I've been riding trails for a year now. I started with a Wall Mart Mongoose XR200 and my reasoning was that I didn't know if I would like riding in the dirt and if I didn't, I wouldn't have lost much money. I also figured that if that bike lasted the year, I would be happy.
Well, I love trail riding. I've never been on a "Mountain" as Houston has no mountains but Harris County has a whole lot of flood control district land near my house and that land is loaded with great trails, washouts, roots, rocks, 20’ drops with trees at the bottom, snakes, coyotes, thorny vines hanging across trails and a bunch of other nastiness that is just as fun as it can be. Some of the trails are easy and some just continue to kick my ass. All in all it's a great workout for this 50-year-old geezer.
Oh, after our last flood, many of the fast trails are now covered with sand, lots and lots of sand. One thing that XR200 has is 2.35” tires. Having that extra width really helped getting through the sand. If I want a workout that mimics a mountain climb, all I have to do is take one trail that is about 5 miles of deep, powdery beach sand.
After replacing the rear wheel once, the rear derailleur twice, the handlebars once, one brake lever, one crank, and three sets of pedals, I decided to retire my stalwart XR200 and get on Craig’s List to find a real bike. BTW, www.bikepartsusa.com is a great source for inexpensive parts.
I now have a 4-year-old GT I-Drive 5 in new condition that is a blast to be on. I am hooked.
Anyway, my point is that when I started riding, I wouldn’t have had the foggiest notion of what you’re talking about in your “tips”. Now, after a year or so all of them make perfect sense. Most of them I’ve realized on my own but a lot of them I didn’t and I will look at including some of them in my riding.
Thanks for all the great info.