There is no better way to explore the beautiful countryside than biking or hiking. Whether you enjoy rugged landscapes or you are a soft-biker, there are trails for everyone. There are a plethora of health benefits that you can enjoy while hiking on your favorite trail. These are probably the best ways to beat the stress and shed the extra weight. Hiking and biking trails are fun activities and your brain produces endorphins to lift your mood. You can go to the trails in a group and make new friends while losing extra fat, detoxifying your body and enjoying the nature.
Biking trails are the regular roads or tracks outside, actually the regular roads are suitable for biking. Some trails are single use and they can only be used for biking. There are multiuse trails and they are used by hikers, equestrians, etc. as well the bikers. You can easily find the maps of biking trails on various fitness apps and decide the route you want to take.
- Some benefits of biking:
- Tips for beginner bikers:
- Hiking Trail
- More tips for beginner trail hikers:
- The basic on bike trail ratings
- What type of bike should you buy?
- How should you choose your hiking trail?
Some benefits of biking:
Biking offers a range of benefits from health to adventure. Biking is not just for athletic people but almost everybody can take advantage of it. It is a leisure activity as well and you can go amidst nature in groups to far off places in a relatively short amount of time.
It is a pleasurable activity that lifts your mood, helps you lose fat and improves your cardiovascular health. It is a great way detoxify your body and beat the built-up stress of the city life. Biking is a great way for building stamina, endurance and stay away from the health complications like obesity, diabetes, etc.
Tips for beginner bikers:
Thousands of cyclists seek emergency care due to head injuries every year. Make sure you wear a helmet and other protective gear while riding a bike. Besides wearing protection for the accidents, don’t forget to wear protection against the UV rays. Use a good sunscreen and sunglasses to avoid sunburns.
2. Get a suitable bike
Get a good road bike with appropriate frame size, comfortable seat, gears and powerful brakes. There should be at least 2-inch clearance between the top tube and your groin. Make sure that the seat has a good cushion and you can comfortably sit on it for extended periods of time. The bikes with disk brakes can help you avoid many accidents and the gears will allow you to ride at the best cadence. Consider buying accessories like lights, bottle holder, and mobile holder to make your rides more fun.
3. Increase challenges gradually
If you don’t have an athletic body or a high fitness level already, don’t make yourself too tired on the very first day. Increase challenges gradually to avoid getting fatigued and keeping the activity fun. Let your muscles recover from the previous day exertion and have a healthy diet.
4. Wear comfortable clothes
Wear comfortable clothes such as cycling shorts with no seams in the crotch area. For bikes with clipless pedals, wear special cycling shoes that have a cleat in the sole. Buy clothes that don’t cause any irritation to the skin, especially around the nipples and groin area. Generally, the clothes should be light, dry up quickly and they should not prevent your skin from breathing properly.
5. Good road sense
Whether you are riding in the city, mountains or amidst the fields, have a good road sense and obey all the traffic rules. Avoid riding side by side with another biker and watch out for the potential hazards like potholes, opened car doors, etc. Ride in the lane meant for bikers and leave space for the bigger vehicles to pass.
A hiking trail is an unpaved lane meant for hiking. The trails can be within the city, along with a riverside, hills or between the fields. Some hiking trails are suitable only for the hikers while others can be used by bikers, horse riders etc. It is always good to carry a map of the hiking trails with you so that you can easily find your way back to home. Hiking has become more popular during the last decade and its popularity is only increasing every year. Fitness apps and navigation tools have made hiking more fun as you can find the new hiking paths, track your progress and form groups. It offers a large number of benefits to keep you hooked for life.
- A hike in nature influences your outlook towards the world, life and probably everything. Amidst nature, you look at the world differently as compared to sitting in a cubicle of concrete.
- You can take a stroll through the city but when you hike through a natural environment, it has a different effect. You tend to be more creative, have a better memory and it rejuvenates your brain.
- Hiking is a great way to shed all the extra fat from your body. As you enjoy the activity, you tend to spend more time doing it as you don’t have to push yourself.
- If you had a bad day, a hike in the evening will definitely lift your mood and spirit back. Sweating out while cherishing the beauty of nature releases endorphins in the brain and make you feel good.
Regular hiking is a secret recipe for a healthy heart. It is suitable for every age and it significantly reduces the chances of coronary heart disease and cardiac arrest.
More tips for beginner trail hikers:
1. Find the right trail
Find the trail which is suitable for your fitness level. Familiarize yourself with the route and refer the map before going for the hike. In the beginning, choose short routes and cover less distance than you normally like to walk. Look at the elevation changes as it impacts the time you need to cover the distance. Look at the geography of the area and choose a trail which is not too difficult to walk but surrounded by natural beauty. If there are a lot of hikers in the area, search for the reviews and recommendations.
2. Check the weather
Check the weather before getting ready for the hike. It will let you know what to pack and what to wear for the hike. You don’t want to be surprised on the trail so you will get a chance to change plans if you check the weather.
3. Pack the essentials
What you need to pack varies according to the weather, route, remoteness, and duration of the hike. Make sure you carry sunglasses and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. To keep yourself properly hydrated, carry enough water with you. You can carry a collapsible water bottle if you have a limited space in your backpack. The other important essentials include snacks, fire, torch, first-aid kit, insulation and a tent. Carry what you think to be necessary with you but you don’t necessarily need to carry everything. Try to keep your backpack as light as possible.
4. Use a fitness app
A fitness app can be a great companion for your hikes. You can see the maps, track and share your progress, calculate the calories, find directions, socialize with other hikers, bookmark your favorite trails, get recommendations and much more. You might not get the connectivity in the remote areas but they can still provide you useful data to help you on your hikes.
5. Leave no trace
If you care about nature, don’t pollute it. Make sure you don’t leave any empty cans or trash behind. Hikers have a responsibility to keep the nature free from the garbage we are used to throwing around. If you don’t have enough space to carry the trash back home, carry less stuff with you on the hike.
Biking and hiking, both are pleasurable activities besides being great workouts for the body. You can easily get rid of the extra weight within a few weeks if you bike or hike regularly. It is difficult to describe the feeling you get while you are amidst the nature with sweat drops dripping from your nose tip and a cool breeze blowing through your hair. Besides the weight-loss, these activities also help you in building a good stamina and endurance. Your energy levels stay high, your mood stays good and your immunity levels go up. You can easily avoid health complications like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes with regular biking or hiking.
The basic on bike trail ratings
If you’re into mountain biking, you will need to learn about the trail ratings before buying your bike:
Green trails require little physical effort as they have gentle climbs and descents. They can be double or wide tracks. The tracks are smooth with only a few rocks and “moves.” Beginners and groups of mixed abilities should go with green trails. They’re also excellent on the first day of elevation.
The blue trails will put even the most experienced bikers at work. The climbs and descents are at steeper grades than green trails. They also have more sidehill exposure and are longer. Blue trails have rocks and address the more experienced bikers. Try a blue trail after you get used to the altitude.
Black diamonds/double black diamonds
Many aspects turn a bike trail into a black or double black trail, such as a particularly steep descent or climb, trail length, rock, technical moves, and jumps. For sure, black diamond trails aren’t for those of a fainted heart.
What type of bike should you buy?
Trail bikes represent the most balanced mountain bikes. You can use them for climbing, descending, and spinning along flowy and flat trails. Trail bikes offer a rougher downhill ride than enduro bikes but allow better movement at slow speeds. Here are some of the types of trail bikes to choose from:
The bikes within this category range between 110 and 130mm and are made for climbing. They’re not great at descents but are excellent for beginners on soft trails. Experienced riders also use them on green and blue trails and when riding on black diamonds.
It’s the classic 130 mm to 150mm travel all-arounder. It’s lively on solid climbers and calm terrain. Expect nothing but impressive performance downhill with such bikes. The perfect range is blue to black, and sometimes double black trails.
Hardtails stand out with relaxed geometry and oversized tires that smooth out their rugged build, making them fun to ride. They’re comfortable on green and mellow blue trails.
As geometry and suspension designs become more specific than ever before, the lines between enduring and long-travel trail bikes slowly disappear. For many years, the term “all-mountain” was used frequently and today, it refers to more extended travel. The bikes range between 140 and 160mm of travel and don’t have the necessary geometry to pin down the gnar at Mach speed. On the other hand, the enduro bikes will smooth out the rough than a trail bike and climb effortlessly.
If you prioritize comfort, you should get an all-mountain bike for descends, even if you work on the climbs. The bikes will perform amazing on blue and double black trails and impress single black diamonds.
How should you choose your hiking trail?
If you’re new to hiking, you might feel overwhelmed when navigating your hiking trail options. Even if you’re an experienced hiker, you will find our tidbits for selecting the hiking trail quite helpful.
You should never select your hiking trail without examining the distance. Make sure the distance you check out is for the roundtrip as you don’t want to find out the hard way your trail is twice the mileage you thought. If you’re new to hiking, we recommend you go with short distances (2-3 miles roundtrip) to see how you like it; it’s always a reasonable distance to start.
If you have the experience and the time, you can opt for a longer hiking trail, around 6 to 8 miles.
Elevation gain refers to the total elevation you will climb when hiking. For instance, if you climb 600 ft, descend 100, and rise again 200 ft, the total elevation gain will be 900ft.
If you’re new to hiking, you should opt for trails with less than 500ft elevation gain, especially if you’re not very fit. Even if 1000ft elevation doesn’t sound like a lot, it will be quite a challenge for an entry-level hiker.
We want to remind you that a short hike with more elevation gain means that the trail is steep and, therefore, more complex. Don’t go over the top initially and increase your elevation gain after several hikes.
Check out the terrain you’re about to hike on. Some hikes will require you to wade across a seasonal stream or river, scramble over rocks, and even do some rock climbing. Even if you’re a big fan of the unexpected, you should have a clear idea about the terrain you’ll encounter.
Some hiking trails might present steep drop-offs on the side that are difficult for children or people with leg injuries. Take a look at the hike reviews before you select your trail.
Time of the year
Not all hiking trails are accessible year-round, so make sure you check out yours. Snow, a seasonal river, etc., could make the hiking trail impassable.
When you hike, you will notice that some trails are marked and effortless to follow, especially when compared to others. If you’re new to hiking and aren’t confident in your skills, we recommend you stick on clearly marked trails.
Are you hiking alone?
First of all, you should never go hiking alone, especially as a beginner. When you go with friends or family, choose a trail according to the skills of the least experienced member of your group. If someone in your group has asthma, you shouldn’t begin your hike with a steep incline but one that the person can also handle.
Always check out the weather conditions
Whether you go biking or hiking, you should always check out the weather conditions. Wearing the proper clothing and gear can really make the difference for your biking/hiking adventure. Don’t forget that mountains have their weather, so the weather closest to town, or even trailhead, could be different than the highest point of your hike.