Mountain biking is an activity that is perfect for the Reno/Tahoe area. It is an awesome way to get away from the city streets and explore the dirt trails that are everywhere in Northern Nevada. There are great rides just north of Reno, south, and in between here and Tahoe.
I’m very thankful that growing up my dad always had a mountain bike for me. He taught my brother, my sister, and me how to ride and one of my favorite things to do today is to go on rides with him. Riding with a group of friends is tons of fun, and memories will for sure be made. It is also nice to go out on your own and either clear your mind or go as fast or slow as you want.
Today I’m going to share with you some basics of mountain biking, some tips, and some great rides in the area.
The number one basic of mountain biking is safety. Just because dirt is softer than pavement doesn’t mean you don’t need to be safe. I have experienced worse injuries mountain biking than I ever have road biking. Your helmet is your best friend, and needs to fit right. Some people don’t like them, but I would recommend gloves for anyone starting out. Your hands do get sore, and if you were to crash gloves provide key protection between you and little rocks that like to get lodged in hands.
Next, make sure that your bike fits you properly. You want to be able to stand over the top tube and have both feet flat on the ground without the bar up in your business. If you were to have to jump off the bike or put your feet down immediately you want to make sure that you have enough clearance there.
It’s also important to have your seat at the correct height. You want to maximize your effort on the bike. If your seat is too high or too low while pedaling you won’t be getting the most out of your efforts. A good height is one where your legs are almost straight when making a full rotation while pedaling.
It’s a good idea to understand how the bike shifts before your first ride. I can tell you from experience when I first started riding that if you don’t understand how to shift properly you will wear yourself out fast. Check out this video on how to shift correctly.
Rides in Our Area
One great thing about Nevada being mostly desert is that there are so many trails everywhere to explore! There are also tons of rides up in Tahoe, especially around parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail. If you want to stay in Reno, Keystone Canyon and Galena are great places to ride. In Keystone Canyon, there are big loops to do, lots of different options, and a downhill course made by the UNR Cycling Club. It offers easy to difficult terrain and is a great option if you work in Reno and wish to go out for a couple hours after work. Galena is in south Reno, scattered in the forest below Mt. Rose. There are lots of downhill trails and the area is less crowded than Keystone Canyon would be on a weekday.
Tahoe is my favorite place to mountain bike. The Tahoe Rim Trail offers designated days for bikers to ride the trail and has the best views. There is also a ride called “The Bench” which starts at the top of Kingsbury in South Lake Tahoe and goes north towards Spooner Summit above Carson. This ride is difficult and I would recommend it for intermediate to advanced riding levels.
Check out Stephen’s blog about another great ride in the area, Corral Loop Trail.
Now that you’ve got the basics, some tips and some rides in your head, the weather is shaping up for mountain biking, get out there and go do it! If I missed one of your favorite rides, please share here!