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What to Wear Mountain Biking

With Mountain Bike riding season quickly approaching, I’d like to take a moment to give you some pointers on what to wear when you go bicycling in the woods.

Mountain Biking image canstockHere in New England, we get a wide range of temperature and weather conditions; so if you’re riding here, you’ll need more than one outfit.  Personally I find it helpful to have apparel for most of my activities in a bag ready to go, so for biking I would have my helmet, clear glasses and my riding sneakers with a good pair of thin socks and full finger gloves.  In the summer and warmer days, shorts are always best, giving you freedom of movement.  Wearing long pants makes resistance with every movement – hardly noticeable, but after a while, you get prematurely fatigued. 

This winter I treated myself to a thermal riding outfit and right away I noticed the ease with which I could move over the rocky, wooded trails, and my endurance also increased, allowing me to enjoy even more of the wildlife, trees, and views from the peak. For years I mocked spandex and biking outfits, but I have to admit here that I was wrong.  Not only is it easier to ride; but the respect I got from hikers, dog walkers, and other cyclists was noticeable.  I used to joke that the only reason people wore those outfits was so that they could distinguish themselves from adults who were on bikes as a result of having lost their driver’s licences due to DUI offenses!  The spandex wearers, I contended, wanted to ensure that people knew they were riding a bicycle by choice NOT by necessity!  

Ken on Mountain Bike Nov2014 sm

For summer riding, I strongly suggest a full shirt with shoulders (because you will rub a branch or the bark of a tree with your shoulder), and a light pair of shorts (make sure they are not so baggy that you will get caught on your seat when going down steep hills, but loose enough to move freely) and sneakers or hiking boots to taste.  A backpack with a water bladder is essential and also a good place for a snack, your cell phone, a spare tube for your tires, a pump, and a minimal amount of tools to do basic repairs.  It’s funny- if you have it you will not need it, but I carry it.

Ken's Mountain Biking Checklist

KEN BURBANK, President & Founder

Zest for Life, Inc.

Wildcat Mountain: Ski the Mount Washington Valley

 Wildcat Mountain is one of the must-ski mountains in New Hampshire.  Positioned directly across from Mount Washington in the Pinkham Notch,  this mountain’s views are spectacular.  Skiers have the use of four lifts and a magic carpet for beginners;  although I’ve never thought of Wildcat as a beginner mountain.  

Being in the shadow of Mt Washington often brings a brisk winter wind, and Wildcat was already colder than some of the other more sheltered ski mountains in the area. But besides Cannon, none of the mountains quite possess the thrill that Wildcat does.

Wildcat GondolaWhen I think of Wildcat, I think of the giant slalom runs of my youth, racing my friends to the bottom, and riding back up in the 2-man gondola. That gondola has since been replaced by a high-speed quad as Wildcat has expanded with a lot more snow making and glade skiing. 

Without any lodging, Wildcat still has that old- fashioned ski area charm – much like Mad River Glen in VT – with a friendly group of skiers and riders who don’t need the elegance and pampering of a full-on resort. I like the low-key nature of this mountain. As a teen, I remember running into local celebrities escaping the crowds. I even raced a local meteorologist who shares my last name! I’m sure he still tells all his friends how he beat me! Ha ha ha! 

Testing the Volkl One Ski in Fresh Snow

Volkl Post Mar4I had the opportunity to test ride the new Volkl One Ski this February at Copper Mountain in Colorado on snow demo.  For the two days of demo, I kept going back to this ski in different lengths and found the ski very playful and perfect for the fresh snow conditions we had both days.  

The Volkl One is a fat 116 underfoot ski with rocker front-to-back, giving the ski a surf-like feel in fresh powder; and the legendary Volkl edges were always there, although I never needed them.  I did go out of my way to ride a short section of groomed snow, and these Volkls just grabbed.  I don’t think these would be a good all-condition ski and in New England.  They, would be fun for the rare soft snow conditions but I would not feel confident in these holding in the wide range of icy conditions that New England is famous for – boilerplate blue to packed ice are not what these are made for.

All skis are wonderful in great conditions but if you want to maximise your smile time in fresh powder up to a foot deep I would recommend The One.  I personally liked the graphics on the Women’s Volkl One skis I demoed with polka dots and zebra stripes.  They made me feel the way they looked: wild, crazy and fun.  I found no difference in the women’s ski besides the graphics.

We want to thank Volkl and their staff for providing us with brand new, finely-tuned ski for us to test.