Fountainhead MTB Trail

Fairfax county Virginia is a bustling community of 1.142 million people with an equally bustling mountain bike scene.

Bordering the Occoquan Reservoir are three loops of varying difficulties and lengths from 2.2 miles to 7.7 miles.

The further you progress back into the loop system, the more challenging the courses become.

The course layout is tight. The park also has a golf course and kayaking activities, so they had to cram as much in as little space as possible.

This means that the course is optimally laid out with technical turns and drops that keep the rider waiting for every corner.

Situated close to the city, this course is an easy one to reach. You can get off work, get in a ride and be home in time for supper. Considering all of the commuting traffic to and from DC, this may be the only chance than many of the locals get to ride. When you ride these trails, you are sharing the course with some of the most powerful people in our nation.

Due to being situated close to the water, the course is not always open. Even damp conditions can render it excessively muddy.

The Facebook page does a good job keeping riders appraised at what times the park has been unexpectedly closed.

As always, you want to follow the rules of the course and respect the other riders. There are plenty of tight corners and even some drops. You’ll want not only to be aware of the surroundings but also where other riders might be.

One last word is that there is non-stop climbing. As soon as you go down, you’ve gotta have your legs (and gearing) under you for the next uphill.

Expect a challenge. Expect a workout. And enjoy this little gem tucked in so closely to our nation’s capitol.

Investigating The Fort Pierce Trails Project

Florida is known for its line of coastal defenses. From the time that the Spanish originally settled there, defenses were an essential requirement, and the remains of French, Spanish and American fort installations dot the coastline. (Some of them were occupied by more than one or even by all three).

The city derives its name from its time as an American resupply depot during the second Seminole war.

What makes this trail exclusive is that it only accessible via private property. So, unless you have permission, you are greeted with a locked gate and no access.

Fortunately for the local mountain bikers (and for the local cycling club), the Airborne Mountain Bike Club of St Lucie has worked out an agreement. If you become a member, you are covered by their insurance, making it legal for you to access the trail under the existing agreement with the landlord.

The fee is low enough that even vacationers who are just passing through the area may want to join the club just to have access to the trail.

It’s a win-win setup that protects the trails while also supporting the local cycling community.

Just don’t try to access this trail without proper credentials as you can be cited for trespassing.

The Ft Pierce trail itself is a fast, winding track  that is 6 miles long and only an intermediate difficulty. Being near the shoreline, you have less than 300 feet of ascents or descents, and the sea-level oxygen levels, means you can breathe.

Just don’t underestimate that Florida heat and humidity. Take plenty of water along and stay hydrated. It stays quite warm, even into the evening.

Schwinn Mesa Mountain Bike Review


Before we can talk about the bike, we’ve got to discuss the brand. Schwinn brand has been through plenty of struggles in the past two decades. The company failed and was then split out to several buyers. Some of the buyers put the Schwinn brand all over other companies’ workout equipment. Others slapped it on other companies’ bicycles.

And, a small number of bikes wer eproduced with a higher standard that accurately reflects the Schwinn brand

The bottom line is, unless you know which one of the models are a high-end Schwinn or a lower end model, you can get duped.

It’s unfortunate, but it is how the company stayed in business.

The Mesa has impressed me as a solid starter bike. It was either sold at local bike shops (I sold some from the shop I worked at) or at Dick’s and MC Sports (I saw them in there).

It is a little heavier than most of the other mountain bikes, but it is also typically a little bit less expensive, which makes it ideal for folks who are new to the sport.

The Fork is a Zoom brand. In my experience, they are very similar to the entry-level Suntour branded spring forks. You get 60 mm of travel on this one, so clearly a starter fork. Depending on the year manufactured, they may or may not have a lockout.

The brakes are either v-brakes or linear pull. If you ride hard, I would upgrade these to a higher end caliper and handle set to get a more responsive pair.

However, the EZ-fire shifters and 7×3 gear system is ideal for both off-road riding and commuting. These also have held up well in my opinion, with many customers continuing to use their setup a decade after they purchase the bicycle.

If you happen to run across one or have one in the garage that you are thinking of brushing off, I would imagine that it is worth investing a few dollars into. I probably wouldn’t invest over $100 into getting one rideable, since, at that point, you are already 25% of the way to purchasing a new model.

But for a basic cycle that you can get muddy, this is an excellent all around starter machine.