As Canada begins re-opening, and trails clear of snow, many mountain bikers are eagerly looking to get out and explore in the woods again. With international travel restrictions still in place, and all provincial health authorities recommending against travelling between communities for now, that exploring will be happening closer to home.
Exploring your own back yard can be exciting, though! While it can be easy to overlook the trails closest to home when planning summer riding trips, sticking to the nearest woods for a while can give you new appreciation of what you have close at hand.
Here are six ways to find adventure, challenges and excitement on your local trails this summer:
Take a lesson
Most mountain bikers have never had any real instruction in technique. That mean’s most of us could easily improve in one way or another, with a little guidance. Coaches spend hours and hours learning to correct technique. All to help you have more fun on the trails.
Explore new routes and revisit old favorites on your local trails
How well do youreallyknow your own trails? Try a new connector or a trail you haven’t tried in a while. Or just run your local route in a different order. Maybe you’ll discover – or rediscover – a part of the local network to get you through the season!
Get guided around your local trails
Bike guides spend more time than any of the rest of us. Chances are, they know of a sweet section of singletrack you’ve never visited, or a creative way to connect your favorite trails into a new loop. With travel restrictions keeping tourists away, hiring a guide is a great way to support your local tourism industry through a tough time, too.
Bikepacking is an excellent way to add adventure to your riding. Even without travel restrictions, it’s always a good idea to try a route closer to home before embarking on an epic route in a far-off land. Test out your storage strategies, food prep and work out any problems on mini-trips so you can set out on that dream trip later on. But staying local doesn’t rule out epic, either. From the Rockies to Ontario’sBT 700 routeand Atlantic Canada, there’s great bikepacking from coast to coast in Canada.
Help trail build or volunteer with your local association
Trail associations always need help maintaining trails. With more people riding, and a surge in new riders exploring the trails, volunteer help will be especially important this summer. As trail days start up again, now is a great time to help. It is, though, important to work with the local association if before changing or altering any trail.
Try a different kind of riding
Switching up your routine can bring a fresh flavor to familiar trails. Trade in the full-face for skinny tires, or turn in the spandex for baggies and try out the local ‘enduro’ trails. Even if you don’t love it, you’ll probably learn something you can take back to your normal. Heck, get real out there and try road biking or this new gravel craze!
Note: While this article originated in Canada, we think their "six ways to find adventure" will work just as well in Iowa!