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  1. #1
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    First "real" trail

    While I've been a kind of lurker around here, I've never really tasted "real" trails - just mostly reading and riding around town. However, I had the chance to head out to some local trails - Lake Bryan to be exact. Around 9:00 AM on August 21st.

    My gear was, to be blunt, laughable. Helmet, gloves, and a walmart bike. With brakes that barely worked. An accident waiting to happen.

    Anyways, it was enjoyable while it lasted. The first trail (roller coaster) was very easy to maneuver, and a real nice experience, given that this was my first time on a trail.

    However, the next trails were more intimidating. Slopes that I couldn't conquer and downhills that made me reconsider. But alas, I went on anyways.

    Good thing I was wearing a helmet. First steep downhill, I made it down, but couldn't turn in time, so went right into a bunch of trees, face first. Thankfully, I wasn't hurt, but my front wheel went completely out of whack.

    After I kicked it back into shape, I continued on, and met another steep downhill, with abrupt drops and roots everywhere. Not thinking, I went down. Something went wrong, and I started to fall. I probably rolled down the last 3-4 feet, scraping myself badly. Arms, ankles, shins, and back started bleeding a bit. Just a flesh wound. My buddy helped me up and we continued on, with me being more cautious and not attempting harder sections.

    Anyways, we rode easier trails for the rest of it, and later grabbed some lunch.

    Yeah, I got beat up pretty bad (crashed multiple times actually - I just "wiped out" three times, my front reflector snapped off, and our walmart bikes broke down three times in two hours), but overall it was really enjoyable. I had actually wanted to go again that day, but couldn't due to the lack of time.

    Anyways, I'm sure we got lucky that our bikes didn't break completely. However, is the problem of me crashing so many times due to the bike, or my complete lack of skill?

  2. #2
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    Probably a little of column A and a little of column B. By your own admission your brakes barely work, which are probably the most important part of your bike to be in proper working order. But there is a learning curve to this sport and experience and improved bike handling skills will also help to reduce the frequency of crashes.

    When you are starting, if you don't feel comfortable riding something, or you think it is way above your skill level, don't ride it. Eventually you will need to ride some harder stuff and try things slightly above your current skill level to continue to improve, but you don't just jump into things you shouldn't be doing. That is how people get hurt. Keep working at it, keep trying to improve, and most of all, keep enjoying it, and maybe along the way work towards saving up for a little better bike so that you can eliminate that as a possible source of crashes.

    -Bryce

  3. #3
    Life is Good
    Reputation: Judd97's Avatar
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    I'd say a little bit of both

    It's good that you had fun though, regardless of how "skilled" you are or how nice your bike is. The bottom line is to get out on the trails and enjoy yourself. In fact, I'm sure a good majority of regular posters and lurkers on this forum have started out on less than desirable bikes before moving up to what they are currently riding.

    Keep riding and enjoying yourself. If you start to think that you want to seriously get into the sport, save up some chips and go check out your local bike shop for a new ride.

    Happy trails!
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain

  4. #4
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    Some of it is surely due to the bike. As you said it didn't brake well - and that's kind of important. Safe to say that it doesn't shift really well, or the shocks work that well either. Without these working their best it's going to be tougher.

    But I'd say most of it is due to you not having the required skills - yet. Ya gotta know when to hang your butt over the back wheel on descents. You've gotta be familiar with the brakes and how to keep your speed in control. You've gotta know how to deal with that front wheel hitting roots or rocks and how to maintain your momentum without pounding the living snot out of the bike.

    The good news is that these skills aren't terribly difficult to start to figure out. Read some of the skills hints on here and other boards, and then ride ride ride ride ride (ride). Before you know it you'll be doing stuff on the bike that you can't do now - without even thinking about it.

    The bad news is that you're bike is gonna disintegrate. Well, maybe not that bad right away, but them Walmart bikes are not made of decent materials or well designed components. And it's more expensive (and waaay difficult) to try to replace the worst of the components than it would be to buy a better used bike. Check out your local Craigslist and see if you can find a used Trek or Giant or sumpin' for $300 - $400.

    Don't give up. If you think it was fun on a el-cheepo bike when you had virtually no skills - imagine what fun it's gonna be when you've got skills and a rideable bike!

    Steve Z
    Pedaling when it's dry
    And paddling when it's wet

    My insignificant blog:
    http://swampboy62.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    How old are you? If you're in your teens or early 20's I say ride as agressive as you can without killing yourself. Don't worry about scrapes all up and down your legs - chicks dig em. You start falling enough and you'll learn what to do to not fall. And, you'll let your bike start taking the beating instead of you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O
    How old are you? If you're in your teens or early 20's I say ride as agressive as you can without killing yourself. Don't worry about scrapes all up and down your legs - chicks dig em. You start falling enough and you'll learn what to do to not fall. And, you'll let your bike start taking the beating instead of you.
    17

  7. #7
    Terrain Sculptor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zosaryk
    17
    17? You're invincible then. Keep your eye out for a good invincible bike for when your Wally dies.

    Oh, to be 17 again and able to crash 3 times in one ride. I'm down to one crash per ride and I have to be real careful not to break bones. They don't heal anymore.

  8. #8
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    Good for you Zosaryk. Sounds like you had a great day out there! A lot of us (including myself) were once in your place beating the hell out of cheap wallies while busting ourselves up in learning to ride. Good times!

    .

  9. #9
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    Good on you.

    I went on a ride with my buddy's son down Carson Trail. He got so excited that he went a little too fast, his front end washed out, over shot a turn and wrapped his torso around a tree. He just rubbed dirt on it. I wouldve broken a hip

    Take risks while lugging a good amount of reason, and enjoy life!


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