8th Annual Cranks Around the Campfire MTB Festival


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What a great weekend!!!

Dan, Rich, and their volunteers had done a stellar job organizing this super fun event. It was so nice to see the kids riding their bikes around the festival, fishing, swimming, and simply hanging out with each other…..outside and with no parents hovering over them!!

I was lucky enough to lead a Stephens Intermediate ride on both Saturday and Sunday.

In addition to Dan and Rich, I wanted to thank @mattybfat, @pedals, @sarcaro, @seanrunnette, and @Jam5377 for helping with keeping the group from getting split up as well as sweeping.

@mattybfat took over leading on Saturday as I pulled off with a father and son who were a bit over their comfort zone on skill and stamina. Thank you Matt!! I didn’t want to boy to get hurt or frustrated trying to keep up with the group as well as the entire group waiting at each hill. I explained to the boy (Jack) that the Allamuchy trail system is in the top 10 of the most challenging trails in the state as I could see he was getting frustrated with himself. At the picnic later, his father came up to me and said how much fun Jack had and that he told his father “that was so much fun and so cool that we were riding trails that are in the top 10 toughest in the state”. They are both coming back next year!!

Sunday’s ride turned out to be roll rather well even with the large group of 26. We got in a solid 16 miles of Stephens flowy trails with a bit of pain on the seemingly endless climbs followed by pure bliss with the super fun downhills. @ChrisG and I came across a bear as we rounded one of the corners in the Pink Maze section. As in almost every single run in I’ve had, the bear got spooked and ran into the woods as fast as he/she could. It wanted nothing to do with a couple of smelly MAMILs.

For those on the fence….definitely put this on your radar for next year. It was a ton of fun!!!





Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Great event, couldn't have asked for better weather! Will and I had fun. Definitely coming back next year. Thanks to @DanBrodeen and the entire crew for putting this on. Thanks @Norm and @sarcaro for "being boring" and feeding Will :). Saturday's Advanced Ride was a giant leap outside my comfort zone, but I loved every minute of it. I hope next year Will is a bit stronger rider and can handle more. He's already talking about going back.

Now pass the Advil....


Well-Known Member
First timer - Excellent experience

Well Done!!! Will come back
I was also a first-timer this year, but just made it for Saturday. Good times!

I took the opportunity to hit the Advanced Mooch ride Saturday morning and it was great even with the large group of about 22 riders. It was cool to see how people rode the lines on the more challenging features, and the mini sessions on some of features. Thanks Peyman @pxs231 and the other ride leader.

Thanks @DanBrodeen for organizing and all the people that led the rides and helped out.

Also, thanks to the Cognition crew for the ride clinic: @BiknBen, @Mountain Bike Mike , @ChrisG and Fred Brown (@ArmyOfNone ?)


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Just wanted to also say thanks to all the volunteers and ride leaders. My family and I had a great time again this year. Went out on a few group rides as well as some family rides around the lakes.
Weather was great all weekend.
I will honestly say it's nice to feel the family vibe all over the place. Seeing the kids just flying around on bikes or walking just around the camp. It's a very good feeling to be able to let your child out of your sight and just know they will be safe.

Wanted to also say thanks to the cognition coaching guys. Zoe, Diana , and myself all took the clinic and all learned something.
And don't get me started on the fishing.

Can't wait till next year. Hope to see everyone again.

If you didn't come you missed out. Try to make it next year.

Some pics from the weekend

Yearly pic at the CRANKS sign

The lake in the morning

Zoe loves riding on rocks

Shot from one of the group rides.

Some fishing photos

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Active Member
Thanks to everyone, especially Dan, who did the leg work to make this event happen. We are pretty lucky to have easy access to such an event in our backyard. It was great to see this event really take off this year. It is not often that I run into multiple smiling groups of riders on the allamuchy trail. I had been guiding rides at cranks for the last few years, but this year my son was old enough that we figured we could try camping as well. The weather was perfect, bugs were a non issue. There was so much to do in such a short amount of time.
Our Advanced ride on Saturday morning although very large at +20 people went smoothly. Even on an advanced ride there is usually a wide range of skill sets and fitness ability, so it is challenge to keep everyone super happy. Maybe for the next year we can provide some more self guided loops in combination with GPS tracks for varying levels of skill to allow our fellow hammer riders to get the full experience at their breakneck speed!
Life had intervened and I did not have a chance to properly maintain my bike heading into the festival. I did the Saturday morning ride with two broken spokes. By the time it was Sunday morning I had picked up three more broken spokes and I was pretty sure my front wheel would not make it through the 20 mile three-Parker ride. I was able to get a Fuji Rakan demo bike just before everyone took off on their rides, reassemble another group of riders and do the three Parker after all. The new bike felt great, it reminded me of how a properly maintained bike would feel like.
My wife and son also had a great time. Thank you Diana for spending time with the kids and especially my son after all the other kids were picked by their responsible parents. We didn't have as much luck fishing since my Dad never took me fishing, now I have to learn for the sake of my son!
I also enjoyed the atmosphere and the crowd. Everyone was willing to lend a hand and help out. At one point I borrowed a mattress pump and used a friends grill to cook a quick dinner then returned the favor with s'mores supplies etc..
Good to hang out and ride with friends old and new.
Some more positive feedback.....

On Sunday, My eldest son and I wanted one more ride before we left. We rode to the top of and found the trail marked with paper plates... We followed that loop and had a blast...

The course / loop / trail marking really helped us navigate an awesome ride. And it had a couple options to head back to camp if needed.

I'm not sure what group ride that was intended for but it was perfect for my 11 year old.

Thanks to whoever took the time to mark the loop.


Well-Known Member
Happy New Year MTBNJ! Date for this year’s Cranks will be released soon! 9th year! We really grew last year so could use some more group leaders for all levels. Let me know if you want to lead. The BBQ will be improved this edition and kids activities expanded. Thanks for the continued support!


Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Happy New Year MTBNJ! Date for this year’s Cranks will be released soon! 9th year! We really grew last year so could use some more group leaders for all levels. Let me know if you want to lead. The BBQ will be improved this edition and kids activities expanded. Thanks for the continued support!
Awesome! Good to hear about the expected improvements! Happy New Year @DanBrodeen