Mountain biking is an adventurous sport in which a biker rides off the road passing through rocks, desert, mountain, and other places. The riders carry a backpack with all useful things and different types of equipment to repair their bikes because the racing is done far away from the main civilization. Bikers try to compete with one another by maintaining the balance on a bike while doing sports like dirt jumping, cross country and downhill.
Historical background of Mountain Biking:
• In 1970s Mountain Biking was originated as a sport in California
• From 1976 to 1979, Velo Club in California started to organize downhill mountain biking races which attracted many people and media towards this sport.
• In 1983 USA organized the National Mountain Biking Championship which gets popular in Australia and other countries.
• During the 1970s to 1980s, many companies used lightweight material to build mountain bicycles.
• In 1990, International Cycling Union organized the mountain biking championship.
• With time mountain biking gained a reputation all over the world and It also gets included in Olympics.
Mountain Biking is getting popular in many countries. In 2015 more than 130 countries registered for global UCI mountain biking event, i.e. Australia, France, USA, New Zealand, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Canada, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and Australia.
Types of Mountain Biking:
Cross Country Biking:
Cross Country Biking is the most common type of riding which involves an extended period of biking through the trails. Although it does not involve big obstacles, the rider should have proper control over the bike while descending and climbing through the mountain. The trails have banked turns and winding paths which makes mountain climbing more efficient. Due to variation in country trails, the bikers require to make their way through narrow gravel and open space paths.
All Mountain Biking:
All mountain Biking is full of actions which involve more challenging obstacles and varied terrain. Mostly the mountain bikers try to take advantage of natural features of the mountain like jumps and drops. These specific forms of trails are more adventurous and unpredictable so great control, skills and fearlessness are required.
Speed is the main goal of downhill riding because it involves straight down the path through mountain terrain. Instead of using a specific trail, the riders use strength and focus on moving down the mountain at the fastest speed. Expert skills are needed to pass through rough tracks with changing obstacles and high jumps.
Dirt jumping involves riding through dirt parks, and it consists of various forms of jumps. It requires proper control, strength and airborne acrobatics tricks. Ramps with different heights are present, and dirt lines are close to each other which allow the riders to move in different levels. The bikers need to know various tricks to control the bike in the air if they want to land on the ground safely.
Freeride is similar to dirt jumping and downhill mountain biking with specific tricks. If you are interested in freeriding, then be ready for different types of riding areas and trails. Usually, there is no proper guideline, but riders use their skills and creativity to ride through natural terrain with ladders, beams, and ramps. Freeride mountain Biking depends on the riders style. The bikers can ride at high speed. They should control the bike to deal with big obstacles.
Select the Right Bike:
Mountain Bikes are designed with different features. A slight change in weight, suspension or tire style can change the riding experience so a rider should select the right bike.
Cross Country Bikes:
For cross-country mountain biking, you have to choose a perfect bike by your skill level and suspension system. The single suspension allows the riders to move quickly with better accuracy. But you can get high stability and proper control with full suspension bikes. The textured tires give more traction while suspension bikes make the ride through debris and gravel more comfortable.
Bikes for Dirt Jumping:
Mostly dirt jumping bikes have a simple design, but for experts, some bikes have additional features that allow doing aerial tricks without the hindrance of extra weight. As air and speed is the main focus, so these bikes are lightweight with a sloping design to increase the speed.
To absorb the socks after landing high-speed suspension is added in these bikes with a rear suspension, disc brake system and single gear for simplicity.
As the control and speed can make your downhill riding, so these bikes have a unique slack design to make the bikes suitable for aerodynamics. The head angle at 65 degree offers more stability and control. Rear shocks and metal springs keep the rider comfortable even on a big jump. The fewer gears help to clear the hurdles easily.
Freeride bikes have various applications due to its simple design and additional tricks. Its style is similar to dirt bikes, and they come in the market with a full suspension system to absorb extra shocks. The light frame makes the maneuvering simple which allows the riders to move through the riding areas with more control.
Essential things for Mountain Biking:
To keep yourself safe, hydrated and comfortable in mountain biking, keep these 20 items for your next backcountry mountain ride.
Carry two spare tubes for a long Mountain ride. If you buy original spare parts, then it will keep your bicycle ride comfortable for a long duration. Try to buy a spare tube at a reasonable price. Generally, a jam tweener tube is best for both 29er and 26in tires.
Patch kit takes less space in the bag, and it is essential if you have used your last tube. Never try to use the common patches with a vulcanizing agent, try to have a glueless patch.
Although cartridges and CO2 inflator are available in the market, these two types of equipment are useless without a pump. The mini pump works in every condition efficiently.
Do not leave your home without a perfect multi-tool. Try to have a multi-tool with a T25 tor, build in chain tool, Philips screwdrivers and various Allen keys with common tool size. Wire cutter and a built-in pair of pillars are also included in multi-tool.
Sometimes bike riders also carry tire lever in their multi-tools. Although they are not very well constructed and useful still they are used in place of standalone levers.
Although the modern design of air shock is very reliable, it is better to carry a shock pump to deal with the slow leaks or to fine tune the suspension of the mountain bike.
Pack a little bottle of chain tube if you want to ride through multiple stream crossing or dusty trails. Wrap a part of cloth from an old shirt or rag all over the bottle with a rubber band. Before applying a new chain lube, always try to clean the dirt on the chain and remove the extra lube after application.
When you want to ride in dry weather, then keep a lip balm stick in your pack. Try to prefer a lip balm with SPF rating.
Sunlight is very harmful to the skin in a dry environment, so keep a small bottle or stick of sunscreen even in cloudy days with you.
Smart Phone has lots of useful features, but its best function is to contact a friend or relative in case of an emergency. You could fall, crash, or run into a snake. Try to keep a SPOT if you feel you are going beyond the cell service.
Packable rain jacket:
To keep yourself safe from the raindrops and cold, bring a packable, lightweight rain jacket with you. It will keep you warm and dry in the sudden downpour.
First Aid Kit:
Prefer to keep a waterproof first aid kit. Analyze the presence of tweezers, gauze, Bandages carefully, and disinfecting wipes in your kit. Keep in mind the first aid kit is useful when you know how to use it, so it is better to have first the basic understanding of CPR and first aid kit.
A broken or bent derailleur hanger can end your amazing mountain riding so always carry a mounting bolt with spare hanger. Remember global Derailleur Hanger is the best backup option.
Always keep a spare chainring bolt in your bag because it can get loose during a ride.
Zip ties are best for many small repairs. They keep the boat tight if buckle breaks or you can use it to wrangle the cables.
Carry the paper money or coins in your pack. It will be useful if you want to buy something in an emergency.
Many packs are available in the market in roll form in which you can keep your repair items in an organized way. If you are not using any small bag, then consider a pouch to keep your smaller items safe.
Advantages of Mountain Biking:
Mountain biking is a famous outdoor recreational activity, and more than 40 million people do Mountain biking every year in Europe. Public health concerns like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are rising over time, and physical exercise is becoming critical for human health. You can excitingly enjoy many health benefits through mountain biking.
Decrease in stress:
As compared to other aerobic activities like running, mountain biking put less stress on the rider joints. Cycling is considered to be a stressless sport because sitting act reduce the pressure on the joints and protect them from injury.
Improved heart health:
Cardiovascular fitness gets improved with regular exercise. According to a recent survey, bike riding for more than15 miles a week decreases the risk of coronary heart disease. The use of muscle in mountain biking makes the heart work properly and increase its fitness by 3% to 7%.
Decrease risks of diseases:
Doing regular exercise keeps your body healthy and strengthens your immune system. Researchers California university analyzed that people who do biking regularly have fewer chances to get ill.
Increased brain activity:
Cycling can lead to 6% improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness. The mental health also increases due to the creation of brain cells in the hippocampus (part of the brain responsible for developing memories). It increases the oxygen and blood flow towards the brain which regenerates the receptors. So, exercise helps to treat Alzheimer disease.
Mountain Biking stimulates the release of endorphins which improve the mood and give more energy. Exercise also increases the production of serotonin which is useful to reduce stress and depression. The Biking in pleasant weather and beautiful places keep the bikers away from negative thoughts which are the major cause of anxiety.
After mountain biking, a rider feels tired which leads to an improvement in his sleep cycle which is needed for good health. Exercise decrease cortisol which keeps a person awake. Try to have mountain ride early in the morning or in daylight because vigorous ride at night can increase the production of endorphins which affect the night sleep.
Healthy relationship and better social interaction keep a person happy and satisfied. Mountain biking is often offered by group and clubs who want to ride together in a natural environment. It offers the best opportunity to make new friends and build personal bonds with people who have the same interests.
Mountain biking is more than a simple ride. It allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature and move through the new paths by using your creativity. A natural environment is a big source to reduce stress and depression while the urban environment has opposite effects. Spending more time in Mountain biking makes a rider close to greenery and nature.
A rider uses his whole-body muscles during Mountain Biking. That’s why cycling helps the rider to build strong thighs and legs which keep them fit. A rider does not need to get an expensive gym membership or expert trainer because Climbing, jumping along with riding strengthens the body parts.
Tips to improve Mountain Biking:
Do you want to move like a wind, roll over the rocks safely and descends smoothly near the vertical downhill side then start learning mountain biking with basic training? With best bike handling skills and confidence, you can have better experience and fitness. Start Mountain biking with some basic tips
Maintain your bike:
You cannot focus on trial if your mind is stuck in the strange noises of the bike. So, try to maintain your bike weekly, it will save you from the worst condition. Check your bike condition every time you hit a trail and take it to a shop for repair. Check every part of your bike and fix the broken, cracked or worn out part. Remember a small broken part can become a big problem on Mountain Biking.
Ride with experienced riders:
Find some experienced riders and plan mountain biking with them. Although in the start you will find it difficult to ride with an experienced person but soon you will learn a lot from their riding habits. Analyze carefully how they handle rocky and rough sections. Watch how they change the position when they move downhill. Many valuable skills can be easily picked up when riding in a team.
Focus on your route:
When you are moving on a trail with plenty of rocks and stones, then look on the route only. It is known as target fixation. Because, if you focus at the tree or rock which you want to avoid then you will probably hit it. So, always ride smoothly and look at the line only.
Whether you are doing mountain biking on full suspension bike or rigid one, always remember the best suspension is your leg and arms. So, learn properly how to let the bike move properly beneath you. Stand up and relax for some time to absorb the ruts and bumps on the root. Try to relax your grip a little bit on the handles because a tight grip can cause hands and forearms fatigue which make tough to control the bike.
Spinning or rotation of the crank is very important part of Mountain Biking. Experienced bikers spend most of their time in learning a good spin skill. If you have a jerky downhill stroke or your pedal is in square, or you are working harder by throwing yourself off balance then it is useless. Do not gear too low because it will jerk the bike around. Try to learn to spin efficiently and take power over smooth riding.
Learn about wheelies:
Nose wheelies or wheelies is a trick full of fun. To get the front wheel up try to pull the wheelie over an object and save yourself from sudden hitting. To make some specific section of the trail smoother, try to wheel off the ground. Instead of learning with a platform pedal try to do practice with a clipless pedal.
Normally the basic wheelie involves pulling up handlebars, shifting all your weight on the back wheel then pushing down at last on the up pedal. Try to maintain half pedal rotation or maintain wheelie while pedaling. Be ready to pull the back brakes to grab your control again on the front wheel.
If you want to move on technical trails then balancing and Hopping skills will help you. Without putting the foot down if a rider can stop and start again then it will make it easy to keep the momentum. In hooping the biker locked both brakes and picked up the wheels, in this way his body is centered in between the wheels and he compress the body and try to push down to raise the body. You can learn this skill after doing lots of practice.
Practice, Practice, and Practice:
Try to spend most of your time on the bike. Ride to the coffee shop or the mailbox. It will help to learn better riding skills when you ride down, dodge potholes or ride up to your home. When you learn to ride smoothly from three to four stairs, then you can Do mountain biking on trail obstacles with more confidence.
Be an all-rounder:
After exploring one place, try to learn advanced riding skills by choosing a new place. Explore the new trails, and accept the challenges to sharpen your riding skills.
Best things to wear on Mountain Biking:
Protection, comfort and personal interest determine the best things to wear for Mountain Biking.
Mostly the downhillers or trail bikers choose baggy style clothes consisting of a pair of padded shorts, loose-fitting, and loose shirts. But be careful to select the clothes and other things by mountain weather.
A helmet is an important part of the kit for Mountain Bikers as all riders fall now and then. There are high chances of crashing. Slipping and hitting into a tree because the Mountain riders ride on rough ground, so always wear a helmet. Many special helmets are available in the market which is designed to keep rain and sunlight out of the biker’s eyes. For downhill riding, enduro racing and bike parks the rider prefer to wear a full face helmet for better protection. The full face helmet safe the head from a big crash which happens during big jumps or drops. Now with the use of MTB technology, an additional layer is added inside the helmet to decrease the rotational force on the head.
Googles or Glasses:
Googles or glasses are best to protect the eyes from debris or sun glare. You have many lens options like tinted lenses increase the contrast or reduce glare while clean lenses are best to ride in dark and dull condition. The trail riders prefer to wear glasses, but if the weather is cloudy and muddy, then googles are the best option because they provide weather protection with better vision. Mostly downhiller prefer googles over glasses in Mountain biking.
Riders like to wear a jersey with a loose T-shirt having long sleeves. These jerseys are cost effective and comes in the market in different designs and colors. Cross-country Mountain riders prefer to wear Lycra jersey with a rear pocket which is used to keep tools, snacks or spare tubes.
Padded shorts are best for the mountain rider who move through the uneven routes. A lightweight material or mesh is used to make padded shorts while bib shorts or road cycling Lycra shorts come with a chamois pad. The baggy shorts are constructed from tear-resistant fabrics and stretchy material.
Basic protection and knee pads:
The rider uses lightweight pads to protect their knee, but for technical riding, they prefer chunkier pads. Some Mountain riders also use elbow pads, body armors, and back protectors.
Full finger gloves are preferred to protect the hands from hitting and crash. Some gloves have pads on the palm for hand cushioning. Gloves for the enduro or downhill riders have extra protection on the back side of the hand because there is a high risk of crashing during the ride. Full finger gloves give windproofing and insulation in winter, spring, and autumn. The glove also helps to increase the grip strength because palm is designed to offer more traction on handlebars.
Socks are best to protect the calves and shins from cuts and scratches. The Mountain bikers use waterproof socks in wet weather to keep their feet dry and warm. The waterproof socks also cover a major part of the legs above the riding shoes.
As the main contact point is the shoe pedal area, so riders always feel secure when they are doing mountain biking with their feet, remain close to pedal while doing technical climbing. Riders usually prefer flat shoes with pedals when pedal have a rough surface, and the shoes have pins to offer proper grip. Most of the cross-country rider prefer to bike with some of the shoe connecting with the pedal. Flat pedal shoes look like trainers or skate shoes with laces for more grip. They have extra grippy rubber, tread patterns and pedal pins for a smooth journey.
Waterproof jackets are specially designed for riding and mountain biking. It has additional layers and full body armor with loose fitting to provide freedom of movement. Couples of pockets are available to keep the snacks and essentials, and the warm stuff keeps the body temperature normal in cold weather.
Hydration packs have a water reservoir with a drinking hose in which the rider can carry 2 or 3 liters water. This bag can also be used to carry other spare parts or repair tools on a long journey.
The most expensive Mountain ride Bikes:
Cycles and mountain bikes are more than a mean of transportation to home or workplace. Cycling is best to keep a person fit and healthy. Usually, high-quality material is used in best bikes, so Mountain biking lover even pay more than $10,000 to get perfect two wheels.
1. Trek Butterfly Madone:
This bike is designed by using a unique color pattern which resembles with the real-life butterflies. Damien designed this bike for actual competition, and Armstrong has used this bike in his cycling career. It is one of the most expensive bikes which you can get at 500,000.
2. The solid gold bike:
The solid gold bike is made up of at least 23k solid gold frame with 500 golden sapphires, engraved black diamonds and alligator skin covering. These unique materials make this bike unique, and it is interesting to know there are only 13 this type of bikes. This is the first solid gold bike whose opening price is $500,000.
3. Trek Yoshimoto Nara:
This bike is a special product released after the collaboration between Trek and Yoshimoto Nara. Just like other specific bikes, it was also created in honor of Lance’s victory over cancer in the 2000s. This bike is made up of a lightweight carbon fiber frame, and there is a drawing of images of small kids with negative expressions on the wheel. It is available at a price $200,000.
4. Kaws, Trek Madone:
Lance Armstrong used this bike in 2009 for his daily training routine. This special bike design is a collaboration between Trek Modone and Brian Donnelly. This bike was sold soon at an auction which was supporting the fight against cancer.
5. Aurumania Crystal Gold Bike:
This bike is made up of 24 karat gold and 600 sparkling crystals. It has a leather seat which provides extra comfort in jumping and riding. Only ten bikes in this style are available in the market at $114,000.
Diamondback Overdrive: (Best Mountain Bike under $1000)
This bike is becoming popular due to its extensive use. The additional size help to handle the obstacles more efficiently. Diamond Overdrive is the best example of entry-level bikes which can be easily affordable.
Its aggressive frame design with best quality components offers an efficient and smooth ride. The frame is made up of aluminum alloy which can be easily handled in tough trails while the rider gets a proper position through this frame when they move large wheels and tires. This bike is made up of best quality components which provide extra speed during climbing and climbing through the hills. The low Maintenace disc style brakes are easy to control.
Diamondback OSO Grande: (Best fat tire Bike)
Diamondback uses the unique style and innovation in its EI Oso Series. The Grande provides a confident and smooth ride with oversized tires. The quality features and components result in an excellent bike which is versatile and comfortable. The main frame is made up of hydro 6061 alloy aluminum with best welding and craftsmanship. The weight of the bike is enough for a heavy bike. These bikes are getting popular because the riders can use them in any way. It is a little bit expensive for beginners. The extra air pressure gives more comfort on the normal surfaces. The tires provide shock absorption and ground coverage at lower PSI.
How to take care of your Mountain Bike?
• Check the tire pressure: Before every ride check the condition of the tire. Keep a digital gauge like Topeak D2 Smartgauge which is an inexpensive, fast way to help in an emergency.
• Check the brakes: Testing the brakes during a mountain ride is not a perfect time to see the air bubble trapped in the reservoir. Do a test drive at home to check your brakes properly. Make a habit to inspect your brakes every time before a Mountain Ride.
• Check Your shifting: On a quick test ride check the adjustment of shifter forward and backward. Without skipping check, the chai links are running across the cassette and chaining.
• Check the pedal: Pedal is an important part of controlling the bike. Normally clipless pedals have dirt while flat pedals are useless in case of Mountain Biking. Try to clean your pedal before every ride.
• Check your screws and bolts: The components of a bike get loose, so it is important to check the bolts on every part of the bike. Never over tighten the bolt because it can damage the specific part. Keep checking the seaports and carbon bars regularly.
Facts related to Mountain Biking:
Mountain Biking was used as a tool:
Before becoming a recreational activity, Mountain Biking was used as a mean of transportation on rough terrain. In 1890, Buffalo Soldiers moved from Montana to Yellowstone through bike riding. These bikes were much slower and heavier due to lack of proper gearing, brake system, and shock absorber.
Largest Mountain Biking Race:
Now the largest Mountain Riding Race in the world takes place on Birkebeinerrittet in Norway which is 53.4 Miles long, and more than 10,000 to 20,000 participants joined it on an annual basis.
Mountain Biking a one-directional source:
One direction does not mean these bikes can move only forward or backward, in reality, it means they can be used to go downhill. After the origin of recreational sport in 1970, new designs were suggested, and riders use an automobile to take the bike top of the hill then they ride down.
Americans started the recreational Mountain Biking:
Just like competitive cup stacking, football, and basketball, the origin of Mountain Biking competition is rooted in the US. The first NOBRA national was held outside of Santa Barbara in 1983.
World’s Longest Mountain Biking Race:
If you are interested in long-distance racing, then Tour Divide Mountain Biking race is only for you. It is 2700 miles long, and riders need to climb 200,000 feet to complete the whole race from Canada to Mexico.
Age is just a number in Mountain Biking:
People love to pick up Mountain Biking as a healthy hobby because it is a lifelong adventure. It is interesting to know that the youngest rider who won the Mountain Biking Championship was only 16 years old while the Riders in their 80s are also giving a tough competition to the competitors in national championships. Some of the rider’s stat mountain biking after entering in their 40s.
Highest Bike Race:
The world’s highest Mountain Bike race takes place on Mountain Everest at an altitude of 17,160 feet. In Trans Himalayan Bike Race the riders move through the thin air with strong control over their bike.
Every great recreational sport has an interesting origin. Mountain Biking has various types, i.e. Cross-Country Biking, downhill, etc. So, the biker needs to choose a perfect bike for the next ride. This special sport has several health benefits that decrease the risks of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. If you are interested in Mountain Biking, then start doing the practice without getting worried about your age.