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Singletrack Minds: A Pro Mountain Biker and His Super Awesome Sportsmobile

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Meet Gary Bischoff, an IT professional, bike shop owner and hair raising-ripping fast pro mountain biker. We checked out his Ford V8 Sportsmobile, then hit the trails.

Gary Bischoff,  his Ford Sportsmobile van, Intense Primer Mountain bike and Aluminess custom rack. When experimenting with travel vehicles, he began narrowing down his search. “Racing nationals for mountains bikes all over the country,  I thought,  ‘how could I sleep in it, how could I make it a work space,'” he said. “I started doing my research online and Sportsmobile came up.”

Words: Brandon Mathis, Photos: Terrance Siemon

It’s hard to pin him down, but if you were looking for Bischoff you might try Tucson or Sedona in the spring, somewhere on the USAC Race Circuit or maybe Southern Cali or Southwestern Colorado, whenever the riding’s good.

To Bischoff, it’s all about this mountain biker’s Sportsmobile – putting the key in the ignition and heading for the trails.

We caught him during some down time before his Category 1 Pro downhill and dual slalom race season began. Typically in the spring and fall, he’s somewhere between Arizona’s epic conditions and his duties at the Pedal the Peaks Silverton shop in the rustic mountain hamlet Silverton, Colorado. When we met up, wouldn’t you know it, we went for a ride.

“I love to be able to decide Friday afternoon, ‘Hey, I’m going to go do this,’ getting away and doing what I want,” he said. “I work from home so as long as I can find internet somewhere, I’m good.”

This is the mountain biking van life: one decked out and surly go-anywhere, do-anything rig with a custom-made bike rack for a high-end mountain bike all suited to exactly Bischoff’s taste of singletrack.

“It’s got everything an RV does, but it’s the size of a van,” he said.  “Full fridge, AC, heat, propane cook top, power generator on the back. You can be off-grid and still run your espresso machine. Being out here- Moab, Southern California desert- I can be anywhere I want.”

The Van: Ford 7.3 V8 Diesel Sportsmobile

After a trial period in a two-wheel drive cargo van, Bischoff found a more suitable system in 7.3L V8 Diesel Sportsmobile that he would further customize with an aftermarket 4Wheel drive conversion. “It’s got great power at elevation, getting through the mountains and over the passes,” he said.

Van Specs:

“A big V8 Diesel, the older one,” he said.  “It’s bulletproof. Then we took it and converted that to 4wheel drive. It’s beefed up. Six-inch lift. Off road tires. We built it up and put it on steroids.”

Bilstein 5100 shocks on a leaf spring conversion with rear airbags.

Toyo Open Country MT tires. “Mud terrains, they’re amazing in the snow, sand, you name it.”

The Rack: Aluminess

Custom rack by Aluminess, and a tire mounted Trash-a-roo refuse bag. “The idea is to leave no footprint,” Bischoff said of the Trash-a-roo. “It’s an easy way to pack out what you take in.”

“They well build it in any configuration that you want.”

Bischoff also uses a super rugged, tire-mounted refuse bag from Trash-a-roo.

“You have an easy and convenient place to get rid of your trash and haul it out when you’re camping.

The bike: Intense 2108 Primer

The SRAM Eagle 1X system.

Bike Specs:

29 inch wheels.
130 mm of rear travel, 140 up front.

SRAM XX1 Eagle- Enve wheels, and Rock Shox suspension with a custom designed modification to his front suspension.

“Short travel that still can handle mashing rocks,” he said. “Amazing on descents and climbs like a beast.”

Bischoff runs a 1X (one-by) drive train. Say goodbye to all those chain rings.

“It’s a 1X Eagle 34 single ring up front and 10 to 50 in the back. The old style where you had two or three rings up front and eight to 10 speeds in the back really had a lot of duplication. The 1X drops so much weight and complexity. There are no extra chain rings, no extra shifters, no extra derailleur.”

And the must have: the Highline dropper post from Crank Brothers.

“To me, once I had it on the first bike, now I cannot build a bike without it.”

The life:

“I started riding about 25 years ago, started racing downhill and gravity events and I just got hooked. This thing is my home base no matter where I am. Just going out and being on the trail, those big solo missions, that’s my nirvana.”

 

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