Leaning a mountain bike to go straight

Feedback needed: Part 1 of a video series on how to ride a mountain bike in a straight line (skinnies!)

I’ve decided to do a how-to video on how to ride a mountain bike in a straight line, since A) I’m pretty good at it; B) I have other riders occasionally asking for tips on how to get better at it; and C) I’ve not come across online resources that explain it in ways that I’ve found helpful.

I’m not (yet!) a certified instructor but it seems to me that knowing how to ride a straight line on a mountain bike is a fundamental skill. It’s most obviously useful for riding across trail bridges, the length of logs, and other man-made ‘skinnies.’ But it’s also helpful for ‘holding a line’ on a chosen route through a rock garden, an approach to a difficult step or drop, or just a narrow section of the trail.

Part 1 of my how-to series focuses on understanding the importance of leaning the bike to help maintain a straight line.

This a Beta version, 4 minutes long. Comments on how it can be improved are most welcome. Meanwhile, I’m working on Part 2.

Rider: Michael Marosi

Why aren’t there more seniors mountain biking? Part 4: Image

Too much of what the average person sees in the media about mountain biking portrays the super fit, dripping with sweat, in their Spandex-accentuated buns of steel; or the pro young bucks, flying off cliffs, with their Red Bull-infused nerves of steel.

And even mountain bike bloggers like me contribute to the problem.

Several of the comments in the Facebook discussion thread I started (publicly viewable) referred directly or indirectly to the image they have of mountain biking that discourages many people from trying it.

For example, Myrna Mibus wrote: Continue reading

Minor mtb knee injury 4

Why aren’t there more seniors mountain biking? Part 3: Fear of injuries

In the online discussion threads (see the list in part 2), many people mentioned the fear of injuries from falling as a reason for not considering mountain biking.

Double track dirt trail, MN River Bottoms between the Mendota and Cedar Ave bridges

I touched on it in that post, arguing that beginners should not have to accept falling as a necessary part of recreational mountain biking on flat, wide, smooth, obstacle-free dirt trails like the dirt double track trail along the MN River Bottoms between the Mendota and Cedar Avenue bridges.

But what if you’re wondering if mountain biking could become a sport for you?  What if you’re curious about what it’s like to ride on some singletrack, especially trails with some of that ‘flow’ that you keep hearing about?  What if you’re tempted to engage in a little skill development, either on your own or with some coaching? Continue reading


Why aren’t there more seniors mountain biking? Part 2

I asked the question here on my blog last week: Why aren’t there more seniors mountain biking? I’m trying to understand what’s behind the relatively few number of my age-related peers (AARP crowd, baby boomers, seniors, geezers) who are out there mountain biking regularly.

I also posted the question to:

Tim Walsh, Griff Wigley, Dean Davis

This morning, I met and had coffee with two of the guys who’ve been participating in the MORC discussion, Tim Walsh and Dean Davis. Tim is 64 and has been mountain biking for 30 years. Dean is about to turn 66 and starting mountain biking last year.

After a couple hundred online comments, plus my conversation today with Tim and Dean, I’ve got a somewhat better understanding than I did a week ago about seniors and mountain biking. There’s a lot to sort through and explain so I’m planning a series of blog posts, each one tackling a factor or issue related to seniors and mountain biking and what could be done.  Continue reading

Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) fundraiser on tap for April 19

On tap, indeed.

MAMB Brewery Fundraiser

My mountain biking colleagues Clay Haglund and Doug Janni and their Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) club members are hosting a fundraiser next month at the Mankato Brewery. “There will be music, beer, food, games, merch, and a raffle with great prizes from local businesses” says the flyer which I printed out and put up yesterday in a few key spots around Northfield. See their Facebook events page for more detailsContinue reading

Why aren’t there more seniors mountain biking?

seniors mountain bikingIt seems to me that relatively few of my recreationally-active, age-related peers (AARP crowd, baby boomers, seniors) are mountain bikers.  I just don’t see many out on the MORC trails in the Twin Cities area where I mostly ride. (I don’t have data to support my hunch so if you’re aware of any that would support or contradict it, attach a comment or contact me.)

Skiing seems to be a close cousin to mountain biking, with elements from both cross country and downhill skiing.  And when I’m XC skiing or snowboarding here in the Midwest, I see plenty of seniors.

I’d like to author an in-depth blog post about this and follow it up with another one on what could be done. But I need some help.

What might be the contributing factors to the lack of mountain biking seniors? Fear? Cost? Areas to ride? Image? 

Riding on frozen crusty snow piles: more than acceptable when you’re desperate for spring

Ryan Hutchinson, John Ebling, Stew Moyer Ryan Hutchinson

I went riding on frozen crusty snow piles up with fellow Northfielders Ryan Hutchinson, John Ebling, and Stew Moyer today at the Northfield High School parking lot today.  It was more fun than I expected and definitely better than sitting around the house whining about the cold spring.  Continue reading


Mountain biking’s sweet spot for seniors: high impact for bone density, low impact for joints

I’ve never paid any attention to high-impact vs. low-impact exercise, as I’ve been fortunate to be able to pursue whatever interested me. But an article by Gretchen Reynolds (@GretchenReynold)  in last week’s NY Times Magazine titled Why High-Impact Exercise Is Good for Your Bones caught my eye. An excerpt:

Bones should be jarred, for their own good. Past experiments have definitively established that subjecting bones to abrupt stress prompts them to add mass or at least reduces their loss of mass as people age. What has been in dispute, however, is how much force is needed to stimulate bone — and how to apply that force in daily life… Alas, a kind of Catch-22 confronts older individuals who have not been engaging in high-impact exercise: Their bodies and bones may not be capable of handling the types of activity most likely to improve bone health. Continue reading

2014 MORC Annual Trail Steward Dirt Boss Summit

Photo album: 2nd Annual MORC Trail Steward and Dirt Boss Summit

As a MORC Board member, I attended the 2nd Annual MORC Trail Steward and Dirt Boss Summit last Saturday at Darby’s Pub and Grill in downtown Minneapolis.  Many riders volunteer to do trail work but the Trail Stewards and Dirt Bosses are the ones responsible for each trail and bike park, leading the crews, assisting with openings and closings, directing maintenance, conducting inspections, developing short and long term plans, etc.  The Summit is one way that the MORC Board thanks them (dinner, drinks, swag, etc) for their leadership and work during the previous year on its twelve trails and bike parks in the Twin Cities Metro area. Continue reading

Singletrack, gravity, bicycling issues & more