Have you decided to try mountain biking but don’t really know how or where to get started? We’ve got a few tips to get you on your way!
This article was originally published here.
Let us guide you on how to get going and find suitable places to mountain bike.
1. CHOOSE YOUR RIDING STYLE AND PICK THE RIGHT MOUNTAIN BIKE
Mountain biking is a term that encompasses a wide range of disciplines. Even if you’ll be on a bike for all of them, there is a huge difference between downhill mountain biking and recreational mountain biking.
The first thing you need to do is choose your mountain riding style. Do you want to do recreational mountain biking and hit a few trails on Sundays once in a while? Or are you looking to go all out with regular training, whether cross country, freeride, downhill, enduro or dirt?
First, decide how you plan to ride and then pick your mountain bike. The article “Choosing your mountain bike” is a great help!
You’ll also want to pick up some other important cycling equipment: Mountain bike helmet, puncture repair kit, hand pump, water bottle or hydration pack, cycling shorts and a breathable cycling jersey.
2. SPOT TRAILS FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING TO HAVE FUN CLOSE TO HOME
The second step is to find trails that are good for learning and to try out your new bike! Keep in mind that recreational and sports mountain biking is different and each requires specific criteria when choosing trails.
Recreational mountain biking: opt for pleasant locations for your rides
For your first rides, choose an easy and relatively flat area. This might be a location you know and have already walked or a trail with a low gradient and only a few obstacles. A short route will let you get a feel for your bike as well as getting used to changing gears and the riding position on a mountain bike.
Sports mountain biking: opt for locations based on length and difficulty
For sports riding, you should choose trails that will challenge you and help you improve. Don’t forget that making progress step by step is the key to success.
Gauge what your effort level will be based on the gradients and terrains (steep slopes, mud, narrow trails, exposed roots, stones, wide road or trail). When you start out sports mountain bike touring, choose short trails that don’t have too many obstacles.
To improve your fitness, ride regularly and follow a training programme. To improve your cardio strength and take on longer and longer trails, you should keep up your cadence and your gear setting low. This is also the ideal way to burn fat and lose weight quickly. If you live in a region where winter conditions make trails risky, switch to other activities like road cycling or running or hit the gym.
The best way to improve your technique and steering skills is to ride on varied trails. You could also sign up for a skills clinic to give your performance a boost.
To locate mountain bike trails, you have several options:
- Go online: sites like MTB route finder offer GPS routes posted online by members
- Sign up with a mountain bike club and hit the trails with a group.
- Look at long-distance footpaths and make sure they can be ridden on a mountain bike.
- If you’re looking for a change of scenery and want to try out new trails, look for long-distance footpaths and make sure they can be ridden by bike. Do some research to find organised biking tours near you and call up local tourist offices.
- You can also ask friends and family if they know of good places – someone you know just might be a fellow mountain biker! If so, you’ll have someone to go riding with who can help you learn. Riding with other people is always more enjoyable.
Before setting out, always make sure you choose a trail that matches your level of fitness and experience.
3. GET READY FOR YOUR FIRST MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE
You’ve got your bike, got your equipment, and you’re ready to roll. Make sure your rides go off without a hitch and follow these tips:
- Choose an easy, safe trail that matches your riding level
- Check the weather before you leave
- Pack a puncture repair kit and a hand pump
- Remember to take water and snacks
- Remember to take a mobile in case you run into any mechanical or physical problems you can’t fix on your own.
- And one last thing: it’s important to always warm up and stretch before and after your ride, even when riding recreationally.
The most important thing is to have fun! Share your favourite spots and tips for finding new mountain bike trails.