|REI course instructor, Justin briefs us on mountain biking basics.|
|Kestrel Heat Index reading is a comfy 57.6 degrees.|
|REI Instructor Ty (yellow jersey) demonstrates mountain bike maneuvers.|
First we road uphill to an open field to learn basic mountain bike handling and maneuvers we would need later for the trail ride. We learned proper shifting, braking, manual and pedal assisted wheel lifts which helps when clearing logs and exposed roots. Using real obstacles, we were able to practice these newly learned skills until we got them right. The instructors also road along side us to see if we were executing the moves correctly. Justin even showed how to gracefully take a fall on the bike! These guys are really dedicated.
|Putting our skills into practice on the trail.|
After training in the field, the next logical step is to test these skills on an actual bike trail. We took the Yellow Trail at Lewis Morris County Park which is known as one of the best mountain biking terrains in New Jersey. I have to admit that the field skills we practiced came in handy here, especially for clearing logs and large rocks. The trail itself is very scenic and reminds me those in Turkey Swamp Park in Central NJ. These Morris County hills are quite a bit steeper than those you'll find at lower elevations though.
|REI's Flash Sport 15 accommodates most hydration packs|
All of the on location photos and videos were taken with my little GoPro clone, the eXpo Mini Action Cam which Justin attached to my handlebars before we got going. This will be replacing my DSLR Camera for all outdoor events and expeditions as it offers a crisp 20 MP resolution as well as sharp video imagery in wet and rugged environments. Very easy to take pictures with the eXpo even while the camera was in video taping mode. I did this while riding on the road back to the park and just wanted to take a still to capture the moment. Here it is:
|Road photo taken while filming video with the eXpo|
|Technical equipment for the day.|
As you may know from reading this blog, I do a lot of outdoor expeditions especially in the fall and winter months. Having a camera in a protective waterproof case is going to be sweet!
I also always bring along a way to keep tabs on changing weather conditions. You can not always rely on a phone app which only tells you the conditions at the nearest weather station, not necessarily where you are at the time. We all know the feeling of having a signal lost in the mountains. Then what do you do? My cellphone also does not have an impeller to measure wind speed which further shows its limitations.
If I'm going to be out for the day or overnight, you better believe that I will be bringing a pocket weather tracker! Conditions can change in a heartbeat and storms can come up out of nowhere. Kestrel Meters are practically bombproof, can be immersed in freezing cold water and still function. Very lightweight, they are quite easy to take along and perform multiple functions for such a small unit: temperature, heat index, humidity, wind speed, barometric readings, altitude, dew point, etc.
Last Challenge of the Day - Stream Crossing Video
I took the eXpo out of the handlebar bracket to film everyone crossing the little stream as our final challenge which everyone completed with flying colors. It was very rocky with a steep incline after the water so it is much more difficult than it looks here.
Special thanks to REI for hosting this class for us and providing such an enriching outdoor experience for fitness enthusiasts of all levels. Learn more about REI's Outdoor School Classes, Membership and Travel opportunities at REI.com or REI.com/learn.html
See the NEW eXpo Mini HD Action Cam at PyleAudio.com
Visit Nielsen Kellerman online at NKHome.com to see all the Kestrel Pocket Weather Trackers available.
Special thanks also to Topricin who provided travel packets of all their first aid and pain cremes for the class.