What to expect when you go trail riding.

When starting out, I’d suggest that you see if a friend has a bike and helmet you can borrow.  What’s the sense in buying a bike when you’re not sure if you are going to like it or not.  If it’s been a while since you’ve been on a bike make sure you wear a helmet – yes it’s important, especially if you’re going on a trail. 

The trails in my area have:

  • roots
  • rocks
  • trees close to the trail just wide enough for your bike to get through (most of the time)
  • spiders and other bugs
  • snakes
  • small animals like possum, racoon and armadillo
  • lynx

Any one of these items, while riding the trail, can catch you off guard and the next thing you know your picking your butt up off the ground.  Believe you me, I know.  This past summer I was riding with my daughter and the trails in my area are known for their banana spiders, in fact, the local biking club uses it as they “mascot”, symbol, what have you there are so many.  Anyway, I was in front and I went right through one of their webs.  Now keep in mind that these spiders are usually about as big as the palm of your hand and bigger.  This was on my face, just for a few seconds mind you because I dismounted my bike, I’ll admit it, ungracefully, to get that thing off me.  They don’t bite so I’m told but I’m not one to take the chance.

Are you done laughing yet?

No.  Ok I’ll wait.

My point is if this happens to you and you have to get off your bike fast you could get off right into a tree or rock so protecting your melon is a wonderful idea.

The other thing you want to do is make sure you are prepared.  It gets very hot in the summer here in Florida so we carry lots of water, in fact, you can never have too much water with you.  I usually have two plastic bottles of water as well as a vitamin water or two, just for myself, as well as some snacks.  A “camel pack” is really helpful on the trail.  It’s a backpack, small and thin, just for your water and has a hose that goes over your shoulder for easy access while riding.  They come in various sizes and colors and range in price from $30-$100, so you can choose the one you like best.

You’ll want to carry a tire repair patch kit with you and a tire pump.  If you don’t know how to repair a tire you should learn if you decide you like biking – I’ll do a blog on that topic soon.

I’ve found that I prefer a waist pack, bought at Walmart for $10 I think.  It included two plastic bottles and has plenty of zippered pockets to carry snacks, digital camera, cell phone, car keys, etc.  You may find that a “camel pack” is all you need because some of them have pockets as well.

If you decide you like biking, the next step is to buy a bike.  You can start out going to Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority or another sporting goods store in your area.  Now you don’t want to buy the cheapest and you don’t need to go all out and get the most expensive.  Get a mountain bike with nice nobby tires, comfortable gear shifters and top notch brakes – preferable disc brakes.  Shop around, try them out and make sure you buy a bike that YOU like.  My advise for you is… don’t go to Walmart or Target for your first bike and don’t go to a Bike Shop.  The bikes at Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc., are not the best for trail riding, were most likely put together wrong and are built with cheap parts.  On the other hand the bikes at the Bike Shop are expensive, usually starting out around $800 and can go up to $5,000+.  Yes, they are quality bikes but if this is your first bike I would not recommend spending that much unless you are completely sure you will stick to mountain bike riding.  You’ll be much happier with the bike you get from Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority.

Ride, live, have fun!!  Cindy 🙂

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