Thursday, April 28, 2005

Nike Freeride Shoes

Shoe design has been a passion of mine ever since I first saw Run DMC runnin around stage with their Adidas superstars. I've been fortunate enough in my position in the Trek Bicycles Advanced Concepts Group, to design this freeride shoe for Nike Cycling. It is easily the most exciting thing I have done in my career. I drew design inspiration from old school Nike Dunk sneakers and current day skate shoes. The shoes have the Nike skate gummy sole that has been stiffened for use with flat pedals only. They have an asymmetrical design. Essentially the inside of the shoe climbs up higher over your ankle for crank protection. I was able to work with Nike's newest freerider Andrew Shandro on both the look as well as the function. His feedback has been super positive. They are going to be great shoes… available late august 05... Please buy them!

Tony T. Bells Beer team member.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Art and Science of a One-Handed Wheelie

The love for the wheelie arose in me when I was a young boy. I was watching television one night when a special episode came on about a guy name Evel Knievel. For those of you unaware of this name he is renowned as a motorcycle daredevil. Madman might be a more appropriate word since the first time I saw him he was trying to jump over a place called "Snake River Canyon" in a rocket car! He didn't make it, but during the preview show I saw clip after clip of Evel riding endless wheelies on his old school Harley Davidson. This inspired me! This inspired me so much that at nine p.m. on a school night I went outside and attempted it on my Huffy BMX bike. Miraculously, I couldn't even get the front tire off of the ground. I was perplexed and wondered how Evel made it look so easy. It took me awhile to realize that I had no strength, coordination, or balance and he had a thing called a throttle. I did learn that pulling up on my handlebars 50 times did make my shoulders sore!
As I reached pre-pubescence I almost achieved a growth spurt and I finally "got up" my first wheelie. Unfortunately, I pulled up so hard that I went over entirely landing on my back and knocked the wind out of myself. There I was laid out in the middle of the street fighting for air with pebbles pressed into my backside and stars in my eyes!
It's been a long tough road of trial and error to get just a simple wheelie down. The easiest way to learn is to start off on a slight grassy incline. Practice a few times (perhaps more) coordinating a strike down on a pedal at the one o'clock position with a pull upwards on the handlebars. Choose an easy gear like the middle ring all the way up in the back gear. By pushing down on the pedals and pulling up and leaning back from the top half of your body you should be able to achieve flight with your front wheel. This could take awhile, but have faith. Once you can "get it up" it will be important to keep your right hand on your back brake. This will become the modulator for keeping up the front wheel. If you start to lean back, give it a little brake. Too far back and you better grab a hand full before you end up on your back. To learn to keep pedaling and feathering the rear brake is the secret to holding a successful wheelie.
Now, once you have that down all you have to do to achieve a one-hander is to let go with one hand! Make sure you let go with your left hand so that your right hand can still brake. Believe it or not, the handlebars will turn and your right hand will come closer to your body. This will feel weird at first, but you will find it gives a new sense of control. Next, throw your hand up in the air like a bullrider at the PBR series! This gives a much greater effect to those that are watching. Plus, it gives you that "Hi-O Silver" feel that you have always wanted! I wish you luck in your big wheel endeavours.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Simonson Takes 2005 Paris to Ancaster

Over 1,000 riders showed up Sunday for what has come to be known as a Canadian Spring Classic - the 12th Annual Paris-Ancaster 60k Enduro just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. The 60k Enduro is an epic point-to-point race with a course consisting of rail trail, dirt farm lanes, singletrack, gravel fire roads, and pavement. Participants use either mountain bikes or cross bikes in the event.

Mike Simonson (Bell's Beer) of Clarkston, Michigan took charge only several miles after the start, as the course made a hard right-hand transition from dirt rail trail to a coarse gravel road. He never looked back.

Riding away from the group, Simonson made a solo breakaway that took him all the way to the finish line. Several riders put together a strong chase group in an attempt to run him down, and nearly succeded catching Simonson at the base of the last climb - a 1km rutted fire road climb of steep grade. However, as chase group front runner Josh Hall (Jet Fuel Coffee) approached, Simonson shifted his Trek XO cyclocross bike two gears higher and walked away from Hall, putting 40 seconds on the chase-weary rider in the last kilometer.

Mike came into the race unsure of his form after having to rearrange his training schedule to meet the demands of his 45 hour per week day job. Obviously, the job has been good for him.

Also putting forth a strong ride on Sunday was Bell's Beer rider Jason Lummis, finishing 25th overall after struggling early on with a saddle that came unbolted during the first few miles of the race. Bell's Team Director, Jason Aric Jones, rounded out the list of top 100 finishers.

2005 Team Announcement


Ride Michigan Trails.

Drink Michigan Beer.

Live Life Unfiltered.

Presenting the 2005 Bell’s Beer Mountain Bike Team:

o Mike Simonson (Clarkston), Pro/Elite

o Derek Prechtl (Traverse City), Pro/Elite

o Jason Lummis (Pinckney), Pro/Elite

o Jim James (Ann Arbor), Expert/Off-Road Tri Specialist

o Dan Kotwicki (Ann Arbor), Expert

o John Meyers (Kalamazoo), Expert/Elite

o Tony Torrance (Madison, WI), Expert

o Jason Aric Jones, (Dexter), Singlespeed/Expert/Director Sportif


Kalamazoo Brewing Company (Bell’s Beer),

Trek Bicycles,

Adidas Cycling,

Tifosi Optics,

Two Wheel Tango,

Mavic Wheels,

SRAM Components,

Maxxis Tires,

Clif Bar,

Michigan Brewer's Guild,