Jul 11

Top Eight Beginners Mountain Biking Tips

mountain bike ride

mountain biking

Tips for Beginning Mountain Bikers

Regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight, get your adrenaline going or simply find a new hobby, mountain biking ticks all of the right boxes. It’s thrilling, addictive and surprisingly strenuous.

Unfortunately however, it’s also known for being incredibly challenging. And the steep learning curve is something that leaves many beginners with both scraped knees and a sense of frustration.
Should you find yourself venturing onto a mountain bike for the first time, here are eight straightforward tips for getting off to a good start.

Wear a Helmet (Seriously)

bike helmet

Wear a bike helmet!

If you’re new to mountain biking, it’s important to get one thing straight; you’re going to fall, a lot. Mountain biking isn’t like regular cycling where most falls can be avoided by riding safely. Falls are a part of the sport.
If you don’t want to kill yourself in the process, a helmet isn’t just recommended, it’s straight up common sense.

Look Ahead, not at Obstacles

When you first start riding, it’s only natural to be a little obsessed with avoiding obstacles. After all, riding into a tree or rock can be pretty painful. Unfortunately however, looking at such obstacles can easily turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is because the more you look at them, the less you are looking at the track ahead of you and the more likely you are to fall. It takes time but try to keep your eyes firmly on the track ahead at all times.

Learn When to Stand

Over time, choosing between standing and sitting becomes instinctive. For beginners however, it can be a source of endless confusion. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re tackling a bumpy course, standing is usually the best choice. This is because standing allows your knees and elbows to absorb the track rather than your rear.
If the track is relatively smooth, on the other hand, sitting is usually preferable as it burns less energy and allows you to encounter far less wind resistance.

bike in waterfall

Walk bike when needed.

Don’t be Afraid to Walk

When it comes to mountain biking, there’s nothing more satisfying than tackling, and subsequently handling, a new terrain or obstacle. Unfortunately however, push yourself too hard, too soon and you’re more likely to find a hospital than a sense of accomplishment.
Take your time, learn the ropes slowly. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to walk. When you see something that scares you, get off and walk around it.

Learn to Brake

If there’s one thing that you’re going to want to master pretty early on it’s how to brake properly. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as straightforward as it first seems.
• Whenever possible, try to ease into the brake slowly, the faster you break, the more control you lose.
• Be careful when using the front brake exclusively; do so over the wrong terrain and you run the risk of flipping over.
• Whichever brake you use, try to place your weight over the corresponding tire. Doing so will greatly increases its braking capacity.

mountain biking trail

Happy mountain bike trails

Don’t Grip Too Tightly

Another common mistake among beginners is to grip their bike far too tightly. This is a mistake because the tighter your grip is, the less flexibility you have and in turn, the more susceptible you are to injury.
Aim to keep your elbows bent, your body loose and your hands unclenched. The looser you are, the more control you’ll have and the better your body will be to absorb the inevitable shocks.

Shift Gears Before You Need To

Try to get into the habit of shifting gears sooner than you need to. Downshift when you see a hill coming up, up shift when you see a slope. Wait until you’ve actually reached them and you’re making things needlessly difficult on yourself.
Aim to take the pressure off your bike before it’s actually applied.

Start Slowly

Finally, probably the most common mistake that beginners make is simply going too fast. You don’t need to master the sport your first day. Mountain biking has a steep enough learning curve as it is without making it steeper by going faster than you’re comfortable with.
Start off slow, learn to handle the bike and learn to predict the track. You can speed up gradually over time. You’re not in a race, yet.
Author Bio:
Today’s guest blogger, Anthony Black, is a marketing executive at Reid Cycles, a leading manufacturer of cheap mountain bikes in Australia. He likes to make use of social media in his free time.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/07/11/top-eight-beginners-mountain-biking-tips/

Jul 05

Before And After Hiking – Preventive Measures Against Ticks

Many of us love outdoor activities and we often make it a point to head outdoors at least during the weekends with our family or friends. One outdoor activity that most of us do is hiking and although it may be a beneficial activity, it is a risky one too. A common risk that most of us hikers encounter are tick bites which are not only itchy, but dangerous too as they carry deadly diseases. Sadly, ticks not only feed on the blood of animals, but humans as well and this makes it necessary to protect ourselves before we go hiking. After all, ticks should not stop us from enjoying the fresh air, beautiful sunshine and breathtaking scenery.

Preventive Measures Before Hiking

These preventive measures can help you reduce the risk of getting bitten throughout the hike and bringing ticks back home with you.

boots help protect against ticks

wear protective boots

1. Tick Proof Your Hiking Gear

To keep ticks at bay when you go hiking, proof your hiking gear with permethrin. Permethrin must never be used directly on skin, so be careful to only apply it on your hiking boots, clothing and camping equipment. Fortunately, permethrin will continue to be effective on your gear even after you get soaked in rain, so you need not have to worry about reapplying.

2. Suit Up In Long Pants With Hiking Boats

To make sure that ticks do not find their way into your clothing or boots, wear long pants when you go hiking. The pant legs must be tucked into your socks before wearing your hiking boots. In tick abundant areas, you can also wrap your ankles above your socks with duct tape to seal it. Your shirt must also be tucked into your waistband whenever you hike.

3. Avoid Straying From The Trail

Ticks are mainly found in areas with high vegetation where they can easily jump on passing hosts. So when you leave the trail and walk through rich vegetation, the risk of catching ticks will be greater. There are hiking trails for a reason, so never stray away from them.

Preventive Measures After The Hike

After your hiking trip, you must make it a point to ensure that you did not bring ticks back home with you. Several ticks on your clothing and camping gear poses a great risk of introducing a tick infestation in your home. In the event that you discover a tick infestation in your home, do not hesitate to have your home treated by a pest control professional.

1. Wash And Dry Hiking Clothes In High Heat

Remove all your clothing and put them directly in the washing machine. Wash them with warm to hot water, but never neglect to dry them in high temperatures. Ticks can survive in hot water, but they will die when exposed to hot and dry air.

2. Steam Clean Or Expose Your Camping Gear in High Heat

You can opt to steam your camping gear with extreme heat or leave them exposed directly under the hot sun to kill any ticks you may have brought with you.

3. Check Yourself When Taking A Bath After Hiking

After undressing to take a bath, check your body for any ticks that may have gotten on you. They can hide in your hair, behind your knees, in your belly button, under your arms and even between your legs.

Citations:
Attached Images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://mrg.bz/Oem4cP

Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in natural pest control solutions. Click here to learn more about different pest control tips and preventive measures against harmful insects while hiking.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/07/05/before-and-after-hiking-preventive-measures-against-ticks/

Jul 04

Stowe Recreation Path in Vermont

First Vermont Trail on Trailsnet.com

stowe recreation trail

Happy 4th of July!

Thanks to Susan for submitting our first Vermont trail on Trailsnet. Susan provided us with valuable information about the Stowe Recreation Path and we greatly appreciate it. Trailsnet needs support and trail information from our subscribers, so please consider adding a new trail to our network of trails on the internet.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/07/04/stowe-recreation-path-in-vermont/

Jul 03

Trail Vehicles Move to PTV Show Website

PTV Show best festival in denver

Vote for PTV Show!

Personal Transportation Vehicle Show Takes Over Trail Vehicles

You may have noticed that the trail vehicles pages on Trailsnet are slowly disappearing. Those personal transportation vehicle reviews are gradually being moved over to the PTVshow.com website.

Please Vote for PTV Show as Best Denver Area Festival

Speaking of PTV Show, it’s coming up in September and we’re already ranked as one of top dozen festivals in the Denver, Colorado area. We would greatly appreciate your help in moving us up into the top ten. Please visit the A-List Best Denver Festivals and vote for PTV Show as your favorite. It’s the only one based around bikes and other personal transportation vehicles. The process is incredibly easy and fast and means a great deal to our sister-site www.PTVshow.com. Help us make this first PTV Show a success. You’ll also be promoting alternative transportation, a healthy environment and a physically fit lifestyle.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/07/03/trail-vehicles-move-to-ptv-show-website/

Jun 25

5 Amazing Hiking Locations In Austin, Texas

texas trails

Hiking in Texas

Non-native Texans might think of the Lone Star State as smack dab in the middle of the Great Plains with green prairies as far as the eye can see, and thus not an optimal location for hiking. However, native Texans definitely know that while that may be true in most of the state, Austin is Texas Hill country. Though our state capital doesn’t quite boast Mt. Everest, central Texas is a beautiful place with many opportunities for both amateur and professional hikers alike.

1. Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve

Known more for the eponymous “Hamilton Pool” than its hiking trails, the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve is a great, scenic option for hikers looking to take a dip after some hiking. The area formed by thousands of years of erosion surfaced the once underground pool, now exposing some breathtaking cliffs and great scenery for a hike. Even if you have no interest in the pool itself you can skip the “pool trail” for the more isolated, demanding, but equally scenic “river trail” which follows the Hamilton Pool’s outlet to the Pedernales River.

2. The Barton Creek Greenbelt

Stretching over seven miles, the Greenbelt should be a mandatory bullet point on any hiker’s bucket list. Starting close to Austin’s famed Zilker Park–the home of the ACL Music Festival–the trail continues to the outer portion of the city. Along the way, you’ll travel alongside the Barton Creek that feeds into Barton Springs Pool (a name any Austinite knows). This means that if you find a nice secluded area (that’s deep enough) you can take a break and hop in the water for a quick swim. Along the way, you’ll get vistas of towering cliffs and a trek through a dense forest that may make you forget you’re in the middle of the city.

3. Enchanted Rock

It might be cheating to list this great hike on the list because it’s in nearby Fredericksburg. That being said, you’re missing out if you choose not to make the detour to this great hiking location. The giant rock in question is a structure known as a “batholith” formed by a pocket of magma rising beneath the crust of the earth and gradually pushing the crust upward forming a dome-like structure. Boasting a height of nearly 2,000 feet, the summit of this incredible structure boasts a sweeping view of the surrounding area that shouldn’t be missed. Estimates guess this structure formed over 1 billion years ago and is amongst the oldest rock formations in North America.

4. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center — Restoration Research Trail

It might be blasphemous for uber-serious hikers to call this relatively short, flat trail an “amazing hiking opportunity.” But for the hiker who’s also an aesthete at heart, it’s hard not to love this trail. Any Texan knows that Lady Bird Johnson was responsible for the “beautification” of our nation’s highways by planting flowers and supporting wildlife preservation efforts. The Wildflower Center continues her legacy as a lover of flora and fauna, with the University of Texas-affiliated Center functioning as a research center devoted to the preservation and study of native plants. However, as previously mentioned, the center also boasts a relatively short 1.25 mile “trail” which allows you to experience the beauty of nature unaffected by the urban center of the city surrounding it. Whether you just need a break from the rough terrain of “real” hiking, or just want to see a bunch of wildflowers in their natural habitat, you can’t go wrong with this trail.

5. Mt. Bonnell (Covert Park)

Though Mount Bonnell has gained the false moniker of the highest point in Austin which isn’t exactly true, that doesn’t detract from its great environment. Right in the middle of an urban city center is Covert Park in which Mount Bonnell lies. Meaning that when you reach the top you’ll be granted a beautiful view of the city, Lake Austin and the surrounding park. Again, we’ll be honest, the route to the top isn’t too much of hike–arguably not even a hike at all since there are stairs to the top. However, the small trail at the “summit” and the scenic view make up for all of that. If you’re visiting Austin or just have never been, a trip to Mount Bonnell is an experience you must partake in.

Ricardo Casas is the CEO of Fahrenheit Marketing LLC, an Internet Marketing company based in Austin, TX. A true Austinite, Ricardo loves the city for all of its benefits including its fantastic scenery and hiking opportunities.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/06/25/5-amazing-hiking-locations-in-austin-texas/

Jun 24

5 Great Hiking Trails Near Cypress, Texas

Texas Hiking Trails

Cypress, Texas and the greater Houston metropolitan area aren’t known for their abundance of fantastic hiking

texas trails

Hiking in Texas

trails. That doesn’t mean Houston lacks hiking trails, however, it simply means you have to look a little bit harder to find them. To help you and your family get out of the house and into nature, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite hiking trails within a couple hours driving of Cypress.

Stephen F. Austin State Park

Perched on the banks of the Brazos River, Stephen F. Austin is a great place to take the family for a day. A maze of trails north of the campground leads up to the river and makes for a perfect afternoon stroll. Pack a picnic to eat on the walk or afterwards at one of the day-use areas. Bring fishing poles too, as there are quite a few fishing areas along the river. An overlook at the northeast end of the park provides a very pretty view of the river and makes for a good walking destination.

Brazos Bend State Park

Also situated along the Brazos River, Brazos Bend has an extensive network of trails which circle a few of the park’s lakes and lead through some of the hardwood forests that aren’t accessible to the casual visitor. Fishing is available on many of the park’s docks. Visitors are advised to be cautious of the park’s abundant alligator population. Seen from a viewing platform or pier, the alligators are a wonderful part of the Brazos Bend’s ecosystem and one of the most exhilarating parts of hiking the park.

Memorial Park

For hikers who don’t want to watch their feet for alligators, Memorial Park in downtown Houston is the place to be. While Memorial won’t feel quite as “natural” as some of the area’s state parks, it’s a great place to walk with family and affords some fantastic views of the Houston skyline. Memorial is a favorite for the city’s joggers and includes a golf course and tennis courts for those family members who might not want to hit the pathways.

Kleb Woods Nature Preserve

Kleb Woods Nature Preserve is located near Tomball, Texas and offers a 2.2 mile loop that winds through the woods for an easy day hike. It’s the perfect spot to bring the family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be kept on a leash. For residents of Cypress, the best part of Kleb Woods is that it’s only a few minutes away and you don’ t have to deal with any highway traffic to get there.

W.G. Jones State Forest

Located north of the Woodlands, W.G. Jones has twelve miles of trails that wind through the forest and make for a pleasant day hike. It’s a relatively flat course and is often used for horse riding and mountain biking.  The park is owned and operated by the Texas A&M Forest Service which practices sound stewardship of the native flora and fauna. The park is a great resource for those interested in forest management.

Dr. Mina Tadros, a Cypress dentist, is the founder of Tadros Dental which provides cosmetic, resotrative and general dentistry services to Cypress, Texas and surrounding communities.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/06/24/5-great-hiking-trails-near-cypress-texas/

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