So you’ve got a mountain bike in the garage covered with dust, don’t be guilt-ridden each time it catches your eye. Dust that beautiful beast off and check out this quick guide to burning up the trails!
Mountain biking is a great way to stay in top shape. You will get ripped abs and enviously toned legs and arms – or maybe not – but you’ll still have fun and a great cardio workout! This total body workout is perfect for heart health, reducing stress, maintaining joint health, boosting brain power, and more. Have trouble sleeping? Get cracking on a trail. Want to bolster your social life? Bring friends or meet them along the way. Releasing your inner flower child? Unlock keys to nature and sightseeing opportunities that will take your breath away. It’s beneficial in so many ways, that you’ll be raving about it in no time.
Mountain Biking: What Do You Need?
Now that you’re officially sold, the next step is figuring out where to start. If you don’t have a two-wheeled “garage ornament,” the first order of business is to buy a quality mountain bike. Simple enough, but there are a few key things to consider: suspension quality, wheel size, distance from the saddle to the bars (the reach), distance from the centre of crank to the mid-head tube (stack), and checking for a long front triangle that puts the axle further ahead. The latter improves grip, so you have proper control on impact. All that jargon boils down to this – make sure you are comfortable with the mountain bike you choose. It has to feel right for you and if that means a few adjustments then go for it!
Where to Cycle?
Go for it? Where? That’s what you’re wondering right? You’ve got the benefits, got the bike, now you need locations. Before you even start thinking about which trail is best, get accustomed to the feel of dirt, rocks, and gravel, as opposed to pavement. Try off-roading in local parks, paths along creeks, and similar options to get a feel for new terrain. With confidence building as pedals meet feet, begin researching local trails so you really get into the spirit of things. Expect a rush like never before while biking downhill, and attack new obstacles with gusto for a feeling of accomplishment after every ride. Above all else, go at your own pace so this amazing activity doesn’t become a dreaded chore.
Speaking of chores, getting the gear needed for safe and comfortable rides is by contrast, very easy. If you choose cycling shorts, it’s perfectly fine to forget about underwear. The shorts are designed to be close fit for comfort and underwear . . . makes rides less so. Sunglasses? Yes! Even if it’s overcast, or it’s cold out. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the dirt, dust, gravel, and unidentifiable “flying” objects you may kick up as you ride. A good helmet is another must, so make sure you invest in quality over style.
With wardrobe sorted for the most part, are there other quick tips for the new mountain biker? Yes indeed! Shift gears as you approach a hill to aid your ascent. Let your fingers and your handlebars become best friends – instead of keeping them on the brake pedals. That way if you jerk suddenly you won’t brake and send yourself flying.
Beginners can find several biking trail centres across England. These include: Flyup 417 Bike Park, Swinley Forest Mountain Bike Centre, and Forest of Dean Mountain Biking Trails.The right trails are out there for you.
Want to find out more? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking by Halfords for more expert advice. Then you can enjoy this new journey, earn bragging rights as you increase your difficulty level, and experience new levels of fitness and excitement the way only mountain bikers can!
*This post has been brought to you in collaboration with Halfords.