Why you need to try mountain biking

I hadn’t ridden a bike since my trusty GT Aggressor was stolen from my apartment in graduate school. There were about eight of us who lived at that apartment and we all had bikes that were left unlocked. Someone wanted to steal mine one night leave the others. I am totally over it…

Oh well.

Vannessa put a crazy idea in my head that we should try out mountain biking. Having a need for speed and a little bit of danger are two of my interests. A decent entry-level mountain bike is at least $1000 when buying new – luckily I don’t believe in purchasing things that are new… especially when I am buying two!

Off to craigslist to find some decade-old bikes. I found some and purchased them. Van and I decide to do a weekend of camping in Leavenworth, WA. We load up, arrive, setup camp, and make a plan to hit some trails the next day. If you don’t mind pedaling up hill for about two hours straight then keep reading… After those two hours, we make it to the top. And then the downhill part started.

It only took about 30 minutes to make it all the way where we had started in the downhill section. It would be an understatement to say that it had gone too fast. We were easily going faster than 30MPH at some points and getting air off some of the bumps in the trail. The trail was full of narrow ridges, wide-open downhill sections, crossing streams, panoramic views, and jumps.

It made those painful two hours actually seem more than worth it. It isn’t the least expensive hobby but it is definitely one that provides a huge rush. We have gone a few more times and have had a lot of fun each time.

So, if you would like to try this sport, here is what you’ll need:

  1. Bike Suspension: get something used with at least a front-fork suspension. There is a constant Holy War going on about full suspension versus front-fork You can find things on Craigslist for less than $500 Brakes: disc is a lot better than pads Size: I am 6’1″ and can ride a large frame just fine – get the correct size. It doesn’t hurt to get the bike tuned-up by a shop. This should be no more than $80 and will get that used bike running in the best condition that it can.
  2. Helmet: be safe, you’ll be going fast.
  3. Basic Allen Wrench Set: you can fix a lot of things on a bike as long as you have an Allen wrench set.
  4. Transportation: you’ll need to figure that one out. But, fun fact: did you know that you can put a hitch and a bike rack on a Prius C?
  5. Small tire pump: this is a good thing to have it they’re relatively inexpensive. Be mindful of the valves that your bike has and run very low tire pressures for this sport. It makes landings soft and provides more surface area