Christy Sports The Ridge Report
A Blog About Everything Skiing & Snowboarding in Colorado & Utah
Colorado Mountain Biking Lifts

Ski lifts aren’t just for skiing. When the warm sun melts the snow blanketing towns at higher elevation, ski resorts serve as a mountain biker’s haven. If you’ve ever dreamed of flying down a hill without having to make the taxing climb up, you’ve got to try this! Check out some of our favorite lift-served mountain bike trails in Colorado to get your summer adrenaline fix.

Lift-Served Mountain Biking Trails in Colorado

Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park (formerly Evolution Bike Park)

Crested Butte is a mountain biker’s dream. A mix of technical and smooth routes, the bike park boasts over 30 miles of can’t-miss terrain. Take the lift up for a breathtaking view of the wildflowers. Just make sure to watch where you’re going on the way down, as the brightly-colored wildflowers can be distracting in this mountain bike mecca.

Bike Granby Ranch

Granby is a small town with a big biking population. Still, you probably won’t have to dodge crowds when you explore this ski area in the summer, as it’s tucked away between Winter Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Loved for its relatively ungroomed terrain catering to all levels of mountain biker, this best-kept secret won’t be a secret for long!

Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park

Trestle is a legendary park in the mountain biking community. Named for its wooden trestles, the lift-served bike park offers slightly more manicured trails than Bike Granby Ranch just 20 miles away. Take lessons at the Trestle Bike Park School or hop of the lift and directly down a double black diamond- there is something for everyone!

Steamboat Bike Park

Making your way to Steamboat with a bike rack in tow? Say hello to 2,200 vertical feet of lift-served trails. The Boat used to be known more for its cross-country biking trails. Now, you may require a soak in the nearby Strawberry Park Hot Springs to soothe sore legs after a day mountain biking in Steamboat.

Snowmass Bike Park

Choose from classic cross-country trails or feel the wind in your hair as you wind down epic singletrack. Snowmass bike park is all about versatility on two wheels. The park features a few new intermediate/ expert trails so be the first to give em a try! Riding down from the top of Elk Camp Chairlift to Snowmass Village takes you on a 2,897 vertical foot decent.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain is a family-friendly destination all year, offering sought-after skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. The Eagle Lift serves all levels of biker, from challenging single-track trails to less aggressive routes. If catching a lift up isn’t your jam, wide service roads offer the ability to ride up after hours.

Mountain Village Bike Park at Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride has an ALL NEW bike park scheduled to open this summer and will offer day and season-long passes. Access XC, FREERIDE and TECHNICAL trails with the help of Village Express to make your way up. Then, enjoy the epic ride down!

Don’t have your own wheels? You can still experience all of the amazing mountain biking Colorado has to offer. Rent bikes from Christy Sports before you try out some of these awesome trails. Flying down without sweating the uphill is sure not to bring you down.

Getting Your Mountain Bike Ready

Snow is still falling on the Rockies but sunnier days are just around the corner. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon when you hadn’t laced up your running shoes for months would you? Don’t except prime performance out of your bike without giving it proper attention when the weather warms up. Make sure your mountain bike is as ready as you are to hit the trails. We strongly recommend getting a tune at an experienced bike shop to kick off mountain biking season.

Tune In…

Taking your bike to the pros to get it tuned can be quick & affordable. Christy Sports has four full-service bike shops that offer mountain bike tunes in Frisco, Crested Butte, and Winter Park. Our West Vail location also offers tunes but is closed for remodel.

In line with the majority of bike shops, Christy Sports offers different levels of tunes. They will vary slightly by location but generally cover the following:

  1. Minor Tune– A thorough safety inspection of bicycle frame and all its components. Adjustments of brakes, shifting, and headset. Lubrication of drivetrain. Check tires and washing of bike.
  2. Standard Tune– An on-the-bike cleaning of the drive train. Cleaning and inspection of the bike frame. Check and adjust: shifting, brakes, headset, and adjustable bearings. Lubrication of drivetrain and check tires.
  3. Full Tune- Remove and clean drivetrain, detail bike including wheels, check and adjust: shifting, brakes, headset, and adjustable bearings. Lubrication of drivetrain and check tires/ suspension front and rear: condition, linkage and settings.

Our team can also repair your bike if something’s not quite right. Additional services include:Getting your mountain bike ready for the trails

  • Brake bleed
  • Wheel build
  • Replace spoke
  • Fork rebuild
  • Bottom bracket service
  • Tubular tire gluing
  • Derailleur adjustment
  • Brake adjustment
  • Flat repair (tube sold separately)
  • Install tubeless sealant per wheel
  • Box bike
  • & more

For more information on tunes and repairs or if your questioning what you need for your riding, our knowledgeable staff is happy to help!

Ride Around the Block 

Once your bike is tuned & ready, take it for a ride on an easy, familiar trail. Or, at the very least, a cruise around the block to make sure everything is in order. Ensure your tire pressure feels good, your seat is at the perfect height, and your breaks are prepared to stop you in a jiffy. The last thing you want is to realize your bike is in sub-par shape when you’re halfway through a long, difficult ride or a trail you don’t know very well.

Check Your Gear

A helmet is only equipped to protect your noggin through one fall and your bike is only reliable if the gear that connects you to it is in good shape. Examine the cleats on your bike shoes for wear & tear, clean out your hydration pack, and replace the band-aids & supplies in your first aid kit.

Try New Trails

Mountain biking can be a dangerous sport and we can’t stress enough taking the highest precautions when you hit the trail. But like any endurance sport, pushing yourself slightly beyond your comfort zone can mean marked improvement in your skill mastery. Perhaps you AND your freshly tuned bike are ready for a trail that outranks your go-to trail in difficulty. If you’re itching to kick it up a notch, consult your local bike shop about new trails to try. Our bike shop employees are passionate about the sport and love chatting with guests about their favorite spots to ride! Maybe you’ll even see them out there.

New to the sport? Check out our Mountain Biking Tips for Beginners for help getting started.

Tips for Biking in the Rain

Inclement weather, especially rain, can be rough both on you and your bike. Moisture can corrode components, causing them to rust or seize. Here in Colorado, because of our diverse elevation and climate, the weather can be unpredictable and change on a dime. With some simple preparation, a little knowledge, and all the right gear, you and your bike can be ready for all weather conditions. Christy Sports Bike Rentals is here to help with some handy tips below for being prepared if caught while riding in the rain.

Tips for Biking in the Rain

Before You Go – Preparation is Key

The key to cycling in any weather condition, especially here in Colorado, is to prepare yourself and your bike ahead of time. Here are some things to consider before you go:

  1. Weatherproof Your Ride

To prepare for rain while riding, start by lubricating your bike parts properly. Use a heavier lube on your chain to keep moisture out – make sure to apply it when the chain is completely dry. Protect your cables even more by running full cable housing. You can do this yourself if you feel confident or stop by one of our Christy Sports bike rental locations and have our professional bike techs do it for you.Prepare your bike for inclement weather.

Adding a few extra gear items will also make a world of difference to your riding comfort, including fenders and wider tires. Fenders are a must to both protect your bike and to keep nasty water and debris from splattering your clothes. Wider winter tires add much needed traction on slick wet roads, and their extra durability helps protect against potential punctures.

TIP:  Decreasing tire pressure a bit also increases traction.

  1. Prep Your Pack

Waterproof panniers (side bags/saddlebags for storing gear while biking), frame bags, and backpacks are all great options for protecting gear from the elements. You can also make your pack waterproof by lining it with a trash bag. Simply make sure you secure the top of the bag to keep moisture out.

TIP:  Backpacks can also provide a surprising amount of additional warmth for your back.

  1. Protect Your Fingers, Toes, and Head

It is extremely important to keep your hands and feet warm and dry in cold, wet weather. Insulated, full-fingered water and wind resistant gloves (a gel biking glove is recommended) and waterproof shoes or booties will keep fingers and toes toasty and dexterous. If you’re going to be riding for more than two hours, it’s a good idea to pack an extra pair of gloves in a plastic zip loc bag to swap out. Cover your shoes with lightweight neoprene shoe covers or booties to insulate them should they get soaked. Wearing merino or smart wool micro socks will help keep feet dry as well. Helmet covers are also recommended to keep your head dry in a rainstorm.

  1. Bring on the Layers

As with any outdoor activity in Colorado – no matter what time of year – dressing in layers is key. For cycling, this is even more important since you are on the road. The wetter you get, the colder you are going to be, so keep your core warm! Soft merino wool base layers help regulate your temperature even if you get wet, and unlike synthetics, the natural fibers resist smelling funky. Always pack a waterproof vest or jacket, and a neck gaiter to protect your neck and chin from wind and rain.

TIP:  Always remember to factor in temperature when choosing layers – you don’t want to end up soaked from the inside out because you didn’t wear breathable rain gear. Your body sweats rain or shine, so your rain gear and base layers must be able to breathe. Gore-Tex fabrics or ventilated outer layers are highly recommended.

  1. Proper Eyewear – To See or Not to See

Staying aware of your surroundings while riding is critical, but it can be difficult with rain flying in your face. In low light, clear or yellow lensed biking glasses are highly recommended. When riding in the rain, regular sunglasses cut out too much light, making road obstacles difficult to see.

Using an anti-fog product such as Rain-X will also help keep glasses from fogging over. However, biking glasses can also become a hinderance when rain droplets start falling on the lenses. This is just as bad as not wearing glasses at all. Try wearing a brimmed cap underneath your helmet or add an extended visor to your helmet for more coverage. Whether you wear glasses or not, these tips will help keep vision clearer.

While on the Road – Safety is Key

Now that you are prepped and packed, consider these tips while on the road:

  1. Ride Smart

    Road biking

The friendly roads, bike paths, or off-road trails you’re used to riding on beautiful sunny days might not be so welcoming when the weather takes a turn. Whether you are riding in town on city streets, out for a leisurely ride along a bike path, or hitting back country mountain bike trails, rain can quickly transform any terrain into a slippery hazard. Road surfaces are the slickest and most dangerous just after the rain begins. Iridescent oil patches (rainbow-edged spots) in the road from motor vehicles lurk where you least expect them. Deep puddles can disguise wheel-snagging obstacles, and dirt trails soften and become mud, often creating deceiving sink holes with tree stumps and debris. Always be extra cautious and aware of your surroundings, particularly when cornering and riding unfamiliar streets or trails. Allow yourself twice as much breaking time as usual and keep an eye out for such obstacles as manhole covers, steel-grid bridge decks, or wet leaves, mud and other debris. All these become extremely slick when wet.

TIP:  When cornering in the rain, shift as much of your weight on the outside pedal as possible. To keep your bike upright, lean your body more than the bike. By doing this, you will be able to corner with a reasonable amount of speed, your body tending to remain balanced over the bike should your tires hit a slippery patch.

  1. Watch Those Brake Pads

A mix of road grit and water is the fastest way to erode rubber brake pads. Pads that last a full season in dry weather will run metal to metal on the rims in a month of consistent riding in wet weather. Most rims also require a full revolution before the brake pads squeegee the water from the braking surface and are able to brake properly again. Cycling your tires by hand through at least one full revolution after a ride in the rain will certainly help save your brake pads.

TIP:  Again, plan ahead while riding and brake early.

  1. Be Seen – Light it Up

It’s important to be as visible as possible when cycling during bad weather – let everyone know you are there! Keep front and rear lights on, and reflectors clear of dirt any time you are riding. Heavy rain and glare from motor vehicle headlights reduce motorists’ vision, so it’s a good idea to ride with a bright LED lamp on the seat post and handle bar. LED lights are relatively inexpensive and work reasonably well. A good rechargeable lighting system will also provide more light than LEDs – something to consider if you are riding during early morning hours or evening. If you do use rechargeable lights, don’t forget to charge them overnight prior to your ride so you won’t run out of battery life in the middle of your route.

If you choose to ride with only one light, a flashing red LED rear lamp is highly recommended for stormy cycling. Again, these LEDs are also inexpensive and most have clips to attach them to your bike, backpack, or helmet. For bike lighting and accessories, Christy Sports can help you chose the right light for your ride.

  1. Two Choices: Ride it Out or Wait it Out

Sunset biking When a severe storm hits while cycling, you have only two choices – ride it out or wait it out. If a little rain and getting wet is the only threat, and you choose to ride it out, then simply keep moving. This will keep the blood flowing and keep you warm. If it is an all-out down pour, then seek shelter before you get completely soaked. Deciding whether or not to ride it out or wait it out is not something you want to do when you are already soaked and cold. Instead, pull over and take shelter when the heavy rain starts and assess your situation from there.

TIP:  Use a weather app on your phone like Weather Tracker or NOAA Weather Radar to see what you are up against and to determine how long you will need to wait out the storm.

If there is a threat of lightning, find the closest shelter possible and stay as low as you can. If you are riding with a group, seek shelter separately – if one person is struck by lightning, others can still provide aid verses everyone being hurt and in danger. Once the lightening has passed, keep moving to get out of the storm as quickly as you can. If you are riding back country trails and caught in storm, retreat to lower ground as soon as possible.

Wet, slick terrain likely won’t kill you, but rain is often accompanied by wind, lightning, and even hail. Consider the risks of these conditions and decide for yourself if riding out a storm is the right course of action. Most often, the best thing to do when severe weather hits, is to wait it out instead.

The challenge of the climb and the thrill of the downhill are not lost on the savvy mountain-biker. But for those who want to get in on the action, starting out can seem a little daunting. Mountain biking is a great way to stay active while exploring the beauty of nature. It can also be logistically dangerous, especially for beginners who are not adequately prepared. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Mountain Biking Basic Tips

  1. Know Your Limits

Trust us, mountain biking is a valid excuse to skip that daily trip to the gym. The outdoor activity may touch muscle groups you didn’t know existed, and it will certainly make your lungs do a little heavy lifting. The lifting is heavier if you are mountain biking at altitude, like in Colorado. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. It’s ok to take breaks! While challenging, this should also be an enjoyable summer activity.

  1. Respect the Terrain

Along with knowing your limits comes being aware when terrain throws you too far out of your comfort zone. Much like ski runs, mountain bike trails are rated for difficulty based on width, surface, grade, and technical features. (see below) Don’t go straight for a black diamond, and if you hit a section that is too steep or technical on a green circle, don’t be afraid to walk it. Just make sure to steer clear of other bikers heading down the trail.

Mountain bike difficulty rating.

  1. Rent FirstRenting for first time mountain biking.

The urge to splurge on a shiny new mountain bike can be hard to fight, especially if you aren’t aware you have options. Rent a bike first! Decide what style of riding you enjoy and what type of bicycle is best for that venture before you call one your own. Your rental expert will be able to point you in the direction of the right fit for starting out, and bike demos will allow you to try before you buy.

  1. Wear a Helmet

At the risk of sounding like your mother, this is still the most tried and true bike safety tip in the book. The need for head protection is magnified on rocky, uneven mountain trails.

Wear a helmet mountain biking for beginners.

  1. Use Your Gears

Gears are designed to create a more comfortable ride so make sure to learn how the specific gears on the bike you’re riding operate. Your rental tech can demonstrate how to shift gears on the bike you choose to accompany you on the trails. As a rule of thumb, take the downhills at a higher gear and shift to a lower gear when climbing to take some of the workload off of your legs.

  1. Position Your Body

Correct body positioning leads to optimal balance. When climbing, lean forward into the handlebars and slide your body to the front of the seat. This will place the pressure on your front wheel and help stabilize your bike. When going downhill, either slow your pedaling or stop it completely as you float above your seat and loosen your body to comfortably absorb impact.

Mountain biking downhill for beginners. Mountain biking uphill for beginners.

  1. Enjoy Yourself

Mountain biking is a blast, so don’t let the logistics keep you from exploring the trails on two wheels. Remember to enjoy the scenery and have fun! While mountain biking is a technical sport, start slow on the easier trails and you’ll be amazed how quickly you get the hang of it. (And the size of the smile on your face on those quick downhills.)

Check out Christy Sports’ mountain bike rentals in the premier mountain towns of Colorado and Utah. With a variety of bikes and gear and a knowledgeable staff, we cover riders from novice to advanced. When renting a bike, ask your Christy Sports bike expert for their tips and tricks, as well as their favorite spots to start shredding in the area.