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6 Things To Do While Your Trails Dry Out

This time of year can be frustrating for mountain bikers. Trails in many areas are muddy and going through freeze, thaw cycles that leave them unridable. All work and no play makes a mountain biker cranky, so here are some ideas on things to do while your trails dry out.

Service Your Suspension

This is an often neglected task that can greatly improve the performance of your bike and longevity of your suspension components. Doing a basic service on most shocks or forks is not an overly scary proposition. You’ll need a few tools, the right oil/lube, perhaps a basic service kit and YouTube to guide they way.

I’ve picked up a basic service kit for my RockShox revelation fork  and I’ll be doing a service on the next rainy day in my neck of the woods.

Work On Your Local Trails

Spring time often reveals damage that winter’s harsh weather has done to trails. There are often trees to clear, dirt to move and drainage to fix. Garbage also tends to collect in the winter so there may be some simple clean up tasks as well. There may even be new trail to build. Get in contact with your local trail stewardship organization and find out how you can help.

Go For A Road Ride 😱

I know, I know. The horror! The fact is though that mountain biking often does not provide the best training at putting down consistent power over an extended period of time. Pounding out 15 or 20 miles on a road bike can yield great endurance returns when you get back on the mountain bike. You don’t even need to have a second bike. Riding road on you mountain bike is just fine. However, we’ll let you take this excuse for N+1 if you don’t already have a road bike.

Learn A New Bike Handling Skill

Have you always wanted to be able to bunny hop, manual, endo-turn or track-stand? These are all skills you don’t need a trail to master. Your driveway, parking lot or an empty patch of grass will do just fine. Need some inspiration? I always love Skills with Phil’s videos on this topic. I’m working on endo-turns this spring.

Ride A Skate Park Or Skills Park

Skate parks and skills parks can be great places to practice your jumping and moving your body around on your bike. While the weather is still cold, they most likely won’t be super busy either. Don’t know where you closest local park is? TrailForks will have a listing of parks open to bikers here https://www.trailforks.com/skillparks.

Build a Feature

If you don’t have any skills parks in your area, you can always make your own features as well. An easy beginner feature to build that requires almost no carpentry skills is a skinny. I built one for working on my skinny skills in about 20 minutes for a few bucks. If you are feeling up to it you can build something more complicated like a jump, roller or drop. If you aren’t sure of your carpentry skills, this can be a great opportunity to get a friend who is more confident involved in mountain biking with you!

What are your ideas? Let us know if the comments below.

 

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I'm a mountain biker currenlty residing in south east Wisconsin. I love riding bikes with my family and friends, race casually and am plain crazy about bikes.

3 Comments

  1. Jason Schluneker says

    Awesome that you start out with probably the most neglected item/s of every persons bike, unless they really care and value the tool in which they ride, but to not lead people to visit their local bike shop and instead openly tell them to you tube it. Poor form man. Poor form.
    I am a seasoned bike mechanic who happens to be my shops suspension tech. 15 yeats under my belt. And thats all I do ALL day long pretty much. I’ve seen hundreds of “mechanical” people screw up there fork/ shock doing a basic lower drop or air can service. And being a bike writer, you wouldnt want to spread the helpful word about visiting your lbs. But instead pump up youtube…

    One day it will be… There will be no more lbs. And you will have to you tube how to rebuild that fit damper after you snap the rebound assembly rod bc you over torqued the compression nut. Seen that one dozens of times…

    Bummed
    Lbs employee

    • Matt Stenson says

      Hey fellow biker. Here’s the thing I have a hard time wrapping my head around. I hear LBS employees always talking about getting more people on bikes, but heaven forbid they are crazy enough about them to want to work on them themselves. The thing is, any mountain biker shouldn’t be afraid to drop the lowers on their bike. Knowing how this stuff works helps you fix stuff out on the trail and when the lbs is closed. There will always be people who don’t have the time to service their own stuff or don’t enjoy it and will take it in. I think as an industry we need to stop putting down those that want to give it a go themselves.

  2. Dylan says

    Haha gotta agree with Matt here. Bike mechanics act like working on a bike is so complex. If you can do car mechanical work yourself, then learning to wrench on a bike is a damn breeze. I’ve learned to do just about every type of overhaul on my hardtail and it’s consistently been easier than expected. Poor form is acting like using YouTube to learn something is a bad thing. A world where we all could completely work on our own bikes would be awesome imo.

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