enjoying the great outdoors
No matter how much you love cycling, there’s no shame in admitting that riding uphill is one of the sport’s less-fun aspects.
Even if you’ve been touring the States’ national parks for years, even if you’ve mastered a wide variety of bikes, you can always stand to learn new techniques. Making your rides easier can also help to make them more fun – so if you’ve been frustrated by a trail with several steep climbs, take a look at these pro tips!
Get Your Gears Right
Changing pedal too late can leave you facing a great uphill challenge. If you keep pedaling and striving to downshift, you may well find yourself struggling to make that climb at all.
Certain types of hub gears need a quick, punchy break to take effect. So, when you’re downshifting with these, take it easy on the pedaling just for a second or two. Otherwise, you might well end up at a gear that’s too high, leading to a complete stop.
You’re best pedaling at a steady, smooth pace as you climb. When your speed begins to drop, shift down and aim for the top.
Don’t be Afraid to Just Walk it
Let’s be honest: the idea of actually dismounting and walking your bike uphill might seem like an admission of defeat … or even shameful failure.
Well, it’s not. Not at all.
If you just can’t get your gears figured out, or the climb is too high or steep, reaching the top might well seem impossible. Instead, take It easy on yourself. It might not necessarily take less time, but you face less risk of straining yourself or falling.
Also, while you walk, you’ll be saving a little energy, meaning you’ll be less exhausted when you reach the top – making the rest of your ride easier and more fun.
Still, if you don’t like the idea of walking your bike uphill or feel the time taken to dismount would be counter-productive, why not try combining the two? Ride to the halfway point, and then walk the rest.
Getting your Posture Right
Should you stay seated or should you stand when tackling uphill climbs?
Well, for shorter hills, it’s best to keep yourself in a sitting position on the ascent. Ideally, you want to invest minimal effort into pedaling, without sacrificing momentum, to avoid over-exerting yourself.
While you might be tempted to stand, you may actually end up putting greater strain on your chains and possibly wearing out your gears faster.
With these pro tips, you can tackle uphill climbs with a little more confidence. If you’ve only just started cycling as a sport or exercise, you should try to stick to flatter terrain, otherwise you might find yourself having to cut one of your first rides short.
Steep hills are incredibly intimidating for novice cyclists, so work your way up from flat paths to more vertical trails. At Adamant, our bikes are made with the best components available today, to ensure they provide the best-quality experience for cyclists at all levels. Whether you need a model for mountain biking or something for your daily commute, our range has you covered.
What type of terrain do you prefer to ride your mountain bike on?
Flat or steep? Dirt or grass? Do you like lots of jumps? Do sharp turns get your pulse racing or inspire cold dread inside you?
Whatever your tastes, the USA is filled with fantastic mountain-biking spots to visit, with something for everyone.
Join us as we look at five of the best ...
Munds Wagon Trail
This trail, in Sedona, Arizona, offers bikers eight glorious miles to explore.
The singletrack climbs to an amazing 1200 feet, though there’s a generous helping of dips to take a little of the strain off. You also get to ride along the creek bed for short intervals, giving you more time to take a breather.
The incredible surroundings offered by Arizona’s red-rock environment keeps this easy on the eye at all times, and is a must for mountain bikers more used to urban or green landscapes.
Tahoe Rim Trail
This is a stunning trail, though not all of it is accessible to bikers. Considering this runs 165 miles around Lake Tahoe (the biggest alpine lake in all of North America), that may not be such a bad thing.
Mountain bikers can enjoy riding around 80 miles of this trail, especially the singletrack connecting Tahoe Meadows and Spooner summit. This is about 23 miles, with plenty of steep descents, inclines that put you to work, and a wealth of beautiful views.
This is a complete contrast to Munds Wagon Trail, offering lush greenery, meadows, and lakes. A feast for the eyes and the wheels alike.
This is part of the Kingdom Trails in Vermont, which make up the biggest range of trails in America’s northeastern region.
The Mountain Loop itself runs over 15 miles, starting at Burke Mountain Campground, which leads on to singletrack. You’ll find bridges, jumps, and more, before you return to the campground later. It’s a great trail to try, in fantastic surroundings.
Poison Spider Mesa
For decades now, Moab has been a must-visit for serious mountain bikers. However, the expansive range of trails on offer continues to grow, with around 30 miles of new tracks appearing every year.
This is a stunning location, offering endless desert vistas as far as the eye can see. It provides slickrock steeps and trails for bikers of all levels, with a massive 13-mile run that reaches up to Poison Spider Mesa. This stands around 1,000 feet high,and benefits from one of the coolest, most dangerous-sounding names ever.
McKenzie River Trail
In Eugene, Oregon, the McKenzie River Trail runs for around 26 miles across the Cascade Mountains.
These are ideal for seasoned bikers as well as newcomers, with plenty of amazing sights to take in. There are hot springs, unforgettable forests, and even lava fields – what more could you ask for?
You’ll also see waterfalls, and get to enjoy tricksy turns and smooth terrain, keeping you on your toes from start to finish.
At Adamant Gear, our bikes provide experienced riders with the highest-quality designs and construction, ensuring reliability and stability.
Playing sports, either indoors or in the great outdoors, offers numerous benefits beyond the obvious physical perks.
We all know taking part in cycling, competitive running, football, basketball, swimming, baseball, and more helps develop more muscular definition, increase endurance, and lose weight. Obviously, if you're playing outside, you'll get to enjoy fresh air, soak up sunlight (to produce more vitamin D), and play on varied terrain.
Yet what else do sports do for you?
Join us as we take a look at the various benefits of getting yourself out there …
You can Improve your Social Skills
Socializing is a major aspect of most sports. At any age, from kindergarten to adulthood, taking part in sport requires you to play as part of a team or against at least one other opponent.
For example, on a basketball team, you have to figure out who will play which position, who will mark which opposing player etc. This demands you be able to decide which role suits you best, which will suit others best, and generally be willing to compromise to maintain a fluid, effective team.
Even if you’re playing one-on-one, you have to be willing to admit to mistakes, accept losing, and maintain a friendly atmosphere.
The more you spend time with people on your own team and your opponent’s side, the better your social skills will be.
This is especially helpful if you need to meet new people or want to work on your communication skills.
You can Combat Stress and Depression
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), seven in 10 adults across the USA suffer from stress or anxiety on a daily basis.
They go on to point out that exercise can help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. How? It produces endorphins, those all-important feel-good chemicals, which helps to lift your mood.
This also helps to improve your quality of sleep, which in turn leads to feeling better overall. Their research also indicates that as little as five minutes’ worth of aerobic exercise has the power to generate anti-anxiety effects.
As anyone who experiences stress, anxiety, and/or depression on a regular basis will know, these have an incredibly powerful effect on your ability to live. Playing sports is not a cure, but it has been shown to at least help.
You can Improve your Self-Confidence
Just as playing sports has the power to improve your social skills and lift your mood, it also gives you a confidence boost.
As you develop in your chosen sport (or sports), you’ll start to learn new skills, discover abilities you never thought yourself capable of, and realize that you’re able to accomplish goals you might have thought beyond your reach. You may find yourself leading a team as you never have, or proving to be more useful than ever before.
You’re also likely to find yourself growing as a person, and having a better outlook on your own capabilities. This can carry outside of the sports hall and into your daily life, helping to improve your performance at work and your personal pursuits.
Learning a new sport can be daunting, as can getting involved in exercise following a period of inactivity. You’re likely to feel self-conscious or intimidated. However, the important thing is to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, even world-class athletes.
Just focus on what you want to achieve from taking part, and take it one session at a time.
The USA is one of the world’s greatest countries for camping.
We can all agree on that, can’t we? With a wealth of stunning national parks, incredible wildlife, and areas rich with cultural value, the States offers an amazing range of camping options.
While many of us prefer to go beyond our own borders for our vacations, the great American camping trip is a tradition millions of families enjoy every year. Whether you’re looking to try it with your loved one, your kids, or solo, join us for a look at some of our most beautiful campsites!
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Acadia National Park is based on Mount Desert Island, and provides visitors with three fantastic campsites. Blackwoods is placed within comfortable range of Bar Harbor, the island’s center). Meanwhile, Seawall is the site of choice for visitors craving a more authentically-rustic camping experience.
Last but not least, Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Woods is close to the peninsula, offering all the picturesque views you’d expect.
Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)
The mere mention of Vermont is enough to get plenty of hearts racing, and its Green Mountain National Forest is truly breathtaking.
There are multiple different campsites throughout, but you’ll have to go without your mod cons: there’s no electricity to charge your phones and tablets. Each of these is developed though, and you’re surrounded by plenty of impressive views.
During the day, you can take part in hiking, canoeing, and other activities. You may need to book a space, depending on the campsite you have in mind, so do inquire to avoid disappointment.
White Mountain National Forest (New Hampshire)
New Hampshire’s home to a wealth of unforgettable sights, and you’ll find many of them in its White Mountain National Forest. Visit in the fall to see some astounding colors and enjoy crisp, clear air.
There are around 800 different campsites spread across 24 drive-in zones, but some of the strongest are in the northern part. If you’re looking to stay in one of the more modern, developed sites, you’ll have to make a reservation.
Fancy going a little more old-school? Tent camping outside of specific campsites is permitted, but there are some absolute no-camping spots, so be careful not to pitch-up in a forbidden zone.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park (Pennsylvania)
Pine Grove Furnace State Park has a range of 70 campsites, for tents and trailers, but it’s recommended to book ahead of time (you can do this almost a full year in advance, to guarantee a spot). You can even take advantage of electricity and water for a more luxurious experience.
What can you do during the day? Well, the legendary Appalachian Trail runs throughout the park’s forest, but only the most dedicated and hardy manage to walk the full 2,000 mile-plus hike. So, don’t feel too downhearted if you only do a mile or two instead!
No hiking overnight is allowed, though, so limit your walking-time to daylight hours only.
So, that’s it! We hope we’ve given you some useful inspiration and ideas for your next camping trip. There’s lots to enjoy in our most beautiful parks, and roughing it in the great outdoors is an unforgettable experience for year-round vacations.
While some of us love to get outdoors during winter, snuggling under scarves and gloves, others retreat inside instead.
There’s no denying that going for a run at dawn takes a little more willpower in winter than it does in warmer months, and hiking endless trails is certainly tougher. But there’s no reason to let winter put you off the outdoors activities you love.
In fact, it might even do you the world of good: research shows that exposure to cold weather offers various health benefits. Let’s take a closer look …
Cold Could Be Key to a Speedier Metabolism
Being outside in cold weather gives you a faster metabolism. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s complicated. You may not be able to burn off those Christmas treats by simply standing in your back yard for 10 minutes, or adopt an all-chocolate diet because you ice-skate for an hour a day.
Still, while cold weather’s not a cure for storing fat, it has been shown to increase the speed of your metabolism. The reason? It activates the body’s ‘brown’ fat, which then generates heat through burning calories.
So, you can burn more calories by spending time outdoors, but be careful not to over-expose yourself to low temperatures. A hike on a snowy trail, building a snowman, or going for a run in chilly weather can lead to positive effects.
Your Heart will Get Stronger
If you have a heart condition or any other cardiovascular issues, prolonged exposure to the cold can be a danger, due to the extra effort your heart makes in lower temperatures. The additional stress of pumping blood around the body should be avoided for certain people.
However, for those in good health, regular exercise in cold weather can make the heart even stronger. This may help it cope with tougher workouts as you increase your distance run or weight lifted.
Combat Low Moods and Stress
While plenty of us love winter, Christmas, and everything the season brings, others struggle.
This is understandable. Low temperatures, rainfall (increasing flood risks in certain areas), strong winds (potentially damaging properties), and the financial demands of Christmas can all get too much for even the jolliest person.
Getting outside for a run, a walk, a hike, a bike ride, a spot of skiing, or even just playing in the snow with your kids or pets can release much-needed endorphins. These are the body’s feel-good chemicals, and even just a little exercise will lift your mood.
Exercise is often recommended for people struggling with stress and depression, so give it a try if you’re facing difficulties.
Exercising outdoors is good for you throughout the year, but getting out in the fresh air during winter might just be better for you than you imagine. Consider taking up a new sport, get into hiking to explore your nearest beauty-sports, or just spend time playing outside with the family.
It’s very easy to stay on the couch in the colder months, watching movies and snacking, but this isn’t ideal for your health. Even the smallest, briefest activity can help your body stay in good condition during winter. Give it a go – you may just love it.
Booked your first ski vacation?
You may well feel daunted by the prospect of heading up into the mountains, surrounded by people who have more experience skiing than you.
You shouldn’t let this overwhelm you, though. Everyone is a beginner at one time or another. Your first ski vacation should be an unforgettable experience you’ll want to repeat again and again.
There are certain things you should do on your first skiing trip to make it all it can be – let’s take a look …
Don’t be Afraid to Actually Ski
Some people might like the idea of a skiing vacation, but feel too intimidated or afraid to actually ski.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. You can absolutely spend time relaxing at the lodge, walking through the beautiful surroundings, maybe even head down to the local town.
However, if you go all that way and let fear keep you off those skis, you may regret it. Consider taking lessons with an instructor, and let a trusted friend or family-member help you – you may just be surprised by how much you like it.
In some resorts, you may be able to hire a pair of snowshoes and go exploring.
This is a terrific way to explore your alpine environment, get some exercise, and do something a little different.
Snowshoeing takes some getting used to, and can leave you feeling tired faster than you expect, but it’s an experience everyone visiting a ski resort should try.
Step onto a Snowboard Instead
You may be able to try snowboarding at your alpine resort. If you get the chance to, do it!
This is a totally different discipline to skiing. First of all, you have no poles to help, and need a strong sense of balance to stay upright. You’ll also develop your core control as you twist and turn to guide yourself along the slopes.
Without doubt, snowboarding is one of the coolest of all winter sports, and can add a faster, more exhilarating dimension to your first ski vacation. If you’ve never tried it before, take snowboarding lessons and invest in decent gear.
Let Yourself be Pampered
Had enough skiing and/or snowboarding? It’s time to relax at the lodge and enjoy a taste of luxury.
Quality resorts provide spa treatments for their guests, ranging from head-massages and pedicures to more exotic treats, such as hot-stone massages.
This can help you relax and unwind, but also ensures your body gets a little care after being out in the cold for hours on end. You may prefer this if you find yourself falling or picking up more bumps and scrapes than you would like.
Strap on your Skates
Ice skating is available at various ski resorts, and allows you to get away from the mountains for a while. If this is your first time, it’s a fun new skill to learn (along with skiing and snowboarding), and is a great way to meet new people.
No matter which ski resort you head to, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the alpine environment or the range of activities on offer. Throw yourself into the atmosphere, pack quality accessories and equipment to keep yourself safe, and remember to have a blast!