Whether you’re new to biking or need to refresh your technique, you’ll likely fall into some bad habits on the trail. It is important to start mountain biking with the correct form and equipment for maintain skill and handling throughout your time as a biker. Redding is full of passionate, experienced bikers, and if you have a question on the trail, don’t be afraid to ask the person taking a break at the next turn. Similarly, do what you can to research mistakes to avoid. Here’s our roundup of beginner errors you’ll want to understand before stepping foot on the mountain.


Not using your front breaks. You should use your front breaks. It’s often the more important of the two brakes you have on your bike. Of course, the wrong situation can flip you over the handlebars. Use the front brakes to keep control of the bike and drastically shorten your braking distance where necessary. The front break will account for up to 90% of your downhill stopping power. Remember that.


Don’t hold any tension in your body. You’ve probably heard that statistic about drunk drivers surviving car crashes more often than sober drivers. This is because they’re less likely to hold tension in their bodies, which allows them to react more naturally to the impact. The same logic applies to riding. If you have a stiff neck and shoulders, you’ll end up hurting yourself. It’ll also be pretty dang uncomfortable. If you catch yourself hunching your shoulders, remember to relax.


Get the right type of bike for what you’re doing. We’ve already covered the types of bikes that apply to the types of biking disciplines. If you’re not sure which bike works best, talk to a sales associate or visit one of Redding’s dozens of bike shops to pick up a rental. We don’t recommend making a bike purchase until you’ve figured out which discipline you like best.


You’re wearing the wrong clothes. Cotton can really hold you back when you’re out on the trail. It’ll leave you soaked with sweat, which can make you catch a chill, cause an injury, or—in the most extreme cases—get hypothermia. Wear mountain biking-appropriate clothing, which will include moisture-wicking fabrics and zipped pockets.


Keep your butt off the seat. Keeping your rear a few inches above your seat is an excellent way to absorb the shock of rough terrain. However, if you have to stand up to pedal through an easy part of the trail, your cadence level is probably too high. Switch down a gear so your legs can more easily pedal through an area. Generally speaking, you should be looking for 75-100 foot rotations per minute.


In a previous post, we discussed the five mountain biking disciplines you might encounter during your time on the trails. Redding has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts, and mountain bikers can enjoy a plethora of every type of biking terrain. However, the terrain you choose will dramatically affect the type of bike you purchase. If you haven’t settled on a preferred style, we recommend renting different types of bikes until you figure it out. When you’re ready to purchase, use this guide to determine which type of bike will work best for you.


Cross-Country Bikes—Traditionally, novice riders will start with hardtail bikes that have a single suspension system. This makes the bike easier to maneuver and allows for quick moves and better precision. They also allow you to move faster without exerting much energy through pedaling. However, a full-suspension bike will offer maximum control and stability. This is especially beneficial if you’re on a trail that requires more effort on the descent. Cross-country riders should also invest in a lightweight frame, which will make moving through the trail much easier.


All-Mountain Bikes—A mountain’s natural terrain necessitates a bike tough and rugged enough to tackle the task. All-mountain riding is usually done on bikes with full suspension for maximum control and comfort. The tires should also be extremely robust; all-mountain bikes have very thick wheels to prevent punctures. You may also want to consider guide chains and a tilted head for faster, more precise control.


Downhill Bikes—Downhill bikes have a slack to make the bike more aerodynamic, allowing riders to fully experience the speed and control necessary for great downhill riding. These bikes are longer and lower to the ground, and their 65-degree head angles add more control and stability. Downhill bikes will also have metal springs and rear shocks, as well as additional weight and heft.


Dirt Jumping Bikes—Dirt jumping bikes are incredibly simple in design. This allows the bike to be lighter and more aerodynamic, allowing riders to perform aerial tricks without the hindrance of added weight and features. Additionally, these bikes have a sloping design to help build speed while approaching a jump. Dirt jumping bikes will also have a high front suspension to absorb the shock of landing, and rear suspension is also a good idea.


Freeride Bikes—These bikes are the most versatile; they are made to be used in a variety of applications. They are similar in design to dirt jumping bikes and generally have full suspension systems to absorb the shock of a drop. Freeride bikes have very light frames, which allows the rider to maneuver through intricate features of a trail or riding area.


Redding is known for its world-class trails and diverse terrain. Our area is an excellent destination for any type of mountain biking enthusiast: cross-country lovers, all mountain fanatics, downhill junkies, and freeride chasers. However, not many beginner mountain bikers know the distinction between terrain and the types of bikes that best fit these separate styles. As an intro to style or a brief refresher for veteran riders, we’ve detailed the five types of mountain biking below.


Cross-Country—This is the most common form of mountain biking. Cross-country involves riding for extended periods of time through trails. It doesn’t often involve extreme obstacles (as other forms of mountain biking might), but still requires significant control in order to maneuver through the trail. Most cross-country trails involve long periods of climbing and descending, incorporating winding paths and banked turns for efficiency. Though Redding has terrain for all forms of mountain biking, this is the most abundant and popular.


All Mountain—This is an action-packed, variable adventure involves more varied terrain than cross-country biking. It involves riding through the mountain’s natural terrain. The trails are not easy to maneuver, and this form of biking often includes drops and jumps. It requires a great deal of skill, control, and confidence, and the trails are incredibly unpredictable and adventurous.


Downhill—Downhill riding has one goal: speed. Unlike cross-country trails that involve curves and snaking paths, downhill trails are often straight down through the mountain terrain. Most riders don’t even use a specific trail; they use their focus and control to get down as fast as possible. In this case, bikers don’t ride up the mountain; they either walk up or take a lift.


Dirt Jump—This type of riding is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than riding through trails on a mountain with different types of terrain, the sport is done in a dirt park consisting of jumps. Dirt jumping is about tricks and air. This is the least common form of mountain biking in the Redding area, but riders can still find or make their own jumps using the available terrain.


Freeride—Freeride is closely related to downhill mountain biking and dirt jumping, but it emphasizes tricks rather than speed. Riders use their creativity to use the natural terrain and special features built into the trail. This can include anything from ladders and ramps to beams and jumps. This is the most versatile mountain biking discipline; depending on your personal riding style, you may go for speed, jumps, or creativity.


Most people come to Redding, CA for one reason: Skiing. Mt. Shasta Ski Park, one of the most coveted ski destinations in Northern California, is just a thirty-minute drive from downtown Redding. Of course, who wouldn’t want to ski while here? Just east of Interstate 5, the ski area lies around 6 miles south of the volcano’s summit. With a total skiable vertical of 1,390 feet and 425 acres of skiable land, this is a great place to spend a winter day. However, our little town has much more to offer. Our favorite? Mountain biking.


We started this project in conjunction with some other folks in Redding tourism. Sure, this is a great destination in the winter, but Redding is a great destination in every season. Surrounded by mountains, miles of hiking, a roaring river, and access to several national parks, Redding has established itself as a four-season town. Though we are interested in the abundance of mountain biking opportunities, our city is full of museums, public art pieces, world-class architecture, and music venues. With something to offer for every visitor and resident, Redding is a wonderful destination in every season.


Thus, this site serves several purposes. Primarily, we want mountain biking enthusiasts (both locals and tourists) to use our trail reviews to plan trips. Additionally, we will host a database of nearby bike shops should you want to replace parts, shop locally, or meet other mountain bikers. You may come to Redding for the skiing, but we hope you stay for the biking.



Mayor Brent Weaver is hoping to reclaim Redding as a must-see mountain bike destination. In highlighting some of the area’s trails, he and the city hope to see a surge in cycling enthusiasm.


Redding’s cycling and mountain biking roots run deep. In 1981, the city hosted what is believed to be the world’s first organized mountain biking race—the Whiskeytown Downhill. With 36 miles of sinuous trails through the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, the race drew 76 races. Most came from California, but several travelled from out of state from places like Oregon, Washington, and Nevada.


By 1986, the race had grown in popularity. Organizers reported 503 racers at the start line. The spark had been lit—word was spreading throughout the cycling community of challenging descents, technical climbs, and scenic creek crossings. This race brought riders from California, but also from other American states. Some riders even travelled from Europe.


Though the Whiskeytown Downhill has been replaced with the Lemurian Shasta Classic, people still travel from around the world to ride these incredible trails. To celebrate the city’s cycling history, the mayor has introduced the Mayor’s Mountain Bike Challenge. This challenge features 14 trails in the area—five beginner, five intermediate, and four expert trails.


For years, cyclists from California and the western United States have been travelling to Redding for unparalleled riding. In posing this challenge, the city hopes that riders from the Pacific Northwest—who may be waiting for their local trails to thaw after the winter—will visit and ride in the Redding area.


Want to know what mountain biking looks like in Redding, CA?