Mountain biking (MTB), is a fun alternative to the more common and traditional road cycling. Riders have the added challenge of rough terrain and tricky jumps to consider. Blasting past trees and manoeuvring your way through bike trails, can become an addictive hobby, but it is important to realise that MTB can be a demanding sport.
With the correct mindset and equipment, it can be a great way to exercise. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Which is the Right Sized Bike for Me?
The right mountain bike should match your height, body type and leg length. Many make the mistake of getting a cheap, full uspension bike without knowing if they really need one. You should be looking into getting a rigid, hard tail or full suspension bike.
Rigid Mountain Bike
Hard tail Mountain Bike
Full Suspention Mountain Bike
Rigid bikes have no suspension and have less mechanical parts to worry about but have no shock-absorbing properties. This is a good option if you are transitioning from a road bike and will help you get used to the feeling of an off-road one.
Hard tail bikes offer a front fork suspension kit only but have a regular rigid back wheel. These are more affordable than Full suspension bikes and can be used on flat to slightly bumpy trails.
Full suspension bikes offer full front and rear suspension, which make for the most comfortable ride on bumpy trails.
What Type of Helmet Do I Need?
This should be your number one accessory. A good helmet should fit tightly around the top of your head but should not obstruct your vision.
Extra Safety Gear
Also consider a few extra pieces of safety equipment such as gloves, shin guards and arm braces. While not a necessity for mountain biking, these will give you added protection on new and unfamiliar trails.
Get in Shape
Riding over steep hills and twisting past obstacles is no child’s play. You need to be fit enough to ride a mountain bike, especially if you want to get into competitive races or join a club. Most new riders tend to blast down steep hills, only to get off and push their bike on the inclines. If riding a bike is something you haven’t done in a long time, take the time to ride level trails while progressively increasing from slow peddles to sprints. Regular aerobic exercise like running or using a stationary bike will also help get you fit.
Get Prepared for Some Rough Stuff
Because mountain biking is an outdoor activity and can be seen as an extreme sport, you are bound to be the victim of a few falls and crashes from time to time. You will be catching air, riding over rocks and missing ditches so be sure to protect yourself. Pack things such as water, a raincoat, first-aid kit, a tire patch kit, a small air pump and a cell phone for emergencies.
When partaking in a demanding sport such as mountain biking, be sure to buy the right gear and practice well before heading onto full-on trails or competitive races. Joining a club can also be a way for you to learn where the best biking routes areas are, as well as having the advantage of a community of riders that can offer helpful tips.
Look out for part two of this blog where we will run through Biking Skill. Remember that Action Gear has a range of gear and high-tech accessories made for the modern mountain biker. Be sure to contact us via web - www.actiongear.co.za; phone - 011 781 1323 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org for helpful advice on products made for mountain bikers.