MOUNTAIN BIKING TIPS
Some Things to Remember
- Let someone know where you are going.
- Take a minimum of 70 oz. of water.
- Have either “slime” tubes in your tires or tubless tires with Stan’s or equivalent sealant.
- Even with sealant, flats happen. Carry a spare tube and pump.
- ALWAYS, ALWAYS wear a helmet.
- You can increase your positive (anti-crash) karma by carrying out trash you find.
- If you are new or visiting Southern Arizona, it is best to ride with someone who knows the area before going off on your own. We are always happy to show off our great trails to visitors. Just contact us and we’ll hook you up!
Ride Difficulty and Rating
Rides are rated based on technical and aerobic difficulty. If you are not sure about the suitability of a ride for your skill/fitness level, call the ride leader. Overestimating your fitness and skill can make the ride unpleasant for you and for the other riders.
- Slight rolling terrain
- Rolling hills, no long climbs, low elevation
- Hilly , longer/more climbs, possible higher elevation
- Sustained steep climbs and/or higher elevation, advanced riders only
- Smooth trail/jeep road
- Some technical challenges but mostly nontechnical
- Lots of technical challenges (e.g. big/loose rocks, ruts)
- Highly technical, advanced riders only
Here are some simple steps that most mountain bikers take whether they are going on a group ride or just going out with a couple of friends. If you are just getting started mountain biking, following them will ensure that you enjoy your rides, and that other mountain bikers will enjoy having you along.
- Calling the ride leader. This will (a) let the ride leader know ahead of time how many riders and who they are and (b) give you a chance to confirm that the ride is happening, and that the time and location haven’t changed.
- Showing up on time ready to ride. Ride leaders may wait 10 or 15 minutes, but after that you’re on your own. And “ready to ride” means your bike should be ready to go at the time the ride is supposed to begin. This is not the time to replace brake pads, adjust your derailleur or decide you need to overhaul your bottom bracket.
- Picking the right ride. A ride isn’t any fun if you are struggling, run out of energy or get frustrated because the technical sections are too hard. It’s also no fun for the other riders. While club rides are not races or race training, some are harder, steeper and longer than others. Try to match your fitness and skill levels to the ride so you don’t make the other riders wait too long for you to catch up. If you aren’t certain, talk to the ride leader ahead of time to see if you are up for the ride.
- Having a bike that can make the ride. Are your wheels true? Tires not so worn they won’t make it? Is your headset tight? Mechanical problems are inevitable on a ride, but you should minimize the likelihood by having a bike that is in good working condition.
- Being prepared. This means having food, water and clothing appropriate for the ride. Do you have a spare tube, patch kit, pump, and tools?
Arizona State Trust Land Permit
If you ride on state trust lands you are required to have a state lands permit. While enforcement is nearly nonexistent, a deputy sheriff who doesn’t like your bumper sticker could give you a ticket. Or you could be having a bad day and as you are carrying your bike back because you had four flats and ran out of patches you could meet one of the two or three State Land Department enforcement people, who had just been run off the trail by three gonzo outlaw mountain bikers.
To avoid this, and to be a law-abiding citizen, you’ll need to shell out some cash. You will be mailed a permit to carry on your person and a hang tag for your car. Even easier, give the nice folks a call at 520-628-5480 and they’ll send you an application in the mail.
To give you an idea of where you need this permit, if you park at the cattleguard to ride the 50 Year Trail you need one. (If you park at Catalina State Park and ride ONLY on the 50 Year Trail — no chutes or other jeep roads or trails — you don’t have to have one.) A lot of other riding areas, including the 24-Hours in the Old Pueblo course, parts of the Watermans, West Silverbells and of course, Fantasy Island, are either partially or wholly state trust lands.
The Tucson office no longer sells permits. You can download the form from the Internet and mail it, with your check, to Phoenix.