Mountain Biking

Mountain Bikers on the Slickrock Trail

Image via Wikipedia

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is just a fantastic way to get out and about,  get a little fresh air and exercise, have fun with family and friends and see some terrific places which you can’t really get to by car. It really is the best way to see the remarkable countryside around and about close to where you live – yes, you don’t need the Arizona Desert to go mountain biking (athough it does look pretty spectacular don’t you think?) you don’t even need a mountain.

 Not surprisingly, mountain biking is really increasing in popularity. Many of us have decided that it really is a good idea to get a little exercise on the weekends and mountain bikes these days are just fantastic and really built for the job, they make the whole experience very enjoyable indeed.

Mountain biking doesn’t mean that you have to go up a mountain, as I’ve already said, it simply means that you like to go off the beaten track a little, off-road over rough terrain, and although mountain bikes aren’t a million miles from your normal road type bicycle, they are built for enhanced durability, performance and comfort over those rocky bumps.

Types of Mountain Biking

Mountain biking can be enjoyed by anyone to some degree, but as a serious sport it is generally broken down into more sub-categories:

  • Cross Country
  • All mountain
  • Trail riding
  • Street riding
  • Freeride
  • Downhill
  • Trials
  • Dirt jumping

although for the majority of us it’s trail riding or cross country.

Mountain biking really can be enjoyed by most people. You do need to be able to ride a bike pretty confidently, and you need plenty of stamina and endurance,  but the beauty of mountain biking is that you can pretty much go at your own pace, over your own type of terrain. Some experienced and professional mountain bikers do search for bigger and greater challenges – steeper hills and rougher ground where they can get up some real downhill speed – not for the faint-hearted though.

You can go mountain biking pretty much anywhere, but the real beauty of the sport lies in cycling along country back roads which are really off the beaten track. This means, therefore, that you’ve got to be pretty self reliant. You will often be miles from civilization so it’s important that you take along a puncture repair kit and know how to make minor repairs to your bicycle, otherwise you could be stranded for hours in the middle of nowhere.

Mountain Biking Equipment

  • Mountain Bike – these are generally stronger than road bikes, well they have to be, they have a lot more to put up with. They usually have either front fork or dual suspension for added comfort over the rough terrain, and the handlebars are in such a position as you will be seated in a more upright position than on many road racer type bikes. The tyres are thicker with more pronounced tread and they use lower gear ratios than you would find in a road bicycle, to make it easier to climb up those mountains.
  • Mountain Bike Helmets – are very important for your safety. Not only will they help to save you from concussion if you take a nasty tumble (in the middle of nowhere!) but they also protect you from falling rocks or debris on the mountain side. Low tree branches are another hazard which you may need to be protected from.
  • Mountain Bike Gloves – are thick and often have padding for the knuckles. Again, you don’t want to catch your hands on anything as you’re whizzing down a mountain side or having to stop and move some obstruction along the path.
  • Mountain Bike Repair Kit – yes, you don’t want to get a puncture in the middle of nowhere and have to push your bike all the way back to base do you? You need to make sure that you are well prepared for any little emergency, including a pump.
  • Mountain Bike First Aid Kit - you might need a bit of first aid for yourself, as well as your mountain bike. Always make sure that you have the essentials with you, just in case.
  • GPS – comes in really handy for mountain bikers, especially the serious ones. They are often fitted to the handlebars and can be downloaded with trails via the internet etc.

Reponsibilities of Mountain Bikers

Mountain Biking has seriously increased in popularity, and while it’s great that there are thousands of miles of tracks which are just perfect for mountain biking, it’s also important not to abuse the privilege of riding on them and make sure that you cause as little damage as possible so that mountain bikers will be able to enjoy them for many years to come. A mountain bikes impact on the environment is similar to that of a hiker, but considerably less than that of horse riders.  There is, however, a mountain bike “code of conduct” which should be adhered to at all time:

  • Only ride on open trails
  • Leave no trace that you’ve been there – take it home!
  • Always be in control of your bicycle – it does not have a mind of its own, it’s down to you
  • Be courteous and yield to other users
  • Be careful not to scare any animals you may come across
  • Plan your trail ahead so that you know exactly where you’re going

The bottom line is when you’re mountain biking, know your limits. You will get fitter, you will get stronger but don’t try to do anything too adventurous before you are ready for it, you will only be putting yourself and the rest of your party at greater risk – and you won’t be able to walk for the rest of the week either!

  If you are an extreme mountain biker be sure to get a term life insurance quote.


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