Are you looking for a new hobby or sport to participate in? If you love the outdoors, and a good challenge, then why not start mountain biking? You can get some great exercise and enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with this exciting past time. Mountain biking is cycling that is done off-road and requires the right kind of bike and the skill to navigate some rough ground. You need to know what you are doing before you head out to the trail, so read on for some tips to get you started.
Get the Right Equipment
First of all, you will need a mountain bike. A regular bicycle won't do for the type of terrain you will be cycling on. A mountain bike has wider, highly textured tires and is harder to pedal, making it a poor choice for roads but awesome for running over a rough forest path. If you are serious about your new hobby, then invest in a good quality bike. A lesser substitute could hinder your ability to handle some of the best trails, and also pose a greater risk of injury.
After you've got the bike, you need to focus on the other essentials. You should dress comfortably, in breathable and fitted fabric. Don't wear baggy clothes that could get caught on branches or get in the way of your ability to operate the bike properly. A good pair of shoes is another must. There isn't a specific style required, just any kind of athletic shoe that fits well and is comfortable.
After clothing, comes protective gear. The nature of mountain biking means that a minor crash now and then is basically a given, so a helmet is absolutely necessary. Gloves are needed too, since you'll likely reach out to catch yourself in the event of a fall, and will want your hands protected. Knee pads are another priority for protecting yourself.
Once you are outfitted, think of the other items you'll need. Since watching the trail to navigate safely is vital, sunglasses are a good way to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, and even trail dust. You may thing that of a GPS for commercial vehicles only, but a GPS can be a great tool to take with you when you're biking. It can give voice commands to keep you on the right trail without needed to stop to check, or distract yourself by looking away. A GPS is a safe, time saving accessory. Don't forget to pack water and some high protein snacks to stay hydrated and energized. A first aid kit is a good idea in case of any minor injuries, as is a tool to fix an issue that could arise with your bike. Pack everything away in a backpack that you can easily carry without it being in your way.
Learn the Technique
Now that you're suited up, you can start to learn the basic techniques. Mountain biking is a lot different from the smooth ride of regular cycling, so you must be prepared to absorb the jolts and jars and keep your body loose. Tensing up will interfere with your ability to steer and stay upright, not to mention that it will cause strain to your muscles and joints. Be wary of your surroundings and learn how to shift your weight and brake properly. It's important that you get some tips from someone knowledgeable and start off gently and build your way up to rougher trails as your confidence and skill grows.
As soon as you are comfortable with your new mountain bike, it's time to set off outdoors. While any off-road area will do, you can eventually work your way up to some nature trails that pose a physical challenge and afford some amazing views and peaceful scenery. It's a great way to spend time with friends and connect with new people over a shared interest.
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