When someone like Greg Williams tells you that you should really hurry up and make an e-bike you pay attention.
Greg was the visionary that put Downieville on the map for mountain bikers. Santa Cruz Bicycles have been supporting Greg Williams since 1993, first by supplying him with first generations Tazmons and then Heckler bikes for his shuttle business, then supporting the Downieville Classic for many years, helping seed fund the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship and then donating and fundraising every year to keep the dream of creating sustainable communities through recreational trail development alive.
Greg has for a long time said that the area is “a big empty space full of empty trails”, and he wants more people to experience more of the trails. The main trails are ridden over and over again because they’re the easiest to access by van shuttle. But Greg wants to spread people out across the thousand of miles of trails. Bigger, “two sandwich rides”, as he puts it, are there, waiting for riders and e-bikes are the ideal tool to access these trails.
Some of these trails have been under the nose of riders for years, they’re just protected by nightmare climbs that deter even the toughest riders. But with the help of a little boost these pieces of singletrack shoot you right from town, fast-forwarding through the torment of 5000ft climbs, to trails like Chimney Rock and Empire Creek - the exact kinds of trails that the title “world’s best downhill trail” was made for.
The next step in Greg’s masterplan is the “moonshot” idea of connecting 13 disadvantaged communities in the Lost Sierras with trails that it’s hoped will spread a little bit of the modest prosperity that Downieville has seen. There’s over 300 miles of new trail construction planned – some of it is being built already – but also the plan is to also revive old, forgotten existing trails, the kinds of trails that trail whisperer Kurt Gensheimer revels in finding.
Heckler makes rare rides the norm, turns climbs into sections of trail to enjoy and then it’s still as agile and capable as a regular bike so you can enjoy the really great bits of trail. It was made for places like the Lost Sierras and for adventurous, imaginative riders like Greg Williams.—Santa Cruz Bicycles