For Joe Hill, the enjoyment of mountain biking comes from the feeling it gives him.
“Adrenaline. Fun. Being in the hills, mountains, and woods … It’s fun to be on the line of control and out of control,” Hill said.
Hill is the owner of Sticks and Stones, a bicycle store at 49 E. Main St. in Rexburg, and has been an avid mountain biker for five years.
Hill recommends wearing protective gear such as shin, knee and elbow guards and a helmet while mountain biking. Wearing protective gear helps prevent injuries and allows the rider to focus.
“If you are conservative, you will never get hurt, but you will not improve as a rider,” Hill said.
There are different styles of mountain biking, and each requires a different kind of bike. For free ride, or downhill biking, the frame is shaped so that the rider naturally leans back while going downhill. The bikes have more suspension and are heavier so that they can handle the stress.
Downhill trails are often found at ski lifts, where the rider can ride the lift and bike down. Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee and Jackson Pass have trails for downhill biking.
Cross-country biking is a mix of hill and downhill biking. There is little or no suspension on the rear of the bike, and the frame is shaped so that the rider is right and able to go hill more effectively. Kelly Canyon, Harriman State Park and Pocatello have trails for cross-country biking.
“Harriman State Park has one of the most casual and easy to ride trails for beginners,” Hill said.
Gavin Swainston, a sophomore studying exercise physiology, took a mountain biking class, RM 223E, on campus to get familiar with local trails.
“I love Teton Pass and Targhee Ski Resort for downhill, and Pocatello is great for some more mellow cross-country stuff,” Swainston said.
Logan Finlay, a senior, and employee at the Outdoor Resource Center, has been mountain biking for 13 years. The ORC has bikes of different styles and sizes available for rent. Finlay recommends reserving the bike a week before and no more than a month before.
The Student Activities program offers mountain biking events on Saturdays this semester until July 6.