Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Mountain Biking

By Emily Moskal

Whether you’re a spandex-sporting speed racer or a casual cycling sightseer, you can find a variety of difficulty levels and an amazing array of scenery at state parks across the state.

Mountain biking isn’t just for the mountains — every part of the state has terrain suitable for the technical tricks and the ridges, cuts and contours to keep a heart racing. Like any adrenaline-pumping sport, mountain biking requires constant focus and split-second reflexes.

Providing oodles of fresh air, sunshine and sweet breezes, mountain biking is one of the most family-friendly activities. Pedaling covers more ground than walking and reaches areas inaccessible by car.

Mountain biking is fun year-round. Go in the winter and generate heat or in the summer to create a breeze.

To learn the techniques hands-on, join a group ride and attend clinics where you will be grouped by experience level and guided by an expert. The Austin Ridge Riders and the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association are a great start.

Get Out

Gear Up:

Pack up before you head out.

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • First Aid Kit
  • Breathable Clothes
  • Spare Inner Tube
  • Repair Kit
  • Pump
  • Chain Tool

Trail Riding Tips:

Start small: Find trails that fit your experience and fitness levels, and challenge yourself a little more with each ride.

Be ready: Most trails are multi-use and two-way, so expect to encounter and slow down for hikers and other cyclists. Yield to cyclists going uphill when you’re traveling downhill.

Center your weight: Sit back in your seat going downhill and angle forward over the handlebars going uphill to balance your center of mass and gravity’s pull.

Keep your momentum: Often you’ll need to carry speed through a bumpy section, so don’t start out too slow. Experiment with the right amount of “oomph” to get your bike over a rock or root.

Relax: Don’t lock your elbows or clench the handlebars. Calmly apply braking power instead of abruptly “grabbing” the brakes. Look at where you want to go instead of what you want to avoid — otherwise, you’ll find yourself steering into an obstacle instead of going around it.

Annual Races/Events:

In races across the state, entrants are ranked by level of experience and age: beginner or expert, under 10 or over 50 and many categories in between.

Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest (February)
Features one of only two designated “Epic” rides in Texas at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

24 Hours in the Canyon (June)
Includes night riding in Palo Duro Canyon State Park to support cancer research.

Tyler Speedwaves (Fall)
Is part of the Texas Mountain Bike Racing Association circuit at Tyler State Park.

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