Right beyond your doorstep at Victory Ranch lie twenty miles of trails waiting to be discovered; and what better way to do so than by bike? Masterfully designed by Alpine Trails, one of the most renowned and respected trail builders in the country, Victory Ranch’s backcountry offers bikers the ultimate cycling experience.
With complimentary mountain bikes and helmets, there’s simply no reason not to hit the trails. As such, Victory Ranch Outfitter Guide Zack Watkins has curated a number of tips to put you out on the “brown pow,” whether that be along the Kamloop and Fremont Flow Trails or on the new Ring Mine and Wild Ruffy.
First, you should get in the right clothing gear to have a safe, comfortable and fun ride. Victory Ranch Outfitter’s shop has everything you need to suit up, featuring brands such as Club Ride, Troy Lee Design, Patagonia and other top labels specializing in bike wear.
Start with a good pair of sport shorts—preferably mountain biking or road biking shorts with a liner/chamois. Next up, a light weight shirt—bike-specific if you have one, or a light sport shirt. If you don’t have bike shoes, opt for a pair of sneakers. Zach strongly recommends that riders wear gloves because, although falls are rare, your paws will thank you in the end. Always remember that weather can change quickly at the Ranch, too. Thunderstorms can blossom within minutes and temperatures can swing, dropping thirty plus degrees. Be prepared and head out with a light shell.
Wheels and Tires
Zach suggests that bikers first focus on the wheels to make sure that they are secured tightly to the frame and fork. Second, look at the tires and inspect for any damage to sidewalls and tread for excessive wear. After, check the tire pressure and slowly spin the wheel to to hear if the brake pads are rubbing. If it has a wobble or dips up and down, you will need to tune your wheel before hitting the trails.
Chain and Derailleurs
After examining the wheels, it’s time to inspect the chain. Look for any kinks or stiff links, clean off any excessive dirt or rust, then lube the chain. Check the tension and make sure it’s not too tight or too loose. After, test the derailleurs and cables by shifting through gears while spinning the cranks. If the bike is skipping gears or not shifting smoothly, you’re in need of a tune.
Brakes and shifters
Subsequently, inspect the brakes, levers and shifters. Make sure they are secure to the handlebar and check the brake calipers for proper alignment. Next, inspect the brake pads and replace them if they seem to be worn out. Make sure the rotors or rim don’t rub on the pads while the wheel is spinning.
Frame and Cockpit
Lastly, study the frame for any damage: dents, cracks and excessive chain or cable rub. Be certain that the headset, seatpost, saddle, stem and handlebars are secured properly and in good condition.
Once you’ve gone through Zach’s handy checklist, your bike should be ready to ride. If you are not sure how to tune a certain part or don’t have the proper tools, Victory Ranch’s Outfitters are happy to help out or have a qualified bike mechanic to do the job. Remember: cycling is fun, but it has inherent risks. A properly tuned bike will limit these risks and make for a good time shredding the trails. Keep the rubber side down!