Five Bike Park Myths: Busted, and a Deeper Look into Downhill Mountain Biking

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Mid-lesson at Trestle. PC: Teresa Edgar.
For most of us, resort skiing is over, and it's time to look at spring and summer sports. But for some ski resorts, the conclusion of snow season doesn't mean closing up shop. Instead, it means retrofitting chairlifts with bike attachments, switching out the ski rental equipment fleet with a downhill bike rental fleet, and setting up miles of trails to prepare for bike park season. 

But if you're new to the sport, and even if you're not, downhill biking can be incredibly intimidating. Unless your self-preservation instincts are non-existent, flying down a ski slope on two wheels with the possibility of encountering large rocks, roots, berms, and jumps is pretty scary. But it doesn't have to be. Even if you're a pro, there may be things about bike parks that will surprise you.

Learn more about what it's like at the bike park from a fellow beginner, and add a trip to one to your to-do list this year!

The trails are just like your average single track.

Playing a Hiking-Themed Game of "Would You Rather...?"

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Sometimes things go as planned. Sometimes, not so much!
When it comes to outdoor adventure, we don't always get to choose how some scenarios we encounter play out. But during a recent #trailtime Twitter chat I co-hosted with Sierra Trading Post, that's exactly what we did.

"Would you rather?" is a game I remember playing growing up. My friends and I would throw out questions like, "Would you rather eat a worm or a caterpillar? Would you rather find a dead rat in your closet or in your shower?" Silly, harmless questions. Turns out, it's a pretty fun game to play when you relate all of your questions to outdoor adventure!

As a Twitter chat co-host, I don't often get to answer all of the questions, and if I do, I only have 140 characters to do it in. So I'm taking the opportunity to think harder about some of the scenarios we Twitter-chatted about, explain what I'd rather in each scenario, and I'd love to hear if you agree or disagree with my choices!

Would you rather hike less than five miles with over 2,000' of elevation gain or 10+ miles with no elevation gain?

Six Supported Bike Tour Myths, Busted

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday season, we took a look at why a number of companies decided to opt out of traditional holiday sales on Black Friday in an effort to promote spending more time outdoors. And today, one of the companies featured in that piece is back to help us bust some bike tour myths!

What exactly is a bike tour? In its simplest form, it's a long distance bike ride over multiple days, either supported or unsupported, and it's an incredible way to see a lot of country under your own power. If you're a beginner, or even if you're hardcore into cycling, the idea of spending multiple days on a bike and covering significant distance can be intimidating. But supported bike tours can give you the chance to cover miles in the saddle without worrying about what you'll eat, where you'll spend the night, or how you'll get from the start of your trip to your destination in one piece.

Our friends at Bicycle Adventures run tours all over the United States as well as Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Spain, and Taiwan. After 30+ years of business, their crew knows a thing or two about what questions potential tour riders have, and what myths need busting. Learn from the experts, and consider adding a bike tour to your list of warm weather adventures.

National Park Memories in Honor of National Park Week

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The National Park Service turns 100 this year. Woah. The organization represents a century of conservation, stewardship, connecting people to places through recreation and other programs, and engaging communities in support of some incredibly special places. Though we're still ahead of the official centennial day, which falls on August 26th, we're right smack in the middle of National Park Week right now.

According to the National Park Service, National Park week, which runs from April 16th through April 24th, 2016, is "America's largest celebration of national heritage." It's a chance to visit every national park for free, to celebrate Earth Day, to participate in fun recreational activities through Park Rx Day, and for me, to spend some time thinking about what makes our national parks special in the first place. In celebration of National Park Week, here are some of my favorite national park memories, and here's to making many more in the future!

Hiking New Jersey: Sunfish Pond, a Glacial Lake, via the Appalachian Trail

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Hiking past Sunfish Pond in the Worthington State Forest.
Ah, spring, it's almost here! Though I'm always sad to say goodbye to winter, our winter was mild enough this year that the transition won't be difficult. Though spring hiking takes careful planning due to conditions and weather, it's one of my favorite times of year to get out. Temperatures are mild, the bugs haven't taken over yet, and trails aren't as crowded as they are in the summer.

Mount Tammany and Mount Minsi are two of my favorite short-ish, steep Philadelphia area hikes, but when I'm looking for something longer with less aggressive elevation gain, Sunfish Pond is one of my go-to's.

Nestled deep in the Worthington State Forest near the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Sunfish Pond isn't actually a pond at all. It's a quiet glacial lake accessible via the Appalachian Trail and a variety of other trails, and it's a perfect spot to visit if you're into water-based hiking destinations.