Frequently Asked Questions

Does the team do any downhill racing?

- We are a cross country mountain bike team. We do not do extreme downhill or jumping on training rides or during races.  We do not ride trails desgned for downhill racing.  We provide training to enable our riders to become strong and capable cross country mountain bike riders.  

How do Gear Grinders relate to the BUDU racing program and other mountain bike events?

- Some riders try BUDU racing to gain race experience.  The BUDU race program is separate from the Washington Student Cycling League of which the gear Grinders are a part and is not covered by League insurance.   Similarly, the League insurance does not cover other nonleague events.  

I own a fancy mountain bike to take part with the Gear Grinders?

- A basic mountain bike with a front suspension fork is recommended; full suspension is not needed. Good quality second-hand bikes can be found for sale on Craigslist and elsewhere. If you are really interested in mountain biking, let us know. We can likely find you a mountain bike. We also expect to have some bikes to lend.

Not sure I want to race.

- That’s okay. You can still join the Gear Grinders and come to the weekly rides and other activities. Many student atheletes come to the sport thinking they don’t want to take part in races but after attending a race or talking to other students, change their minds. Race day is lots of fun – and it is not all about the winning. Every student who participates is made to feel warmly welcomed and gets great encouragement from the community of mountain bikers happy to see you on a bike. We encourage riders to keep an open mind.

I’m a complete novice on the trails.
- No problem. Many students begin with limited or no experience riding on the trails. We’ll provide you with the necessary skills, boost your confidence and enhance your endurance. Our training rides go at a pace suitable for your level.  

I take part in a school sport – will there be a schedule conflict?
- Our season is January-June, with the races typically scheduled 2 weeks apart from mid April to early June.  We ride twice a week – Tuesday or Wednesday and Sundays and we have a spin class on Friday. Some of our student riders also take part in other sports – so we understand that in mid-week, you may not be able to ride every time. If you are interested in riding with the Gear Grinders and take part in another sport, let us know and we can figure out options for you to ride with us.

Do the boys and girls train separately?
- No, we are truly co-ed. Boys and girls take part in the same training rides.

Can I get high school PE credit for riding with the Gear Grinders?
- No.

Where do the training rides take place?
- Our midweek rides in the winter and early spring are always on the island, usually at the Grand Forest. Our Sunday rides are off-island, usually at Port Gamble. Early season rides take place after school on Tuesdays or Wednesdays starting in February and from 3:45 to about 5:00.  Rides are a litttle longer when the days get longer.   Sunday rides are 2-2.5 hours.  

Will I get wet?
- Yes. Most definitely. Early season rides involve a lot of mud. You will love it, or learn to love it.  We will tell you what gear you need to be prepared for training in bad weather.