Let me count the merits of the humble mountain bike.
It’s good for commuting around town, fun for riding paths through the local hills, useful for exploring nearby forest service roads and exhilarating for spanning high mountain trails. It’s great for exercising both legs and lungs when fighting gravity. It’s equally good for squeezing the adrenal glands when milking gravity. It makes many dirt roads that would be uninteresting to walk worth a visit. It demands interesting and entertaining technical skills for the both the uphill and downhill. And it helps you evaluate the mettle of the people you ride with. That’s a ton of positive spinoff from one activity.
We live in prime mountain bike country where we can enjoy hundreds of miles of dirt trails and dirt roads, and where many events are organized locally for the benefit of mountain bikers. Whether you’re a novice or experienced rider, several of the events below will cater to your abilities and help you further appreciate the merits of this mode of travel.
Women’s gravity skills class. On the more radical end of mountain biking are the freeride and downhill riders mainly concerned about rolling down challenging terrain. These women-only classes are for the shred-set wanting to cultivate bike skills for going faster, jumping farther, riding surer, and, importantly, crashing less. The multi-day classes will be held at Stevens Pass Bike Park today through Sunday and Oct. 4-6. For more information, visit stevensbikepark.com.
Devil’s Fest & Darkside Ride. The Central Washington Chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has organized an event to be held this weekend that includes trail work and camping at Squilchuck State Park on Friday, trail work on the Devils Gulch Trail on Saturday, riding parts of the Devils Gulch and Mission Ridge trails Saturday night on the ‘Darkside Ride,’ feasting after riding Saturday night, and riding the Devils Gulch Trail with an uphill shuttle on Sunday. Fore more information, visit the Central Washington Evergreen website.
Methow Valley Off-Road Duathlon. This event is slightly out-of-area, but racing types are frequently traveling considerable distances to trounce their competition, so an event staged near Winthrop is local when viewed through the racing lens. This race, held on the Sun Mountain trails, entails 10 kilometers of trail running and 40 kilometers of mountain biking. Details are at the WenatcheeOutdoors calendar.
Cycle Central weekly mountain bike group ride. This weekly gathering, open to anyone interested in joining a group ride, has been taking place since spring. Every Monday evening participants show up to ride a local trail. For more information, call 509-888-2453 or check the Cycle Central Facebook page to learn the where and when details of each week’s ride.
Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. The regional venue for National Take Your Kids Mountain Biking Day (Oct. 6) will be the Echo Valley Trails near Chelan. The event exposes kids of all ages and abilities to mountain biking. Kids get to ride with other kids — a guaranteed way to make the day more fun and a much surer way to keep kids from whining. The event happens on trails where kids will succeed rather than come back bloodied, and where the ‘wow’ factor of the scenery might be remembered. Riding, instruction, and food are provided free of charge. Details are at the WenatcheeOutdoors calendar.