Tag Archives: mountain biking fun

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. So, when you do get caught in the rain, use these bike maintenance tips to protect your equipment.

Quick and easy post bike maintenance tips after riding in the rain

by John Brown

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. In my experience, the rain actually waits for me to get as far from home as possible before starting. So, when you do get caught in the wet weather, how do you protect your bicycle from the damages of water? Read on for a few helpful bike maintenance tips.

The First Step In Bike Maintenance Tips Is Get It Clean!

The first step after a riding in the rain is to get your bike clean. Road grime, mud, and other muck that has accumulated on your bike will hold moisture and encourage corrosion. A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge is the best way to clean out that crud. Try to resist the urge to point a hose at the bike because pressured water gets into bearings promoting wear.

The Second Tip – Get It Dry

Once your bike is clean, use an old towel to get it dry. Rubber parts like tires and grips don’t need a lot of attention, rather focus on all the metal parts. Really try to address the steel hardware and make sure its dry to the touch before you’re done.

Then, Clean The Rims

Unless you have disc brakes, riding in the rain takes a toll on both the rims and brake pads. All the road grime that attaches itself to the rim works like sandpaper, wearing both the rim and the brake pads when you stop. Therefore, after riding in wet weather you will want to focus on getting all that abrasive grime off the rims and pads. If the dirt is left in place, your brakes can start making noise, be less efficient, and wear out quicker.

Lube The Chain

Water and motion will do a good job of scouring all the lubricant off your chain. Additionally, the same road grime that wears rims and brake pads will wear your chain. Additionally, that wear leaves your chain particularly susceptible to rust. To lube your chain, start by propping the bike up so you can rotate the cranks backward freely. Next, Backpedal the bike, while dripping lubricant onto each chain link. Once the chain is well saturated, give a few moments for the lubricant to penetrate the chain. Finally, wrap a rag around the chain, backpedal, and remove all the excess lubricant. Done!

Lube The Cables

Like the chain, cables will lose lubricant and wear quicker in the rain. To keep your bike shifting and braking well, drip a small amount of lubricant onto the cables where they enter the housing. Once capillary action carries a few drops of lubricant into the housing, shift through your gears a few times and squeeze the brakes repeatedly to help the lubricant find it’s way.

Drain The Bike

A bicycle may appear to be sealed from the elements, but it is, in fact, able to take on water when you ride in the rain. The water that collects inside your bicycles frame can destroy bearings, rust a frame from the inside, or freeze in the winter and burst frame tubes. To drain a frame, pull the seat and seat post out of the bike, and turn the bike upside down. Leave the bike for a few hours to drain and then replace the seat and post.

Overall, when servicing your bike after you ride in the rain be aware of the corrosion and wear rain can cause. Focus on getting the bike clean and re-lubricated, ready for your next ride.

Minnesota River bottoms, Bloomington’s natural trail network

John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

It was the summer of 1849, the first Bloomington Ferry began operations next to the Minnesota River bottoms. It carried people from the Bloomington shores to Shakopee. Exactly 40 years later, the first Bloomington Ferry Bridge was opened. Following that, versions of that bridge carried people, carriages, and motorists across the river for over 100 years. The current pedestrian bridge is a beautiful arch, spanning the Minnesota River and connecting Bloomigton to the Highway 101 trail to Shakopee. The Bridge is also the starting point for The Minnesota River Bottoms trail. The River Bottoms are some of the metro areas last natural trails, popular for mountain biking, hiking, fishing and bird watching.

Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikes on the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, near the trail head of the Minnesota River Bottoms

What are the Minnesota river bottoms

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

The “River Bottoms” to locals, is a trail network stretching from the south west corner of Bloomington, all the way to the trails of Fort Snelling State Park. These trails are worn in by the riders and runners who frequent them. While under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, they are not maintained by any government entity. Due to the fact that the “River Bottoms” aren’t maintained by any organization, the trails often take on a “path of least resistance” or direction. It is not uncommon for new trails to spring up after heavy rains and high river flooding. While riding, expect exclusively dirt trails with some log crossings, sand sections, and occasional overgrowth. Warning, pay particular attention for the Urtica Dioica plants, or stinging nettles, growing on infrequently used trails from June through August.

Wildlife of the Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

The River Bottoms are great for all types of recreation. It’s not uncommon to see hikers, bird watchers and people fishing along the banks of the Minnesota river. I have enjoyed sharing with my son the sights of Bald eagles and Beavers who make the watershed their home. Additionally, being a natural area, the River Bottoms are home to countless animals.

What to expect

There are a few popular entrances to the River Bottom trail, Lyndale Ave, Crest Ave, and Old Cedar Ave. These entrances offer ample parking and a clear trailhead. Once you start down the trail you will see that nothing is paved but worn-in enough to be firm under your tires. While a mountain bike is best for these trails, wider tires on Hybrids and adventure bikes navigate well. If you need to cross a stream, there are bridges or a ferry (at 9-mile creek) to get you around. Because the River Bottoms are so smooth, they are an ideal place to take kids mountain biking.

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

You will find runners who frequent the natural settings of the Minnesota River bottoms

When to ride

Spring, summer, winter or fall the Minnesota River bottoms is a natural haven for cyclists

The best part of the River Bottoms is that it is one of the first places to dry out each spring. It is also one of the first places to freeze when winter rolls through. Avoid this trail in early spring as the trails thaw and after a strong rain. Other than that, these trails are sandy enough to drain quickly. One of the best things about the river bottoms is riding fatbikes. There in the winter, in fact, fat bikes can trace their development directly to the river bottom. When the snow falls, the river bottoms are a the perfect mixture of flat trail, bermed turns, and accessibility to create a near-perfect winter track.

Winters can get exciting in the Minnesota River bottoms with Penn Cycles Get Fat with Phat fat bike races in January.

We in the twin cities are lucky to have a place like the river bottoms to ride. The fact that it is left free to change and natural is unique in a metro area. To that point, there are user groups that are working against the eventual possibility of developing the river bottom area. Whatever your opinion is on development, get into the wilds of the River Bottoms and enjoy this local treasure.

Many times, riders will assume that because the weather is cool or a ride is short they don’t need to bring water with them on a bike ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy while riding can be related to dehydration.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water on any length of a bicycle ride

Many times riders will assume that because the weather is cool or a ride is short they don’t need to bring water along with them on a bike ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy level while riding can be related to dehydration. Stay hydrated by bringing water or a sports drink along on all rides.

Yeah water, bring plenty along!

Yeah water, bring plenty along!

Stay hydrated before, during and after your ride!

Here are five tips on how much to drink and what to drink when biking:

1. On days that are going to be hot, first thing in the morning drink at least a pint (20 to 24 Fl. OZ.) of water. If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some juice in with the water. This combination wakes up your metabolism and replaces lost water from sleep. Plus the vitamin C from the lemon helps build resistance to catching a colds.

2. Then, one to two hours before heading out on your bike consume another pint of fluid, an hour before you start riding. This is particularly important on the hotter days.

In colder weather, try to avoid consuming large amounts of fluids in the morning before your bike ride. This is because in cold weather your body will want to reduce the supply of blood going around your body. It will do this by making you want to go to the bathroom to get rid of excess fluid.

3. On longer rides when you are out riding for several hours replace fluids an electrolyte drink. Evidence shows that people hydrating only consuming water don’t replace electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. This will result in a dramatic drop in performance and create fatigue. With several brands on the market use a richer mix during the winter (because you are drinking less) and a weaker solution during summer (because you’ll be drinking more).

On longer rides consider mixing one of your water bottles with an electrolyte drink mix and grapefruit juice. Or, for a high carbohydrate burn rate use gels with water.

Drink before you get thirsty

4. The main thing to remember when cycling, drink before you get thirsty. Sip on the water and the electrolyte drink on those hot days. Ideally target to take a couple sips of fluid every two or three miles on really hot days. Everyone is unique so this still might not be enough on really hot days. However, it is better to consume plenty of fluids early on in the ride to help reduce the chance of hydration issues later on in the day.

5. Hydrate and replenish after each and every bike ride. Do not just get home and have some water! You need to replace protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes and water alone wont help your body recover quickly for that next planned activity. A quick recovery drink alone isn’t enough, you have to pay attention and keep hydrated the rest of the day too

Remember – Staying hydrated is unique to each individual. So please experiment with the steps above and the products available on the market to find out what works best for you. If you feel faint, dizzy or start to get a headache while out riding please stop and seek shade or an air conditioned room) and call medical assistance ASAP.

So, stay hydrated and have fun no matter how hot it gets!

Remember - Drink water before you get thirsty!

Remember – Drink water before you get thirsty!

 

 

Last year at this time, we caught this biker dude out on the trail with his road bike. With skinny tires and a frame that did a lot of flexing he did pretty good testing his skills in Lebanon Hills Park, in Eagan, MN

Bike Pic May 08, who says you need a special bike for off-road fun?

Last year at this time, we caught this biker dude out on the trail with his road bike. With skinny tires and a frame that did a lot of flexing he did pretty good testing his skills in Lebanon Hills Park, in Eagan, MN.

View the new  National Bike Guide and all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing today’s ‘Spring Fun’ Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

With the trees budding and trails soon opening its time to get ready for some spring fun! In a normal year, here is what the trail should look like. Last year at this time, we caught this biker chick enjoying some time testing her riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park, in Eagan, MN.

Bike Pic May 05, yeah another perfect day for spring fun

With the trees budding and trails soon opening its time to get ready for some spring fun! In a normal year, here is what the trail should look like. Last year at this time, we caught this biker chick enjoying some time testing her riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park, in Eagan, MN.

View the new  National Bike Guide and all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing today’s ‘Spring Fun’ Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

Bike Pic May 03, as the trails dry out get ready for some family fun

With the trees budding and trails soon opening get the family ready for some spring fun! In a normal year, here is what the trail should look like in the upper Midwest. Last year at this time, we caught this biker family enjoying some time testing their riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park in Eagan, MN.

View the new  National Bike Guide and all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing today’s ‘Fun’ Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

Fond spring bike pic memories on #10 of 30 Day of Biking in April. In this photo, here is what the trail should look like here in the upper Midwest. In this pic we caught this biker dude enjoying some time testing his riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park in Eagan, MN.

Bike Pic April 10, what the landscape should look like this time of the year

Fond spring bike pic memories on #10 of 30 Day of Biking in April. In this photo, here is what the trail should look like here in the upper Midwest. We caught this biker dude enjoying some time testing his riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park, in Eagan, last year at this time.

View the new  National Bike Guide and all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing today’s ‘Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

Fond early summer memories riding the mountain bike trail. Here in today pic we caught this father/son duo enjoying some time together while testing their riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park

Bike Pic April 3, fond summer memories stirs plans for 2018 riding

Fond early summer memories riding the mountain bike trail. Here in today pic we caught this father/son duo enjoying some time together while testing their riding skills in Lebanon Hills Park in Eagan, MN.

View the new  National Bike Guide and all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing today’s ‘fond summer memories’ Pic of the Day

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

Starting a new sport like Mountain Biking is a ton of fun. The experience of exploring local trails and challenging obstacles is exhilarating. Here are a few tips.

Get into Mountain Biking with these few tips!

John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Starting a new sport like Mountain Biking is a ton of fun. The experience of exploring local trails and challenging obstacles is exhilarating. Here are a few tips to get you riding faster and smoother.

Mountain Biking Tip 1 – Hips Don’t Lie

Want to make your bike turn? Simple, just turn the handlebars, right?!  Well….not exactly. Contrary to popular belief you don’t really steer with the handlebars when mountain biking as much as you think. Your bike turns when you shift your center of gravity (hips). If you want proof, try this basic test next time you’re on your bike. Ride along a piece of smooth flat ground and push gently on your right grip. Pushing on the right grip will turn the front wheel to the left, and theoretically, the bike will turn left. What will actually happen is that your bike will jerk to the right. How can this be? Well, when you push on the right grip, your center of gravity shifts to the right, and your bike follows. So next time you ride, try and keep your hips centered over the bike for stability, and when turning, shift them in the direction you want to go.

This rider has shifted his weight into the turn

This riders hips are pointed in the direction of the turn

Mountain Biking Tip 2 – Knees In

Mountain biking successfully is all about traction. As the trail changes material, density, and direction, you are in the constant pursuit of traction. Losing traction in a turn is dangerous but mostly avoidable. To maximize the traction you do have, First, turn your hips into the turn like stated above, then also lower your outside foot and turn both knees into the turn. By doing this, you are lowering your center of gravity (giving you more stability) and adding force to the area of your tire that is doing the gripping. Testing this one is easy and FUN! Pick a corner you can comfortably take with some speed ride through it with you feet level and hips on the pushed to the outside of the turn. Then take the same turn with your outside foot down, and hips and knees pointed to the inside of the turn (on your outside leg, the inner surface of your hip may rest on the top tube. That’s OK). you should feel the difference in traction immediately.

Mountain Biking Tip 3 – Be Shocking

MTB body shock

Most mountain bikes are equipped with suspension to absorb impact and maintain stability. That suspension can handle rocks, logs or bumps smaller than your fist. While suspension does a great job of taking the edge off, most trails consist of larger objects. Your legs and arms can be your suspension once things get rougher. Keep a good bend to your elbows and knees, get off your saddle, and be the shock. You will find that with some motion on your part, your bike can start handling objects taller than a water bottle with ease.

Go Straight Really Fast, and if Something Gets in Your Way……….Turn

Sounds simple, but it’s the truth. Speed naturally helps with stability. As wheels get up to speed, they naturally want to stay upright. You will also find that the faster you go the trail will feel smother. This is from the bikes tires skipping over the tops of objects, rather than dipping into every valley between them.  Once at speed, try to keep your bars facing the direction you want to go and your hips centered. If the front wheel is always facing the direction of movement, its’s easier to maintain speed and stability. Speed does have its consequences as well. Always ride within your abilities.

mountain biking at speed

With more speed, tires begin skipping over the high points of the trail

Ride Within Your Ability, but Experiment

When you go mountain biking with others, there can be pressure to ride everything others ride. If a trail is filled with obstacles above your skill level, walk it. You may also want to attempt the first part only. Once you master that first obstacle, try the second, and so on. Breaking challenging trail sections into smaller parts, mastering each separately, then trying to connect everything is a great way to build confidence and stay safe.

By using these tips you should feel comfortable in time, exploring all the trails you area has to offer. Remember to start small and progress as you feel comfortable and follow the rules of the trail. If you liked this information, check out our riding hacks for road bikes as well.

My transition into winter has been cushioned by fine products from Sealskinz, most notably the Halo Overshoe. Read on to learn about my first impression

First Impressions of Sealskinz’ Super-visible Halo Overshoe

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The pond in my back yard is frozen, all the leaves have fallen off the trees and the snow blower is ready. These are all signs that Minnesota is firmly in the act of becoming the ice planet Hoth, as history suggests. Happily, my transition into winter has been cushioned. I have some fine products to test, most notably the Halo Glove and Halo Overshoe, from Sealskinz. While I have written about the Halo Glove, learn about my first impression of their Overshoe for winter biking.

Out of the box, the Halo Overshoe

Sealskinz has made every effort to keep their products as waterproof as possible, including the packaging. The Overshoes came to me on a cardboard backer and was held in place with paper bands. In short, the Halo’s Overshoe construction is as impressive as its packaging. All the seams are in the product are welded (so no stitching). Plus, tape is bonded to the backside of all the seams to ensure they stay waterproof. The closure uses a zipper with large teeth so they operate under pressure. Then at the top of the zipper a large rubberized Velcro strap keeps everything tight. Also, the toe and heel are reinforced with a Kevlar fabric for durability. Finally, the most unique feature of the Halo Overshoe is its LED light mounted in the heel for visibility up to 500m away.

Packaging for the Halo Overshoe is neat and ensures the bootie stays waterproof.

First fit impressions

Trying the overshoes, my first time was a bit of a challenge. They fit snug and I had issues getting them to zip up due to where my shoes buckle was located. However, I am happy to say that was a onetime experience. I am not sure if the overshoes stretched, or what since that first time? Now, the overshoes fit on with ease and the zipper hasn’t offered any resistance. The fit is great as they are snug without being too tight. Not like many overshoes for bikes that often suffer from the toes flipping up due to a bad fit. While the Halo Overshoe stays put perfectly.

Halo Overshoe

Waterproof material, high visibility LED, and bulletproof construction are hallmarks of the Halo Overshoe

Overshoe Warmth

So far, I have ridden with the Halo Overshoe in conditions ranging from 30’s and raining down to windy at 11 degrees. Through all that weather I can happily say the Halo Overshoe has kept my feet warm and toasty. Even with the large holes in the bottom of the overshoe for the heel lugs and cleat, all the other waterproofing features kept my feet dry.

Added Visibility

The great thing about the overshoes LEDs is that, while blinking they are also moving up and down as you pedal. This gives them a unique appearance that is virtually impossible for drivers to miss. On top of the LEDs active visibility the Halo’s also have reflective material applied on the side, cuff and along the zipper. The red LED lights are also easy to activated by pressing on them.

Continuing tests

As the weather continues to get colder, I plan to see just how low a temperature I can go with the Halo Overshoes. As I mentioned above, so far I have had good success down to 11 degrees with wool cycling socks, standard cycling shoes, and the Overshoe. Moving forward, I plan to use the Halo Overshoes in combination with Sealskinz Superlight sock to see if I can be comfortable into single digits, Stay tuned for more info.