It was a long winter. Maybe you got out and went to Whiteface. Maybe you even went XC skiing. Some of you may have even decided to try fat tire biking. But for most, the biting cold kept us inside more than we would have liked. I know that I missed many early morning skis because -25° is not my idea of fun. So maybe you got a little soft while hibernating. Your legs of steel have turned to pewter. On top of that, your lonely bike has been sitting in the garage/basement/shed/attic while you wait for the snow to melt. Needless to say, both you and your bike could use a little prep time before bike season is here.
1. Get a professional tune up
Unless you’re an actual bike mechanic, or have a ton of experience, you should probably leave this to the professionals. At the very least, you should have a practiced eye look over your bike to check for things that could become issues further down the trail. Components like shocks and bearings break down over time and a good mechanic will be able to detect the early warning signs.
2. Stock up
Don’t be that biker that shows up completely unprepared. Go ahead and stock up on items like spare tubes, quick links, chain lube, and tire levers, for those unscheduled trail-side maintenance stops.
3. Gear check
It’s a good idea to get your gear out a couple of weeks before your first ride. Check your helmet, gloves, and bike shoes for wear, as these items take a lot of abuse.
It’s probably good to try on your bike shorts as well. 'Cause...you know.
Pre-season is the best time to check out some new gear. The latest products are starting to show up in the bike shops and last year’s gear is often deeply discounted. Inspect the high-wear components on your bike to see if it should be switched out. Bike seats and handlebar grips are a great place to start since this is where your body and the bike meet.
5. Join a trail building crew
What better way to get ready for the mountain biking season than to join your local trail building crew and clean up the trails? Winter can be hard on trail surfaces and there will be no shortage of blow down (fallen branches) to move out of the way. Around these parts it’s the Barkeater Trails Alliance. Contact them and find out how you can help!
If you have access to a gym, for goodness’ sake, GET TO THE GYM! But even if you don’t, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home to get your legs ready for action. Some of my favorites:
Push up - an oldie but a goodie
Plank - like a push up but your mind can wander
Burpee - the ultimate exercise to make you feel like a weakling
Air squats - just like it sounds: squatting in the air
7. Hit the pavement!
Worst case scenario, you could get your road bike out and...*gulp* go on a road ride. Don’t worry, the spandex is optional.
8. Watch mountain biking videos on the internet
Let’s be honest, this is probably what we’ll all be doing while the snow and ice melts. Well, that and gearing up for the Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest, registering for the Whiteface Uphill Bike Race, and planning out which roads and downhill trails we'll be hitting first.
However you do it, it's time to get ready. Let's ride!