Mountain bikers ride because it’s fun. But, even mountain bikers may find the same rides and trails becoming stale. Spice up your next ride with these seven ways to rekindle the flame and keep your passion for mountain biking alive.
1-Quit tracking all your rides
Mobile apps like Strava can be a great way to train or virtually race your buddies, but try turning the app off for a few rides and see how you feel. When GPS signals aren’t tracking your every move, the huge sense of urgency pressuring you to keep hammering along the trails begins to fade away. You will no longer feel bad about spending a few extra minutes to check out the scenic views. Shutting off the GPS might even make you flow down the mountain better because you will no longer be tempted to pedal like a madman, struggling to make the corners and yelling at hikers to get out of the way. The best part is that when you finish your ride and look to see if you beat your personal best, the only information you’ll have access to is the memory of your enjoyable and relaxing ride.
This might sound like a joke, but we’re 100 percent serious about this one. We have found that it works quite well when we are suffering up a never-ending climb. Studies show that smiling produces endorphins, which make us feel good. So, next time you’re suffering on a ride, try to force a smile and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, don’t fret; you haven’t wasted anything. A smile is free, and a grimace is just a few muscle movements away.
3-Set a goal
It’s always fun when you reach a new milestone. Start small and work your way up. Let’s say there is a technical section of trail you always tap a foot down on and you really want to clean that climb. Make it a goal to conquer that section, but don’t get mad at yourself if you can’t make it that day. Try it two or three times on the days you ride that trail and then move on. One of those days, you are bound to make it if you keep a positive attitude and see yourself accomplishing your goal. If you don’t already know how, start by teaching yourself to ride a wheelie. This is another skill you most likely won’t learn overnight, so try practicing it a little bit every day. With time, you will find yourself doing wheelies everywhere.
4-Be friendly on the trails
How many times have you been on the trails and seen a rider wearing headphones blow by you without a wave or even a cool-guy head nod? As mountain bikers, we all share a common love for the sport. Next time you pass a fellow rider or stop at a popular meeting area, make sure to say hello. You might just be shocked to find out how much you have in common with that person.
5-Ride like a kid
Remember those days as a kid, riding around the neighborhood with your friends, jumping off curbs and having skid-mark contests? Embrace your inner child a bit and try to bring back that feeling of joy. Try goofing around on the trails more often and you will quickly feel the good times coming back. Envision the trails as a playground instead of a race-course, and don’t feel bad about taking a slower but more adventurous line down the trails. We don’t advocate skidding on the trails by any means, but every once in a blue moon a celebratory slide into the parking lot can bring back a lot of good memories.
6-Do a night ride
First, check with your local park ranger and see what the rules are about night riding on your local trails. If you get the go-ahead, make sure you have good lighting, such as a Niterider light or another cycling-specific light. Usually, a light with at least 600 lumens is enough to safely ride the trails, but some riders opt for higher-powered lights (1000 lumens or more) so they can see farther down the trail and ride.
7-Give back, coach or volunteer:
Nothing feels better than giving back to the sport you love, and there are so many great ways to get involved. High school mountain bike teams are growing more popular all over the U.S., and getting involved with them is really easy to do. Riders of all levels can help, because the kids on the teams range from future pros to newbies with their first mountain bikes. Another great way to give back is to volunteer for local trail days. The trails we ride don’t maintain themselves. We need to do our part to fix the trails. Keep in mind, though, that many trails are made to be shared with hikers, horses and other trail users, so building berms and jumps doesn’t really count as trail maintenance. There is a time and place for those types of building projects, but it is important to be thoughtful and respectful of everyone. If you’re interested in giving back, ask your local bike shop about ways to get involved in your community.
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.
Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org