One of the most satisfying and fulfilling outdoor adventures is mountain biking. Whether you choose to go on a solo adventure, or with a group, all levels and ages can hit the trail and have some fun. It definitely beats those mundane forms of exercise and is an exceptional way to enjoy nature while getting your fix of vitamin D (provided you’re not on a shady trail).
Probably one of my favorite aspects of mountain biking is that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the all the benefits you get from riding trails, all you need is a safe place to ride. Enjoy the beauty that nature affords as you build strong bonds and create treasured memories with friends and families. Pick a place that you are familiar with or a beginner trail. Scout out new trails before riding them, especially when taking young children along. Simply asking around at your local mountain bike shop will do. The important thing is to know what you’re getting into and what the guidelines are for those trails as some don’t allow bikes.
Maintain a safe distance
For new riders, it’s important to maintain distance and to give yourself a wide buffer with the rider ahead of you. As you get to know your fellow riders and increase your skills, you can throw as much of this out the window as you feel comfortable. Follow a safe distance from any other rider in your group, at least three feet to give you room to maneuver in case of emergency. Very few riders can maneuver safely at a closer distance to the other riders and are considered elite riders, so always pay close attention to riders around you. It’s also a good idea to ride slightly off from the rear wheel of the rider in front of you.
What about clothing?
Wear whatever is comfortable for you, much like you would in road riding, but consider that your apparel could become snagged on trees, branches, bushes, scraped on rocks or otherwise entangled. Avoid anything flowy that can get caught on things. Gloves are important, tall socks will save your legs from scrapes, and leg and arm guards are a good idea for those of you who are speed demons and daredevils.
Transporting your bike
If you’re like a lot of people and you can’t bike to your ride, you’ll need to ensure your car can transport your bike. Depending on the bike, this might not be as straightforward as you think. If you already have a rack and are renting or borrowing a rack, talk with the provider first to ensure the bike will fit your rack. In a pinch, one of those strap-on trunk racks will fit all mountain bikes and used properly they work just fine.
Guest contributor Steve Laurel helps people choose the correct bike rack with his website Bike Rack for SUV. Even if you don’t drive an SUV you’ll find his website helpful.