***NOTE FROM ENO: This is part 4 of a 5-part series about how to stay active in the outdoors through flatland training – essentially, training for the mountains without actually being in the mountains.***
by Justin Fricke, aka JustinTheWeekendWarrior
Well folks, we’re on the downhill stretch of this 5-part series. Speaking of downhill, that reminds me of how great a workout riding a bike gives you. That’s why part 4 is to ride a bike.
I’m not talking about a motorcycle, I’m referring to a human-powered bicycle. There’s a variety of different bikes you can use to train. The two I’ll focus on the most is the road bike and mountain bike. Personally, I prefer a mountain bike, but you’re not alone if you want to get into training on a road bike. There’s a huge road bike community in the area where I live, and on weekend mornings it’s easy to find the pack of 50+ people riding around town.
Road bike’s are great if you’re looking to ride the distance. These things have multiple gears and thinner tires which are meant to give you the speed to cover long distances. You can easily get locked into a steady rhythm and work on your endurance on this type of bike. Depending on where you live, you may or may not encounter some hills to change things up a bit. If you live in a flat region, then my advice to you would be to shift gears up when you get too comfortable. This way, you can add some resistance, go faster, and challenge yourself.
A mountain bike is a little different. I know when most people think of mountain biking you need to have mountains. On the contrary, communities have been adding single track trails specifically for mountain bikers. You’re still able to find a rhythm, but everything’s constantly changing, which poses a challenge to keep your rhythm and keep going for long distances. However, if you’re riding on a single track, or any other trail, you will encounter some hills. These hills are helpful when you’re training for the mountains and helps you get used to the quick land changes that the mountain have.
If you don’t have a bike, they can get a little pricey if you buy new. I’ve found that there’s always listings online, but make sure you’re not buying a stolen bike. If you do want to go new, I’d suggest going to your local bike shop rather than a big box retailer. You’ll pay a little extra, but you’ll get to speak with someone who knows what they’re talking about, you’ll be getting a properly fit and quality bike, and bike shops usually offer free servicing as well.
Get on a bike and start getting ready for your trip to the mountains!