Jan 14

Improve Your Mountain Biking Skills

5 Ways to Improve Your Mountain Biking Skills

It’s always a good idea to continue improving your mountain biking skills for any new trails and locations you decide to visit. The more you improve upon your skills as a bike rider, you will be able to enjoy more skilled trails and tracks that aren’t for beginners or intermediate bike riders.

If you want to improve your skills in your mountain biking, then we have 5 ways how you can improve and better your skills. These 5 tips on how to improve your skills will have you as a better rider on the trails in no time.

Mountain Biking skills

Improve Mountain Biking

Bike Maintenance

This is a basic point of knowledge, but a lot of people will forego maintaining their bike. Bike maintenance isn’t just to keep your bike in great shape, but also to protect you as a rider and help you to better understand the mechanisms and parts of your bike.

Keeping your bike clean and protected from the elements is only one part of maintenance. The other part is much bigger and more detailed. Make sure your chain is always oiled and clean of any build-up or debris. Verify that the frame is not cracked, bent, or damaged in any way. Check your wheels for tire pressure, flats, broken spokes, and anything that could cause a problem.

Check every part of your bike, including the brakes, handlebars, seat, and pedals for anything that could potentially hurt you or damage your bike. Make sure the brakes don’t squeak and that the gears shift easily.

By maintaining your bike, you are not just protecting you and your bike, but also those who ride alongside you on trails. The people on the trails expect you to keep your bike maintained, so they’re not affected by your bike performance.

Bike with All Skill Levels

Mountain Bike riders on bike course

Mountain Bike Skills

Biking with all different skill levels allows you to see where you’re coming from and where you need to be. You can learn things from all groups. Watch how beginners and experts break differently. They’ll take turns, obstacles, and landings all individually.

By watching different skill levels, you can see what you are still doing that is stopping you from advancing, and watching the things you have already improved upon. By riding with levels below you, you can see where you need to improve to get better and realize that your skills aren’t where you want or need them to be.

Watching and learning from expert riders give you the chance to try new skills. You can break later at turns, rush through obstacles, work on your landings and try new trails. The best part of riding with expert riders is their willingness to help you succeed and to help you to better your skills.

Trying new trails with expert riders can benefit your improvement upon your skills.

Learn and Perfect Your Wheelies

Focus on making sure you can do a wheelie and nose wheelie. These are important skills to have for any type of riding

bike rider demonstrating Mountain Biking Skills

Mountain Biking Skill

but will be very important when on trails. Trails can have rocks on the paths, branches, debris, and fallen tree trunks.

By making sure you can do these wheelies, you can ensure that you can get over the debris. The wheelie allows you to control the front part of your bike, while a nose wheelie takes care of the back end. Getting over things in your way is an important skill to have when on trails and with a group.

The wheelie is where you have one pedal up and the other down. You pull up on the handlebars, push on the pedal in the up position while you shift your weight to the back wheel. You can either let your bike down after the half-rotation of the pedal or continue to pedal forward. If you are going too far back, use the brake to make your front wheel come back down.

The nose wheelie can be very tricky for some people to learn. First, make sure nothing will stop your front tire from moving and do not use the brake. In one swift movement, lean forward and push forward on the bars while you pull up with your feet. Try doing this one until you are confident in your ability to do it when necessary.

Don’t Dwell. Relax.

Everyone makes mistakes, but dwelling on them prevents you from moving on and improving your skills. When on trials, many obstacles, jumps, and turns can make people hesitate, especially if all they are thinking about whether they will make the same mistake.

All bikers learn that past experiences help them to improve, so the sooner you move on from a mistake you made when biking, you can develop your skills to prevent the same mistake from happening again.

Mistakes, accidents, and failed landings all happen, and they happen to all bikers despite their skill level. They will happen again, but if you dwell on something you did before and continually think about the mistake, it will only prevent you from doing better, which will slow down everyone else in your group or on the trail.

Ride Everywhere You Can

It is so crucial for you to ride anywhere you can. Riding helps improve balance, concentration, and if you ride anywhere you can, it’ll improve your trail skills. Riding on the roads will help you to be more cautious of other riders, foot traffic, laws to obey, courtesy, and debris.

Riding on small and simple bike trails and paths will help you to feel more comfortable in a different style of terrain, watch for foot traffic, be courteous to other bikers, and watch for animals and debris.

Riding on more advanced trails and paths will allow you to become more comfortable with rough terrain, twists and turns, other bikers, more bike traffic, rules to follow, and how to handle your bike in different settings.

Riding everywhere you can improve your skills for different terrains, people, other vehicles and bikes, you’ll become more courteous, and you will learn how to take twists and turns, move from debris, and react quicker to sudden issues that arise on your trails.

 About me:

I’m Denise and I’m a mountain biker who enjoys cross-country biking all around the world. I worked as a trainer for 6 years before becoming a co-founder of a private biking lessons school to teach people how to properly train and ride bikes to prepare them for cross-country and any activities they want to indulge in. I’m also a co-founder of MountainBikeEZ.



Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2017/01/14/improve-your-mountain-biking-skills/

Dec 29

West Coast Trail in Canada

Hiking the West Coast Trail in Canada

Your Guide to Exploring the WCT of British Columbia

As part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the West Coast Trial of Canada is known for its sheer natural beauty, but also its rough, unspoiled terrains. What might be a potentially hazardous hiking destination, the trail might test you to your limits, but the sweet reward that lies in its one-of-a-kind setting offers a scenic experience that’s unsurpassed.


What You’ll Need to Hike Here

Aside from an excellent hiking GPS; you’ll also need some serious stamina and you’ll need to know the ins and outs around backcountry camping. Steep slopes, deep gullies that need to be crossed on fallen trees and an all-round slippery trail are all part of a normal day of hiking out in this part of the world.


Duration of an Average Hike

If you’re planning a hiking expedition on the West Coast Trail and want to ensure that you see as much as possible, set aside a good 6 days or so (if you’re fast paced) to complete your adventure. If you plan on walking at a steadier pace, you’ll need roughly 8 days on the WCT.


What to Expect From the Weather

The West Coast Trail has a temperate climate, with heavy rains falling between the months of July through to September. Rain is also a normal occurrence between April and June. Summertime sees an average temperature of 57°F, but keep in mind that heavy fog early in the mornings can delay your hiking plans with a few hours.


When to Hike the West Coast Trail

The trail’s open season runs from the 1st of May to the 30th of September annually. Don’t expect any man-made shelters here, so make sure that you’re fully prepped and take along everything you’ll need to set up camp when the weather goes south.


You Should Hike the WCT If…

The West Coast Trail isn’t a hiking destination that’ll fit the taste and expertise of just any hiker. Intermediate and advanced backpackers should take on this trail since it’s not the place for rookies to get into the swing of things. You also want to make sure that you travel in small hiking groups, keeping the maximum group size to roughly 10 people.


Where to Kick Things off at WCT

Pacheena Bay Trailhead offers relatively easy access to the trail, although there isn’t a hiker’s ferry to get you to where you need to be. You may also want to consider kicking off your hike at Gordon River Trailhead, in which case you’ll need to ferry to the Official Gordon River Trailhead to get started. Keep in mind that the pace here isn’t fast, which mean that it’ll take you about 2 days to reach Walbran Creek.


Ditjdaht First Natin Nitinat Lake Visitor Center is a mid-point exit-and-entry point to the West Coast Trail, and you’ll be able to set up a nice base camp here along the Nitinat Narrows before you head further south or north on the trail.

There are regular shuttle busses that run between three of the main trailheads in WCT, and if you’re concerned about parking, rest assured that the three trailheads offer more than sufficient and secure parking opportunities.


Important Information

If you plan to hike the West Coast Trail, you’ll need to possess a Trail Use Permit since you may be liable to fines if you are hiking without it. To get your permit, you’ll need to get in touch with Hello B.C. Reservation Services at 1-800-495-5688. Reserving your spot and booking your permit gives you a guaranteed hiking date, which is important since there is a quota on how many hikers may use the trail at any given time.


Considerations for Hiking the West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail’s managing agents enforce a strict no-trace camping and hiking rule, which means that hikers need to stick to a certain set of rules. Here are a few basic etiquette guidelines that’ll help you make the most of your journey through the WCT…

  1. Whatever you pack in must go back out with you. No glass or cans are allowed inside the park.
  2. Take a lightweight camping stove. Fires are only allowed on the beach, not in forested areas, which means that you shouldn’t rely on a campfire for getting food cooked.
  3. Collect water upstream if you must, but be water-wise and boil or filter all drinking water that you collect along the way.
  4. Take enough food. High-energy foods that don’t take up a lot of space and have low GI contents are king on these rugged terrains, but always ensure that you pack enough food to last you 2 extra days, just in case of an emergency.
  5. Don’t take the park back home with you. No marine life, plants, artifacts, or natural resources found on the West Coast Trail may be removed from the park. This forms part of the National Parks Act, and persons found violating these rules may be subject to heavy fines.


Packing List for the West Coast Trail

While we all have different tastes and think about essential gear in different ways, here’s a list of some of the essential pieces of gear that you’ll need to help you survive your hike through the West Coast Trail:

  • Good Quality Hiking Boots
  • Collapsible Ski Pole or a Hiking Staff
  • Lightweight Backpacking Stove and Extra Fuel
  • Lightweight, High-Energy Foods
  • Compact Backpack
  • Good Quality Tent with a Waterproof Fly
  • Synthetic-Fill Sleeping Bag & a Closed Cell Foam Sleeping Pad
  • Garbage Bags
  • Good Hiking Watch
  • First Aid Kit


Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has shown you more or less what to expect, and how to plan for your hiking expedition through the West Coast Trail of Canada. Remember: the terrain might be a bit tough to handle at times, but the majestic scenery that you’ll be rewarded with will be worth it, every step of the way!

About The Author

photo of blog post contributor

guest blogger Eric


I’m Eric, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/12/29/west-coast-trail-in-canada/

Dec 19

Shoes For Trail Running

Choosing Your Shoes For Trail Running

Trail running is a very enjoyable activity that both beginner and advanced runners can easily participate in. It really doesn’t need a whole lot of preparation to do. All you need is the willingness to run the trails and of course, the right gear. 

When I say gear, what I really mean is trail running shoes. Doing trail running involves using the right pair of trail running shoes. For both beginners and advanced runners, using the right pair of shoes can mean the difference between a good and fun run and injury. 

Doing a quick research can solve that for you. So, here’s a quick guide on what trail running shoes to go for.


Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/12/19/shoes-for-trail-running/

Nov 12

How to Hike Safely During Hunting Season


(Via: lukasbast.at)

10 Ways to Be Safe When Hiking During Hunting Season

Hunting and hiking have gained massive popularity as great outdoor activities. However, a challenge arises in that one poses a danger to the other. It is highly likely for a hiker in the woods to be mistaken for a hunter’s target. Another bone of contention is that both activities are most enjoyable at almost the same time. This article is therefore geared to bring some education to hikers. The goal in mind is to see to it that hikers and hunters can coexist.

#1- Wear bright colors


Be Aware of Hunting Areas

When out hiking in the woods, it is perhaps a good idea to be as noticeable as possible. Avoid wearing dull colors; earth toned green and animal colored clothing. You want to be as conspicuous as possible to avoid being mistaken for game. Therefore, it is advised that hikers dress in neon orange as it stands out. An orange vest, hat or hunting backpack cover will ensure that you catch a hunter’s glimpse from afar.

#2- Know the hunting seasons

In every hunting state, you will find the relevant details with the state agency. Be it the dates for hunting deer, bear, waterfowl or other game. Seasons are also different for bow hunting and firearms. For instance, wild turkey shooting season comes in the spring. Hikers should also be on the alert during the white-tailed deer season in autumn.

#3- Announce your presence


Protect Your Dog

Hiking is not one of those activities you want to carry out quietly. Wearing a bell, whistling, singing, engaging in conversation or making noise, will let the hunters know when you are somewhere nearby. Animals like the bear will also steer far from you when they hear the sound. In mountain basins, sound travels fast and since hunters are keenly listening for any sounds, they will be warned. You should also raise your voice when you hear shooting.

#4- Protect your dog

In case you love bringing Fido for hikes, bear in mind that a hunter may easily confuse him for a coyote. Hence, it is prudent to prevent him from wandering off by keeping him on a close leash. Dressing your adorable furry baby in orange is also a good precaution. 

#5- Be on the lookout for signage

Signs are valuable media when you are out hiking. Some states prohibit hunting near hiking trails. In some states where such rules may not exist, such trails are usually closed to non-hunters during the season.

#6- Stay on the trail


Wear Bright Colors

When on a hike, you want to stick to the defined path. This is not the time to go geo-coaching. Hunters will be looking for targets in more wooded areas. 

#7- Know the times when animals are most active

It is not advisable to go hiking at dawn and dusk. First, this is the time when animals like the deer are most active making it a prime hunting time. What makes it more dangerous is the fact that the hunter’s vision is a little impaired making it difficult for him to make out figures and colors in the dark. If you are out at this time, ensure that you have with you a flashlight or a headlamp.

#8- Be informed of where hunting is allowed

A quick phone call to the state agency can give you some basic information about the places where hunting is and isn’t allowed. With this information, you can decide on where to hike accordingly. Hunting is not allowed in most parks, especially national park units. Additionally, some states prohibit hunting on Sundays. This is also another safe option for hiking.

#9- Head for higher ground


Hike With a Buddy

One significant advantage of high ground is that is not a favorable hunting ground. Why? At high altitudes, you will rarely find animals. You can’t also overlook the fact that the view from up there is spectacular. 

#10- Do not hike alone

Although coming in at the last point, you may even consider it as the most important. Walk as a group, or make sure you take a partner with you when going out. Accidents happen at times and in such cases, someone can offer you help or go for assistance.

In some states, hunters are required to undergo some education before issuance of their licenses in a bid to reduce hunting related accidents. These 10 safety tips are meant to ensure that you as a hiker are also in the safety zone to avoid taking chances.

Author Bio: Kevin Steffey is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else, and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder at www.deerhuntingfield.com

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/11/12/how-to-hike-safely-during-hunting-season/

Oct 28

Make Trail Maps With GPX Files on Trailsnet

Make GPX Trail Maps Easily on Trailsnet


Add a Trail

Back in 2012, I promised we would make one major overhaul to Trailsnet each year, and 2016 is no different. In 2015 we went international by allowing users to post and find trails worldwide. In 2014 we got a brand new look to the website. In 2013 Trailsnet debuted the brand new photo gallery option. And in 2012 Trailsnet offered the first version of our Add-a-Trail feature so the general public could input their favorite trails to Trailsnet.com. But I think the new GPX mapping option that Trailsnet just unveiled is the biggest and most useful offering so far. It will make adding trails (with maps) so much easier. Now instead of having to copy and paste HTML code into the mapping portion of the Add-a-Trail feature, you can just enter your GPX or KML file and a new trail map is automatically generated. In just the last couple days, since the new option to make trail maps from GPX files, new trail submissions have gone up dramatically. It looks like the public is loving it.

How to Add a Trail Map to Your Trail Description


Fill Out Trail Information

Adding a trail on Trailsnet.com is easy. Just click on the Add-a-Trail button in the top horizontal menu bar and you’ll immediately be taken to the Add-a-Trail form. If you’ve never added a trail before, you will first need to register, but don’t worry. It’s free, easy and safe. You will occasionally get blog post notifications, but you can opt out of that if you’d like. Once you’ve registered, you can begin adding trails.  In addition to describing your favorite trail, you have the options of adding photos, adding links and adding a trail map. It’s this last feature that just got drastically improved. Adding a map is now quick and easy. If you record your trail rides on a GPS (such as Garmin) or using an app on your smart phone, you can have the GPX and/or KML files sent to you via an email. Once you get this file, just save or drag it onto your computer. It may automatically go to your downloads file. When you are in the Add-a-Trail form on Trailsnet, just scroll down to where it says Trail map (GPX/KML). Click on the ADD

Click on ADD FILE Button

Click on ADD FILE Button

FILE button. Then just drag your GPX file into the Select File box on the screen or click on the Select Files button and select the GPX file from your computer. Once you do this and complete the Add-a-Trail form, Trailsnet will automatically create a trail map that will appear on the new trail page. It may sound convoluted, but give it a try. It’s really quite simple and intuitive.

Select GPX File

Select GPX File

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/10/28/make-trail-maps-gpx-files-trailsnet/

Oct 25

Orange Screw Outdoor Product Review

Orange Screw Ground Anchor

ground anchor

Orange Screw

How many campers does it take to screw in a ground anchor? It’s not just a corny joke, and it’s not just for camping. Very few outdoor products are as versatile as the Orange Screw ground anchor. Not only can you use it for securing your tent to the ground but you can also use it for many other purposes throughout your outdoor adventure; and then, you can use it once you get home too!!

What is the Orange Screw Ground Anchor

Orange Screw

Ground Anchor

In case you’ve gotten this far in the post and still have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain. So for starters, if you still haven’t figured out what a ground anchor is, think about tent stakes. They are very rudimentary ground anchors used for one specific purpose. The Orange Screw can function as a tent stake… and so much more. It can be used to hold things down, secure them in place or even to tether animals such as dogs, horses or rowdy sloths. (If you decide to name your next rock band The Rowdy Sloths, please remember where you got the idea.) To help you visualize (in case the attached photos aren’t enough), the Orange Screw is (spoiler alert) orange, corkscrew-shaped, about a foot tall (comes in two sizes) and has an open eye at the top. Even the open eye has many uses.

How Can You Use the Orange Screw?

ground anchor

Bike Tether

Here are just some of the ways you can use the Orange Screw ground anchor:

  • secure your tent to the ground
  • tether an otherwise stray animal
  • lock your bicycles in place
  • secure tarps and other materials from blowing away
  • secure lawn/camping chairs
  • secure awnings at home or in campgrounds
  • secure a trampoline (I wish I would have had this six years ago before my daughter’s trampoline starred in Gone With the Wind.)

    Secure Bike to Ground

  • secure outdoor holiday decorations & those kitschy blow-up things that sprout in people’s yards around Halloween and Christmas time

Easy to Use Ground Anchor

If you’re a seasoned camper, you’ve had this experience. You set up your tent and needed to stake it down so that it didn’t blow away in the wind or get carried away by thieving chipmunks. So you pull out the standard aluminum stakes, attach them to your tent tethers (as in Tom ties tent tethers tautly.), then find a flat rock to pound the aluminum stakes into the solid granite slab known as the earth. Then nearby campers are treated to following sounds of nature:

ground anchor

Tent Anchor

  1. Whap!! The sound of rock hitting aluminum.
  2. Shkroich!!  The sound of aluminum hitting solid bedrock.
  3. Schkoing. The sound of aluminum bending.
  4. Splat. The sound of finger smashing between tent stake and rock.
  5. AyeCarribaPendooty!! The sound of you attempting to curse in a language you are .0015% fluent in so as not to soil the ears of your children who by now are hiding behind a tree due to both fear and embarrassment.
  6. Hee-chitter-haw-chatter-ho. The sound of thieving chipmunks laughing at you.

If only you had the Orange Screw ground anchor, you would have instead heard the satisfied sigh of a happy camper as he/she:

ground tether

Outdoor Furniture Tether

  1. Held the Orange Screw pointy end to the ground.
  2. Twisted in a clockwise direction.
  3. Inserted the clear plastic sleeve into the round eye at the top of the Orange Screw.
  4. Continued twisting until the screw was securely in the ground or you hit oil Jed-Clampett-style.
  5. Secured tether lines to Orange Screw in one of three handy openings at the top.
  6. Went for a bike ride.

What I Like About the Orange Screw

outdoor tether

Orange Screw Ground Anchor

As you can tell, I like lists. So here’s my final list of the things I like about the Orange Screw:

  • catchy name
  • made of recycled plastic
  • made in the good old U.S. of A.
  • easy to use
  • versatile
  • sturdy
  • lightweight
  • easy to pack and store
  • perfect color for securing outdoor Halloween decorations
Orange Screw ground anchor outdoor product review

Secure Holiday Decorations

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/10/25/orange-screw-outdoor-product-review/

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