Planning mountain bike getaways are one of the ultimate ways to enjoy the weekends and recharge. This is especially true after a particularly cold, wet and or snowy winter away from the bike. Some of the best times are quick getaways with a few great friends – weekend warrior style! To have these amazing adventures you do have to plan for the best times and not just roll into them.
My desire to “explore” the singletrack world has been nearly a lifetime passion. Over the years I’ve definitely learned to “explore” smarter when riding unfamiliar trail systems. There have been a few occasions when I’ve taken friends up epic boulder field hike-a-bikes and through trails likely not used in 40 years. Then there was the three thousand foot super steep decent (NOT going back up). The only way out involved a trail lined with a quarter mile of bee hives. I didn’t get stung although hundreds of bees bounced off me as I sprinted by the hives screaming! These are only a few reasons you might want to think about planning your next trip.
Be Open Minded – Great riding isn’t just in places everyone talks about.
I’m totally BLOWN away by how many cool spots out there not on the radar. The incredible riding that folks drive right by on their way to their destination is surprising. As a part-time guide in Brevard, NC (Pisgah) I often ask clients about riding closer to where they live and am quite surprised to hear how few explore amazing riding close to home. They often drive and fly right past other great riding areas that I believe they would love in route to Brevard.
I love the west as much as anyone having spent half of my life wandering around it. Many destinations east of the Mississippi have given me the same ear to ear grin though. With new trails popping up everywhere and improvements to existing trails you might be surprised with some of the shit that’s right under your nose.
- In the middle of Kansas right off I-70 on a 20 mile IMBA Epic loop.
The popular trail apps Trailforks and MTB Project can be very useful aids in finding hotspots, but definitely ARE NOT comprehensive trail guides. They are great tools, but stitching together rides is difficult sometimes by just using these apps. Nothing is worse than looking down at your phone for half the ride only to find that you’ve climbed up the best downhill and descended the climbing trail.
Tips for Planning the BEST Mountain Bike Weekends
- Plan your trip on a long weekend, or better yet take an extra day off to make a three-day adventure. Life is too short not to ride all the trails. You’ll never be sad having an extra day to ride.
- Download GPX routes if you have a bike computer that allows OR write directions on a small cue sheet taped to your top tube.
- To find new places ask your friends, ask in forums, ask us! Likely your friends know you well enough to advise the type of riding suited best to your enjoyments.
- Ride you bike before your trip – There’s nothing worse than planning a killer weekend trip and being limited by your fitness. As a guide I see it fairly frequently. Folks do a great job of planning their trip and when they actually get to their destination to ride its. the first time they’ve ridden in weeks or months. No how do you think you’re going to feel?
Organized Rides, Races and Festivals
- Consider attending a mountain bike festival, especially if you’re looking for a new bike and want to demo it on real trails. There are a ton of great festivals out there now – check out our festivals calendar here:https://crankjoy.com/mtbikefestivals/
- Fun races such as poker rides, endurance events and group mountain bike rides are also a great way to find the goods if you don’t have a local friend or don’t want to pay a guide.
- When planning routes consider past and future weather conditions as well as possible closures. I’ve been denied rides on trail systems more than once that were open strange hours, closed for just hiking or too wet to ride responsibly.
- Recruit a friend or 5 to enjoy the fun with. Riding is 100% more fun with friends, when chosen correctly.
- Think about hiring a guide or bribing someone who has good knowledge of where you want to go for at least part of your trip. Places like mountain bike clubs and bike shops are great places to find guides. A guide split amongst a few friends could be a little as $50/day/person with a group of 3.
- Consider all-inclusive weekends – like our friends at Chasing Epic – all you have to do is get yourself to the location – they provide the rest including bike, food, accommodations and guiding.
It’s our desire to make all your weekends awesome!
This is why we exist – to help you have more fun while exploring the world by mountain bike. Let me know if I you have any questions or comments!