Dirt Rag gets down with park riding

By Justin Steiner, photos by Adam Newman

Traditionally Dirt Rag has been pretty quick to adopt new trends within our lovely sport. We embraced singlespeeds, 29ers, and 650b bikes in their infancy. For intance, Karl reviewed our first 29er way back in 1997, and Andy was lucky enough to test our first 650b bike in 2007.

That said, we’ve been a bit off the back in the gravity realm over the past couple of years. Longer travel bikes gained popularity and acceptance in wider circles, and downhill bike park riding has literally exploded all around us. Hell, one of our county parks celebrated the grand opening of an official freeride trail and mountain bike skills park this past weekend. Meanwhile, we were all geeked out about our 4”-travel 29ers. Gee…that’s awfully exciting and adrenaline-filled, now isn’t it?

Much like Captain Dondo in his story “Gravity put a Monkey on My Back,” in Isse #151, the gravity bug bit me pretty hard last year during my first foray into DH racing at the annual Massanutten Yee-Ha!. Despite not really having a clue what I was doing, I managed to have a blast and not hurt myself.

After the Yee-Ha! last year I was super stoked to ride all the gravity I could, thus spending many a weekend at our local bike park at Seven Springs. With solid determination and persistence Frank, our Ad Sales guy and veteran downhiller, eventually rallied a larger crew to dabble in the gravity realm.

As is easily predicted, we’re all pretty hooked on the adrenalin rush and skill progression of learning a new discipline of cycling. Human’s thrive on progress, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than overcoming that next obstacle, skill, or trail. Gravity riding gives you another outlet to push your skills and walk away a better rider after investing the time and effort. Anyone who enjoys riding a mountain bike will enjoy taking some lift runs at your local resort. That’s why I advise those of you who haven’t dabbled in the park riding realm to do so this summer. Save your pennies and pony up for bike and gear rental as well as a lift pass. I guarantee you’ll have the time of your life and you’ll walk away a better rider.

In the meantime, I’ll tease you with a few pics from our day at Seven Springs last weekend.