most riders, the EVOs “stock” Specialized Purgatory tires were slightly sketchy to say at best in loose over hard-pack terrain.
Bottom Line –
If you’re looking for a full-suspension All-Mountain ride that you can cruise down the steep stuff and grind up hills with, the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO is the bike to go after. Add a dropper post and change out the tires to your favorite set of rubbers and you’ll be ready for any type of bike-shredding action.
The second race of the Southridge Winter Series surprised racers competing in the Super D with an unusually long course – with more elevation gain than past races. By combing both hills surrounding the water tower road, competitors were handed a 10 minute course, with most pros finishing in the nine minute mark. Technically sound, the course was a test of both ones fitness and riding abilities. Future Super D racers should take note that Fontucky’s courses are just about to get tougher.
The beginning of the year is usually a downtime for riders in the eastern portion of the country, but for west coast racers and weekend warriors, the Southridge Winter Series is both a time to prep and gauge ones self for upcoming races, such as the nationals, which happen at a later date. The series includes XC, DH, 4X, and Super D.
The winter series, however, is different in than most races in that it’s very grassroots, but still attract many professional riders, with the likes of the Atherton’s, Danny Macaskill, Joe Lawwill, Aaron Gwin and trail builder / racer Eric Carter showing up and racing with local talents.
With the first race down, the series still has four races to go happening every two weeks, with the next one set for the weekend of Jan. 22-23.
Manufacturer – Continental Tires America, Fort Mill, SC Model – Trail King 2.2 UST Price -$55
Sometime last year the Continental Trail King, formerly known as the Rubber Queen not only had a change in name, but also in sex. But while these changes might seem drastic, don’t be fooled – this is very much the same tire in pattern, thread and compound.
The Trail King comes in two sizes, 2.2 and 2.4 to suite most rider’s needs. What most won’t expect with the new name though is the extra girth these tires carry, with the 2.4 version surpassing most 2.5″ tires in width and the 2.2 coming a tad wider than most 2.3″ tires on the market. But before you argue added rotational mass and weight, these tires more than make up for their extra doughnut-like appearance in bump compliance, traction, and rolling speed. I’m on my third set and will be running these tires on my future builds. The normal and UST versions both mix Continental’s Black Chili Compound, which from observation creates a tacky tire that’s firm on the sidewall, but wears really well. I have over 400 miles on my last set and they’re still good to go.
If you’re looking for a do-it-all tire, the Continental Trail King is hard to beat. From shale, to hard pack, to boulders, these tires can grip with the best of them. Let’s also not overlook the fact that these are German made, and we know that German’s don’t mess sh!t up. Breaks loose as much as you want, and recovers better than you expect. The Trail King is as predictable as they come. Share the wealth of berm ripping fun, and feel like a king anytime you’re out on a ride.
Manufacturer – Specialized Bicycle Components, Morgan Hill, CA Model – Pitch Comp Price -$1650 MSRP
Specialized’s Pitch caters to riders who are looking for an All Mountain ride that is capable of climbing and descending quickly without the added weight and price of a longer travel frame. With 140mm of travel, the bike offers a plush ride even on rough rock gardens and square-edged hits. Although the Pitch has 5 inches of travel on tap out back, the bike still maintains the climbing ability of an XC traveled frame with Specialized’s patented FSR suspension system – minimizing bob during pedal strokes, yet soaking up the terrain for maximum traction at all times.
A nimble bike that can descend with longer travel rigs, the Pitch is right at home for all-day rides with thousands of feet of climbing and thousands of feet of chunky descent thrown in. Compliment it with an adjustable fork and an adjustable seatpost system for added efficiency and control for the ups and downs.