Category Archives: How To's

Ride Readiness

One of the fastest ways to ruin any excursion is to be unprepared in case an issue arises.   Most of us have found ourselves in some sort of predicament, simply because we did not take the time anticipate issues, or don’t have the experience to understand what it is that can go wrong.   This is so important when it comes to mountain biking.  Not only do you have to be concerned with the mechanical aspect of the sport, but also the elements Mother Nature may bring.  We are here to assist you in mitigating these risks!

Know where you are riding and let someone know

biking-1183092[1]Our website will help you navigate through the trails we have posted, but obviously there are thousands of trails and loops out there that we don’t have yet.  You need to do some sort of research to check out the area you want to ride, especially if it’s your first time.  The web is full of resources, but we have found city park websites to be very useful.  Google Earth is another resource we like to explore although this won’t tell you what is off limits to people.  We also spend time talking to local riders we encounter on the trails and ask for their feedback regarding the local trails.  A lot of riders are cool enough to let us ride with them to explore trails unfamiliar to us.

We always recommend riding with someone else, just to be safer, but this does not always happen.  At the least, let someone know where you will be riding.

Gear

bike-4-1553355[1]If you own multiple bikes, you have the luxury of choosing a bike that is conducive to the trail you are riding.  I own a 26 inch wheel, dual suspension bike, and a hard tail, 29r.  If I plan on riding fire road, which is generally well kept and not too rutty, and intend to do a lot of climbing, I opt for the 29r.  If the trail is technical, has a lot of bumpy descents, full or rock gardens and so on, then my dual suspension is the way to go.  It’s all about comfort when riding!

You have to expect issues when riding so being prepared for a flat tire or broken chain is crucial.  Learn to take care of these simple repairs ahead of time so you don’t have to wing it when you are in the middle of the wilderness. These are the essentials:

  1. Extra inner tubes (make sure they are the correct size).  Even if you are tubeless, it’s a good idea to carry them in case you blow out a tire and need a quick fix to get back.
  2. Air pump
  3. Extra chain links or chain clips
  4. Chain (link) tool
  5. Allen Wrench

Hydration Pack

red-sigg-water-bottle-2-1530772[1]There are a lot of choices when it comes to hydration packs.  We find them more convenient than a bottle strapped to your bike, but it all comes down to your individual choice.  The important thing here is to ensure you have proper hydration when you ride.  Failure to do so can result in heat related injuries, so make this priority each time you ride.  The amount you take with you will depend on how long you are riding, but play it safe and overcompensate.   Of course, you will need a camel pack or back pack to carry your hydration pack.

Attire

  1. mountain-bikers-in-brazil-2-1433082[1]Helmet
  2. Jersey made with quick dry and breathable material.   We want to ride comfortably, right?!
  3. Shorts.  Invest in ones that have a seating pad for extra comfort when riding.
  4. Shoes with non-slippery sole.  Athletic shoes are fine if you are pushing the pedals.  If clipped in, then you are using biking specific shoes, which can be purchased at your local bike shop.   We recommend a shoe with non-slippery sole in case you have to hike a bike.
  5. Take a windbreaker.  Carry it in your pack if it’s too warm to wear.  There are many rides where the temperature cools down as you climb higher in elevation and coming back down may be a bit chilly.   If you run into issues (like get lost) and you lose sunlight, you’ll be happy you have it.

Bike Trail Etiquette

As much we mountain bikers thrive on being outdoors, we need to understand that we are not the only ones out there.  We are typically joined by other bikers, trail runners, equestrians, and hikers.  We also need to be mindful of when and where it is appropriate to ride. There are unwritten rules that apply out there that are based on common sense.  Let’s discuss a few of these:

Hikers/Runners

hiking-1516547[1]Just like driving a car, people on foot have the right of way.  If I’m coming up on some hikers, I like to shout out a friendly warning that I’m right behind so I don’t startle anyone.  Slow down so accidents don’t occur.  A lot of people enjoy listening to music and have earphones on, so you have to make sure you are being heard.

Equestrians Riders

If you come across someone on a horse, please stop and let them go through.  A horse can easily be scared if you startle it or come at it at full speed.  This is not good for the person riding the horse, or you!  Most equestrians are cool and will let you pass.

Downhill or Uphill/Right-of-Way

The general rule is that the person climbing the trail (especially narrow single-track), has the right of way.  I know we enjoy bombing down the trails, but we need to understand that people may be working their way up.

Riding After It Rains

mud-1397042[1]For the most part, you want to avoid riding the trails for at least 3 days after a good rain.  There are some trails that are made of decomposed granite and dry within hours, but they are the exception if you must ride.  The San Juan trails are perfect examples of trails that are great to ride after it rains.  Overall though, avoiding the trails is a good practice if we are to be good stewards of our land!  After it rains, our bikes can leave tracks in the mud, that eventually become ruts.  This is a constant battle with our city maintenance trail crews, as they do their best to keep the trails in good condition.  Some parks such as Laguna Canyon Wilderness actually close the gates for several days after it rains to preserve its trails.  And when it rains, it is muddy out there!  I’ve personally have had to turn back because my tires were so caked with mud and had no traction.  It is disappointing, but a lesson that I had to learn the hard way!

Littering/Trash

pile-of-trash-1568889[1]This goes without say. It still surprises me to see trash out on our trails though, so not everyone cares about the environment as much as they should.  Please don’t add to the problem.  If you are able to pick up trash when encountering it, even better.  There are several groups out there that organize events to work on and clean up our trails, so that also presents an opportunity to do something positive for our earth.

Noise

Some of our favorite places to ride have trails that meander through neighborhoods and cruise alongside homes.  Please be respectful and give our neighbors the courtesy they deserve by keeping noise down as you ride through. Practice the Golden Rule, and you will be fine.