Mountain biking: The best places to go for a ride in Arizona – and beyond

This is the third in a three-part series on mountain biking. Today is a report on some of the best places to ride in Arizona and what to look for in your area.

Skier/mountain biker/adventurer Adam “O.J.” Schinness has been all over the country and beyond on a mountain bike.
In Arizona, where Schinness currently lives, here are three of the best places he recommends to ride for different levels of mountain bikers.
Papago Park (near the Phoenix Zoo) for beginners — “You get the feel of mountain biking with some good trails, but there are no huge mountain hills to climb,” Schinness said.
San Tan Mountain Preserve, for intermediate to advanced — “There is some great scenery and it’s a challenging course,” he said. “It’s really a picturesque trail.”
South Mountain, for advanced — “The lower part is OK for beginners, but there are long climbs up into the mountain for advanced riders,” Schinness said. “There are still parts I can’t make it down. There’s a 15-foot cliff I’m not sure if anyone’s rode down — I’ve been tempted, but I haven’t tried it.”
Rides in your area —There are mountain bike courses all over the country. To find a course in your area, check with friends if they know people who ride, inquire with bike shops or even try to search on the Internet to find mountain bike courses where you live.
Mountain biking is a great way to cross train and experience a thrill different from traditional road biking. Just be careful and try to learn all you can from experienced riders like Schinness.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at