Author Archive | miker@salsacycles.com

Introducing Timberjack Kids

Introducing the Salsa Timberjack 20 and Timberjack 24 kids adventure bikes.

The Salsa office is full of individuals that, despite different stories and paths, got here by bike. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the cycling experiences we have, and in most cases, the beginnings of our lives on two wheels are entwined with our earliest memories. Had we not had those first bikes, well, who knows. But we sure are grateful that the cranks started turning when they did.

Today, we’re pleased introduce the new Timberjack 20 and Timberjack 24. Designed to be the vehicles by which the next generation of off-road bicycle explorers get their start. For family camping, solo expeditions in the nearby woods, or any other youthful missions, the Timberjack 20 and 24 have the same aptitude for adventure as the Salsa bikes that the big kids ride.

Packed with the same purpose-built details you’ve come to expect from Salsa Cycles, Timberjack 20 and 24 level the playing field when your whole clan gets out to ramble.

Features:

· Appropriate geometry and handling for smaller bodies

· 20 & 24 inch wheel sizes

· 3-inch plus-sized tires

· Aluminum 6061-T6 heat-treated frame

· Aluminum fork

· Fork features Three-Pack mounts for water bottles or gear, just like mom and dad’s bikes

· 1 x 8 Narrow Wide drivetrain with an easy-to-use twist shifter

· Smaller sized contact points for better fit, handling, and control

MSRP & Availability:

Timberjack 20 - $549.99

Timberjack 24 - $559.99

Available in early January 2018 from authorized Salsa Dealers

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Teaching Kids To Link Bikes To Good Living

Cycling parents share their tips for helping children appreciate bikes and link them to good living.

Ask a devoted cyclist what the one constant is in some of their favorite memories, and it’s likely the response will be something along the lines of, “My bike was always there.”

For most of us, days off, weekends, or vacations are hard to imagine without bikes taking playing a central role in what we’d call successful time off. At some point, we understood that bikes were just going to be a part of the way we describe ourselves. They’ve become integral in who we are and what we do, and we feel we’ve been rewarded many times as a result.

This component in the long-term “Ride of Passage” is not always evident right away in a young mind—the realization that it’s because of bikes that they’ll have some of the most meaningful experiences in their lives—enough that bikes become their vehicle of choice for good living and adventure in the future.

Our cycling-parent friends, Justin and Christina, Madeline and Craig, Butch and Katie, Josh and Alison, Ben and Amy, Mike and Jen, and TJ and Beth have graciously offered their two cents on how they’re presenting this idea to their kids.

What tips do you have to help your kid(s) see their bikes as vehicles for learning/adventure/fun?

Craig & Madeline

Talk about the ride afterward—tell her grandma and significant others all of the things you saw and did on the ride. Beef up how awesome it was, even if you didn’t go very far or fast, celebrate the little stuff.

Butch & Katie

Keller and I rode into Woodside Flats (a long forgotten old quarry south of MPLS) this summer. There were beavers swimming around. He was totally blown away. He had done a project on beavers earlier that year and was really into them. We’ve ridden to parks, and all over south Minneapolis since they could ride so there is some connection to getting around, having fun, and learning.

Alison & Josh

As a parent, your role is to be the catalyst for adventure. You initiate and supervise the getting of radness, but try to let the kids own the adventure.

Jen & Mike

I usually stop in beautiful places, like a sweet bluff and have them look around, and ask them if they would be seeing what they are seeing if we were not biking, i.e., pointing out the access to nature it provides.

Beth & TJ

Just get them out. Teach them not to be scared to explore. You are the example.

What lifelong benefits do you believe your kid(s) will gain by linking bikes and adventures?

Christina & Justin

You have to think that there are lots of decision making opportunities and obstacles to overcome. Each time their brain has to do it, it grows and it becomes easier to make quick decisions in their lives.

Craig & Madeline

A sense of direction! Go old school and pull out a paper map to talk about the trail. Use technology—have them use MapMyRide, take pictures along the way and look at the route when you’re all done.

Butch & Katie

If I can get them to connect the freedom that can be had with using the bike as a tool for transportation through this world I’ll consider my job as a parent to be graded at an A. I feel like I’ve got a back log of places that I’d like to take them to see the bike’s power in action.

Alison & Josh

Everyone needs to know what they are capable of. You will never know how much you can bite off and chew if you have never choked just a little bit. The hardest thing as a parent is watching kids struggle, but that struggle and the ensuing support from parents is key to them developing confidence and tenacity.

Amy & Ben

Riding connects them to their environment. It teaches them independence and self-reliance. I would say one of the best things it has taught my kids is a relationship to where they are in the world. Both metaphorically but also directionally.

Beth & TJ

Cultivating curiosity and encouraging them to see things with their own eyes and not through a screen. Living it. Breathing it. Appreciation of the solo pursuit, but also finding the collective of people that also have that adventurous energy.

What are some memorable activities you’ve done with your kids that were possible because of their bikes/bike rides?

Christina & Justin

We’ve ridden to fish, the zoo, the mountain bike park, gone camping, picked up groceries, etc. on bike. The success comes from doing it all by bike.

Alison & Josh

We love to ride bikes to the swimming hole, to build campfires, and or to the playground.

Amy & Ben

We have been fortunate to have logged enough miles from early ages that now we can do multi-day camping and bikepacking trips. We also have a great time just riding into the woods and cooking dinner by the river over a fire and then heading home. In addition, we have done day riding and packraft trips with my four-year-old since he can fit in the boat with me. We have ridden upstream and then paddled downstream, shuttling back up to the bike. It’s important to be successful in both small and big things.

Beth & TJ

We made biking a part of our Christmas tradition. Since she was born, we ride our bikes on Christmas Eve to our friend’s house for a party. And bring egg nog. We are privileged to live in a bike community, so we have participated in many bike-centric events (birthday parties, dinners, bar runs, etc.).

What has a life with bikes done for you, and have you tried to explain that to your kid(s)? How?

Christina & Justin

It is a healthy lifestyle that has allowed me a means to see the world. Enjoy what you do, and you will live a happy life.

Butch & Katie

Changed my life. I was an overweight preppy dork until I started riding for transportation in college. The decision to buy a bike changed my direction. My kids have met my rad friends from around the country that come and visit to ride and hang out. I think they’ll connect some dots at some point. I guess my biggest explanation for them is to let them see how I live my life. What I’m passionate about and what they see me do is the example of what I believe to be a great way to go about doing things.

Alison & Josh

Much of my cycling has been about racing bikes, and it taught me how to lose graciously and successfully interact with people that I compete against outside of the race. I feel this last part is important given the divisiveness of our society. At the end of every race, I try to talk to my competitors because we all were on a bike ride, and that is a joy without parallel.

Amy & Ben

Bikes have taught me to constantly evolve my understanding of what is possible in the world. I wouldn’t say I so much as talk to my kids about this as much as I try and show them through doing.

Jen & Mike

It clears my head and gives me the confidence to tackle stuff in life. They have their activities that do the same for them, and we talk about how it helps.

Beth & TJ

It’s just been a part of our lives for a long time and explaining it is unnecessary if you live it.

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How To Have Great Bike Rides With Your Kids

Parents share their tips and tricks as to how to have great bike rides with kids.

If you’ve found yourself here on the Salsa website, chances are very high that we’re in agreement about the benefits and enjoyment that comes from riding bicycles. It’s less likely though that we’ll remember exactly when we reached the point of no return as cyclists. If we were lucky, it happened early, and we had the freedom to get there partly on our own, and partly from well-crafted, positive experiences shared with the grown-ups in our lives.

For adult bike-riding parents, it’s easy to want to initiate this same journey for your little ones. Who can argue that riding bikes is bad for you? But it’s definitely not always easy. You want to plant the seed in a way that will take root, not be overbearing, and not just make your kids lose interest in cycling altogether.

Not every child will grow to see bikes the way we do, and that’s okay. But we asked some of our friends who’ve had success in fostering a love of two-wheeled travel in their kids what worked for them. Madeline and Craig, Butch and Katie, Josh and Alison, Ben and Amy, Mike and Jen, TJ and Beth, and Chuck and Ellison may not be focusing their efforts on raising future Olympians, but they’ve proposed, nudged, taught, provided, and in some cases, just gotten out of the way on the bike path to enlightenment, and it’s resulted in a shared family activity that brings happiness to everyone involved.

Our bike-parents reached into the bag of tricks they use when they plan an outing, and shared some of them here. Of course, all kids and families are different, but some of these suggestions may lay the groundwork for what becomes a rewarding road or trail to a lifetime of bicycle adventure for your blossoming explorers.

What considerations should you make before heading out?

Craig & Madeline

Teach other safety tips, like alerting riders. And we all yell out when a car is approaching (“car up, car back”) and our daughter knows to go to the side.

Butch & Katie

I carry as much water as I can so that the kids can roll free and explore unencumbered. A liter a person is a good guesstimate; usually that will keep a group-sourced. I’ll also utilize the Internet (family bloggers) if we are going to an unfamiliar spot. If we are going to go for a longer ride, calories are a concern for sure. Once the hunger strikes, you’ve got a bunch of little velociraptors clamoring around ready to tear you to shreds over a Snickers bar. Equipment also makes a big difference if you want to ride as a family. I believe that kids deserve at least as good of a bike as their parent’s ride.

Amy & Ben

In general, before doing any longer day rides or overnights it would be a good idea do shakedowns closer to home. This way, many of the unknowns can be tested ahead of time.

Jen & Mike

How crowded the trail will be factors. My youngest really likes the local mountain bike trail but hates having to pull over to let folks by. It takes time away from riding, and he feels embarrassed to be getting passed, etc. So, we avoid crowded trails on a sunny weekend day.

What things about how kids see this sort of activity are easy for adults to forget?

Butch & Katie

For me it’s distance. Katie is always reminding me that our kid’s strides are half of ours.

Amy & Ben

Their sense of time is vastly different than ours. Their sense of distance also.

Beth & TJ

The best part of traveling with a kid is being one yourself. You don’t have to travel far in order to transport your child to a whole new world. Take them to magical fairy field, slay a dragon, hunt for ancient treasure—you can make a trip to your local park epic.

Chuck & Ellison

It helps to share a goal because kids don’t yet see riding as a goal unto itself.

What are reasonable expectations for parents?

Craig & Madeline

Lower your expectations—trash the thought that rides with your kids will be a workout. Go at their pace, stop when they need.

Butch & Katie

Realize that your kid might hate riding their bike because of you. Too much of a good thing can still be too much even if it’s a bike. Keep it fun. Grow the freedom component.

Amy & Ben

Parents should base their expectations on listening to their kid’s needs and desires. Otherwise, you risk destroying any love for riding and any potential sense of adventure you might otherwise be nurturing.

Beth & TJ

No expectations. Let your kid have a LOT of say. Make your goal to get someplace you can all have fun.

How much detail about the trip should you give the youngster? Does this help or hurt?

Butch & Katie

I try to focus on the details of the journey. Not the time or distance. “Hey! Did you see that eagle? Woah, I bet there are fish there! Think you can catch up with Davey?” That sort of thing.

Alison & Josh

For a five- and seven-year-old, I tell them where we are going, but try not to encumber their little minds with details.

Beth & TJ

Our kid loves detail, but we don’t set ourselves up for failure … We give details/plans about parts that will excite but are malleable should something fail/require reroute.

How do you keep kids motivated when they’re getting pooped?

Craig & Madeline

When they’re struggling to get up a hill, remind them they have the strength, but it’s ok to walk up it too. Our daughter always ranked her rides by how many times she had to walk. When she didn’t walk at all, it was a big celebration in our house!

Alison & Josh

We stop and take a break for stick races in the creek and whip out some snacks. An army marches on its stomach, as does a pack of Lil’ Heathens on bikes.

Amy & Ben

The more you teach them early on to be independent and give them the chance to learn skills, the more they can help you and in turn, stay engaged while on trips.

Chuck & Ellison

Cliff Shot Blocks. Seriously, this is not negotiable. And they better be a flavor s/he likes. And you better have a bunch of them.

What kind of contingency planning should you do for the potential of things not going according to plan?

Amy & Ben

We ride in the woods a lot where there is no hotel or “out,” so making sure we have enough food, warm clothes, and a deck of cards with a chocolate bar is always our plan.

Jen & Mike

Use it as an opportunity to build character (and say as much).

Beth & TJ

This is where traveling as a family is our preferred way since one person can stay with the kid, and the other can do some recon/evac.

What tips do you have for setting up the bike and rider?

Craig & Madeline

Helmets—to encourage wearing them, model it yourself, have kids pick out a cool looking one, decorate it with stickers. Also, letting her ride between us makes her feel safe and experience more.

Alison & Josh

If they are the least bit wobbly, make sure that they can touch the ground while seated. Make sure that the gear is not too big and that the bike fits. Oh, and make sure that they know how to stop.

Amy & Ben

Kids usually know what they like and what they want, so it’s another instance where parents need to listen to the kids rather than push an agenda on them.

Jen & Mike

A lower seat provides more confidence for young riders but doesn’t put them in an efficient riding position, so I inch my kids seats up a little throughout the season without letting them know.

In your experience, do kids like to carry stuff, or do you slowly work that in over time?

Alison & Josh

We got them their own hydration packs so that they could carry their own stuff, and they are really into it. I would not let them carry more than 16 oz of water and a bar though.

Amy & Ben

Teaching kids the skill of packing their bike themselves is a great way to help them learn what they can carry, while also understanding what they really need and don’t need when on a trip.

Beth & TJ

Let them carry their own stuff in the beginning —just their stuff. Give them a small pack though, or you’ll have the entire contents of your house in a bag. Makes them feel in charge and responsible.

What success stories of your own do you have? What about disasters?

Butch & Katie

Our family friends went with us at the beginning of Spring, and we rode an out and back that consisted of 20 miles with a four-year-old, a five-year-old, three eight-year-olds, a nine-year-old and a 10-year-old, and six adults. We had promised an ice cream stop in the middle though. Guess what…ice cream shop was closed. Total kid anarchy for about 10 minutes.

Amy & Ben

On our first multi-day family bike packing trip in the Bighorn Mountains, we had a day where we went 15 miles with about 3,000 feet of elevation. At the end of the day, we had to get over a pass at 10,000 feet. We encountered spots with five plus feet of snow, and a storm was brewing around us in incredibly slow and challenging terrain. The kids were nervous and frantic about the difficulty mixed with fear from unknowns and the approaching storm. When we finally got over and down the other side of the pass, and we were sitting around the campfire that night, both boys said, “Wow can you believe what we did? We are gonna have such awesome stories to tell!”

Jen & Mike

I did take them to Keystone once (lift served downhill when they were like 7 and 9). They had green trails on the map, but they were green for downhillers…first set of high banks, my youngest went over the bars and into the trees…we made it down, but they were not happy…my bad.

Chuck & Ellison

These days, my almost-11-year-old son with his 24″ wheeled seven-speed bike can school some adults on full suspension rigs on the local trails that he knows well—even the ones marked “blue” and some of the “black.” We always warm up with some “green” first, though—the same “green” trails that we didn’t get beyond when we first started this ride on a 20″ wheel singlespeed years ago.

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Salsa Cycles Presents: Touching The Sun

Filmed on beautiful Northern Minnesota trout lakes, two friends share how their love of mountain biking, fly fishing, and the outdoors are brought together in perfect harmony with the Salsa Blackborow fat bike.

We’re pleased to present a new Salsa Cycles short film; Touching the Sun.

Minnesota has 180 stream trout lakes, scattered throughout the state. Many of these are located in Superior National Forest and offer a prime opportunity for exploration, solitude, hard-earned but rewarding access points, and adventure by bike.

Loading up the Salsa Blackborow fat bike with fly rods, float tubes, fins, camping gear, and all the associated items for a few days of life in the woods and on the water resulted in memorable days.

Trails were ridden. Trout were brought to hand. Mother Nature showed her many moods. Fine camp living was enjoyed to the fullest.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Salsa Cycles Presents: Touching The Sun from Salsa Cycles on Vimeo.

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You may also enjoy the first page of our new Blackborow Stories storysite; Ode To Trout


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