There’s A Whole New Way To Mountain “Bike”

Millions of people enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise in the process. Many take hikes along trails in deserts, forests or in mountainous areas. Others go backpacking, while still others use various bicycles to take rides down streets, trails or off-road.

Mountain bikers are especially prevalent in national forests, state parks and other areas where there are trails and rugged terrain, and taking them deep into these areas can be a fun challenge, but also have its risks in terms of injury with a fall.

Another growing form of outdoor entertainment is the unicycle, which used to be left to circus acts. More and more people have been using unicycles as a form of transportation and in some ways recreation. But can you imagine combining any of the aforementioned outdoor activities with a unicycle? Have you taken a unicycle with you on a camping trip? Have you done some backpacking while riding a unicycle, or having one packed with you?

How about mountain biking? Yes, the same trails, with a unicycle?

Does that unicycle on a mountain trail seem a little too dangerous or extreme?

While many of us may have a hard time wrapping our heads around the idea, a geologist with an excitement streak has started using his unicycle on some mountain trails that he has used his mountain bike on, and that has led to some real challenges – such as a 13-foot drop for example.

Find this hard to imagine? This guy does hear his share of jokes about “missing a wheel” or what have you. But how many of those jokesters are willing to jump on a unicycle and take on the same trials that they take on with their mountain bikes?

Who thinks less than one in 10?

You know how it is – those who joke about something that seems as crazy as mountain unicycle are those who are less likely to actually try it themselves. But for this geologist, he has heard them all and says he has gotten used to the comments and doesn’t let them faze him.

It certainly takes outdoor exercise to a whole new level. Is it enough to generate a new buzz of extreme athletes? Does this count as extreme, or is it just weird? How do you think mountain unicycle compares with extreme skateboarding or bungee jumping in terms of danger and/or excitement? Do you own a unicycle, and would you consider taking it out on a trail with rugged terrain?

Common Mountain Biking Injuries

Mountain biking is one of the most popular forms of outdoor activity and exercise around. Mountain bikes are often durable, excellent in all kinds of terrain and weather, and they can be a great vehicle to heading along forest trails or biking up hills and mountains to get some of that fresh outdoor air.

Like other vehicles, however, there are certain risks to mountain biking, which is why many of us wear helmets, pads, long pants and/or cloves when we go riding. While most places do not have laws requiring the use of a helmet on mountain bikes, injuries on mountain bikes can be quite common, even if most of them are not life-threatening.

However, a couple of the most common mountain biking injuries can put you out of biking commission for a few weeks or longer depending on the severity of the injury. Unfortunately, helmets won’t prevent these injuries from happening. Here is a list of the four most common mountain biking injuries.

1. Just Scraping By.

Mountain bikes go on all kinds of terrain and in various environments, and when you ride past tree branches or a cactus, or you lose balance on some rocks, inevitably you will get skin abrasions along your arms, knees, legs or hands. Most superficial and won’t require more than a bandage and won’t adversely impact your ride – they come with the territory, so to speak.

2. Shouldering the Pain.

Mountain biking can be tough on joints due to rough, uneven terrain. As your arms connect the upper body to the handlebars, much of the shock of going over rough terrain is borne on your shoulders, which is where AC joint pain can occur. The AC joint is where some ligaments could get sprained from wear and tear and weight on the shoulder. A sprain can cause enough pain as to keep you off your bike to rest the joint for a couple week s or a couple months.

3. To the Knee and Back!

Mountain biking is much like traditional bicycling in that while it is low impact, it can be repetitive in motion and joints will have adverse reactions to uneven or rough terrain. The repetition of mountain biking can result in wear on the knees and back, which can cause pain. Cartilage and ligaments wear with consistent repetition, and the muscles of the back can spasm if the back muscles are in the same posture for extended periods. According to several orthopedic doctors, a treatment for knee paid is Unique Dermatology and Wellness PRP Therapy.

4. Carpal Diem.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually associated with repeated motions in an office setting like on a keyboard or mouse. But it can also appear in mountain biking if your handlebars are at the wrong height and have undue pressure on your wrists as you ride. That undue pressure is on the nerves of the wrist which can cause tingling and numbness.

Tips for Choosing the Best MTB Tires for You

If you are like the rest of us and have become an adrenaline junkie after a few rides of the ol’ mountain bike trail, you might be looking into taking your ride to the next level. One way to do that is to upgrade your bike. While mountain bikes are generally sold as one unit, there are a number of parts that can be customized. For example, you can customize your bike chain, pedals, handlebars, tires and more. Some of these changes may be largely for cosmetic purposes, but changing your bike’s tires will directly affect the performance of your bike.

For mountain bikes, there are a variety of factors that way into which tires you should be using. There are tires for different seasons, different terrains, and even different ride styles. With a little help from the folks over at REI, we have put together a list of tips for you to consider when purchasing new tires for your mountain bike.

MTB Tire Size and Width

The first step is to identify your tire diameter. Once you have identified the size of your tires, you are going to need to select a certain width. For optimal performance, you are going to want to select a tire width that fits your most common riding terrain. We have listed some examples below.

  • Cross Country: 1.9″ to 2.25″ width range.
  • Trail and All-MTB: 2.25″ to 2.4″ width range.
  • Downhill: Tires up to 2.5″. Meant to absorb impact from drops and rock patches.
  • Fat Bikes: Used for all season trail riding and a width 3.7″ to 5″ or more.

When researching new tires, it is important to keep your riding style in mind. If you are someone that is looking for more traction and tires that will absorb the blow of a drop, wider tires will better suit you.

 MTB Tires by Riding Style

Another factor to consider when purchasing mountain bike tires is your riding style. We have listed a few riding styles below.

  • Cross Country: If you are a cross-country rider, you are going to want lightweight tires that roll fast. Lightweight tires will make it easier for you to climb up and down hills.
  • Trail riding: For trail riding, it is recommended that your purchase an all-around tire.
  • All-Mountain: While you have to ride to the top of the mountain, the focus here is on the ride down. For this riding style, it is suggested that you look for tires that can maintain speed, have traction on turns, and can withstand impacts.
  • Downhill Riding: For downhill riding, you are going to want tires that can take some abuse. Generally, these trails will have a lift that takes you to the top, so the main focus should be on tires that will get you down the hill quickly and withstand impacts from drops.

MTB Tires by Tread

You know those little bumps on your tires? Yea, well, they are called “lugs”, and they have an effect on the performance of your bike. Below, we have a list of the common tread patterns and what they do.

  • Big widely spaced lugs: Best for mud or loose dirt. The wide spaces between lugs will make it easier for the mud or dirt to be released.
  • Small, closely spaced lugs: This type of tread is for more speed. The small lugs offer little resistance and an average grip.
  • Ramped lugs: These lugs are in usually in the center of the tire and offer little rolling resistance.
  • Side lugs: Provide extra grip when going around corners.
  • Transition lugs: Located between the center and side lugs. They are intended to increase grip as you turn around tight corners.
  • Sipes: Little slits on the lugs themselves. Sipes are good for getting more grip on harder surfaces.

Now its Time for you to Buy Some New Tires

So, we have provided you with the beginner’s guide to mountain bike tires. Now it’s time for you to go out and get a pair of your own. Have fun and safe riding!

Tips for Choosing a Mountain Bike

Just like any other investment, a mountain bike can bring you joy or cause you to suffer from buyer’s remorse. Mountain bikes can be expensive. When you are considering purchasing a mountain bike, it is important that you do thorough research to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth. Some things you should take into consideration are:

  • Experience
  • Budget
  • Type of mountain you will be riding
  • How often you will be riding the bike

How do I Choose a Mountain Bike?

Sacredrides is an active blog where mountain bike enthusiasts share the tips and tricks of the trade. They put together a list of tips for choosing a mountain bike. We have summarized them below.

  • Set of a Budget
    • $500 or less: If you are a novice mountain biker and working on a tight budget, this may be the right choice for you. In this price range, the market or mountain bikes is very limited, but you can still find a decent bike. If you are shopping in this price range, look for an entry-level hardtail. You might even be able to find a mid-level hardtail from a previous year. Another recommendation is to avoid a full suspension bike at this price range.
    • $500 – $1,000: At this price range, you should be able to find a nice entry-level hardtail. This is also a good price range to look for used bikes that at one point were more expensive.
    • $1,000 – $1,500: Mountain bikes in this range will use the same frames as more expensive bikes, but they use cheaper parts. If you are purchasing a bike at this level, you can always upgrade the parts as you go. At this price range, you can usually find higher priced bikes on clearance or at the end of the year.
    • $1,500 – $3,500: This is for elite riders. At this range, you can buy a bike that fits your exact needs. You will begin to see carbon fiber models as well as all mountain terrain or full suspension. Most bikes in this range are also considered race ready.
    • $3,500 and up: At this price point you can have your pick of the litter. You may even want to consider buying two different bikes that fit your needs.
  • Type of Riding
    • Three main types of bikes:
      • XC
      • All mountain/trail
      • Downhill
    • If you are more of a casual rider that mainly rides on local trails, you are going to want a trail bike. If you ever go downhill riding, you can rent a bike there.
    • If you mainly ride downhill, it is recommended that you purchase a downhill or freeride bike.
  • Making the Purchase
    • It is recommended that you purchase a bike from a local shop instead of online. Purchasing your bike from the store will allow you to get a feel for the bike when you are using it.
  • Post-Purchase
    • For a new bike, make sure that you inquire about a warranty. Many new bikes come with a warranty. Also, ask the bike shop if they offer a tune up after 30-90 days. After breaking the bike in, components may shift giving the bike a different feel from when you purchased it.
    • For a used bike, be sure to go through the following checklist:
      • Check the frame for cracks
      • Check tires for usage
      • Check cables and brakes for frays
      • Check for any leaks from the suspension
    • If you are not familiar with bikes, you can ask your local bike shop if they will look the bike over for you.

We hope that this list helps you purchase your new mountain bike. Always remember to do research before making an investment. If you make the right choice, a bike can last yours for years and thousands of miles of riding.

Why Biking Is The Ultimate Workout

Biking, whether on a stationary bike, cruising on the boardwalk, or mountain biking, is one of the only few exercises that simultaneously work out your muscles and work out your cardiovascular system.

Which Muscles Does Biking Impact?

There are several different muscle groups that taking a bike ride activates. The pedaling motion of riding a bike activates the following muscles groups:

  • quadraceps
  • hamstrings
  • calf muscles
  • hip flexors
  • guteus maximus
  • plantarflexors
  • dorsiflexors

If you are riding outdoor fand keeping your balance, the following muscles groups are activated to assist in support and stability:

  • abdominal muscles
  • arm muscles
  • chest and shoulder
  • back muscles

Benefits of Cardio-Vascular Exercise

As previously mentioned, biking also is a cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular refers to your heart and lungs. These are two very strong muscles that also need to be worked Cardiovascular exercise is important because it helps create stronger heart and lungs and has other benefits such as:

  • weight loss
  • higher bone density
  • reduced stress
  • relief from anxiety and depression
  • better sleep
  • more energy
  • reduced risk of heart disease

If you are looking for an exercise that can help tone your muscles as well as help your cardiovascular strength then consider biking. It doesn’t matter if you are on a stationary bike at the gym or using a mountain bike to explore the wild, the health benefits are clear.

Famous Mountain Biking Trails of the World

For those who dare venture along the treacherous paths of a mountain biking trail, there is almost no greater adventure or sense of exhilaration than the winding turns and potential pitfalls that are but a taste of the very real dangers of the sport. Mountain bikers, practically by their very nature, seek out the most difficult trails that offer the greatest challenge, similar to skiers looking for the most challenging slopes along at a ski resort. But, how far do you need to go to find the extreme in mountain biking trails the world over? In some cases, they might actually be closer than you think.

The Hydrocut Trails

Located in the Kitchener/Waterloo area of Ontario, Canada, the Hydrocut Trails are relatively simple for the experienced bikers, but still offer thrilling, fast rides through 25 kilometers of wooded area. Complimented by board walks, bridges, switchbacks and what they refer to as “armoured” walls, the Hydrocut rides fast on single lane trails in dry weather and even faster on slick clay surface after a generous rain. The only thing this trail misses are the heights and drops that might appeal to more extremist mountain bikers.

Warrior Creek

For those along the east coast of the United States, trekking to Wilkesboro, North Carolina might be worth the trip. Warrior Creek sports a scenic view of “out and back” North Carolina biking trails, including rock gardens and lake views. Similar to the Hydrocut, Warrior Creek also contains several bridge passes as well as in-slope turns to keep any mountain biker on their toes. Trail boss Jim Horton has dubbed it, “OVT on steroids.” And if the OVT on steroids isn’t enough for you, Warrior Creek is only a part of a more elaborate trail network that includes the OVT and Dark Mountain to round out the whole of Kerr Scott. And if that isn’t enough, the trail also hosts a 6-hour endurance challenge every year in the spring.

Smithfield Mountain Bike Park

As if there weren’t enough reasons to visit the continent down under already, outside the city of Cairns lies the Smithfield Mountain Bike Park. One of the highest ranked rainforest trails in the world, Smithfield sports 60 kilometers of wilderness and technical riding that includes both short and long climbs as well as descents among a spread of over 700 kilometers of mountain biking trails around the city of Cairns in total. The trail was featured in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in both 2014 and 2016 as well as hosted the UCI World Mountain Bike Championship last year.

El Gallinero

For one of the ultimate nature trails that offers a significant challenge, traveling to Benasque, Spain needs to be the hope of any enthusiastic mountain biker. El Gallinero is home to a 30 kilometer trail that features of natural sights to see, including high alpine trails and down-to-earth wooded areas. These trails include fast single track experiences as well as more technical areas with twists and turns to challenge even experienced bikers. Perhaps one of the more appealing long-term draws is that El Gallinero is also part of TrackMTB’s Big Montains Pyrenees Trip.

Three More Types of Mountain Biking Injuries You Should Know About

While we all love mountain biking here, it is important to know that our favorite activity comes with some serious downsides. You can take every precautionary measure in the world, but you can still end up with an injury that will have you off of the trails for weeks, months, or even years. A few months back, we posted a blog about three types of mountain biking injuries, but we felt like it was important to revisit the subject and give you a few more.

Since mountain biking involves high speeds, hard surfaces, and very little padding, the injuries sustained while biking are quite serious. While you can get some cuts and bruises from falling off of your bike, those are usually nothing compared to the serious injuries you can suffer from falling off at the wrong time.

Here are some of the top mountain biking injuries, and how you can prevent them:

Broken Bones

Broken bones can range from minor annoyances to serious injuries that threaten the structural integrity of your body. If you break a bone with enough force, it is within the realm of possibility that you could need to get serious surgery, even amputation if it is severe enough. While this is a very rare scenario, it is very important to note that if you think you broke a bone while biking, you need to get medical treatment right away. Do not let your injury fester while you can improve it with the help of a physician.

Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious injuries you can sustain while mountain biking. Falling off of a bike can cause your body to contort in ways that mess up your spinal alignment – this can give you a wide array of painful symptoms from minor back pain to total paralysis.

Concussions

Even if you are wearing a helmet, it is possible for you to suffer from a serious concussion after a bicycle accident. Since you are travelling at high speeds, the force from your body hitting the ground, a tree, or anything else can cause a serious concussion. Concussions can range from mild to life-altering, as serious cases can make you lose your memory and proper bodily functions.

Here is a video of someone getting injured on their mountain bike – please stay safe out there!

The Dangers of Mountain Biking

With all physical activities comes some degree of inherent danger. There aren’t too many things that we can go about doing in life without putting our body at some sort of risk. Even basic exercising, without proper preparation in stretching and safety equipment checks, can land you at least a pulled muscle. With sports, the potential for injury just goes up from there. American football has its famous litany against concussions, basketball features all manner of twisted ankles, and hockey players with missing teeth are practically a cliché.

But there are other sports out there. Sports that don’t necessarily involve contact with other potentially muscular individuals. Outdoor sports that you might generally want to go and enjoy on your own as a way of just getting out and getting a good bit of exercise amid the chaos of day-to-day life. Sports like mountain biking.

At first glance, some might mistake this sport for just taking a scenic route through the wilderness on two wheels rather than riding along a sidewalk like many casual cyclists do. The truth is a bit more extreme than that. Mountain biking is almost literally what it sounds like: biking on a mountain. The sport has become so popularized in recent years that ski resorts are starting to generate income during the summer months by letting mountain bikers take the ultimate risk and shred through rock, stone and debris where skiers would normally shred through powder. But, it’s obviously not what your average joe would would put him or herself through. Especially considering the risks often associated with it. The sport of mountain biking is almost exclusively reserved for the ultimate thrill seeker.

First of all, there’s the terrain. Universally unkind to anyone who wants to ride on it, bumpy trails and loose gravel is usually as good as it gets for mountain biking. More often the case are steep slopes, tight curves and swift, intimidating heights. At this point, even making good judgment with your safety equipment (like a helmet) is almost a moot point. Suffering injury in conditions like this is bound to get you severely injured regardless. In fact, while commenting to Reuters on the subject of mountain biking injuries, Dr. Marcel Dvorak once said, “Helmets will not protect you from these injuries, nor will wearing Ninja Turtle-like body armor.”

Joking aside, however, Dr. Dvorak brings up a serious point. Mountain biking is not a sport where you typically come out the other side worrying about scrapes and cuts on your knees or elbows. The risk of injury to the body, and most notably spinal injury, is so great that wearing a helmet is almost practically useless. Impacts suffered by falling from a trail would still cause you to suffer trauma along your spine and neck – trauma that can often result in paralysis. What makes the entire situation worse is that mountain biking is often done in rough, isolated terrain. Getting assistance after such an injury could be difficult, and then what may have started as a thrilling ride along a mountain trail may very well be a fight for survival.

But, this is also why experts associate mountain biking with only the boldest of those looking for a rush of adrenaline. The inherent risks of injury along with the intimidating terrain are usually more than enough to keep others at bay. This is why experts often cite experience along with that thrill seeking propensity.

The Benefits Of Mountain Biking – An Overview

If you’re curious to learn more about the benefits of mountain biking, then this article is going to give you the key information you need. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look.

Firstly, it’s safe to say that mountain biking can be a fun and invigorating hobby that does wonders for your general health and fitness. In particular, it is very good for your cardiovascular fitness as well as your general heart health, and you will certainly notice that regular cycling of any sort will quickly improve your endurance levels.

Of course, having fun and exciting hobbies is also a key part of enjoying life, and any keen mountain biker will tell you how fun it can be to tackle a new trail or simply enjoy a bike ride in an off-road environment. In fact, for some keen mountain bikers, the activity can be considered a form of meditation that keeps you in the present moment and enhances your coordination whenever you are dealing with a difficult part of the trail.

Something else that’s worth bearing in mind is that mountain biking isn’t just an exercise for your calves and thighs, but it can also be considered a full body workout as well. In most cases, you will feel the ache in your abdominal and core muscles as well as your shoulders and arms, particularly if you have been tackling a tough route for several hours and more.

Finally, many people find mountain biking to be a very social hobby, and it’s certainly fun to head out on the track with your friends or family coming along for the ride. Ultimately, this activity allows you to have a fun, social hobby that’ll work wonders for your general happiness, and it also allows you to get out in nature and enjoy some breathtaking views that only a true mountain biker will ever have the opportunity to experience.

The Red Bull Hardline Takes Off For The Fourth Year

Mountain biking isn’t always what it sounds like. For the most part, the people who buy mountain bikes are rational, sane people who are just looking for a simple and fun off-road experience and have no desire to ride up and down a steep vertical incline, even if the bikes themselves are specifically designed for durability and to increase performance in a variety of rugged landscapes. Some people like to take things literally, though, and those are the people who are most familiar with the death-defying Red Bull Hardline.

The Red Bull Hardline is considered one of the most difficult mountain bike races in the world. The competition plays out in the rough hills of the Dyfi Valley of Wales, and is going on its fourth straight year. If mountain bike races weren’t scary enough, the Red Bull Hardline actually launches competitors over the heads of their spectators in a fifty foot leap from the side of a mountain. It might be said that this race isn’t for the faint of heart, but then again many more might say it’s only for the clinically insane.

Even so, these tough maneuvers are the very focal point of the race. Creator Dan Atherton wanted to create a course that pushed those who loved the sport, and so he did. Not only did he manage to conceive a race that is widely considered one of the toughest, but he also played a huge role in bolstering the number of people who participate or spectate. When things get dangerous, they also become more popular. It’s like a rule.

There might be a lot of people willing to give this gauntlet a try, but only twenty of the best riders in the world are afforded the opportunity. Red Bull TV both sponsors and broadcasts the event in order to promote the sport to as many people as possible.

For those unfamiliar with the practice, mountain bike racing (or MTB/ATB racing) was recognized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (or UCI) in 1990, even after the premiere UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 1998. The World Cup consisted of nine races and took riders to Europe and North America in order to experience and race in some of the toughest terrains in the world. By 1996, MTB racing as a sport became a part of the Olympic Games. The sport’s popularity has only grown since then. Since 2006, MTB racing is even encompassed in the World Deaf Cycling Championships.

There are a number of different types of racing, with different rules and regulations and disciplines assigned to each. These include cross-country, downhill, Super D, freeride, four cross, dirt jumping, marathon, and more. The Red Bull Hardline, naturally, is a downhill race.