1. Expect imperfection
Yeah, that’s right. I’m here to tell you you’re going to fall (a lot), you’ll have scrapes and bruises. Wear them proudly!
You’re going to be slow, you’re going to dismount when you see a scary log or rock garden. You’re going to experience a very real fear. But you need to get right back up, keep chugging along and bring on the sweat.
When I started riding, I could NOT keep up with Jay. I’d arrive at an intersection, out of breath and exhausted. Jay would be patiently waiting for me, not out of breath at all.
It wasn’t until I started riding with other people, of all levels, when I realized that Jay was just on another level and I didn’t have to be on his level. I could have so much fun on my level.
Over time, my skills improved, I got better and I realized it wasn’t about being perfect at all. I could have fun. That’s what mountain biking is for me ; so damn fun!
2. Expect to sweat so hard that your chamois will be wishing it never existed.
Mountain biking is a great workout. It’s not easy for me to replicate the kind of workout I get from mountain biking. You’re going to be sweating out of places you didn’t know could sweat. Riding on trails is an exercise that can be explosive, steadying and balancing – and most of all, fun and the views can be spectacular.
3. Expect to spend some money initially
Good mountain bikes can be pretty pricey. Especially if you’re totally new to the industry. You might think spending $1,000 on a bike is outrageous but truthfully they can be upwards of $5,000 +. I can see how that may deter anyone from getting into mountain biking.
However, finding the right bike for you, both in your price range and fit, are extremely important. Your local bike shop can help get you squared away. If you know your size, I’d recommend asking around and seeing if someone might be willing to sell you their old bike because it’ll save you some bucks!
In addition to a well-tuned, properly-fitted bike you also need some gear. I’ll write another more detailed post about bikes and gear in the near future.
4. Expect to meet all sorts of amazing people
When I moved to Ithaca, I only knew a handful of people, mostly co-workers.
Ithaca is a college town, there are certainly a lot of folks we would casually meet at bars but it was hard to just walk up to a stranger and say, “hey, you seem cool… wanna hang out?”
It wasn’t until Jay and I started attending the local group rides with Cycle-CNY, that we started to meet people we wanted to hang with. From those friends, we met more friends and created a network that really has flourished.
I love these people! They’re my people – and without mountain biking, I wouldn’t have met them. They daring, courageous.. just a gnarly bunch of men and women that I’m glad to call my friends.
RECAP > Don’t give up, expect imperfection, sweat hard, and let the good times roll!
If you’re just getting into mountain biking, I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments below!
It’s been a while since we rode our bikes, far too long. We got a text from some friends letting us know they were taking advantage of the decent weather (28 and cloudy) to go for a little spin around town. We eagerly decided to join them.
While I was airing up the tires I remembered the crank arm came loose the last time I rode the bike (over a month ago). I had to wedge a rock in the 16mm hex bolt to tighten it so I could finish the ride. In the time since then, it did not happen to “heal” on its own. It was still loose and needed to be tightened….our ride was in jeopardy.
A 16mm hex or “allen” key is not a common thing. I called all the local bike shops, no luck. Their tone seemed to be suspicious of my need for such a tool, as if there is no way to fit a bolt this size on a bicycle. So then I reached out to local garages, surprisingly no one had one. How about an auto parts store? No.
We ended up heading to a “box” home improvement store. The largest hex key they had was 12mm. Feeling pretty bummed out, we headed over to the hardware section to find things to cobble together. After a lot of trial and error, and eventually needing to take the bolt into the store, we were able to fit the head of another large bolt into the 16mm space. By threading a nut onto this new bolt, and using a crescent wrench, we could easily torque the crank arm back on. Not bad for $2.22.
Money was spent, but it wasn’t very much…and now we have a tool to fix this if it happens again. More importantly, we got out and did a great ride with friends on a fair winter day.