Mountain biking

firecracker22

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#1
In my intermittent attempts to excercise, I have recently dusted off my beat up Trek and taken it to the trails. There are a ton of places around here (Spokane, WA area) that are GREAT trails but inaccessible to dirt bikes. Let me tell you singletrack on a mountain bike is a whole different ballgame. It's harder, I think--things I'm used to going right over the top of I now have to look for a line around. It turns a collection of small rocks into a giant minefield. Even my two whole inches of front suspension doesn't make a difference (poor Keith on his no-suspension bike). And of course there's the whole peddling part. Pretty fun though! I have some great looking bruises now. :)

One thing though . . . I can't quite reconcile myself to the helmets. Compared to a motorcycle helmet, they are SOOOOO silly looking.

Bbbom, we ended up at the Bowl and Pitcher, riding from the suspension bridge up to 7-Mile bridge via some singletrack down along the river, then up the road to some dirt roads to see where they went, and back to the Bowl via the paved Centennial Trail. It was a pretty good ride. The singletrack part was fun--not the same as on a real bike but still cool.

I seem to have a problem with shifting on uphills--I can't get down into a lower gear soon enough and then when it finally does shift I spin out or do something really graceful. Is it me? I'm too blonde to operate my shifters it seems. Keith rode it around and didn't find anything wrong, so it apparently is me.

As soon as I get my endurance up a little we should go. I'd be kinda embarrassed to ride with Your Fitness Highness until I can at least do a little better at keeping up. You think I'm a tagalong on a bike, you should see me on my mountain bike. :confused:
 

altagirl

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#2
It took me a long time (at least it sure felt like a long time) to get used to the gears on a mountain bike. It just takes practice and getting used to looking far enough ahead and reading the terrain to give yourself time to shift.

Hey - when it's frustrating, just look at it as cross training. All the picking your way through things that would be easy on a real bike just helps improve your handling skills and reflexes.

Glad to hear you're having fun!!
 

E-Ticket

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#3
The secrets to mountain biking are:

-- momentum, momentum, momentum: when you see a hill/rise coming start cranking and get some speed up - then you can coast/back off as needed

-- anticipation: after a while you'll be better able to guage what gear is most appropriate once your momentum has bled off and you're stuck just grinding it out. That is.... fly towards the hill in say, "7th" gear with enough "momentum so that you can coast/pedal easily as you shift down to "4th" gear where you will need to grind out the rest of the hill. "Fly-y-y-y"....<coast...shift..pedal easy...shift>.....uuuuu-u-unh..... <pedal-pedal-pedal>

Avoid shifting under load: the itty-bitty derailleurs, sprockets, and light chains can't take a lot of torque unless everything is lined up and hooke up properly. If you try to shift under load a) it probably won't work b) and if it does, it will complain and make terrible noises and will sometimes break things. What to do? If you know you have to shift on a hill or udner power: Just before you have to shift, pedal extra hard or fast for a brief moment (remember "momentum...?")..... ease up on the load (your pedaling) for a split second..... shift while still pedaling "lightly".... try to reach your gear and pedal for another 3/4 to full turn before going back to full torque. This will allow the chain to move, settle in quickly, and get properly hooked back up. If done quickly, it works quite well.

Oh yeah.... and don't forget about "MOMENTUM"...... :yeehaw:

-E-Ticket
 

splatt

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#4
It takes getting used to but if you do it enough you'll figure out what gear you need to be in most situations. And like E-Ticket said no power shifting the drivetrain isn't designed to take it.&nbsp;&nbsp;With that said I need to air up the tires on mine and take it out for a spin. To me it's like riding a motorcycle but without the noise sometimes it's nice to have the quiet.

&nbsp;

Steve
 
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#5
Hey Firecracker, glad to hear you've been out mountain biking. It will improve your choice of lines, your strength in your arms and legs and ofcourse your balance. The best advice I can give is to look ahead for the hills and get in the proper gear BEFORE you hit the bottom of the hill, stand up and ride aggressively!

Farragut State park has some awesome mountain bike trails, if you'd like to ride let me know and I'll give the grand tour of the park, it's just north of Coeur D'Alene Id. about 20 miles located on the shores of lake Pend Oreille.

One thing I have to say... I hate to sound like your mother, but you MUST buy a helmet especially if you ride single track or road for that matter. There are some cool looking helmets for way under 50 bucks now.

Did I mention please----- buy a helmet!!!!!

Has it been hot enough and smoky enough for you lately?
 

Jonala

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#6
Just to back up the helmet recommendations, they are very important to wear even riding a bicycle.

I'm sure mine saved me from some very serious damage. I've gone over the bars more times that I would want to admit. No problem. Then one day going down a road I've ridden down 100's of times before. I go over the bars due to my front wheel getting caught in a road crack. I landed on my head/shoulder at about 25-30 mph.

Broken collarbone, road rash, broken bike. When the EMT showed me my helmet and asking if it was shattered before this crash? After seeing my helmet I was more than happy to get to the hospital to get a full evaluation. No trama to my head.

Get and wear those silly looking helmets. :think:
 

E-Ticket

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#7
I biffed it on the road - put a big split in the center of the helmet - not *even* a headache.

*Very* cheap insurance.
A lifetime of someone having to feed you soup would be a major bummer....
 

G. Gearloose

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#8
I concur everything said about shifting under load..

If I'm late shifting, its because I'm not looking UP.

However, if you must buy hardware, I recommend those replacement aluminum derailur wheels, they have real sealed bearings in them, vs typical stock plastic dingy wheels with floppy plastic bushings.

Some kits come with a heavier spring, that is a bear to install, but helps too..

Combined, the shifts are very quick and positive. It was $15 well spent...
 
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#9
I wouldn't hesitate to wear my dirt bike helmet while mountain biking. In fact, I have many times. My friend and I go up to Tahoe to ride down some of the ski slopes and the last few times we've gone, I've thrown my whole gear bag in the truck. I actually use most of my dirt bike stuff while I'm riding the mountain bikes. It's not overly-uncomfortable because I'm already accustomed to riding with that stuff on. Give it a try!
 

bbbom

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#10
We went out to Heyburn to tour some of the mtb trails there this weekend and I was thinking about your shifting dilemma.

Some things to keep in mind (after you put your HELMET on!!):

When in doubt, shift down. Some of the sections at Heyburn are pretty overgrown and difficult to see what lies ahead more than 5 - 10 feet. If it looks like there is the possibility of an incline or a technical section, I shift down to the lowest gear. It's a lot easier to keep riding in too low of a gear than it is if you are in too high of a gear, plus it's not as hard on the crank, sprockets & chain. It is also much easier to shift up to a higher gear if the section warrants it, vs. trying to shift down when it's too late.

When you do find you are in too high of a gear, you can shift down but you have to exert some extra effort to take the load off the crank. Try to get enough momentum up so that you can ease up on the pedals, shift down & give it a couple light pedals to get to the lower gear without grinding the poor thing.

Bicycle chains are pretty fragile compared to dirtbike chains.

If you get a chance head up to Heyburn, there are some nice, slightly challenging trails there, total of about 8 miles I think. We MTB's for a couple hours then hit the river on the jetskis to cool off, made for a nice day while the kids were busy with their friends.
 

Hokie

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#11
My new ride!

http://www.yeticycles.com/1_bikes/as_x.html

Well, it will be here in about 4 weeks.
More like a 125 without an engine than a Mtn. Bike.

The uphills are gonna suck, but the downs are gonna ROCK!


Firecracker, you should look into the Downhiller helmets, they look
like moto helmets. Actually, they might be moto helmets
 

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zero_it

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#12
Mountain bikes are pretty fun, but my brain just can't totally accept the concept. The right handlebar grip on my bicycle is twisted up pretty good from trying to go faster! Hmmmm.... wonder if I'll ever grow out of that?

Throttle On!
 

CJ Rider

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#13
Here's a question for you women who mtn bike a lot... I pull the mtn bike outta the shed this spring with the idea of tooling around after work to get the legs in better shape. Nuthin hugely gnarly, but there's some cute little single track around the lake not far from the house. However, I immediately notice how AGONIZING UNCOMFORTABLE the stock seat is for tooling around. Have any of ya'll switched over to one of those ergonomic seats made specifically for women? Am I just getting old? Whatcha think?
 

altagirl

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#14
A good saddle definitely helps, but there's going to be a "getting used to it again" factor no matter what saddle you have. In my experience, the worst thing you can do is get some big, wide, squishy "comfort" one. You want one that's got a bit of padding, but the padding is only on the parts where it's going to match up with your butt bones. Terry and WTB make some good comfortable performance saddles.

The other key to avoiding the agony is to stand up regularly (definitely on all the downhills) - and remember to start standing BEFORE you're miserable. Just a few pedal strokes out of the saddle every couple minutes keeps the circulation going and will help.