Mountain biking is a sport that seduces many cyclists worldwide and also many more people every weekend. Cycling and the mountains are a perfect combination. Regardless of the ability level, everyone can enjoy the trail and discover, not only astonishing scenery, but capabilities you have not imagined.
When it comes to starting with mountain biking, there are always some doubts and questions. Which bike is the best to start off without investing a lot of money? What is necessary to take to the mountain? Following these tips will help you avoid bad experiences, and you will have all the answers to such questions.
Here’s your beginner’s guide to mountain biking.
What type of bike to choose?
The first question that arises when you start mountain biking is which bike to choose. It is advisable to start with one of the mountain bikes that can be easily found in the market and for which the cost is not that high.
One recommendation that all veterans make to new cyclists is to look for a second-hand MTB bike. A website like pinkbike is a great place to start rather than buying a new one. And it is good advice because, with it, you will test if you really like to practice this sport. Also, you will learn to solve your first breakdowns. And you will rapidly know what your physical state is and what your limits are. Moreover, since there are several types of bikes and geometry you will learn, at a lower cost, what you like and what’s best for you.
However, the most important thing is to find a bike you are comfortable on, and is the right size. Because how can you learn to enjoy a new sport if your gear ain’t right?
The importance of size.
If you are going to buy a mountain bike to get started in this sport, do not neglect the importance of size. To calculate the bike size that best suits you, you not only have to take your height into account but also the length of your leg shot.
This could seem obvious, but having the wrong size bike is one of the biggest mistakes beginner mountain bikers make. And riding with a bike that is too small or too big can take all the fun out of the sport.
I’ve seen this a lot. For example, a 5’1 beginner borrowing the bike of his best friend of 6′. As a result, the beginner hates his experience and doesn’t understand what the hype is all about. Or even worst, the beginner ends up injured because the bike was to big and he wasn’t able to control it.
Above all, in this case “size matters”.
To the mountain, always with a helmet.
The next essential element for your first time (and in this case every time) on a mountain bike trail is having a helmet. There is no excuse for not wearing a helmet when you ride a mountain bike, and that regardless of your ability level. Whether you are a professional or just an amateur biking for the fun of it, the helmet is essential. If there’s one thing you must remember from this beginner’s guide to mountain biking is the importance of a helmet.
It must be a specific helmet for mountain biking. Since another frequent mistake among those who approach this sport for the first time is to think that they can use a motorcycle helmet or one to practice horse riding. Each type of helmet has their protection specificities. It is important to have a good one for the sport you are practicing.
There are many types of bike helmets: road, commuter, trail, enduro, fullface, etc. Therefore, the one you choose should be adapted to your type of mountain biking, your size, and your comfort.
Whatever your physical condition, there is a trail for you.
There are two questions that many debuting bikers ask themselves before they are going out for the first time on a mountain bike trail. Do I have to be physically strong? And will I be able to complete the trail? The first answer is NO, and the second is YES.
If there are no contraindications for health reasons or physical limitations, you will have no problem enjoying your first ride on a mountain bike. However, it is necessary to be realistic with your limits. Most importantly, you have to study the trail you want to do and where you are going to bike. Again, be real, don’t start with a black diamond (expert) trail on your first try. You’ll get there, in your own time.
Also, for a successful first experience with mountain biking, it is recommended, when possible, to go out with a buddy who has previously road the trail you have chosen. And, of course, chose an easy enough trail to start with. Then progress as you go, and as you are comfortable. Furthermore, make sure to respect trail etiquette. And finally, don’t try to follow others if you don’t feel safe. That’s how a lot of accidents happen.
Tips you should not forget.
In summary, in this Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking there are three things you should keep in mind if you’re going to start mountain biking that is. Choose:
- a bike with quality components adjusted to your size
- a specific helmet for mountain biking
- a trail according to your current physical state and abilities
Now, it’s time to go out there and enjoy your new sport, and like me you’ll love mountain biking.
You have questions about mountain biking or would like to read about a specific subject, let me know.