Mountain Biking Tips From Breck Locals!

Take a look around any Colorado mountain town during the summer. What do you see? Hikers, families enjoying their vacation, and more mountain bikers than you can probably count. Summit County is certainly no exception to this demographic. Naturally, when you think summer activities in the mountains during the summer, it is only logical that mountain biking is at the forefront of the mind. Here in Breckenridge we have some of the best mountain biking anywhere!

Biking has never been my forte. So when some friends had asked me to bike down a mountain with them, I was more than a little hesitant. After all, I have only ridden a bike twice in the last ten years! I needed to do something about that, and quickly. I gave a call over to Roger Hollenbeck, owner of Roger’s Snow Bikes, and asked him for some help. He was more than happy to oblige.

After a strong recommendation by Breck locals, I picked up my bike rental from Mountain Wave. They set me up with a bike named “Chewbacca,” and were sure to give me a rundown of the gears and brakes. Then, Roger and I set off for the beginner trails around town. We hit a variety of trails to practice some of the ups and downs… nothing was too steep and it was all easily accessible in town. I did pretty well, until the hills came. Roger realized that I couldn’t peddle smoothly going uphill and pointed out that the machine underneath me allowed me to gear down for going up hill and gear up for the downhill. Suddenly the ride started to go much smoother!

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When we finished up with our bike ride, I sat down with Roger to get a few good nuggets of information for those of you visiting Breckenridge during the summer:

Should Breckenridge’s visitors try mountain biking?

“I think visitors should be trying mountain biking because it is what we have here, mountains. Anybody can ride on a bike path, but you can’t go mountain biking just anywhere.”

What are the steps people need to take before biking or getting ready to bike?

“They should know how to ride a bike. They should go to shop and learn to shift the gears and work the bike. They should probably be in reasonable physical condition. Not super fit for a first day but able to get around. They should be acclimated to the acclimated to the climate, even if that means they have to take oxygen.

Where did you take me biking?

“We did Main Street trail, just beyond the construction site south of Park and Main on Highway 9. Main Street lead to Ice Rink where we stayed to the right and went on Rodeo Trail. We followed Rodeo all the way around the Ice Rink to Illinois Creek trail, then we went left to the parking lot. We crossed the street onto Sunbeam Road and rode all the way to Carter Park.”

The staff at Mountain Wave also had a few great tips for those mountain biking first-timers:

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What do visitors need to know, walking into the shop?

“We will pretty much take care of you. You have to know how to ride a bike, we can’t really teach you that. But if you have that basic skill under control we can help you out. We can show you where and what to ride, put you on the right size bike, and the correct bike for what you want to be doing.”

What does Mountain Wave offer guests new to town?

“We do a Vail Pass Shuttle where we haul guests to the top of Vail Pass. They can leave their bikes at the low point in Frisco or if they are looking for a little workout they can ride them back to the shop [in Breckenridge]. What is really popular is riding from Breckenridge to Frisco, which is all downhill. They can leave their bikes in Frisco and ride the Free Summit Stage bus back. That is a very family friendly option, and we have a lot of kid bikes and a lot of kid attachments. You can extend that by riding to Dillion or fooling around in Frisco for the day, we just need the bikes back by four o’clock.”

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The Mountain Wave team was also kind enough to share some biking “do’s and don’ts.” Keep these in mind while you are out on the trails:

  • Tell people when you’re coming up on them on the trail. (Ex: “On your left!”)
  • Yield to a climbing biker! They are working harder to get up than you are to get down. Step off the trail to allow them to keep their momentum.
  • Never cut switchbacks (a rule that applies for hiking and biking).
  • Stay on the trail, never ride around a puddle or snowpatch.
  • Braiding is basically riding around obstacles- never do that. If there is a tree down on the trail pick up your bike, don’t ride around it.
  • Be generally courteous. Acknowledge when runners or hikers step off the trail. Let a person on the trail (rider or hiker) know how many bikers are in your group. Hand signals work as does verbalizing it. For example: “Hey, thanks, I have two kids behind me too.”
  • Slow down when you are coming onto people. Don’t blow by hikers who have stepped off the trail for you.

We hope that you enjoy your bike ride! And, when in doubt, remember these two rules: 1) Safety First. 2) Teamwork.