Tired of staying fit the old fashioned way – by hitting a gym 4 times a week, running on the track, and lifting weights? Then it’s time for you to branch out from the traditional ways of getting fit and explore new and exciting sports such as mountain biking.
All you really need is a decent mountain bike in order to get started, and you can take your bike anyway you choose, so the scenery is always different. You won’t get that kind of versatility at the gym! Read on to find out basic information on how to get started and where this exciting sport can take you.
Buying The Bike
- First things first – before you can hop on your bike and take off down a new and unexplored path, you’ll need to purchase a mountain bike. And, since this can be a significant and expensive purchase, here’s some advice on what to look for when you are shopping around.
- Figure out how much you have to spend – If you have never owned a mountain bike, you may be surprised to discover how much they cost. You can easily pay over $2000 for a bike which surprises many people who expect a bike to be around $300. That’s why it’s important to plan how much money you are willing and able to spend ahead of time, so you don’t get pressured into spending more than you had intended.
- Figure out how often and where you are going to use the bike – If you are an urban dweller who doesn’t leave the confines of your area of the city very often, then you may not need a bike designed for traversing mountains and back-country paths. Talk to the dealer when you are in the store in order to determine the benefits of each type of bike with respect to the type of riding you anticipate undertaking.
- Take it for a test ride – You wouldn’t take home a new car without test driving it, so take the same advice and go for a ride with the bike before you hand over your credit card. When test riding the bike, look for comfort first and foremost. Adjust the seat height and air pressure in the tires for a completely customized ride.
Other Equipment You’ll Need
Obviously a mountain bike is the most essential item you’ll need, but there are also a couple of other items of equipment that may come in handy for any beginner:
- A Bike Helmet – This is an essential safety item for any biker, so it’s good to invest in one at the same time that you are buying your bike. Again, there are different types of bike helmets depending on the type of biking you will be doing, so ask the dealer for more information on which one would be best for you.
- A Water Bottle – Seems like an insignificant detail, but when you are biking, you’ll be thankful that you are able to quench your thirst without getting off your bike.
- Clothes And Other Gear – If you are serious about getting started in biking, you should also invest in some lightweight, easy dry, waterproof clothes. Dressing in layers will help to keep you warm or cool, depending on the season.
- Sunglasses are another key item because your eyes will be sore and tired if you have to stare at the sun all day without protection. Sunglasses will also keep the dust and dirt out of your eyes which is particularly important if you are riding on back-country paths.
Choosing A Trail
No matter what part of the globe you live in, there are mountain biking paths for you to discover. There are commonly used trails that are well groomed and easily accessed and there are paths that are more difficult to access, usually designed for the off-road mountain biker who likes to explore new territory and scenery.
If you are a beginner, you’ll want to start on an easy trail that doesn’t involve a lot of dips and dives or rocky obstacles. Mountain biking is a high intensity sport, particularly if the trails are difficult. It’s important, then, not to get discouraged by starting out a very difficult trail that leaves you huffing, puffing and walking your bicycle.
Start out slow, on well-groomed trails and when you are feel ready, move up to more difficult trails. But, keep in mind that you’ll need to drive to most of these trails, so you may also want to invest in a bike rack to attach to your vehicle to make transporting your bike easier.
Rules Of The Trail
Like most sports, there are rules to mountain biking as well. There are official rules of mountain biking recognized by the International Mountain Biking Association. Here are a few general rules that you should be aware of before starting out on a trail:
- Don’t Ride On Closed Trails – Sometimes trails will be closed for various reasons, including for maintenance. Respect these closures and avoid closed trails.
- Stay In Control Of Your Bicycle – Going too fast on unfamiliar paths is a sure-fire way to lose control of your bike. This will put you in the bad books of other cyclists on the same path because losing control of your bike is a sign of disrespect for the trail and for others using the trail.
- Be Aware Of Animals – Lots of mountain biking trails go through wooded areas that will inevitably have animals living in them. Seeing animals on a trail is commonplace for many trails. When you see an animal, don’t shout or try to scare it. Give animals enough space to ensure their safety and yours as well!
Now that you have an overview of the equipment, rules and trails of mountain biking, you can get started on this new and exciting hobby. It’s an excellent way to stay fit while exploring new outdoor areas and scenery that will never get boring. It’s the perfect new sport for anyone who likes the outdoors, wants to stay fit and likes a change in scenery.