Mountain biking is a fun activity that is a great way to get fit and enjoy an adrenalin rush. It is also a fantastic way to meet new people who are interested in this sport and seeing the great outdoors. If this is a sport you are thinking of trying, there are some basics you should know to help you get started. Here are some tips for the novice mountain biker.
Buying your First Bike
If you are just trying out mountain biking as a activity, it is probably best not to spend too much on your first bike until you have decided whether this is an pursuit that you enjoy and plan to do on a regular basis. Buying a mountain bike relatively cheaply is easy because there is a great range of men’s UK bike deals available. If you decide you want to take the sport more seriously and take part in events or competitions, then you can easily upgrade your bike at a later date.
Understanding the Gears
Using and understanding your gears is a fundamental part of mountain biking. Knowing when to shift is one of the greatest challenges and can take some practice to get right. You need to learn to anticipate the terrain ahead of you and decide how high or low a gear you will need. Don’t just wait until you can no longer continue pedaling in the gear you are currently using. Not only will this make riding your mountain bike difficult, it will also shorten the life of your drive train.
Using your Brakes
Understanding how and when to use your brakes is vital, but knowing how much pressure to apply when using them is just as important. When you are riding downhill this is particularly significant. The brakes are not just for stopping, they are also for slowing down and keeping in control of your bike. The more weight a tyre has, the greater the braking power. Therefore, your position when riding is also important when braking.
When you are riding uphill, you will need to be in the lowest gear possible for that particular terrain. You should remain seated on the bike to help your bike keep traction and lean forward to keep the weight over the front wheel. You need to keep pedalling because if you slow down it will be much harder work.
Although riding downhill is usually less physically demanding, watching your speed and keeping control of your bike are the challenges you will face. Stay relaxed but focused for the descent; standing can help you to keep control. Keep your pedals parallel to the ground to avoid catching them on rocks or tree roots.
Obstacles are all part of the fun of mountain biking. Typical obstacles you may come across are rocks, mud, leaves and water. Each of these poses a different challenge that requires different skills. Mud should be faced head on and without dropping speed. This is important in order to part the mud and travel through it safely. The risk of wet leaves is that they can cause your wheels to slip. Keep an eye out for them and make sure you keep in control of your bike. In the case of water, hit it at a steady speed. It helps if you know how deep the water is and if you have checked for hidden obstacles, such as rocks. Finally, if you hit a rock, let your knees and elbows absorb the shock. Stay seated, and continues to apply pressure to the pedals to get through rocky areas.
Now that you know some of the basics of mountain biking, take to the saddle and try out some of these skills. It is only by practising on different terrains that you will fully master mountain biking and improve your techniques.