Short on Time? You Can Still Go for a Ride!
By Jay Bartlett
I don’t have time to go mountain biking. I have to get my riding gear on, air up the tires, lube my chain, load up the truck, and drive all the way to the trailhead. There’s barely time to ride by the time I drive there!
I hear that sort of complaint every so often. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that it’s a busy world we live in, but when bike greed (the state of being where you just want to keep riding because it’s so fun) gets a hold of you and you really want to go soak in the splendor of some serpent-ee singletrack, the above statements should not stand in the way of the tension-clearing, body-working, endorphin-enhancing experience that is a mountain bike ride. Let me explain.
Getting your gear on is the same as changing your clothes. We all know how to do that quickly, right? Keep you gear together, and it’s pretty fast! Keep your floor pump handy, and you’re only a couple of minutes airing up your tires. Lubing your chain? Run it backwards through a rag a couple of times to knock off built-up lube and dirt. Do a couple of rotations while applying lube, and wipe off the excess. It will take a couple of minutes—tops.
Here’s the big one: driving to the trailhead. Happily, it’s really not that bad, no matter where you live in Washington County! For most of us, it’s only about fifteen minutes or so to get to a trail. That’s pretty amazing. I have friends who have quit riding bikes because they live in places where it can take them an hour or more to even get to an area that’s considered mountain biking. Sure, our city is getting bigger, and it will get harder to get away from it all and escape for a good pedal. For now, we are quite fortunate to have sweet ribbons of dirt and rock in our backyards.
Do you live in Santa Clara or Ivins? Try the Cove Wash trail system, featuring Barrel Roll and Rim Runner. Bloomington? Navajo Drive leads to the Bear Claw Poppy area. Little Valley or Washington Fields? Desert Canyons trails. Coral Canyon? Church Rocks. Hurricane? J.E.M. The list goes on. Pick up a trail map from your local, friendly bike shop, and you’ll see just how close you are to some great fun on the bike.
Still short on time? Change clothes, air tires, lube chain…but don’t load up the truck and drive. That’s right. Just play around in the driveway, practicing. Tight turns, trackstands (holding still while your feet are on the pedals), bunny hops (imagine a bunny hopping—you get the picture), and maybe a wheelie or two. These are useful and fun skills that will help you once you get out on the real trails. You can also pretend the city is the singletrack. Find interesting paths or challenges around your home, and ride them as if you were in the dirt. The city is your oyster, and the key here is to get you into the riding-regularly habit. The fun expands exponentially once you have that habit.
When you have more time, of course, you can play on the neighboring trails. I guarantee you will find more time once you get a good dose of bike greed! After you hit your hometown trail several times (don’t forget to run it backwards to spice things up), you will be well versed in getting ready: gear, tires, lube, load, and go. Soon, farther away trails will be doable.
Every mountain bike ride starts with the first pedal stroke. Now get out and ride!