One of the best ways to explore the great outdoors is on two wheels. You can cover more ground than hiking in a shorter amount of time, while still being able to explore the narrow twists and turns of the more secluded trails. Mountain biking is such an incredible experience. Whether you are going on a marathon, or just checking out some hidden trails while camping, make sure you make the most of your trip by getting some proper planning done beforehand.
Cycling is a great way to get and stay in shape. Making exercise fun will allow you to incorporate things you enjoy and ensure you make fitness a part of your overall lifestyle. If you are planning on going on a biking expedition, make sure you begin your cycle training well in advance. If you are going to be riding in the mountains but live in an area that is relatively flat, try to find some hills to build up those leg muscles. If you go to a gym, increase the resistance on the indoor exercise bike to simulate hills. Switch up your workouts so you alternate between building endurance and building power. Being in shape will help you enjoy and get the most out of your trip.
If your trip is going to keep you away from home for an extended period of time, make sure you secure your house before you leave. Don’t let being away from home be an invitation to burglars. Before you leave make sure all your doors and windows are locked. Consider leaving select interior lights on and possibly installing motion detection lights on the exterior of the house as well. If you have multiple vehicles, park your other cars in the garage with the doors locked and the alarm set if it is so equipped. Cancel or postpone delivery of mail and newspapers so there is not an obvious signal that no one is home. Test your fire detectors and replace batteries in them if needed. Set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature that will save you money but not so extreme that heat or cold will cause damage. If you have a home alarm system test the components and make sure you arm it when you leave. Several alarm systems allow you to receive notifications on your cell phone if sensors are tripped. Some allow you to control and monitor other features of your home such as lights, thermostat, fire detection, water leaks, carbon monoxide, freezing temperatures, and cameras. Taking these precautions will keep your belongings safe and allow to focus on enjoying your trip.
Set aside some time to do a thorough inspection of the gear you will be taking. If you will be camping, check to make sure the tent is in good shape and is free of tears. Make sure you have all of the tent poles and that they are in good working order. Throw in a roll of adhesive tape to take with you. You can use it to patch holes or tears in tent fabric or tape up a damaged tent pole. Be sure to inspect your bike as well. Check the tires for proper tread and inflation. Test your brakes. There should be plenty of brake pad left and the brake cables should be secured to the bike frame. The seat should be set at the proper height and tightened. The chain should be inspected for proper tension and cleaned and oiled if necessary. Take the bike for a quick test ride before you pack it up. Bring some spare tools and a portable air pump in case you need to perform some minor maintenance on your trip.
Proper planning will go a long way in making your excursion as enjoyable as possible. Getting your body fit will get you ready for those mountainous winding trails. Knowing that your home is prepped and secure will allow you to focus on having fun and not worrying about your house. Making sure your bike and other camping equipment are ready and working will allow you to hit the trails with confidence. Finally, having a few tools can help if the unexpected happens. Taking these steps will help you have a fun, worry-free trip.
By Jason Lewis, Strongwell.org
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