Over the last two years, I’ve really gotten into Mountain Biking, and while I’m no pro, I’ve definitely paid my dues on countless trails all over this beautiful state.
Mountain biking offers more than superb exercise and an addicting adrenaline rush, it’s also an amazing opportunity to enjoy the present, and experience the bliss of now. When you’re finally able to let go of the past and forget about what if’s of tomorrow, there’s a powerful yet tranquil sense of relief. When I’m smashing down a single track at 20+ miles per hour on the edge of a mountain, I have no choice but to be completely focused on every move I’m making in this moment, because if not it’s usually a long ride back with a dislocated collarbone or broken wrist.
That being said, after riding for a while, many of the more prominent riders develop tendencies that enable them to be safer, have more fun and ride longer. And when it comes to being passionate about riding bikes, I can think of nobody more suited to give us insider tips than Mike Posey of Ray’s Cycle bike shop in Vacaville, Ca
Aside from knowing his way around a bike, Mike’s no slouch on the trail!
Mike’s philosophy sums up his passion for this amazing activity;
Rubber down, saddle up!
Quick Fire Questions
What’s your favorite piece of gear that you won’t ride without?
My CamelBak HAWG which always has my spare tube, wattle bottle and my phone.
Why’d you get into riding?
I started riding when I was 17 years old (I’m 59 now) and aside from my dad being the original owner, I needed something to keep me out of trouble.
Why do you like mountain biking so much?
The peace of mind. It’s therapy for me.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
Was Lance Armstrong! Now, it’s Fabian Cancellara.
1) What should a beginner look for when buying a new or used mountain bike?
Get a good name brand like Specialized or Trek. Make sure you get the right size and if you’re purchasing used, look for low miles just as you would for a car. Here’s a good mountain bike sizing guide to go by:
|Mountain Bikes – Find the Right Size|
|Your Height||Your Inseam Length||Bike Frame Size||Descriptive Frame Size|
|4’11” – 5’3″||25” – 27”||13 – 15 inches||Small|
|5’3″ – 5’7″||27″ – 29″||15 to 17 inches||Small – Medium|
|5’7″ – 5’11”||29″ – 31″||17 to 19 inches||Medium|
|5’11” – 6’2″||31″ – 33″||19 to 21 inches||Large|
|6’2″ – 6’4″||33″ – 35″||21 to 23 inches||XL – Extra Large|
|6’4″ and up||35″ and up||23 inches and up||XL – Extra Large|
2) What are the basic safety rules of mountain biking that every beginner should lear?
Always wear a good helmet, get a bike safety check before you first go out. A good bike safety check will typically include the brakes, shifters, air and oil (chain lube).
3) What should beginners practice on before getting on the trail?
Core fitness is huge! Most people think it’s all legs, but in reality your core is taking much of the stress from the rides. Also, make sure you start paying attention to your balance and that you’re not easily distracted or else your ride can go horribly sour incredibly fast. Heck, I just went over my handlebars on a hill two nights ago.
4) What should you practice before getting on the trail?
Get used to your controls. It’s always wise to ride around the staging area and make sure everything is working as it should.
5) Tips for long distance and/or downhill rides?
If you’re riding long distances, always be sure to bring food and water. You need to keep your muscles (and brain) hydrated and fed so you maintain the energy required to not only finish the ride, but enjoy it.
When you’re riding downhill always make it a point to keep your pedals flat (parallel) with the ground and control your speed before you actually “need” to.
6) Anything else you can think of that would be crucial for beginners looking to make it a regular adventure?
Don’t over ride. It’s easy to get hooked on Mountain biking and for many good reasons, but just like with any other strenuous physical activity, it’s takes a toll on your muscles and you need adequate time to rest and recover. You can’t ride if you’re injured or unwell due to fatigue etc. And I want to stress not neglecting good basic fitness. Not only will this allow you to expand your abilities, due to the extra experience gained from longer rides, but your also going to be safer on the trail because the increased strength and stamina typically translate to enhanced control.
He who plays with the turkey at night, can’t sore with the eagles in the morning.
Mike’s Top 5 Mountain Biking Trails (Northern California)
- Annadel State Park (Big Loop) – Santa Rosa
- Flume Trail – Lake Tahoe (Considered Nevada)
- Mr. Toads Wild Ride – Lake Tahoe
- Downieville Downhills – Downieville
- Skeggs Point – El Corte de Madera
If you’re in the Northern California area and need a great bike and honest experts to help you out, be sure to visit Mike and the Team at Ray’s Cycle. They offer service discounts and have weekly group rides that are open to all!
Bring your mountain bikes out to rays cycle for group rides:
Monday/ Tuesdays / Thursdays 6:00 pm
And bring your road bikes out every saturday morning at 9:00 am
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