Contador has all but secured the yellow jersey, Lance has agreed to come in second…BORING! It’s time to trade in your road bikes for a real bike…your first Mountain Bike. I’ve put together a short list of essential tips and gear to get you started on your new outdoors adventure.
- Find a trusty bike shop. You want to find a shop where you can trust the advice of the sales people. If they’ve got dirt in their teeth, helmet matted hair, and gnarly pedal bites on their shins then you’re good to go. Lake Tahoe’s Olympic Bike Shop is a great place to go for some good advice and good deals.
- Helmet – When you’re flying down a single track mountain road, you better have a helmet on because those attacking tree branches, slippery roots, and pesky boulders can come out of nowhere. You never want to go over the handlebars…especially if you’re not wearing a helmet.
Clothing – some of you might like the hi-tech vibrant colored outfits seen in le Tour, but mountain biking has it’s own line of functional fashion designed to get you down the mountain safely and fast. When you’re touring through the Alps, off-road of course, be sure to grab the Fox Live Wire jersey and some Endura Hummvee shorts for ultimate comfort and style.
Shin pads – when you’re just getting started, it’s not a bad idea to pick up some shin pads to protect your delicate fib and tib when your foot slips off the pedal at 20mph flying down hill. Forget the shin pads and yeah you’ll have some cool scars, but is the pain really worth it?
- Pick what’s right for your needs. There are a bunch of different frames out there, and you’ll never know which one is right for you until you try them all, or at least a few of them. Find a shop that will let you rent a bike for the day so you can know if you like their style. Each manufacturer has subtle differences, so the more you get that hands on experience, the more comfortable you’ll feel with your final pick.
Road bikers…no hard feelings. I’m just jealous that you can ride 100+ miles in a day, and do it day after day after day.
Race photo courtesy of tonylanciabeta/creative commons