Mountain Biking Momma!

I have been enjoying Bike To Work Month all May long, and in honor of all things bike I set out to get Mountain Biking crossed off my list.  There are a variety of sports to learn on a Mountain bike such as: Downhill Mountain BikingCross Country Cycling and Freeride Mountain Biking.  But to start, I needed to learn the basics so I turned to a premier PNW Mountain Biking nonprofit, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EvergreenMTB), to teach me.

Before we met for our women’s class, I received some top tips from EvergreenMTB that are good to take into consideration…

  • All you need is a working bicycle with wide, knobby tires, a helmet that fits, and the ability to ride a bike.
  • Flat pedals and sneakers (or even better, skate shoes with flat soles) are recommended when learning to ride a Mountain Bike.
  • A class is a great way to start, and learning a few basic skills will ensure you have more fun faster.
  • Mountain biking is truly for everyone!

I also learned some great information about EvergreenMTB such as…

    • The EvergreenMTB calendar lists free beginner rides and anyone can join to work on their skills or meet new riding partners.
    • EvergreenMTB offers classes for kids as young as nine, adults from beginner to advanced, and women-only.
    • This year is EvergreenMTB‘s 25th Anniversary and their 5th Annual Mountain Bike Festival will be celebrating the milestone on June 7th.
    • Two great places for beginners to learn to ride (but are fun for everyone) are King County’s Duthie Hill Park and Swan Creek Park in Tacoma – both feature bike parks built by Evergreen and volunteers in partnership with KC Parks and Metro Parks Tacoma, respectively.

And one of the wonderful things I learned about EvergreenMTB is that REI is one of their local partners and grant sponsors who support EvergreenMTB‘s trail work.  I found out that REI regularly brings crews of employees out to help with trail work projects (something that I’ve been wanting to do as part of REI’s Stewardship program this year) so that was a great connection to this amazing nonprofit!   REI has long been a major donor to Evergreen Mountain Bike park projects in the Seattle area.

Now prepared with all of this great information, I was ready to hit the trail with the ladies.

We met at a local Elementary school parking lot and rode over to Duthie Hill Park as a group.  It was great to see the variety of females taking the class, and taking the women’s only climbing class at the REI flagship store this spring, has made me aware of the subtle nuances that a women’s class can offer for the beginner.  Since women and men’s physiques vary, there is sometimes a difference in abilities that shows up right away in a mixed class—subtle differences that make the first-time participants even more nervous about “performing” in a group setting.  When classes alleviate that division by offering women-only, it helps level the physical playing field and reducing anxiety to learn.

At Duthie Hill Park we immediately got into learning how to brake, coast, balance, dismount and then we went out onto a trail. While the beginner trail at Duthie Hill “Bootcamp” is designed to be appropriate for novice riders with no experience mountain biking, it helps to take a class before you ride it, mostly because maneuvering plus thinking about other bikers around you all the time is distracting and could put you off your bike quick.

All in all it was a wonderful afternoon spent learning the basics of this sport and some key pointers about riding and the different styles of bikes that are available to take this sport further.

The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has wonderful instructors and I would recommend their expertise not to mention their advocacy for environmental stewardship!  To learn more about the nonprofit this great VIDEO shows multiple aspects of what they do and how it helps our PNW region.

But don’t stop there… find out who EvergreenMTB is for yourself at their 5th annual Mountain Bike Festival to celebrate their 25th Anniversary on June 7th.  A PERFECT way to learn what Mountain Biking is all about while having some FUN!

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance 5th Annual Mountain Bike Festival Poster 2014

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