Mountain Bike Myths Debunked

Mountain biking is misunderstood. There's a  lot of misinformation out there, and many people are unwilling or even afraid to go for a ride because it will be hard, uncomfortable, scary, etc. While I guess those can be true, mountain biking can be a fun experience that even a beginner rider can enjoy. Here are 6 MTB myths debunked.

MOUNTAIN BIKING IS DIFFICULT

Even riders with a minimum of technical experience can enjoy a fun ride on ski trails, forest roads, bike paths, or adventuring around town. There is no shortage of more difficult trails, but the Hayward area has plenty to offer those who aren't fat tire experts, like the Hospital Gateway Trail. Smooth, wider trails, easier turns—this trail is safe for beginners, but also a blast for more advanced riders.


MOUNTAIN BIKING IS UNCOMFORTABLE

It definitely doesn't have to be. Take the time to have a shop help you select the proper bike design and size for your needs and goals. Add ergonomic grips, a comfy saddle,  and a hydration system, all of which will enhance your ride experience. There are even ways to alter the handlebars, stem, saddle position, etc. Almost everything is adjustable—tailor your bike to you.


BIKE CLOTHES ARE JUST FOR RACERS

Nothing is further from the truth! Colorful, Lycra-clad cyclists might give the impression that bike clothing is only for serious riders. The main purpose of bike-specific tops and shorts is to wick away moisture to keep you dry and comfortable. Shorts also often have padding to keep you protected on longer rides. But, recently, bike clothing has evolved into fashion-friendly pieces that do double duty as functional cycling-wear and street clothes.

HELMETS ARE NOT COOL (IN MANY WAYS)

First thing's first—helmets are really non-negotiable. You have to wear one and the new helmets have several things going for them, including protecting your noggin. Current helmet designs are engineered for maximum air flow so you stay cool. They have highly-adjustable fit systems for real comfort. There are even helmets with integrated crash-detecting systems that will aid you when it counts the most.


SINGLETRACK IS SCARY

Singletrack is a type of mountain biking that has become very popular in recent years. Narrower trails are built incorporating naturally-occurring terrain like rocks, roots, hillsides, etc. to add features and character to the trails. Years ago, single track was hand-built and very often rough and difficult. Today, most singletrack has been rebuilt with special machines and grading techniques that enable riders to have a smooth, safe, and fun experience. Well-constructed singletrack is unique in that beginner riders and expert riders all can have a great ride.

BUT THE BEARS WILL EAT ME!

No, they probably won't. The wolves, coyotes, eagles, otters, and other woodland meat-eaters won't either. If you see a critter, stop. Let it do its thing, and it will put a bunch of distance between itself and you quickly. Get a quick photo if you can! You should, however, be prepared for mosquitoes, deer flies, and ticks at various times from spring through fall. Bug spray and deer fly patches are essential at times. For ticks, treat your bike shoes and socks with a commercial permethrin clothing spray, like Permanone. Permethrin treatment lasts for weeks and is incredibly effective at repelling ticks. In fact, ticks that contact treated fabric will die from exposure. Even better, permethrin is very safe for humans when applied properly. Look for permethrin spray alongside insect repellent at retailers or online.

Feeling comfortable on the trails all starts with a visit to your local ski shop. In Hayward, New Moon has everything you'll need to navigate the trails as well as finding the right bike for you. New bikes, rentals, clothing, gear, bike maps and even personal route creation—New Moon will help you get on a bike, get on the trails and feel comfortable on your adventure. Enjoy the ride!