Getting Started With Mountain Biking
Tearing down rough hills and watching the trees around you turn into a blur gives me a unique high you can’t find in any other sport. If you hadn’t guessed, I’m talking about mountain biking! Of all the different forms of cycling, mountain biking is one of the healthiest and one of the most exhilarating too. If you’re interested in mountain biking, then here’s how you can get started!
Obviously, if you want to start mountain biking, you’ll need a bike! For the best possible experience, it needs to match closely to your body type and leg length. Simply go into any decent bike shop, and the staff there will be able to sort you out with a bike that fits. Bear in mind that there are three common types of mountain bike. Rigid mountain bikes have no suspension, making them a little rough to use off-road. However, the structure of the bike is less complicated, and will withstand a little more damage. Then, there are hard tail bikes. These have suspension in the front, but a rigid back wheel. Hard tails are probably the best choice for beginners looking to get onto off-road terrain quickly. Then there are full suspension bikes, which you’ll probably want to move onto as you get more comfortable. I advise you to compare a few options. As you can imagine, a decent mountain bike isn’t cheap! The store worker will probably try to sell you some insurance with the bike too. However, I wouldn’t settle before doing some bike insurance comparison.
So what’s next? Get out there! If you’re inexperienced with off-road cycling, then be sure to start off slow. Make sure the handlebars and seat are adjusted properly, then start doing some slow exercises on a level, unpaved stretch of land. This should help you get a feel for riding a bike on the uneven, unpredictable trails you’ll come across in mountain biking. Once you’re ready, start attempting some gentle hills, practicing gear shifts and proper braking. There’s an important safety point here. If you’re not going out with a buddy, and you’re going deep into some woods, always make sure that someone knows where you are.
As you gain more confidence, try to start using proper technique. When you’re going uphill, stay in the seat and lean forwards, into the hill. You might be in the habit of standing up on the pedals from riding on the roads. On off-road trails, doing this can often make you spin out! On the approach to a hill, go easier on the pedals, then shift down to a lower gear and start peddling like your life depended on it! When you’re going down a rugged hill, the most important thing to remember is keeping straight. Steer gently, but only when you have to avoid obstacles. Any sharp turnings could just end in you losing control, and having a nasty injury!
I hope this little introduction has helped you out in starting mountain biking. The best way to learn though is making friends with another mountain biker, and getting up those hills with them!