Tips Every Beginner Should Know About Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking Beginners

Mountain biking is a fun and rewarding sport, and a lot of that fun comes from the challenges it can face you with. For a beginner, there’s a lot of stupid mistakes someone can make that could get you hurt, or at the very least ruin your weekend. You can make sure your first biking experience is a good one if you follow these tips that every beginner should know about mountain biking.

1. Come Dressed Correctly

Dressing correctly and wearing the proper protection is the first step towards having a good mountain biking experience. It seems straight forward enough, but there’s a lot of mistakes people commonly make here that can totally ruin the experience.

Naturally you don’t want to skimp on things like the appropriate helmets and safety gear. Sunglasses are highly advisable both for sun protection and for keeping branches out of your eyes. Spandex bike shorts can be great for riding in too, but don’t make the mistake of putting on underwear under them. It may also be wise to invest in some decent socks to prevent chafing. 

2. Learn How to Brake

This one is huge, and failing to learn this could get you hurt. A lot of people get scared and want to hold onto the brakes when they’re new to mountain biking, but this is practically the one of the most dangerous things you could do. One bump or flinch on the front wheel’s brake and instead of learning to bike, you’ll be learning to fly.

Regulate your speed with a passive touch on your brakes, and keep your fingers on the handle bars, not the brakes. When you need to slow down faster, use the right brake (rear wheel) instead of the left as this will be less likely to tip you over.

3. Get Some Anti-Chafe Cream 

Biking can get pretty tough on your legs, and that friction of your thighs sliding back and forth for hours is going to cause chaffing for sure. Don’t ignore the products they make for this very purpose, and put on some anti-chafe cream. These are cheap and common to bike shops but also sometimes sold at less specialized stores like pharmacies.

4. Get the Hang of Using Your Gears 

This one can take some real learning, but the key to having the right amount of momentum for tackling hills, crossing rocks and making tight corners is mastering the usage of your gears. Pay attention to the terrain ahead of you and set your gear appropriately so you can trek that terrain with more speed and momentum.

5. Check Your Suspension

Almost all modern mountain bikes on the market now will feature a suspension fork or a shock absorber in the rear wheel. Many new bikers will fail to properly use these as their active position has to be manually adjusted by the rider. If you take a few moments to set this correctly or read a guide on doing so, a lot of the harsh bumps and rocks you’ll cross won’t feel like so much.

6. Learn Where to Look

When riding on a trail, keep your eyes forward, look where you want to go and keep your chin level with the ground. Another huge and dangerous mistake that a new biker could make is looking down at nearby obstacles. Instead, you should always be looking ahead to see where you’re going. Only use your peripheral vision to anticipate small obstacles. Look at where you want to go instead of what you want to go around to prevent target fixation.

7. Go at Your Own Pace 

After all is said and done, what’s the most important thing? Having fun and taking your time learning the sport. Everyone starts as beginner and no one starts perfect, so learn how to bike the right way and don’t focus on keeping the pace with veteran enthusiasts who have way more experience than you do. 

5 Big Wave Surfing Locations Every Surfer Should See

Surfing in Maui

Big Wave Surfing is a lot of things, much in the same way as normal surfing. It’s intense, thrilling, life threatening, and can show you some of the most exciting scenes that nature’s ocean can provide. Rolling wave after wave with enough power that it could kill a person in a second, the immense force of the ocean is a thing that can’t be truly understood until you’ve seen it and felt it. These 5 big wave surfing locations are ones every surfer should see, even if you might not be up to riding them.

With that said, it can’t be understated how dangerous big wave surfing is. This is an extreme sport and even surfers with decades of experience know that every big wave could be their last. Most surfers probably shouldn’t try to surf a wave like that, but even just witnessing these locations is worth the while of any surfing enthusiast.

1. Pe’ahi, Maui

Pe’ahi, commonly known as Jaws, is found in the north shore of Maui. The Big Wave World Tour even holds the Pe’ahi challenge here, and is so remarkable that the best and most daring surfers from around the world come here to challenge the massive wave.

Jaws is famous for how well formed the massive waves here are. The nickname “Jaws” comes from the famous shark movie, and like the character, the wave is sudden and hard to predict.

2. Teahupoo, Tahiti

The Teahupoo Reef is located in the southwest end of Tahiti, part of and the main island in the French Polynesian archipelago. The wave is one of the world’s heaviest and most dangerous, as it’s claimed the lives of several famous surfers who had tried the challenge it over the years. Memorable for the way it folds over itself more than a normal wave, the biggest danger it presents is the coral reef that the swells break onto. Failing here can get you smashed and sliced by the deadly coral just a bit under the tide, making this a spot for only the most confident surfers.

3. Waimea Bay, Hawaii

Waimea has a long history for it’s epic waves and is the location that most other popular big wave spots are measured against. It’s also famously deadly, and has claimed the lives of many world-class surfers and celebrities, like Dickie Cross and Donnie Soloman. The big waves in Waimea have been setting the standards of the sport for decades, known best for it’s deadly shorebreak and waves that can reach up to 60 feet in height.

4. Cortes Bank, California

Part of California’s Channel Island chain, the Cortes Bank is a spot that’s as unique as it is dangerous. Considered a fearsome nautical hazard, a small submerged island rests here and is responsible for massive waves when swells hit on it. The island which rests just barely under the water, could be best described as an underwater mountain. This “mountain” is just sitting in the open sea and it’s not hard to imagine what it’s like when waves form here. Greg Long sure knows, as in 2012 this location almost ended his life.

5. Ghost Trees, California

Another famous big wave location in the state of California, Ghost Trees is fearsome enough for it’s wave faces that can go as high as 80 feet. However, if giant waves that crash into equally massive boulders weren’t enough for you, the area is known for being shark-infested too, including the great white shark. Some of the best big wave surfers would tremble at the insane location, where the famous Peter Davi lost his life.

Hitting the Trails in California

Hitting the Trails in California

Mountain biking is crazy popular throughout California and being such a big state with a wide variety of terrain there are some amazing trails to be found here.  Whether you live in northern or southern California you have equally great opportunities for hitting the trails.  There are also a bunch of different biking clubs all over the state.  Hitting the trails in California is perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Southern California

In the southern part of the state in both Los Angeles and San Diego Counties there are tons of bike trails for you to try out.  The climate here is nearly perfect and you can find trails that go through the woods or you can ride along the beach.  If ocean views are your thing then head over to Huntington Beach there is a trail there almost 10 miles long.  If you want to go really off road then there are the Azusa Mountains in Los Angeles, it is a rough trail not for the faint of heart.

Eastern California

If you really want an adrenaline rush then you want to go to the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains along the border with Nevada.  First you are going to need to have a good solid bike this is rough terrain with lots of obstacles to get around.  There are trails available for different skill sets, but if you are not an experienced rider you are not going to be allowed on the more difficult trails. That doesn’t meant that each trail isn’t a great ride, you will have fun no matter what level you are at.

Northern California

Not to be left out, northern California also has miles and miles of great trail riding.  Redding, Shasta Lake and Weaverville all have amazing trails with stunning views.  If you live in San Francisco then you should try out Mount Diablo it is the tallest peak in the area and the view has to be experienced.  Sacramento also has miles of trails that are worth checking out.

These are just a handful of trails that you can find throughout the state.  The popularity of mountain biking combined with the natural terrain that is available throughout the state makes for some incredible rides.  If you’re not lucky enough to call California home then you should plan your next trip out here and take some time to check out the scenery.  You won’t regret it.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Paragliding

Everything You Wanted to Know About Paragliding

Do you ever dream of flying, soaring in the clouds and seeing the world from a completely different perspective?  Then paragliding may the sport for you.  If you have always wanted to give it try but know where to begin.  Here is everything you wanted to know about paragliding.

While paragliding is viewed as an extreme sport it really isn’t as dangerous as you think.  Paragliders take safety very seriously and they always check their equipment and everything else to make sure that their glide is not only amazing it is actually safe too.  Paragliding isn’t hard to learn and it is a lot cheaper than trying to get a pilot’s license and buying a plane.

Why You Should Try Paragliding

  • It is an easy sport to pick up, it is relatively inexpensive compared to skydiving and you don’t need a license to give paragliding a try
  • There isn’t much in the way of equipment you need and it is easy to carry with you when you travel to your next paragliding adventure, your gear will weigh less than 50 pounds and fits in the trunk of your car no problem

Easy To Learn

Paragliding is actually safer to learn than skydiving and easier than hang gliding.  Paragliders offer more control when it comes to take-off and landing and you can start from a fairly low altitude.  You can start with smaller jumps until you build your skills and confidence to take on longer runs.  Paragliders allow you to go a pretty fair distance.  If you begin your glide from a fairly high altitude then you can glide for miles by catching wind currents.

How Much Does it Cost

It is a cheaper hobby to get into than skydiving, you don’t have to pay for the cost of the plane for a similar experience.  This is not something you want to try off the bat without lessons so the rental of the gear and some of lessons is going to run around the $1,000 range.  Paragliding is covered by the USHGA they are the ones who set the rules for what you need to learn and how to paraglide safely.  To become a novice paraglider is going to take 5-10 lessons.  If you are going to become a serious paraglider then you are going to want to buy your own gear at some point and that will run you close to $4,000.  While less expensive than taking up sky diving it isn’t cheap.

Best Places to Go Snowboarding

Best Places to Go Snowboarding

Snowboarding has become incredibly popular in the past decade even among those that aren’t typically fond of winter sports.  It is an adrenaline rush racing down the mountain.  On top of the adrenaline rush there are some incredible resorts where you can learn to snowboard.  If you want to try your hand at snowboarding or you are already an experienced snowboarder then here are the best places to go snowboarding.

Colorado

Colorado is probably the capital of snowboarding resorts in the US.  Colorado has great snow and beautiful mountains, it is hands down one of the best places to snowboard in the US.  Aspen or Vail are probably the two most popular but there are dozens of other resort towns that you can try.  There is a choice here for everyone from five star resorts to much more economical choices.

Utah

It is arguably a toss-up between Utah and Colorado when it comes to great places to snowboarding.  Park City is world famous  and one of the most beautiful.  Park City played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics and it now serves as a training ground for elite winter athletes including snowboarders.  If you want to find some challenging runs then this is the place to be.

Whistler

Found in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada Whistler also played host to the 2010 Winter Olympics and it draws in millions of tourists every year who want to hit the slopes here.  With dozens of resorts to choose from it is open to all levels of snowboarders from the newbies to veteran’s who get flown in to their location for a really challenging run. Whistler along with nearby Lake Louise have some of the best snowboarding in the world.  Here check out some of their runs.

Squaw Valley

Heading over to California for the last place on our list, you want to add Squaw Valley to your list of places to go boarding.  While there are slopes here suitable for a beginner it really was designed for the more experienced crowd.  If you can hit there during the week you will find it a lot less crowded, the place does fill up with tourists on the weekends.

These are some of the best places to go snowboarding in North America, but there are also plenty of destinations across Europe as well.  You can snowboard at almost every resort that offers skiing.  As snowboarding grows in popularity more ski hill resorts are offering snowboarding runs too.

5 Reasons to Give Mountain Biking a Try

5 Reasons to Give Mountain Biking a Try

If you have never been mountain biking before but you love other extreme sports you really don’t know what you are missing.  Mountain biking is open to anyone who can ride a bicycle and you can find a trail that suits your skill level.  Mountain biking is another adventure sport and with practice you can get better while at the same time seeing some incredible site.  There are mountain biking trails all over the country that are simply breathtaking.  If you are still not convince that mountain biking is for you then here are 5 reasons to give mountain biking a try.

Testing Your Limits

Part of the appeal of extreme sports it the ability to test your limits and mountain biking is no different.  You can challenge yourself to make it up the next hill  or finishing the trail you’re on.  You can ride by yourself or with a group, riding with a group can help you push yourself to beyond your limits.  Mountain biking is as much mental as it is physical.

Getting Outdoors

Mountain biking can be done in almost every environment and in any kind of weather.  A trail can be completely different when you run it in the rain than it is when it is dry.  You can adapt your bike for different weather and get out on the trails anytime you want.  You can always enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

It is an Adrenaline Rush

Mountain biking isn’t riding your bike on a paved trail or just getting from point A to point B rather it takes cycling to a whole new level.  Navigating a trail is completely different you have to pay attention to your terrain.  There will be rocks, branches, trees, puddles and all kinds of obstacles that you need to watch out for.  Trails aren’t smooth so you will have to adapt your body position along with how you handle your bike.

It is Competitive

If you don’t like your sports without a competitive element then don’t worry there are plenty of competitions when it comes to mountain biking.  Who can blaze through a difficult trail with the fastest time?  Check with your local bike shop about local competitions or check with IMBA to see what is happening in your area.

Explore the Country

There are great mountain biking trails all over the country that you can explore.  It’s way better than driving you can see the country up close and hit trails off the beaten path.  You just grab your bike and go.