Lacy Kemp

Welcome to the Climbduro

We all know the enduro format by now. Climb up and then be timed on the downhills. Well, it’s time to usher in the era of the Climbduro. Type-2 enthusiasts everywhere can rejoice! Adventure Team Type-2 specialist Cory Wallace just competed in the Climbduro in Bragg Creek, Alberta. It also just happened to be his birthday. Here is Wallace’s race report for your viewing pleasure.

John Gibson location: Bragg Creek, AB, Canada

This past weekend I raced the Climbduro in Bragg Creek Alberta on my Birthday.  It’s a new race in its second year in which there are two uphill timed segments and then some transitional, non-timed downhill segments    Basically a backward enduro, a pretty cool addition to the ever transitioning race schedule.  I raced the Honzo and took both stage wins and the overall which equated to $1000 cash prize + $3000 in product, a very welcomed birthday present!  


The first stage consisted of an 8km flat section on pavement before heading up the steep Husky fire road.  There were some guys on cross bikes which made it tough to mark them on the pavement but once we hit the gravel climb the Honzo took over.  By the top, I had just over a 30 second lead on Alberta’s Road Provincial champ, Andrew Davidson.


The 2nd climb started on 3 km of smooth trail before hitting the Moose mountain fire road to the top.  I managed to drop everyone on the trail section and then could cruise in on the fire road to take the Climbzilla title for the weekend.   The racing was shorter then I’m used to at about 25 minutes per climb, but the intensity was perfect to spike the system a little before heading off to Brazil this Monday for the 24 Hour World Solo Champs.   The Honzo has been a beast of a bike this year, tackling everything from gnarly BC races like the Nimby 50 and Spakuwas 50, matching up with the best down at Trans Costa Rica, to taking the W at a 3-day stage race in Mexico, and now this Climbzilla title.  It’s pretty rad to have a bike which is just at home on techy trail as it is on long fire road climbs!


Off to put in the last couple days of training here in my hometown of Jasper before tacking some epic travel days down to South America.

Say Hello to The 2020 Adventure Drop-bar Bikes!

Adventure biking! It’s all the rage these days. If there’s one thing we love at Kona it’s making bikes that can handle pretty much any situation you throw at them. Want to ride your drop-bar bike on singeltrack? Go for it. Want to carry enough food and water to exist in the backcountry for a week? No problem. Check out the goods and start planning your next big ride!

Rove NRB

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Sometimes we hit a crossroads where the pavement ends, and the dirt begins. Enter the Rove NRB. 650b wheels, our new carbon flat mount disc fork featuring tons of mounting options, and mechanical disc brakes mean that transition from pavement to dirt is seamless. Couple those features with a SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, and the Rove NRB is begging to take you away from your traditional route and into territories unexplored.

Rove ST

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

There’s nothing quite like the feel of steel on the road…or gravel…or trail. The Rove ST is simply a badass bike with a classic look and feel. Running on 650b tubeless-ready WTB Asym i23 TCS rims wrapped with WTB Venture TCS DUAL 650x47c tires. A SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain and flat mount disc fork make the Rove ST a Kona staff favorite.

Rove DL

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

When the ride requires speed, it’s important to pay attention to the little details. Fenders for bad weather and 9-speed gearing provide the comfort and range needed to access any kind of road in any kind of weather. The Rove DL is the answer to your road needs no matter when and where you ride.

Rove

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The intention is in the name, as the Rove is the perfect bike to use as a wandering companion. Our most traditional drop-bar offering, the Rove is willing to go the distance whether on pavement, dirt, or even gravel. Outfitted with Hayes mechanical disc brakes, and a wide gear range, the Rove is an affordable, road-ready steed.

Sutra LTD

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Once upon a time a bunch of mountain bikers dreamed up something wild: a drop-bar bike that felt like a mountain bike and rode like a mountain bike but had the speed of a road bike. It was made of steel for that added bump absorption and ride quality, had powerful SRAM Rival 1 hydraulic disc brakes, a 1x drivetrain and beefy yet fast-rolling 700x50c tires. It had a wider bar with a 16-degree flare that made for more aggressive descending. The Sutra LTD came to reality in all of its dreamy glory and is an absolute riot on-road or off.

Sutra

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The Sutra is many things. It’s gorgeous. It’s stylish. It’s incredibly versatile, and it comes ready for the long haul on the bike tour of your dreams. Our Kona Cromoly steel frame is outfitted with a Brooks saddle, cork bar tape, BarCon shifters, fenders, and rack. It also features a Shimano Deore 3×10 drivetrain to give you maximum gearing and smooth-rolling WTB STi23 36h WTB rims for those long days on the pavement. It’s quite the looker right out of the box, and it’s ready for your biggest adventure. What more could you want?

The Steel Hardtails Have Arrived

If there’s one thing we know, it’s how much Kona fans LOVE their steel hardtails. We think steel is awesome too and we’re pretty psyched about or 2020 steel hardtail lineup. Killer colors and features meet up with your favorite adventure-ready bikes.

Unit

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The Unit has garnered a cult following among serious bikepackers. The love for fully-rigid steel is real. Still made with Reynolds Chromoly, the 2020 Unit is getting a facelift and a shiny new set of 29” boost wheels with thru-axles to help conquer rougher terrain. We’ve spec’d the Unit as a single-speed but its full-length freehub body allows for gears and the dropout has a derailleur hanger, should you want to modify your setup. Updated geometry provides better handling and a more comfortable ride, so you can get lost on those backwoods adventures!

Unit X

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Can we just talk about that gold bling?

Shonky ST (frame only)

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

There’s no way around it. We love the Shonky. Whether hitting Dirt jumps, pumptracks or ripping slalom tracks, the Shonky is pure fun. Bombproof construction, sliding dropouts, long top tubes, and a tapered headtube make the Shonky the king of the dirt. Yeah, yeah, we know. 26 ain’t dead…

Big Honzo ST

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The Big Honzo ST is the result of all of our favorite options coming together in a single bike. It’s steel, so it feels amazing. It has adjustable dropouts, so you can run a front derailleur or even as a single speed. It comes set up as 27.5+ but can run a 29” wheel. It’s got boost spacing for extra stiffness and control. It’s got an SX/NX Eagle drivetrain, so it climbs with ease. It’s the hardtail that gives you all of the options for customization but is also ready to rip right out of the box.

Honzo ST (frame only)

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The one that started it all: the almighty steel Honzo. Low-slung. Long reach. Tight rear end. Unmistakably Honzo. What we did with the original steel Honzo has trickled into the DNA of almost every Kona bike since – which is a nice tip of the hat to the material we first started making bikes with. We sell the Honzo ST as a frame only so you can build your own dream ride.

Honzo ST

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Deciding which Kona is our favorite is like picking your favorite child. Everyone has one, but we don’t really speak about it. Hint, hint…we love the Honzo ST. We’ve built the bike to be gearless and fearless with modular dropouts, so you can go full custom, or run it as we spec it, with a 120mm RockShox Revelation RC fork, SRAM NX 1×11 speed drivetrain, and SRAM Level T brakes.

Introducing the 2020 Kona Hardtails!

The Hardtails That Started It All

When we think about hardtails, we go back. Way back. We’re talking 1988 when Kona was the first company to introduce mountain bikes with sloping top tubes. They provided a means to a new kind of freedom that the old klunkers couldn’t quite handle. They took us further off-road and down steeper pitches. Fast forward 31 years and our hardtails have evolved with the changing wheel sizes and feature lightweight components and Hei Hei-influenced geometry, keeping the feel similar across all cross-country models. They are the product of the test of time, they’re durable and a hell of a lot of fun to ride.

Lana’i

The Lana’i could be considered the gateway mountain bike. For 2020 we’ve updated the geometry to match the new Hei Hei and given the bike wider, stiffer rims, better tire clearance, and a new Shimano 2x drivetrain. Offered in size XS with 26” wheels or S-XL with 27.5” wheels, there’s a perfect size for everyone. With a Shimano drivetrain, Tektro disc brakes, and a 100mm travel fork, the Lana’i is the perfect way to dip your toes in the dirt.

Fire Mountain

This Kona classic brings some of the finer things to light. Feel true stopping power with hydraulic disc brakes. With adjustable 100mm of Suntour suspension, a 2x Shimano drivetrain and sturdy WTB tires, the Fire Mountain helps build confidence off-road.  Available for smaller riders in a 26” XS version and a 27.5” wheel for sizes S-XL.

Blast

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The Blast dabbles deeper into mountain biking’s trends. With a Shimano 1x drivetrain, larger tire clearance, tubeless-ready rims, a RockShox air-sprung fork, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and 27.5” wheels, the Blast steps it up, ensuring you have the confidence needed to tackle tougher trails and grow as a rider. Available in S-XL.

Cinder Cone

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Point the Cinder Cone towards singletrack and get ready for a fun ride! With a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, tubeless-ready rims, a RockShox air sprung fork, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and 27.5” wheels, the Cinder Cone is ready to roll over obstacles with ease.

Lava Dome

The Lava Dome is kind of like your best friend but in bike form. It’s awesome in the dirt. It’s awesome to rally around town. It’s awesome poking around neighborhood singletrack, and it does it all in a dependable way. We’ve updated the geometry to make the ride quality even better and also improve tire clearances. With 29” wheels and a bike that’s been in our lineup longer than you’ve known most of your friends, the Lava Dome is the bike you can count on for anything.

Mahuna

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

A classic Kona hardtail in a 29” version, the Mahuna is ready to explore your favorite trails. We’ve updated the frame geometry to more progressive numbers which make for a more comfortable ride. Big wheels help you keep your momentum over challenging obstacles, while extra grippy WTB tires and 100mm of air-sprung RockShox front suspension inspire confidence when things get tricky. The frame features internal dropper post routing, making an upgrade simple. When you’re ready to point it downhill, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes provide powerful stopping power.

Kahuna

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The Kahuna is the bike for the person who is ready to get serious about riding singletrack but doesn’t want to spend serious cash. We’ve updated the geometry for 2020 to allow for greater tire clearance and better overall handling. The Kahuna is outfitted with a 1x SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain, RockShox suspension, powerful Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and fast-rolling, tubeless-ready WTB 29” rims. The Kahuna is the complete package!

The Transcendent Boredom of Brandenburg Gravel

“Drop your heels. Relaxed shoulders…Nice. Smooth circles. Good. Loosen the elbows…”

It’s a mantra running through my head as I roll down one, then another and still one more gravel road, Forstweg or stretch of pave, somewhere in the middle of Brandenburg (the German state surrounding Berlin). I’ve mapped out a route that, from the front door of my apartment in Neukölln (a neighbourhood in Berlin) and back, is 120k, 80k of which isn’t paved. Berlin isn’t Girona, the Alps or even Los Angeles. It’s not a cycling destination. Riding here can be boring. And that boredom is sometimes enchanting. 

I moved here nine months ago from Los Angeles, California. #LASucksForCycling. LA, where I could leave my house and within 5 miles climb 1,000’ on roads closed to cars, or do 100-mile loops with 10,000’ of climbing. Here, on a recent roundtrip to Poland, it took me 120 miles to find 1,200’ of climbing.   

There’s no getting around it. Berlin is flat. Pancake flat. Pfannekucken pflat. And riding flat roads is boring. Climbing and descending are what engage me on the bike. Not because I’m a good climber. I’m not. I’m reliably in the middle back of any group ride. It engages me because it’s so singularly-focused. When you’re climbing on a road bike, all you’re doing is riding uphill. Whether you’re going fast or slow, the climbing is there. The gradient bites your legs. You feel it in every pedal stroke. Even when you get distracted by the view or back off the pace just enough that you can talk to your friends, the climbing is always there as a constant focus. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

That’s the riding I missed when I got to Berlin. I found lots of pretty roads through the countryside. I found great pavement (much better than in LA). I found an active cycling community. And I found that the riding all felt the same after a surprisingly short while. What’s there to do on a group ride when the road is flat, straight and featureless? Go fast. Get better at sitting in a paceline. Learn to enjoy riding in crosswinds – all thing lots of people enjoy, but not a single one of the bikes I brought to Berlin could conceivably be called “aero”. My stems aren’t all slammed. That’s not the kind of rider I am. So even though the roads are still new and the views still charming, the riding lost some of its luster pretty quickly. Until I found the Waldwege (“forest trails”). Brandenburg is littered with them and, unbelievably, they’re all mapped.

Dog walking trails next to the Autobahn are mapped, so are logging roads, abandoned train routes, overgrown hunters’ paths and kilometre after kilometre of Forstsraße, Rückeweg, Radweg and Holzweg. I’ve spent hours building routes on Komoot, tweaking them to see how little pavement I could ride and how far out of the city I could get in a few hours of riding. Inevitably there’s been some trial and error. Blame it on the map database, GPS drift or my poor Wahoo reading skills but I’ve not gone for a gravel ride this summer that didn’t involve hike-a-bike through the un-tracked forest – even as the map said I was right on track. But I guess if I’m not prepared to push my bike, I’m not prepared to ride gravel.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

And riding gravel has brought Brandenburg to life for me.

On an average ride, I’ll ride along Sees (lakes), through protected wildlife areas, small towns, and past tiny hiking shelters. In the middle of nowhere, I’ll come across a couple in their 60’s with a barbecue grill and full panniers strapped to their bikes, or a young couple with dogs. Slow down. Wave “Hallo”. Wish each other a “schönes Wochenende.” Soon enough, I’m all alone again on a long, straight gravel road…pedaling smoothly, loosely, regaining momentum and dropping into the kind of half-focus Brandenburg gravel asks for.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

“Drop your heels. Relaxed shoulders…Nice. Smooth circles. Good. Loosen the elbows…”

The straight, flat gravel roads here don’t require you to be laser-focused on your line. Eyes open for sandpits (there is a reason people call this region ‘Sandenburg’) and the occasional rut, but it’s not singletrack. It’s not about precision. It’s about staying loose. It’s floating over the chatter instead of fighting it. A death grip on the bars, locked elbows, and a half-cringe as you anticipate the next bump is a great way to crash. When I’m riding gravel well, it’s because I’ve found a cadence. I’m loose, pedaling smoothly and in a state that’s either unfocused attention or focused boredom brought on by the simple repetitiveness of bike riding. On a long ride, my first pedal stroke isn’t fundamentally different than my 500th. Or my 50,000th. “Drop your heels. Relaxed shoulders…Nice. Smooth circles. Good. Loosen the elbows…”

I’m paying only partial attention to my line. I’m breathing & staying loose. I’m in the middle of the woods, alone, hearing the crunch of gravel and watching the trees roll by. I’m rooted in the moment, kept in it through thousands of tiny repetitions. 

“Drop your heels. Relaxed shoulders…Nice. Smooth circles. Good. Loosen the elbows…”

Nothing is happening except for me riding my bike, which is a big reason why I ride my bike. 

Digging Retallack: The Longest Day

Words by Kona Ambassador Shae James, who is the first female ever invited to dig at Retallack Lodge during their annual building week with the Treelines Crew.

It’s always the last stretch of something that can feel like an eternity.

That last hour of work or the last bit of a long drive home. The more you look at the clock, the more it seems to have just stopped working altogether. Technically, the longest day of the year was weeks ago, but for me, it was the fourth, and final day of digging in Retallack BC. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG DCIM100GOPROGOPR0683.JPG

Our crew had been crushing trail all week long. The days consisted of an exciting commute in a M1078 up a steep, and skinny logging road. Followed by a hike in, and 8 solid hours of digging. The combination of the Treelines Crew and the Retallack Dig Crew is made up of hard workers who keep each other moving. To be here, you have already passed the difficult test of proving you are worthy. So, the bar is kept as high as it was set. By the fourth day, everyone is feeling it. The fatigue is as heavy as the rain that rolls in. Swing. Pull. Swing. Pull. At this point, your pickaxe just feels like an extension of your arm. Dig. Pack. Dig. Pack. Your shovel becomes a welcomed relief from the repetition of the axe. Drag. Flick. Drag. Flick. You can finally switch to your less dominant side, and enjoy the instant satisfaction of creating order in the chaos with a rake. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG DCIM100GOPROGOPR0649.JPG

We’ve covered so much ground. I can see the road just up in the distance. We’ve got to be getting close. I check my watch. It’s 11 am. Well, on the bright side, it’s only an hour until lunch. Keep digging.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG DCIM100GOPROGOPR0667.JPG

Keep digging.

Stop and wipe the tears of laughter. 

Keep digging.

Keep digging.

The sun comes out, and it’s lunchtime. We made it! The camaraderie really shines over sandwiches and canned beverages. My body is screaming, but I can’t stop laughing. The jokes, the dancing, the bad singing. The irony that this place is absolutely stunning, and we’ve all been staring at the ground for days. 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG DCIM100GOPROGOPR0642.JPG

With a second wind, we all go back to our posts and pick up our weapons. It’s 12:30 pm and the race is on. If 5 o’clock hits first, we’ll have failed our mission. If we get to the road first, glory is ours. We all seem to be on the same page of determination because no one says a word and grinds. Hours pass, but it’s only 1 pm.

The sky darkens. Experience has taught us to reach for our rain jackets again. As the last zipper goes up, the clouds open. But it’s thunder in the distance that catches our attention. The second clap tells us it’s headed our way. Lightning strikes the valley next to us. We drop our tools and hunker down. The sound of rain beating on our hoods intensifies the situation. I hold my breath and look nervously at the sky. The tops of the trees are like fingers reaching up, begging to be struck. Finally, time tells us that danger has skipped over us. My shovel looks different now. Like an old friend who betrayed my trust. I forgive it and move on.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG DCIM100GOPROGOPR0657.JPG

As we keep moving ahead, a river of brown trail is flowing behind us. The trees part and a corridor of greenery is all that is left. Just beyond that, is the gravel finish line we’ve been dreaming of. As the crew catches up to each other, one last push is the final nail in the week’s coffin. The stoke is immeasurable. The sense of accomplishment. But mostly, the pride. Not in ourselves, but in each other. Look what you did! That berm is amazing! That jump is rad! You crushed that benchwork! It wasn’t easy! You did it! High-five! Dance Party! Cheers! 

Celebration. Dinner. Speech! Speech! Laughter. Stories. It’s endless. The day is over, and I wouldn’t change a damn minute of it. It felt like the longest day of the year, but I wish it were longer.

The Longest Days: Escalante Bikerafting.

Words and photos by Kona Ambassador Colt Fetters.

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Endless Summer Days At Highland Mountain Bike Park

Last week I took the 35-hour drive from Colorado to Northern Vermont to attend the coveted NEMBA fest. During my time there, I met up with Wilson; the fun-loving and talented Kona Demo Tour driver and his loyal fur companion, Fred.  After a fun weekend at the Kingdom Trails, we decided we were not ready to end the fun yet, and headed a few hours east to Highland Mountain Bike Park. Growing up on the east coast, I have spent many days ripping trails and watching this New Hampshire bike park grow into one of the best parks in the country. I was excited to show Wilson around, and we even convinced Kona CX Pro Becca Fahringer to come to take some DH laps with us.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG


We all met up in the morning amped on our new friendship and ready to make the most of this long summer day fitting in as much riding as possible. Luckily on this particular day, Highland offers lift access all day and then after hours pedal laps up the mountain until 8 pm making it perfect for our energetic crew.  


After our meet up we took to the trails with our posse of Process 153’s. We rode everything from smooth jump trails to rugged and rooty race trails. The Process 153 is by far my favorite enduro bike I have ever owned, and Highland Mountain was the perfect place to showcase all of its capabilities. However, our day wasn’t all just fun and games. We took advantage of the wide variety of terrain Highland has to offer by doing some suspension testing and tweaking. Wilson worked some magic on my bike and suspension, setting it up perfect for my upcoming race this weekend.
Before we knew it, the mountain was about to close, and the lift laps were coming to an end.  With a quick snack break and dog walk, the enduro phase of our day was about to begin. Highland’s “Wenesduro” has become the hot new hangout for all the locals.  It is the only night that the mountain allows uphill traffic and riders like to see who can do the most laps of the evening. We took it pretty causal but used every once of light we could squeeze out of the day. 


Beat from a day of park laps, filming, and pedaling, we all cruised up the road to a friend’s house.  After another full day of fun, we once again decided we still weren’t quite ready to say goodbye to our new pals Wilson and Fred. We decided to keep the partying going by headed up north the next day to check out some more ripping trails and make the most of these endless summer days. 

Solstice Brunch, Build, and Bike in the Mountains

Words by Ambassador Delia Massey. Photos by Kinsey Smith.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Delia and the Darrington Fire lookout

Summertime in the pacific northwest means go time, all the time. You have to soak in every last second of sun and warmth while it lasts because the winters are dark and soul-crushing. The solstice is the best day to pack in as many activities as possible since we get about 16 hours of daylight up here in Seattle. This year I maximized my fun by heading out to the new trail system under construction in Darrington, WA to help build trails and (of course) do some epic shuttle laps to test them out.

I started my day with sun streaming into my tent at 5am, with the tip of Glacier Peak poking out to greet me above the North Cascades. I wanted to stay fueled, so I had an ambitious plan to make pancakes from scratch. This included a jar with dry ingredients, a jar with buttermilk and egg yolks, a jar with egg whites, and butter in a metal cup to melt over the stove. I had never tested the recipe, and while it claimed you could mix the wet and dry ingredients in one large Mason jar and shake to mix it, I found that I had a bit too much volume and ended up dumping the lumpy mess I had created into a plastic bowl. While my fiancé cooked up potatoes and bacon, I forged ahead with my pancake mission, hoping they would at least be edible. In the interest of time, I just made four massive pancakes that each filled the bottom of our 8-inch cast iron skillet. The first one looked terrible…but tasted great! The next three both looked and tasted amazing. Two hours after we started cooking, our bellies were finally full, and we were ready for some manual labor. Part 1 of the day, brunch, was a success!

We took a quick rip down the steep, raw, loamy, techy “Peak-to-Park” trail that runs from the builder’s campsite to the bottom segment of the trail, which had a few sections that needed some serious work before they would be fun to ride. With the help of a large crew of volunteers and the expertise of the Evergreen MTB professional builders, we dug down to the “good” mineral dirt, filled in holes with rocks, cleared roots and stumps, and built some flow to fix those awkward segments. I strongly believe that anyone who rides trails should get out and throw some dirt, even if it’s just one day a year. Once you see how much thought and effort goes into trail building, you’ll realize just how much work it takes to keep all of your favorite trail systems running and new ones coming. I love riding down a trail and knowing that I helped build that berm, or moved a rock to make that high line possible. It’s a very rewarding experience. Part 2 of the day, building, was a success!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

My body was sore from digging, but it wasn’t going to stop me from testing out the goods. We got another lap on the top-to-bottom trail we had been working on, which is an absolute blast. It’s one of the longest runs I know of in Western Washington, and it will keep you on your toes, especially when those roots are greasy! Our crew headed up to the shuttle zone for some faster laps and got a run down one of the black diamond trails that had rock rolls and rowdy technical sections that made me incredibly thankful that I had my Process 153 29er to roll over anything the trail threw my way. We connected with a blue square flow trail and went screaming around berms and over jumps, with epic views of the jagged mountains around us. One more top-to-bottom lap and I was spent. Time to cook up some dinner, fall asleep under the Milky Way, and do it all over again. Part 3, biking, was a success!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

If you live in the PNW and want to get out to Darrington to help build and ride, check out the Evergreen MTB website for upcoming trail days. There is a work party this weekend, go here to sign up: https://www.evergreenmtb.org/calendar/eventdetail/6159/darrington-north-mountain-camp-dig-shred

Thank the Mountain Bike Advocates for their Longest Days

Words by Ambassador Sandra Beaubien.

Before the long days of summer solstice come, every mountain bike organization has been busy putting in their longest days since the first scent of spring air.  Ironically, the evening we received this topic I was representing the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association at a Public Advisory Committee meeting with our largest landowner.  I thought to myself, yes, this was certainly a long day, adding on a 2-hour meeting onto a regular workday!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Sandra doing all of the behind the scenes work for the Ottowa Mountain Bike Association.

Many mountain bikers are out enjoying their local trails, many not really understanding just how many long days and how many people it takes to keep everything running seamlessly in the background.  There has been a solid shift in mountain bike access in many areas (Ottawa included!) and that has come from years of long days and a group of committed people.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG The OMBA board makes sure everything runs smoothly in their trail network.

It’s important to thank the Board of Directors and the other dedicated volunteers of your local mountain bike club.  It certainly doesn’t happen enough and what you see them doing, is only a scratch at the surface of what is getting done.  They liaise with landowners and land managers, organize group rides, organize trail days, create documents to help everything run smoothly, write reports for land managers, visit local shops, run demo days, set up training for ride leaders, ensure proper insurance is in place, review and sign contracts, notify land managers of any environmentally sensitive species, inspect trails, install trail signs, design t-shirts, run the website, file legal documents, fundraising, keep software running smoothly, track finances, and do media appearances.  Some of those sound pretty boring, eh?  That’s why it takes a unique team to step into the volunteer roles, so make sure you thank all them!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The other people quietly putting in the longest days are the land managers, and without them, we wouldn’t have nearly as much diversity in mountain bike access in Ottawa as we do.  The same can probably be said for any other local riding area – it is the land managers who are truly invested in developing the sport of mountain biking that produce the best trail networks. Before the season kicks off and the sun is shinning, they have transitioned the trails from winter use to summer use.  This takes a lot of trail inspections, planning, preparation, meetings, documenting and most of it is done when the trails are too wet to even ride.  Having volunteer trail crews helping the land manager with all of these jobs helps it all run more smoothly and can get the trails open sooner!

This season, as you are out enjoying your longest days on your mountain bike, if you see a land manager, board member or volunteer out on the trails, make sure you say THANK YOU for their longest days.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

What to Carry on The Longest Day

Hey! My Name is Graham

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG Graham and his Big Honzo CR DL

I’m so proud to call my self a Kona Ambassador! 

How on earth did I wangle that one? Well, it’s petty sweet really, I’m a mountain bike guide and coach from the Lake District UK. I also do lots of other bike related things and after one hell of a journey, it has enabled me to say that my job revolves solely around riding bikes and helping others ride too! 

At this time of year, my diary is packed full of varying trips, Bikeability and days out on the bike which is super exciting! 

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

So I wanted to give you a little insight to what I carry while guiding a group in the lakes, the layout shows what I always carry in my rucksack before I have packed clothing, water, and food for the day. 

My rucksack is an Evoc Fr Trail 20L. I have used petty much every bag under the sun and found that this particular vessel is the best suited as it stays put on my back, that’s important when you’re slinging your bike down a mountain with enough tools to fill a small workshop and the kitchen sink inside it!

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

Anyway, I thought I’d go through a few key bits that will stop you ruining a nice day out.

1. Spare hanger, Now this one is obviously for a Kona,  I do think everyone should carry one of these bad boys. What is it? It’s a tiny bit of aluminum that holds your rear mech (derailleur) to your frame, and legend says it’s designed to break under load and save your frame or mech from total destruction! Even the less mechanically minded could fit one of these in a situation where it breaks, it can save you one hell of a walk home. Ask my friend Stid! Years ago we were in Wales riding some of the trail centers and his rear mech had a fall out with the frame some 20k from the van, rendering him completely stuck and preparing himself for a long walk. However, by some incredible miracle, I had the exact mech hanger to fit his bike in my bag! We were back riding again in 5 minutes with high 5’s all around!

Wicked Awesome Cool Kona Fact. The G2 Process has a spare hanger hidden in the down tube… go find it! 

2.  Fibre spoke, Yeah, a string spoke… super light and packs up small, adjustable in length and can even stretch through multiple holes. 

My other friend Dan knows about this little guy. He had a falling rock smash 5 or 6 spokes out of his front wheel leaving it unrideable. Luckily for us, the fibre spoke was there to save our ride, pulling the wheel back enough so it passed through the fork and spin freely. We even did extra runs that day!

3.   Group Shelter, or a ‘Bothy’.  if you ever need this things have generally gone bad, but on that occasion, it can save someone’s life, 

It’s just what it says on the tin: a shelter for your group. Mine will comfortably sit 6 people and 8 at a squeeze. It’s a tent-shaped bit of fabric to protect you from the elements, or even carry this thru the summer months and it can be pretty exposed on those hills. Mine weighs 300g which is nothing compared to some of the tools I carry! 

As you can see from the layout (damn that was satisfying) I have so much stuff in my bag but it’s all there for a reason. Here’s my kit list for anyone still interested in reading!

Tubes x3 

Tubeless repair kit 

Normal puncture repair kit 

Pump

C02 inflator 

Shock pump 

Knipex pliers 

Knife 

Cable ties (various)

Multi tools

Gear cable

Fibre spoke 

Dropper post clamp

Hanger

Power links 9,10,11,12 

Brake pads 

Crank bolts 

Crank bolt tool 

Spd cleat bolts 

Various brake mount bolts 

Coach bolt (in case you break a pedal)

Tube of grease 

Bottle of lube 

First aid kit (too vast to photograph or even list)! 

Group shelter 

Back up food

Duck tape

Sniper tape

Dingy repair tape 

Scissors 

Super glue

Fold out saw 

Rear light

Compass

Map

Permanent marker 

Pencil

Waterproof paper

Sun cream 

Bug repellant 

Bike lock 

Money

Credit card 

On top of this ridiculous list of things, I pack clothing/water/food to suit the day and most importantly I always carry my phone!

 I ALWAYS carry this bag while I’m out Guiding.

Although I have got to admit if I’m not working, you will probably find me carrying as little as a water bottle and a Mars bar with whatever tool I can strap to my bike! 

Please feel free to fire me any questions on my social about any of the kit I carry and why IG handle @graham_beaumont