When riding your mountain bike outdoors isn’t an option (muddy trails, frigid temperatures), then consider going to an indoor mountain bike park. Not only does it allow you to ride when conditions outside aren’t conducive, but it increases your riding skills. Instead of having to keep your bike on 18″ of tread outdoors, you have to keep it on 18″ of elevated ramps, in some sections. Most parks offer novice, beginner, intermediate and advanced sections, so anyone can check out the park. The first time you go it will be a bit overwhelming, but as you gain confidence, you’ll be going across a teeter totter and perhaps using an elevator all while riding your bike. When venturing to an indoor mountain bike park for the first time, here are a few words of advice:
- *Always wear a helmet (usually required).
- *Wear protective equipment such as knee pads and elbow pads. (You’ll be glad the first time you crash).
- *Place your hands on the handlebars in a wide stance (like doing a push-up). This will give you more stability.
- *Always keep at least one finger on the brakes. You never know when you‘ll need to stop quickly.
- *Get off the seat. You can lean and maneuver the bike easier.
- *Ride at your level. Consequences can be high on the harder obstacles.
- *Look where you want to go, and you’ll go there. (If you stare at the pole you don’t want to hit, you can guarantee you’ll hit it).
- *Most importantly, have an AWESOME time!
Not only do indoor mountain bike parks allow you to have fun and ride in the winter, but they’ll perfect your skills. When warmer temperatures return, you’ll be ready to hit the trail with confidence.