If you enjoy the outdoors and love a good challenge, mountain biking may be a great sport for you. It brings adventure, lots of fresh air, and gets your heart pumping. Here are some tips on how to get started with mountain biking.
Trails that are relatively smooth and flat are best for beginners. Once you gain experience, you can navigate tree roots, rocks and man-made obstacles on harder trails.
Mountain Biking Trail Types
There are a variety of Mountain biking trails. Below is a summary of what you can expect to find.
Single Track. This is the most common type of trail. The width ranges from a little wider than your shoulders to one that’s wide enough for two bikes to pass. Many single track trails are one-way and wind through beautiful scenery.
Double Track. These trails are wide enough for two bikes to ride side-by-side. They often follow abandoned logging roads, fire roads or power-line roads. Double track trails usually have a gentler grade.
Terrain Parks. These mountain bike parks can feature pump tracks, elevated bridges, halfpipes, jumps and skills courses. They can be built in small urban areas, public lands or integrated with trail systems.
Mountain Biking Styles
Trails. This is the best route if you plan to meet up with friends at a local trailhead. If you like a variety of terrain, trail riding is a great option.
Cross-country. This style focuses on fast riding and racing. Cross-country bikes are lightweight and efficient. They are designed for riding long distances and climbing.
All-mountain/enduro. These bikes are designed for trails that feature tough climbs, steep descents and more technical features-both man-made and natural. They perform well on steep descents, but are light enough to pedal uphill. Enduro is a form of mountain bike racing.
Downhill/park. This type of riding is mostly done at lift-serviced bike parks, often during the summer at ski resorts. The bikes are big and tough and riders wear full-face helmets and body armor. Riders are on a descent and don’t pedal much. The bikes let riders conquer jumps, berms, rock gardens and wooden ladders.
Fat-tire Biking. Big, fat tires are the primary feature of this mountain bike. They have excellent traction through snow and sand. Fat-tire bikes are perfect for beginner mountain bikers.
How to Dress for Mountain Biking
Mountain biking shorts range from form-fitting to baggy styles. They usually have an inner lining with padding that reduces saddle fatigue and some of the trail impact.
Jerseys have moisture-wicking fabrics that keep you cool and dry. A loose jersey offers riders more freedom and range of motion. They are also easy to wash and dry.
A pair of gloves with padding at the palm reduces hand and wrist fatigue. Both fingerless and full-fingered gloves add protection if you crash.
Mountain Biking Gear
Mountain bike helmets offer more coverage and protection than a road bike helmet. Be sure to invest in one. Proper mountain bike shoes and pedals are also key. Flat platform pedals are best for beginners. Clipless pedals that attach to shoes are used by more experienced riders. Wear shoes that have hard, protective toes, some grip for when you have to hike, and water protection.
Mountain Biking Benefits
Expect some great benefits if you ride the trails on a mountain bike. You can develop strength and endurance and get a great workout. Mountain biking also increases brain power, reduces stress and improves your heart. Trails let riders experience the beauty of nature and can offer fabulous views.
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