Mountain biking is a bit different than biking or cycling on the open road. Trail riding usually involves a very narrow trail and obstacles, and can be pretty dangerous if you aren't properly equipped for it. Don't let this scare you though, just be sure you are prepared properly with the right type of equipment and don't be upset if you don't master it on the first ride—there may even be a fall or two. See below for tips to help get you through your first mountain biking trip.
Get The Proper Equipment
- Bike. Not just any bike will do for trail riding. It should be a mountain bike and it should fit you properly. Find a good sporting good store that has a professional to help you find the right bike for you. It should also fit the type of riding you will be doing. Remember that the most expensive bike isn't necessarily going to be the best buy—the bike needs to suit your needs entirely.
- Helmet. Yes, you will definitely need a helmet. You should wear one on the road too, but definitely one is required for trail riding. Also look into elbow and knee pads. You may feel a little weird wearing them at first, but will appreciate them if you fall.
- Bike Shorts. Look for bike shorts with extra padding in the seat. It goes without saying what they are for, and you'll appreciate the extra stuffing later. Bicycle seats are not very comfortable, especially when you've been riding for long periods of time.
Find A Trail And Go With A Buddy
Research bike trails in your area and look for trails that are for beginners. You don't want to end up on a professional trail and be in over your head. Ask your friends that ride for trail recommendations and then grab one of those trail riding friends to go with you on your first trip out. They can help teach you the rules of riding. Things such as being loud, but also polite when passing or coming up behind someone. You most likely will be sharing the trail with other riders and possibly hikers depending on where you are. Your trail riding buddy can help give you other riding tips as well, such as how to shift through gears to benefit your ride and when to use your brakes, so you aren't eating up your brakes the entire ride.
For mountain bike gear rentals, look for companies like Bootdoctors.