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.

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.

Good Habits of Great Mountain Bikers

Have you ever been hiking in the woods and notice that mountain bikers seem to be having the most fun? Even if you don’t share trails with them, you likely cross paths with them in the woods from time to time and share parking lots and access points with them. You might even notice regular faces among the crowds, so you know that the same folks are showing up a lot. How is that they keep coming back to something that looks like fun, but also dangerous at the same time? The truth is, good mountain bikers keep coming back because of their good habits and routines.

Even though mountain biking looks dangerous, the risks involved can be tremendously mitigated and managed. This is done through training, proper equipment, and paying attention to trail conditions.

Training is something that mountain bikers should always adhere to. While licensing is not required for riding a mountain bike, there are online tutorials for how to ride safely. First aid courses should always be taken too, just in case.

Proper equipment is second in the list of good mountain biker habits, and it ranges anywhere from properly inflated tires to a good helmet. A resourceful mountain biker knows how to care for his or her bike, and has the tools to fix it when needed.

The third and last one, paying attention to trail conditions, happens in various stages. It starts at home (or the office) with keeping up with the weather reports for where a trail is located. Further consultation happens with any official park or trail resources that monitor the conditions there. Those news sources alone can cancel trips that should never happen, and a visual inspection of the trail is always a good idea before riding.

If you would like to learn about visualization in mountain biking, please watch the following video:

Most Important Pieces of Bicycle Safety Gear

Mountain biking is an extreme sport and safety becomes a priority if you want to ascertain longevity in this exciting yet dangerous sport. As such, you’ll want to be fitted out with the ideal safety gear.

Full Face Helmet

One of the most important and often the first to be considered when it comes to mountain biking is the face helmet. Not only does this piece of gear protect your head, but it covers your face and jaw as well. To avoid breaking your jaw or grazing the skin off your face, a full face helmet is of utmost importance.

Knee Pads

To prevent a painful graze on your knees, also known as roastie, stinging, knocking or even breaking your knee pads, you will want a good set of knee pads.

Gloves

Your hands are always in the firing line and should, therefore, be properly protected. A decent pair of biking gloves will not break your bank and will prevent a world of pain.

Shin Guards

These are basically pads that protect your shins while biking. Fortunately, the designs nowadays incorporate a knee pad as well. Get them in white, and you’ll be a storm trooper, protected by the force.

Reinforced Cycling Shorts

It’s always a wise idea to get a pair or even several pairs of these shorts. Most of the major brands out there make them, and they come with raised plastic designs on the side leg and hip regions to protect your hips and upper leg’s skin from grazing if you accidentally fall off.

Mountain biking is a fantastic and exciting sport, but accidents are not uncommon. In fact, they are too common to overlook any of the items mentioned in this brief article. Always be on the safe side by gearing properly.

If you want to learn more about the best helmets to wear while mountain biking, please watch the following video:

How Do You Steer A Bike?

Just how do you steer a bike? A lot of people who have never ridden a bike wonder this. Their confusion likely stems from the fact that they are used to seeing people steer cars with a wheel, and bikes have no such feature. Even those who have never driven a car have sat in the passenger seat or the back seat and seen their parents maneuver vehicles around, knowing to hold the wheel steady for going straight forward or reverse, and rotating the wheel right or left to go those directions when moving forward.

Bikes are possibly confusing until someone rides one because they are a lot simpler. If you are peddling, coasting, or going down hill, then use your pectoral muscles to turn the handlebars to the right to move right, and to the left to go left. The more you tilt, then the harder you turn.

The trick is getting the angles just right relative to your speed and how hard or fast you need to turn. Do it too quickly, and you can fall to the ground on your side. Do it too slowly, and you can wind up off your target path or route, running into people, trees, cars, water, traffic, or other obstacles and hazards.

When someone is learning how to ride a bike, it’s best to do so under the supervision of someone that already knows how to ride. Likewise, learning the intricacies like steering is best off done in a safe place like a park. Experienced riders might be able to ride on sidewalks and streets with cars simultaneously and safely, but newer riders need a safe space in order to learn good habits and pick up the finer points of riding a two-wheeled wonder that any good bicycle proves to be.

For more information on this topic, please check out the following video:

What Kinds Of Shoes Should You Wear When Biking?

Are you thinking about getting into biking? If you want to start cycling, you need to purchase the proper footwear! Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to select the ideal shoes for your biking trips.

Always Choose Supportive Shoes

You can’t throw on flimsy shoes when you’re going on a bike ride. You need to pick shoes that properly support your feet. Athletic shoes like sneakers are generally recommended for biking. Larger shoes, like hiking boots, may not give you the kind of flexibility that you need, and are not very supportive of your ankles.

You need to make sure that any shoes you put on fit your feet properly. If your shoes are too big — or too small — you may run into some issues. You may want to have your feet sized when buying new shoes. That way, you can buy shoes that fit you perfectly every time.

Pick Shoes That Let Your Feet Breathe

Your feet can get sweaty when you’re pedaling a bike. That’s why you should select shoes that will allow your feet to breathe. Make sure you pair your shoes with the right kind of socks.

Wear Shoes That Have Been Broken In

If you’re planning on going on a long bike ride, you’re going to want to avoid wearing shoes that are brand new. Instead, you should put on shoes that you have broken in. If you wear broken-in shoes, you’ll be able to avoid blistering.

There are many different kinds of shoes you can wear when biking. Experiment and try out different kinds of shoes. See which shoes work best for your feet. In time, you should find a pair of shoes that are ideal for someone like you. From there, you’ll be able to bike as often as you would like!

For more information on this topic, please watch the video embedded below!

The Difference Between Biking And Mountain Biking

Biking is without a doubt one of the most exciting recreational activities available. It gets your heart racing, it makes your blood flow, and it can pump your adrenalin if you don’t mind taking a few minor risks. But what is the difference between biking and mountain biking? And if there is, do you really need to know the details?

Biking (Road Cycling)

When you talk about biking in general, you’re referring to riding a bike on the street. Now, you can basically ride any bike on the street, but for those who are passionate about the sport, they’ll use a specific bike, and they’ll refer to themselves as cyclists.

Mountain Biking

As for mountain biking, you can’t do it with just any bike. You are going to need a mountain bike to navigate the area, and the bike needs to be tough. Because the terrain you’ll be riding on will be rough, uneven, full of hazards and even a little dangerous.

What’s The Difference?

First of all, biking is mostly about how fast you can go, in addition to the distance. Mountain biking also takes the distance into account, but it’s not so much about speed.

The two different terrains are responsible for the different experiences. While biking allows for a smooth and relatively safe environment, mountain biking requires you to focus on reflexes and control.

Which One Is Better?

It all comes down to personal taste. In terms of exercise, you are going to burn calories no matter how and where you decide to ride a bike. The same goes for fitness reasons, as you may already know.

What you need to figure out is whether you want the thrill that only mountain biking can provide? Or do you want to slice through the air on the road?