Stepping Away from the A/C

The last time I looked at my air conditioning bill, I almost had a heart attack. When on earth did this increase happen. I try to remember how long I keep my unit on. When something is a habit, it can last for an indefinite period of time. I could certainly use this money for some new bike accessories and tools. I remind myself that it comes quarterly so I had better figure out a solution to reducing it to a reasonable amount. What can I say? The only remedy is to cut back on usage, which is easier said than done on really hot days. I don’t like sitting in my own sweat in the middle of the house. There are a few other possibilities.

  1. Wear skimpy clothing and hope no one drops by or sees me through the front window. But it is summer after all so who cares?
  2. Use a ceiling fan to cool off the room in use. You can get desk or floor models according to your needs. They are efficient and effective.
  3. Avoid cooking in the kitchen and don’t even think about turning on the stove. It is time to stick with the microwave.
  4. Install a ceiling fan in the den where I watch TV, play video games and check Facebook. Take down that silly hanging fern and replace it with something useful.

Given the choices, I decided to do all four points one by one. The last one took a little effort and a small expenditure of cash. I installed it myself after consulting with the salesman who steered me right to the clear instructions. Someone who knows the reader is an idiot wrote them. It was not the most economical choice to keep cool with turning on the A/C, but it was the best-looking option. The fan adds a lot of pizzazz to a boring utilitarian room. You can put it in the dining room, living area or on your patio. Why not all three? You might get a discount for a bulk purchase. It can’t hurt to ask. But remember, you are going to save a ton on those hefty utility bills.

Ceiling fans are a genius invention and go back a century. I think of sitting on a lanai in Hawaii sipping iced tea looking out at the white-tipped crashing waves. A few sturdy surfers in wetsuits also appear in my daydream. Ceiling fans are also a ubiquitous gadget in the desert. I love those houses that have open living rooms on one side so that they merge with the adjacent patio. This is also true of Thailand and Bali. You can see that a simple ceiling fan with blades of your color choice brings to mind many pleasant thoughts. You can turn it on, adjust the speed and sit quietly as you remember your days in Palm Springs.

Just a Bad Day

I have been riding for as long as I can remember with nary a mishap. Why now did I hit a root with my front tire on the easiest bike trail in the area and take a nasty spill? It was not a pleasant experience, and one that I hope will not soon be repeated. I was a bit dirty when I got home and a bit rough around the edges, emotionally and physically. I rushed to the kitchen sink to wash my hands because I have a nice Kraus faucet—you know, those sleek and thin things like this that are rounded at the top making a kind of simple open loop. I thought it was so cool when it was first installed, and I still do. No one I know has such an example of modern design. It is easy these days to incorporate industrial innovation in your home with all the new appliances (especially the washer and dryers). It is my first go-to place when I get home after a ride, but not necessarily as harrowing as this one was.

As I approached the faucet in all its gleaming wonder, I nearly slipped on a wet spot on the floor. Really! I didn’t see it anymore than I saw that root on the trail. It is time to get the eyes checked. I reached to grab the faucet as it was the nearest prominent object. I steadied myself and was thankful the skinny gadget did not bend or break. It looks thin enough but is tougher than you think. Now here was an unexpected usage of this state-of-the-art gem. I knew it was a good idea when I first bought it. My old faucet was rusty and dull. Most guys I know wouldn’t think of spending their good, hard-earned money on good looks for the kitchen, but they don’t know how much time I spend in the kitchen. Washing my hands is but one thing I do at the sink. I love the easy-to-use single pull down lever. I also appreciate that I don’t have to shine the unit like I do with the stainless sink. These babies run up to $400, but you can find lots of specials online. In short, I highlight recommend the Kraus. That is my inside-a-blog review.

Clean as a whistle, hands and face, I got back on my bike and rode to meet a friend from Facebook. I recounted the fall and he just didn’t believe it, knowing what a fanatic I am. I guess it can happen to the best of us. It is a good think I didn’t break a leg or even twist a knee. Try cleaning up a scraped body part in the kitchen sink, even with a Kraus faucet providing the liquid. I have heard of bad bike accidents and if you take safety precautions, it shouldn’t happen to you. Watch where you are going and look ahead first and foremost. A glance down now and then never hurts.

Great Way to End a Day

No one says I am cool, except my best friends. I am proud of my nerd status because I have my special strengths. One of them is biking. I can beat the pants off anyone, even the biggest dude in the room. I challenge people all the time and can’t wait to prove that I can ride circles around any bragging meathead. On weekends, I am always out on the Washington trails enjoying the prime of life. There are great bike paths in my scenic state. Outdoor living gives me vigor and vim. Strap on your helmet and find out for yourself, no matter where you live. Take in the fresh air while you get those leg muscles pumping. It will do you a world of good.

After a great day of cycling with friends, we love to treat ourselves to some nice, cold brew. I invite anyone interested to my house to enjoy my collection of special, exotic brands. I offer a growler of beer that I had read about on Crack a Cold One, the minute they enter my space. It keeps the beer cold, fresh, and carbonated. Nothing but the best for the guys. If you are weary and think you need a respite, try my favorite beverage. It is the best pick me up I know. Forget sugary sodas and mundane bottles of water. We already imbibed several when on our bikes. This sport creates a great thirst. There were five of us today hogging the best trails in the nearby wilderness. We stopped for lunch and some photo taking. Instagram was going nuts that day. We are proud to proclaim ourselves the top cyclists in town. When you love something, you brag.

Today I am boasting about my athletic preference and my favorite beer. For me, they go hand in hand. This blog is a way to crow but also to recruit more people who will enjoy the thrill of biking. It is not just for running errands and getting to work through the traffic. When the thin wheels hit the road, you feel free as a bird, flying as fast as your legs will allow. It can become a passion and consume your time. I don’t see that as a problem! Tell me about biking in your state and any experiences you care to share. I have ridden in wind and rain and have been practically run over by errant uncaring motor vehicles. I have been slow and fast as circumstances allow. I have pedaled quietly to enjoy the view or raced with friends to the mountain top. It is not always about speed, but going like the wind can be a lot of fun. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, start biking and join the coterie of devotees who are fit and toned top to bottom.

Bicycling is one of the oldest endeavors and these fine machines date back to the late 19th century.

Riding to Work

Don’t call me a nerd because I like to ride my bike to work. I also ride it on weekends and some evenings. I can visit friends, run errands, get to appointments, and go for a scenic tour –all while getting fresh air and exercise. Okay, I may be a smart nerd! I have made a wise choice.

You can have your car and worry about parking it within a reasonable distance to your office or home door. Be afraid that someone will park to close and ding it with innumerable dents. Fret when you get the insurance bill and your rates have gone up. Pay attention to the price of gas and how it eats away at your overhead budget. Don’t even think about the cost of repairs because it is just too horrendous. Most people have a deductible for an accident, leaving them in debt.

I will take a bike anytime over a car. I love city or mountain biking; it doesn’t matter. I have a compartment so I can tote my business backpack that I selected from Business Bag Review. I can also wear it if I like. If you want to go the same route as me, literally, check their Facebook page and be sure to get a sturdy helmet. Get only the best as it may save your life. You will need a good lock as well to deter thieves. If you work in a corporation, you may want a change of shoes for inside the building so you don’t ruin them out in the elements. Pedaling can take its toll on fancy leather. I have learned the hard way not to buy more than one pair for dress.

Riding a bike has many benefits. In addition to keeping you toned and fit, it burns significant calories if you are out for thirty minutes or more. An hour will take care of that big lunch. Bike riders have great legs by the way. Ladies, take heed. Some detractors mention bad weather, but I make do with a rain poncho and boots. I have all the gear I need for any climate. If you live where it snows, I understand if you would rather take the bus or walk. As for me, I am immune to the cold.

Bike riders are like a clan. We stick together like glue. Ask us anything about brands, prices, or styles and we start talking. We know the differences in construction for men and women as well as younger folk. Some of us collect old models and restore them for fun. It is a hobby worldwide and people buy and sell equipment to one another like an enormous club. If you can get a fifty-year-old Schwinn, you are in the game. There is a big market online for bike parts of any age. I haven’t had time to indulge just yet, but there may come a day. I will make room in the backyard shed or the garage. Meanwhile, I do look at vintage bikes and am learning about their assets.

Still Sore From Yesterday’s Ride

Get me to the hot showers. There had better be enough hot water. Often, when I am last in line at home, I get nothing but a tepid stream. I have to fight for my rights. It is important because I am super sore from yesterday’s bike ride. It was glorious to be outdoors whether in the pleasant crisp weather enjoying the whipping breeze gently beating at my exposed face. I never tire of the scenic vistas, no matter how many times I take the same route. When I vary the trails, I am astounded at what I discover. There is so much beauty in my native land. Every time I go out on the bike, I anticipate a new experience. But a long day on a hard seat takes its toll. My calves can ache for hours after a vigorous ride. It is a good kind of ache like the kind you experience after a great workout in the gym. It means you got plenty of exercise for your entire body. It also means you got to clear out the cobwebs in your mind. If you want to relax and escape in a refreshing manner, I invite you to try bicycle riding.

After a hot shower, I am reinvigorated once again, but I need to replenish my body’s water content. Yes, I am also starving and enjoy a favorite snack and I practically engorge it while reading Twitter. Then comes what seems like a gallon of fresh water. I pour it from the container stored in the fridge. With the whole house water filtering system from Home Water Health newly installed, the taste of my water is better than the distilled kind. I have reusable water bottles that I take on my rides that draw water from this large container. The savings is quite significant when you add your daily consumption up for a month – and then extrapolate what you pay for a year. It is one reason for such a filtering system. In any case, who wants to see rusty water come out of the tub spigot or the shower head?

Most new homes come with state-of-the-art filtering systems, while the old ones don’t. They rely on small filters strategically placed here and there. You end of giving up and boiling your drinking water or buying cases of Evian. You are just like everyone else in this regard. We are, however, for mindful these days of pollution, and thus want to get rid of contaminants in our water supply. We can’t count on our local company to ensure perfectly clean water. They try, but I fear there is lead or other unsanitary elements nonetheless. Investing in a water filtering system is an essential way to maintain your family’s health. Every region of the country is plagued by some kind of pollutant. I even like the idea of bathing in clean water with no rust residue. My skin feels softer as a result. It is no lie. You can pour all the moisture you want in your bath, and it won’t equal the results from filtered water.

Drillium!?!

Hello fellow nerds. I welcome readers to my blog so I can share whatever random ideas are coming my way. Right now I am fixated on the environment and what is going on locally to preserve it for posterity. I am not a gung-ho activist (aka a tree hugger), but you could call be a genuine supporter. From what I can see, we need more people like me. When not contemplating the future of our planet, I like to roam the bike trails in search of cool adventure. Now you know who I am. Today I am going to elucidate you on a tool called a drill press. Why? It’s because recently when I was on a trail, I spotted a really interesting design on a chainguard of a biker who had just stopped for a slug of water.

I was intrigued as I had never seen anything like it. I asked the owner of the bike where he had got such a dandy item. The guy had done it himself with a drill press and some other equipment in his home shop. He was one of those talented people who can wield a tool with ease to create something of interest. I started to ask the guy from Woodwork Nation about the drill press and he explained how they make holes in metal among other things. When talking about this tool, he went off on a tangent about spindle speeds, rotation and tilting, a crank-operated worktable and a quick release clamp. When he was ranting about external positive depth stop and a 3-nut locking feature for quick adjustment, he lost me. I got so far as understanding that a spindle is supported by high quality ball bearings, and then I shut down and just let my eyes enjoy the design. I was going to have to clarify all this mumbo jumbo in the Internet later in the day.

The biker had mentioned “Drillium” and that caught my attention. I looked it up immediately when I got home. This indeed was a whole new world to me. Not to others. For any of you who live in the “biker world,” when you mention drilling and bicycle art, you hear this word uttered with respect. There was once a famous trialist in the UK known for drilling just about every inch of his bike from the seat pin, bars, and brake levers to the chainset–not just for a cool design, but to give the bike frame less weight. Now people care as much about aerodynamics as much as anything else. They have realigned the brake levers behind the bars for example and the stirrups behind the forks. Just bike talk, my friend.

Drillium goes back to France before World War I in actuality. Alf Engers just popularized it elsewhere. I bet he had a great workshop. I think this art is somewhat passé so I am just getting a historical perspective, but I did meet that one biker on the trail who had resurrected the old practice.

This is Why

Unforeseen expenses pop up unexpectedly. You have to deal with it in spite of your tight budget. You dig into your savings. A while back my hot water heater blew, which means it was out of service for far too long. Even one day is too much when you want to take a hot bath. I rushed to call a plumber who sadly informed me that the old fellow had died. I needed a new one. He recommended a tankless model since that is the way people are going these days to save on utility bills and more particularly to save space. I saw dollar bills flying out of my bank account, and it wasn’t for a new bike.

The old water heater was so big that it needed a closet or designated area in the garage or basement. Now you can install a water-conserving design that does the job faster and for less money. It cost about five hundred dollars, but you get most of it back within the first year of usage. The more you pay, the greater the hot water volume. The plumber guaranteed a significant savings in the first month. My water and electricity bills will reflect my modern choice. Of course, I agreed and one of the best tankless water heaters on the market was mine in no time. You don’t have to wait long for them to arrive if you order them online. I love the functionality and being so up to date, so of course it was off to Facebook to gloat. The best was yet to come. I got instant, consistent, and endless hot water on demand.

I came to see the value of my decision when I took a spill from my mountain bike. I was traveling along nicely on a cloudy day, just after a gentle rain. I wasn’t paying attention since the scenery drew my eyes to the right and the left. I took in all the beauty of the land all around including the dark-lined powder puff clouds. I thought we might get another touch of rain. I was lost in my thoughts and failed to see the poor condition of the road. Suddenly without warning, I hit a bump and was thrown onto a muddy, puddle-infested trail. What a mess. I was soaked to the bone, sitting in standing water, and caked with dirt. I couldn’t wait to get home and jump in the shower after tossing my clothes in the washer. I waited to before I let it run so that my shower would use the hot water first. It felt incredible. It took a good ten minutes to produce thorough cleanliness. I thought it would take forever. I thanked my lucky stars for the new tankless water heater that did not give up on me ten minutes into the shower. When I was done, there was even enough left to wash the filthy clothes. I didn’t have to wait. It pays to invest in the best appliances. You never know what is coming down the road. For me, it was mud.

Concrete Fun

I woke up from a nightmare in a damp, cold sweat. My heart was pounding wildly. I was in the middle of nowhere and my bike had been stolen. My prized possession was gone. I couldn’t see around me in the dark of the night and I began to panic. This is how upset I was. The bike was not found and I shook off the terror of a deep sleep. Yes, I am a bike rider by ambition and preference, so much so that I dream about it from time to time. You might think that there are more serious things to worry about, such as the environment and dwindling resources, but you can’t control your subconscious as much as you would like to. As for me, I prefer nicer dreams.

Getting out in the wilds riding my preferred mode of transportation always gets rid of any personal mental gloom or fog. I look for new places and new faces while I am on board. I like to visit the skate park nearby that has room for bike riders. It is taking your mountain bike to the inner city. It is fun to rev your motor along with your fellow travelers. Riding isn’t always about being in nature and zooming down the highway or trail. It can also be concrete fun. The only problem is that you must watch out for the outdoor basketball players who flock around the in-ground hoops that make up a kind of make-shift court. I am not sure it is regulation size, but close to it and it takes up a lot of the park space. It is fun to watch the tall, lanky guys reach to the sky.

I am often tempted to hop off my bike and sit awhile admiring their amazing prowess. Some can make a basket from any distance. I want to try my hand at it some time. It is an energetic lively sport that takes the wind out of you. What better form of exercise? Maybe even better than biking. But from a psychological point of view, riding into the wind is the perfect mood lifter. We all have our own pastimes. Some become a way of life. Whatever gets you off the couch is good. People are too lethargic these days as they gaze into their cell phones, tablets, and laptops. What is the average time per day for these people? Six or seven hours? Your mind and body turn to mush. This is when I start longing to get on my bike and shake the cobwebs from my brain.

It is unusual to want to try something else, like basketball, in my spare time. All of a sudden, I am into variety. That is after all the spice of life. I have started watching a few games on TV and pro ball is pretty exciting. I even like college sports. In this realm, there is something for everyone. Why not start with your local team?

Biking Responsibly

Mountain biking is fun, no doubt about it. However, just because you can bike somewhere doesn’t always mean you should. Mountain biking can ruin the natural terrain and displace wildlife. The thing that makes mountain biking great is the scenery. If you destroy the trails as you ride, you are ruining it for everyone else. Don’t be a selfish jerk. Do these things instead:

  • Keep your bike in good shape. Wash it and your car before and after you ride. Invasive species is a real thing. Let’s not be the perpetrator of an alien invasion, OK?
  • Wear your helmet and any other safety gear you are required to wear. The point is to be safe and visible, not look cool. Safety looks good on everybody.
  • Stay on trails and ride in the middle of them so you’re not destroying the areas on either side. If you can safely clear it, go over obstacles instead of around them. If there is a curvy trail, don’t cut it. Follow the path.
  • Don’t ride on trails that are clearly muddy or wet. You’ll do a lot of damage.
  • Be there legally. Don’t assume it is OK for you to be there, actually find out. Talk to the land manager. Get any necessary permits. Learn about area restrictions and then actually comply with them. Respect those in charge of keeping the area you are riding in safe and sound.
  • Respect barriers and signs. Most of the time, they are there for your safety or the safety of others. If the sign tells you there is a sharp turn or a cliff, or that the trail is closed, they aren’t lying just to annoy the heck out of you and screw with your ride. They don’t want be traipsing down the side of a cliff to rescue your mangled self.
  • Sideslipping and locking your bike wheels on a descent will gouge or damage the trail so avoid these.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones in both ears (it might even be illegal where you ride) so that you can heed the warnings of others.
  • Be sober.
  • Ride slower if you can’t see anything, especially around blind turns.
  • Don’t ride alone. If you are alone and get hurt out in the middle of the woods, who knows how long it will be before someone comes by to help. Likewise, tell somebody not going on the trip where you’ll be. If you don’t turn up, they’ll know where to send help.
  • Have a map. Know where you’re going.
  • Be prepared. Bring emergency supplies.
  • You bring it in, you take it out. That includes all trash. Either dispose of body waste properly or bring it back out with you as well. Gross, yes, but it’s worse when you ride through somebody else’s waste. Trust me.
  • Don’t be an idiot and terrorize the wildlife. Don’t go off trail to explore. Don’t mess with places you should not be.

Following these tips will allow you to have a safe experience and will allow those who come to the trail after you to enjoy it as well.

Best Trails in Washington

I consider myself pretty darn lucky to live here in Washington. There are so many great places to ride here! I love to put my bike up on the rack on my car on a sunny day and head out to the trails with a friend or two. I want to be breathing in the fresh pine-scentedair and taking in some of the best views around every chance I get. Here are a few of my favorite trails, just in case you’re interested. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you out there one day!

One of the first places my friends and I went was Cranberry Lake. It’s nice and scenic without being too steep.Fortunately, it isn’t all that remote in case your first experience is kind of a fail. Hey, I won’t judge. It is more of a network of trails than one unique trail, so grab a map when you start. The trails are all pretty well marked, so it is difficult to lose your way, but you can get confused once you’re in the thick of it. It leads to other places (like Heart Lake) so you can end up pretty far from where you start if you don’t pay attention or have some idea of where you are going. Stay off the hikers-only trails and you should have a great time. We made a whole thing out of it and camped.

I also really like the trails at Swan Creek Park. They have some trails and there are plans for more, which I can appreciate and keeps me returning. I enjoy the trail names. How could you not: Ground Control and Major Tom. Hustle and Flow, Braking Bad. That’s funny.  The trails connect, so depending on your skill level and time constraints, you can ride a few without too much trouble. It’s a very wooded area that is very bike friendly. Definitely worth your time.

My other favorite place to go is Duthie Hill. It is nicely maintained and always a fun time. It is really well thought out and there are places that you can practice to improve your abilities. That is always a plus. I like the Gravy Train trail, it gets more challenging as you go and that can help you increase your confidence. It is the type of place that you can just keep coming back to as you get better. It is where I bring all my friends now who want to ride with me but have never done it before.

Those are the places you are most likely to find me on a good day but there are lots more trails here in WA. If you aren’t blessed enough to live here, you can find trails near you on google. Just type “mountain bike trails near me” into the search bar and you should be good to go!

New to Mountain Biking? Start Here

Hey there and welcome to one of the best times you are ever going to have. Mountain biking is a fun and healthy way to get outside, spend time with friends, and enjoy nature. Since you are new to this world, I thought I would write up a guide of sorts.

I am going to assume that you at least have a bike, but maybe you aren’t sure how to use all those gears. Spend some time on the bike on flat terrain and get used to everything before you go off on some steep and wooded trail, OK? There’s a whole lot of gears and chain down there. Take a look at it all and get an idea of how it works. The best way to shift gears is before it is actually necessary, which means you’ll have to practice so that you can get a feel for it. The more you ride, the easier it will become, but it will take time. In the meantime, realize that if it is way too hard to get uphill or your pedals are spinning on their own going downhill—you’re doing it wrong. Continue doing it that way and you’ll end up replacing your drivetrain really quickly. Just like an engine, your bike will start making lots of noise when you’re messing up the gears. Listen to it.

Braking is hard. Do it wrong and you’ll crash or flip yourself off your bike. Again, this is something that takes practice, especially when you’re going downhill. Be conscious of where the weight is distributed on your bike. For example, going downhill means most of your weight is in the front of the bike, so the front brake will have the most control. But if you shift your weight more to the back, your rear brakes can help you more. This is something you will have to get used to as you do it. Eventually, it will become second nature. You’ll be able to figure out how to slow down without even thinking about it. Until then, though, practice. Try to anticipate braking so that you can start applying the brake slowly and you don’t have one of those “I’m gonna die!” moments.

Cheat sheet for gears:

–low gears going uphill. The harder you pedal, the more pressure will be on your chain and the more likely it will break. The gear will depend on the terrain and how steep the incline is, but you will get the hang of it. Promise. Also: don’t stop pedaling. You’re on an incline. Go too slow and you make life harder for yourself. Or, you know, you go backward. Fight the urge to get out of the seat.

–shift into the big ring going downhill. The bumpier the ride down, the more likely you’ll knock your chain loose and have one of those ‘life flashing before your eyes’ moments. It will also protect your leg from getting mangled by the big ring if you crash. It’s the little things in mountain biking, I know. Stand up when going downhill to save your butt some beating. Also, you want to keep your pedals parallel to the ground so they don’t catch on anything and send you flying.

It probably sounds like a lot but it is kind of like driving. Once you get it, you just get it. It becomes second nature. Take your time and get a feel for it, and you’ll be hitting trails like a pro in no time.

Save the Trails

Mountain bikers have two choices: they can ride and wreck havoc on the areas they ride through until there’s nowhere left for all of us to ride, or they can ride in a way that is minimally impactful. Which way do you think I’m going to advocate for? The answer should be obvious, and I hate that I even still have to talk about it in this day and age where people can so easily read about environmental damage caused by humans and it is easier and easier to minimize our impact on our surroundings.

When you ride like an idiot you’re destroying trails and polluting natural areas. Just based on that alone, you’re probably ruining it for the rest of us and if we find you, you will most certainly hear about it. Even if the land management—or trail repair teams, if they are even permitted to get in there–can fix what you’ve done, chances are we can kiss that trail goodbye. Who could blame the land management people? I certainly wouldn’t want to let anybody out there, I’d be too afraid they wouldjust screw it up again.

Really, what you want to do is make people glad you’re there. Take pride where you ride. Take care of it. Bring your trash back out with you and it won’t hurt to pick up anything else within reason as well. Leave the place better than you find it. Respect the wildlife. If you see something going on that you know is wrong, let the land management know (for example, illegal traps/hunters, evidence of unnatural predators in the area, downed trees preventing trail access, or erosion damage). Sometimes the property is huge and difficult to maintain. If you can provide an extra set of eyes and ears, you’ll be doing them a giant favor.

It is often up to the mountain bikers to promote awareness and to keep the trails up and running. If you aren’t sure how to get involved, you can check out the International Mountain Bicycling Association. The U.S. Chapter site is here. There is a lot of great information on their site. This includes a take action page to let you know of trails that are being proposed and how to get more momentum for it, as well as informing of changes to existing trails that would negatively impact mountain bikers and ways to help prevent it.

Local chapters of the IMBA are really great resources. They are out there building trails for the rest of us. They are also the ones out there rebuilding and repairing trails when they are damaged after storms or carelessness. They are the ones working with land management and town/city/county leaders to secure our right to be there and ride. I have a lot of respect for these people, and I have been known to be out on the trail with a shovel and a wheelbarrow along with them to help shore up the trails every once in awhile.It probably isn’t as fun as biking, but at the end of the day, you still got to be outside with friends and you feel pretty good.

Mountain Biking is For Everyone

What I mean by the title of this post is that you shouldn’t let biking intimidate you. The friends I go biking with are all nerds. Science nerds, film nerds, computer nerds. You name it, we geek out over it. We aren’t really huge fitness guys. We were more likely to get picked last in gym class, honestly. That’s why I called this blog Whimps. Because if you met me in real life, it would probably be one of the first words you might think of to describe me. And yet I don’t let that stop me. I’m out there almost every weekend, riding the trails and enjoying myself. I couldn’t ask for more.

I’m telling you this not because I enjoy self-depreciation. I am telling you because there are probably some of you out there who want to go out there and try mountain biking but you keep talking yourself out of it. You might think you need to be more physically fit. Maybe but how is sitting there reading this blog helping your fitness goals? Maybe you are afraid of hurting yourself. That’s a legit concern. First, nobody’s forcing you to bike on the side of a mountain. There are plenty of flat or near flat locations for you to ride. And they sell pads and helmets. Perhaps there is a disability you think might be holding you back. That’s not really true, either. Even Disabled Sports USA agrees with me on this, people. You might need extra padding to protect old injuries or take other special precautions. I’ll leave that up to you, your doctor or physical therapist, or your parent/significant other. I promise you, though, if you can get a bike that is trail-worthy and you can operate it, you can do it. Sometimes the excuse is age.Maybe you think your child is too young. In that case, I recommend you buy two bikes and get out there with your kid and see how awesome it is for yourself. Remember, at some point, your kid is not going to want to do stuff with you anymore. If your presence is a condition on this one, they might actually accept it and you will remain the cool parent, for a little longer at least. That’s what I would do, at any rate.

It won’t be pretty at first. I’m not going to lie, there is a learning curve. Many people are under the mistaken assumption that riding a mountain bike is as easy as…well, riding a bike. And it is, but it isn’t. There is a lot more to it, with the different gears and terrain and all that. Don’t let it intimidate you. You don’t learn how to drive on a freeway, so don’t just go out on a trail and hope for the best. Give yourself the time to learn about your bike and how to ride it before you head anywhere with hills or rocks. Learn the different parts of your bike, what they are called and what they do. Learn how to take care of everything, what to oil and where to oil it, and how to do simple maintenance in case something goes wrong when you are out in the wilderness. Bike shops are a great place to learn stuff like this (be willing to pay for the time; it may not be necessary but it will definitely endear you to the employee), but the internet and books are OK if you don’t have access to a real bike shop or you are more of a DIYer.