Mountain Biking
by Dave

A Couple on a Mountain Biking Date
Take a scenic drive out of the city and spend your afternoon exploring the beauty of nature while mountain biking! This is a chance to get a little dirty, see the sights, and learn about your date in a fun, casual setting. Plus, you'll find out if they're even a little bit athletic and like to get physical. No, not that kind of physical. Cruise along until you're tired, then stop off at a scenic spot to relax and enjoy a light meal.

Mountain biking doesn't necessarily involve mountains at all; it can be on a rough path along the ocean or through a nice meadow. Some of the best ways to find trails that are perfect for your level of experience and fitness are to ask at a bike shop or find a local mountain biking club online (see Links). Let them know your ideas, the type of trail you'd like to ride, the scenery, and they will usually be happy to throw out a few suggestions. Try to find a destination worth seeing, a trail worth experiencing, or hopefully both. Some ideas might be a river, lake, or waterfall where you can swim, a beautiful view of the surrounding area, or an historical site. Just make sure that, along with scenic and memorable, the trail is basic enough for you both to handle easily. This date is a lot more fun when you're cruising along chatting than dying while trying make it up a steep hill.

Some riding basics are that your arms should be bent, not locked, when riding and you should stand up with knees bent, pedals in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, when travelling over rough surfaces. Sit back on the bike while going downhill so that you don't end up flying over the handlebars, always yield to uphill traffic, and be sure to slow down when approaching hikers or horses. Also, make sure you have a patch kit with spare inner tube for each bike and know how to use them. The type of mountain biking you'll be doing probably doesn't require helmets, but they’re a good idea anyway.

One tip that I really like is to bring along a few washcloths and then, when stopping for lunch, dampen them with water and use to wipe your face, neck, arms, and hands. It's a little thing that will make you both feel so much more refreshed and relaxed for lunch. You can even go a step further by adding a small squeeze of lemon to the water bottle to give the washcloths a great smell. Keep another set back at the car for after the ride. Also, think about bringing along a light blanket to sit on. You'll end up needing a second backpack, but it will probably make lunch more comfortable.

If either of you doesn't have a mountain bike, try asking friends to borrow one, rent or buy from a local shop, or even pick one up on the cheap using craigslist. Many times you can almost pick up a used bike for the cost of a day's rental. Make sure that the bike fits you; your legs should be 70-90% extended when at the bottom of the pedals while seated.

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Tips

Don't forget to bring plenty of water, candy bars or other energy food, hats, sunblock, and weather-appropriate clothing.

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