How to be a Mountain Bike Mom (or Dad)
Pencils? Check. Backpack? Check. Notebooks? Check. Mountain Bike? Wait ... what?
When thinking about a high schooler's back-to-school list, many would automatically think to include sports gear. Think football pads, volleyball shorts or shin guards. Yet mountain bike high school teams have been gaining momentum. In fact, it's been gaining in popularity by 30% each year since it first came on the scene in 2009. As of this post, there are fourteen states that are part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, aka: the organization that supports high school mountain bike teams. On top of that, there are 20 high school mountain biking clubs registered through USA Cycling. It's safe to say that high school mountain biking is most definitely on the rise.
With the spike in popularity for mountain bike teams, that means there are many parents adjusting to the life as a mountain bike supporter. Station wagons and “soccer mom” stickers are being traded for bike racks, spandex and a lot of towels (hey, MTB'ing can be a pretty dirty sport).
If you're a parent with a kid looking to get rad on the trails for school spirit, here's a quick-start list of the things your family may need.
- Mountain Bike. Yes, this seems fairly obvious but it's they key piece of equipment for participation. Your high school's team coach will likely have some recommendations about type and build and may even have an in with a bike sponsor to help knock down the price. If not, stop by your local bike shop and chat with their MTB specialist and take a few rigs for a spin.
- Bike Rack. You're going to have to transport that bike from point A to point B – and chances are it'll be muddy on the return route. (As in, you probably don't want to put that inside your car.) Our Freedom SuperClamp is a big favorite among MTB'ers since it doesn't touch the frame and its ability to easily fit 29ers. Plus racking a bike on the rear of your car will help save you gas mileage as you venture out to race locations.
- Bike Storage. Did we mention that MTB'ing is muddy? You're going to want to have a place to store the bike if you don't get a chance to clean it immediately following a race or practice. The sooner you clean it after it's been dirtied, the better. We recommend The Boss storage solution because it'll help keep mud from transferring from the bike to the walls and it's a great stand to use for wiping down the frame or letting the bike dry post-wash.
- Heart Rate Strap. This one is pretty dependent upon the team's coach and their coaching style. For many MTB'ers in the office who have ridden on collegiate teams, they are accustomed to wearing a heart rate monitor. Better yet, the PowerTap PowerCal has a little trick up its sleeve in that it is also a power meter. Cycling power meters are often out of budget reach for small teams, even though they provide incredible training data. The PowerCal is a nice solution as it allows riders to train with either power or heart rate.
- Chamois Cream. As any seasoned cyclist can attest to, chamois butter is a very good thing. It'll help prevent saddle sores and improve overall riding comfort. And when you spend hours in the saddle each week, comfort is very important.