As a result of the liberty of the open highway is a bit more sophisticated when bikes are concerned
A highway journey together with your mountain bike can simply be the spotlight of your yr—exploring new trails, experiencing a brand new place and doing all of it together with your finest using buddies. What may go fallacious? Properly, based mostly on my expertise, fairly a number of issues. Fortunately (for you), after spending the final three years dwelling in a van and touring with my bike full-time, I’ve made the total gamut of potential errors (plus a pair seemingly unattainable ones) and realized some priceless classes.
Listed below are 9 basic errors, and recommendations on the best way to keep away from them to make sure your subsequent bike journey is stuffed with singletrack, smiles and high-fives.
1. Planning an Overly Bold Schedule after which Sticking to it Relentlessly
You wish to cowl as a lot distance as potential so you’ll be able to journey ALL the paths. Ambition is nice and all, however for those who construct an excessive amount of driving and too many logistics into your itinerary, you would possibly miss out on the perfect components of highway tripping together with your buddies: having fun with a chilly one on the trailhead post-ride or staying up as late swapping tales across the campfire. Okay, possibly the using is definitely the perfect half, however after an enormous day on the bike, a 6 a.m. wake-up name to drive to the following vacation spot may be asking a bit a lot of the crew.
Methods to Keep away from: Construct in some leisure time. A ride-free afternoon to hit up the native swimming gap or stroll by a close-by city can go a great distance towards retaining morale excessive. And even with a lighter schedule, be sure to’re staying versatile and open to some spontaneity. Don’t be the individual dragging everybody off to the following spot when there’s an surprising path to discover or a surreal sundown to pause and revel in.
2. Being Ailing-Ready to Take care of Mechanicals
When you’re a severe sufficient rider to plan a visit round mountain biking, you in all probability have the fundamentals lined: You possibly can repair a flat, change a damaged shifter cable and kind out different minor hiccups. However over the course of your much-anticipated journey, lots can—and in my expertise, will—go fallacious. Add an enormous crew to the combo and the chances that one thing a bit extra essential will get damaged go up considerably. There’s nothing worse than shelling out huge cash for a element you have got mendacity round your storage simply in an effort to end your journey. Worse but, sure components which can be particular to your bike, like derailleur hangers, may be arduous if not unattainable to search out—a doubtlessly trip-ending drawback.
Methods to Keep away from: Convey no matter spare components you have got out there and may simply slot in your automobile. Having backups readily available cannot solely prevent some cash—you’ll additionally keep away from losing time looking for a motorbike store that has what you want. Think about touring with the next components in tow:
- An additional derailleur hanger (these are low cost however particular to your bike and may go away you excessive and dry if the native store doesn’t carry your model)
- A sequence
- A shifter cable
- A spare tire or two
Further Credit score: You probably have a second bike that’s not making the journey, and its wheels are suitable with the one that’s coming, a backup set of hoops is rarely a foul thought, particularly if in case you have a historical past of smashing rocks at excessive pace.
three. Forgetting to Prep Your Automobile
Think about your automobile breaks down en path to that epic journey. Or it will get caught in deep sand on the trailhead. Otherwise you kill the battery by blasting pump up music to begin your journey and there are not any different automobiles inside a 10-mile radius. Or possibly you lock the keys inside throughout all of the kerfuffle of on the point of journey. All of those are very believable situations which have both occurred to me, or to folks I do know, and so they can actually put a damper in your journey plans.
Methods to Keep away from: If it’s a must to be towed from someplace additional inconvenient, say 10 miles up a dust highway right into a Nationwide Forest, you’re going to pay a hefty worth. To (hopefully) keep away from that expensive tow, have a hide-a-key stashed someplace in your automobile, and an emergency package with issues like a restoration strap and an exterior battery charger (like these, beginning at round $60 bucks). These easy and pretty cheap measures can actually save the day.
four. Counting on Out-Of-Date Maps (and Not Searching for Out Native Beta)
This error can have outcomes starting from bummer—lacking out on candy new trails that aren’t in your outdated map—to catastrophic—by chance discovering three hours right into a journey forest fireplace worn out the path you have been planning on taking to finish your loop, bushwhacking for 5 hours and having to refill your hydration pack in a stream to keep away from extreme dehydration. Not that I’m talking from private expertise or something.
Methods to Keep away from: Reap the benefits of MTB Project, REI’s community-built path useful resource for mountain bikers. Use the web site forward of time to get a lay of the land, see how different riders have ranked trails and discover out about potential closures and present circumstances. Then, obtain MTB Mission’s free cellular app (iOS/Android) for simple on-trail navigation and beta—even once you’re out of cell service. Even for those who suppose the web has answered all of your trail-related questions, it’s at all times a good suggestion to pop into a neighborhood bike store and get the beta from actual dwell human beings. Hey, possibly you’ll even get invited on a store journey and the locals will present you the goodies!
5. Ignoring the Climate Forecast
There’s no technique to management the climate, in fact, however some issues are a reasonably good wager. Moab in July shall be hotter than the floor of the solar. Scotland in January shall be chilly and moist AF. Just about something above 10,000 ft within the Rockies may spell bother after mid-October or earlier than mid-June. It (normally) rains lots within the PNW. There’s nothing worse than lacking out on an space’s bountiful trails since you picked the fallacious time of yr to go to or packed the fallacious package.
Methods to Keep away from: Plan, plan, plan forward. MTB Mission space pages function month-to-month local weather averages that may provide help to simply rule out places based mostly on predictable components (try Sedona, for instance). Does your crew wilt within the warmth or get actually whiny each time it rains? Take that into consideration. Past that, be sure to have some backup plans in place, in case snow within the mountains (or forest fires, or flooding, or no matter) ruins Plan A. And for those who’re going someplace notoriously chilly, moist or in any other case inclement, be certain your complete squad has the gear they should keep dry, heat and stoked.
6. Overestimating Your (or Your Associates’) Health Stage
You haven’t ridden all winter however you actually wish to do a spring Moab trip? You solely have 4 days, however you simply HAVE to journey the Complete Enchilada, Cap’n Ahab, Magazine 7 and doubtless Slickrock as properly, simply trigger? And also you would possibly as properly hit up Grand Junction or Fruita en route. In spite of everything, YOLO. Right here’s the factor, although: What’s the purpose of using all these trails for those who’re depressing (and all your mates wish to kill you) by Day three? Not pacing your self (or taking into consideration your using buddy’s health degree) is a surefire approach break the vibe of an excellent journey. You recognize what they are saying about an excessive amount of of an excellent factor…
Methods to Keep away from: In case your health isn’t up for 5 stable days of pedaling, plan your highway journey round bike parks or locations with legendary shuttle rides, the place you’ll be able to take full benefit of gravity and provides your self a better day. Or, refer again to Tip #1 and simply be sincere with your self: Plan on taking some relaxation days the place you hang around on the lake or try the native downtown.
7. Underestimating How A lot Water You Want
If you’re highway tripping together with your bike, your regular pre-ride routines shall be a bit out of sync, and it’s approach too straightforward to finish up on the trailhead able to shred, however oops, your hydration pack is drier than the desert you have been planning on exploring. Your cooler stuffed with beer was an important thought, however it received’t provide help to on this situation.
Methods to Keep away from: Pack a 5 gallon *emergency* jug of water in your trunk so that you don’t have to consider water once you’re in get-to-the-trail mode. 5 gallons will fill your packs a number of occasions (in addition to refilling your water bottles a number of occasions whilst you’re driving so you’ll be able to keep away from getting dehydrated through the lengthy miles between rides). Preserving an excellent water filter readily available can also be an important thought as a result of you’ll be able to reap the benefits of close by streams or lakes until, in fact, you’re actually within the desert.
eight. Working Out of Meals on a Lengthy Drive
A detailed cousin to mistake #7, not having a stash of highway journey munchies can actually kill your squad’s vibe. Belief me: You do not need to be caught within the automobile with a crew of hangry mountain bikers. Positive, you may gas your complete highway journey on rooster nuggets and gasoline station snacks, however chances are high everybody shall be happier for those who’ve acquired some wholesome eats inside arm’s attain.
Methods to Keep away from: Only a few hours of meals prep earlier than your departure will make a world of distinction. A few of my favourite easy-to-make automobile snacks embrace breakfast burritos, baked potatoes, rice cakes like these from Skratch Labs, and selfmade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
9. Breaking Your self on the First Day
A severe harm is a surefire to break a mountain bike highway journey. Everyone knows somebody who broke their collarbone their first day in Whistler. The hot button is retaining that “somebody” from being you. Many a mountain bike highway journey has resulted in tears as a result of Jerry simply couldn’t skip the drop everybody else was hitting. Don’t be Jerry.
Methods to Keep away from: Bear in mind it’s a visit, not a race. The aim is to expertise new locations and trails, not be quickest down the hill. Know your limits (and know that now’s possibly not the time to experiment). Invite pals who know their very own boundaries—as a result of, on the path, their issues are yours, too. Using with Jerry is all enjoyable and video games once you’re a five-minute drive from the ER, however he might not be the pal you need with you deep within the backcountry. If all else fails, be sure to’ve packed a quality first aid kit.