Getting regular exercise of any kind is very important. When you are trying to workout, the two types of exercise that people get is aerobic and anaerobic. Generally, anaerobic exercise is considered to be of higher intensity and can help to burn fat. While cycling is generally considered to be aerobic exercise, there are ways that you can make cycling into an anaerobic workout.

Focus on Intervals
One of the ways that you can make cycling an anaerobic exercise is by focusing on intervals. While a long bike ride can be enjoyable and help you to burn some calories and keep your heart healthy, those that are looking to burn more calories should try and step up their intensity. By switching between cycling very hard and fast and going at a steady pace through consistent intervals can help convert this into an anaerobic workout.

Find Some Hills
A natural way that you can make exercise program anaerobic is by finding a trail with plenty of hills.  When cycling on hills, there will be periods where you need to push yourself while going through a climb as well as periods when you are going through a downslope and are able to coast a bit. This will help to get your heart rate up and help you to burn a lot of calories in the process.

Mix In Other Exercises
Another way that people are able to turn their cycling into a more challenging anaerobic exercise program is by mixing in other exercises. If using an exercise bike at home, you can quickly work in some weightlifting exercises during your cycling routine. This will help you boost your heart rate and help you burn some additional calories. Another option is to do some bodyweight exercises when you get off the bike to boost your metabolism.

Biking continues to be a very popular sport and exercise for people all over the world. For those that enjoy biking, there are several different styles to consider. Two of the most common of which are road cycling and mountain biking. If you are an experienced road cycler and want to try mountain biking, there are several tips that should be followed to ensure you enjoy the experience as much as possible.

Start with Easier Trails
A good tip to follow when you are getting used to mountain biking is to start with easier trails. The difficulty in mountain biking trails can vary considerably from one to the next. Fortunately, there are some out there that are not too steep and do not have too many significant obstacles. This can give you a chance to safely get used to this different style of biking.

Get the Right Equipment
One of the most important things that you need to do when mountain biking is to get the right gear. The equipment you need for a bike ride on the mountain versus the road varies considerably. You should look for a rugged bike with tough wheels and get a set of pads and a helmet that can protect you if you take a hard fall off the bike.

Be Prepared
If you are used to road cycling, you likely expect that the terrain will be predictable. When it comes to mountain biking, the complete opposite is true. As you start mountain biking, you will need to get used to sticks, rocks and holes being located all over the trail. To ensure that you are prepared, you need to keep your eyes open down the road and be alert at all times. This will ensure that you are ready to react at any moment.

For some people, skiing isn’t just a hobby–it’s how they make a living. For decades, European resorts have made millions of dollars by inviting tourists to ski on their slopes. Unfortunately, this way of life is largely dependent on the climate. When the snow starts to melt, they can’t make money off a ski resort anymore. And since the climate has been gradually getting warmer, many resorts are experiencing longer summers and shorter winters.

Some resorts have compensated by increasing their prices or installing snow machines on the mountains. However, others have figured out a different way to cope. In particular, one resort in Austria has figured out a way to stay open during the summer. St. Corona has added hiking trails, mountain biking trails, rock climbing areas and other outdoor activities that are perfect for the summer heat. When winter arrives, St. Corona transitions back into a ski resort.

Many resorts don’t survive a sudden shift in their business model. However, now that it’s open all year round, St. Corona has attracted more customers than ever. In 2020, tens of thousands of mountain bikers visited the resort to check out its steep, winding trails. Hundreds of thousands of other guests visited during the summer to take part in other activities like hiking and tobogganing.

As a result, St. Corona has been able to make up for the lost winter revenue. While other resorts are still sticking to skiing, some have visited St. Corona to figure out how they can apply their business model to their own location. With their towering mountains and natural greenery, ski resorts are a natural choice for mountain bikers during the summer. As the climate continues to change, an increasing number of ski resorts might have to convert into summer resorts or end up closing their doors altogether.

I prefer biking to running for “base training” because it provides aerobic and endurance training. Although running does provide aerobic training it doesn’t have the other advantages of biking like low impact for aging knees. Biking also builds muscle tone and strength much more so than running.

If you are new to serious biking, here are some basics. Biking should be done three times a week at the beginning of the training program. Two times a week will be fine but other training activities (the circuits) should be added after the first few weeks to supplement the two-day bike program.

Biking Technique
Serious bikers talk about something called spinning. Spinning is the most efficient way to move on a bike. It means you form a complete circle of power with your pedaling action. Pedaling isn’t a series of alternating downward pressure strokes, it is a continuous circle of pressure on the pedals. The downward push shouldn’t do all the work. As the right foot comes to the top of the pedal circle the left foot begins to pull up during the back of the pedal circle. Combining the pull back and up with the push down and forward gives the circle no weak points. Alternating these movements from right to left foot and from pushing to pulling requires some practice, but once you have the idea of spinning, biking enjoyment is reached. It’s hard to explain because it feels so powerful yet requires much less strength. You become an efficient machine, in tune with the bike.

Here’s how it’s learned:

  • Spin at ninety or more revolutions per minute. This means you are in a low gear and your feet are turning very fast. I often practice the spin early in the season at 120 RPM to speed up my feet. Bike stores sell little bike computers that tell you exactly how fast you are spinning. At only $20 – $30, they are worthwhile and a great training tool.
  • A good way to measure your improvement is to ride the same loop or a number of loops that you can repeat. After the first week, time your ride. The computer can also be used as a timer and it records your average speed. Do not try to improve your time during the first two weeks. Ride for the enjoyment and experience.
  • Your first weeks of riding should be half to three-quarters of an hour long. Your ride can have some small hills and you may need to learn how to ride standing up.
  • If you are riding at 90 RPM as recommended and you come to a hill your cadence will decrease. You can maintain the same gear by standing on the pedals. Standing gives you more power but it is more demanding aerobically. It is good to do some standing as it develops other muscles and requires bike handling skills and balance.
  • The really dedicated enthusiast will want to use a heart rate monitor. The monitor tells you how hard you are working or not working. People who are new to biking usually say they have a hard time getting a workout. They try to compare it to running, where they are immediately out of breath. Biking will get you out of breath, have no worries, but you have to learn how.
  • Make sure you are in good health and have no medical conditions that keep you from participating in strenuous physical activity. If you are unsure about your ability to start a physical program consult your doctor.

Bike Intervals

Now that you’ve been biking regularly for a few weeks, you’re ready to add a weekly bike interval workout. The interval workout will improve your fitness faster than steady cycling does. Two workouts are described here. Start with the “Faster Mile” interval workout, once a week. It will improve your aerobic capacity and leg strength. Once you’re comfortable with that workout, try the “All-out Effort” workout, which will improve your anaerobic capacity and your lactate threshold. (That’s the point at which your legs cry for mercy.)

For either interval workout, begin with 5 – 10 minutes of easy spinning, gradually increasing to your standard steady-ride pace. You want your muscles and joints thoroughly warmed-up prior to beginning the intervals. After the intervals, cool off with about 5 minutes of easy spinning.

IMPORTANT: If you haven’t been riding several times a week for at least three weeks, don’t do these interval workouts! You must have a sufficient base in order to derive benefits from these workouts. If you don’t, you will simply hurt.

“Faster Mile” Interval Workout
Using a cyclocomputer, your car odometer, or other method, find a one-mile section of road or trail that you enjoy. It should have distinct starting and ending landmarks, be fairly flat, and have several hundred yards of speed-up and slow down zones at either end of it. You’ll be doing U-turns in order to ride this section back and forth, so keep traffic safety in mind.

Ride the mile once at your normal, steady pace and time how long it takes you. Your interval pace should be about 80% of your steady pace. For instance, if it normally takes you 5 minutes to ride the mile, your interval target time will be 4 minutes. If you normally ride it in 4 minutes, your target time is 3:12.

Here’s the workout…
Once you are warmed up, spin up to your desired speed in the acceleration zone. Try to be at speed when you pass the incoming landmark. Remain at your higher speed throughout the mile, and don’t let off until you pass your exit landmark. Slow down through your deceleration zone, do a U-turn (LOOK FOR CARS!!), and pedal easily back to your acceleration zone.

Repeat the round trip 4 times. Try to meet your target time in each interval. If your later intervals are slower than your early ones, aim for a slightly slower pace. Keep pedaling at 90-100 rpm throughout the interval – you may need to adjust your gears.

“All-out Effort” Interval Workout
This workout can be performed in a loop, as above, or you can incorporate it on your regular bike routes. Once you are warmed up, go as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Keep your rpm’s between 90 and 100; you’ll need to shift to a harder gear. After the interval, pedal easily until you have recovered. If you have a heart rate monitor, recover until 120 bpm. If you don’t have a monitor, when you’ve recovered you’ll be able to have a conversation without difficulty breathing. Repeat the effort/recovery 4 times, then pedal easily to cool off.

The City of Redding is the county seat of Shasta County. If you’re not from the area but recognize that name, you have one landmark to thank: Mt. Shasta. Though this destination provides unmatched mountain biking and summer activities, it is—first and foremost—a ski destination.

Located just east of Interstate 5 along SR 89, the Mount Shasta Ski Park is just a short drive north of Redding. It is the second highest volcano in the Cascade Range, straddling several small volcanic buttes on the lower and southern flanks. Chairlifts run to the top of the 6,567-foot-tall Douglas Butte and the 6,150-foot-tall Marmot Ridge. With a total skiable vertical of 1,390 feet, the mountain has terrain for every ski ability: around 20% of the terrain is rated as beginner, 55% is intermediate, and 25% is advanced.

Mount Shasta Ski Park is also surprisingly accessible. It features four chairlifts—3 triple chairs and 1 surface lift, totaling a capacity of 6,200 passengers per hour. Additionally, with 32 total runs and an annual snowfall of 280 inches, this winter retreat is a perfect way to spend time outside when you can’t hop on the bike. The ski area is located entirely on a 1 square mile single section within the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Mount Shasta is also an incredibly popular backcountry destination for skiers, hikers, and climbers. With few crevasse hazards on most summit routes and amazing springtime weather make Shasta one of the best west coast springtime skiing and mountaineering destinations. Avalanche Gulch on the mountain’s south side is the most classic and popular trail, but the Hotlum-Wintun Ridge on the northeast side is a favorite among locals. Most approaches and descents are documented on local climbing sites.

So, you want to visit Redding during the mountain biking off-season, but you don’t own your own gear. Renting is a popular option for those visiting Shasta County in the summer months, and there are plenty of local ski and equipment shops to help you find the perfect fit. Lift ticket deals are also available so you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to take up a second hobby. Redding is an excellent destination and home for outdoor adventurers—anything related to outdoor recreation, no matter the season, is within reach.