Mountain biking for beginners | All You Need To Know
Mountain biking is a fun, adventurous, yet challenging sport. It can be intimidating for a beginner as people ride bikes on tough terrain at high speed that requires gears and brakes. So, how to start mountain biking for beginners? This blog will give you an insight.
If you are a beginner mountain biker who have a passion for the sport, you should read this article. I am going to give you tips and advice on how to get started mountain biking with ease. I am also going to tell you mistakes that some beginners make when they start mountain biking and what you can do to avoid them.
Choosing the right size bike
The first thing to do when looking for a mountain bike is determine what size of frame will best suit you so that your bike is comfortable to ride. Frame size is measured in inches for adult bikes and centimeters for children's bikes but the way it is measured varies between manufacturers so always check this before making your purchase.
Choosing the right mountain bike size is one of the most important thing when starting out.
Different types of bikes
When you decide to start mountain biking, you will hav ethe oiption of choosing between different types of mountain bikes. Below i will be going over the different options you will have.
- Downhill bikes
The downhill bike is designed to be ridden down steep, technical trails and can be ridden at a wide range of speeds. It features front and rear suspension with over 8 inches (20 cm) of travel, to glide quickly over rocks and tree roots. Downhill bikes are available as either a hardtail or full-suspension bike.
- Trail bikes
These are a more versatile version of a cross-country bike. They have similar gear ratios to the cross-country bike, but with a bit more emphasis on speed and climbing ability. A trail bike will still have around 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) of travel in the suspension system. This is enough to handle light/moderate trail obstacles.
- Cross-country bikes
This kind of mountain bike is the most efficient type, allowing you to ride longer distances faster than other mountain bikes. Cross-country bikes have around 4–6 inches (10–15 cm) of travel in their suspension systems, which is ideal for long rides on smooth trails. Cross-country mountain bikes are sometimes referred to as ‘hardtails’ as they only have front suspension, with the rear left rigid for increased pedaling efficiency and faster acceleration.
- Full Suspension
Full suspension mountain bikes provide you with the ability to become one with the trail. With a full suspension mountain bike, you will be able to tackle technical descents, roll over obstacles with ease, and have more fun on every ride.
What equipment do you need?
When you're planning to start mountain biking, there's a lot more to think about than hopping on your bike and riding off into the sunset. To enjoy this sport, you need to be prepared for every possible scenario.
In a sport where you can spend $10,000 or more on a bike, getting into mountain biking can seem like an expensive proposition. So we rounded up 10 inexpensive but critical items that will help you get started in mountain biking.
- Mountain Bike
- Padded Shorts
- CamelBak or other hydration pack
- Knee Pads
- Tire Pump/Inflator
- Repair Kit/Tool Kit
- First Aid Kit
What does mountain biking involve?
To give you an idea of what's involved, Mountain biking is a sport that combines all sorts of the following things:
- A commitment to work out.
- An appreciation for cycling culture.
- The desire to get outdoors and explore nature.
- The need to keep your bike in tip-top shape.
Navigation - GPS, maps and compass
To navigate, you have the option of using a GPS, map and compass or app. Each method has its own pros and cons. It is wise to know how to use more than one method so you don't get lost.
GPS units are useful navigation tools but need batteries and their accuracy can be limited in remote areas. A paper map is an essential tool for mountain biking as it's not reliant on electronics or batteries. To use it you will need to know how to read contours (lines that show the shape of the land) and a compass comes in handy for this, too. However, if your map gets wet it can be difficult to read, so always make sure you put your maps in waterproof bags before leaving home! The main advantage of using an app is that they're easy - all you have to do is follow the route!
Prepare your bike
It’s important to ensure that your bike is ready for your ride, especially if you are a beginner. Check the brakes, tires, chain and gears, and make any necessary adjustments.
While this checklist may seem trite to experienced riders, it can prevent serious problems from happening on the trail. For example, an improperly adjusted brake cable once led to a friend of ours crashing headfirst into a tree!
Clothes and accessories
When you’re getting started with mountain biking, it’s a good idea to invest in some protective gear. Most importantly, you’ll need a helmet. Padded shorts will help too: they keep you comfortable and minimize your risk of injury. You should also wear form-fitting clothing that won’t get caught in the bike (or worse, choke you if you fall). Gloves protect your hands and make it easier to grip the handlebars. Sunglasses keep dust out of your eyes, and a backpack can hold snacks or water.
In addition to making sure you have these things with you when you hit the trail, it’s important to check that they fit correctly before heading out on your adventure. A poorly fitting helmet can cause head injuries if it doesn't protect adequately, so be sure to pick one that fits snugly without being too tight. Your clothes should provide full mobility while still sitting close enough to your skin so as not to get caught in anything while riding. It's also important that they be breathable since hiking up steep inclines can cause sweatiness.
If this all sounds like too much work for an outdoor adventure - don't worry! There are plenty of other outdoor activities like hiking or kayaking that don't require nearly as much preparation before hitting the trails.
Know your bike and how to maintain it
Once you've got a bike, and it's set up right for you, the next step is to learn how to maintain it. You'll need to know how to fix at least one flat tire and change a gear cable if it snaps. At some point (if you ignore this advice), your brake cable will snap, so changing that is important too. A well-maintained bike will run better and require less effort from you when riding. It's worth taking time out riding to learn some of the basics.
It's also important to remember that every ride matters when looking after your bike – cleaning your chain after every wet ride and lubing regularly can make all the difference in maintaining drivetrain performance.
Be prepared for mechanicals
In addition to basic maintenance, you also need to be prepared for mechanical issues that occur when riding. At the very least, you should take a spare tube and your phone with you on rides. If you have room in your pack or pockets, a puncture repair kit and tire levers can save a ride from being ruined by an inconveniently placed thorn. A multi tool for tightening loose bolts and screws is also essential as well as a small pump.
Preparing for wind and rain
Before you head out, make sure you’re prepared for any wind, rain or cold weather. It’s a good idea to bring an extra layer to put on if it gets colder than you expected. You should also wear water repellent clothes and put a waterproof cover on your backpack so that everything stays dry. When you’re riding in wet weather, the best thing to do is go slower and avoid stopping because when your bike gets wet its brakes are less effective—this means you’ll have to brake earlier than usual. Finally, don't forget to bring a hat and gloves so that you can keep warm while riding!
Choosing a ride
Make sure the route you choose is appropriate for your skill set. If you're new to mountain biking, it's important not to bite off more than you can chew. Why? Because if a trail is too difficult, you'll be spending most of your time pushing your bike uphill or walking down a steep slope instead of enjoying the ride. Start with an easier route until you've built up confidence and strength.
There are three main factors to consider when choosing a ride: length, difficulty and terrain. Most guidebooks and websites describe their recommended routes in terms of these factors so that riders can pick one that suits their needs. Here's a quick rundown on each of these factors to help you find the right route for your interests and riding level:
Learn the route before you take on a new one
As a beginner, it's important to learn the terrain of your trail beforehand. You need to know how long the trail is, how difficult it is and what the local environment will be like.
Knowing how far you are going and what kind of terrain you will encounter is especially important for beginners. It may seem simple, but there are a few things you can do to ensure that your beginner trip goes smoothly:
- Check the weather before you go - Always check the weather before going out on any kind of hike or bike ride, but this is especially important when hiking with a dog in colder environments.
- Plan ahead - Make sure that you have plenty of time to get home if something happens or if your pace is slower than you thought.
- Bring water and snacks for yourself and your pup.
- Wear appropriate clothing: - long-sleeves, pants and closed-toe shoes will all help protect your skin from thorns and other vegetation on the trail.
Learn your riding style before you set off on a new route
Before you tackle more challenging routes, explore and experiment with different riding styles on easy rides. Experienced riders often gravitate towards one of the following:
- Technical - Riders who favor tight, technical trails. They enjoy finding creative ways to get through difficult sections and tend to look for obstacles to ride over or around.
- Flowy - Flowy trails have a rhythm to them that allows for a continual transition from one obstacle—or set of obstacles—to the next. Riders need good bike handling skills to maintain their speed and momentum on these types of trails.
- Climbing - Can be either technical or flowy in nature, but the primary focus is ascents rather than descents.
- Descending - Can be either technical or flowy in nature, but the primary focus is descents rather than ascents.
Think about which style appeals most to you and then work with others who share your passion so you can learn from each other (and have fun together). Also talk with experienced trail builders about what makes for good sustainable trail design so that you’ll know what signs to look for as you’re learning how to read a trail before riding it for the first time.
Knowing what to wear when mountain biking is a great tip to any beginner.
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You can learn to mountain bike by taking your time and planning ahead
Mountain biking is one of those activities that looks intimidating from afar but is actually quite welcoming when you’re behind the handlebars. While it can be very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced rider, with a little bit of preparation and patience you’ll be safely on your way to enjoying this thrilling sport.
If you already have experience riding a bike around town or along paved trails, mountain biking will feel familiar to you at first—but don’t let this familiarity lead you into overconfidence. Start slowly and build up your speed as your skills improve and as you become more comfortable moving off-road. If there are beginner trails in your area, make use of them until your confidence builds.
Once you have all the necessary equipment and know where to go riding, it's time to get out there and try it out! Make sure to pay attention to both safety and technique while navigating the trails, especially if they're new to you. Mountain biking is all about taking it slow: Even if a trail has been well-reviewed by other riders, take some extra time to get used to it before picking up speed or trying any tricks or jumps.
So, in conclusion of the Mountain Biking for Beginners article, you have done amazing things and are now feeling comfortable with your bike. Before you know it you will be up on some rocks and trails. The sport itself is a blast full of adrenaline. Don't let anyone tell you any different. Sure it's hard to get a hold of a good bike but once you do it is all worth while. I could stand here all day telling you how great mountain biking is and how much fun people are having doing it but the only way to know it yourself is to stop reading this article and go out there and try it.