Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keeping Busy: Mountain Bike Bumming, Part 3

Remember, every comment you leave this week gives you a chance at winning some free mountain bike gear! More info here.

Hanging out, reading a book in the park.  (From here.)
Mountain bike bumming is all about long, epic days in the saddle... repeated day after day after day.  The focus is definitely the riding. 

But in reality, you just can't ride every waking hour of the day for days on end.  Your body just cannot take it.  Since you are out there living a bum lifestyle for a week (or longer), you've got to do something to fill the extra time in the evenings, or during the blistering hot hours midday. 

The key to being a bum and saving money after you ride is really simple: don't spend your money on any sort of entertainment. You do have to do something though, right? Well, here are a number of absolutely free ideas:
  • Chill out at one of the local parks. Parks are generally free for the public to use, and are great places to hang out.  Many of the other activities listed below can take place at one of these beautiful outdoor areas.  By far the coolest park I've ever hung out at while bike bumming was in Crested Butte, where they had recently installed a big, artificial textured boulder with a spongy crash pad built into the ground.  After a long day of riding, I'd head on over to the park, pull on my climbing shoes, strap on my chalk bag, and spend an hour or two working bouldering problems. 
  • Bring books to read. Books are generally very cheap, and most people have a stack that they are meaning to read "sometime." Bring those books along with you and dig in!  It's relaxing, and takes up a lot of your time too. 
  • Write. Writing takes a good deal of time and insightful thinking, and can be a very relaxing after-ride activity.  For the real "bum" feeling, be sure to use pen and paper... and maybe napkins from the local convenience store.
  • Take pictures. As most of you probably will only be pretending to be bums, bring along your camera and shoot photos of the places you visit during your journey! They'll be great to look back on later.
  • Leach free wireless internet. Again, if you're just pretending to be a bum, bring your laptop along and try to steal some free wireless internet by sitting in range of a local coffee shop or restaurant... without buying anything from them.  I would often drive my car around with my laptop in the passenger seat, searching for a wireless network to bum some bandwidth off of.  Come to think of it, I still do that.
  • Walk/Ride around town, take in the sites and shops... but just don't buy anything.  Check out all of the interesting attractions, but don't get suckered into paying money.
There You Have It
Now you are all set to go and have a dirt-cheap mountain bike adventure!  I've given you a great kick start on finding places to sleep for free, spending as little money as possible on food, and chilling out after an epic day of singletrack without spending a cent.  Now, a budget of $200 can get you hundreds of miles from home, and at least a week or two of epic mountain biking in!  Whenever you get a week off, take your chance and get out and there and mountain bike bum it!

Your Turn: What else makes a great after ride activity? And/or do you have any more thoughts on bumming on a long mountain bike trip?

There's only 3 more days (including today) to leave comments for more chances to win some awesome, free gear!


Anonymous,  July 15, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

Libraries have free internet, good source for free activities for the local area and some have passes to the local attractions.


Anonymous,  July 16, 2010 at 3:41 PM  

how would you charge your laptop for a week if you arent staying in a hotel, steal it as well? I guess using an itouch wouldnt be too bad bc you charge it with your car but I never trust those stupid cigarrette plug-ins.

Greg Heil July 16, 2010 at 4:18 PM  

@brianw, a lot of libraries I've been too require you to show proof of local residence to get a library card, or they DO charge you money.

@crush#41, during those 1 or 2 times you get a craving for a burger... also many park pavilions/shelters have electrical hook ups.

eastwood,  July 16, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

+1 on photography... great way to pass the time, and even explore other riding options... riding around the town can be fun and relaxing as well... local colleges may provide some other entertainments as well - have libraries, may have a sporting event going on that may be free (probably not football or basketball) but you never know... maybe just catch an ultimate frisbee game on the quad.

Greg Heil July 17, 2010 at 9:16 AM  

@eastwood, Good thoughts on the local colleges.

Also, some things I've thought of or have been reminded of by other people:

Swimming is an incredibly refreshing after ride activity. Washing off the sweat and grime from miles of singletrack is sublime!

Disc Golf Is a great after ride activity that is usually free and doesn't require a lot of strenuous exercise. Josh reminded me of the disc golf:

Keep the ideas coming, I'm loving 'em!

Denver,  February 20, 2011 at 3:52 PM  

Swimming is great, libraries are awesome when it's rainy outside, and coffee shops are great to relax and catch up on internet stuff. Also, find friends to chat with. I like finding Europeans, you'll find many Germans and French vacationing out West in the summer. Europeans haven't lost the art of good conversation like so many Americans, and they can talk for hours. English is the international language and most Western Europeans speak it fluently. You can study language on your laptop with Rosetta Stone on your own time, preparing for that next great French family you meet. Who knows where it could lead you. I was invited to stay in the French Alps by a French family I met on one of my trips. The man said, "I normally hate you Americans, but I like you. So you must come skiing with us. You can sty at our chalet in the Alps."

Greg Heil February 20, 2011 at 6:26 PM  

Wow, that's awesome! Did you end up taking them up on that offer?

Anonymous,  July 2, 2012 at 6:52 PM  

loved it i am taking a two week vacation with son on george milkenson trail in south dakota its 109 miles deadwood to ardmore southdakota

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