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hello all. jason- 42- out of shape- ex alcoholic -smoker- looking to get in better shape
so i made a decision to stop drinking and get back into shape somewhat- well at least try and lose the extra weight i put on drinking about a 12 pack a day for the last few years.
moving on-
picking up a trek mountain bike.
been taking laps around town the last week or so. trying to get moving- work= sit/ home = sit - which used to include sit and drink- anyway- thats where i am at today.
just a few 5-10 mile rides around town. no crazy mountain biking/ jumping/downhills etc. just laps around town to get used to breathing and riding/ changing gears etc.
think i would like to find a local trail and give it a shot. place i picked the bike up at- kid told me to try out 6 mile- he mentioned something about the lower part- and im guessing because i mentioned im new to this at my old fat age.
anyhow- question i have - if im even posting in the right spot - is -
will 6 mile be a good place to try?
do i need a helmet?
is there a low and high difference?? as in the new/ slow/ fat old man should stay at the bottom or out of the way??

first of many questions im sure. but ill start with what might be a dumb one.

thanks for any help
 

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hello all. jason- 42- out of shape- ex alcoholic -smoker- looking to get in better shape
so i made a decision to stop drinking and get back into shape somewhat- well at least try and lose the extra weight i put on drinking about a 12 pack a day for the last few years.
moving on-
picking up a trek mountain bike.
been taking laps around town the last week or so. trying to get moving- work= sit/ home = sit - which used to include sit and drink- anyway- thats where i am at today.
just a few 5-10 mile rides around town. no crazy mountain biking/ jumping/downhills etc. just laps around town to get used to breathing and riding/ changing gears etc.
think i would like to find a local trail and give it a shot. place i picked the bike up at- kid told me to try out 6 mile- he mentioned something about the lower part- and im guessing because i mentioned im new to this at my old fat age.
anyhow- question i have - if im even posting in the right spot - is -
will 6 mile be a good place to try?
do i need a helmet?
is there a low and high difference?? as in the new/ slow/ fat old man should stay at the bottom or out of the way??

first of many questions im sure. but ill start with what might be a dumb one.

thanks for any help
Hey Jason,

Most of us hang out at MTBNJ.

That out of the way: while I ride bikes without helmets, I do not do so offroad, as there are too many variables (low branches, slipping tires, etc) that you can't account for with skills. I still take a good whack on the head maybe once a year that would result in some injury (even if it is an ugly bruise from a hanger) without it. Remember that, even though bike shops sell $300+ helmets, a $45 one will do just as well.

Six Mile is very sensitive to weather, in particular the freeze-thaw cycle that the area enters from late November through March-ish. The park is one of the few in the area that the State has given permission to the steward to close due to weather, so check before you go. In that immediate area is also Mercer County Park (not particularly large) and Clayton Park (which may be fairly far, depending on where you actually are located). Allaire State Park is a beginner-friendly park (enter "hospital road lot" on your GPS device), but gets packed quickly on the weekend. Head there during the week/early on the weekends. When things return to a state of semi-normalcy, JORBA runs a beginner ride at Allaire State Park Tuesday nights ~5:00 from Spring-Mid-to-late Fall. The pace is 'sociable' (ie, moving average of 5-6 miles per hour, typical rides between 1:30-2:00 hours), and the age range goes from 7-70+ (and there are more than a few older guys riding out there). It is generally 'poor form' to go mudding with your bike, as it causes a headache of repairs for a [mostly] volunteer crew of trail maintainers. MTBNJ has several conditions/parks threads where locals are more than happy to point out whether or not a park is sufficiently dry to ride, but count on 3-4 days after a major rain event this time of year, or at least 2-3 hours of sub-freezing temperatures (and subsequent riding before it's risen too much) before riding.

No matter where you go, or what discipline of cycling you pursue, gravity is a harsh mistress. A 10 foot elevation change can (and will) feel like miles. That said, seek not to avoid them, as they increase your conditioning; do not be afraid to walk up when you can't go any farther, either. We all do, eventually.

Normal etiquette is to yield to walkers and horses, and anyone coming UPHILL. We all started out somewhere, and other than the occasional sour apple, just enjoy yourself. As an aside, I've found that you generally get a more favorable reaction from people with a bell, rather than calling out 'heads up' or 'rider', etc. A bear bell might drive you crazy, but I've found that I filter it out, and it generally just makes people happy to hear a jingling bell.
 

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Always ware a brain bucket... Mtbnj just is very “clickie”....lots of people waiting to bust your chops....imo. Stay south of RT80.... north jerzy is a giant pile of rocks. Try Hartshorn but it needs a couple days to dry after the rain.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the replies.
i guess i will be looking to get a helmet when i decide to try the trail - thinking i might take a ride and see if 6 mile is open and do a morning trip. up till now, i just been riding around town 5-10 miles. trying to get my breathing and strength back a bit before i hit a trail- and see how that goes. hoping its still open and i can hit during the week- guess after i find a helmet- but figure if i go on my days off during the week. hopefully i won't be in the way and see how it goes.
 

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Dude, I live in north nj, NJ drivers f-ing suck. You need to ware a helmet everywhere. I have been knocked off my bike 3 times on the road, each one of them could have been VERY BAD! From morons opening car doors out of nowhere or SUV’s huge mirrors hitting you in the back as they pass and the ever popular 92 year old running a red light. All of these resulted in blowing my helmet up. No helmet, that would have been my head. You don’t need a $200 helmet, just get a low end bell or name brand helmet for $30-$60 bucks..... head injuries suck, ride with a brain bucket.
 
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