The Thrill of Mountain Biking

Mike Berg

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By Josiah Cuckler

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Traversing the numerous trails in northern Colorado is breathtaking and rewarding. Now imagine going to a more technical level and adding a bike. Mountain biking has become a thriving activity in Colorado and there are so many phenomenal locations that deserve to be conquered and seen.

Josiah Cuckler, a senior nutrition and dietetics major at CSU, is shown riding a popular trail in Lory State Park. (Michael Berg | Collegian)

Not only is mountain biking an exciting activity that allows you to cover more ground, but it provides an amazing rush that tests your fitness and skill. In Fort Collins, there are several great mountain biking trails. These trails are also great hiking trails, but adding in a mountain bike gives each trail a different feel. Some trails that I have hiked and biked are: Devil’s Backbone, Coyote Ridge, Blue Sky, and Lory State Park. The amazing thing about these four trails is that, in some way, they are all physically connected. If you desire, you could mountain bike all the way from Lory State Park, in the north (near Bellevue) and finish all the way at Devil’s Backbone (off Highway 34 between Fort Collins and Loveland). This would be a long trek, and require adequate preparation and decent fitness, but it’s an amazing adventure.

Although, all these trails are connected and in the same region, they all have something different to offer. Lory, going north to south, gives a great view of Horsetooth Reservoir and doesn’t demand a lot of climbing (uphill biking) unless you go west. Instead, it is filled with minor hills that allow you to carry your momentum and cover a lot of ground. Blue Sky, which starts at the lower Horsetooth trail parking lot, gives a decent challenge with some climbing and some switchbacks that test your maneuvering skills. On top of having some great trails on the western range, there are also several amazing trails up the Poudre Canyon. One of my favorites is Hewlett Gulch, which gives an amazing feel of the Colorado mountains and provides a good workout. This trail isn’t very far up the canyon so its easily accessed, but its far enough to get you out of cell phone range and escape a little. There are several amazing river crossings that require you to pick up a lot of momentum before trying to cross, or you can stall on your bike and fall, nothing wrong with getting messy when mountain biking, if anything its encouraged.

Josiah Cuckler, a senior nutrition and dietetics major at CSU, is shown carving a popular trail in Lory State Park. (Michael Berg | Collegian)

Colorado is beautiful and I enjoy hiking all the land that there is to see, but mountain biking those same trails gives such a different feeling. I am by no means a professional. I am just someone who loves the state we live in and enjoys new challenges. I advise easier trails for people who haven’t mountain biked before and would encourage the fun mentality. I would also suggest educating yourself on mountain bike engineering and how they function. Bike companies (such as Raleigh, GT, and Yeti) are constantly adjusting bike frame geometry and how parts interact with each other. Present day biking technology is outstanding and has a lot to offer. You don’t have to know each specific part, but basic knowledge can be very useful.

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