Tag Archives: Ride My Bike

Since the development of cycling nutrition, there has been amazing advancements in sports drinks

Cycling Nutrition Review: a clean, smooth approach to sports drinks

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

As you begin doing longer rides like the MS150, Minnesota Ironman, or any other charity ride, sports drinks (cycling nutrition) becomes really important. The basic rule is to replace electrolytes and calories after riding for an hour. Considering most of our rides are longer than one hour, there are many nutritional products designed help. The popular cycling nutrition products are sports drinks, gels, and bars.

Sports drinks, the problem and solution

No doubt you are familiar with the stories of Powebar and Gatorade, both companies were born out of a need for in-activity nutrition and electrolyte replacement. Since their development, there has been many amazing advancements in sports nutrition. Read on to see how Tailwind Nutrition is moving the science forward.

The issue with sports nutrition comes from the fact that in many cases sports drinks have replaced soft drinks and nutrition bars have replaced snacks in many people’s diets. This evolution has led to nutrition that is to sweet, too heavy and resistant to quick digestion during activity. Therefore, most readily-available nutrition products force your body to expend too much energy attempting to digest it. Additionally, because they take so long to digest, they often times cause a stomach soreness.

Tailwind Nutrition’s story

That problem of heavy nutrition is a big part of why Tailwind came into being. The Idea for Tailwind came when Jeff (one of the founders) had trouble keeping his breakfast down when he was competing in the Leadville 100 (a one hundred mile mountain bike race in Colorado). He was struggling with the heavy nutrition products, available at the time. In an effort to fix his own nutrition issue, he used himself as a guinea pig. He consulted nutritionists and then developed a sports drink that fulfilled his calorie requirement, adjusted for electrolyte replacement, that had an incredibly light taste.

After sharing it with friends and selling the new product out of the back of his car at events, news spread fast. Soon the story of a customer who finished a 100 mile mountain bike race, for the first time after a decade of trying, solidified the company into being.

Jeff at Tailwind mixing some new cycling nutrition products to test

Jeff at Tailwind mixing some new cycling nutrition products to test

How it tastes

After my twenty years of drinking different sports drinks, Tailwind is a refreshingly light drink. The taste is a great mix of sweet and savory (my guess is that’s the carbohydrates and salts natural flavor). After the initial taste, I was amazed to find that there was no syrupy aftertaste. The aftertaste is really important because as you exercise and increase your breathing rate, any residual flavor can become overwhelming. It is so light that when I finished the bottle of Tailwind, I then filled that bottle with straight water and didn’t detect any aftertaste.

How it works

The best part of the Tailwind products I feel is its consistency. In my experience most nutritional products do a great job of bringing your endurance level up temporarily, then sadly your energy level drops off drastically as you continue on. What I found with the Tailwind products, they deliver consistent energy with no severe drop. Additionally, as the temperature goes up and electrolytes are more important than calories, this product offers salts that are quickly absorbed into the body.

Why use Tailwind

I know what you’re thinking, why shouldn’t I just grab a Gatorade down at the ole’ Circle K before my weekend ride? Well, the answer is as easy as comfort, results, and cost.

First, I have tried most sports drinks on the market and all of them left me feeling the same way – sick. Those heavy drinks sit in my stomach and sometimes, attempt to come back up again. By contrast, the Tailwind stuff never made a peep in my belly. Additionally, Tailwind offers 200 calories per serving rather than the 150 calories from Gatorade. That’s not only more calories, but I found they were better calories. Typical sports drinks gave me an initial energy boost, but then dropped off severely. By contrast, I found Tailwind to give sustained energy, but no harsh drop off. Finally, Tailwind is way cheaper. Tailwind can be as little as $.75. When compared to Gatorade at more than twice that per bottle. To me Tailwind makes good sense.

All in all, nutrition is a personal preference. While I may like one product, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee it is the right product for you. With that being said, I feel that Tailwind offers a great product for even the most sensitive stomachs. Give it a try, I think you will like how it works.

In this Bike Pic, a student from Washburn High School tests his mountain bike skills on the Jail Trail, near St Cloud last year, on a Minnesota High School Cycling League competition.

Theodore Wirth Park, a gift five minutes from downtown Minneapolis

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the western part of the Twin Cities, nestled between Golden Valley and Minneapolis is Theodore Wirth Park.  A space almost as large as New York City’s Central park. With in Wirth (as it’s known to the locals) you will find several scenic, natural areas around Birch pond and Wirth Lake, plus two golf courses and a fabulous mountain bike trail system.

For Twin Cities cyclists, it’s a natural playground you should be exited too explore.

Theodore Wirth Park History

What would become Theodore Wirth Park started in 1889 when 66 acres were purchased and established as a park. Now Theodore Wirth park (named after the park system’s superintendent from 1906 to 1936) has over 750 acres. The Central to the park is the Wirth Chalet, a stone and timber structure that offers events, and product rentals for snow sports.

Where to go in Theodore Wirth Park

If you are interested in riding the mountain bike trails of Wirth park, I find it easiest to park at the beach  house off Glenwood avenue. From there it’s a quick spin west over to the trailhead. If your interest are in the golf courses or Grand Rounds and Luce Line trails, the Golf Clubhouse on Theodore Wirth Parkway is your best starting point.

What are the trails like in Theodore Wirth Park

The trails at Wirth are predominantly designed for the intermediate rider. As you enter the trails at southern entrance you are greeted with a twisting climb up thorough rolling prairie and into well established woods. The trails themselves are well manicured and smooth with ample bermed turns. Expect to see narrow ribbons of brown winding through ample green surroundings. When you find your way into the northern trails, more rocks get introduced. The majority of the rocks are well embedded into the trails and act as exciting obstacles to manage. The northern trails also exist in denser forests, with far fewer field areas. Overall, the Trails at Wirth are fun and flowie, offer challenges for the most advanced riders while being accessible to casual riders.

Grand Rounds Trail

The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is one of the countries longest continuous urban parkways. It is a connecting trail to more than 300 miles of regional trail around Twin Cities Metro Area. It also acts as the connecting trail between most of the parks in the Twin Cities area. That said, you can enjoy a day trip on the Grand Rounds Trail all over the Twin Cities via protected and paved bike lanes. The Grand Rounds travels through 7 districts:  Chain of Lakes (13.3 miles), Minnehaha (12.6 miles), The Mississippi River (9.2 miles), Downtown Riverfront (1.2 miles), Northeast (6 miles), Victory Memorial (3.8 miles) and Theodore Wirth Park (4 miles). Additionally, this trail is cleared by 6am every day through the winter if you choose to use it for commuting.

 

Luce Line Trail

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Luce Line trail is a 63 mile limestone path stretching from Cosmos in western Minnesota to Wirth park. It is available for Biking, hiking, running, jogging, and snow activities in specified areas. This trail is an exceptional way to explore neighborhoods and destinations west of the city.

How to help

If you ride and enjoy the trails at Wirth, consider volunteering for trail maintenance. The Minnesota Off Road Cycling organization (MORC) schedule trail work sessions on Wednesdays through the summer. Consequently, the group meets at 6 O’clock and welcomes anyone interested in helping. Wear long pants, boots, and work gloves because you will be doing hard labor. Moreover, you will find that the hard labor is enjoyable because you are giving back to fellow riders.

Winter riding in Wirth

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

While the trails are open through the winter, Fatbiking is not the only sport you can enjoy at Wirth. Therefore, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, sledding, skating, and, ice fishing are all available within the park. When planning a ride in the fall and spring, be sure to check the MORC website for trail conditions.

 

See how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

How to adjust your front derailleur for perfect and silent shifting

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the late 1920’s, in France, there was a bike race under way and it wasn’t the Tour De France. Instead, this race was a technological race that brought the derailleur into the light. Before 1928, bicycles had a maximum of two speeds, and you needed to remove the rear wheel to change those gears. As there was need for quicker shifting, the bicycle derailleur was born. Initial derailleurs consisted of nothing more than paddles that were actuated by steel rods located between the rider’s legs. Needless to say, there was a lot of finesse that went into shifting those bikes. Then after the second world war parallelogram derailleurs, what we use today, were developed so riders could shift their gears with ease. Read on to see how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

Front Derailleur

Early “Rod Style” Benelux front derailleur – Yikes

Front Derailleur parts

Limit screws (A) – The front derailleur needs to work within the largest and smallest ring. Limit screws work to stop the front derailleur from shifting outside of its intended range. They are adjustable as to match different types of cranks.

Derailleur Cage – The cage is what holds the chain on gear and what presses on the chain to move it from one gear to the next. The outer portion of the cage (C) is what helps the chain move from larger gears to smaller ones. In contrast, the inner portion of the cage (B) forces the chain from smaller gears to larger ones.

front derailleur

Common parallelogram front derailleur found on Hybrid and Mountainbikes

Derailleur Fixing Bolt (D) – The bolt that holds the derailleur in place on the frame. By loosening this bolt, you can re-position the derailleur for angle and height.

Cable Pinch Bolt (E) – The Cable that controls shifting needs to be held firmly in place. The pinch bolt does that job.

front derailleur

Different Pinch bolt and fixing bolt position for MTB/Hybrid (above) and Road (below) derailleurs

Location, location, location

You guessed it, the most important part of adjusting the front derailleur is its location. If the derailleur is not positioned properly, you will never achieve proper, noise free, shifting in all gears. The reason location is so important is that the front derailleur cage is formed to position the chain in very specific locations.

First step in adjusting the front derailleurs location is to set its height. You need enough room to fit a Nickel between the teeth on the largest chainring and the bottom of the outer cage when they are lined up. Any more clearance than that and the derailleur tends to have issues pulling the chain down from larger gears.

front derailleur

you should be able to fit a Nickle between the derailleur cage and chainring

Once you have the height set, adjust the angle of the front derailleur so that the outer cage and chainrings are parallel. Any misalignment will result in poor shifting and excess noise.

front derailleur

Proper alignment on the left, and misalignment on the right

Lower Limit

Set the lower limit by adjusting the screw marked “L”. To do this, shift the rear derailleur all the way up into the largest cog. Next check to see if there is clearance between the chain and the front derailleurs inner cage with the chain on the smallest chainring. If the chain is running on the inner cage, thread the limit screw out until you have 2-3mm (that nickel distance again!) between the chain and inner cage. When the opposite is true and you have too much clearance between the inner cage and chain, thread the limit screw in until there is 2-3mm of clearance.

Cable tension

Your Front derailleur should be properly aligned and the lower limit should be set at this point. The next step is to attach the cable to the Pinch bolt. Attach that cable by first making sure your shifter is in its lowest gear, Then pull the cable tight, and finally tighten the pinch bolt onto your cable. Usually, you can shift smoothly up from the smallest ring into the next gear right away, but if there is hesitation going up add cable tension either through a barrel adjuster or by loosening the pinch bolt, pulling the cable tighter, and tightening the pinch bolt down again. If the chain wants to shift up from the small ring over the next ring, release some tension. You know you have it right when the chain can pass from one gear to another smoothly and confidently without any banging or skipping noises.

Upper Limit

Setting the upper limit is as easy as getting the chain onto the largest chainring and threading the limit screw to offer 2-3mm of clearance between the chain and the outer cage. While shifting, ensure the chain cannot be shifted over the large ring and off the crank.

Trouble shooting

This guide is great if all the parts are new, but won’t overcome many issues related to worn or dirty parts. The most common shifting issue with older gears is poor upshifting. Chainrings are built with ramps on the inner surface to easily guide the chain from smaller to larger rings. As chainrings wear, these ramps wear as well. If you are having serious issues going from smaller to larger gears, but the gears are silent and problem free otherwise, you may want to consider replacing the chain, chainrings, and gears in the rear.

front derailleur

These Praxis Works chain rings have some of the best shifting thanks to carefully placed ramps.

Another key wear item is the front derailleur itself. Derailleurs are designed to pivot off a parallelogram design that requires each pivot run smooth and precisely. As the Front Derailleur wears, these pivots can begin to bind, while they generate play, leading to poor shifting.

Finally, dirty or corroded cables are a key cause in poor shifting. Replace cables once a year and lube them intermittently to keep them running smooth and freely.

When is enough, enough

Working on your bike is fun, but can be frustrating if things aren’t going according to plan. When things get out of hand, don’t be afraid to start from scratch and go back to step one. Any missed initial steps will make further steps impossible to complete. Also, remember that if it gets too tough, your local bike shop is happy to walk you through the process. You will pay a fee, but the one on one instruction is well worth it.

 

Another mountain biker having fun in Lebanon Hills Park.

Bike Pic Aug 22, another mountain biker having fun in Lebanon Hills Park

Another mountain biker having fun in Lebanon Hills Park. Check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be closed after another day of rain yesterday.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Biker’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

The trails of Lebanon Hills offer some of the most enjoyable mountain biking in the Twin Cities Area.

Enjoy fun and nature on Lebanon Hills fantastic mountain bike trails

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The newly expanded trailhead of Lebanon Hills acts as a gateway to some of the most enjoyable trails in the Twin Cities Area. With nearly 12 miles of one way singletrack trails, Lebanon Hills has become one of the go-to trails in Minnesota. The trails feature riding for all skill levels combined with world-class facilities to enhance your riding experience. All the bike trails are built and maintained by the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC).

Where Lebanon Hills is

Another happy mountain biker riding through the forests of Lebanon Hills Park.

Another happy mountain biker riding through the forests of Lebanon Hills Park.

The Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike trails (Leb to the locals) are located in Eagan Minnesota off Johnny Cake Ridge Road. The newly expanded trailhead boasts ample parking, clean bathrooms, public grills and picnic areas as well as a skills course appropriate for all ability levels. Leb is a part of the larger Lebanon Hills Regional Park system that includes two swimming lakes, nearly a dozen hiking areas, three camping areas and close proximity to the Minnesota Zoo.

What to expect in Lebanon Hills

The first thing you will notice about riding in Leb is the amazing condition of the trails. Thank the Minnesota Off Road Cyclist organization (MORC) for the smooth berms, clear trails and exciting features. Ride into the first trail and enjoy the sweet smell of pine trees while you wind through a healthy forest. First, you are given the choice of staying on the beginner trails or hanging a hard right onto the intermediate loop. Staying on the beginner trails will lead you to five 8’ tall berms that are a total blast to ride. From those berms you can branch off into another intermediate loop or head into a skills section that including a berm, roller, and jump line.

Another fun run through an open meadow.

Another fun run through an open meadow in Lebanon.

If you choose that first right onto the intermediate loop, you are rewarded with twisty sections, a rock drop, and high speed downhill sections. That intermediate section brings you out to the far end of the park. Once out there, you can enter into the truly advance loops built on rock gardens, step climbs and steep descents. The trails on the far side of the park meet at one point, perfect for a quick break between loops.

Here on the advanced trail in Lebanon Hills you will find some obstacles to challenge you.

Here on the advanced trail in Lebanon Hills you will find some obstacles to challenge you.

 

Best part of the trails

Leb gives its riders amazing trails as well as awesome views. The best part of Leb is how well it integrates into nature. Even though the trails of Leb are well trafficked, Places like the “lake loop” give the impression of sanctuary for hundreds of riders a weekend. Because all the trails are directional, there is a great feeling of isolation even though other riders may be just a few hundred feet away. Overall, Lebanon hills is a great way to enjoy the beauties of nature in the Twin Cities area.

Here is a place for all ages to build on their skill levels.

Here in Lebanon Hills is a place for all ages to build on their skill levels.

How to help

If you ride and enjoy the trails at Leb, consider volunteering for trail maintenance. The Minnesota Off Road Cycling organization (MORC) schedule trail work sessions on Tuesdays through the summer. The group meets in the parking lot at 6 O’clock and welcomes anyone interested in helping. Wear long pants, boots, and work gloves because you will be doing hard labor. You will find that the hard labor is enjoyable because you are giving back to fellow riders.

Best seasons to ride

Those with fatty's are finding Lebanon Hills the perfect trail system year round.

Those with fatty’s are finding Lebanon Hills the perfect trail system year round.

If you love the trails at Leb during the summer, rejoice, they are open through the winter as well. Not only are the trails open when the snow falls, but well traveled. Because of that traffic, the trails stay clear and ride-able right up until the spring thaw. With that said, once the thaw begins, the trails are usually closed for about six weeks while things dry out. A quick check on MORC’s trail conditions website will let you know when the trails are open.

 

Tips and Tricks to Adjust Your Bike’s Rear Derailleur

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

It goes by many names, the rear derailleur. It is also known as the “s,” the “hangdown,” or the mech. Here in the U.S. we refer to it as the rear derailleur. The device that moves your bike’s chain from gear to gear letting you traverse hills with ease. Even though derailleurs are sturdy and relatively maintenance free, they do require attention occasionally. Look below for the step by step instructions on how to adjust your bike’s rear derailleur.

 Rear Derailleur Terminology

Twist shifter – A shifting device that rotates around the handlebar like the throttle of a motorcycle.

Trigger shifter – A Shifter that activates by pushing or pulling a set of paddles with your thumb and index finger.

STI shifters – Technical this stands for Shimano Total Integration and speaks directly about one brands type of road bike shifter, but it has become the generic term for any drop bar shifter/brake lever combo.

Thumb shifter – A shifter that can be mounted in many places like; the stem, bar end, brake lever, or top of the bar. These shifters are the most rudimentary type of shifter, and operate by simply actuating a lever with your thumb.

Derailleur parts

(A) Jockey Wheels- two small wheels on the derailleur on which the chain run. They are mounted onto the derailleur cage

Limit screws- The limit screws control the area of motion a derailleur has. On most derailleurs there are three limit screws: the upper limit, Lower limit, and B-limit. The upper limit screw sets the maximum distance the derailleur can shift in high gears. The lower limit screw sets the maximum distance the derailleur can shift in the lower gears. The B-limit screw sets the distance the upper jockey wheel sits from the cogs.

(B) Barrell adjuster – This is an adjustment device on the back of most derailleurs. It is the area where the derailleur cable enters the derailleur and can increase or decrease the cable tension by threading it in and out.

(C) Pinch bolt – The pinch bolt is where the derailleur cable gest secured.

(F) Derailleur hanger – The portion of the bike frame where the rear derailleur is mounted.

Rear Derailleur

Not defined above is the Upper Knuckle (E), and lower knuckle (D)

Is everything straight?

The cogs your rear derailleur shifts across can have as little as 2.14 millemeters of spacing between them. Considering the spacing is so narrow, look to see that everything is aligned properly before you start adjusting your rear derailleur in vain. Look first at the derailleur itself from behind. You should be able to see if the derailleur itself is aligned properly. A tell-tale sign of damage is when the two Jockey wheels don’t line up with the cogs or each other (see picture).

Next assure that the derailleur hanger is aligned properly. This is easily seen when the derailleur appears straight, but not in line with the cogs. Consequently, if either the derailleur or derailleur hanger are bent, it’s best to take it into your local shop for a remedy.

Step 2, A man has got to know his limitations

Before attempting to adjust the derailleur properly, set its usable range. First, loosen the pinch bolt and let the derailleur run on the smallest cog. Next, pedal forward while visually and audibly inspecting how the chain runs on the smallest cog. The chain should run smoothly without any clicking, or skipping noises. If it runs smoothly, don’t worry about the upper limit. when you do experience skipping or noise, look closely at how the chain runs on the cog (looking from behind is easiest). If the chain isn’t coming directly off the upper jockey wheel and going straight onto the small cog you need to adjust the upper limit. By threading the limit in or out you can adjust where the derailleur sits in relation to that smallest cog (note: the limit screws don’t need to get “tightened” down, they simply act as a stop for the derailleur).

Once the upper limit is set, pedal forward and push on the derailleur lower knuckle until it moves the chain into the largest cog. If the chain has issue getting into the largest cog, or jumps over that cog into the wheel spokes, you need to adjust the lower limit screw in a similar fashion to the upper limit screw.

Rear Derailleur Tension

With the limits set, you can now move on to tightening the cable and trying to shift. Make sure the shifter is in its lowest gear by shifting down while gently pulling on the shift cable. With the shifter in its lowest position, ensure all housing ends are settled into the frame properly then pull the cable taught through the derailleur.  With the cable taught, tighten the derailleur pinch bolt onto the cable. Trim any excess cable so that only about one inch of cable extends beyond the pinch bolt and crimp it off as not to fray.

While pedaling, shift one gear up. Ideally, the chain will easily move from the smallest cog up to the next cog. It should stay on the second cog and run quietly and smoothly. If it hesitates to get to the second cog, increase cable tension by rotating the barrel adjuster out. If you cannot increase tension enough with 3 or 4 turns of the barrel adjuster, thread it back in, loosen the cable pinch bolt, pull the cable taught, and tighten the pinch bolt again. Once you have the chain shifting up the cogs easily, check to see if it will smoothly move back down the cog stack by shifting from the largest cog down and inspecting. The only difference is in the adjustment. If the chain hesitates to move down the gears, turn the barrel adjuster in (relieving cable tension).

Rear Derailleur Trouble shooting

What happens if you can get the chain to move up the cogset well, but can’t get it to move back down the cogset easily. In some cases, the cable and housing can be corroded and causing drag. This drag won’t affect the shifting moving up the gear set, but it will stop the derailleur from returning. In tis case, you can clean and lube the cables and housing, or just replace the cable and housing all together.

Additionally, there may be a grinding/banging noise in only the largest cog. That noise is caused by the upper jockey wheel running on the largest cog. To remedy this, tighten the b-limit screw until the noise subsides.

Finally, a common problem is if you get skipping while pedaling up steep grades or under load. If your derailleur is adjusted properly, and you’re getting skipping, it may be related to a worn out drivetrain. As your chain ages, it stretches slightly. As the chain stretches, the front face of the gears will wear in unison with the chain stretching. Once the chain stretches beyond the point where it will mesh with the gears, you will experience skipping under load.

Working on your own bike is fun. Also, your appreciation for the technology and engineering that goes into what is considered a simple machine will grow with each turn of the wrench. Periodically, you will run into a problem you cannot solve. If that is the case, bring your bike to your local shop, talk honestly with the mechanic about what you tried and what you are trying to accomplish. As a result, you will find that most mechanics will be happy to teach you what you need to know.

 

Beyond Laws and rules, we should work to employ some common courtesy toward each other while riding our bikes on the road and trail.

Riding Courtesy; Great Ways to Consider Others on Your Next Adventure

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Did you know that bicycle traffic laws are different in many states? While these laws guide how you should operate on your bicycle, they also regulate how drivers should treat you. Laws are designed to keep both drivers and cyclists safe. Then there is offroad riding and most trail systems have guidelines that match up with the published list of rules from IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association). Beyond the laws and rules, we should also employ some common courtesy toward each other on both the road and trail.

Offroad Courtesy To Other Riders

Courtesy offroad is all about sharing the trail, leaving the environment as pure as possible, and not negatively impacting others experience. The simplest way to share the trail is to maintain control. Careening down a trail at Mach 5 with no ability to stop in time is a quick recipe for disaster. If you can’t control yourself, you are more prone to run into others or at the very least scare them. In order to maintain the environment, consider the trails off limits when wet. Trail systems that are wet are far more susceptible to damage from riders by leaving deep ruts in the dirt. In addition to leaving ruts, leaving any trash behind is unacceptable as well. Take care to pack any trash, like powerbar wrappers, inner tube boxes, or gel packs out with you. Finally, be concerned with others experience. There is nothing easier to reach that goal than to yield the trail when appropriate. If an overtaking rider wants to pass, slow down and make room for them to get by. When others are climbing up a steep grade, wait at the top of that trail for them to pass, before heading down.

Trail Courtesy To Other Riders

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

While riding on the bike paths, small amounts of courtesy can go a long way to keep you and those around you safe. To begin, always pull off the trail when stopping. Making yourself a big roadblock in the middle of the trail puts all those who must get around you at a risk. Don’t assume others know where you are going, hand signals help for those looking, but also feel free to tell people (especially people you are passing) what is going on. A simple “on your left” can make a pass far safer.

Road Courtesy To Other Riders

While stopping along a road pulling off to the shoulder is being courteous to motorists and the safest thing we can do.

Road riding courtesy is most needed when riding in a group and drafting. Safety in a group is about two things – Consistency and communication. For Consistency, be sure to ride a steady line, don’t swerve from side to side. Also, try to keep a consistent pace, If riders are drafting behind you, it can be difficult and tiring if you constantly speed up and slow down. For communication, be sure to signal If you are stopping, where debris in the road is, and what direction the group is turning.

Trail and Road Courtesy To Traffic

Courtesy to traffic is as easy as being predictable. Try to ride at the same distance from the curb as consistently as possible. Also use hand signals when turning, and be clear when stopping (by placing your open palm down at your side). Using a bell is also a great way to signal your approach to parked cars. Ultimately, you want drivers to know where you are and where you are going so they can make safe choices as well.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Riding courteously is just another way to keep you and those around you safe while riding. Once you begin to employ these tips, and make them second nature, you will find that your rides become less stressful. Eventually, I hope you help remind others what courteous bike riding can do for everyone.

Please pass this information on to friends and family – Thanks!

Bunny Hop and Wheelie Hop: A How to, Step by Step Guide

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Not all trails are smooth and flat. Many time’s we encounter large rocks, roots, ledges, and logs. The bunny hop and wheelie hop are simple moves that you can learn to traverse these obstacles with speed. Below, we have spelled out a step by step process to learn to hop.

Bunny hop

The Bunny hop has been around forever. While there are a few ways to pull one off, the basic motion of the bunny hop is to lift the bike without pedaling. Specifically, a bunny hop motion is to lift the front wheel, lift your legs and weight, and roll your wrists (and by extension the bicycle) over an object. The bunny hop is great move to clear obstacles at speed and while heading downhill.

Wheelie hop

The wheelie hop is similar to the bunny hop, except, rather than using your body motion to lift the front wheel, you use the pedals. Once that front wheel is up, the wheelie hop uses all the same motions as the bunny hop. The wheelie hop a is great move to use on uphill obstacles and low speed situations.

Pull up

The first motion in the bunny hop is to lift the front wheel above the height of the obstacle. To start this, stand up on the pedals, bend your knees and elbows, and lower your center of gravity. Next, spring your arms and knees, propelling your weight up and slightly backward. As your weight is traveling up and back, your front wheel should begin lifting off the ground. The basic concept is to rotate your weight and use the point where your rear wheel touches the ground as a fulcrum.

bunny hop

Prepare to spring up by bending your knees, elbows, and lowering your weight

Pedal up

The pedal up is slightly different from the pull up, but, still ends up with your front wheel in the air. Start in a seated position with your arms locked. Make sure you are in a relatively easy gear and jab your pedal through the pedal stroke as you pull the bars into your body. In about one pedal stroke your front wheel should be off the ground. Your weight should be centered over the rear wheel, your arms should have a good bent to them, preparing to spring your weight up.

bunny hop

Wheelie hops start by pedaling the front wheel up.

 

Lift your feet and weight

Although the first part of the Bunny hop and Wheelie hop are different, the rest of the motions are the same. Once you have the front wheel in the air, begin lifting your own weight up and off the bike. To do this, focus your weight on the rear wheel and move your body up, unweighting the bike.

Spring your weight up.

Roll your wrists

Once, both your front wheel and your weight are moving up it’s time to get your rear wheel off the ground. This is done when you roll your wrists and bars forward while your momentum is moving upward. Basically, your weight is moving up with the front wheel leading the way. Rolling your wrists forward redirects that upward momentum forward, leveling out the bike, and clearing the object in your path

Roll your wrists forward, leveling out the bike.

Practice on a curb

A great place to practice these hops is on a curb. Approach the curb at a slow speed, pop the front wheel up and onto the curb, then complete the motion and try to get the rear wheel up without hitting the square edge of the curb. Begin with a very low curb then work your way up to something higher. Once you are comfortable with the motion, try moving faster.

On the trail

There is a new variable that gets introduced when you use your bunny hop on the trail. That variable is the landing. While practicing on pavement, you can be confident that your landing will be onto a flat surface. On the trail, landings can be rocky and rough, couple that with your weight moving around the bike and you can get bucked off the bike rather easily. Therefore, try to keep your weight back on the bike while landing on the trail to resists getting bucked.

Slab Jab

So, while a slab jab is not technically a bunny hop, it does use a similar movement. Basically, a slab jab involves getting your front wheel up onto a tall object (like a rock or log) then pivoting the rest of the bike up onto the object using your front wheel as the fulcrum. Just like a bunny hop or wheelie hop, get your front wheel into the air, but unlike a hop, plant that front wheel onto an object. Next, while lifting your weight and rolling your wrists aggressively jab the bars forward. If done right, the jab motion will force your front wheel over the object and lift your rear wheel up onto it. With the front wheel over the object and your rear wheel on it, let off the brakes and simply roll on.

Like learning to descend, ride rocks, or any other riding skills, the bunny hop is a skill you should slowly build. Start on small objects and work within your comfort zone, maintaining control all the time. After a few months of practice, you will find that you can bounce around the trail like a bunny.

Its ice cream smiles Sunday and this cyclist has stop at her favorite sweet shop for the flavor of the day.

Bike Pic May 4, Miles of Smile Sunday, Its Ice Cream Sunday

Its ice cream smiles Sunday! Today we found this cyclist making a stop at her favorite sweet shop for the flavor of the day. Please let us know of your latest ice cream biking experience by sharing a picture on #nextbikeadventure.

Also, view the new spring Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for Viewing Our Ice Cream Smiles Sunday Pic 

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

With Memorial Day Weekend and Ice Cream Sunday, smile and get on your bike and ride with family and friends today to your favorite sweet shop

Bike Pic May 28, Miles Of Smiles Fun Its Ice Cream Sunday

With Memorial Day Weekend and Ice Cream Sunday, smile and get on your bike and ride with family and friends today to your favorite sweet shop. Please let us know of your latest ice cream biking experience by sharing your pic at #nextbikeadventure.

Also, view the new spring Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for Viewing Our Ice Cream Sunday Pic 

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!