Environment is where we ride and who we ride with. Both of these influence what we learn, and if we ever learn it. Terrain is different all over the world and some people have more options available to them than others. I believe that the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas have an amazing variety of terrain and options. Even though people have riding options it doesn’t mean that they take advantage of it. Two great things about traveling to new trails is that you will work on your ability to pick a line, and you may be introduced to new trail features. If you ride the same trails over and over again you get to know where every rock and root are and you ride from memory rather than instinct. Picking a line is truly a skill, and when you ride new places you are practicing this skill and helping it to develop. I love riding new places and the sensory overload it creates. You are trying to find the line, listening to the new sounds of your surroundings, and trying your best to finesse the bike along the trail. You may not get the fastest or smoothest line when you ride a new trail, and that’s ok, what counts is getting out and experiencing new places. You may find that you have a new favorite spot, or that you really enjoy some trails features that you have never had the opportunity to ride before. New trails may expose you to features such as log bridges, dirt rollers, jumps, log overs, rock slabs, drops, or anything else you have yet to encounter on the trail. New trails give us a chance to learn, set new goals, travel, and progress our riding.
Riding with the same group of people may be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting the most out of your rides. Now, I’m not saying to ditch your riding pals, I’m just saying that if you want to experience the most in our riding world you should mix that group up from time to time, or get them together to join others. Riding your local trails with new people may open your eyes to new lines and trail options that you never thought possible. When you ride behind someone you typically focus on the line they choose. Riding with new people may show you how others interpret a trail. Some riders may ride the trail fast, focusing on speed, and others may look to play on all the logs, rocks, bumps, and jumps. The more experiences you open yourself up to while riding the greater the chances of learning something new. Just make sure you keep it within your skillset and don’t go in over your head on something. New trails may open your mind, and new people just may do the same.