Scouts "merit" badge for mountain biking: This is a form of child abuse
MTB related excerpts:
Craig McNeil is another good example. An early proponent of adding a mountain-biking component to the Cycling merit badge, McNeil, who lives in Littleton, Colo., has introduced hundreds of Scouts to the sport at Timberline District camporees.
[That's right, prey on naive kids who can't foresee the harm that mountain biking will do. He's the mountain biking industry's dream come true. This is a form of child abuse. Mike]
Basic maintenance is even more important with bikes that go off-road.
"When you're out, you're going to get flat tires," he says. "It's more likely to happen in the woods than on the road."
In the world of mountain biking, essential skills are balance, dexterity and focus. McNeil recommends spending time in a parking lot working on "skills and drills." For example, you could create a slalom course out of traffic cones or build a small obstacle with 2-by-8 boards that riders must bunny-hop over. He also likes to have riders pick up water bottles from the ground or limbo under a rope hanging loosely across their path.
Skills and drills can continue once you get on the trail. McNeil suggests finding spots to practice water-bottle pickups or climbing hills in your lowest gear without stopping.
For mountain-biking trails, McNeil recommends starting with the International Mountain Bicycling Association website (imba.com) or simply doing a Web search for trails in your area. "I don't care where you live -- Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma -- there are plenty of places you can go and get elevation gains," he says.
"You can find some really mild and easy stuff, and you can find other stuff that's downright gnarly," McNeil says.
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