Beginning Mountain Biking

by Kade 7. June 2011 12:15

Mountain biking is one of the most accessible outdoor sports, with 40 million Americans regularly cycling off-road. Racing along challenging single-track is exhilarating. It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and see it from a different perspective. Getting into mountain biking couldn't be easier. If you don't know of any suitable trails near you, call your local council or tourist information office and ask. Join a club - there are hundreds of them around the country who welcome riders of all levels. Universities often have a mountain biking club and you don't always have to be a student to join.

If you're new to mountain biking the variety of bikes on the market can be confusing. You'll hear people talking about cross-country, downhill, hard-tail, full suspension, and all-mountain. Your bike is the one thing it really pays to spend time getting right. Don't just buy any old bike from a department store. Do your research and visit several good bike shops for advice and fitting. Sizing is key and qualified staff can help you find the right frame and set up for you. The wrong size frame causes poor handling and a greater chance of crashing. Read online review sites or mountain bike magazines to find out more about any bikes you are considering. You can buy a frame and components separately, but for beginners it's best to buy a full bike. When you are more familiar with your style and preferred terrain you can change the parts to suit you. Second hand is a great option if you are on a limited budget, but make sure you check the frame thoroughly for cracks. Apart from your bike, the only other two essential items you need are a helmet and gloves. Crashing is all part of learning to mountain bike and nothing to be scared of if you have the right protection. If you are starting to downhill, you might want to invest in some body armor, at least for your forearms and shins. You don't need fancy clothing or shoes to mountain bike.

Mountain biking is a fantastic way to see the world, or just your own corner of it.

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