Category Archives: News

The Classic Garment Pannier is a practical bag for all your gear.

A garment pannier that will keep clothes presentable on the ride

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier may be the perfect travel bag for a bicyclists. Especially when packing dressier clothes for the commute to work or touring. If your next trip requires posher duds for that special event or evening attire, Two Wheel Gear has you covered. This pannier is roomy, with a universal attachment system that fits any standard bike rack. When space is needed for a suit this pannier works perfect for both the touring cyclist and the business professional. If dress attire is not a prerequisite the space is flexible enough to keep all your gear neat and organized.

The content in this carry-on luggage will fit into the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier.

Here the content in this carry-on luggage all fits into the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier below.

The items in the luggage case above comfortably fits into the Classic Garment Pannier , with room fr a sports jacket and a laptop.

Items transferred from the carry-on luggage and comfortably lay in the Classic pannier with a sports jacket and  laptop included.

For me the pannier works well when exploring a new destination to write about or biking to a power meeting. See the video on this multi-functional pannier. With this bag there are less chances of the clothes wrinkling when secure in the pannier. For meetings, with the Two Wheel Gear’s Classic I can safely pack my laptop, presentation boards and promotional material. As the perfect all-in-one luggage bag this pannier also meets airline carry-on requirements. Plus, in the satchel position with the shoulder strap, it’s easy to carry.

The Classic Garment Pannier in its satchel position meets the the airline requirements for carry-on..

The Two Wheel Gear’s Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier, in its satchel position, meets airline requirements for carry-on.

The key features of the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier 

For the daily commute or a multi-day bike trip the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is a great addition to any cyclist’s inventory of gear. With several compartments in the bag, organizing everything you need to shower and change for a productive day at the office or on a trip is a breeze.

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier comes with a clip on bag with a highly visible waterproof cover.

This Classic Garment Pannier comes with a clip on bag to store the highly visible waterproof cover.

The Two Wheel Gear universal mounting system

With the universal mounting clips on the bottom side of the panniers makes it a snap to clip the bag onto the rear rack. That is all that is required to easily mount the Classic Garment Pannier (see video).

Here the Classic's highly visible and waterproof cover protects the pannier from wet weather and road slush.

Here the Classic’s highly visible and waterproof cover protects the pannier from wet weather and road residue.

Waterproof, high visibility cover

In a clip-on pouch, the Classic’s cover will keep your gear dry in wet weather conditions. Using the neon green cover with reflective silver accents over the panniers also adds additional visibility to the bike. A helpful tip: If the pavement is wet and the bike lacks wheel fenders consider using a  sheet of plastic material over the bike rack before securing the bag. This will act like as a guard helping to repel moisture away from the underside of the pannier.

The panniers exterior offer reflective material and straps to attach blinking lights for more visibility.

The Two Wheel Gear panniers exterior offer reflective material and straps to attach a blinking light for more visibility.

Plus a padded sleeve for a laptop

Everything about this Two Wheel Gear bag is durable and high quality. Even the zippers to several compartments will help keep things organized. The bag also has a 15″ padded sleeve compartment designed for a laptop. This allows me the opportunity to leave my computer bag at home and use more of the Classic’s all-in-one features.

I recently spent some time in Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was Trek of Philadelphia’s Doughnut Ride.

Planning a casual doughnut ride for you and your friends

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Over the weekend I spent some time in the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was Trek of Philadelphia’s Doughnut Ride. I was reminded of the joys of simple rides and good company, rather than difficult efforts and  a competitive pace.

The Doughnut Ride

We left the shop at 7:30 a.m. with a group of eight. Our bikes were a mishmash of road bikes, commuter rigs, a single speed and an e-bike. When we departed the shop and headed toward center city, it was immediately clear the pace would be conversational. Our cruise headed out on the river drive bike path, through Fairmount Park, and toward center city. Rather than stay on the path, we crossed the falls bridge and onto West River Drive. On the weekends, Philadelphia closes West River Drive so we had our run of the entire roadway. After a bit of riding and a lot of talking, we found ourselves at the end of West River Drive and at the base of the Art Museum.

At the Art Museum our ride began to slip through the surrounding neighborhoods until we reached our hallowed destination – Federal Doughnuts.

After stuffing our face with warm doughnuts we hopped back on our bikes. Full of sugar and fat, we made our way back to the bike shop along the same route. Ultimately, the ride took a little under two hours, including the time eating. Everyone had fun, the conversation was great, and we all got the chance to meet new people.

Why this ride works

The ride was great because the pace and route are clearly stated in advance. Therefore, everyone knew what to expect and where to go. The route itself was carefully chosen to promote great conversation and a casual pace. By including traffic free paths and streets and a casual destination, every rider could enjoy the trip stress free. Additionally, the pace is controlled by the ride’s start time. As an example, a competitive minded rider has a list of fast paced rides leaving on Saturday morning, so there would be no need to come to the Doughnut Ride to try and get a killer workout with so many other options. From start to finish, this ride is a winner.

How to plan your own ride

If you already lead rides for a local club or shop, than setting up a casual ride should be easy for you. If this is your first attempt at leading an organized ride, than there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, you want people to be at your ride! To make sure you have attendees, start talking about and advertising (if you’re working with a local club or shop) a minimal of two weeks in advance. Also, make sure all your information explains the pace as well as the payoff (in this case doughnuts) for your ride to build interest. Finally, make sure your route is friendly to a group of riders. As an example, I’ve been on a few rides that required riders too be single file almost the entire time due to narrow roadways. in contrast, the Doughnut ride promoted conversation with wide paths and clear roads.

Ready for his tenth annual used bike sale, Rick Anderson has over 400 bikes primed to ride for your #nextbikeadventure

Apple Valley used bike sale benefits Kids ‘n Kinship Youth Program

Are you looking for a gently used bike? If you are and you are in the south Twin City Metro on Saturday May 12th, you may be in luck. For his tenth annual used bike sale, that benefits a kid’s you program, Rick Anderson has over 400 bicycles primed and ready for that #NextBikeAdventure.

Rick Anderson with a wide assortment of gently used bikes ready for the sale in Apple Valley, this Saturday.

Bike sale details

The public bike sale will be held Saturday May 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at
Goodyear Superior Service Center, at 14580 Glenda Drive, Apple Valley, MN (Located at the Red
Line’s 147th Street bus stop.)

There are models for all ages and skill levels, including some top-quality cycles from Trek,
Specialized, Cannondale, Schwinn, Raleigh, Giant, and Fuji. There will be road bikes, mountain
bikes, cross bikes, city bikes, cruisers, hybrids, BMX, vintage, classics and even a recumbent tandem. With 400 bikes for sale, they will range in price from $30 to $500 dollars.  Much more
information and a map to the sale are at www.ricksbikesale.com.

Used Bike Sale Benefits Youth Program

The bikes generally sell fast. Anderson recommends arriving promptly at 9 a.m.. Monetary
donations to Kids ‘n Kinship and DARTS will be accepted on site. Anyone who purchases a bike
can register to win one of two $25 gift certificates for Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant in Apple
Valley.

For additional information about the Kids ‘n Kinship mentoring program, visit
www.Kidsnkinship.org . For additional information about DARTS, visit https://www.darts1.org/

For More information see .

The Dakota County Kids ‘n Kinship is a private non-profit organization that matches children who have a need for an additional supportive relationship with carefully screened adult volunteers. Once a match is made, volunteers spend 1-4 hours per week with the child. Typical activities might include picnicking, attending sporting events, sharing interests or going to the movies.

AA great destination for a bike adventure riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway.

An endless bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway of Minnesota

by Andrew Ellis

Take a deep breath as you grip your handlebars and prepare for a bike adventure in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. You will feel as if you’re deep in the country. As this north metro community area borders the Mississippi River Trail it can be your personal playground while visiting.

When in the area you can: stop and fish; play a round of disc golf; go birding; travel through a chain of lakes by bike or canoe; or explore one of the many parks. You can even satisfy your inner sports fan by visiting the National Sports Center, with a velodrome track.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway for a some fishing.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway if wetting a line and catching some fish are a part of  your agenda.

The Twin Cities Gateway is made up of nine different bike-friendly communities: Anoka; Blaine;, Coon Rapids; Fridley; Ham Lake; Lino Lakes; Mounds View; New Brighton; and Shoreview. All unique in their own way they all offering relaxed small town-type atmospheres with plenty to do, perfect for anyone looking to get away and only minutes from the big city.

A friendly bike adventure get-away

The Twin Cities Gateway is just a short drive, or an easy commute by bike from Minneapolis or St Paul. Another major feature is the Mississippi River Trail  (MRT) following the rivers edge in three of the nine Getaway communities: Anoka; Coon Rapids; and Fridley. Plus the other six Gateway Cities have bike friendly roads and trails that lead to the MRT for a bike adventure.

After riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway enjoying a cold beverage with friends is a great way to seal the ride.

After riding the trails and bike friendly roads enjoy a cold beverage with friends at the Hammer Heart Brewery, it’s a great way to seal the ride.

 Mississippi River Trail (MRT)

The MRT starts at the headwaters of  Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and passes through the Twin Cities Gateway before flowing into the Gulf, at the mouth of the river in Venice, Louisiana. While riding along the river in the Gateway communities you’ll pass many opportunities for site-seeing, so make sure your camera is fully charged.

Other Off-Road Trails and Parks

You can take the Rum River Regional Trail down to where it meets the MRT, maybe stopping in historic downtown Anoka along the way? There is also the scenic trails in Bunker Hills Regional Park offering heavily wooded and prairie flower landscapes. Or, take the thrilling Coon Creek Regional Trail that connects to the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and the MRT.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway for a round of disc golf.

Stop along the trail, in several of the parks in the Twin Cities Gateway for a round of disc golf.

For a more extensive rides you can also explore the trails along the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. Or, take the Rice Creek West Regional Trail back to the Mississippi River. This trail passes through Long Lake Park which has several trails that take you by the park’s namesake and Rush Lake. Another option are the trails in the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park which is filled to the brim and full of beautiful scenery as you switch from one trail to the next.

National Sports Center

If you’re tired of riding trails and want more of a challenge, check out the velodrome at the National Sports Center, in Blaine. The wooden track is open to the public every Thursday for single speed fun. The season begins in late spring and through the summer. Check out their website for more details.

For more info take a look at the At-A-Glance TC Gateway article

Now that you are considering an adventure to the Twin Cities Gateway, also check out our HaveFunBiking  At-A-Glance Twin Cities Gateway Article. Here you will find more details on where to stay, play, and explore this nine city area. Great for planning and to link to your your hand-held devise, for guaranteed fun.

It's Saturday, you know what that means! Miles of Smiles Saturday is here again! This is the last weekend of March! April is quickly approaching!

Making your next group ride fun and safe with these tips

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

As you get your bike ready for summer, before heading out on a group ride, it is a good idea to brush up on your local traffic laws. Bicycles are given the same rights and requirements as cars in most municipalities. This becomes even more important as you ride in a group. Be cognizant of stopping at all traffic lights, stop signs, and crosswalks. Ride with the flow of traffic in a manner that is as safe and predictable as possible.

Group ride rules

What to expect on your group ride – Know the rules!

Group rides are typically categorized by speed and distance. If you are joining a ride, investigate the route and ensure that the group will be riding at a speed you can manage. In the case where you are organizing a group ride with friends, it is helpful to share the route and expected speed with all riders beforehand. Additionally,  many rides are categorized as “No-Drop” rides. A  “No-Drop” ride is one where everyone rides together for the duration of the ride. If a ride is not categorized as “No-Drop” the group is under no expectation to wait for riders who cannot keep up.

As a side note for people putting together their own rides with friends. Try to find riders who are all about the same level of fitness and have similar interests. Similar interests help foster great conversation and similar fitness maintains the group connection.

It’s not a race

The best part of a group ride is the shared experience of rolling through the countryside together. Whereas there are some group rides designed to see who is king of the mountain. But most are designed to use the strengths of a group to add to safety and efficiency. Trying to go at full speed and drop all those around you will only do damage to a great group ride and freindships.

Hold your line

group ride turning

In a group ride, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and those around you. Those around you are also responsible for your safety. Consider the group before You make decisions or change direction. While riding solo, you naturally carve through the apex of a turn to maximize speed and maintain momentum. In a group, you cannot cut the corner like this. You need to offer as much space as the rider to the right or left of you needs to complete the turn.

Ride close

group ride two by two

Ride to the right. Two by two.

This is probably the most important tip for riding in a group. Ride two by two, side by side as close to the other riders as you and they feel comfortable with. By riding in this formation, you can be more efficient while still allowing traffic to move seamlessly around you.

Give warning

Unless you are first in line, you can’t see what obstacles may be coming down the road. As the rider up front it is your responsibility to let the riders behind you know if the group encounters grates, potholes, other riders, pedestrians or automobiles. Usually a simple hand signal will work, a quick waive of the hand lets riders behind you know what’s happening. As a rider who is following, it is requisite of you to signal to riders behind you the signals you see ahead. You can call out the obstacle but in many cases the riders behind you may not hear your voice.

Ride confidently and sSafely

As you ride with a group more and more, natural confidence and comfort will develop. Stay alert, as you become more comfortable in the group it’s possible to lose focus on yourself and those around you. Always remember to pay attention and follow the tips above.

The 2018 Minnesota Bike Guide is here to help you plan your next bike adventure.

The 2018 MN Bike/Hike Guide is ready for planning your next bike adventure

The spring edition of the MN Bike Guide is here, just in time, as the temperatures warm. Page through the 2018 Guide and rediscover the trails and scenic country roads in Minnesota. Now in our ninth year of publishing the guide we have added several more bike friendly destinations in Minnesota. Also, find many bike event listings to help you to make the most of your 2018 bike season.

The 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide is here to help you plan your next bike adventure.

Sponsored  by AAA, The 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide is here to help you plan your next bike adventure.

In the latest issue, along with many bike maps, you will find plenty of helpful tip sheets to keep you riding comfortably as you explore the state on your bike. From southern Minnesota (including Albert Lea, Root River Trail and Winona) to several twin city locations and then up to the northern section of the state, you will find over 40 maps in this edition.

Plus, we have added several product pages in the bike guide to make cycling more pleasant.

The MN Bike Guide is perfect when on the go

In addition to our very popular print guide, this mobile-friendly edition is easy to access on your mobile device. We hope you will embed the link to your mobile phone or tablet and take us with you when you are on the go.

Share the guide with your friends

Once you’ve gone through the guide, please share the link with friends and like us on Facebook so others take advantage of the information. You can even plan group trips and make memories together that will last a lifetime.

If you would like to get a printed copy, please go to one of the AAA locations, on the maps and pick one up. You can also order a copy of the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, for $5 to cover postage and handling, by clicking the link here to get order instructions. Enjoy

In Minnesota's lake country, the Heartland Trail Area never lacks when it comes to outdoor recreational activities. Discover many fond memories pedaling the trails and attending festival scheduled throughout the summer here. 

Enjoy Minnesota’s forest and lake features on the Heartland Trail

by Hayley Spalding

In the heart of Minnesota’s lake country is the Heartland Trail that never lacks when it comes to fun outdoor recreational activities. Throughout the seasons, spending time visiting family and friends in the Park Rapids area I have had many fond memories. In the spring, you will find a color dash of trail riding as our feathered friends return. Then as the weather warms making it comfortable the wear shorts, pedal to many outdoor festival scheduled throughout the summer. In the fall you will find many gravel road riding opportunities. Before the season turns once again to winter’s prime  activities, including cross country skiing and fat biking. It’s always fun here in the Heartland.

Riding the Heartland Trail out of Park Rapids

Riding the Heartland Trail out of Park Rapids in the fall is a picturesque experience

Exploring Park Rapids

Each year people spend time on the beach, pedal the Heartland Trail or discover Itasca State Park. If shopping is your thing  a stroll downtown on their quaint Main Street is another option. It’s fun to window shop through the old fashioned stores fronts, where parking is never an issue. Cars are allowed to park in the middle of the street and getting downtown by bike is easy. What I find most appealing, is the community itself. It has small town charm and little quirks that makes it appealing to people of all ages, whether they are into riding a bike or not.

Where to Bike

The Park Rapids area, offers fun opportunities for both the recreation trail rider and the touring cyclist, with:

The Heartland State Trail

This 49 mile paved trail system starts in Park Rapids on the west side. Then connects with the Paul Bunyan Trail as it passes through Walker, before ending in Cass Lake. A multi-recreational trail system the Heartland Trail is open for biking, hiking and other trail uses. Parts of the trail also has a parallel grass track alongside for runners. Heartland trail, meandering past shaded pathways that pass alongside several lakes, offers cyclists plenty to see.

Shorter rides on the Heartland

A mileage marker on the Heartland Trail

A mileage marker on the Heartland Trail

The Heartland trail is used by a variety of people from serious cyclists to leisurely riders and everyone in between. For those who prefer a shorter distance rather than the full 49 miles. consider biking to Dorset, the “Restaurant Capital of the World. Its about five miles out-and-back from Park Rapids. Riding from Park Rapids to Nevis and back is around 15 miles. This will allow you a chance to see the World’s Largest Tiger Muskie. No matter how far you bike on this State Trail, you will find a welcoming community and a Loon calling out to greet you.

Stopping in Nevis for a selfie

Stopping in Nevis for a selfie

Bike Itasca State Park

About ten miles up the highway from Park Rapids is another place for trail riding. This State Park, known for the Headwaters of the Mississippi River and Historic Douglas Lodge offers 16 miles of paved bike trails. The rolling trails in the park winds through virgin pine forests that meander around a couple lakes, fun for the whole family. For a full bicycle tour of the park the Wilderness Drive, shared with motorists, adds an additional 10 miles to your ride. For those into road riding, at the Headwaters parking lot, the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) begins its journey to New Orleans.

At the Headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park

Start your journey at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, in Itasca State Park.

Gravel and road touring options

Besides a road trip out of Itasca State Park on the MRT, the Park Rapids area also offers a network of bike-friendly roads so you can explore the Heartlands countryside. See more with MnDOT’s county bike map, of Hubbard County.

For more information on visiting the Park Rapids Area see our HaveFunBiking At-A-Glance article on Park Rapids. Also check out our information and maps for mountain biking in the Walker Area.

Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

Bike commuting necessities and niceties to make your ride great

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike commuting is an easy way to add miles, increase fitness, jump start your energy level for the day while enjoying nature, especially with warmer weather finally here. Once you start commuting by bike you will find the hassle factor lessen while your overall trip acts as your workout for the day. Saving you hours in the gym. Here is a list of  several other beneficial necessities to make commuting by bike that much more enjoyable.

Bike Commuting Necessities

While commuting by bike, there are very few items you need to have to get started. Ultimately, the only thing that you actually have to have is a bike. However, for added comfort and safety here is a list of items that will make your ride safer and a few items that will make easier to function at work or class properly once you are there. Past functioning, you need to stay safe on the bike also, so I consider all these things necessities.

Helmets

First and foremost a helmet is the most important product you can buy after the bike. While typically, self-preservation keeps us upright on our bike, while commuting we need to consider there is a vast amount of others actions we need to protect our self from. Now that you’re commuting, wearing a helmet isn’t just a logical safety choice, but can be very comfortable. Read here to learn how helmets protect you better, have become lighter, fit better, and are more comfortable than ever before.

Lights

While the helmet is a key safety product, it is not the only important one. Lights, no matter if it is day or night or your level of bike riding skill, are essential to make sure you have the safest ride possible. Additionally, sometimes when you’re riding in conditions without optimal visibility, you need a little added illumination. That’s where proper lighting comes in.

Locks

When commuting, you can’t be with your bike at all times. You’ll have leave it unattended for extended periods of time, which make it susceptible to theft. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help protect it. Here’s some info on the different kinds of bike locks, and other tips to ensure your bike’s safety.

Waterproof Bag

Being caught in the rain is not a possibility when commuting, it is an inevitability. In order to protect your possessions, invest in a waterproof bag. For example, a messenger bag made with a PVC liner can easily carry all your stuff, and keep them dry. For riders looking to carry their things on the bike, there are plenty of waterproof panniers available.

Bike Commuting Niceties

The following items aren’t a necessity for commuting, but make your trip quicker and more comfortable.

Shoes and pedals

Most riders look at clipless pedals as a competitive advantage only, but nothing could be farther from the truth. When riding a bicycle, few things are as effective as clipless pedals and cycling shoes. There is a simple equation that always holds true: control = comfort. In the quest for more control of your bicycle, secure your feet in place on the pedal. By doing this, you can use muscles more efficiently, be connected to your bicycle more directly, and relieve excessive strain on your feet. Read here to see how easy it is to learn to ride “clipless”.

Rain gear

The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. A jacket and pants are a great way to start, but socks and gloves make the outfit complete. In their most basic form, a lot of materials are waterproof, but as soon as they are perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Cycling shorts

Shorts come in all shapes and sizes. Tight shorts are popular because they offer great comfort as well as unencumbered movement around the bicycle. Baggy shorts are very popular for their casual look and advent of pockets. There are even cycling skirts (called skorts) that offer excellent comfort and great off the bike look. Whatever short you decide on, the padding will make your ride more comfortable.

Fenders

Fenders are a standard option for many. They are light, sturdy, and keep you dry when riding in wet conditions. If you don’t want to keep them on your bike at all times, snap on style fenders are available, while a more permenant option is a bolt on fender.

Studded Tires

Like winter tires for your car, there are also studded tires available for your bike. They usually have a few hundred carbide metal studs inserted in the tire to give you traction in icy conditions. These tires are typically twice as heavy as a non-studded version so be sure to use them only when necessary.

Bike commuting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while traveling to and from school or work. It is an excellent form of exercise that will give you better attention, higher energy levels, and some free time to critically think without major distraction.

Kid’s Mountain Bikes: Tips and Tricks to Get Them on The Trail

by John Brown,

I love riding my Mountain bike and want to share that love with my boys. I am dedicating weekends to teach them to love mountain biking too. The sense of freedom and excitement it gives me has been amazing to experience through their eyes. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Kid’s Mountain bikes

Dozens of companies produce kid’s mountain bikes. They often have suspension, brakes and gears similar to adult versions. The kids bikes usually have either 20″ or 24″ wheels that will determine the overall bike size. Be sure to find the right size at your local bike shop.

Teach to shift

One big difference between riding around the neighborhood and on trails is the need to shift quickly and frequently. Most kid’s mountain bikes have between six and 21 gears with the higher gears being used on pavement and the lower gears for off road conditions. By teaching your kid how and where to shift appropriately they will be more comfortable while riding over varying trail conditions. I find it’s easy to teach this on the sidewalks around your neighborhood. Have your child ride down the sidewalk in one gear, then shift to an easier gear and ride on the grass. By shifting between gears and conditions, kids can get a great feel for how the gears work.

Teach to brake

Stopping on kid’s mountain bikes is about balancing two things; stopping power and control. Most brakes can easily produce enough stopping power to skid the wheels, but when the wheels skid, you lose control. I found an easy way to teach this balance is to find a short but steep hill with a clear run-out at the bottom. Stand at the bottom of the hill as a safety precaution and have your kid head down. The first time down, tell them to squeeze the brakes (front and rear) as hard as they can.  On the second trip squeeze a little less and feel the difference. Have them use more front brake or more rear brake on each successive trip. After a little while, they will have a good feel for the way the brakes work.

Standing position

When kids learn to ride a bike they do so sitting down. While sitting is fine for smooth roads, it can become uncomfortable when riding over rocky trails. Try to teach your kid to stand while riding, using your legs to absorb bumps. You want to encourage them to have some bend in their knees and elbows and keep their weight back over the seat. This position lets them absorb all the rough terrain they might encounter.

L-r: Matt Johnson and his sons Jack 10, and Cole, 9, mountain bike in Salem Park in Inver Grove Heights on Sunday June 12, 2011. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Board trick

A fun trick to teach some skills involves nothing other than a board. A 1×6 piece of wood that’s about six feet long works best. All you need to do is set it on the ground and have the kids ride over it. Riding perpendicular helps them work on absorbing impact in the standing position while trying to ride along its length, helps teach control. A great part about the Board trick is that it gives a visual indication of where to ride without any penalty if they can’t stay on.

Up and Over

Once they get comfortable with the standing position you will want to teach them how to get over objects. To start, find an object on the trail that might be challenging for your kid to ride over. Take a minute to show them where to ride to get over it. Have them back up, get a moving start, and take a run at the object. By standing over that object, you can be a safety net in case it doesn’t go to well. Reach out, straighten them out, and congratulate their try. If your trails don’t have a good place to practice this, you can build an obstacle with a pair of two by fours and some lengths of PVC (see picture below).

Short and sweet

Do your best to keep it fun. Pack treats, snacks and drinks and take a lot of breaks. If a section of trail was super fun, turn around and do it again. Keep the pace slow and have fun. If you meet a puppy, stop and pet it. Do anything you can to keep it fun and a big part of that is keeping it short. Rides over an hour can start to wear out new riders, and take some of the joy out of it. And regardless of the duration, be sure to encourage the things they did well.

Bribery

Kids are like politicians, in that they aren’t above bribes. I always take my son for a treat after the ride (our current favorite is a Smoothy from Wendy’s). This Pavlovian exercise can do wonders to reinforce the fun experience that is a mountain bike ride and encouraging the fun is the most important part.

A pair of cycling gloves are one of the few pieces of apparel that make direct contact with both your body and the bicycle.

How to choose the right cycling gloves for miles of pain free riding!

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

A pair of cycling gloves are one of the few pieces of apparel that make direct contact with both your body and the bicycle. They help you maintain proper grip on the bars when things get hot and sweaty, they protect your skin in the case of an accidental dismount, and they can help alleviate soreness and numbness in your hands.

However, like any other type of cycling gear, you can’t just grab any pair of gloves off the shelf. The gloves have to be the perfect fit for you. Below is some information to help you find the right pair.

The importance of cycling gloves to the ulnar nerve

Through the palm of your hand runs a nerve called the ulnar nerve. It’s the nerve responsible for the shock you feel when you hit your funny bone. It’s also responsible for the sensation in your pinkie, ring finger, hands, and any subsequent discomfort when riding. By holding the handlebar, pressure is placed on the ulnar nerve, sometimes creating numbness or pain.

cycling glove ulnar nerve

The ulnar nerve and the critical pressure point

At the location where your hand, the ulnar nerve, and the handlebar make contact is where cycling gloves offer relief. Many gloves include padding on the palm to disperse the force being applied to the Ulnar nerve. The pad acts as a little bridge over the nerve, eliminating hand discomfort, and allowing you endless miles of comfortable riding.

Cycling Gloves Ulnar nerve correction

Ulnar nerve being protected by pad

Finding the Perfect Pair of Cycling Gloves

When trying on cycling gloves, focus on the webbing between your pointer finger and thumb. The webbing will give you a great indication of fit when holding a handlebar. If the glove is snug enough to avoid scrunching up and chaffing, then it’s a good fit. However, if the glove is too tight through the webbing, then holding the bar will only intensify that pressure.

If this is your first time using gloves, realize that holding a bar with gloves will feel different. If it feels like the padding puts your hand in an unnatural position, try on different pairs until you find one that feels more normal.

Cycling gloves come in two major categories; full finger and half finger. Both types offer the same sizing and padding options. For road and path riding half finger gloves work great. They allow for good feel on the controls and manage sweat well. If you are riding off road, a full finger glove offers better protection in case of an accidental dismount.

Cycling Glove types

Half finger and full finger cycling gloves

When you follow the tips above, you should easily be able to find gloves that help you enjoy mile after mile of comfortable riding.

For keeping your gloves clean and stretching there longevity this article.

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