Mountain biking looks intimidating to some, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to start small and learn the sport gradually.
Moeschler suggests starting with a friend who knows the sport and taking a lesson at a bike park. He also stresses the importance of finding the right equipment.
Choosing the Right Bike
Mountain biking can be challenging for the body. You’re constantly riding over uneven terrain, climbing up hills, and bombing down rocky or sandy trail stretches. But with the right bike, you can have fun and avoid hurting your knees.
First, decide what kind of mountain biking you want to do. Do you want to go on long, efficient rides over smooth trails? Get a cross-country or endurance bike. Do you want to ride downhill all day without pedaling back up? Buy a gravity/downhill rig. Do you want a do-it-all bike that can climb uphill, charge downhill, and handle muddy, technical trails? Choose a trail bike.
Once you know what kind of mountain bike to get, look for one that fits your height and frame size. Don’t rely on stated dimensions; the lines between small, medium, and large can be blurry. Visit your local bike shop to check out different sizes and try them out on the trail.
Choosing the Right Gear
Whether you’re new to mountain biking programs like Train to Ride or just looking for an easy way to improve your skills, you must choose the right gear. The most crucial piece of equipment is a bike helmet.
A good mountain bike helmet should fit securely and be comfortable for your head to rest in motion. It should also have a visor that covers the sides of your face. Beginners should also invest in mountain bike gloves that provide padding for their hands. These will help reduce the friction between your palms and the rubber handlebar grips, which can cause blisters.
Before choosing a mountain bike, it’s essential to consider what kind of terrain you plan on riding. If you want to ride long distances over various changing landscapes, a cross-country (XC) bike may be the best option. XC bikes prioritize efficient and fast pedaling over longer distances, and they are not designed to excel at technical or super steep downhill riding.
Choosing the Right Trails
Mountain biking can seem intimidating to people who are new to the sport. But if you’re willing to learn the basics and follow trail etiquette, anyone can enjoy the thrill of riding on dirt trails!
Mountain bikers often ride on multi-use trails shared with hikers and horses. Bikers should always yield to those on foot when passing hikers or horses. If you’re a beginner, consider starting with cross-country or double-track trails that are wider and less technical than singletrack trails.
Some trails feature obstacles like rock gardens or drops (naturally rocky features like rocks or artificial structures like wooden ramps). These are technically challenging; finding the best line requires high bike skill. Before planning a motocross workout plan, more advanced riders may consider additional protection like knee pads or a back protector. This is especially important if they plan to hit jumps and terrain features on the trail.
Choosing the Right Instructor
The best mountain bike instructors are passionate, patient, and encouraging. They will help you learn and build confidence on your bike while having fun. They also have a solid understanding of safety and trail etiquette.
A certified instructor is a must-have for beginners, especially when learning the basics of mountain biking. Check out your local bike shop or visit a bike camp to find an instructor that suits you.
Whether it’s a flowy bike park trail or a national forest with rugged backcountry terrain, a certified mountain bike instructor will know how to get you on the right paths for your skill and comfort level.
In addition to completing an instructor course, a qualified mountain bike coach will have insurance and liability protection. They will also have extensive first aid training beyond CPR and basic first responder classes. They must be a Bike Instructor Certification Program (BICP) member and have completed a BICP-approved level 1 course.