in collaboration with Scott Clegg, Athens Chapter of SORBA
Ready to go from pedaling leisurely down the street to pedaling hard up a mountain? Then look no further than your back yard … or at least really close by … and take your kids with you!
Athens is home to the Athens Chapter of SORBA – Southern Off Road Bicycling Association, and we have trails suitable for beginners, intermediate riders and even advanced competitors. According to Scott Clegg, president of SORBA Athens, the local chapter created the Take a Kid Mountain Biking program specifically to encourage, educate and enable children to begin mountain biking. Says Clegg, “It is such a freeing sport, being out in nature and basically being able to go anywhere you want.”
SORBA is a regional organization located in Gainesville, and the Athens Chapter has been in existence for about 15 years. Clegg, who grew up in Georgia, has always cycled on some level, but just became involved in SORBA in the past five years and has increased his cycling even more in that time.
“Equipment for mountain biking is different than regular bicycling because you need a sturdier bike,” states Clegg. He offers a list of some of the equipment you will want to consider as a beginner mountain biker:
Helmets – You can use any bike helmet, but he recommends the sturdiest one you can find.
Shoes – Look for the shoes made for mountain biking, which are really more like hiking boots.
Hydration packs – You can use a water bottle, but it’s safer and easier to use a pack so you don’t have to stop riding or break stride to drink.
Wool clothing – Wool is a strong fabric that is versatile for various weather conditions.
If you cannot or choose not to purchase your own bike, check with SORBA about the availability of mountain bikes from them. Some bikes have been donated to the organization through the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), which has helped kick-start this program and increase involvement from and within the community. And visit www.sorba.org to see when time trials, trail education and other events and activities are scheduled for this spring.
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