If you’ve been riding for a while, the awesomeness of mountain bike riding may be yesterday’s news. For newbie riders, take note – this is something you HAVE to experience.
Up until now, I have been sticking to riding alongside roads and canals or connecting with group rides in the city. But, I was curious about what other rides can be experienced in the valley.
Enter: Night Ride Mountain Biking
As Macklemore would say, this is f—ing awesome!
Slippery Pig Bike Shop, a local bike shop in Phoenix, hosts a night ride every week and always encourages people to join. I got up some courage and came along for the ride, having no clue what I was doing. I figured, if you can pedal, you can ride on a mountain, right?
Hands down, this ride was an incredible rush. And you don’t have to be an expert mountain biker to join. Proper shoes, a helmet, a comfortable mountain bike, water, and sufficient lights were all that was needed to tackle the mountain. The bike shop generously fits newbies on a mountain bike for people don’t have one. After a 6-mile ride to the trail head, we were off!
The best aspect of this mountain ride, especially for road cyclists or bike commuters who comfortably stick to paved roads, is bracing the different elements of the path and learning how to trust your bike. The off-road paths are more narrow, sometimes smooth, other times very rocky, and switch from a brief, intense uphill climb to an exhilarating downhill drop, and back to flat road within minutes. All you can do is hold on and go!
While the Slippery Pig Bike Shop hosts these rides every Wednesday night, you can connect with your local bike shop, many which also host weekly rides. This particular ride is open to all mountain bikers. If you are interested in joining the Slippery Pig Wednesday Night Ride, follow them on Facebook to connect. The group meets at Aunt Chiladas in Phoenix at 7:15 p.m.
Want to see mountain bike riding on another level? Go to a 24-hour mountain bike race! I attended one of the larger Epic Race 24-hour rides at Old Pueblo in Tucson. The empty desert transforms to a small town of 4,000 people with hundreds of teams racing from sunset to sunrise. This community is super laid back and ready to have fun, while raising funds for a good cause. If you go to one of these mountain bike events, prepare to be hooked. This type of fun is addicting!
For more info about mountain bike riding in Arizona, check out http://www.mountainbikeaz.com/ or http://mtbikeaz.com/ for helpful trail reviews and resources.