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This bike pic shows the co-pilot watching to make sure all of the mountain bike components are running smoothly as they hit the trail for the day.
Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking destinations. And now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.
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Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can 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.
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As we continue encouraging 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 our 13th year of producing this handy 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 appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.
Have a great day with a safe and memorable year ahead!
Now that the kids have gone back to school, the days are getting shorter and temperatures begin to drop it is the best time of year to ride your bike. From a trail perspective, the dirt becomes softer as the fall rolls in because of lower temperatures and increased rainfall. Additionally, riding off road in the fall is a beautiful way to enjoy the change in foliage. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the leaves changing if you choose to ride on the path or road. In fact, great fall rides often have specific vista points built into the ride. With all the great things about riding through the fall there are some dangers as well. Read on to learn how to enjoy the fall riding season safely.
Fall bike riding road hazards
Those beautiful fall colors are enjoyable, but also a sign of falls largest hazard. Falling leaves that mix with fall rains begin to break down and decompose on road surfaces. What is left behind is a slick slurry of organic matter perfectly suited to eliminate traction and cause a crash. As you ride in the fall, avoid riding too far off the edge of the road. Likewise, don’t ride too far into the middle of the road where leaves tend to accumulate.
Fall bike riding off road hazards
The same problems with traction and decomposing leaves exists off road, but it’s not as large an issue as on the road. Thanks to the soft dirt and rough surface, riders have a better chance of finding traction when the leaves get wet. What you should be on the lookout for is what you can’t see. Makes total sense, right?! Whenever you are on a trail that has fallen leaves, objects can hide in those leaf piles.
Being seen while fall bike riding
As the days get shorter, you need to be concerned with being seen in low light situations, that’s where proper lighting comes in. Lights, no matter your level of bike riding skill, are essential to make sure you have the safest ride possible. Plus, most states require bike lights to ride on a roadway (here is Minnesota’s law). The two types of lights on the market are lights that allow you to see, and lights that allow others to see you.
Seeing the trail
A great side effect to the shortened days is going for night rides with your mountain bike. Night riding was first born out of the necessity of riding, but has quickly become a fun part of the sport in and of itself. With this in mind, get yourself a high output light, strap it to your bike and head into the woods. In the long run you will see that riding at night changes how you see your local trails, and makes then new and fun.
Dressing the part for fall bike riding
Universally across on or off-road riders, the fall brings colder temperatures. To combat these temps you want to dress accordingly. Early fall rides force us to break out the arm and knee warmers, with long sleeve jerseys marching quickly behind. When dressing for colder weather, be sure to not overdress. Being too insulated will cause you to sweat past your cycling clothings ability to move moisture. At that point, you get wet, and cold, which defeats the purpose of wearing more clothing.
Falls unique events
Many charity rides are scheduled through the fall because of its great weather, and ambient beauty. One event type that is completely exclusive to fall is the sport of Cyclocross. What is Cyclocross you ask? Well, the best way to describe it is it’s just fun. A Cyclocross race is a timed (30,45,60 minutes) event that covers a one-mile course including, road, off road, grass, and sand sections with manmade and natural barriers. The best part of Cyclocross is that spectators can enjoy the action easily. Additionally, Cyclocross races are very family friendly and usually include things like food trucks, kids bike rodeos, and beer tastings.
How ever you decide to spend you fall, try and spend it outside on your bike. The Fall is a great time to get back on the bike, steal a few more hours in the saddle, or enjoy natures last show before the winters long sleep.
Nothing spoils a great ride like a bad accident, but most accidents are avoidable. The easiest way to eliminate accidents is to assess road hazards in advance and avoid them. Read on to learn about the most common road hazards and how to manage them.
Road hazards broken and uneven pavement
The easiest road hazard to spot is broken or uneven pavement. Oftentimes starting at the roads edge (where many of us ride), pavement begins to break and crumble from annual hot/cold cycles. The first and best option is just avoid loose sections entirely, but anyone can tell you that’s not always possible. When you are riding through bad pavement, try to raise your body off your saddle by an inch or so and allow your legs and arms to absorb impact. Concentrate on being loose, allowing the bike to move around underneath you, and keeping your momentum directed to where you want to go. Focusing on where you want to go is the most important part, focusing on objects you don’t want to hit increases the chance of hitting them.
Sometimes the road narrows, and doesn’t allow for you and drivers to occupy the road together safely. In these situations, it is important to take control of your safety. Do not try to be off to the side as far as possible, this will only encourage drivers to attempt to make an unwise pass. Instead, give yourself space on the road, and try to be as visible and deliberate as possible. Narrow roadways are the ideal place to use hand signals. Additionally, be aware of what is behind you by looking back more frequently than usual. Looking to see who is behind you will give you the information you need, and let drivers know that you see them. Oftentimes drivers will be more patient if they know you are aware of the situation.
Blind turns, driveways, and alleys
You can’t easily avoid what you can’t see, especially if you are going fast. When approaching any blind road or path section, slow down and assume there is someone coming around the corner. Approach the corner with caution, and only accelerate once the coast is clear.
Loose debris on hard surfaces
Sand, Gravel and dirt on pavement can be a recipe for disaster. Any loose debris on the road robs you of the traction you need to ride confidently. Shy of vacuuming every road or trail before your ride, there is no way to avoid the inevitability of debris. What you can do however, is use good judgement when you do encounter it. First, don’t slam on the brakes. Braking shifts your weight forward onto the front wheel making you more unstable in loose conditions. Instead, apply your brakes gently and evenly while trying to remain loose on the bike in case your tires break free. Second, try to keep the bike as vertical as possible and turn only if necessary.
Ice and water
Water and its colder cousin ice are a serious road hazard. You will find that roads and paths that are wet offer far less grip than when dry. Therefore, keep your overall speed down on wet days and brake before turning. If ice is in the forecast, the best measure is to avoid it. Start by ditching the polarized sunglasses that will make the ice difficult to see. Polarized glasses eliminate most glare, and glare is a prime means to identify ice. If you do find yourself on ice, be careful! It takes almost no side motion to put you on the ground when riding on ice. I find it best to do almost nothing until you make your way off the ice, that means no braking, no turning, no movement, Just coast.
Paint and slippery surfaces (metal, marble, tile) train tracks
The last set of road hazards worth mentioning are slick surfaces. These surfaces include metal (train tracks, manholes, and sewer grates), painted pavement, and smooth aggregate (like marble or tile often found in industrial zones). For metal, try to avoid it when wet (it’s as slick as ice) and cross train tracks as perpendicularly as possible. Painted surfaces and smooth aggregate need to be avoided when wet as well. While they have more traction when dry, it’s still worth being careful.
After reading this, you may feel like everything on the road is out to get you. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you have probably encountered all these hazards on your last ride and survived. Overall, road hazards rarely cause an accident but are something to be cognizant of.