March was a pretty productive month for me. 

93 miles running, 85 miles on the bike, 10 miles in the pool, and 11 miles backpacking, plus moving my apartment yesterday.

Life is good!

Tumblr friends with GoPros: what attachments/straps do you recommend? I’m looking for mountain biking and kayaking use, with a little caving and snowsports as well. Got any thoughts?

Winter Wonderland ride!

It was COLD. I had to stop twice to chip the ice off my bike so that it wouldn’t freeze the wheels to the frame. 

I love being active through winter.

Photo by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

Some people ski in weather like this. I prefer to put my trust in knobbies.

Photo by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

A message from thinknorth
Hey brother, thanks for the input there. I have considered mountain biking, but downhill MTB just flat out scares me. Any tips for a beginner there? and what mountain bikes would you suggest for someone just starting?

Downhill is a looong way away, don’t even think of trying it until you’ve spent a few years either riding tamer stuff or in motocross. I’ve been riding for 15 years and I still get scared by DH runs. I like my personal safety a little too much.

I’d recommend looking into a 27.5” or 29” hardtail bike as your first mountain bike, which will probably fall under the Cross-Country (XC) or trail genres. Get a bike with a front fork, to get used to how suspension helps you, but don’t get a bike with a rear shock yet. A hardtail is a better teacher, as you learn how to move your weight and use your legs to absorb bumps and trail chatter. Once you’ve mastered that, a full-suspension (FS) bike can take you to the next level, but starting out on a FS is a good way to get in over your head before you’re ready.

I’d recommend the slightly larger wheels of a 27.5er or a 29er, as they roll over obstacles easier. Larger wheels means a lower angle of attack, which means you’ll also have more momentum to help you get over rocks, roots, and other things you’ll find on the trails.

If you can afford them, I highly recommend hydraulic disc brakes, as they provide improved stopping power and better braking performance, and it’s always a good idea to have a great set of brakes to back you up when learning. 

As for budget, I’d probably be looking to spend between $1000-2000 on a bike. I know that may be a lot to swallow, but you want to buy as much bike as you can afford. Bike companies can buy components much more cheaply than you can, so it’s better to buy a better packaged bike than to buy a cheaper bike and upgrade components. 

Keep in mind that weight plays a role as well. My first bike was a 31-lb hardtail Kona Fire Mountain cross-country bike with 26” wheels and 3” of fork travel. My current bike is a Giant TranceX 29” FS bike with 5” travel front and rear, and it weighs 29 lbs. I’ve got a lot more bike now, and it even weighs less! The trade-off was the cost: $500 for the Kona and $2800 for the Giant. However, it’s worth it; a lighter bike is easier to get up the climbs, flick around on the trail to pick the best lines, loft the front wheel over obstacles, and it all-around makes riding much more fun. Now that doesn’t mean to count grams like some roadies do, and carbon for a mountain bike is awesome but at minimum is $4000, so stick with aluminum. Keep in mind that this is a bike for the woods, and speed is all relative. I did a ride in the snow today where my average speed was 5.5mph, essentially a jogging pace. I still had a blast!

Another good thing to do is go to a few local bike shops and ask them what they would recommend for a beginner mountain bike. Keep in mind everything I just described, and ask a few different places to ensure that you get a variety of responses so that one shop doesn’t try to fleece you. Good bikes in the range I have described include the Giant Talon, Specialized Crave, Rockhopper and Hardrock, Cannondale F29 and Trail, and the Trek Superfly and X-Caliber. Your local shops should carry at least one of these brands, as these are the Big Four in the industry, but lots of smaller bikemakers produce quality bikes as well.

Hope this helps, and feel free to ask any other questions!

David

The bike’s all scrubbed after today’s slogfest on sloppy trails in Frick. And now it (and all its buddies) serve a secondary purpose: a drying rack for all the washed muddy clothes from the ride!
Photo by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

18 miles and 5000 feet of elevation gain in North Park today.
Nothing like a muddy day in the woods!
Photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.
18 miles and 5000 feet of elevation gain in North Park today.
Nothing like a muddy day in the woods!
Photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.
18 miles and 5000 feet of elevation gain in North Park today.
Nothing like a muddy day in the woods!
Photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

18 miles and 5000 feet of elevation gain in North Park today.

Nothing like a muddy day in the woods!

Photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

Tearing up the trails in Frick Park on my TranceX 29er. 

Cleared a few new features yesterday, even with the slick rainy trails. 

I love this thing. 

photo by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

A message from Anonymous
what's a good beginner mountain bike?

Well, little grey, I’d start off on something a little like this.

I’d start with a hardtail, meaning that it has a shock on the front fork and no shock in the frame. That’ll ease you into riding with suspension while ensuring you learn to pick good lines through and over obstacles. It’ll also teach you good riding position, including using your legs as shock absorbers.

Same thing goes for 26 inch wheels. Start there and then graduate to a 29er or 650b once your riding skill is up to speed. That being said, a bunch of folks stick with 26ers for their entire life and swear by them. It’s whatever makes you the happiest.

Starting cheap is perfectly fine. My first mountain bike was $500 for a new hardtail 26er. Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, Kona, Jamis, and a whole host of other bike manufacturers make great entry-level bikes. I’m not going to recommend specific models because it’s up to you and what you like riding, but do your homework. Research the bikes, visit your local bike shop, test ride things. A bike is an investment, and it’s worth your time and effort to get one that will work well for you. A good bike makes you much more likely to stay with the sport and pursue it, and thus become a better rider.

Hope that’s a good starting place, and best of luck with your riding!

IT’S HERE!
Picked up my shiny new Giant Trance X 29er 1 today. I could not be happier.
Only thing to do, take it out and get it dirty! Time to put it through its paces.
photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.
IT’S HERE!
Picked up my shiny new Giant Trance X 29er 1 today. I could not be happier.
Only thing to do, take it out and get it dirty! Time to put it through its paces.
photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

IT’S HERE!

Picked up my shiny new Giant Trance X 29er 1 today. I could not be happier.

Only thing to do, take it out and get it dirty! Time to put it through its paces.

photos by livetheoutdoors, 2013.

Watch out girls, you’ve got competition.

MY NEW BIKE IS HERE!!!!!

I’m going to force myself to wait until Saturday to go get it. Finals come first.

Take note. This is how to properly attract a man.
As Tim would say, rad chicks!
Take note. This is how to properly attract a man.
As Tim would say, rad chicks!

Take note. This is how to properly attract a man.

As Tim would say, rad chicks!

livetheoutdoors:

I might have enough saved up by May to buy this beauty! This is my quiver-killer, the only bike I’ll need. I’ve been eyeing it for the past year; reading reviews, spec’ing components, even taking one out for a test ride.

It helps that I get pro deals from a local bike shop, thanks to my involvement in the Pitt Cycling Club and the Pitt Triathlon Club. I’ll get this baby at cost!

Giant Trance X 29er 1. Specs here.

Reblogging myself because I made the down payment tonight! The bike will be here in April!

I might have enough saved up by May to buy this beauty! This is my quiver-killer, the only bike I’ll need. I’ve been eyeing it for the past year; reading reviews, spec’ing components, even taking one out for a test ride.

It helps that I get pro deals from a local bike shop, thanks to my involvement in the Pitt Cycling Club and the Pitt Triathlon Club. I’ll get this baby at cost!

Giant Trance X 29er 1. Specs here.