On Sunday, Oct 16th 2016, I took a trip to Big Bear with a good friend that likes Mountain Biking and also does some Dirt Biking and he hooked me up with a free day pass and rental gear as he works on the generators there and got a deal.
First of all, everyone there was really into it and were decked out with awesome bikes and gear for the most part. You saw whole families at times even with little kids with 5 thousand dollar bikes each and you had to wonder how much money these people had. But everyone was really chill, friendly and generally enthusiastic about life. Very positive vibe there and the little food places were awesome and place was very professional.
Big Bear has these lifts that you sit on exactly the same as when you ski except there is no snow. They put your bikes in every other lift chair as every other one has special racks the bikes fit in, and every other one people sit in but people at the bottom put your bikes in for you, then you just ride to the top.
After you are at the top and the people helping grab your bikes and you ride down the ramp, you get to choose levels just like skiing. I took the intermediate ones all day as I didn't want to die. The idea is you haul ass down the hill with twists and jumps on these supped-up big suspension / tire bikes.
If you have never Mountain Biked before, it's an adrenaline rush and a little insane at the same time when you first start out because it seems like you could seriously kill yourself. But really, it isn't so scary in reality when you actually do a couple of runs. The cool thing is my friend Jason hooked up bluetooth on our helmets and he rode ahead to communicate and advised me on the parts of the track coming up for me and how to handle stuff so that really helped.
The bikes you rent have big and soft tires with good tread and big suspension because if they didn't, you would surely biff it all the time. The pads and helmet are really great because if you fall to the side, it doesn't hurt one bit. The bikes basically allow you to go over crazy bumps and even rocks and stay in control. The dirt tracks you ride down sometimes are jarring when you get speed because of the bumps and it definitely takes some getting used to when you turn into the embankments and keep your center of gravity on the tight turns. You get the sense you could really hurt yourself if you went over the side of the embankment as it drops off the side of cliffs at times but it is more of an optical illusion as you would just slide down the hill.
All and all, I really enjoyed it, just left with some very sore wrists and hands from gripping so tightly from having to break and hold on when going very fast down the bumpy trails. My friend set it up so things went smoothly which is probably why I didn't get injured. I never really got the hang of jumping yet and am too chicken-shit right now to try getting some air but I did get better at the tight turning stuff.
I'm pictured left (Jason) and my friend (Jason) is pictured right. My rental shoulder pads were waaaaaay too small as they only covered my clavicles, not my shoulders. :)