The Mountain Bike Life

Well, we all know we love bikes, clearly, that’s why we’re here. It’s why we write about bikes, read about them, and spend even more of our time riding them. I think that time spent riding a bike trumps any amount of time spent wrenching, reading or discussing them. Unfortunately setting aside time to ride can be the hardest thing to do. Most of us riders have jobs, families, school, or any other number of things that take up a good chunk of time, and some of the time Mother Nature just doesn’t want to cooperate with our bike plans. We all have to work, it is how we afford the shiny new bits of kit for our trusty steeds, and some of us have the added benefit of even enjoying our jobs. Obviously, there is only so much sacrificing we can do to our work schedule to make time for fun. For those of us that have a family, we know that’s also a huge priority. Family could be anything from spouse, kids, or even just the pets that need tending too. Of course I don’t want to forget about students. Whether it be high school, college, or anything else, education takes precedence in a lot of lives and once again whittles away at the precious time that we have in a day. After piling all the different factors of life together, the idea of finding free time for riding is not only daunting, it can feel completely hopeless. So the question stands, when do you find time to ride?

Foul weather can easily get in the way of a ride. (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)

After work rides are one of the best ways to get in a couple miles of dirt. There is something very rewarding about leaving your work behind you and spending a few minutes with a massive stress reducing smile on your face. I tend to find myself packing a spare change of clothes and a few supplies on nicer days knowing that I will be heading straight to the trail head after work, but you can even put in an effort to purchase work appropriate, outdoor capable clothing to make the transfer time from work to the mountain that much faster. Getting off work, there is often not a lot of time left in the afternoon, however, I would gladly take 30 minutes on the trail over none at all, and creating a few extra minutes by changing up your wardrobe to be outdoor compatible, you get that much extra time spinning your legs.

Post work ride time. Added the tie for a bit of extra flair. (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)

For many with the stereotypical 9 to 5 job, or long days at school, a night ride seems to fit the bill nicely for extending your ride time. While most people tend to start unwinding at night after everything is said and done, this is the perfect chance to get out there and have the trails to yourself. All that you need is a decent enough lighting set up and you are all set to go. I even have ridden with people in the past that simply use the same headlamps with elastic bands that they take camping. You do not necessarily need the latest and greatest technology to get out there and enjoy the night air. Night riding has it’s own set of benefits that go beyond simply having more time on the bike (for one, avoiding the summer heat on your ride if you live in a warm climate). Riding the same trails at night versus during the day time allows for you to see your trails in a new light (sorry for the bad pun). Usually, riding in the dark forces you to go a little bit slower that you normally would. Sections of trail that a rider can be so used to cleaning with ease during the day time become increasingly difficult and technical when one does not have the speed that he or she is used to carrying. While night riding can prove beneficial, it is important to practice a few more substantial safety measures. You want to make sure lights are properly charged, you have enough supplies, you are aware of wildlife (watch for mountain lions, moose and bears) and most importantly, tell some one where you are riding. Good communication and mobile phones really have become some of the most important tools on any ride.

Getting a quick ride in on a quick 2 mile stretch of single track. (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)

The one point in time so many people look forward to though, is the weekend. Weekends often seem to be the perfect time to get out and enjoy your passion for the sport we all love. If you’re lucky, many of your trail riding buddies will have the weekends off as well.

Enjoying a quick rip down thew Bonneville Shoreline Trail (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)

Sundays seem to be the day when everyone meets up at the trail and you have a great rides with a bunch of like minded individuals. I know that I try to get as much ride time in on the weekends as I can. It is not very often that you have a day available to you where you could ride in the morning, in the afternoon or at anytime in the day available to you, so take advantage of it!

Finishing up a ride with some tight turns over loose rocks. (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)

Unfortunately, sometimes life calls, and whether you’re working overtime, have family obligations, or your favorite trails get hit with a “polar vortex,” you might hit a patch where riding just isn’t an option. A lot of avid cyclists, myself included, find alternative methods to get their mountain biking fix. Simply logging onto your website of choice, you get exposed to new products, new trails, or a new adventure that you can add to your list can help satiate the craving for your ride. With so much content at your finger tips it makes it easy to just hop online after a long day and not once think about actually going on a bike ride. Somehow it can be so easy to compare being an internet mountain biker to the real thing. We trick ourselves into thinking that seeing someone else’s experiences online will some how quench our thirst for riding and adventure. Deep down we really know that there is no substitute, we need real time spinning our legs.

Just being an internet warrior instead of actually spending time on the bike. (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)

So, when do you find time to ride? Do you only have enough time to get out on the weekends or are you lucky enough to be an every day rider?

It does not matter if you have the right clothes, just get out and ride. (Photo Credit: Martina Platte)
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