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Old 09-04-09, 07:43 PM   #1
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Should I go bi? Should I go both ways?

OK, I'm 53 and just got into cycling in May after not riding for a few decades. I'm basically a road guy due to a bad back, but come from a MX background. I've been reading books and magazines that talk about putting up the road bike and dragging out the MTB for winter months due to the cold, wet weather.

My area is pretty dry for most of the winter (No Cal/Sacramento) so I probably will be able to road ride most of the winter, but just trying to figure out if I should do MTB with or instead of road when things are cold and wet, or just stay on the road? I have an OLD MTB that I ride, so I can go both ways when the feeling hits me but was just curious what the more seasoned riders thought about MTB riding in the off season for cross-training?

So should I become a bi-cycxual?
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Old 09-04-09, 07:48 PM   #2
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If your back can take it, MTB riding hones your technical skills and in hilly areas provides a great cardio workout. In my opinion, it will make you a better all round cyclist.
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Old 09-04-09, 07:56 PM   #3
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So should I become a bi-cycxual?
You didn't have to tell us that you're from California. We would have figured it out.
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Old 09-04-09, 08:14 PM   #4
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If your back can take it, MTB riding hones your technical skills and in hilly areas provides a great cardio workout. In my opinion, it will make you a better all round cyclist.
That's the biggest thing I'm worried about, my back. I rode a MTB race a week ago and my back has been hurting since, but I also got the flu so everything hurts I need to go try some other trails to be sure, but my MTB is 18 years old and has about 2" of travel on a good day, so a modern MTB may be the answer, but I don't want to spend a bunch of $ only to find out that no matter what suspension I have I can't ride. So just wondering if it was a good idea before I get all excited about a new toy. Sounds like it would be a good thing if I can do it.
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Old 09-04-09, 08:47 PM   #5
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Sure! Why not? I have been for years.

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm tri-cycxual. I ride a fixie, too...
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Old 09-04-09, 09:00 PM   #6
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Sure! Actually, now that I think about it, I'm tri-cycxual. I ride a fixie, too...
True Alice,

I ride road, mountain, fixed gear, British 3-speed and my Folding bike. Not sure what that makes me, but I'm sure I don't care! I rode my Touring bike (Mercian) to San Diego last weekend, so that fits in there somewhere too, i.e. variations on the road theme.

My major failing is that I still don't have a cyclocross bike. But then, that's what N+1 is for . . .

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Old 09-05-09, 01:13 AM   #7
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... just curious what the more seasoned riders thought about MTB riding in the off season for cross-training?:
Don't do it for cross-training. Do it because it is fun. It also happens to be good for developing skills useful in road riding and fitness, but those are not the best reasons for it.

You mentioned concern about your back. If you can handle the cost, a modern full suspension trail bike, something with 4-5 inches of travel at each end, would open a whole new and amazingly entertaining world of cycling for you.

I love riding rigid, but suspension makes it so much easier on the body, especially the back. I can ride much faster, longer and more often offroad on my Stumpjumper FSR than I could possibly do on my old Trek 970.
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Old 09-05-09, 04:27 AM   #8
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I have read somewhere that Mountain biking will make you a stronger rider while road riding will build endurance. The two types of riding compliment each other.
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Old 09-05-09, 06:38 AM   #9
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Perhaps you would want to go for "somewhere in the middle" and go for a hybrid? I ride both a hybrid and a roadie and find that I use both quite a lot. After riding the hybrid, which is quite a bit heavier, using the roadie is a real treat--in terms of picking it up and putting it on the rack as well as going up the hills, etc. I use the hybrid a lot for trails and country riding, especially if it has been raining, but then love to use the roadie for those longer, faster riding times. Just a thought!
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Old 09-05-09, 08:01 AM   #10
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Problem is that to experience Mountain biking- you have to have hills- mud and single track. I have to look for the singletrack but Mud can be had just two miles from my house- Hills are only 6 but the singletrack is 10. (Right next to my favourite restaurant for breakfast)

But California in the Winter? Will you have Mud? Nothing better for training than a bike that suddenly gains 5lbs and has a drag brake or two attached to it. That first pic is not blurred---It is rain.

Mountain biking will teach you a few skills- mainly that you should have stayed on the road- but for fitness training and fun- it cannot be bettered.
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Old 09-05-09, 08:29 AM   #11
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I am having a hard time understanding the original post. What is an off season? Why is it better to ride off road when it is cold and wet? I like mud as much as the next guy, but warm mud is just as nice as cold mud. I have never lived there, but I expect winter in Woodland is not a lot colder than summer in the places some of the forum readers live.

So if you want to ride off road, why limit it to winter? If you like to ride on the road, why stop in the winter???

Sorry, I can offer no insights about the back issue.
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Old 09-05-09, 09:13 AM   #12
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I wouldn't do it if I were you.

Anyway, you'd start a fight in my neighborhood by suggesting that you're saving MTBing for freeze-thaw and rut up the trails season. That might not be a problem for your part of California.

If I had to do it over, I would get a nice cyclocross bike and try my hand at that discipline. I think MTBing sucks out loud right now because I had the worst epic disaster of a ride this week. But YMMV.
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Old 09-05-09, 01:10 PM   #13
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If I had to do it over, I would get a nice cyclocross bike and try my hand at that discipline. I think MTBing sucks out loud right now because I had the worst epic disaster of a ride this week. But YMMV.
So you think it would have gone better on a bike with skinnier tires, no suspension and drop bars?
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Old 09-05-09, 01:18 PM   #14
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So you think it would have gone better on a bike with skinnier tires, no suspension and drop bars?
I agree, and with my bad back I need full suspension and big tires!
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Old 09-05-09, 01:29 PM   #15
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I agree, and with my bad back I need full suspension and big tires!

Do you have to do races? Can't you just ride some nice, mellow fireroad?
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Old 09-05-09, 01:34 PM   #16
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So you think it would have gone better on a bike with skinnier tires, no suspension and drop bars?
Dang it, BD, you got me again. You are right, of course.

The key is big tires, full suspension, and FIRE TRAILS. You can get hurt out there on that singletrack stuff.

BTW, I hope Georgia thrashes OSU whenever they play. Your coach sounds like the anti-Spurrier.
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Old 09-05-09, 01:56 PM   #17
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First, keep in mind the cycling magazine's main job is to sell bicycles and accessories. So they have a vested interest in telling you you need a different bike for every season. If you have lots of money, then by all means, buy one for every season.

Otherwise, ride an MTB when you feel like riding off-road. Ride a road bike when you feel like riding on-road. That's about it.

I am living, breathing proof (supported with photographic evidence below) that just because it's snowing, doesn't mean you need to ride an off-road bike on the road. I ride both my road bikes all year 'round. The only concession I make to the weather is in tires and fenders. One bike (shown below) gets studded snow tires and wider fenders to cover them, and the other wears fenders only in winter.

Not only do I commute year 'round, I ride with a weekly all-winter, all-conditions shop ride. 75%-80% of those riders do switch to an MTB. And even though they're all decades younger than me, I follow them off-road through the snow with my road bike. Messes their heads right up when an old guy on a skinny-tired bike passes them off-road in the snow. All the sales BS says that's not supposed to happen.

So ride what you like, when and where you like. If you want to switch bikes with the weather or the seasons, go right ahead. But you don't have to just because some magazine says so.



Arriving at work one morning. I see snow, but I don't see mountains. So why do I need a mountain bike?

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Old 09-05-09, 02:46 PM   #18
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I am having a hard time understanding the original post. What is an off season? Why is it better to ride off road when it is cold and wet? I like mud as much as the next guy, but warm mud is just as nice as cold mud. I have never lived there, but I expect winter in Woodland is not a lot colder than summer in the places some of the forum readers live.

So if you want to ride off road, why limit it to winter? If you like to ride on the road, why stop in the winter???

Sorry, I can offer no insights about the back issue.
Over here we have a lot of slippery roads in the winter- plenty of frost and rain- so it is safer to get off the road and on the MTB's when the weather gets nasty. At least that way- we have a soft landing when we fall.

Summers and although we have had a few wet ones- we are on clay and the ruts and trails go solid. Not that pleasant to ride on and dangerous if you fall. May just be tradition but those of us with the two disciplines-Road ride in the summer and go out and get muddy in the winter ----or just cold in the winter if the frost doesn't unfreeze the mud.
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Old 09-05-09, 04:27 PM   #19
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You only think you have winter in California.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:05 PM   #20
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Do you have to do races? Can't you just ride some nice, mellow fireroad?
The races are basically run on fire roads. They have them at the local off-road park, which is motorcycle and ATVs most of the time, but they shut it down once a week for us crazy MTB guys, so not too bad. My MTB bike is supposed to be OK for most of the track, but it has been highly recommended that I get a more modern bike if I wish to do MTB rides/races more regularly. I still need to do some "Cow Trailing" to see how my back will handle it, then kind of decide from there, but from the posts I've read so far, although MTB riding is not mandatory in the winter months, it is good cross training and will lead to better fitness and better road skill on the road bike, so sound like a win-win-win situation ( just love the look of all the new MTB's compared to my 19 year old GT RTS-2!).
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Old 09-05-09, 07:06 PM   #21
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First, keep in mind the cycling magazine's main job is to sell bicycles and accessories. So they have a vested interest in telling you you need a different bike for every season. If you have lots of money, then by all means, buy one for every season.

Otherwise, ride an MTB when you feel like riding off-road. Ride a road bike when you feel like riding on-road. That's about it.

I am living, breathing proof (supported with photographic evidence below) that just because it's snowing, doesn't mean you need to ride an off-road bike on the road. I ride both my road bikes all year 'round. The only concession I make to the weather is in tires and fenders. One bike (shown below) gets studded snow tires and wider fenders to cover them, and the other wears fenders only in winter.

Not only do I commute year 'round, I ride with a weekly all-winter, all-conditions shop ride. 75%-80% of those riders do switch to an MTB. And even though they're all decades younger than me, I follow them off-road through the snow with my road bike. Messes their heads right up when an old guy on a skinny-tired bike passes them off-road in the snow. All the sales BS says that's not supposed to happen.

So ride what you like, when and where you like. If you want to switch bikes with the weather or the seasons, go right ahead. But you don't have to just because some magazine says so.



Arriving at work one morning. I see snow, but I don't see mountains. So why do I need a mountain bike?
I think if there's that much snow on the road, I'm in the house with a hot toddie and a warm wife
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Old 09-05-09, 07:27 PM   #22
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.... from the posts I've read so far, although MTB riding is not mandatory in the winter months, it is good cross training and will lead to better fitness and better road skill on the road bike, so sound like a win-win-win situation ( just love the look of all the new MTB's compared to my 19 year old GT RTS-2!).
:**
By George, I think you've got it! Riding road and MTB can only make you better all round.

I like the newer FSR's as well but just rode a 10 year old Rocky Mountain Thin Air HT for a week while on vacation and absolutely loved it! Something about steel bikes..I just couldn't talk my brother out of parting with it!!
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Old 09-05-09, 08:04 PM   #23
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I think it all depends on your body and bliss.
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Old 09-06-09, 08:39 AM   #24
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I still need to do some "Cow Trailing" to see how my back will handle it, then kind of decide from there, but from the posts I've read so far, although MTB riding is not mandatory in the winter months, it is good cross training and will lead to better fitness and better road skill on the road bike, so sound like a win-win-win situation ( just love the look of all the new MTB's compared to my 19 year old GT RTS-2!).
:**
Sorry, you missed the main point. MTB riding is fun. Without that the rest doesn't matter.
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Old 09-06-09, 08:53 AM   #25
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First, keep in mind the cycling magazine's main job is to sell bicycles and accessories. So they have a vested interest in telling you you need a different bike for every season. If you have lots of money, then by all means, buy one for every season.

Otherwise, ride an MTB when you feel like riding off-road. Ride a road bike when you feel like riding on-road. That's about it.

I am living, breathing proof (supported with photographic evidence below) that just because it's snowing, doesn't mean you need to ride an off-road bike on the road. I ride both my road bikes all year 'round. The only concession I make to the weather is in tires and fenders. One bike (shown below) gets studded snow tires and wider fenders to cover them, and the other wears fenders only in winter.

Not only do I commute year 'round, I ride with a weekly all-winter, all-conditions shop ride. 75%-80% of those riders do switch to an MTB. And even though they're all decades younger than me, I follow them off-road through the snow with my road bike. Messes their heads right up when an old guy on a skinny-tired bike passes them off-road in the snow. All the sales BS says that's not supposed to happen.

So ride what you like, when and where you like. If you want to switch bikes with the weather or the seasons, go right ahead. But you don't have to just because some magazine says so.



Arriving at work one morning. I see snow, but I don't see mountains. So why do I need a mountain bike?
You sir are a nut. I am from Cleveland Ohio so I know exactly what you ride through. I only wish I lived close enough to work to have people call me a nut.

Take care, Greg
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