Spring is in the air—the days are getting longer, the weather warmer, and mountain bikers are getting antsy to hit the trails. While you wait for mud season to pass and the trails to round into rideable condition, now is the time to start planning how to make this the most memorable (and fun) mountain biking season yet. Here are seven ways to squeeze even more enjoyment out of your mountain bike.

Credit: Tim Peck

1. Join a Race

If you love chasing Strava segments at your local trails, racing is a great way to get the competitive juices flowing and push your personal limits against in-person competition. Racing is also fantastic motivation for getting an early start on training (these early season locations are great places to start) as well as for exploring new trail systems, meeting other riders, and participating in the mountain bike community. Racing isn’t just for the spandex-clad, cross-country enthusiasts—although there are plenty of those types of events on the calendar—for example, enduro and downhill races focus more on how fast you can descend on a mountain bike.

2. Go For a Ride at Night

The days are getting longer, but sometimes they’re not long enough—unless you have a bike light, that is. Visiting your favorite trails after dark can give them a fresh feeling and makes even the most wired section a new adventure. More reasons to see the light and start riding at night are that it’s a great way to beat the heat of the day, the bugs that plague dusk and dawn, and the crowds of bikers that keep turning up at popular riding spots these days.

Credit: Tim Peck

3. Do Some Bike-Related Traveling

Travelling has been an adventure in itself the past year, but taking your mountain bike on vacation is an awesome way to fuel stoke and sharpen skills. Visiting a dream destination like Moab or Crested Butte is on the bucket list of many mountain bikers, but there are plenty of worthy places in the Northeast—Vermont’s Kingdom Trails, Maine’s Carrabassett Region, and New Hampshire’s Bear Brook all offer enough riding to keep you busy for a few days. Put one on the calendar now and start training for the ultimate biking vacation.

4. Try Something Different

Mountain biking is a bit of a generic term that means a lot of different things to different people and branching out to explore new sub-disciplines is awesome for staying psyched about your bike. Bikepacking (a mashup of backpacking and biking) has grown in popularity in recent years, and is a fun way to spend some quality time with your ride. Similarly, bike parks are popping up all over the Northeast and the lift-served riding they offer is another exciting and unique way to have fun on two wheels.

Credit: Tim Peck

5. Build a New Skill

Mountain biking incorporates a variety of skills and every rider will benefit from improving them. Whether it’s getting better at riding a particular type of feature (like rollers or jumps) or improving your style (for example, wheelies and whips), building skills and taking them to the trails is an easy way to have more fun and impress your riding buddies.

6. Help Out with Some Trailwork

The trails you ride your bike on didn’t just magically appear—generally, they’re built with the sweat equity of fellow riders and require a shocking amount of maintenance. Volunteering for a trail day or two (or more) is a good way to give back to your local bike community, ensure the trails you enjoy riding stay in good shape, and pave the way for future projects. And if there’s no local trail organization in your community, don’t be afraid to start one!

Credit: Tim Peck

7. It’s Not (Just) About the Bike

Mountain biking is a great excuse to connect with friends, but just because you stop pedaling doesn’t mean the good times have to end. Bring some camp chairs and hang out after your ride or grill up some food (if allowed) before heading home. If the weather is good and your destination provides, consider finishing your ride at a swimming hole—Kingdom Trails and Green Woodlands come to mind.

So many reasons are causing mountain biking’s explosion in popularity, but the underlying theme is that it’s simply fun. If there’s something you’re doing to add extra smiles to your miles, we want to know about it! Leave your suggestions in the comments below.