If you are planning to shop for a new 50cc pocket bike, you need to know what exactly it is you are searching for, and the right questions to ask before you visit a store, or even before you shop online, if that's your preferred method. Not paying especially close attention to specific features, or not asking the right questions can result in you buying a 50cc pocket bike that you don't really want, or even worse, can't use. First, know exactly what you want your 50cc pocket bike will be used for. Will it be fun and recreation, or will you be racing? This decision has to be firmly set in your mind before you go out to make the purchase. If you will be using the pocket bike for recreational purposes, and you have no intention of racing, you can expect to pay about $400 or a little more. A very reasonable price. It's a completely different story if you want to race. If you eventually plan to race, you may find that you need to pay up to a full $7000 to get what you want. The price difference shows you pretty quickly why you have to know what you're investing in. Generally you will find that any pocket bikes you are looking at were made in one of two places. There are the pocket bikes that are built in Italy, and there are pocket bikes that are manufactured in China. The bikes made in Italy are typically among the highest quality bikes. Higher quality also brings a higher price, but once again what you should be willing to spend on a 50cc pocket bike depends on what you are going to use it for. If the bike is going to be used solely for recreational purposes, then look at the ones made from China, because the difference is not that large if it is just for fun. If you're looking to race, buy from Italy. Keep in mind pocket bikes are not very comfortable, due to their small size - unless you are very small or a kid. So, comfort isn't what you need to look for, however, you still need to be comfortable enough to ensure that you have full control of the bike at all times. Take the bike for a test run, and make sure that your body isn't touching anything that it shouldn't, like the exhaust pipe, and that you're comfortable controlling the bike. Talk to the pocket bike dealer to find out what spare parts are available for the bike, and how hard those parts may be to get. Find out what parts need to be replaced often. Remember, they sell 50cc pocket bikes for a living, and they are probably the best experts you are going to find. They will be able to tell you all you need to know about what the bikes need, and what they don't need. Also, find out if there is a mechanic at the dealership, or in the town, that is capable of making repairs should they be needed, and inquire about warranties as well, the same types of information you would want for a new car. Make an informed decision based on your needs, and you will find a pocket bike an enjoyable investment.
A 110cc pocket bike is a miniature motorcycle that is becoming increasingly popular. There are even Pocket Bike races held world wide now, with some of the pros taking home thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. 110cc pocket bikes look like they were built for kids, they are typically 38 to 47 inches long and weigh about 50 pounds, but don't let the small size fool you. The 110cc pocket bikes are specifically built for adult drivers. The 110cc bikes are made in Italy, and can reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. The 110cc pocket bikes have a 30 inch wheelbase, which in layman's terms means that you are barely inches from the ground. This definitely adds an adrenaline rush when it comes to high speed turns! Due to their miniature size, riding a pocket bike offers certain thrills that cannot be obtained on a regular motorcycle. Pocket bike racing is also the most affordable motor sport in existence today, which is no small part why it is also one of the fastest growing. This draws participants from all over the world, offering them the ability to get in on motor sports, when they might not be able to otherwise. Make no mistakes about it, though, riding a pocket bike isn't like riding a regular motorcycle, even though the concept of balancing on two wheels at high speed is the same. Due to its small size, riding a pocket bike requires more balance, self control, agility, and faster reaction times. The adrenaline rush is a major reason many beginning participants become hooked and life-long fans. Pocket bikes can be suitable for children over the age of nine, as long as they are very carefully supervised. The bikes were designed for adults, and so are set to support up to 300 pounds of weight. 110cc pocket bikes are not designed or intended for street use, these are bikes made for racing on tracks. Protective gear should be worn by both kids and adults at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads, and leather clothes in case of an accident. While they may look like toys, the 110cc pocket bikes were designed for extreme motor racing, and need to be treated with the same respect accordingly.
Avid cyclists know there is a wide-range of cycling gear available to choose from. Determining what you will need means asking yourself some key questions. • What gear is required by law? • What gear will provide the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do? • What equipment is best for the summer/winter conditions? Cycling store employees should be able to help you answer these questions as you look to purchase new or updated cycling clothing. What gear is required by Law? Nearly every government has a regulation or law requiring helmets for cyclist. Some states require them for all riders while others set an age requirement. A good, well-fit helmet could save your life. Whether mountain biking or street cycling, a helmet is a must have for anyone riding a bike. Though not specifically required by law, many state cycling groups recommend wearing reflective clothing when biking as well. This is another safety benefit, ensuring you are able to be seen by cars and pedestrians. What gear will provide the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do? Having a variety of clothing for cycling is recommended as what you need is based on how long your ride and wear. Cycling shorts are great for longer rides. They help to keep you cool while you are exerting yourself on the roadway. Quality cycling shorts are made of special material made specifically for comfort and moisture control. They usually have a padded seat for extra protection and comfort for extensive riding. Choosing a sleeveless cycling jersey to help keep you cool on long-rides is also recommended. Mountain bikers who ride through brush and trees should look for a long-sleeve cycling jersey to protect their arms from abrasions. Cycling shirts or jerseys worth their salt will be made of synthetic fabric that is comfortable, lightweight and moisture resistant. This will ensure that, whether long or short-sleeved, the jersey will help a rider maintain a good temperature. What equipment is best for the summer/winter conditions? Avid bicyclers hit the road during all kinds of weather, especially if the bike is their primary form of transportation. For cold days, a cycling jacket or a wool cycling jersey will keep you warm against the cooler air while still keeping you dry by sweeping the sweat away from your skin. Windproof jackets are also available for wind and rain protection. Coupled with cycling pants or knee warmers, which keep your knees and legs warm and flexible, these items will help you have a pleasant ride, even when the weather is less than ideal. As the weather warms, your cycling apparel should mirror what you would wear on long rides. Good cycling or bib shorts and a sleeveless jersey will keep you comfortable and cool. You may want to carry a lightweight, compact cycling jacket with you in case your ride goes later in the evening than you anticipated or you start out your ride early in the morning. There are a number of jackets available that can be easily stowed when the temperature rises. Cycling jacket made of breathable material that incorporates ventilation, like mesh vents, in the fabric are ideal. There are many choices in bicycle clothing and not all of them are necessary. Depending on what kind of bicycler you are, you may find that less is more. But, if you are seriously into cycling, then choosing a variety of bicycle clothing is in your advantage – you will feel much more apt to get out there on your bike if you have all of the proper equipment, including comfortable clothing that helps to keep your body temperate and dry. ~Ben Anton, 2007
The first bicycle wheels were from a horse drawn cart, made of wood with a metal band round the bicycle rim, very hard and very uncomfortable to ride. Then a man called Dunlop (Scottish) invented the pneumatic tire, this along with Macadam (another Scot) inventing the tar road surface made cycling a lot more comfortable. The bicycle rim, like the bicycle frame hasn’t changed much in design, its still round and always will be. From the first wooden rims the next were made of steel, then alloy and now if you can afford it, carbon. Of all bicycle parts the bicycle rim can make a big difference to how your bike handles. First the weight of your rim affects your sprinting and climbing as the weight will low you down, for a long, flat effort the weight isn’t so important as when you get the wheels rolling the weight can help to keep them going. The shape of the rim can be important also, a flat rim is best for climbing as aerodynamics are not so important on a hill, a deep section, aero, rim will help you cut through the air, but in a cross wind could cause you handling problems. Bicycle Rims Materials The different materials used for rims are very important also, steel is heavy and if damaged can be difficult to pull back into shape, but because its so strong it is quite difficult to bend in the first place and steel is cheaper than all the other materials. Alloy is probably the most popular rim, it can be made in any shape and profile, flat or aero, but not too deep as it would then weigh too much, most deep section rims are of a alloy braking section nearest the tire which is then mounted to a carbon deep section for lightness and aerodynamics and a very beautiful looking bicycle rim. As with most things if money is no problem you can go for the best, this would be an all carbon rim, strong and very light, but there are a few problems with these rims, first they don’t brake so well in wet conditions and you must use special brake blocks for carbon and they can be expensive, also the rim has to be perfectly round and not have any bulges in the rim wall as this will make braking quite erratic, carbon is a difficult material to work with and must be well looked after. Types Of Rim To Consider There are also two types of rim to consider and this depends on which kind of tire you want to use, first there are tubular tires these are glued on to the bicycle rim, cost more and are difficult to repair after a puncture, but for racing they feel and ride wonderfully. Clincher tires have improved a lot recently and are nearly as good as tubulars for performance and are easily repairable and more reasonably priced. Most manufacturers make all styles in both systems. So which should I buy? Not an easy answer, as there is so much to choose from, years ago you went to your local bike shop, picked out which hubs, spokes and rims you wanted and he would build your wheels, but now most rim makers also manufacture there own wheel sets, Mavic, Shimano and Campagnolo are probably the best known, check out there web-sites for all there new goodies, there are other brands and if you go to your local cycle shop or look in the bike magazines you’ll find them. There is a lot to choose form, but they are all round.
The Right Bike for You Want to buy a bike but don’t know where to begin? Maybe a friend of yours recommends getting a certain bike, while another biking buddy insists that his bike is the best choice for you. Who do you listen to? How about neither? What you need to do is sit down, relax and figure out what your priorities and preferences are to determine what bike is going to work best for you. Here are some points you will definitely want to consider before you pick out your new set of wheels. What’s Your Riding Style? Start by asking yourself why you want to ride to begin with. Is it for exercise? Do you want to fly through the air for the thrill or the sport of it? Where are you going to ride? Through city streets or back road trails? Once you define your style of riding, it will be easier for you to choose the kind of bike you need. There Are a Variety of Bike Options Available Although there is a multitude of bike styles, the following are some of the most popular: Mountain Bikes: These are durable bikes you can take off the road. Mountain bikes have fat tires, comfortably wide handlebars, and low gears for easier navigation of hills. Road Bikes: If you plan on doing long rides, pavement riding, this is the bike for you. Road bikes are built for speed, have thinner tires and handlebars, and are overall, much lighter in weight. Hybrid Bikes: This type of bike combines the features of mountain bikes and road bikes. Hybrid bikes are perfect for those who want to experiment with all styles of riding. Cruisers: These bikes are generally one speed and are constructed for literally just that—cruising. Comfort Bikes: These are specialty mountain bikes or hybrids that offer more upright riding and softer seats. These bikes are essentially designed for riders who desire more comfort in their ride. Size Matters Some bike models offer up to eight different sizes. To determine the right size for you, measure your inseam—this will determine the right size frame, in terms of stand-over-height. Like a pair of jeans, the right fit is important. Ask Questions Don’t be afraid to ask advice about what you don’t understand, such as quick release, bike maintenance, what kind of equipment you need, etc. Knowing what you need to know is the difference between easy riding and not so easy riding. Buy a Bike You Like Take even the smallest details into consideration when buying a bike: how it rides, size, how it looks, color--everything. After all, it’s your set of wheels--ride it proudly.
Ride Safe (The Tools Every Biker Should Have Along for the Ride) It’s actually quite easy to do routine maintenance on your own bike. And having the right tools for the job can mean the difference between enjoying an all-day ride and having to pack your bike up and head back home when something goes awry. So, what tools do you need to take along for the ride? First and foremost, you should have the tools to repair a flat fire. Next, invest in the tools needed to maintain your chain and brakes. Bike Survival Kit A basic bike survival kit should include: Tire patch kit Pump Chain tool Screwdriver Spare tube Wrenches in various sizes A more extensive bike survival kit would include: Chain cleaners Solvents specifically designed for bike chains Lubrication Things to Check for Before You Hit the Road Brakes: Ensuring your brakes are working well is vitally important. Make sure you check your pads often to prevent rim damage and to ensure that your bike actually stops when it is supposed to. Adjusting the tension is also important. Chain: Degrease the chain and re-lube it. Clean rear sprockets with a brush tool. Gears: Check derailleur gear action and cables. Degrease chain and re-lube. Clean rear sprockets with brush tool. Pedals: Make sure the axle spins freely. Check bottom bracket axles for looseness. Steering: Make sure handlebar and stem is tight. Frame: Check for damage. Make sure the seat is adjusted appropriately for your height. Wheels: Make sure spokes and nipples are tightened and wheels are trued. Check tire pressure and condition. If your suspension fork is quick release, make sure they are tightly fastened, and don’t forget to check tire pressure.
BMX bikes are a special kind of low bike, with smaller wheels than normal, that can be used for racing. They are designed to be very light weight but also very robust, as well as streamlined for speed. They are also known for being easier to perform tricks with than normal bikes. BMX stands for bicycle motocross, which refers to the origin of the sport: children saw motocross races on the TV in the ‘70s and wanted to emulate them. Since they had no motorbikes of their own, they used their bicycles to race around similar dirt tracks to the ones they had seen. Today the sport is notable for being one of the few sports that is taken part in almost exclusively by the under-10s. Although there are a few older professional BMXers, most good ones move on to other cycling or motorcycling sports. Among children today, BMXes remain one of the most popular kinds of bikes around, even if they do not compete in competitions, and BMX magazines are some of the biggest-selling hobbyist magazines. This was a surprise to many, as the sport was considered pretty much dead in the ’80s and early ‘90s, only to undergo a dramatic revival in the mid-‘90s that is still going on now. BMX is now one of the range of extreme sports like skateboarding and snowboarding, and similar tricks can be performed with the bikes to the ones the boarders do. The sport of Freestyle BMX was invented to allow BMXers to concentrate on doing tricks in skate-parks instead of racing, and has since arguably outgrown the popularity of BMX racing altogether – this is the style that the most famous BMX bikers, Mat Hoffman and Dave Mirra, compete in.
At one time you could only buy cycling equipment at your local cycle shop, if they had what you wanted or you had to hope they could order it and then you would have to wait for it to come and hope it was the right size, colour or price. Then cycling magazines started to have adverts for the bigger stores and you could post off a cheque and wait for your prized article to arrive. Now things could not be easier, your at home watching the Tour de France on television, you see you hero attack on the mountainous slopes of Alpe-d’Huez, what are those sexy carbon cranks he’s using? They look like FSA or are they Campagnolo, they could be Stella Azurra, which are they? How much will they cost? Where can I get them? Well, get on the Web, put the name of that most wanted item into your search engine and see what it comes up with. The next move can be nearly as exciting as riding your bike up the mountains, that’s making comparisons of all the equipment, something you probably wont be able to do at your local cycle shop and then ordering it online, the worst bit is waiting for it to arrive. All the top cycle components, clothing, frames and cycle manufacturers have their own web-sites, once you’ve found what you really want for your bike, most sites can link you to a retail out let, from there, with the use of your credit card you can order the goods on-line, or check out a store near to where you live and if they stock what you are looking for. This is best for items of clothing, shorts and jersey sizes vary from one maker to another and there is nothing worse than receiving your new professional look a like kit and it is too big or small, so get down to your local cycle shop or sports store, try on your choice for size and if all is OK, you can buy it there and then or if you don’t mind waiting and it’s at a better price, order and pay for it online and wait for it to arrive in the post to your house. How to wear comfortable cycling shoes There are many cycling shoes on the market, and finding the right ones for you can be hard. Look them up on the web, go through the search engine or if you have a particular make in mind, find them online and if you can’t try some in a shop, this is best, because size can be a problem, one manufacturer size 9 could be a half size bigger or smaller than another company, and most of the best cycling shoes are Italian, so remember that European sizes are very different from American or English sizes, and German shoes are wider and Italian shoes are narrower and you may be looking for a size 44 or 45, so try as many different shoes you can and then make your decision. Very importantly with shoes is which pedal system you are using, Look, Shimano, Campagnolo, Time and all the other systems have different fittings on the sole of the shoe, check up which they have on the shoe manufacturers web-site and then it should then be safe to order them online. An other good and very important item you could look for online is a cycle helmet, as with most cycling goods there are many different helmets on the market, some times the helmets you see on the heads of the professionals are difficult to find, but anything is possible on the net, just type it in and away you go, it may be that just the helmet you are looking for is available in Holland, get it ordered, it may take some time to come but if its what you want it’ll be worth it. Sizes of helmets, like shoes can vary, so if it is possible to try before you buy, then make sure it’s a comfortable fit, the big difference between cycle shoes and helmets is that helmets come with different pads to go inside so you can make the helmet fit exactly, which could help if you’ve ordered the wrong size, this is not something you can do with cycling shoes. The net is a great way to find the frame size you want for your new bike, with the new sloping frame designs it can be tricky to know which size to order, all frame designers have their own ideas for what is best, so if you know the top tube length of your present bike then you can compare online with the design dimensions on the manufacturers web-site and then you will know what size to order either at you local bike shop or from your internet supplier. As this is probably the most important and expensive thing you’ll buy for your cycling, and so with online shopping you can make sure you make the right decision.
So you buy your first pocket bike, or maybe you buy your first major upgrade. It's a great looking bike, you go to show it off and realize there are two other people who have the exact same bike. That takes the wind out of the sails a bit, but the good news is that it does not have to stay that way. One of the nice things about pocket bikes is that you don’t have to buy a customized bike to have one! You can change your pocket bike’s appearance, upgrade its performance, and transform your machine into a custom pocket rocket you can be proud of. You’ll find all the tools, parts, and accessories you’ll need at pocket bike chop shops. Turn your normal stock pocket bike into your personal custom pocket rocket! If you’re not sure where to find the parts you need, a good place to start is at one of the numerous mini bike forums or that have recently rolled into action on the Internet. There you’ll find an enthusiasts' community with unsolicited testimonials (because have you ever seen a company's website with a bad testimonial?) from members — other bikers, who’ll tell you where they’ve found the best deals, and even more importantly, they’ll tell you where and what to avoid at all costs! You may also want to check with your mini-bike dealer. Because of the mushrooming popularity of minimoto and custom pocket bikes, many dealers who originally didn’t sell spare pocket bike parts have recently added both parts and accessories to their inventories to meet an increased interest and demand in both. Along with individual parts, you’ll see that many chop shop owners and pocket bike dealers also sell performance-enhancing kits that are even complete with instructions that will tell you how to touch up everything. These are very helpful if you’re new to the mechanics of custom pocket bikes. You don't have to look the same as everyone else. Make your custom pocket bike look as good as it rides. Between the Internet and chop shops you will have a wide choice of accessories to make you custom bike stand out from the rest of the group with accessory designs, saddles and saddlebags, trunks, tanks and tank pouches, headlights, horns, chromed wheels, decal kits, etc. If you've seen something done to a pocket bike, you can probably either get it or do it to your own!
Barring a serious crash or the most frequent bike accident of all—entering the garage with a bicycle on your car roof rack—your bicycle rims will probably last as long as you can stand riding the same old bike. Usually made of aluminum, rims are lightweight and strong and are hardly ever the source of trouble on a bicycle, even in the most arduous riding conditions. In fact, most bicycle riders probably never give a single thought to their bicycle rims. The circular band of metal that holds in the bike tire and connects it to the wheel hub via spokes is easily overlooked. Unlike spokes, a bicycle rim hardly ever breaks. Unlike the hub, it hardly ever causes problems. Unlike tires, it never goes flat or explodes. Serious bicycle racers have some pretty fancy rims, full of the same outrageously colorful advertising that covers their clothing usually, but most riders really don't need these. Even the fanciest rims, the flattened out, wide, presumably aerodynamic rims you'll see on the wheels of the pros, are not certainly all that much better. They are, however, flashier, and in the world of bicycling, this apparently does count for something, maybe for intimidation. Do you need to know anything special about your bicycle rims? Not really. Most bicycles come with rims appropriate to their overall quality. You can spend as much money as you want on a rim—like everything else associated with the sport of bicycling—but what comes standard on a bike is probably sufficient. Customizing your rims will bring you fancier rims, maybe lighter rims, probably stronger rims, but the research on what constitutes the best rim weight, strength and shape is still largely inconclusive, and since this feature causes so few problems to the recreational rider, you can leave this issue to the professional mechanic who services the bicycles of world class racers. When they've resolved the issue, you will know about it! Meanwhile, if your bicycle rims are aluminum, as most are today (steel rims being heavy, carbon rims being expensive), there is very little you need to do for them. As with all parts of your bicycle, rims should be kept clean of dirt and corrosive oils, wiped after long dusty rides and examined after any crash. Otherwise, do what most riders have always done: forget about your bicycle rims. You may not be able to ride a bike without them, but you really cannot ride a bike better for thinking about this vital but happily innocuous part.
The exercise bikes are an excellent way of working out. They are high impact cardio vascular workout machines. They help in losing weight by shedding the calories and also help in toning up the muscles of the lower body especially the lower limb and the calf muscles. It's very convenient for people to listen to music or read a book while they are on the exercise bikes. Its convenient as exercise bikes can be installed at home. Unlike treadmills and fitness rowers, which take a huge amount of pace. Therefore even in a small area, you can have a great workout. The popularity of the exercise bikes is second to that of treadmills. The exercise bikes are available for as little as $200 for the stationary exercise bikes and go up to $3000 for an exercise bike with all the frills added. Exercise bikes work on the principle of resistance to magnetic, air or a flywheel. All have their own advantages, therefore before you make purchases, read the these reviews of exercise bikes available on the Internet as well as in many magazines. Almost all exercise bikes will also have some sort of a control panel. This control panel gives the display of the heart rate, the calories burnt, the distance covered etc. Before you buy a exercise bike, look for the reviews in various magazines as well as websites. See whether you require a simple exercise bike or a more advanced exercise bike. You can also opt for an used exercise bike. You can also ask your personal trainer for giving you the reviews of the exercise bike will be beneficial as they will give you an impartial advice, versus the salespeople of the exercise bike company. Also ask the advice of those who have already used or are currently using an exercise bike.
Exercise bikes are available in various types of models as well as costs to suit all budgets and needs of people. There are three types of exercise bikes and these are upright exercise bike, semi-recumbent exercise bike and recumbent exercise bike. Depending upon your need you can buy the one, which suits your needs. It's a great cardio vascular workout and helps one to lose calories easily as well as tone up the figure. The recumbent stationary cycle is as popular as the treadmill to burn the calories and attain a good and fit body. The recumbent exercise bikes help a person to reduce the blood pressure level. The person is seated very close to the floor. The feet of the person are near the chest level. Control panels display various readings and this helps a person on the recumbent exercise bike to see whether they are achieving the target that they had set for themselves. The control panel gives the readings for the pulse rate, heart rate, the number of calories burnt, the distance traveled etc. the biggest advantage is that one can exercise at any point of time on the recumbent exercise bike. The bikes can be adjusted for the height. It's easy to adjust the height of the seat as well as the resistance levels. There are also various programs which are designed for both the beginner as well as the for a more advanced workout. Its important that you seek the advice of a doctor and personal trainer before one can start exercising on a recumbent exercise bike, so you don't put yourself at risk of a medical complication. Also ask people who are currently exercising on a recumbent exercise bike before you start working out on one too. The whole gist of this article is 'do your research well'. Follow that principle and you should have a satisfying buy experience.
For most of us, well-intentioned but casual bike riders who secretly believe we might be Lance Armstrong's heir if we only had a few more hours a day to spend on our bicycles, buying a new road bike is tantamount to buying a road bike frame. The frame is what we're thinking of, something new and shiny and colorful, something we suspect even car drivers envy when they see us flash through the snarl of traffic. Truly, a road bike frame is a beautiful thing and part of the reason we love bicycling. When you have the good fortune to be looking at new bicycles, though, you definitely want to look at a few elements besides the color of a road bike frame. Face it. When you're on your way back home from a long Sunday ride and you're riding your thirty-fifth mile smack into a stiff headwind, the fact that your frame is cobalt blue or even Bianchi green is not going to help you. The length of your seat tube is going to help you and the length of your top tube and even the angle of the three main tubes all put together is going to help (or hinder) you, but color is not. If you shop at a discount store or even a general purpose sports store, if you get any help at all in choosing a bike that fits you, it will probably consist of a clerk instructing you to stand over the top bar of the frame and see if you can comfortably straddle it with your feet on the floor. This is not really particularly helpful, especially if you happen to have anything unique about your physique, like long legs combined with a short torso. If you have long legs, you can straddle almost any bike, but will your body be able to relax comfortable in the stretch between your saddle and the handlebars? The whole geometry of the road bike frame matters a lot to fit. And fit matters excessively to comfort. If you're a racer, comfort will not be your only consideration. Indeed, it may be down among the last elements you consider. Speed is not usually built from comfort, and the road bike frame that promotes speed is built of different materials than one used primarily for recreational riding. Frames can be made of titanium, chrome-moly, aluminum or steel, and each metal has different advantages of weight and strength. Frame geometry varies, too, with touring bikes featuring a longer vertical base and top tube than the skittish racing models. So when you're looking at road bike frames, think beyond the paint. Get a frame that fits both you and your purpose. Whether you do your research online or in a good bike store, you'll be glad you took the time.
Sure you can ride your mountain bike just about anywhere but there's nothing like riding miles of winding hand-built single track (just wide enough for one) through the forests of North Georgia. But where? Unfortunately, mountain bikes have been unceremoniously kicked out of public parks all over the Southeast for their tendancy to erode paths built for hikers and even collide with the hikers themselves. The solution? Well if you live in Woodstock Georgia, you wrangle your own park and build your own trail. The Southeast Off-Road Bicycle Organization (SORBA) is responsible for the wildly popular Blankets Creek trail system that skirts Blankets Creek at the edge of Lake Allatoona. Other nearby SORBA projects include Atlanta's Morningside Nature Preserve trail that links Midtown Atlanta with Buckhead through a 30 acre forested trail, and Big Creek Park in Roswell. BLANKETS CREEK Almost entirely built by hand by a team of volunteers, Blankets Creek Park is Cherokee County's only designated bike park and is proving itself to be one of the state's best rides. Right in Woodstock, just off Sixes Road, not too far from downtown and just 25 miles outside of Atlanta, the park draws over 100,000 bikes annually. Kids, men, women, families, couples, lone wolves, seasoned riders and even hikers all converge here for the great trails, a good workout and fun times. The park has three short loops that let you choose your own adventure - from beginner trails to hair-raisers that demand technical skill. The group is currently building a fourth for a total of 16 miles of off-road goodness. The North Loop will be complete in spring 2008 and is going to bust the guts of all but the most experienced cyclists. With breakneck climbs and headlong descents, you really have to know how to handle your bike if you want to make it to the end of this four mile trail. Fortunately there's plenty of opportunity to train up. The Mosquito Flats trail and the slightly more challenging Mosquito Bite Trail (1.3 miles total) are fun easy rides perfect for kids and beginners or to get your heart rate up before taking on the more challenging trails. Intermediate riders can try the Dwelling loop (3.5 miles) and advanced riders can try the South Loop (4 miles) for a steady stream of switchbacks, climbing, rock gardens, roots and log crossings. Though all previous trails were built by hand with rakes, shovels and a lot of back-breaking labour, the new North Loop trail is being blazed by a mini-excavator. The main benefit is that the trail will be complete in less than half the time it would take to build it by hand. GETTING HERE Blankets Creek is located in Woodstock on the shores of Lake Allatoona. To get here, take I-75 north to I-575 north and take exit 11. Turn left on Sixes Road, go about 1.8 miles and turn left into the trail head parking lot. The park is open every day, but closed for rain. Check the trail direction before you begin as it changes daily. Admission is a $1 suggested donation. WHAT TO BRING - A helmet. You can't ride the trails without one. - Tool kit and tire pump - First aid kit - Water and snacks
: BMX racing is a fun sport for young people. For kids, the basic bike should have 20-inch wheels. Riders under age six can use whatever type of bike they have, even if it's not a true BMX freestyle bike. These little folks might still be riding bikes with wheels as small as 12-inches. Some tracks even have races for Big Wheel bikes. A cruiser or mountain bike with 24-inch or 26-inch wheels might be okay, too, but check ahead of time with your local track for advice. Many tracks will let you race a mountain bike in the "Cruiser" class. Whatever bike you use should be equipped this way. Remove all reflectors. Take off the kickstand and chainguard to prevent injury in a wreck. The bike should have pads on the top tube, stem and crossbar. Most BMX freestyle bikes already have these pads. If your bike doesn't have them, adding this safety feature will cost about $5. The bike should have at least one working brake. A coaster brake is fine if that's all the bike has. The bike should be in safe working order. Finally, tie a paper plate to the handlebars. This will be your number plate. When you get to the track, they'll give you a number to put on it. That number will identify you to the judges and fans as you are racing. Safety is important For head protection, a helmet is essential. Depending on the track rules, this may need to be a full-face helmet or a helmet with a separate mouthguard. Other tracks will accept any type of inexpensive motocross-style helmet. Wear protective clothing. Regular long pants or jeans will protect the rider's legs. For arm protection, wear a long-sleeved shirt. Since riders will use their feet, they should wear good sturdy shoes they are comfortable riding in. Although you can race without gloves, wearing them is a good idea. Be sure they fit well and don't interfere with moving your hands. Finally, bring bike tools and an air pump in case repairs are needed. Ready to race To race, a potential rider needs to find a track. Local bike shops may have information on where the nearest track is. Otherwise visit the National Bicycle League (NBL) or American Bicycle Association (ABA) websites. These are the sanctioning bodies of BMX racing. They provide advice and insurance to local tracks. As an NBL or ABA member, you will have some medical insurance if you get hurt on the track during a race and do not have other insurance. A parent or guardian must accompany the rider to give permission for the child to race. A birth certificate must be shown as proof of age. Most tracks charge between $15 and $35 for a racing license that is licenses good for a year. There is also an entry fee for each race, which is usually between $6 and $10. For your first visit to a particular track, get there about two hours before the first race starts. Find the registration tent or trailer and sign up. Then take a walk around the track. Try to remember where the jumps are. Next it's time to practice. Put your helmet and other gear on and follow the others to the starting gate. Watch what everyone else does and where they go. A beginner should put his front wheel against the starting gate, keeping one foot on a pedal and the other one on the ground. Start pedaling when the gate drops. Go slow the first few times until you feel comfortable. After practice, the races will be posted. The people at the registration tent can tell you where your particular race will be posted and how the race actually works. You will be in a group or "moto" with other riders about your age. Line up with them in the staging area. When your group is called, go up and race! This will probably happen three or four times, depending on the system the track uses, and then it will be over. If you win, you might get a trophy. Even if you don't, you'll have fun.