Mountain biking is a new and exciting adventure sport that can be taken up by anyone. The feeling of exhilaration and heart pumping adrenaline while riding off road is incomparable. However, taking up mountain biking as a sport for the first time can seem like a daunting task to many. Which type of bike should I invest in? What features are a must have on the bike? What should I wear? What things should I carry and how much? These are some of the many questions that mountain biking beginners are riddled with. This article explores these common queries and provides some important tips that new riders can keep in mind on their first terrain, only to soon announce that mountain biking is their new favorite hobby!
This short guide is split into three parts – features of a mountain bike, what to wear and equipment to carry, and practice and fitness.
ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF THE BIKE:
Due to the rugged nature of the landscape, the parts of a mountain bike may require frequent repairs and maintenance. Knowing basic tasks such as how to change a tire, repair a broken chain etc. is extremely useful before you embark on your first off-roading trip.
- Gears and Pedals:
The gears of the bike are located at the rear wheel and can be controlled at the front of the bike. In some cases, due to friction and pressure, the gear shift can slip from the position and may hamper the balance of the bike and damage the chain and gears both. Quick guides online are a great option to learn and practice how to realign imprecise gears. Also, most mountain bikes are manufactured with plastic pedals. It is a useful idea to swap these out for sturdier and more durable metal pedals with foot grips. These metal pedals are more secure and will provide superior grip for beginners riding on unfamiliar terrains.
- Saddle and tires:
Since the majority of the time during mountain biking is spent sitting on the saddle, it is essential to pick out a saddle that is both high quality and comfortable. Spending some time researching the various options and narrowing down on the best one is a great idea. Most men prevent lighter and narrower saddles while women prefer wider and extra padded ones. The tires are one of the most important components of a mountain bike. It is essential to understand and adjust your tire pressure to best suit the nature of the terrain you will be riding through. If the tire pressure is too high, there is a risk of the cycle bouncing, especially on uneven terrains. If the pressure is too low, there is the problem of flat tires and rims denting. The ideal pressure is based on various elements such as the nature of the rims and tire, the person’s body weight, the terrain and topography etc.
- Handlebars and chain:
The handlebar provides vital support and balance to the rider. The height of the handlebar should be adjusted according to the height of the rider, and usually a little lower to ensure the reduced center of gravity and easier steering. It is also essential to ensure that the chain of the bike does not rust. Overuse, it may wear down, and it is important to lubricate it with a ceramic lubricant formula if possible to prevent damage to the internal machinery of the bike.
WHAT TO WEAR AND EQUIPMENT:
Mountain biking involves cycling in a myriad of temperatures and topographies. It is essential to wear clothes that are comfortable and suitable to the nature of the landscape. Garments made out of breathable and sweat-wicking material such as polyester, spandex or nylon are a great choice. Also, essential protective gear such as a helmet, kneepads, gloves and an extra jacket for colder climates is necessary.
Also, most off-roading trips are in places deep in the lap of nature and do not have any supermarkets or shops. It is important to carry more food and water than you require for a relaxed ride. Also, other vital items such as a GPS system, flashlight, spare parts, first aid kit, money/credit card must be carried to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
One of the most complete exercises to lose weight and mark muscles is cycling. But for the performance to be better, food is a fundamental part, that’s why we’ll show you the ideal diet for cyclists.
According to studies published by the University of Zurich , Zurich, Switzerland, food is very important for cyclists because it controls the energy expenditure that helps performance to have an optimal training.
The diet they must follow is the following:
- Before training, it is necessary to consume some sugar and some fruits such as apple, banana, papaya, pineapple, melon are recommended, and you could accompany it with some natural granola and yogurt of your preference.
- During training hydration is very important, at least you should drink a liter of water during the session to recover lost water, energy drinks are recommended both for recovery and during activity.
- At the end of your practice, it is recommended to take protein. In addition to providing energy, your muscle will grow and you will tone glutes and legs. The egg is an excellent option and you could combine it with turkey ham, salmon and vegetables.
Tip: some experts recommend consuming 5 or 6 almonds or nuts after training. They are considered good fats that will provide energy to your body.
Follow this diet for cyclists and improve your performance. Remember that it is important to keep hydrated throughout the day, at least you should drink 2.5 liters of water daily.
PRACTICE AND FITNESS:
It is important to be patient with yourself and allow your body enough time to get used to the physical demands of mountain biking. In the beginning, start off with short 1-2 hour rides in easy terrains or at trail centers. Always stretch before and after and allow your body 20 minutes to warm up before you move onto challenging terrains. If burning fat is your goal, then biking at a steady pace for a long time is effective. If you wish to improve your cardiovascular strength, biking on hard terrains with short bursts of rest is a great idea. Do a mix of these terrains to achieve the best workout and get really good at biking in a short period of time.
It is also useful to practice your form on a bike. Practice moves such as going at a steady pace, ascending (uphill) descending (downhill) for gaining more confidence in your moves. Various biking techniques such as climbing, cornering, compressing, braking etc. can be learned with ease over a period of time. Spend some time learning these moves and practicing them on easy terrains to ensure a smooth, safe and exciting mountain biking experience.
Mountain biking is an extremely rewarding hobby. It may seem daunting and intimidating to begin, but investing in the right equipment and gear along with some practice will ensure that you have the time of your life. Enjoy renewed confidence in your body and its abilities as you challenge yourself on various terrains. The scenic view and breath-taking locations are only the cherry on top!