Mountain Biking in Idaho
Idaho is a land of boundless options when it comes to outdoor activity and fun under the clouds or sun. Thousands and thousands of people enter the state every year just to try out the skiing and a significant portion of the Idaho population takes part in such winter festivities but there are a hundred other things going on year-round that might pique your interest from simple hiking to white water rafting trips down one of Idaho’s famous and exciting rivers. One outdoor activity in particular that draws people to Idaho is mountain biking. A fair amount of Idaho is flat and is more or less only good for traditional forms of biking, but the rest of the country is hilly and mountainous and makes for infinite possibilities when it comes to biking adventures over dangerous and thrilling terrain. Almost everywhere you go in Idaho there will be a great piece of land over which to take a sturdy mountain bike through. Crags, hills, mountains, gullies, forests. You name it, Idaho has it, and it will probably be a lot of fun to take your bike through. If you are an experienced mountain biker I would encourage you to travel to Idaho and try the state out. I have a few places you should check out at the end. If you are a brand-new mountain biker and want to learn the ropes, start here with me.
As with all things dangerous, safety should be one of your chief concerns when it comes to mountain biking. When you are out in a mountain bike in the mountains you are going up against a harsh environment on a somewhat spindly vehicle and traveling at generally high speeds. A lot can happen to injure you and if things are bad enough you might find yourself stuck somewhere without help and a major wound. You should try to always go out with friends or people who will mountain bike with you and only travel alone when you have supreme confidence in your skills and you are experienced in what you are doing. Even then, it is not a very good idea to go without a partner of some kind. Helmets are mandatory. At some point, you are going to fall off your bike and it is likely that it will happen a lot of times in a bunch of different tricky situations. If keep your head protected, you may come out of such incidents without much harm done.
Generally, there are a few pieces of equipment you should try and acquire for any mountain biking expectation. Of course, the bike comes first. A mountain bike is different from your regular bike in a few key ways. First, the tires are much thicker and give you a lot better control over uneven ground. The seat is also positioned differently, and you sit on it in a way that gives you a better view of what is around you, both to just get a good look at things and also to keep a watch on your surroundings for potential obstacles. Most mountain bikes also have improved suspensions. You are going to be doing a lot of bumping up and down on a mountain bike and so you want something that keeps you as comfortable as possible and which will not rigidly jump up into your body if you drop off a significant height.
In addition to some kind of quality helmet, the clothing you should be looking at is unobtrusive and something that allows you to pedal and move without a lot of extra work and danger. Shorts are pretty much mandatory. Other kinds of pants are going to interfere with your control of the bike, especially in tight and dangerous situations. For your torso, you want something that will keep the wind off and wick sweat away from your body. Mountain biking is a strenuous activity and you are going to be getting some good exercise. A good jersey should do the job of keeping you warm and dry while you are out and about. You also might want to look into getting some gloves. You should be thinking about this with every piece of clothing you put on or take off. If you crash your bike you are going to want something between the ground and your skin. Cycling in a pair of shorts and nothing else will feel good until the moment it is agony.
As far as places you should go to check out what Idaho has to offer when it comes to mountain biking it is not hard to find something, but here are a few spots you should definitely keep your eye on. If you are new to mountain biking and are not sure what you are doing my first recommendation would be a trail like Eagle Bike Park around Eagle, Idaho. The trail is not very long and is pretty simple to navigate while also having some interesting trail features to test out what your bike feels like on the up and down with some side to side thrown in. There are quite a few manmade trail features. If you want to give something a little more advanced a go then you should head to either the Osberg Ridgeline Trail in Sun Valley or For Lake Loop around Clayton. The former is more of an intermediate location to try out and the last is definitely more suited to people who know what they are doing and feel confident traversing difficult terrain.