Nowadays, more and more people choose mountain biking over road biking, and there are good, solid reasons for that: there are no cars, which just bother you by emitting gas and causing noise, and there are much better benefits for your health and beautiful natural environment. Mountain biking has proved to be a quite beloved sport for many people looking how to spend their pastime healthily and fun. After all, there are different styles of mountain biking, and you always can try something different (for example, freeride, lift-assisted, cross-country ride, etc.). This article discloses the basic aspects of mountain biking for beginners.
1. Indeed, the first thing to think about is your gear and kit. The first and most important thing is a bike itself. There are three types of bikes: full-suspension bikes, hardtail bikes, and rigid bikes. The first ones boast a full suspension at the rear and front, and this makes your ride more comfortable and allows you to ride more technically over the terrain. However, such bikes are the most expensive, and have an increased weight due to full suspension. Hardtail bikes have suspension only at the front, which makes them much less expensive and quite lighter than the full-suspension ones. After all, rigid ones do not have suspension at all. Yes, they are much lighter and the least expensive, but your control and comfort will suffer on rocky or rooty paths. Once you have chosen a bike in the shop, you may take it for a test ride and see whether it is comfortable for you.
You need some other gear in your mountain biking tour: helmet, gloves, glasses, clothes for cycling (both tops and tights), multi-tool, puncture repair kit, pump, special socks, and a bottle for water. Let us look at each of the above-listed items in details. Mountain biking is an exciting type of sport which can enhance your health and bring a lot of fun, yet it can be quite dangerous as well. That is why you need to look for a helmet which fits you (i.e. snugly sits on your head). Gloves are important because they will noticeably reduce painfulness from your bike’s vibrations during a hard ride. Glasses are also an essential item that helps to fight wind and sunshine.
Concerning the rest of the items, it is understandable enough why you need them. You always need to have a pump with you when riding your bike. Multi-tool and puncture repair kit will help to solve basic problems of your vehicle on the way. Socks are as important as the gloves – they are essential in protecting your feet against blebs and preventing you from getting cold. After all, you always need a bottle of water that will save you from dehydration. As well, you may take some food to snack something on your way.
2. Before you start your mountain biking, you should check some basic things. First of all, check your brakes. Squeeze both brake levers and check whether they work properly. You should not ride the bike with the brakes that work poorly. The next thing to check is the air. You need to check the pressure of your tires by using a bike pump which features a gauge. On the average, tires of most mountain bikes have to be distended to 25-45 psi. And, after all, you must check your chain. It can get dirty very fast, and so you must make sure that the chain is clean before starting your journey. Use light oil for cleaning the chain if necessary.
3. Once you have started your journey, it is important to pay enough attention to the shifts. It is especially essential for beginners to shift as many times as possible to develop the muscle memory. Later, it may significantly facilitate your ride. Besides, you should never shift late. Do not wait till you reach some hill or till you get an abrupt way down. It will make your ride more comfortable and better in terms of your bike’s safety.
4. However, you should also choose a trail which can be of different types. One option is to choose urban bike parks which are created exactly for mountain bikers. If you prefer natural conditions, you can start with dirt roads. They are quite open and wide with few bumps – an ideal choice for beginners. There are also singletracks that attract many mountain bikers. However, you need a lot of both relaxation and concentration in order to not fail there, and this can come only with experience (therefore, it’s not the best option to begin with).
5. Make sure that you have arranged all the things and start moving. Remember that, after all, fun and pleasure matters the most in mountain biking!