S&M Trail

5 03 2009
Kurt & Jen enjoying a beautiful desert sunset

Kurt & Jen enjoying a beautiful desert sunset

Kurt and I hooked up with Dave [owner of The Fat Tire bike shop] and his posse of locals for a group ride Tuesday afternoon.  I should have known we were going to be in trouble when everyone was telling us how much fun we were going to have on the ride!  The trail involved climbing up to a ridge and then riding a winding exposed [ie. death on the right] technical trail down.  Since we left a bit late we then descended some nice singletrack in the dark to top things off.

To make matters worse my bike felt totally setup wrong and I couldn’t clean a technical section to save my life.  It was just one of those days.  Luckily Kurt was having an off day as well so at least I didn’t have to suffer on my own.  Oh well these days have to happen.  I just wish they could happen we I’m riding alone – not on a group ride full of kick ass mountain bikers.

The trail itself was quite impressively diabolical – equal parts fun, pain and humiliation so I’m going to call it the S&M Trail.

The best part of the ride was the post-S&M beer session at the Fat Tire.  It was fun to chat with everyone.

BTW – turns out my Nomad was setup wrong and I was fighting the bike the whole ride.  I’ll post about that separately.





The Fat Tire Bike Shop – Sedona

5 03 2009
The Fat Tire Bike Shop - Sedona AZ

The Fat Tire Bike Shop - Sedona AZ

The Fat Tire bike shop is a small one man operation in Sedona Arizona.  The owner, Dave Cichan, is a super friendly guy who is extremely passionate about bikes.  That in itself is not remarkable in the bike industry, but he backs up his passion with a deep knowledge of how modern bike designs work.

To give you an example I was having issues with my front tire washing out in turns – which was frustrating and scary.  I mentioned it to him after the Tuesday night ride expecting a quick suggestion on how to resolve the problem.  Instead we spent well over an hour as he showed me CAD renderings of bike suspension designs, leverage and sag curves – all  the while applying this theoretical knowledge to adjust the suspension on my Nomad.  After we adjusted everything I rode the bike and it was a completely different experience.  I could turn hard on the gravel parking lot and instead of washing out, the tire dug in and the bike carved.  Dave jumped on it and decided we were most of the way there, but needed to tweak the suspension a bit more – so he took even more time to make changes.  Keep in mind this whole time the rest of the ride group is chatting, drinking beer and generally carrying on – while Dave worked on my bike.

After a delicious dinner at the local pick – The Hideaway Restaurant – we went back to Dave’s shop to grab our bikes.  It was late and we were all beat from the hard ride, but Dave eagerly jumped on Kurt’s Nomad and gave him the same treatment.  Totally adjusting the suspension setup on his bike as well.  Finally for good measure he made a couple more changes to my bike that came to mind over diner and working on Kurt’s rig.  By the time he was done it was 11pm.

Dave truing up a wheel.

Dave truing up a wheel.

Both of us were stunned at how well our bikes performed afterward.  We are both smart people with engineering backgrounds, but bike suspension is not our forte.  I now know how little I actually know and appreciate Dave’s expertise a whole bunch.  When someone understands both the theoretical and practical sides of a subject they become extremely competent – that’s Dave.

It should be clear that the service at the Fat Tire bike shop is exceptional.  It will certainly be my first stop on any trip to Sedona.  In fact if I got a new full suspension bike or had issues with my Nomad in the future Dave would be my go to guy.  Even if it had to be over the phone or on-line.

If you need trail advice, repairs, parts or just want to get a feel for town before you start riding head over to the Fat Tire bike shop and chat with Dave.

Dave helping a customer setup his bike.

Dave helping a customer setup his bike.

The Fat Tire Bike Shop

325 Jordan Rd., Sedona, AZ 86336

928.852.0014 [tel] – 928.852.0044 [fax]

dave@thefattire.comhttp://www.thefattire.com

Update: I got to go back to the Fat Tire Bike Shop in 2012 and had another great experience.