Introducing Kids To Mountain Biking

bike-775799_960_720Too often adults underestimate the abilities of kids to do active things. The caution, of course, is rooted in the idea that the child may get hurt, but our fears of the worst can be allayed by a more proactive approach to instruct and guide into certain activities. Mountain biking is no different. Many children absolutely love cycling and the outdoors, so with much patience and preparation, you can turn your favorite pastime into a family affair for everyone to enjoy.

Inspired by this very idea, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) created Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day, which encourages adults, usually parents, to introduce kids to the sport early on, developing the skill and love for cycling later in life. As a result, 15,000 children and their families participated in 2015, and this year, it will likely be just as popular.

To prepare, here are a few things you should remember to ensure that the experience is memorable for all the right reasons.

  1. Have The Right Equipment: Children 3 and up can ride bikes tailored to their size; however, if you’re looking to get children started even younger, consider a tandem or trailer to introduce them to the adventure. Nancy Anderson, a writer for SingleTracks mountain biking blog and community, took her granddaughter on her first ride at just 15 months. For those big enough to ride alone, however, it may be a good idea to also purchase knee pads, if they’re just starting out, for the likely few tumbles that will occur as they get a hang of the balancing act. Helmets are mandatory, of course, and will be expected not only while practicing, but any time the child is on a bike.

  2. Make The Experience Fun: Try not to let your own passion for cycling get in the way of introducing it to someone younger. Starting with the route, IMBA suggests using your creativity to come up with a mix of locations from skate parks to pump tracks in addition to traditional trails. Also, incorporate frequent breaks and stops to accommodate what children’s smaller bodies need to recuperate from exercise. Lastly, take along snacks as to keep the energy flowing, and because you don’t want hunger to be the reason the child becomes disengaged.

  3. Check in often: Make sure the child is comfortable both riding and along the trails. Inquire about what they enjoy about the experience or whether they fear certain elements of find tasks difficult. After all, the activity should be about introducing the child to something new that he or she will come to love, and that requires active and open communication.

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The BLM is Looking For Mountain Bikers

When people think of governmental departments and bureaucracy, they rarely think of anything good or exciting or fun. When people think of the Bureau of Land Management, probably nothing comes to mind. Those who follow the news and politics might remember that they were engaged in an armed standoff with a Nevada rancher named Cliven Bundy but that’s about it. It turns out that the Bureau of Land Management (or the BLM) is the federal agency in charge of the country’s public lands and making sure that they are cared for and unharmed, especially when commercial interests come into play.mountain-bikers-55372_640

The latest news from the BLM has nothing to do with armed militias or a stubborn farmer refusing to pay the money he owes the government. It actually has to do with mountain bikers. What about mountain bikers, you ask? That they are welcome and loved the BLM and that the BLM wants to help them find the best trails so they can ride with joy. They have partnered with the International Mountain Bicycling Association and MTB Project to create and launch a new section of the BLM website that is promising to change the way people approach mountain biking and choose which trails to ride.

The newest section of the website focuses on the top 20 locations for riding in the country and has both maps and interactive trail guides so that you can get a lay of the land before setting off on your adventure. The project is the brainchild of the current director of the BLM, Neil Kornze. He has been a biker since he was young and he realized that there was a disconnect between the BLM and mountain bikers — a large group of people that use BLM land with some frequency but rarely ever engage with the bureau. Seeing as how many mountain bikers end up working and caring for the trails they love to ride, working to reach them only makes sense. This is great news for bikers looking for prime riding locations and great news for the BLM. I know I can’t wait to get started!

If you’d like to read an interview with Neil Kornze and learn more, the link is here.

Check out the new website here too!

Mountain Biking Tips: Crested Butte

Throughout the mountain biking community in the United States, and abroad, there are fewer places in the world that have been so wholly consumed by mountain biking as the tiny town of Crested Butte has been over the last few years. Located in southern Rocky Mountains at a comfortable 9,000 feet above sea-level, Crested Butte is one of the most ideal places in the world to jump on your mountain bike and go exploring. With over 750 miles of trail to choose from, it can be overwhelming at first and so, here are some tips to help maximize your first time biking around Crested Butte.

  • When you should go: Since it’s so high in the atmosphere, summer is short in Crested Butte. That being said, if you go at the correct time you’ll be surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world (CB is the wildflower capital of the country). While lower-level trails will melt sooner than the ones up higher (these are usually clear in late July), July is the ideal time to visit. It’s when the flowers are out in full force and the weather allows you to appreciate them. However biking season runs until the fall and September in the area is also full of colorful explosion.
  • Gear and tips: First off, you should have your own mountain bike — you can rent one but biking is always more enjoyable when you have your own personalized bike to ride on. A backpack with a hydration bladder is a good idea, as are fingerless gloves to help fight off blisters. Also bring cold weather and rain gear because the weather in the mountains can change in a heartbeat from beautiful to miserable. It’s also a good move to bring snacks and an emergency repair kit with a pump, tire patches, and the knowledge to use it all.
  • Where to go: For beginners, the Lower Loop Trail System is a beautiful introduction to the sport of mountain biking, as well as a gorgeous ride in and of itself. Those with some experience might want to start with the 401 trail — it’s the classic Crested Butte trail and will you gasping and lusting for more. Finally, the advanced riders should head for the Deer Creek Trail. It’s one of the most challenging and also takes you through the wild flower fields that will literally blow you away.

These are just some tips for biking Crested Butte. Read more here!

The Top 5 Indian Mountain Biking Destinations

When people think of mountain biking, India is far from where most minds go; most people think of the famous biking that can be found in the US and Europe. However, India is much more mountainous than most people realize and it has some of the most beautiful and unique biking trails the world has to offer. Starting with the north and working down south, India has an amazing culture that is open and friendly, perfect for people who are looking to explore the natural beauty and ruggedness of the mountains. Here are 5 of the top biking trails in India:

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Manali – Himachal Pradesh
  1. Manali – Himachal Pradesh: Manali is a tiny mountain town located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh near the northern end of the Kullu valley. It’s at the foot of the Himalayan mountains and is known as “The Mountain Biking Capital of India” due to the number and variety of trails it offers. With everything ranging from downhill big mountain riding to cross-country climbs and singletracks, Manali has exploded in popularity as it becomes more and more well-known for biking.

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    Leh – Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Leh – Jammu and Kashmir: This is the second largest district in the country and is home to some truly beautiful landscapes. Leh has been a destination for mountain bikers for the past few decades and that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. It’s the home to some massive mountains that are great for freeriding and since it’s located in the Himalayas, you can cross that off your bucket list. If you get there by road, you’ll be able to see some trails you could ride as well as the landscape in general.

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    Pindari – Uttarakhand
  3. Pindari – Uttarakhand: For those into Enduro and some truly off-road biking, Pindari is the place to be. The Pindari Glacier is located in the upper reaches of the Kumaon Himalayas and is full of gorgeous villages and some truly spectacular natural trails with scenery that can only be dreamt of. With untouched trails and guided tours, Pindari is a one-of-a-kind biking spot.

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    Munnar – Kerala
  4. Munnar – Kerala: Located in the southwest, Kerala is very different in culture and climate than the north. However, it also has some world class biking. Munnar is full of tea gardens (including some of the highest in the world) and singletrack trails that are great for anyone from beginner to expert bikers. It also has some amazing guided tours.

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    Coorg – Karnataka
  5. Coorg – Karnataka: While Coorg might not be the easiest to get to, it’s perfect for people looking for all mountain trails and definitely worth the time and effort. The region is full of coffee plantations and wildlife, making for some fantastic mountain biking.

These are just 5 of the destinations that the massive and diverse country of India offers. The best way to find your favorite is to jump on a bike and go exploring yourself. Happy travels!

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Top 5 US Mountain Biking Trails

With all of the beautiful locales available to choose from when deciding your next mountain biking trip, it can be difficult to actually commit yourself to just one. Depending on how far you’re willing to travel, the options stretch from Canada to Australia and every country in between. However, there’s no need to leave the beautiful United States of America for some of the highest quality mountain biking available to be had. With that in mind, here is a selection of the top 5 mountain biking trails that can be found in our gorgeous country!yaser_khalifa_munds_wagon

  1. McKenzie River Trail – Eugene, Oregon: With a distance of a solid 26.5 miles, this trail isn’t necessarily for the faint of heart (or the lazy). With that being said, it offers beautiful single track trails that are good for both beginners and experts. There are forests and lava fields to cross through and various hot springs and waterfalls for relief from the heat and sweat. It’s a perfect example of what the Pacific Northwest offers when it comes to natural beauty.
  2. Poison Spider Mesa Trail – Moab, Utah: Don’t let the terrifying name scare you off; this place is gorgeous. Moab is known for some of the world’s best mountain biking and this trail exemplifies all that it has to offer. Only 13 miles long, it trades distance for a rise in elevation of over 1,000 feet. The way down isn’t technically difficult but the terrain has deep sand which can be brutal on your muscles. Bring water, this is desert country.
  3. Bandtail Divide Trail – Bozeman, Montana: Montana is called “big sky country” for a good reason; it’s stunningly beautiful and you can really see the sky. This trail is 31 miles long and has at least 2 miles of incline and a pine forest that will take your breath away. Just get ready, 31 miles isn’t a short trip!
  4. Munds Wagon Trail – Sedona, Arizona: This trail is only 8 miles long but has a 1,200 foot accession. However there are dips to make the trek easier and this trail is more about the natural beauty of Sedona than about the difficulty biking it. The red rocks are iconic and deserve to be seen by all.
  5. Trail 401 – Crested Butte, Colorado: At only 8.6 miles, this is another trail that isn’t too long but that makes up for it in beauty and incline. You’ll climb around 3,000 feet to 11,000 feet and you’ll really feel the burn at those high levels. However that height gives you stunningly beautiful views that are so worth the effort.

These are just some of the beautiful trails available in the country. You should go explore them all! If you’d like to read more, the list is here.

Women Arrested For Booby Trapping Bike Trails

When two activities that are vastly different in both speed and goal share a common space, it’s understandable when conflict breaks out and tempers flare. While this sort of thing is understandable and it happens with frequency, we’re all adults and the reasonable response to this sort of conflagration is to sit down with the opposing party and talk about a compromise or way to come to some sort of agreement that addresses the concerns of both parties and finds some sort of mutually satisfactory plan to avoid conflict in the future. However it turns out that not everyone sees things through the lens of maturity and sometimes people lash out in aggressive and potentially fatal ways.Mountain_bike_in_downhill_race

This is exactly what happened in North Vancouver between mountain bikers and one irate hiker who was tired of them taking up the trail. Tineke Kraal was the subject of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation into allegations that she had been setting booby traps on a popular and frequently travelled mountain biking trail because of her dislike for mountain bikers and how she felt they were ruining the nature experience for hikers. While two of the charges for trail tampering have been dropped, she is still facing a criminal charge of mischief to property likely to cause death; a charge that can lead up to 6 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

While her husband is claiming that the charges have been blown out of proportion and that she never meant any harm, the police think differently. Kraal has been accused of leaving logs and piles of stones in dangerous locations on a number of trails and the suspicion is that this has been happening with increasing frequency since 2014. Police set up cameras and caught her in the act leading to the charges being filed. While her husband proclaims her innocence, there have been tensions between the Kraal’s and mountain bikers for at least a decade. In 2005 Ronald Kraal, her husband, admitted to being at “war with mountain bikers”, a quote that is going to come back to haunt the family as the state pursues criminal charges.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

5 Biking Destinations for Your Bucket List

As anyone who has gone mountain biking before knows, it can be incredibly difficult just choosing where you want to go and what types of nature you want to revel in. With options ranging from your standard wood and mountains trails to beaches and everything in between, choosing where you’re going to bike can be just as important as making sure that you have all the necessary equipment. With that in mind, Red Bull has done a huge favor and selected 5 amazing places to go on your next biking trip.

  1. New Zealand: New Zealand should be a no-brainer when it comes to mountain biking opportunities. As everyone knows (because let’s be honest; everyone has seen the Lord of the Rings movies), the entire country seems to be made of the most gorgeous mountains overlooking amazing plains and viewscapes. As if that weren’t enough, the fact that all of the pros training for the UCI world cup use it as a training ground should be enough to convince you that the land of the kiwi has more to offer than just fruit and strange little birds.
  2. Canada: Along with being easy to get to from the United States, Canada offers so much to the mountain biker in search of a great ride. While Retallack is known for it’s fantastic cross-country skiing, it is also quickly becoming a mountain biking hotspot. The region is full of old mining hills and slopes that are just perfect for freestyling your way down the mountain. Just be careful!
  3. Wales: First off, Wales has a ton of amazing man-made trails and biking spots including Bike Park Wales (one of the UK’s best biking destinations). But other than all that is man-made, the country is also home to hundreds of back mountain trails that just require asking the locals about. It also has an amazing bike culture.
  4. Norway: Norway is the land of the fjords and it’s known throughout the world as having some of the most beautiful natural vistas in the world. The Hafjell Bike Park just adds to how perfect a country it is for mountain biking.
  5. Finale Ligure: This little region is in Liguria, Italy and is part of the Italian Riviera. It’s also one of the most gorgeous places in the world and defies explanation. It’s simply divine for biking.

Hopefully these will help inspire your next biking trip. Be safe out there. If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Nevada is Becoming a Mountain Bikers Dream

When most people think of quality mountain biking in the United States of America, their minds are almost always drawn to mountainous locales like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. While those three states do truly have some of the world best bike paths, there is another states that is quickly becoming more and more popular amongst bikers looking for something a little different. Utah, specifically the St. George region, is gaining recognition from bikers around the globe for a combination of reasons stretching from the trails to the views. While this might sound like a shock to many experienced riders, the fact remains that the St. George region is both great for biking and close to Las Vegas, Nevada, turning it into a double threat of entertainment.

While locals and boosters have known about Utah mountain biking for years, the international community is finally taking note of all that the St. George region has to offer. Just what about it makes this area so perfect for mountain biking? One of the major attractions is just how near it is to Las Vegas, allowing anyone who’s tired of biking and nature to revel in the opulence that is Sin City. One of the other main draws to the region is the quality of the trails. Not only do the trails range in difficulty from casual to professional, but they’re also all on public land which means that the upkeep is regular and held to a high standard so that people aren’t as likely to get hurt. Now, with a reputation that is gaining strength every day, the St. George region is looking to compete with other established mountain biking destinations such as Moab, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado.

Bikers from around the world are already finding their way to St. George for tournaments and now people are going for vacations. Even more exciting than adults and professionals biking in St. George, high school students from the local area and from around the country are visiting there and spreading the love of mountain biking to anyone they encounter.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

City Mountain Biking Is Now a Thing

When people think of mountain biking they always think of the same sorts of things: mountains, trees, dirt trails, rock formations, and sunshine. A city in Virginia is looking to change the way people think about mountain biking as well as how inaccessible it can be to those who don’t have the time or the means to venture out into the woods. Richmond, Virginia had a field that was sitting there doing nothing and two groups of cyclists that needed a place to practice. The field, between the Fairfield Court Elementary School and the Fairfield Court public housing complex (the 4th largest in the city) will be a place for both the cycling teams and the community to gather and connect in new ways. The elementary school is known as a hotspot for drug deals and so the field is also being used as an outreach program so that kids don’t engage in harmful behavior.

Along with an actual cycling course, the new field also offers hills, obstacles, and dirt embankments to imitate real life mountain biking conditions and terrain. The project is estimated to cost about $25,000 and the funds have been provided by the nonprofit Richmond Cycling Corps (who supplied half the money) as well as other donations from local companies and private citizens. In a show of unity, local companies also sent volunteers to help with the grand opening so that everything would run smoothly. With only half of the money used to far, there are plans to also open a community garden as well as build storage sheds and other structures and more landscaping. The number of these sorts of courses have swelled in the past few years which points to mountain biking growing in popularity. And with added benefits from parks such as this one is adding, it’s only a matter of time before there are even more.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day Registration is Now Open.

One of the ways that sports continue existing and gaining popularity is by getting children and young adults involved from a young age so that a love for the sport grows as time passes. We’ve seen how this succeeds (think baseball and football) and how it fails (think soccer) and now mountain biking has joined the fray in an attempt to gain some new passionate young fans that will help propel the sport in the future. The annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking day is one such event that aims to introduce younger generation to the mountain biking scene. The registration has also just opened and so all those who love mountain biking should rush out to sign them and their children up.Singlespeed_mountain_biking_04

With events catering to bikers of all sizes, ages, and abilities, these TKMBD events are good for both spreading the love of mountain biking as well as just enjoying nature with your local community. The events also give older children the chance to mentor younger kids and help them learn about responsibility and hard work. With many different ways to set up a local TKMBD event, these are truly community oriented, they aren’t sponsored by any sort of organization other than the International Mountain Biking Association. The IMBA focuses on spreading and preserving the love for mountain biking that has been slowly growing around the world.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.