Gravity biking is an easy transition from cross-country riding (a.k.a. “mountain biking”), although you’ll probably want platform pedals and a lower seat. If you ski, you’ll immediately feel the similarity in those moments you trust the bike to tip into a turn and feel the tires bite into the dirt like setting an edge in the snow.
Skills from skateboarding and dirt biking translate well, too—plus, you probably already love the rush. You want to push it further and further to see where it gives, feeling a bigger rush with every added degree. Rollers evoke your stomach-dropping time on skis in the terrain park, as you let yourself catch a little air—maybe just an inch—coming off the lip.
With even a little time in the saddle, you’re a black and blue rider—black and blue runs, that is. You get a charge out of whipping around berms and balancing over bridges (you call them “ladders” now), and you’re ready to sell your daughter’s pony to buy new gear. That’s good, because this is where equipment really makes a difference. It’s definitely time for longer travel—a fork (shock) with greater compression. You’ll want at least six inches to soak up the bigger rocks you’re now seeking out instead of avoiding. If you don’t have one already, try a full-face helmet. Aside from protecting your noggin, it makes you look cool.
Looking to the future, what you once thought reserved for the moronic elite is now within your grasp: big air. (Mom would be so proud.) If you don’t have the skills yet, a little coaching from friends in the know removes the mystery. In the meantime, Keystone’s blues already deliver the adrenaline rush that comes from fast, flowy trails, and the occasional black gives you a taste of tougher features—more than enough terrain to entertain at this level.
Take your cross-country bike-handling skills and gravity-specific bike directly to these Keystone blues. Mosquito Coast and Eye of the Tiger give you a taste of what your suspension can do with some rockier single-track. Tiger gives you bridges and berms as well, with optional features for a taste of how the big boys play. Take Boy Scouts to River Run for more shocky, rocky challenges, where you can start picking lines through the rocks or right over them, all while twisting through forests of pine and aspen. Introduce yourself to freeride terrain on fast and flowing Logger’s Way, where berms, small jumps and rollers let you give it a shot or ride around. When you’re ready to sample the black, Money delivers berms and tabletops you can roll at slower speeds until you’re so money yourself.