So are you now seeking that adrenaline rush from Mountain Biking? Great! We totally get it. We love Mountain biking too! And if you’re someone who wants to learn a thing or two about Mountain Biking, then you have come to the right place.
There is no doubt that Mountain Biking will allow you to explore some of the most amazing, mesmerizing, and beautiful places (especially if you’re in British Columbia).
Mountain Biking is a great way to have a great time with your friends. Adventure sports like mountain biking help you gain a lot of confidence on and off your bike (yes, mountain biking has an impact on your daily life!), you get more fit, and you become stronger.
However, there is no denying that Mountain Biking needs a lot of thinking before you actually do it.
E.g., one may think “what kind of bike do I need? '' "What type of clothing and gear should I have?" or “Is Mountain Biking dangerous?”
As a beginner, we admit it will feel a little daunting. But don’t let that overwhelming feeling hold you back.
Just like any sport, you need to learn this one as well – and in many cases, it will take time, but once you commit to it and step outside of your comfort zone, you will start to enjoy it.
There are a lot of things that you need to learn before you go on Mountain Biking.
For starters, you should be familiar with how this sport can be dangerous, what kind of gear is essential, where to find fun MTB trails, and how your experience will be on your early rides. We love all kinds of adventure and introducing people to those adventures, so if you have any questions, read on!
Here are the things you need to learn before going on your first Mountain Biking trip!
- Types of Mountain Bikes
- What gear would you need?
- How do you find beginner-friendly trails?
- What to expect on your ride?
- How to prepare for your first ride?
- How to take your bike to the trailhead?
- Tips to improve your skills and confidence
As a beginner, you need to understand the TYPES OF MOUNTAIN BIKING that there are:
- Cross-Country Mountain Biking
Cross-country is the most accessible kind of mountain biking, and as a beginner, you should be doing this style of mountain biking the most since you’re just starting. Simply put, this style of Mountain biking is like hiking but with a bike.
The trails in this style are less technical and more mellow in grade, and they usually pass through the beautiful country that offers stunning views.
Cross-country mountain biking is absolutely perfect for riders who are pretty new to the sport because mostly shot cross-country trails don’t require you to boast any advanced biking skills or have a high fitness level. These trails allow newbie adventure-seekers to taste mountain biking on single-track trails.
- All-Mountain Mountain Biking
All-Mountain riding – is a level up from the cross-country bike trails.
This MTB style comprises all-terrain ranging from smooth cross-country rides to crazy rocky and rowdy descents. It’s cross-country riding with a level up.
All-Mountain Mountain Biking is also called Enduro Mountain Biking.
The climbs are bigger, the descents are steeper, and other technicalities are put there by nature or by humans.
A typical day of All-Mountain Mountain riding involves riding to the top of a mountain, pedaling along a sidehill pathway, and then riding down, swooshing to the bottom on a downhill track.
Or it can also look like something completely different. The climb can be steeper, and the descent can be smoother. So in Enduro, you never know.
- Downhill Mountain Biking
As the name suggests, Downhill mountain biking refers to riding on a bike and covering a specific downhill.
You would need special downhill bikes to do this type of Mountain Biking. Downhill bikes are relatively heavier than Enduro or cross-country bikes. They have a double-crown fork and coil shock.
These huge and fatty shocks (shockers) make riding through nasty terrain much smoother and give you more stability at that level of speed.
Downhill bikes are also lowered, so they’re not meant to be ridden uphill or even on a flat road. You would find that downhill mountain bikers will use lift-served bike parks, but downhill tracks are found anywhere with a steep patch.
The only difference between Enduro mountain biking and downhill mountain biking is that Enduro riders also ride downhill tracks, but the main difference is the bike.
Downhill bikes are made to go through some crazy terrain at speed on downhills, whereas All-Mountain/Endure bikes are designed to do a little bit of everything.
IS MOUNTAIN BIKING HARD?
Well, it depends on person to person. Yes, it will be difficult to pedal uphill, and you may sometimes feel like going out of your breath. But that happens in any form of exercise; mountain biking is a physically challenging sport. And it can also not be “fun,” especially when you’re just starting and your muscles aren’t used to the beating of Mountain Biking.
As you continue, you’ll also come across obstacles that seem like you can never fathom, let alone conquer. Rock rolls, rock drops, skinny log rides, and wooden ramps are all features you will encounter, and believe us, they aren’t a pretty picture!
But then again, the more you ride, the more confident and stronger you’ll become, and eventually, you’ll start to enjoy this sport.
It’s also crucial to remember that, just like any other sport, you will face progressions and setbacks. Some days it’ll feel like a cakewalk, and other days you’ll feel like a sloth, and pedaling upwards will feel like the most challenging thing ever.
And this will give you all the more reason to shy away from learning how to start mountain biking because you’re scared of its difficulty.
There are mountain bike trails out there for beginners that are awesome and perfect to learn. Once you get the hang of it, you will increase your fitness and be confident to take on more challenging trails.
If you’re still worried that mountain biking may be too challenging and it worries you about anything that might intimidate or hurt you, then you can also try mountain e-biking!
Many mountain bikers that feel like regular MTBing is not for them but still want to do it are turning to electric bikes because they’re a great way to get out there and enjoy the trails without taking on the physical challenge of regular Mountain Biking.
Want to try mountain biking with an e-bike? Then Book a Mountain E-Bike rental here (If you’re in the Metro Vancouver area).
IS MOUNTAIN BIKING DANGEROUS?
Well, as we have said, It isn’t a pretty picture. And it is certainly not a safe sport. The thrill of adventure comes due to the dangerous aspect of the sport.
Mountain biking can have serious consequences, and we can guarantee that you will crash multiple times when you’re just learning and getting started.
But on the flip side, the good news is that the more you ride, the better you will get at it, and your crash rate will go down.
It’s also necessary to tell you that you never have to ride the most challenging and scariest trails. You can also enjoy the more straightforward side of Mountain biking: cross-country trails and cruise through the beautiful backcountry, soaking in the views. You don’t have to ride the dangerous black and double black trails ever.
Also, it is possible that you might find that you love downhill riding. So you can also always stick to Downhill Mountain Biking.
So try and experiment with every aspect of mountain biking and see what works for you.
What gear would you need?
Initially, when you’re learning how to do mountain biking, it’s not helpful to go out and order a whole new bunch of bike gear from Amazon.
That can be pretty darn expensive! But, there are some necessities that you’d require to get started. And, of course, it begins with getting a good helmet.
And since you are just starting, we would also not recommend you to buy a mountain bike right away. Instead, we’d say you rent a good mountain bike, a helmet, and other essential mountain biking gear.
If you want to try Mountain Biking and need a premium Mountain Bike and essential gear for rent, then you can Book Mountain Bikes for rent from us at adventure-outdoors.ca. We also deliver your bike to your doorstep if you’re in the Metro Vancouver area.
How do you find Beginner-Friendly Trails?
Now that you’ve got all the details, it’s time for you to ride! It can be a little tough to figure out where to ride. So hopefully, these tips will take you on the right path.
Find them online. Here are some Top Apps and Websites to find trails.
We recommend you to download the TrailForks app, which makes it SO EASY to find beginner-friendly trails. They offer a 7-day free trial, and you can use it for unlimited trails near your home.
You can also upgrade to their pro-plan for $36 a year, providing unlimited access to the trail maps you can download for offline use. It is worth it, and if you plan on going on a mountain biking spree, this app must be on your phone.
One option is the MTB Project. This is also a free app and website; this one makes an excellent alternative to the TrailForks app.
Either way, We’d recommend that you only stick to green and blue trails in the beginning, as they are best suited for beginners and noob riders since they are just learning how to start mountain biking.
TALK TO US
The second best way to know some excellent trails around you is by reaching out to us at Adventure Outdoors.
You can stop by and ask us about trails that we recommend.
RIDE WITH EXPERIENCED FRIENDS
If you are friends with experienced mountain biking riders, just let them know that you want to tag along and would love to have them show you around some more accessible trails.
They’d probably be happy to help you out, and as friends usually are, they’ll be glad to show you around. Also, as we already know, if you are learning something, hang out with people who do it better than you 🙂
What To Expect on your ride?
So you’re all set to go on your first Mountain Biking adventure, but what to expect when you’re riding on the trail?
To answer, that depends on the trail to trail and the area. Every mountain bike trail destination is different, so there is not exactly one thing you should be careful of.
There are a few things like universal mountain bike features and terms you’ll hear everywhere you’re riding and should also know.
Some of them are:
- Rock garden – As the name suggests, it is a particular trail area with a lot of rocks. Some rock gardens are easy to pass through, while others are adamant and technical, which can be tricky for you as a beginner.
- Drop – Try to guess it from the slang itself. The term gives a hint itself. It is a feature (natural like a rock or artificial wooden ramp) that is basically like a descent that takes you and your bike from a higher to a lower elevation.
Remember that a typical drop will have both wheels leave the ground.
- Berm – A berm is typically a built-up turn that allows you to corner at speed quickly. These are pretty common on trails at bike parks.
- Roller – This feature is like a rock, and you can ride up and over without the wheels coming off the ground.
In the initial stage, we’d recommend you to choose green or blue-rated trails because these trails are beginner friendly and relatively easy. They do not have many technically challenging features and obstacles. We recommend you stick to these trails and slowly work your way up to the advanced level ones.
How To Prepare For Your First Ride
Before going on your first mountain bike ride, here are a few things you should do before the ride to prepare for what’s coming ahead:
- Checking the tire pressure: It’s always a great idea to pump up the tires before every ride. How much PSI to pump your tires up to is a personal preference. Usually, it depends on rider weight, ride style, and tire size, so it is different for everyone.
If unsure how much PSI of pressure you should pump your tires up, look for the PSI range marked sticker on each tire. Eventually, you’ll figure out the pressure that suits you the best.
- Lube the chain: Depending on your riding conditions, it’s generally a good practice to lube the bike chain before every ride or every few rides. And to do that, always have a home bike tool kit handy at your home.
- Get your water bottle: And it goes without saying. Always carry your water with you, even if you’re going on a short ride. You never know that you might run into some friends and you decide to go circle a bigger round! Always carry a liter or two as your hydration pack.
- Pack the necessary items: Speaking of necessities like water, you also need to carry a few essentials, like multi-tool and tire plugs.
- Know your route in and out: Before you head out for a ride and let someone know where you’re going, have a plan in place.
If you’ve just begun to learn mountain biking, then you’ll probably be best only sticking to the well-traveled local trails, but as you progress and gain confidence and skill, you can go farther on trails. But remember, know your route in and out.
How To Take Your Bike To The Trailhead
Now, unless you live in a fantastic mountain bike destination with trails starting from right around the corner, chances are you’ll need to transport your bike somehow. Here are some transportation options:
- Load the bike into the back of the car. If the bike fits, you’re good then, and you can transport your bike like this now and then.
If not, you may need to remove the bike’s front wheel, so it fits. But the whole process can be tedious. So, If you want to become an MTB enthusiast, then try a bike rack. It’ll become a lot easier for you.
- There are a variety of options available in Bike Racks. Bike racks allow you to hold from one to six bikes.
- The third opinion is to use a tailgate pad. If you have a truck, then the easiest way to transport your bike is with a tailgate pad and attaching it to the back of your truck bed. They’re really super easy to install and remove. The Tailgate pads also allow you to carry up to six bikes safely without any hassle.
Tips to Improve Your Skills And Confidence
So now that you’ve gone on a few rides and mountain biking is the best sport in the world, you’re thinking about how you can improve your skill. Follow these three tips below to build skills and confidence to enhance Mountain Biking.
You should try Signing up for a lesson or class; it is a good way and the easiest way to learn Mountain Biking from basic to advanced levels. After some classes, you’ll build skills and enough confidence automatically.
Bike Parks also provide a fantastic opportunity to practice and take lessons since you can practice with multiple laps in a day, and most bike parks also offer private lessons.
You can also learn online from youtube, and we can say for a fact there must be some great MTB gurus out there who are great at this sport and are putting out some great content on Mountain Biking.
RIDE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE BETTER THAN YOU
As we have said before. Ride with people who are better than you. It might feel not very safe initially, but riding with people who are better than you will push you more, and gradually you will end up with up-ping your skills and confidence.
Suppose there’s a feature or obstacle in your way, but your friend has no problem cruising through it smoothly. So you can take a few minutes, and they can teach you to do it together. You have to watch their line and how they positioned their body. Watching and doing will eventually make you a better rider.
PRACTICE ON DIFFERENT TRAILS AND TERRAIN
And at last, the best thing you can do is try diverse trails and different terrains; doing this will automatically become a better rider. Try local trails in the beginning and advance as you feel more confident.
But the most important thing you must do is give it time. If you won’t provide enough time and honor the technical demand of the sport, you can end up hurting yourself and possibly want to quit. So give the sport its sweet time, and you will become the pro MTB rider you want to become.
And that was everything! This post is a biggie and comes with a lot of information. So we hope you learned how to get started with mountain biking.
We hope this post was helpful and has pumped you to try Mountain Biking more than ever.
And yes, there is no denying it. MTB is a fantastic way to have fun and explore beautiful places and also a great way to build yourself physically and mentally.