If you love to ride Mountain bikes as much as me or if you are just trying to decide if getting back on the bike is right for you, then you should keep on reading.
We will be discussing various topics like: good first bike, fun places to ride, tips and tricks to help you ride safely and more so read on and be sure to participate because I would love to hear from you!
Image provided by me.
Getting back on the bike
I stopped riding bicycles when I was around 15 or so for transportation once I got my first car at 16. I never got back into bike riding until I was around 35 and wanted to find a way to get into better shape; I have always hated to run or jog and I am not sure why, I just do.
I was speaking with some guys at work who rode and they suggested I try out a mountain bike because you can ride it on the road or off so you get much more flexibility in when and where you can ride without issues. I looked into it and got a "Walmart special" for around $120 and got started. It is beat up but still usable in a pinch or when someone extra shows without a bike.
The reason I went with a "cheap bike" was for two reasons: One I was broke and it was all I could afford and two my friends warned me to get a starter mountain bike because you are bound to damage it while learning how to navigate technical trails and hazards.
Although I rode as a youngster I never rode anything other than the old BMX style bicycles and although it was often off-road around my neighborhood it wasn't the same thing as heading out to one of the good official mountain bike trails; this meant I had to go through the same learning curve as someone who never really rode a bike off or on the road.
Although this isn't specifically an off road issue, I had to remember that when turning a corner, sharp or not, to keep the pedals parallel to the ground to keep them from hitting and either wiping you out or screwing up your pedal or both! I of course, learned this the hard way as you can see in the picture with the severely deformed pedal.
Besides making sure you know where your pedals are when you turn or go over logs and rocks you need to take the chain guard into consideration as well. If you look the picture below this text box you can see the damage I did to it going over some rocks on one of my first real rides.
Had I done this damage to a one or two thousand dollar mountain bike I would have been crying! But thankfully I was smart enough to work out the kinks of riding on a inexpensive model.
Image provided by me.
Part of the learning curve
Great Mountain Bike Stuff on Amazon
Great trails to go mountain bike riding on at least once
The good news about mountain bike trails is that there is no shortage of trails in many of the states so you can have some real fun without a lot of effort.
My two favorite states to bike ride in out of the four I have ridden in is, Utah and Colorado. They both have an abundance of great trails that take you through some of the most incredibly beautiful terrain that you have ever had the pleasure of seeing and viewing it all from your bike gives you such a great perspective of it all.
Okay let's get the list started!
- Monarch Crest Mountain Bike Trail in Salida Colorado - this is a massive trail that spans more than 30 miles and takes you some breath taking terrain. It is a wonderful ride and one I would highly suggest adding to your to-do list. You start at around 12,000 feet and head downhill from there. I added a video below that shows you just a tiny taste of what you see on this trail.
Some parts of this trail are good for intermediate riders but there are paths that are more advanced so just be sure you know your skill level before you head out and be sure to plan your route well.
- Slickrock Bike Trail in Moab Utah - This is a 12 mile long trail if you do the entire route which is said to not be for the newbie riders. I haven't been here yet but will when time and money allows. The name is misleading and the trail is said to be the complete opposite, meaning the traction you get is said to be mind blowing and allows for you to take your bike to its' limits.
This is just a couple of the great trails out there to add to your must ride list. If you know a great one that is worth a visit post it below the video in the comments area and I'll add it.
Image provided by me.
A small taste of the Monarch Crest Trail
The health benefits of riding a Mountain Bike
This is another one of the great things I have found in the last 10 years since I have been riding my bike; there are a TON of health benefits to be had from riding your bicycle.
I have been able to maintain my healthy on-target weight through the years and this includes when I first quit smoking years ago. I wear the same size I did back when I was in my twenties and I think riding has a lot to do with that. For 45 I believe i am in decent shape and yes the picture is of my abdominal region and was taking just a couple days ago. Staying active makes it much easier to stay in good shape, not as good as my twenties but still good.
I have also noticed that compared to most people, I rarely get sick. Now don't get me wrong I am hypoglycemic and I also have allergy issues, the riding has not helped with either issue but other than those two manageable problems my health is pristine. I have not had to go and see a doctor in more than 7 years which is good because like most of us I don't have insurance so getting sick is not an option!
Now even being in decent shape, I am still 45. Just like many men on TV sitcoms I actually blew my back out doing something that should never have threw my back out. What was I doing? I had just woke up and got out of bed when a sneezing fit hit me and by the 11th or 12th violent sneeze snapping me forward I felt what can only be described as someone taking a baseball bat to my spine. I won't lie it dropped me like a bag of hammers to my knees and eventually all fours until I could get my breath and composure back.
For a week i couldn't bend over at all, literally. After I was finally able to bend a little and I mean a little I started to go stir crazy a bit. I took some walks but no matter what I did I couldn't get my back to basically fix itself.
I decided to try taking my mountain bike for a short ride to see if it might help. At first it hurt and after riding it bothered me a bit as well but I rode again some the next day and the day after as well. Later that third night after going for a ride, I was in bed and must have turned in the middle of the night. My back popped to the point it woke me up out of a sound sleep!
I didn't move and just went back to sleep. The next morning I got up and behold I was able to move again! That pop in the night put things back where they belonged and now I have been working to strengthen that part of my core to ensure it doesn't happen to me again.
Now we talked about the improved resistance, healthy weight and even back injury repair from riding your mountain bike but there is more! Cardio...that's right riding your bike can help keep your heart nice and strong not to mention your lung strength.
When I only have a short time to ride I just do what I consider to be sprints. I start out slow for a minute or so and then kick it in high gear, so to speak, and pedal my arse off for 10-15 minutes. By the time I stop my heart is racing and my breath is short. So in 10-15 minutes I get a kick butt cardio exercise in doing one of my favorite things...riding my mountain bike. What could possibly be better than getting your workout in by doing something you love?
I don't personally own this bike but a friend does and just let me ride it. This bike is sweet!It rides nice, it is light and easy to carry when necessary and well worth the money. With full suspension and disc brakes this thing rides like a dream and is a smooth ride. The 29 inch tires help to give you that extra lift to make it easier to go over rocks, logs and other rough terrain. Once again well worth the money and a great investment for a mid ranged level bike.