One of the greatest things about living on the Front Range is the seemingly endless biking season. Even in the dead of winter, when sand from the plows makes road riding dangerous, and the singletrack is a mud-fest, local bike parks tend to dry out with the sun.
And even if your park skills lack steeze, earn style points with these new product picks. Remember, looking good is half the battle…and hopefully your kids won’t make fun of you for trying.
Nothing says 20-something, or in some cases, 40-something, like a sweet freeride shirt from DaKine, based in Hood River, Ore. Whether it’s downhill style you’re looking for, freeride or jump park, DaKine has the goods that will take you from the dirt to pub. Spring ’14 offerings are looking better than ever — such as the Wrench Button Up or the Charger Jersey, but see if you can still get your hands on the Pitch Button Down or Oakridge Flannel this fall for something moisture-wicking and quick-drying while maintaining your street cred. dakine.com
Club Ride continues to innovate for kids of all ages with their technical casual bike apparel out of Idaho. The new Woody Jean is exactly what you need for the bike park or pump track, as you might have noticed that even X-Games athletes are competing in jeans these days. The Woody features a special Stretch2Ride2 lightweight denim that is water resistant, has a seamless crotch with just a little bit of padding, and cool reflective hits and pockets. Carry your credit card and smartphone on any type of ride from social cruises to an afternoon at the dirt park. Oh, and for those looking for a skinnier fit, go with the Ray Jean. Pairing these jeans with a Club Ride flannel or western-shirt inspired jersey is a can’t miss. ClubRideApparel.com
Today’s choices in compression socks can seem endless. But stop your search with the new 110% Flat Out Compression Sox. Boost circulation and stabilize muscles with these bold and good looking high-calf socks. The graphics actually act like kinesiology tape; and they are easier to get on than many other compression socks on the market. Rock them with shorts or jeans, depending on how crazy you are feeling that morning. 110playharder.com
You may have a pair of Five Ten climbing shoes in your closet. Well, it’s time to add the company’s bike shoes to your Christmas list. Designed by flat pedal specialists Sam Hill and Brook Macdonald, and endowed with Five Ten’s special rubber formulas for the perfect amount of pedal stick and shock absorption, the Impact VXi is the shoe to have in the park — and on the trail. It’s got a slimmed down upper to save weight and dries overnight. For something a little more skate oriented and for an all-around awesome bike shoe that sticks to rocks and dirt for uphill scrambles, check out the Danny MacAskill Freerider. If you are straight-up street, the new Dirtbag Low may be more up your alley with it’s Vans inspired design. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. fiveten.com
The Brain Bucket
Bern is still one of the most core helmet brands out there, and the company’s first cycling-specific helmet leaves nothing to be desired by fans of their snow lids. The Allston is super-styly for the bike park and will work well for your morning commute as well–it was designed by real bike messengers and cyclocross athletes, ensuring a functional and contemporary mold. It features 16 vents for abundant airflow and Bern’s ZipMold liquid-injection foam technology lends a lower profile, all in a lightweight helmet with a cool reversible/removable brim. bernunlimited.com
Apparel by Chrome is the ultimate in messenger/hipster style. Based out of SF (but originally from Denver), they represent urban cycle fashion — and function — like no one else on the market. And now they are in the Merino game. This layering piece is ideal for cool days at the pump track and the ride home in the evenings, not to mention on your commute to work Monday morning. Chrome Merino is available in pullover, full-zip and hoody; each piece is beautiful black with subtle branding and functional pockets. chromeindustries.com
A lot of the cool kids are still rocking trucker hats, but all the groms are wearing flat brims now. The best kind of hat is free trade show swag of course, lending you instant credibility, but if you have to buy one, buy local. The up-and-coming Zealous softgoods brand in Frisco will elevate you to near local status when you show up at the bike park with one of their flat brims…leaving people wondering, what is that brand, and who is this grandpa out there thinking he can rip? Stop by their shop on Main Street in Frisco to pick up this wool, flat brim snapback with their signature forest tree roots design. zealousapparel.com
For the sweetest ride, why not turn to the company who pioneered the bike park concept — Redline. Of course the company has evolved with the times and they offer two models for both jumping enthusiasts and pump-track rippers. The Random is the ultimate pumper, featuring Redline’s chromo/steel D/S/P frame and 20” freestyle wheels with Redline Monster front fork and Monster 8.75” bars with 151 flangeless grips. This bike really is the evolution of BMX and is the perfect park bike for youngsters and dad alike. The Random weighs in at about 27 lbs. with a standover height of 22.6 inches; it comes standard with a forged top load stem, Odyssey Twisted PC flat pedals. Front and rear hubs are sealed and Alienation Primus Rims come with Kenda Kranium 2.3” tires — it’s built for extreme durability and extreme fun.
For more aggressive whipper snappers looking to catch air, go with the new fusion of BMX and mountain biking known as the D26. The 26 stands for 26-inch dirt jump specific wheels; and its Chromoly frame is meant to withstand repeated beatings and drops. The D26 comes standard with a Suntour Duro 100mm-travel fork and 20mm Q-loc thru axle…not to mention the Redline Monster chromoly crankset and Avid disc brakes in the rear (manufacturer specs do change over time so check with your local retailer on what you want/need). This is the ultimate park bike for pushing your comfort zone but enjoying any trick you can already do even more. redlinebicycles.com