A mountain bike rider tries out a new bike at a prior Moab Thaw trail ride. The annual event features multiple bike vendors who loan out new bikes for the weekend. [Courtesy photo]

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a mountain bike, but you’re unsure how to choose from the many styles available; or, you’re just interested in a fun day of riding in a festive atmosphere, you might want to check out Moab Thaw 2016.

The annual event runs from Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13, when more than two-dozen bike vendors will be loaning bikes for a weekend of trail riding.

Billy Snyder began inviting mountain bike vendors six years ago to come to Moab to show off their products. Thaw participants get to borrow bicycles from more than two-dozen different companies throughout the weekend for trail riding on the Moab Brand network, and Magnificent Seven trails. Shuttles will be provided.

Snyder is sales manager of Poison Spider Bikes, a Moab shop that rents bikes daily. All the companies of the bikes they carry will be represented during the Thaw event.

“(But) it’s not about selling – it’s a demo event,” Snyder said.

Attendance has doubled every year since Snyder started the event. Participants come from Telluride, Grand Junction and Carbondale in Colorado, and as far as Denver, Boulder and Park City.

Travis Young of Telluride looks forward to coming each year to get out of the mountains and into the desert and warmer temperatures, he said. Young owns a bike shop in Telluride and said it’s an opportunity to see the latest bikes coming out.

Plus, “A lot of people go because it’s a good time and a chance to try a bunch of bikes,” Young said. “It’s a good atmosphere.”

Registration begins on March 11 at 10 a.m., and continues through the Meet and Greet Movie Festival, 6-8 p.m., at Star Hall, 159 E. Center St. Registration will end at 9 p.m. Eight short outdoor adventure films will be shown from Carbondale’s 5Point Film Festival.

At noon on March 11, a pre-event women’s ride and skills clinic will be offered at Moab Brand Trails. Instruction will be split into beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels. Instructors are female.

“It’s good to hear it from other women, if you’re trying to be a mountain-biker,” Snyder said.

A silent auction will be held on March 12 at the demo booth. Items to bid on are donated by the various vendors. All proceeds go to support Grand County High School’s Moab Red Devils Mountain Bike team. Last year’s silent auction raised $2,500 for the team, Snyder said.

While attendees can bring their own bikes, participants are encouraged to ride demo bikes instead. Snyder said he will have plenty of bikes from which to choose. Riders under the age of 18 must be accompanied by participating adults.

Registration continues on March 12, starting at 9 a.m., with Rim Tours offering coffee and donuts at the demo booth, where more than 15 companies will be present to demonstrate new products.

Shuttles will be provided from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a “casual descent” from the Magnificent 7 Trail System.

Along with shuttled trail rides on March 13, at 11 a.m. there will be certified mountain bike instructors giving focused skills instruction at the Moab Brands Trails. A $50 donation for the skills instruction is requested, proceeds of which benefit the BEACON Afterschool Program.

The silent auction will close at 10 p.m. on March 12, when the end-of-the-day party starts at Gravel Pit Lanes, 1078 Mill Creek Drive, where there will be free bowling, hors d’oeuvres and prize giveaways.

For more information, call 800-635-1792, or go to www.moabthaw.com.

What: THAW 2016

When: Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13

Where: Moab Brand network and Magnificent Seven trails

Cost: $89 per person

Information: 800-635-1792, or www.moabthaw.com

A lot of people go because it’s a good time and a chance to try a bunch of bikes … It’s a good atmosphere.

March 11-13 demo event features bikes from more than two dozen vendors