Get Out! Some tips to consider for this biking season
My dad is fond of doling out bits of wisdom and advice. I’d say I use it about 50 percent of the time.
Southern dialect reigns in most everything he says, and it’s especially true when he’s getting ready to share with me one more bit of knowledge. “Well, what you oughta do…” is my cue that I’m about to get some advice, whether I’ve asked for it or not.
Honestly, most of the time he’s pretty spot on. Having spent years listening to and sometimes actually heeding his tips, it’s no surprise I find myself wanting to share my own tips with others. So, this bike season, here’s “what you oughta do.”
1. Set a goal.
There are so many options for this when it comes to biking. You can set a weekly, monthly or yearly mileage goal and track it using any number of apps and devices.
You can set a goal to conquer a particular obstacle on a trail, like a section of Holy Cross or Horsethief Bench. You can even set a slightly less defined goal of improving your jumps or learning to ride switchbacks better.
Last year, a friend of mine set a goal to ride one new trail each week. He shared his pictures on social media and learned quite a bit about the lesser-known trails and dirt roads in his home area.
Goals make us work just a little bit harder. They help us focus on particular areas that we know need improvement and give us something to work toward. Granted, you don’t always need to work toward something when biking, but I don’t see anything wrong with having some skill or target in mind that you want to work toward each bike season.
2. Explore more.
It’s easy to get into the habit of riding the same trails each week. We have amazing trails here, and quite a variety of them, and I’m sure we all have our favorites. There are definitely trails that I feel I could ride with my eyes closed because I love them and ride them several times a month.
Still, exploring is just fun. Anytime I set out to ride a new trail there’s that bit of anticipation that happens. Is it going to be fast? Will there be some entertaining technical sections?
Who knows? Not every trail I’ve explored with my bike buddies has been one we want to ride again, but I’m still always happy that we’ve tried them. Riding more trails gives us a chance to improve our reflexes and reaction times. They provide the opportunity to check out a new area or take in a new view.
As an added bonus, the more trails we ride and learn about, the better resource we become for other riders.
3. Find more ways/times to bike.
If you’re like me and your main rides happen only on Saturdays and Sundays, try to find a way to sneak rides in during the week.
This year I am determined to spend more lunch breaks on the trails. I’ve started leaving a spare pack, helmet, shoes and gloves in my car, so all I have to do before work is grab the bike and my bike clothes. It’s much easier to prep for a lunchtime ride when I’m not trying to remember to grab 15 things.
Maybe a morning ride or after-work ride works better for you. Look at your schedule and see if you can find a way to fit in even a three-mile ride once or twice during the week. The great thing is: No matter which set of trails you’re closest to, you can find a short ride option.
The Lunch Loops didn’t get that name for no reason. In Loma, a lap (or two) around Rustlers makes a perfect short ride. Driving to 18 Road is probably too far for most people to visit on lunch breaks, but short ride options there are plentiful, too. Prime Cut and PBR? Yes, please!
Even if your way to get in extra miles means just riding your bike to work a few days a week, take advantage of that. Bike commutes are sometimes the best way to see sunrises.
Maybe you’ve been too busy in the past to help with a trail-maintenance night. Maybe you haven’t been sure how you can help. Maybe you just haven’t thought about volunteering before.
Maybe this is your year to change that.
There are lots of groups looking for help when it comes to building, maintaining and reclaiming trails. COPMOBA has many projects and maintenance nights planned for this year, and you can read about those at copmoba.org.
Other groups, such as the Grand Valley Trails Alliance (gvtrails.com) and Great Old Broads for Wilderness, often have trail work days. There are lots of groups in the valley to check out when it comes to volunteering and outdoor recreation. These are just a few.
5. Have fun.
Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, have fun! Shouldn’t that be the point of every bike ride? Of life?
Have fun. Go out and ride your favorite trails and just enjoy them. Stop and smell the juniper trees (or the smoke if it’s burn season). Get out there and enjoy all of the great recreational opportunities presented to us.
If you see a group working on a trail, be it COPMOBA, the Bureau of Land Management, GVTA or anyone else, make sure to thank them.