Mountain biking is a sport of riding bicycles off-road and over rough terrains. Specific mountain bikes are used, whose features are designed to enhance performance and durability. In mountain biking, one should have a unique combination of total body strength, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, mental control and acceptance of the rough course and high risk of incurring injuries. In this article, we will discuss how to start mountain biking for beginners and some of the useful tips to consider.
Mountain Biking Tips for Beginners
Don’t use the front brakes
It is important to have brakes on your bike both front and back wheels. However, if the front brakes are used at the wrong situation, you might find yourself flipping over the handlebars leading to serious injuries. For safe use of front brakes learn when & how to use them. On the other hand, the use of front brakes helps keep control of the bike and drastically shorten braking distance.
Don’t panic when fatigued
While riding you will find yourself suffering from a stiff neck, shoulders pains, and legs feel tired. When you feel such symptoms, just relax and hold onto the handlebar to enable your body to chill. Suffering from fatigue is a common occurrence for both beginners and experienced riders.
Carry some spare and right accessories during a course
Having some spare parts and bicycle safety accessories helps when a bike has some minor damages for example flat tires. Carry 2 or 3 bottles of water in your MTB hydration pack. This helps in dehydration. Have a light portable first aid tool kit this is important in case of an injury.
Ride using the right position
A mountain bike is designed to allow riders to sit upright in a position suitable for best control of the bike. You’ll note that mountain bikes have a well-placed center of gravity and ability to shift weight forward or back providing balance and adjustment to varying terrains. Aim to achieve the best fitment for your bike. Read more beginner riding tips here.
Learn and develop the proper shifting technique
Shifting gears allows one to change the bike chain onto a smaller or larger diameter gear on the bike. This makes pedaling more or less powerful on different trains on the course.
Walk through the trails first
It’s important to familiarize yourself with all parts of the trail. It will be a good idea to know what your will be expecting during the course. This helps on to be mentally prepared.
Types Of Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is majorly categorized into various categories:
- Cross country– This is riding in a loop which has climbs and descents on a variety of terrain. A typical suitable bike used should weigh 9 to 14 kilograms and has a suspension of travel front.
- Downhill – This generally involves riding downhill. The course mainly involves large jumps, drops and rough steep from top to bottom. Riders commonly reach the point of descent by other means than cycling. Downhill bikes have large disk brakes and heavier frame tubes than any other mountain bike. They weigh 16 to 20 kilograms.
- Urban/street -This is essentially riding around in the city .in this type it can also be used for recreational activities. Bikes used here they are relatively light since they are used in human made road maps.
- Dirt jumping – In this category, riders ride over shaped mounds of soil, over stagnated water and become airborne. Bikes used in this category are generally small, light and maneuverable. They are simple in case of a crash or bad landing after a jump for few components damage or cause injury.
Must have equipment for mountain biking beginners
For safe and efficient riding, a beginner mountain biker must have the following equipment before embarking on a trail ride.
Have a good mountain bike
This is the most basic thing one may need to have while thinking of mountain riding. However one should choose the appropriate bike according to the type of course preferred. Mountain bikes mostly uses hydraulic disk brakes, have lower ratio gears to enable climbing steep hills and traversing obstacles. Pedals should be simple where the rider simply place his/her shoe on the pedal.
Here’s our definitive beginner mountain bike buying guide.
Have protective gear
This helps one from injury in an eventually of an accident. Here is a list of several protective gears you need during mountain biking.
Wearing sunglasses protects the rider against dust and debris. Filtered lenses are also available in case of cloudy or sunny conditions this helps reduce strain.
Good mtb helmet.
Have a good mountain biking helmet on while riding; this ensures your head is well protected. Provides great coverage of the head and resist minor scrapes and knocks in case you hit the deck.
It is essential to have the best mountain biking gloves; this helps reduce friction and protect the fingers and knuckles from abrasion. Also, gloves protect your fingers from stinging insects’ example a bee.
Suitable cycling shoes
Have shoes with gripping soles as opposed to smooth bottomed shoes. You may opt to invest in mountain biking shoes or cycling sneakers depending on the type of pedals you use on your bike.
Have suitable clothing
Wear the appropriate clothing to ensure safety while riding. Recommended clothing include:
- Baggy mountain padded bike shorts
- Comfortable mountain bike knee pads
- Have a lightweight rain jacket
- Suitable MTB elbow pads and knee pads
- Good Backpack & Hydration Pack
MTB First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit in a waterproof package is very important. Used to carry bandages, gauges, disinfecting wipes and tweezers. A basic manually of understanding comes in handy.
Other important accessories needed are: pump used to inflate tires, power energy this provides light for mountain bikers during the night.
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