How to Get Started Mountain Biking

POSTED BY Andrew Kass||

Mountain biking is a great way to ride and take in nature in a way you just can’t on the roads. But don’t think that you have to be in the mountains to enjoy mountain biking. You can take on some amazing trails that range from light rides through the countryside to high endurance challenges through the wilderness.

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Mountain bikes are designed a bit differently from road bikes. They have fatter tires with heavy duty tread that can handle rugged terrain and provide traction and stability. Riders have a more upright body position as they ride. Also, many mountain bikes absorb shock to make a little more manageable physically.

You will find that most trails cater to various skill levels. When you first get started mountain biking, you should stick to the beginner trails. It will take some time to get accustomed to the different riding style and your bike. Over time, you will develop your skills and be able to handle intermediate and even advanced trails, but it’s best to avoid those at first so that you don’t get in over your head.

Here are a few tips to help make your first time mountain biking more enjoyable:

Don’t ride with your fingers over your brake lever. When you ride like that and hit a big bump, you’ll tap your brakes and could find yourself flying over the handlebars. Instead, keep your fingers on the handlebars with a light grip.

Go at whatever speed seems comfortable. You may feel like all eyes are on you, but chances are, no one else is paying much attention to you. Don’t feel like you have to be speedy or keep up with anyone. Ride at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Far too many amateur mountain bikers crash when they take a trail too fast. Go at your own pace and you’ll find yourself feeling more comfortable and self-assured.

Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun – and from possible debris. When you are careening down a trail, especially if you are riding with a group of other cyclists, dirt and debris gets kicked up into the air. It’s not unusual at all to get struck in the face by little bits of dirt and gravel. But if it hits your eye- you are in trouble. Sunglasses not only protect you from the harsh rays of the sun – they also provide a layer of protection to help shield your eyes.

If you come to a part of the trail that is too difficult or makes you nervous, don’t feel bad about getting off your bike and hiking it. No one will think anything less of you. It will help you get a better feel for the terrain and you may feel more comfortable hitting that part of the trail the next time you ride.

Make sure your helmet fits firmly against your head. If you crash and there is play between your head and your helmet, it’s going to fly off. Without a helmet that fits you properly, you could be in a world of hurt if you crash. Head injuries from mountain biking occur far too frequently and can be devastating. Invest in a helmet that fits you well.

Limit your initial rides to 30 to 45 minutes. Mountain biking will use muscles that you may not even know you had! I know my first few times I found myself sore for a few days afterwards. Save your extended rides for when you are familiar with mountain biking and your muscles are better conditioned to handle long periods of time on the bike. Pushing yourself too hard, too fast is just asking for muscle pain and opening yourself up to injuries.

Consider mountain biking lessons. There’s no better way to be prepared than to be instructed by a specialist. Many organizations offer mountain biking lessons to individuals and small groups.

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Whether you are a mountain biker or a road cyclist, be sure to always exercise care and be aware of others on the roads and trails. Being involved in a bicycle crash can result in devastating, life-altering injuries. If you have suffered injuries from a crash due to the negligence of someone else, contact the experienced bicycle crash attorneys at Kass & Moses. We are more than attorneys- we are cyclists, too, so we know just how eager you are to heal and ride again. We’ll stand by your side to help you get the settlement that you deserve!