So, you may think the most significant, most rewarding part of being a mountain bike guide is getting paid to ride bikes. While that is pretty awesome, in my opinion, the most fulfilling part of the job by far is helping others enjoy the sport. Guiding is a 24/7, all hands on deck, gig. We’re used to fixing flats, diving headfirst into the cooler to grab pickle juice when someone starts cramping, running after tents through the desert (that may not have been properly staked down) in a windstorm – haven’t you heard, camping can be pretty “in-tents”!! – and coaching folks though challenges faced on the trail from sunup to sundown. At this point, it feels like helping people is something I’m just programmed to do.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, now confined to the living room and backyard, I’m feeling a bit useless. As someone who thrives off of post-ride high fives and putting a tasty meal out on the table for my group to enjoy while chatting about the day on the trail – it’s been tough. Of course, I am very fortunate that my worries seem pretty minor in the broader scope of things.
So, I wanted to share a few bike-related tips, tricks and resources that have helped me get through this difficult time – with the hopes it will make your day just a little bit better!
- Build a Manual Machine —
It Will help your riding skills on the trail, and garner style points at the trailhead parking lot, which is arguably more important, all from your backyard!
- Chef It Up —
Prepare something that you’ve always wanted to try making at home, but never quite made the time. I finally made homemade pasta for the first time, and it worked! You’ll be hungry after practicing those wheelies – I promise.
- Yoga —
Stretch it out. Yoga is a great tool to build strength, flexibility and balance. All super useful out on there trail, and for injury prevention!
Pinkbike has a great series, specifically for mountain bikers – Yoga With Abi
- Give your bike some love —
Some call it Youtube University… You can find lots of instructional videos out there on the web on all sorts of bike fixes. Buy parts from local shops that remain open, and lots are doing call ahead / curbside service! If you’re like me, and not incredibly naturally mechanically inclined, you may have to hit replay just a couple of times.
- Virtual Happy hour —
Host a happy hour on Skype, Zoom, or Facetime. If you’re missing post-ride beverages with your crew, put on your helmet and riding glasses to make it feel like the real deal. (Plant and hand sanitizer, optional but recommended)
- Turn your favorite trail view into a puzzle
Then do it! Shutterfly – Custom Puzzles
- Build A Custom Bike Online —
Put together the custom bike of your dreams on Fanatik’s Custom Bike Builder – no purchase necessary, but it can be tempting!
- Plan Your Next Bike Vacation —
Things may be uncertain right now, but one thing is for sure – bikes will always be fun and the trails aren’t going anywhere! Chat with one of our Trip Experts to get the ball rolling for your next Western Spirit bike trip!
One of my favorite and more unexpected perks of my job as a guide is that I have learned A LOT from the awesome folks I have taken on bike rides. As much as I’ve gotten to share with people, it’s all come full circle. So, in that spirit, send us your ideas!
Western Spirit Guide & Sales Manager