Mountain Biking For Beginners

While there is the age-old adage that you never forget to ride a bike, riding a mountain bike on a trail out in the wilderness is a different story. Riding your bike on flat terrain or riding a stationary bike at the gym is considered a cardiovascular exercise. But mountain biking on varied terrain can be a work out for several different muscle groups.

If you feel like taking the leap into mountain biking, here are a few things that you need to know before taking the plunge.

  • Eat fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains to build a base for endurance.
  • Start with going on a few bike rides a week that are low intensity to build up your stamina.
  • Gradually add more intense hiking and trails to your route.
  • Learn how to lean your bike through turns, similar to carving on skis. This prevents you from losing momentum.
  • There will be many obstacles along the trail including roots, rocks, and bumps. If they are small enough, you might be able to coast over them with no issue.
  • For larger objects, mastering the front wheel lift is imperative. There are several articles which break down on the best way to lift your front wheel.
  • There are also strategies that can be found online on how to best approach uphill obstacles. A method to use is lifting your front wheel and letting the backpedals do the work.
  • Don’t forget to rest.

Like any exercise routine, starting off slow and working your way to more intensity is the best way to approach mountain biking. There are several tutorials online to show you how to best handle your bike so that you can stay safe while riding out in the wilderness.

What Do Mountain Biking Outdoor Enthusiasts Think Of Trump’s Environmental Policies?

For those who don’t spend much time enjoying the great outdoors, climate change denial might not seem like that big of a deal. But for those outdoor enthusiasts who love it so much and spend more time outside than anybody else, the potential for environmental instability is a source of great unrest. One outdoor clothing and gear manufacturer, Patagonia, has decided to provide its share of recent tax cuts to environmental conservation groups.

This statement was provided on the heels of the Trump administration’s climate report, which provided nearly indisputable evidence that human activities were responsible for man-made climate change that will cause billions of dollars in damage, death, and result in millions of people displaced from their homes.

21 children who originally levied a 2015 lawsuit against the Obama administration are still fighting for their day in court. This year a U.S. District Court judge allowed the lawsuit to proceed, and almost immediately it was stalled by the Supreme Court, which will now rule on its validity. The suit alleges that the government both has the responsibility to protect our environment in order to maintain a stable climate for future generations, and has also failed in this responsibility by implementing policies which actually have an adverse impact on the climate.

22 members of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (or IMBA) travelled to Washington last month in order to promote the need for funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expired when Congress failed to renew its resources last year. The LWCF usually acquires funding through a small tax on offshore drilling projects. It’s not surprising that a Republican-controlled Congress allowed it to expire, especially with a climate change-denier in the most powerful office in the world. The LWCF is depleted by about $2.5 million for each day it remains unfunded.

Recently a bipartisan group introduced a new bill aimed at imposing a carbon tax, spurred to action in part by the recent floods and wildfires that have wreaked havoc all over the country. For now, the bill has little hope of passing through Congress.

It’s unfortunate that the Conservatives in power would act in a way that puts not only the environment in danger, but also our future economy. Rising global temperatures will cost us a lot, and it’s worth investing to prevent those costs today.

Here Are The Newest Mountain Biking Trails

It isn’t always easy to discover new trails on which you can mountain bike. This is in part because a lot of nature lovers aren’t very fond of the loud sounds and dangers associated with bikes, and so they need to be well segregated from other paths in order to be viable. Luckily, mountain biking is becoming a more popular sport, and new trails are being made to deal with the greater traffic. Here are a few of the newest mountain biking trails as of 2018.

  1. Some of us consider Moab the mountain biking capital because you can find a new trail every year. If you’re lucky, you might even find a whole new network of trails. Have you been on the Rodeo Trail? It was completed in 2017, forming a loop near Chisholm trail. Much of the nine-mile ride is rated for beginners, so this is a good place to visit if you’re just starting out.
  2. The 12-mile Wasatch Over Wasatch (WOW, not to be confused with WoW) is a great trail in Park City, Utah. The upkeep is phenomenal, which is why you won’t want to miss the WOW trail if you’re in the area. Not only that, but you’ll find yourself with great views of Mount Timpanogos, Snake Creek Canyon, and Cascade Peak. There are shuttles available to bring you there if you’re too lazy to, ya know, bike!
  3. If you’ve never been to the artsy, weird town of Sedona, Arizona, then you’re missing out. You can find world-renowned vortexes here. That’s not your thing? Then check out the 27-mile Western Gateway trail system when it’s completed. Construction just started in Fall of 2018, but there are a number of other options already available, like Skywalker Loop.
  4. Brevard, North Carolina is home to a great singletrack in Pisgah National Forest. If you’re looking for something newer or more technical, try Spencer Gap. There are also plans to connect other popular trails in the region in the coming years.
  5. What better place to go mountain biking than a ski resort during summer months? Check out Sun Valley on Bald Mountain in Idaho, where you’ll find Trail 3. You can speed downhill for more than nine miles before you have the opportunity to stop. Hopefully that kind of rush is your thing!

What To Do If You Want To Start Mountain Biking

Mountain biking can be scary, dangerous, and time-consuming. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it probably goes without saying that those who take the time to get into the sport are thrill seekers. They like to live life a little faster, they like the wind washing over their bodies, and they’re not afraid to get back on the horse again after they fall off. So you’re interested in mountain biking, but not sure it’s for you? Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re first starting out.

Be sure you really do want this. The sport is getting more popular with every year, and last year over eight million people tried at least once. With that kind of popularity comes a particular kind of word of mouth. People have the tendency to want to try what they’re friends are doing, but it doesn’t mean they should. Be careful, and think about all the pros and cons before you give it a try.

Mountain biking requires a powerful core. If that isn’t something you’re confident you’ve got, then it’s time to find out. Start with a few yoga workouts, and you’ll get the idea pretty quick.

Find someone to go with you. It’s a dangerous sport, so don’t try it alone. Find others who are at or above your skill level so you have friends you can watch out for, and who will watch out for you.

Beware of how your body rests on the bike. Take a look at pictures and videos to see how experienced riders sit on the bike, and do your best to replicate it before you try anything crazy. You’ll get used to the effort depending on your stance. Start out by taking it easy.

Don’t forget food and water while you’re training on a new path–especially if it’s your first time out. You’re not just riding around on any silly old bike. You’re expending a lot of energy on a very physical sport, and you need to remember to rest and recharge frequently. Get a hydration pack, and make sure you have food nearby or keep a small backpack.

The most important thing of all? Don’t give up. Once you’ve decided to give it a try, don’t dismiss it after you fall the first time or procure the first scrape. Relax, rest, recharge, and then do it again.

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.