As a kid, I used to just ride my bike for fun through the woods, but ever since I started reviewing electric mountain bikes, it’s become my job. Very quickly, I realized that I still enjoy mountain biking, especially on modern bikes and with modern equipment. The whole MTB thing turned out to have a bit of a learning curve.
There’s a lot to learn, and if you don’t you’ll look like an idiot to more seasoned riders and might even end up in harm’s way. Here are some pointers for newcomers to the sport of mountain biking that should prove useful.
Proactively Protect Yourself With Appropriate Equipment
The excitement that comes with mountain biking is part of its appeal, but it also comes with some danger. Going full speed down a trail through a forest full of obstacles is risky business, so make sure you’re prepared.
Getting a helmet designed for mountain biking is a bare minimum. Wearing protective gear like gloves and knee pads is also a good idea. Protecting your eyes from debris like branches and insects is essential, and companies like POC and Smith produce goggles and sunglasses that do so while maintaining excellent visibility.
See our recommended products for bicycle safety for more details.
Follow the Trail Etiquette
With the rise in popularity of mountain biking, trail users may encounter more than just hikers, runners, horseback riders, and bears. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of appropriate trail etiquette. All riders are expected to yield to pedestrians, but the weaker riders are given the right of way in order to protect them. Observe all posted rules and regulations before using an established biking trail.
To sum up, bears are harmless as long as you give them their space.
Be familiar with Different Trails
You can choose between two distinct types of mountain biking paths. ‘Flow trails’ are typically non-technical, high-velocity trails with this goal in mind. (Though don’t push yourself beyond your limits.) Paths that are more like obstacle courses are called “technical trails.” They have a number of obstacles (called “features”) like jumps, drops, bridges, log rides, and other technical challenges that put your cycling skills to the test.
Most areas use the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Trail Difficulty Rating System to categorize the level of difficulty of their trails.
Easy = White Circle
The green dot stands for a simple, beginner-friendly setup.
Squares in blue indicate an increased challenge.
The highest level of difficulty is represented by a black diamond.
When you see a double black diamond, you know the task is nearly impossible.
The professional equivalent of a double orange diamond is a very high risk level.
Keep things in the white and green circles at first, but eventually force yourself to branch out into the blue.
Get Some Turn Practice In
Though it’s one of mountain biking’s greatest thrills, whizzing around a hairpin turn isn’t for the faint of heart or the inexperienced cyclist. Repeatedly increasing your rate of turn taking is a good exercise.
Lean the bike, not your body, when you turn. It’s important to keep your body upright while leaning into the turn so that the bike’s big side traction can grab the dirt. If you need to brake, it’s best to do so before entering the turn, as doing so may cause you to skid.
Hop to It: Study the Techniques
You’ll need to be able to “pop a hop” to get over rocks, roots, logs, and other similar obstacles. To do this, you must jerk the front of your bike up so that the wheel goes over the obstacle, and then land without tipping over. You must practice frequently to master this.
Electrical or the Old-Fashioned Way?
In this day and age, electric bikes have become increasingly popular, but are they necessary for mountain biking?
If you’re anything like me, you despise the idea of pedaling uphill, and that’s exactly where eMTBs shine. They offer less, but they make the descent from the peak much faster and easier. Unfortunately, they’re quite pricey. However, they could be worthwhile if you despise the idea of exerting yourself to reach your goals.
What Areas Have Hiking Paths
While in theory you could ride a mountain bike down any trail, the rising popularity of mountain biking has led to the development of a wide variety of mountain bike trails, both indoor and outdoor. You can find them in many different places around the world, but some of the most common ones are:
British In particular, North Shore, Vancouver, and the surrounding areas of Whistler and Squamish in Canada’s Colombia
Gorge Road dirt jumps in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Hafjell Bike Park in Norway is world-renowned.
Local time in Moab, Utah, USA Backcountry access is more important than up- and downhill trails.
In Finale Ligure, Italy, you can find some of the best mountain biking in the world on one of the region’s 150 trails.
You can probably find great MTB trails close to home wherever you happen to live, but if you have the opportunity to visit one of these renowned places, do it.
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