After deciding a while back to spend more time outdoors this year, and much discussion about hobbies that would allow this to happen, I decided I would give mountain biking a shot this year. I always enjoyed riding bicycles as a kid, and I love hiking as an adult; why not combine the two and see how it went? I did research online, talked to local bike shops. Then settled on a super cheap ($50 on craigslist cheap) huffy still in the box. The owner was selling it due to an upcoming divorce resulting in a lack of storage space. After a 6-pack of guinness and I put my bike together, it occured to me just how difficult this thing was going to be to fit into my Chevy Cobalt. Off to the internet! The end result was an Inno roof rack with a Rage bike rack. The whole setup was significantly more than my Huffy, but looks great and functions even better. Sunday morning I woke up bright eyed and slightly hungover. After a quick oatmeal and water breakfast I set off for Freedom Park in Williamsburg. I stopped by the Williamsburg Bike Beats store and was met with friendly and knowledgable staff with plenty of helpful tips for my upcoming ride. Arriving at Freedom Park, I unloaded my shiny new huffy and set off for Trail A. I stopped a few times in the parking lot to converse with some people that looked much more knowledgable than myself and was met with plenty of friendly people eager to wish me luck on my day of riding. One of the things that can kill someone's interest in a new hobby quicker than anything is knowledgable people who aren't willing to talk to someone who knows less than them, and I was happy to find that this doesn't seem to be the case at all in mountain biking. As I entered the trail, I was instantly aware of why everyone (including myself now) loves this sport so much. The first 2 miles or so were spent with a giant grin on my face as my Huffy and I blasted around turns and over rocks. As I approached a sharp right, I learned very quickly (instantly in fact) that pine needles are the mountain biking equivalent of ice. I went sort of half-right, my bike went straight, and just like that I had my first wipe out. Of course as soon as I hit the ground I hear "Are you ok?" from a more experienced rider who I honestly had no idea was even behind me. "Yes, just learning" I replied, and off he went. I picked myself up, gave the bike a once over (including tightening the bars; I had the right tools thanks to the blogs in the beginner section), and was back on my way to funville. I learned the meaning of the term "hike-a-bike" shortly after; I am much more out of shape than I realized and a few of the pine covered inclines were simply too much for me. As I coasted across the parking lot back towards my car, I see that the same person who saw me eat dirt was parked next to me and was also just finishing up his ride. After a very pleasant conversation about mountain biking/me hitting the ground, I tucked myself into my car and headed off with a smile. The entire experience has left me with a lifelong hobby, and I look forward to heading back out there this upcoming saturday to have even more fun. Below is a a few pictures, including one of a Mater truck at a local car show in Williamsburg that I stopped by on my way home. I realize this post is a bit of a ramble, but wanted to share the fact that the knowledge gained from this site combined with friendly fellow enthusiasts has created a new fan of this sport. So the next time someone on a shiny new bike with a shiny new helmet approaches you with questions, be polite and friendly. Your attitude could very well determine whether mountain biking turns into a lifelong hobby or something only snobs do.